Tue Sep 11, 2012, 06:56 AM
viguy007 (125 posts)
Please Help Me Spread This Message
I am only one person, and a Republican at that, but I believe the election of Mitt Romney would not only be bad for the United States; it would be disastrous. Therefore, I wrote a letter about why I thought this, which I tried to post on Republican blogs, but it kept on being taken down. I then posted it on this Democratic blog, and it received an enthusiastic response with 17,000 page views. However, it was unlikely that many Independents or moderate Republicans would view it on a Democratic blog, so I decided to develop this web site with my letter being the Home Page. The web site is: http://CommonSenseFor.US
A web site that is not viewed has no value. Since my home page is so long, it can not be posted on other blogs, so it is necessary to refer people to this site. In this you can help me, by posting a teaser. I have divided my letter into 14 teasers with a link back to my web site. THESE TEASERS ARE FOUND BELOW. They are suitable to be posted in the comments section of any article. Since different web sites have various restrictions on the length of comments, these teasers are listed by length and subject. The last teaser is not found in my original letter, it is long but it answers the question definitively "Are you better off today then you were four years ago." All you have to do is copy and paste these teaser clips. Modify them if you wish, including taking out any references to being a Republican. You might find a multi-clip clipboard to be useful in assisting you. One that I found useful was Spartan Multi Clipboard which is free, easy to use and can be found at Download.com. If you have the technical knowledge, I could use some help to add the social networking buttons (Twitter, FaceBook, eMail this, and so forth).
Everyone must be engaged in this battle to keep America safe from Mitt Romney. Make sure your friends, neighbors, and family are registered to vote; if your state has special ID requirements, make sure you are aware of them and you and your friends meet those requirements. You don't want to wait on a line, and then not be able to vote because you don't have the proper ID.
The democratic process is always a social process. Rent the 1940 Academy Award winning movie about the effects of the Great Depression on a family "The Grapes of Wrath", and view it with friends, neighbors, and family (including Republicans). No overt politics need take place, the movie itself will have an impact. You were probably told never talk about politics or religion by your parents. But the choice we face in this election is too important not to talk about it, in a non-aggressive manner, every chance you get; coffee klatches, card games, casual conversations of all types. You can refer people to this site since it has an easy to remember name: CommonSenseFor.US (.US not .Com)
If you are a student and you don't have a political club in school, start one, your history teacher will help you. I believe this will be the most important election in my lifetime, and will shape what is America's future. I am a "senior citizen," so I will be relatively unaffected by what Mitt screws up, but it will effect your whole life.
If you feel what I say has any value, and you would like to share it with others, you have my permission to do so. In whole or in part. Modify them as you wish, including taking out any references to being a Republican. Please share this with at least 5 others and ask them to share it also. Give it a small personal introduction. We may not have millions of dollars to spread a message, but we all have at least 5 friends and acquaintances. Ask your recipients to also send it to 5 more people, chain-letter style.
I encourage you to spread the message as far as you can, eMails to friends, Facebook, Tweets, Blogs, op-ed pieces and letters to the editor in your local paper. If you have eMail lists use them. Send it to Anchors at all the TV stations, and columnists, both local and national; if they receive one letter they may ignore it, if they receive 10 they will pay attention. If you have a good speaking voice and know how to do it, post a video on "You Tube." If the subject matter of the letter is not deemed worthy of coverage, the way the message is being spread may well be.
If you have any contacts at the DNC or the Obama campaign, please bring my web site to their attention. Finally send it to your congressional representatives and senators, (Democrat and Republican), and national, state and local party organs, they might as well know what the people are thinking. This is the only time they listen to the people more then the organized special interests. The only thing that can beat the power of money is people power. Thank you.
Defense Policy 196 Words 1183 Characters
What did the defense policy of Republican President George Bush and Democratic President Barack Obama have in common? They both wanted to get rid of a dictator and kill Osama bin Laden.
In the case of Republican George Bush it took more then 4,000 American lives lost, and in excess of 10,000 Americans wounded and maimed, in order to overthrow the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. And despite the invasion of Afghanistan, which killed and maimed 1000's more American troops, Osama bin Laden was never found, captured, or killed.
In the case of Democratic Barack Obama it took no American lives lost, and none wounded in order to overthrow the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi. And 3,000 American lives were revenged with the killing of Osama bin Laden. But not a single American life was lost in the process. There are no more American combat troops in Iraq, and we are in the process of withdrawing them from Afghanistan, truly "Mission Accomplished."
Now I ask you which defense policy was more intelligent and effective, the Republican's or the Democrat's. As a Republican, I hate to admit it, but it seems it was Democratic President Barack Obama's.
Regulations 237 Words 1435 Characters
Mitt Romney has said he would "end regulations" in order for the economy to grow. But which regulations? I remember a time when rivers caught fire (Cuyahoga River in Ohio); Homes were built over raw toxic waste (Love Canal); A million children with disabilities had no access to the public schools; People died by breathing the air (smog); And 1000's of babies were born with birth defects from unregulated drugs (Thalidomide), etc. Republican President Nixon created the EPA and Republican President Theodore Roosevelt created the FDA. Republican President Ford created the first federal regulatory program in education with a program for special needs children. These men were not Left-wing radical hippies. Which of these programs would Mitt end?
Regulations are put in place because of a perceived need for them. Do people have to get sick and die before a regulation is needed? As both a small businessman and a Republican, the regulations that irk me the most are state and local, such as those for a building permit. They have nothing to do with the national government. How will ending clean water and air regulations help my business grow, and make my life any better? If because of unregulated drugs, my wife has a disabled child, I might appreciate the "Americans with Disabilities" regulations that enabled him or her to lead a more normal life. I hope Mitt knows not all regulation is bad.
Bain 252 Words 1474 Characters
Why is Bain important? A major contributing cause of the Financial Crisis of 2008 was the filing of false or misleading documents with the SEC. This is no small matter; since 2009 the SEC has collected fines of over 3 Billion dollars for this violation from financial institutions such as, among others: Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, J.P. Morgan, and UBS. If Mitt Romney actually left all operational control of Bain Capital in 1999, as he said he did, he sanctioned and acquiesced to the filing of false and misleading documents with the SEC until 2002. This indicates a certain attitude towards these filings: The complete and truthful disclosure of all facts is not important. This was an attitude all too prevalent in the financial community prior to 2009, and all of us paid the price.
Is full disclosure to the SEC one of the regulations Mitt Romney would do away with? As a small investor I can not take that chance; I have been burnt once by a government that did not believe in regulation, and was asleep at the wheel. Mitt lied either to the SEC, or on official campaign disclosure forms. Perjury is perjury. It was ethically and morally equal to saying "I never had sex with that woman" only much worse since it was related to a public institution, not sex. There can be no equivocation since the two official documents Mitt signed exactly contradict each other 100%. He can not flip-flop between these two documents.
Mitt's Depression 238 Words 1500 Characters
Mitt Romney has said, "I have indicated, day one, I will issue an executive order identifying China as a currency manipulator. We'll bring an action against them in front of the WTO (World Trade Organization) for manipulating their currency, and we will go after them." Sounds good until you read what that same WTO states on their Website "The short-sighted protectionist view is that defending particular sectors against imports is beneficial. But that view ignores how other countries are going to respond. The longer term reality is that one protectionist step by one country can easily lead to retaliation from other countries. (For example), the trade war of the 1930s when countries competed to raise trade barriers in order to protect domestic producers and retaliate against each others’ barriers. This worsened the Great Depression."
Will Mitt Romney's actions towards China ignite a fire he may not be able to control? Europe is economically frail, already many countries are in a recession because they adopted the equivalent of the Romney budget. Austerity in those countries has only caused the financial condition of the people to worsen. At this point, the possible starting of a trade war between the world's two largest economies would be insane. A trade war, when combined with Europe's fragile economy, and the downturn in the American economy caused by the Romney budget, would result in another economic depression, not just a severe recession.
Deficit 337 Words 1995 Characters
We were told by congressional Republicans that the Obama stimulus program could not be larger because of the federal budget deficit, and like any family, when you are too far into debt you must tighten your belt and cut back on expenditures.
I see one problem with this line of reasoning; when you have an emergency that threatens your life, you spend whatever is needed in order to recover. Once the recovery occurs, you tighten your belt in order to get out of debt. The economic crisis of 2008 was such an emergency for the American economy. The last time we had a equivalent emergency (Great Depression/World War 2) debt as a share of the economy peaked at 112.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 1945. In the present emergency (Great Recession/War on Terror) debt as a share of the economy will reach roughly 77% of gross domestic product this year according to the independent and nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
We should not be worrying about the annual deficit. If a tax is money being removed from the economy, then government spending is money being added to the economy, and the deficit is the measure of degree the economy is being stimulated. The problem with deficits, it is said, is that interest rates on government bonds will go up. Yet the interest rate paid by government bonds are now the lowest they have ever been.
It is time to rebuild America's infrastructure, as we rebuilt Europe after World War 2. In order to fix our infrastructure, from dilapidated levees to collapsing bridges and leaking dams, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has estimated that the country needs to spend $1.6 trillion. This construction will help the economy and the cost, based on the interest rate, will never be lower. Neither Mitt Romney nor President Obama have proposed an additional stimulus program of this size. We must not be trapped by an ideology that says deficits are bad, no matter what is the underlying circumstances.
Homeless 354 Words 2087 Characters
How are dogs on the roof of a car and homeless families related? They are both victims of a man without compassion or empathy.
In order to pay for the tax cut that predominantly benefit the rich, Mitt Romney would cut the budget for programs like: school nutrition programs, unemployment insurance, food stamps, employment training, etc. Cuts in federal grants to local and state governments would mean the layoff of policemen, firemen, teachers. All these things and people consume "goods and services," and produce the demand, which in turn will employ people to meet this demand. With the Romney budget cutbacks, demand is now lessened, so employers will also cut back and factories may close, jobs will be lost, and the unemployment rate will rise. Rather then the agonizingly slow but steady economic growth we presently have, the economy will begin to shrink, we will be in a "double dip" recession.
As the economy shrinks and people lose jobs, their ability to make their mortgage payments will decrease, and bank foreclosures will increase. Families will lose their homes. They will be looking for help, but they will get none from Mitt Romney, since he believes "don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom." Perhaps in economic theory this would a solution to a financier, practical, like strapping a pet dog to the roof of a car during a 12 hour road trip.
However, we must always remember the statistics we read about unemployment and foreclosures are not just numbers. They represent real men, women, and children, who, maybe for the first time in their lives question: “Will I eat tonight and where will I sleep?” They are more afraid then they have ever been before in their lives. Without any government help, what will those families be forced to do in order to survive? Prostitute themselves, steal, become criminals in order to put a roof over their head and food on the table for themselves and their children. Is this what Mitt Romney wants, because in some cases, this is what he will get.
Other Countries 455 Words 2640 Characters
Those who advocate a new age of austerity, like the Romney/Ryan budget, will cite Greece with an unemployment rate of 22.6% and say Greece is a nation we are sure to follow if we do not tighten our belt and reduce government services. They also cite Spain's 24.3%, Portugal's 15.2% and Italy's 10.2% unemployment rate.
However, what they do not say is that in each of these countries tax avoidance seems to be a national sport. As a Republican I can not support Mitt Romney because everything, from his refusal to reveal his taxes to offshore bank accounts in tax havens with strong bank secrecy laws, seem to indicate he is a tax avoider. I do not agree when Mitt Romney says that if he paid more taxes than were required, he wouldn't be qualified to be president. I think that if he paid a few more dollars in taxes then he had to, as I have done in the past, it would be admirable. Mitt is a part of the problem, not the solution.
These countries have also had austerity budgets for a number of years, even as their economic problems have only gotten worse. Many economists now feel that, in fact, the austerity programs are the main cause of the economic problems.
On the other hand, economies in many countries are doing quite well, such as: Germany which has un-employment rate of 5.4%, Austria 4.3%, Norway 3.0%, Netherlands 4.2%, Switzerland 2.9%, Japan 4.1%, Australia 4.9% and so on. So what do they have in common, and what are they doing differently when compared to the United States?
1- They have Universal socialized health care, or a government one payer system, and while all their people have health care they spend a small fraction of what United States businesses and Government spend on health care.
2- They have Universal Education, which means a person can get an education up to their PhD pretty much for free. This means their people are trained for the jobs of the future.
3- They have much higher taxes than in United States on someone making more than 250 thousand dollars, for example in Germany 45%.
4- They have more generous unemployment benefits than in the United States. This stabilizes demand when people are laid-off from their jobs.
5- They have a more unionized workforce than in the United States. The unions provide hands-on apprentice programs for training new workers in manufacturing industries.
6- They do not spend Trillions of dollars on a gargantuan military, and unnecessary wars, which drains their budgets and keeps needed infrastructure from being repaired and built.
So maybe these countries should be our models for the future, rather then Greece.
Disenchanted Republican 454 Words 2841 Characters
I'm a life-long Republican, voted for Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Dole, both Bushs, and John McCain although I did not like Palin. However, as both a Republican and more importantly an American, I did not share Rush Limbaugh's view expressed in January 2009: “I disagree fervently with the people on our side of the aisle who have caved and who say, ‘Well, I hope he succeeds'... I hope he fails.” Nor do I agree with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who in October of 2010, was asked what "the job" of Republicans in Congress was. McConnell answered, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." We were in the middle of the greatest economic crisis since the 1930's and my party has as its main goal trying to make sure the president fails — even if the country fails right along with him. What has happened to my Republican party, this is not a sporting event, we all either win or lose together.
In the past, Republicans were pragmatic, not ideological; they would ask "does it work", not "does it fit into my theory." Ronald Reagan is known for his tax cuts, but he also pragmatically raised taxes 11 times to address the growing budget deficit. He also had a good relationship with Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill. Since Reagan was pragmatic, not ideological, he compromised and worked with congress and accomplished what needed to be done to help the economy.
Pragmatic non-ideological republican presidents never had a problem expanding the national government to solve national problems. Republican President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Republican President Theodore Roosevelt created the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Republican President Ford created the first federal regulatory program in education, with a program for special needs children. Republican President George Bush Sr. signed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and raised taxes to fight the deficit. Republican President Eisenhower warned: "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, by the military–industrial complex" and was responsible for one of the largest Infrastructure projects in American history (Interstate Highway System). President Eisenhower also sent federal troops to Little Rock Arkansas so that discrimination against black school children would be ended. These men were not Left-wing radical hippies, but the "Tea Party movement" and their supporters in Congress would call them Socialist.
It is now evident that Mitt Romney has sold his soul to the "Tea Party." It is time for my Republican party to regain its sanity and be Americans first. For the first time I will not vote for the Republican candidate, I will not vote for Mitt Romney.
A Little History 499 Words 2995 Characters
I am a Republican so I question many of President Obama's policies, but would Mitt Romney's economic policies have been any better. I am disappointed in the pace of the economic recovery, yet I also know this was not an ordinary business cycle recession.
It was initiated by an institutional Bank Panic in 2008, akin to the 1929 Wall Street Crash, in which some of the largest and most prestigious banks and financial corporations were threatened with failure and bankruptcy (ie Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, AIG, etc). By the end of 2008 the lost of potential purchasing power (decline in value of homes, stocks, IRA's etc) in the United States exceeded 14.5 TRILLION DOLLARS. Since small local banks also had their assets affected by the crisis, and the large banks were not extending credit to them, they could not make loans. The flow of small business credit dried up. The prevailing fear was that this panic would feed on itself, so that the economy would continue to spiral down. Talk of a second Great Depression, with its unemployment rate of more then 25% became widespread.
It was once said, "As GM goes, so goes the nation." As people lost purchasing power, the demand for new cars dried up. This caused the car companies, including GM, to become threatened with bankruptcy. If the car companies went bankrupt, more then 100,000 additional workers would be unemployed. It was feared this would only be the tip of the iceberg as people wondered what would be the ripple effect on car part manufacturers, and what would be the effect on consumer confidence?
Obama without congressional authorization, used TARP to bail out GM and Chrysler thereby saving them from bankruptcy. Mitt would have not done this, as he stated: "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." However, who would bid for these companies at this time of economic uncertainty, even Mitt's former company, Bain Capital, had reduced their acquisitions. While I strongly oppose Obama's actions in theory, in practicality there may have been no other choice. Obama was pragmatic, he made a decision that solved the problem.
The TARP and actions by the FED provided approximately 3 trillion dollars for the financial system which stabilized it. Thus the financial system's private debt was added to the federal deficit. As opposed to this as I might be on a theoretical basis, I know as Mitt said "The TARP (bank bailout) program was designed to keep the financial system going."
Between the TARP, the stimulus program, and the temporary cuts in the payroll tax, enough money was pumped into the economy to stabilize it and end the downward spiral into a depression. However these programs were not enough to "jump start" the economy, so that it would grow fast enough to reduce unemployment significantly. Yet, before I can condemn Obama I must ask, what role did my party play in restricting the size and preventing the "Stimulus Program" from being adequate enough to solve the economic problem.
Economy 500 Words 2970 Characters
I am a Republican, but electing Mitt Romney will be disastrous for the economy.
Capitalism is driven by the simple supply and demand equation, if there is no demand any supply of things will not be sold. If things are not being sold, no more things will be produced. Demand must always be there first. People can have a want or demand for things, but if they do not have money or credit to buy these things, in economic terms, there is no demand.
Mitt Romney will implement a budget which cuts taxes predominately for the "investor class" (aka the rich), while reducing government spending by cutting programs. Since money knows no nationality, most of the tax cut the rich receive will be invested in emerging market countries, where it will get the greatest return, or deposited in the secret bank accounts of "offshore tax havens", or hidden away in gold. This is particularly true in difficult economic times. This money will not circulate through the American economy, create demand, and help the economy grow.
Mitt says a tax cut will cause small business to expand, this is not true. I am considered a successful businessman. I have never made a business decision based on taxes. They never deterred me from expanding my business when I saw an opportunity to meet a demand by consumers. Taxes never took 100% of any additional income I made by expanding my business. They were just a cost of doing business like any other cost. They paid for services my business needed, such as policemen, firemen, and road maintenance. On the other hand, while I always appreciate lower taxes, they would not effect how I ran my business. If my taxes were lowered, but there was no additional demand by consumers, I would not expand my business. However, I would take a nice European vacation and see Paris or Rome, or buy a Mercedes-Benz rather then a Ford, or buy a second home on a sunny Caribbean island and open up a bank account there.
Since Mitt promised not to increase the deficit, to pay for the tax cut, the budgets would be slashed for programs like: crop insurance for farmers, natural disaster relief, food inspection, interstate highway repair, school nutrition programs, unemployment insurance, student financial aid, food stamps, employment training, "Head Start", etc. Cuts in federal grants to local and state governments would mean the layoff of policemen, firemen, teachers, and all government workers; needed permits and licenses would take longer to process. All these things and people consume "goods and services," and produce the demand, which in turn will employ people to meet this demand. With the Romney budget cutbacks, demand is now lessened, so employers will also cut back and factories may close, jobs will be lost, and the unemployment rate will rise. Rather then the agonizingly slow but steady economic growth we presently have, the economy will begin to shrink, we will be in a "double dip" recession.
Mitt's Character 527 Words 2977 Characters
Barry Goldwater said "it is time to put conscience back in government. And by good example, put it back in all walks of American life." In other words, character counts. My Republican candidate for President, Mitt Romney, does and says many strange things. He always seems to change his stance on issues depending upon who he running against. Does he believe in anything, or is he only seeking the power and glory of the presidency? This is a man who says that if he paid more taxes than were required, he wouldn't be qualified to be president. As Lee Sheppard, a contributing editor at the trade publication "Tax Notes" said, “when you are running for president, you might want to err on the side of overpaying your taxes, and not chase every tax gimmick that comes down the pike.”
I quote Mitt Romney: “I pay all the taxes that are legally required, not a dollar more”; "I'm not familiar precisely with what I said, but I'll stand by what I said, whatever it was"; "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt"; "I'm not concerned about the very poor"; "I like being able to fire people"; "Corporations are people". Mitt would brag that he was a great businessman and we should vote for him because of this; he could turn around the economy. Yet, when it was shown his company outsourced jobs to other countries, fired employees and drove companies into bankruptcy, he stated he was not responsible for these things because they happened after he left the company in 1999. However, official SEC documents, which he signed, indicate he was CEO of his company until 2002. Either he lied to the SEC, which is perjury, or he is bald-faced lying to us: we the people he wants to vote for him.
He has secret bank accounts in the offshore tax havens of Switzerland, Luxembourg, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands. Mitt's father, George, released 12 years of tax returns when he ran for President, saying "One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show, and what mattered in personal finance was how a man conducted himself over the long haul." When Mitt's campaign was asked to release more then two years of returns, it responded “We’ve given all YOU PEOPLE need to know" and has refused to give out additional information. You People, as if he were contemptuous and superior to, We The People. Why is he so secretive about everything? What is he hiding? Is this the type of man you want your children to emulate?
Does Mitt sound like a man of the people, a patriot, who would brave the freezing and starvation of Valley Forge, charge up Omaha Beach during the Invasion of Normandy (D-Day), or slog through the mosquito infested jungles of Viet Nam? Or does Mitt sound like he owes us nothing, and he deserves the presidency as if anointed thru the divine right of kings? His attitude is: he owes "We, the people" nothing. YOU PEOPLE, just trust me, I am not a crook. What does this say about whose interests Mitt will be looking out for, if he is elected president?
Obamacare and Medicare 571 Words 3635 Characters
Uninsured medical costs was the biggest reason people filed for bankruptcy. In his 2008 campaign President Obama promised to response to the problem of millions of Americans having no health insurance and being unable to pay for medical care if they got sick. In an effort to achieve bipartisan support, President Obama did not propose a single payer system, based on Medicare as many of his fellow Democrats wanted him to do. But rather what Obama proposed was based on a plan supported and signed by Republican Mitt Romney in 2006, when he was Governor of Massachusetts. This was the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009" (Obamacare).
Both programs had individual mandates to require people without health insurance to purchase it from private companies, in many cases with financial assistance from the government. This makes no sense to me, why not expand Medicare to cover everyone. While Obamacare is complex and confusing, and met much resistance, Medicare is familiar to people. Why force people to buy insurance from the hodgepodge of insurance companies, each with their own administrative costs and policies, trying to maximize profits? The cost of this bureaucracy means that medical care in the United States costs almost twice that of any other country with a single payer system. In this system private insurers’ would have a role, as now in Medicare, processing claims and other administrative tasks. In addition the insurance companies could offer Medic-gap type and gold plated wrap-around policies. The government provides a universal safety-net floor, which people can voluntarily build on.
Expanding Medicare to include all Americans would also be a benefit to Medicare; it will financially stabilize what is now the high-risk pool of the health insurance industry. A substantial majority of Medicare enrollees – roughly 87% have at least one chronic condition, and nearly half have three or more. The people covered by Medicare include 1) people age 65 and older, who are the most likely to have Heart Attacks, Strokes, Cancer, and other diseases related to age; 2) people who have permanent disabilities and receive Social Security Disability Insurance; 3) people with end-stage kidney disease which requires maintenance dialysis or a kidney transplant; 4) people with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) which is a slow wasting away of the body. The common thread between both disease specific groups is, they are expensive to treat and there is no cure.
By expanding Medicare to include everyone, you would be adding 10's of millions of people under 65, the vast majority of whom are healthy and seldom require medical care. These people would have the security of knowing if they did get seriously ill, they would be treated without the rigmarole of complex rules and regulations regarding pre-existing conditions, pre-authorization, and Coordination of benefits. Medicare would benefit from the inflow of low-risk money which otherwise would go to pay premiums to private for-profit insurance companies. Medicare spreads the financial risk associated with illness across society to protect everyone, and thus has a somewhat different social role from private insurers, which must manage their risk portfolio to guarantee their own solvency. Medicare is a pragmatic program that works and is supported by a vast majority of Americans; however ideologues would call it socialism.
President Obama should have never tried to compromise with Republicans who believed, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."
Social Security 606 Words 3587 Characters
Mitt Romney has said "entitlement programs" such as Social Security should be cut back or made voluntary. This is necessary since these programs make up most of the budget of the United States and the deficit cannot be dealt with unless we change these programs. Making Social Security voluntary for young workers raises several questions. Should it be replaced with the equivalent to an "Individual Retirement Account" of some type? This idea would be the death of Social Security as we now know it. Would this IRA be the equal to Social Security, in any case of disability of a young worker? Will there be some type of guarantee against "market risk" for this replacement IRA? How would this change effect low pay workers who might not be able to contribute much money to an IRA type of account? Social Security is a guaranteed life-time benefit, what happens if a person outlives their IRA account?
President Obama has said Social Security should be maintained, but reformed. Among the suggestions that have been put forward by independent study groups are: the retirement age being extended, perhaps to age 72, the cost of living adjustment should be reduced or eliminated, or the benefits paid could be reduced. For many Americans, Social Security is the biggest part of their post-retirement income, it is the safety net we all use, so the effect of any changes to the program could have a huge impact on people's lives.
The Social Security and Medicare programs are called "entitlement programs" because people pay a special tax in order to be "entitled" to them. In the case of "Social Security" it is the "FICA Payroll Tax." This tax can be thought of as being the equivalent to an insurance premium.
However, under the present "FICA Payroll Tax" system, the person who earns $110,000 pays the same exact amount in taxes as the person who earns $1,100,000, or $10,000,000. Mitt Romney had an income of $21.6 million in 2010; instead of a FICA tax of $1,404,000 without the cap, he paid $7,150. President Obama had an income of $1.72 million in 2010; instead of a FICA tax of $112,327 without the cap, he paid $7,150. The actual FICA tax rate for the ditch-digger, garbageman, or teacher is 10 or 100 or 1000 times that for a CEO, corporate financier, or government official. I have heard of insurance programs with sliding scales, the more you could afford, the more you pay; but I have never heard of a program where the less you could afford, the more you pay. This is insane.
Rather then making it voluntary or reducing benefits or delaying the retirement age, shouldn't we be talking about ending the $110,000 cap on incomes that are taxed, while capping the present maximum benefit, and maintaining the cost of living adjustment? Adopting this program would mean the system would be fairer since the tax would then become a defined flat tax for all Americans rather then the present regressive tax. The Social Security trust fund should be put in a "locked box" which is not used as part of the General Federal Government Budget. The new taxes collected would help reduce the budget deficit by relieving the problem with the Social Security trust fund in the future. Perhaps if the increase in revenue was great enough, the FICA tax rate could be reduced for everyone.
Neither Mitt Romney nor President Obama has suggested this type of solution. However between the two, I believe Obama is much more likely to do this. The next time they have a "Town Hall" campaign stop, ask about this.
The Big Question 686 Words 3990 Characters
Mitt Romney asks "Are you better off today then you were 4 years ago?" Let's look at the numbers:
On July 1, 2008 the total measure of the goods and services produced by the economy (GDP) is 14.4 Trillion dollars. The After Tax Corporate Profits for the same time period is 1.21 Trillion dollars. The S&P 500 stock market index is at 1280, and the Unemployment rate is 5.6%.
During the summer of 2008 the recession began, and in addition a great financial crisis occurred which was not part of an ordinary business cycle recession. It was an institutional Bank Panic, akin to the 1929 Wall Street Crash.
On January 1, 2009, the GDP was 13.9 Trillion (down 4.5% in six months). However, the After Tax Corporate Profits had collapsed to 643.7 Billion dollars, A LOST OF 50% OVER 6 MONTHS. The S&P 500 stock market index is at 903.25 (loss of 31%), and the Unemployment rate is 7.3 %, however Obama took office on January 20, just as unemployment was starting to accelerate; 10 days later the rate was 7.8% (up 39%).
We were officially in a recession, but given the rapidity and severity of the economic decline, people wondered if we were headed for another Great Depression.
We must keep in mind:
1) The economy is like a car speeding down a road, if you want to stop it, you apply the brakes, but it does not stop immediately. It takes some time and you travel some distance before you stop. Our economic car was speeding downhill very fast.
2) The day a President takes office he can not put all his programs and policies into effect. It takes time to pass laws and enact economic stimulus programs, especially if there is opposition to them. Sometimes you can do major things without congress, such as saving the automobile industry by using TARP, but that is the rare exception.
3) The goal of any corporation is to maximize profits. If profits decline, they will cut expenses by employee layoffs, or outsourcing to another country. In the past, laying off employees meant production went down, but with the computer and automation revolution, this is no loner true. Companies "trim the fat", and work the remaining employees a little bit harder, so that they produce as much as they did with the larger workforce. Their expenses go down, and both their profits and unemployment go up.
Because of the first two factors cited above, it is appropriate to evaluate Obama's economic program from a baseline of July 1, 2009 when his economic program had been enacted.
On July 1, 2009, one year after the recession started, the GDP is 13.9 Trillion dollars (down 500 Billion from the year before), The After Tax Corporate Profits is 1.09 Trillion dollars; corporate expense cutting resulted in a profit recovery of 450 Billion dollars, over six months. Unfortunately, it also lead to an unemployment rate of 9.5%. The S&P 500 stock market index is at 919.32.
Having now established our baseline, let us see what are the results of the Obama economic program. As last reported on July 1, 2012 the GDP is 15.6 Trillion dollars (up 12.2%). The After Tax Corporate Profits is 1.65 Trillion dollars (up 51.3%). The S&P 500 index as of September 1, 2012 is at 1399.48 (up 52.2%), and the Unemployment rate is 8.3% (down 14% from the baseline).
Yes, Mitt, the American economy has slowly healed itself. It is growing and no longer shrinking. Except for unemployment, all economic indicators are above pre-recession levels. So as a nation we are better off then we were four years ago.
But as to unemployment, President Obama can not order companies to hire people. It is private corporations that make this decision. Look at that number for After Tax Corporate Profits, up 51.3% in the last four years. This was only possible because they were cutting expenses by firing people ("Cutting Fat") and outsourcing jobs to other countries. Unemployment is high because of people like Mitt Romney, corporate financiers and CEO's, are trying to maximize profits.
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Please Help Me Spread This Message (Original post)
Response to viguy007 (Original post)
Tue Sep 11, 2012, 07:33 AM
southernyankeebelle (10,725 posts)
1. Thank you for sharing your blog. I bookmarked it and will look forward to reading
your prospectives. I am sorry your party left you. We really do need to parties because that is what makes our country great.