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salib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-12-07 04:08 PM
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The new DLC - the New America Foundation
Presented on their website as "The Brightest American thinkers under 40" -- The Economist ( /)

This group looks like a very cynical hodgepodge of seemingly progressive "ideas" that simply take the minimalist approach to deflect those with Progressive and Liberal leanings from the real issues and solutions. Take, for example, the "Ten Big Ideas for a New America" ( ):

1. "Every Baby a Trust Fund Baby - Every child would automatically receive a $6,000 deposit into an ASA at birth-and also be eligible for dollar-for-dollar matching funds for voluntary contributions up to $500 a year."

Anyone listen to Tom Hartman's show this week? At good interest rates, say 5% APR, this amount is about $42,000 at age 18. Sounds good, until you realize that if you had invested the $500 a month without the plan, you would have had $14,000. And adjusted for inflation of about 3%, actual net difference at 18 years is $29,000 - $11,000, or $17,000. Nothing wrong with that, but it does not address the real problems, and by their own logic, only increases the cost of education (more money to spend on it because the Government is encouraging it).

The real problem is not $17,000 for a child. The real problems are: access to educational resources at ALL LEVELS but especially college due to high costs, privatization, dismemberment to the State College low or zero tuition system, etc. However, this idea of a "Trust Fund Baby" is a great foil to dealing with the real problems. I call it a bribe.

2. "Mandatory, Affordable Health Insurance - We need both universal health coverage and a more efficient delivery system."

OK, HillaryCare, or should I say GropenatorCare, or should I say RepublicanCare lite (tastes great!). I think many people have debunked this one. However, it is again a great diversionary tactic.

3. "A Universal 401(k) Plan - ..., two-thirds of the tax breaks for retirement saving go to the most affluent 20 percent who would save anyway. The solution is a Universal 401(k) plan."

Why is it seen that one of the ten biggest problems today is that tax breaks go to the most affluent 20 percent. Are you kidding me? Of course they do. If we have a decently Progressive tax system, they should be paying most of the tax. So, any breaks (i.e., reductions due to special circumstances) go to those who would otherwise pay them. Why is the a problem that is of great concern? Because, as the magician will tell you, look over there... while do what I want to where you are not looking.

The real problem is that the most affluent are getting these "breaks" in the first place, not that somehow those who have little (the bottom 50% in terms of income only receives 12% of the total income in the country) should be able to set aside their MUCH SMALLER retirement amounts.

And even more importantly, true retirement security (called social security) can be paid for into perpetuity by just lifting the cap on the (regressive) FICA tax.

The final insult, though, is this smarmy and self-congratulatory attitude behind all of this logic, that some how if the poor had only worked hard, saved and followed the rules, then it would be just fine for them. THAT IS BS. BS. Those who are not poor are FORTUNATE, and could EASILY be on the other side of the tracks, but for fortune. Blaming the victim is just another kind of "welfare queen" story, all wrapped up in nice "by your own bootstraps" tidings.

4. "Tax Consumption, Not Work - For more than 70 percent of American families, the payroll tax is the largest tax they pay. Yet the tax is regressive, inefficient, and insufficient to fund the programs it finances. As a 15.3 percent wage tax levied on employers and employees, it deters job creation and depresses wages at the low end of the scale. By replacing the payroll tax with a national and progressive consumption tax, the United States could stimulate job creation, higher wages, and higher levels of personal saving at the same time, all in a revenue-neutral manner."

Oh yeah! Let's get rid of Social Security. That would do it!

'nuf said about this one.

5. "An Energy Efficiency Trading System - Phasing in tough new energy standards for America's biggest energy users and making energy efficiency tradable-much the way we now trade oil and natural gas-would quickly reduce total energy consumption while limiting carbon emissions."

Hey, as long as we are trading pollution credits, let's do the same for efficiency. Let the market decide, right? Again, I call BS.

Why are we trying to create one more way for some to trade and manipulate a large majority into a crappy situation. We do not need nor do we want a "market" in efficiency credits, so that those who want to be inefficient can simply buy their way out of saving the WORLD's (that mean ALL OF OUR) resources.

6. "A College Access Contract - America's financial aid system imposes too much debt on college graduates, provides too much taxpayer support to banks making college loans, and demands too little of students assuming them. A new "College Access Contract" would allow low-income students to graduate with zero federal student loan debt-and middle-class students to graduate with interest-free federal student loan debt..."

Again, why is the "problem" framed this way? Keep your hand on your wallet! Education is successfully a right in most of the developed world. This assumption that it is not one here is again BS, and not a college degree. Same ol', same ol', just like with universal health care.

7. "Closing the $700 Billion Tax Loophole - While it appears the federal government will spend around $2.8 trillion this year, there is another $700 billion that is "spent" through the tax code in the form of tax expenditures. This shadow budget represents subsidies disbursed by way of taxes not collected. While politically popular, tax expenditures are an inefficient, poorly targeted, and needlessly expensive way to achieve the programmatic goals of government. Tax expenditures need to become part of the regular budget and appropriations process. They should be dramatically reduced, consolidated, and capped. The result would be a simpler, fairer, more efficient tax code."

Again, why is this one of the top ten problems? Crazy. It is not in any way, shape, or form on the same level as the real problems we need to address, and are conveniently refocused with this list.

8. "Universal Risk Insurance - In recent decades there has been a massive transfer of economic risk from shared institutional arrangements, such as unemployment insurance and basic benefit coverage provided by employers, onto the fragile balance sheets of families. Yet public programs have largely failed to respond. "Universal Insurance" is a new response to this growing problem. It would provide short-term, stop-loss protection to families whose income (after taxes and public benefits) suddenly decline by a fifth or more due to job loss or catastrophic health expenses. All but the richest families would be eligible, but the program would be most generous for low-income families."

The biggest problems here are: lack of universal health care, lack of a living wage requirement, squeezing of social security coverage and applicability, and of course, real power for the 90% of the population in their destinies. Those are the problems. Universal Risk Insurance? Just like with Medicare for All, we simply need (and are supposed to already have) Social Security for All.

9. "Instant Runoff Voting - Americans want a more representative and responsive government capable of addressing the nation's challenges, yet our electoral system is founded on antiquated practices that inhibit voter choices and encourage a politics of polarization and paralysis."

Not that I have a problem with IRV, though there are those who can debate this one more fully. However, it is a diversion to be on the top ten list. The real problem is MONEY IN ELECTIONS. The real solution is publicly funded elections.

10. "A Capital Budget for Public Investment - The federal budget needs to prioritize spending that will make our economy more productive in the future. Yet, over the last several decades, the portion of the federal budget going to current consumption has increased, while that devoted to public investment has declined. As a result, the federal government does not adequately fund either the physical infrastructure or knowledge capital upon which a more productive economy rests. We are underinvesting not only in traditional infrastructure, but also in high-speed broadband networks, in basic science research and development, and in training skilled workers, scientists, and engineers. Just as private businesses and most states use capital budgeting, a federal capital budget would allow us to separate our nation's public investment, which expands our capacity to grow, from our government's current consumption outlays."

OK, Capital Program is code-word for Corporate Welfare. Take it from me, you see a huge trend all over the country with non-profits that raise "charitable" funds to move to Capital Programs. If you are at all "in the know", i.e. have enough resources to benefit from the largess, you will realize that it is Corporate Welfare. We do not need Corporate Welfare. We do not need to "invest" in the future at the expense of the current "consumption." It is a FALSE CHOICE. Nice words, investment, infrastructure, research and development, training. However, how are these not "consumption" as much as they are "investment"?

Again, diversion, diversion, diversion.

For me, the underlying problem with many who want to "cling to" progressive ideas, or at least think of themselves as basically decent people, oftentimes believe that "how they got to be" "where they are" (i.e., well-off) is because of how they were "reigned in", had "self-control", made "wise choices", etc. Again, I say BS. The actual truth is "there but for fortune go I." The Greeks taught us long ago that Pride (Hubris) of this type leads to tragic downfall, and not always to the one with all the Pride. It is that underlying assumption about human nature, that self-control and wise choices were the reason for "success", that leads many to simply despise "handouts." It goes against their grain. To these people I say: you are not the only type of person, and what worked for you does not work for all, and probably not for most. Instead, recognize that there is a perspective outside of yourself that is equally valid, and most likely a large number of people are not in agreement with yours.
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-12-07 04:12 PM
Response to Original message
1. Excellent analysis!

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salib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-12-07 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thanks
It really pissed me off when a woman from this organization was on Talk of the Nation today. It just all sounded too much like a cross between PNAC and the DLC. So, I had to look them up, and I was basically right.

Thought others should know.
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-12-07 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Yes, they should know.
Not that it will change many minds, sadly. *sigh*
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cosmicdot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-12-07 07:09 PM
Response to Original message
4. a PNAC signer is on the Board of Directors
Fukuyama is one of the signers of the January 26, 1998, Project for the New American Century (PNAC), letter sent to President Clinton

Christine Todd "the air is fine" Whitman is, also, on the Board

the Chairman is out of corporate america

is the 'new' in New American Foundation related to 3rd way "New"?

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salib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-12-07 08:21 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. It figures
I guess they want to make sure that all bases are covered. There is a pendulum swing in this country, at least in their minds, and I guess they will have to call themselves Neo-Liberals now.

Same ol', same ol'.

Still, it appeals to a number of people who would otherwise move to our point of view.
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robinlynne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-12-07 07:25 PM
Response to Original message
5. The first 3 are straight out of hillary's campaign book.
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salib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-12-07 08:23 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. Yes, I noticed that
One could be generous and say that they are copying her play book because it appeals to the same crowd. Or, one could simply say that they have a great deal in common.

It all sickens me now, becuase I actually like Bill Clinton BECAUSE of Hillary and a couple of interviews I saw in 1992. "Can't get fooled again", though.
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bvar22 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-12-07 07:33 PM
Response to Original message
6. If you want:
*A Top Down ruling hierarchy of the Democratic Party that ignores the grassroots and picks our Primary Candidates for us

*more privatization of essential government services

*more "pre-emptive" Imperial Wars

*less transparency in government

*a continued widening of the income gap

*fewer GOOD jobs for Americans

*more taxpayer money diverted to the pockets of the MIC and "connected" Defense contractors

*a larger percentage of the GDP earmarked for WAR

*less funding for "Social" programs

*more "Greed is Good" doctrine for large corporations

*less regulation and oversight of "Global Trade"

*more propping up of right wing dictatorships in the 3rd World (if its "good for business")

*less access to "advancement programs" for the lower SES.

*more FOR PROFIT HealthCare

*a stronger "Unitary Executive"

If you want the above, support the DLC.

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salib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-12-07 08:25 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. Unfortuanately, I have to agree
Though, some of those things are simply seen as "necessary evils" by the DLC'ers, I think. There is some of that "confused and misguided" kinda stuff going on with them. Also, just plain lazy ditto-head type of behavior.
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Totally Committed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-12-07 07:38 PM
Response to Original message
7. K & R


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illinoisprogressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-12-07 08:35 PM
Response to Original message
11. Now what Candidate is backing these DLC ideas? hmmmm. the Queen of the DLC!
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illinoisprogressive Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-12-07 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. I think Hillary's policy book is being written for her by these jokers.
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salib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-12-07 10:13 PM
Response to Original message
13. Wow, where are all the DLC apologists?
I expected to be flamed. Are we too close to the flame for them?
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