Saturday, March 03, 2012

Left Side of the Aisle #46 - Part 2

The Virginia state Senate killed the "personhood" bill and passed the bill forcing women to have an ultrasound before they can terminate their pregnancy. How the right wing mainstreams extremism.

Last week, in an unexpected move, the Virginia state Senate killed the state's "personhood" bill.

That bill would have conferred the status of "personhood" on what the right wing keeps calling and for some reason the media keeps parroting "unborn children," including not only fetuses but embryos and even zygotes.

Let's get something straight: There is no such thing as an "unborn child." If it's not born, it's not a child. Calling a fetus an unborn child makes precisely as much sense as calling a caterpillar an unborn butterfly, a tadpole an unborn frog, or an acorn an unborn oak tree.

I can understand a pregnant woman and her partner thinking of her fetus as an "unborn child," establishing the emotional connection to what will be, if all goes as hoped, their child. But we can't let that emotional tie be the basis for a legal meaning and we can't let it cloud the scientific reality. There is no such thing as an unborn child.

The bill had already passed the House of Delegates and was expected to pass the Senate on a tie-breaking vote, but to the surprise of many, the Senate agreed to a motion to put the whole thing off until next year.

While clearly a victory, this doesn't mean the idea is dead - it could drag its zombie butt out of the grave next year. But it is a victory.

At the same time, it's rather a bitter victory, because the Virginia legislature has passed that bill you heard about that would require women seeking to terminate their pregnancy to have an ultrasound - apparently because the thinking was that pregnant women, the poor ignorant dears, need to have what it means to be pregnant explained to them.

Amendments that would have made the procedure optional, forced insurers to cover it or the state to pay for it, and would have exempted women who had no insurance coverage all were defeated. So not only does the woman have to undergo an additional and unnecessary medical procedure, she has to pay for it entirely out of pocket.

This is also the bill that in its original form required an intravaginal ultrasound - and that's exactly what you think it is - in cases where the fetus was too undeveloped for a regular ultrasound to be revealing.

In the face of understandable outrage, the bill's sponsor supposedly amended the bill to remove the state mandate for the intravaginal ultrasound - but left in the requirement for the information it would yield, leaving doctors in the position of either forcing women to undergo the procedure, forcing them to wait until later in the pregnancy, not getting the information, thus violating the law and risking prosecution and loss of their licence, or simply refusing to perform the procedure altogether. That is, the mandate to force women to submit or else had simply been shifted from the state to the doctor. For the women, it was no change at all.

Still, the failure of the wingnuts to force through yet another restriction on women's choices - the "personhood" bill - is a victory and should be embraced as such. And it has some significance because of the fact that it comes amid a flurry of state-level proposals on reproductive rights, where we find ourselves having to re-argue issues that rational people thought had been settled long ago.

So bear in mind that when I talk here about reproductive rights, I'm not just talking about abortion, I'm talking about birth control.

I mentioned this two weeks ago, noting that advocates of choice have long insisted that abortion was only the opening salvo in an assault on women's rights and that increasing restrictions on abortion would be followed by attacks on contraception. A lot of folks laughed at them for that, but that's exactly what we're seeing now. The religious fanatics have never forgotten the not-so-long-ago good old days when contraception was illegal even for married couples - and the right wing fanatics eager to exploit them for their own ends have happily joined in the effort to roll back time.

Just consider the response to that federal mandate that employees of religious-affiliated employers must have access to contraception coverage in their health insurance even as those employers do not have to pay for it. That move - of course - generated howls of phony, carefully orchestrated, ginned-up outrage that this is an attack on religious freedom, indeed on the very concept of religion. Because it is an attack on religion to say that a Catholic school can't interfere with the ability of a Jewish employee to obtain birth control by forcing them to pay for it entirely out of pocket.

And it's not just the Catholic bishops who continue to pompously bloviate about their "deep moral concerns" about contraception - as if they had any standing to have moral concerns about anything after enabling pedophiles for decades. Nor is it just the most obviously loopy groups like the American Family Association or the most obviously wacko politicians like Rick IShouldBeInASanitarium and Newt Grinch who blather, froth, and rant about a non-existent "war on Christianity" - it's also ones like our own Senator Scat Brown, who has a radio ad going on about how that federal insurance mandate is an assault on religious freedom.

In some cases, such as Scat Brown's, the driving force at least appears to be blatant political opportunism, the old tradition of abandoning any trace of self-respect in order to suck up to a potential voting block. But for others it is quite literally a matter of conviction - they literally believe that church law should inform if not outright determine public law.

For the obvious example we go back to Rick IShouldBeInASanitarium, who first attacked President Hopey-Changey a couple of weeks ago on the grounds that the legendary Mr. O did not address world problems through the lens of a Biblical theology and then followed that up a week later by declaring that the separation of church and state is not absolute because while religion is to be free of the government, the government is not to be free of religion - or, to use Ricky boy's revealing term, the government is not to be free of "the church."

To make sure that no one could misunderstand him, he doubled down on his declaration from last fall. He said he had read John Kennedy's 1960 speech where JFK went before an audience of I think if was Baptists to assure them that he would not take orders from the Pope - which was a real concern for some at the time, they really thought that having a Catholic as president would mean the Pope would be determining US government policy - and that he did believe in separation of church and state. Rickyboy said that made him "want to throw up."

What's important here is to realize that even though he tried to walk back the "throw up" comment, he means it. This is not pandering. In fact, the walk back was more pandering than the original statement.

And this guy has been winning elections. Even after more attention has been paid to his extremism, he nearly won Michigan and is ahead in some states for "Super Tuesday." Now, I don't think he has any real chance of winning the GOPper nomination and even if he did, he has no chance in hell of winning the general election. And frankly, I don't think he thinks he has a chance, either, for reasons I'll get to. The important point is that he has shown that there is a real constituency, in the US, today, for this kind of religious extremism.

Several days ago, columnist David Sirota had a piece referring to progressives who think that the longer the dragged-out GOPper primaries continue, the better for progressives because it shows people how nuts the right wing is. Hang on, he suggested, not so fast.

The problem, as he sees it - and I agree or I wouldn't be bringing this up - is that the longer the primaries go on, the longer that very extremism is on display, the longer the wildly reactionary nitwit ideas are bandied about, the longer the jaw-dropping inanities get spewed, then by that very same token the longer that very same inane, reactionary, extremism is given a mainstream platform, is treated as a collection of serious positions that deserve serious response from other candidates, and so the more it becomes part of normal political discourse in the country and society.

On some TV show or another, I saw a couple of progressives asked about this and they both dismissed it out of hand, embracing precisely the sort of "everyone will see the GOPpers are nuts" happy-talk group-think that Sirota questioned. But their failing was that they were thinking strictly in terms of Republican prospects in the 2012 presidential election. Sirota was looking beyond that: In his conclusion, he said this may help in the short term, but what about the long haul.

We've seen this over and over - this is how reactionary ideas get mainstreamed: Some flake like Rick IShouldBeInASanitarium spouts off and just keeps spouting off until what he's saying just doesn't sound so weird anymore, if only because it's familiar. After a while, some not-quite-as-flaky wingnuts pick up on the ideas and amplify them and eventually instead of being dismissed as they deserve, they wind up getting treated as legitimate positions deserving of reasoned discussion.

Sirota refers to the Goldwater Principle, which for those of you too young to remember, refers to the GOPper presidential campaign of right-winger Barry Goldwater in 1964. He lost so badly to Lyndon Johnson that there was a question if the Republican party itself could survive. The Goldwater principle suggests that while he lost that election, the attention given to his ideas helped permanently shift what constitutes the “center” of our public debate to the right.

For my part, I've been talking about this literally for three decades. I call such races "successful losses" - I can cite several - and I have talked about them here before.

The thing is, everyone would agree that the political debate is this country has moved way over to the right over the past decades. And this is how it works - this is how it's done. This is how right-wing ideas move from the margin to the center, from mocked to mainstream, from spooky to serious, from ridiculed to reasonable. Birth control is just the latest example.

Go back to Goldwater - in 1964 he lost so badly people wondered if the GOP could survive as an institution. Four years later, Richard Nixon was elected. Richard Nixon, who now would be regarded as too liberal to get the GOPper nomination. And twelve years after that, Ronald Reagan was elected and GOPpers got control of the Senate for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Our political debate has moved far enough to the right that, as Sirota notes, Witless Romney can call Rick IShouldBeInASanitarium "Big Labor’s favorite senator" without being laughed off the political stage.

And it happens because the right wing has the confidence and the patience to say what it really means, what it really wants, for the sake of long-term victory. This is why I don't think Rick IShouldBeInASanitarium actually thinks he can win the presidency. Maybe he dreams of it, I'm sure he does, but I doubt he honestly believes he can win - he may be a flake but he's not a dope: He can read the numbers.

The thing is, he's not thinking 2012. He's thinking 2016. He's thinking 2020. He's thinking about how he can move the debate while what passes for most of the left in this country can't seem to think past the inaugural parade in January 2013. The fact is, the right wing thinks strategically, something at which we have failed miserably - and we ignore that reality at our peril.

Sources:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/23/virginia-personhood-bill-defeated-senate_n_1297463.html
http://ideas.time.com/2012/01/30/birth-control-could-it-be-illegal-again/
http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/afa-obama-war-on-christians-a-battle-between-freedom-and-tyranny-equal-to-1776-revolution/politics/2012/02/28/35471
http://www.necn.com/02/28/12/Va-Senate-panel-kills-Medicaid-abortion-/landing_politics.html?&apID=fdd68d8674c54e57b05ed7ff69ef33fb
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57386357-503544/santorum-argues-for-religion-in-government/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/26/santorum-church-and-state_n_1302246.html?ref=mostpopular
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-3460_162-57381029/santorum-obamas-worldview-upside-down/
http://www.salon.com/2012/02/22/the_danger_of_an_endless_gop_primary/singleton/
http://uspolitics.about.com/od/usgovernment/l/bl_party_division_2.htm
http://whoviating.blogspot.com/2007/06/electioneering-chapter-three.html

15 comments:

DaisyDeadhead said...

I can remember romanticizing my "unborn child" (even knew it was a girl, I swear I did, and had already named her by the 2nd month of pregnancy) ...when I wanted her... but other at times, other possible pregnancies? No romance, no personhood, no fun projecting, just blind panic. Women easily play these psychological tricks with ourselves or we could not survive the reality of accidental pregnancies. This is also how women "don't know they are pregnant"--which BTW is a big popular daytime show on TLC (I am back with my pulse on the culture as an unemployed person watching daytime TV blabber... it really tells you where the Body Politic is!)..the show is called "I didn't know I was pregnant"--where intelligent women try to convince you of this. Uh-huh. Anything for televi$ion!

I said much the same on my show, the so-called 'prolife' crowd uses abortion to stir up the base, and rarely goes further than that. But Santorum has tipped his hand! This birth control "debate" strips their agenda bare for everyone to see. WE are not crazy, we have been right about them ALL ALONG.

Good work, man, tweeted this one!

West said...

OK,so first off- I come with humility and wish we were discussing this over coffee, so you could hear how un-alarming my voice is. I am a man- a Christian- with two daughters. I am against abortion- so I don't have one- and I will to the best of my ability dissuade my daughters from having one. I do realise that prohibition does not work- so you all can have all the abortions you want, and all the BC you want- just pay for it yourself. I am against paying the rich their brand of welfare- and the poor too! I want the government out of everybody's womb. If you can't afford an abortion- then you ought to be more careful with whom you are sleeping. I mean, is that too much to ask- that we should get the government OUT of your womb- financially and morally. Calling us names such as wingnuts- and then billing us for your abortions is just too much. I like Bible study- I want the government to buy me Bibles-- any objections?

LarryE said...

West -

I will start by quoting my wife, who has said more than once that she could never have an abortion but at the same time would never tell any other woman that she couldn't. Choice. Know the term?

just pay for it yourself

So it's "You're on your own. Don't expect any help or even concern from me." And thus whether you can have birth control or not - which, ignoring for the moment the very real medical conditions treated with The Pill, means whether you can have sex or not - depends entirely on how rich you are. Rich, screw around to your heart's content. Poor, unable to afford a child, just keep those aspirin between your knees.

And note this applies even to married couples. As Spanky and Our Gang had it in a song from 1968,

"And wonder if you'll share your bed
"With something else which must be fed,
"For fear may lie beside you
"Or it may sleep down the hall."

(Laws banning use of contraceptives had been struck down just three years earlier, in 1965, and birth control was still largely unavailable to the poor for years thereafter. Bans on selling contraceptives to unmarried people weren't knocked down until 1972.)

Tough, I know. Shoulda been born rich.

Or, um, does that requirement for celibacy apply only to women?

I am against paying the rich their brand of welfare- and the poor too!

Oh, so you're against "welfare" for those who don't need it as well as for those who do? Well, gee, I guess that makes it okay, then. As Anatole French said,

"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."

billing us for your abortions

What the heck are you talking about? The issue here is health insurance coverage. Where do you get the idea this has to do with taxpayer-funded anything, much less abortions?

But tell you what, I'll consider not "billing you" if you will provide two lists: One of the health and medical conditions for which you will not bill "us" - noting that to be consistent, the "us" here has to include insurance - and one of the other health-related issues for which your tender conscience demands you must be able to deny insurance coverage.

I want the government to buy me Bibles-- any objections?

Nope - it already has. You can find them in a publicly-funded place called a "library."

LarryE said...

I can remember romanticizing my "unborn child" ... but other at times, other possible pregnancies?

Which serves to emphasize the point, as I expect was intended, that "unborn child" refers to an emotional connection, not a biological reality.

I've noticed, but never watched, "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant." Maybe I should catch a couple.

West said...

Choice, I know the term. As I said, prohibition doesn't work. My belief is we need a small government. We have spent upwards of 10 trillion since '65, and we have not solved any problems. We have simply created a dependent class of second rate citizens. Hunger is a prime motivator. You see, we did ok prior to '65 without LBJ's great society. And really, I think FDR was a real dumbass for starting all this with his court packing plan. Now we are so DARN broke. Do you at least admit that we are broke? What good is paying for birth control when the economy collapses under the weight of the national debt?
I did enjoy the read.

West said...

By the way....
So it's "You're on your own. Don't expect any help or even concern from me."

No- just no help from the government, I do belive in charity.

LarryE said...

we have not solved any problems

Define "solved." You mean completely eliminated? Duh and you demand the impossible.

Do you mean have had a measurable impact for the better? Damn straight we have. On the environment. On human rights. On hunger. On poverty. Oh, but wait, you claim that

we did ok prior to '65 without LBJ's great society

Are you joking?? That statement alone disqualifies you from the discussion. According to the Census Bureau, in 1960 the poverty rate was over 22%. By 1969 it was down to 12% and never went above 12.6% until the patron saint of small government, Ronald Reagan, came into office and the crap about "a dependent class" became common currency, complete with sneering, condescending, equations of the poor with zoo animals no longer able to survive in the wild, comparisons you can still find easily.

As a sidebar, a number of conservative commentators argue that the poverty rate is not as high as the numbers say because the figures do not include "noncash benefits" such as SNAP (formerly Food Stamps). However, to the very extent that is true, to that very same extent the reduction in the reported poverty rate that including them would produce is proof of the success, not the failure, of such programs in reducing poverty.

Do you at least admit that we are broke?

We are not broke. We are a long way from being broke. What we're a long way from is expecting those with the most to contribute their share. "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required." I'm sure you as a good Christian know the phrase.

Are you aware that during that pre-1965 period (specifically here, 1951-1964) when, you would have it, everything was fine, that the top marginal tax rate, the rate the richest would pay on some part of their income, was 90%? (It's now 35%.) The top corporate marginal rate was 51%? (It's now 35%.) And that capital gains were taxed at 25%? (The rate is now 15%.)

Which leads to the conclusion:

What good is paying for birth control when the economy collapses under the weight of the national debt?

The economy is nowhere near "collapsing." And if you want to reduce the deficit, here are four ideas: Stop the wars and slash the military budget. Make the rich pay their share. End corporate welfare (I expect we'd agree on that point and maybe the first one). Be prepared to spend now to stimulate the economy to reduce the deficit in the longer term.

But I have to end with this: What in flaming hell does insurance coverage of birth control - which does not involve taxpayer funding have to do with the deficit?

If this sounds nasty, so be it, but I have to tell you the truth: I really believe you do not have even a basic understanding of the issues at hand here.

West said...

You know what Larry- I feel the same way about you. I feel as though you have no concept of what is actually happening. Sort of like the school system in Pennsylvainia that received a 6 million dollar grant, and all they did was decide to not give grades lower than a 60. They didn't really help the students- but they improved the test scores. See, I believe when they run out of the money from the rich, they will come after the 2%, then the 8%... All the while, never admitting failure. I just believe the founding fathers had it right. Governments are not good at being compassionate- they are better at wars- which I do believe we should end them (yes, agreeing with you). There is a reason the founding fathers had the government PROVIDING for the common defense, and only PROMOTING the general welfare. Simply because governments are better at killing people than supporting them. I do enjoy the reading of your article, not really here for endless arguments. But what would it ever take to, well, let's say- reduce you faith in government? For you see, I have very little. Perhaps that might be the subject of another blog- WHAT IT WOULD TAKE TO MAKE ME CONSERVATIVE. (not yelling- just trying to make the title stand out). I try to see it your way- but I just can't. I would rather rely on "personal responsibility" and "self-reliance" where the only one to blame is yourself, and sometimes you just draw the short straw- and you die without insurance... And yes, I am aware of the egregious tax rates, study the history- those horrible tax rates caused the economy to tank... study the damn history- and I don't care if that sounds nasty. And you have a nice day. And I am probably not coming back- don't want to be a stalker. my email bwesb64@rocketmail.com. The blog is getting too hard to find.

LarryE said...

You know what Larry- I feel the same way about you.

Can't say I'm surprised. :-)

Sort of like the school system in Pennsylvainia

I'm not sure of the relevance of the anecdote - not that seeing an irrelevant anecdote surprises me - but if what you're trying to suggest is that the "No Child Left Behind" program is an unholy mess that essentially requires ever-increasing scores on standardized tests, a poor measure of progress, to obtain aid (which often means the school districts that need help the most are the ones least likely to get it) then believe it or not, I agree with you.

I believe when they run out of the money from the rich, they will come after the 2%, then the 8%...

"They" already are "coming after" the 8%, the 15%, the 50%, the 99% - what, you think no one else pays taxes? (No, of course you can't.) At the same time, the 1% have been paying less and less. How about we compromise on this: We'll go back to the federal income tax rates of the mid 1950s, a time when the economy was growing at an average rate of 4% a year and a typical family of four could meet its needs and plan for the future on just one income.

Governments are not good at being compassionate- they are better at wars

Don't you think that's something we should all be working to change? Or is it okay if it's just a smaller government with smaller wars? I can't believe that's what you mean.

only PROMOTING the general welfare

So you agree that the government has a role in, and a responsibility for, promoting the general welfare? Then what is your problem with government trying to do exactly that? (And if we're going to bring up the Preamble, how about the bit about "establish[ing] justice?" How does that rank among the priorities?)

I would rather rely on "personal responsibility" and "self-reliance"

The issue at hand is not your responsibility to yourself but your responsibility to others, to fellow members of the community, to fellow human beings. But you, by your own words, reject in the most callous terms the idea of such a responsibility:

sometimes you just draw the short straw- and you die without insurance...

And thus you lay your heart out for all to see. Happily for most, the law of the jungle, the "hey, tough luck but it's not my problem so don't bother me" ethic, has long since been rejected as a proper standard for societies. You want to take that risk for yourself? Fine, you go right ahead. But you do not have the moral or ethical right to impose that risk on anyone else, particularly on anyone dependent on you, nor do you have such right to demand, as you essentially do, that everyone else take the same risks not only for themselves but for their families and anyone else dependent on them.

By the way, you said further up that you believe in charity. Don't the people on the receiving end of that fail your test? Aren't they failing at "personal responsibility and self-reliance?"

study the history- those horrible tax rates caused the economy to tank...

My experience has been that when anyone (on either side of the political spectrum) churns out the old cliche "study the history" without providing any of their own, it's almost invariably the case that they are the ones who have not done so.

Not only did those "horrible" tax rates not cause the economy to "tank," the historical fact is that over the past 60 years, our rate of economic growth has been highest when the top marginal rate was at least 75%. That record doesn't prove that higher tax rates lead to more growth, but it does prove that your claim that high rates cause the economy to tank is, to put it bluntly, crap.

LarryE said...

One other thing which just occurred to me: You earlier said that "we did ok prior to '65" during what was, you now say, a time of "horrible tax rates [that] caused the economy to tank."

I suppose one could puzzle out a way to make those statements work together, but it is quite a challenge.

West said...

Well, see, you're still a dumbass... and I say that with friedship in mind. When I said we were doing fine prior to the great society, I meant just that. Charity was the rule. Health care was affordable- be it as it was. The family was a cohesive unit. Now look at what we have. You see, any government large enough to give you your healthcare, can at the next election take it away. Good luck with that. You see, I believe the tax system should be about raising revenue, not about control. Corporations should pay taxes based on necessary revenues, not to create a social experiment. Any government with that capability can take away what YOU desire, just as it can things I desire. You see, promoting the general welfare is clean water, clean air, and nice paved highways. You wish social guarantees; I believe it is dangerous to rely on elected officials for those. And you need to wake your dumb ass up, we are broke. 10,000 People a day are reaching retirement age. The unfunded liabilities are upwards of 65 Trillions. You are a dumbass liberal- and I don't even know why I try. I get so frustrated I want to say, "abortion is acceptable for all Godless pagans, cause it eliminates the children of the poor and stupid." Which is most likely those to become liberals. You go ahead, get your Obamacare. And the next time the budget gets tight, services will be cut. Just like Greece. Just like Portugal is next. Just like Italy is after that. Good luck stupid- rely on the Government. Did you know my sigle most costly item during the 2011 year was Federal Taxes. I spent more on taxes than food or housing. That is too much. I know 47% of the population DID NOT PAY ANY. 'Bout time the others paid there fair share. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Do you really think the rich will just sit by and let you take there money year after year? They aren't stupid- what do you think they are, liberals. Even the rich liberals don't give all there money up to progressive causes like the poor. They still shout about agreeing with you - from there houses in Hollywood.
I guess what irritates me the most is the progressives have no solutions, they just repeat the mantra, "tax the rich." As is the rich have enough money to pay for all this. there isn't enough money to pay for this. Yes, we need to stop the wars- even the stupid drug wars. But we don't have enough money to pay for this. That is why we will have death panels and no cancer treatment after 70. A lots more will be coming down the pike when budgets get tight, but you should just call it pro-choice and celebrate it.

LarryE said...

Gee, I thought you "probably [were] not coming back." I guess that proved as accurate as the rest of your claims.

I did find your obvious frustration with not being able to get away with wild claims that contradict the facts to be, in a perverse way, satisfying. But I will add that I've see the pattern before: Every time one of your fantasies gets knocked down, you never admit to having gotten a response, you just claim something else. And so here we go again.

When I said we were doing fine prior to the great society, I meant just that

And you were wrong, unless you consider a 22% poverty rate as "doing fine."

The family was a cohesive unit

It still is, it's just that your out-of-date, out-of-touch limiting definition of what constitutes a family no longer applies. And don't bother with the "half of all marriages end in divorce" claptrap because it's grossly misleading: Multiple marriages among a relatively small part of the population distort the average. Well over half of people who marry never divorce. (If that's not clear, think of it this way: Imaging a population of 12 people, six men and six women. Three of the men marry three of the women and never divorce. But among the rest, each man and woman marries twice and divorces twice. That's a total of nine marriages and six divorces, a divorce rate of 67% even though half of the people have never divorced. The behavior of some has distorted the result for the whole.)

promoting the general welfare is clean water, clean air, and nice paved highways

But not dealing with poverty or hunger or bigotry. Apparently, you conceive of the "general welfare" as what benefits you regardless of the needs of others. And you do realize, I assume, that the clean air and water you desire require both government investment and government regulation of business - and the "nice paved highways" are built and maintained by government. (And don't bother with the "road use taxes" argument; those taxes don't begin to cover the costs involved.)

we are broke. The unfunded liabilities are upwards of 65 Trillions

Social Security is in fine shape, but thank you for playing. The trustees say that with no changes whatsoever the system can cover all projected benefits for a few decades to come and after that could pay 75-80% of projected benefits. And by the way, "projected" benefits are just that. If you allow for predicted inflation, that 75% of projected benefits would provide about the same standard of living as current new retirees get now. Hard to call that "broke."

And "unfunded liabilities" is a vapid slogan with very little real economics behind it. If I have a $100,000 mortgage on my house and $10,000 in the bank, I could be described as having $90,000 in "unfunded liabilities." It's easy to create scary-sounding numbers out of almost nothing by invoking the phrase.

[continued]

LarryE said...

[continued]

I want to say, "abortion is acceptable for all Godless pagans, cause it eliminates the children of the poor and stupid." Which is most likely those to become liberals

I have to say that's one of the more revealing things you've said. And what it reveals is, let's be polite and just say, quite unpleasant.

Just like Greece. Just like Portugal is next. Just like Italy is after that

This is far too complex and would take far too long to get into here, but Greece and Spain did not get into difficulties because they were "broke." They got into difficulties because they were rooked - legally rooked, but still rooked - by the damn banks. Their problems came because the financial industry was not regulated enough, not because it was regulated too much. The pain of their citizens in your glorified free market at work.

I know 47% of the population DID NOT PAY ANY.

BZZT! Wrong yet again. They do not pay federal income taxes. But they pay Medicare and Social Security taxes from the first dollar. And bluntly, you should be glad you pay federal income tax because it means you make enough to owe it. Nearly half of your fellow citizens do not. So don't whine to me about how tough you have it.

'Bout time the others paid there fair share

Which is exactly what we've been saying about the rich, whose relative tax burden has been going down and down. What is this mental disturbance that leads people to argue that the rich have it too tough and the poor have it too easy?

I guess what irritates me the most is the progressives have no solutions, they just repeat the mantra, "tax the rich."

Oh, barf. What solution worth anything hasn't been a progressive solution? Remember that clear air and water you want? What, you think pollution control was a project of the US Chamber of Commerce? You think, to go back some, the 8-hour work day was promoted by John D. Rockefeller? Are you suggesting you'd rather 12-hour, six-day weeks and child labor so we wouldn't have to have all those icky progressive ideas? Or are you, as I suspect, simply defining "have no solutions" as "not agreeing with me?"

That is why we will have death panels and no cancer treatment after 70

Sara Palin's fetid fantasies will not play here. You want death panels denying needed treatment? You already have them: They're called insurance companies.

I think you've played out this string about as long as you can. You want to go one more round, go ahead and I'll leave you with last licks. But if you do, how about you at least try to offer some factual response to the factual refutations of your non-factual claims.

West said...

...yeah, social security is fine... just live with that.. you'll be fine... I really tried to think like you... but I couldn't get my head that far up my ass... Go ahead, depend on the government- then when three straight Republican presidents get elected and take it all away from you-what then? I wish you well. I hope you get the government medical treatment you deserve, too bad the rest of us are probably gonna get it also. Yep, and you are correct about the banks in Europe, but they also spent too much- you at least got to admit that... or maybe not. But don't you know, the government can't give you anything that it first does not take away from someone else. And you do have all the answers, it is just too bad they aren't accurate. Good point about the tax rates circa 1950. And imagine, we screwed it up. Right? They were great, and we screwed it up! Ummm, get the hint? We screwed it up, the governemnt YOU are depending on- screwed it up!Whether they were Republicans or Democrats- they SCREWED IT UP! Get my point?

LarryE said...

I said I'd give you last licks, and so I will. Must... resist... temptation....

 
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