Friday, September 19, 2008

Words to live by...

...from a great man of Massachusetts!

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Macro-hoo ha!

My Republican friend sent me an e-mail with his "tax plan."

-Eliminate all corporate subsidies for profitable companies
-Do not raise cap gain taxes
-Lower taxes across the board for Upper and Middle Classes(in lieu of the Bush tax cuts being eliminated.)
-Lower corporate taxes, only Japan has a higher tax rate......

I respond with a Teddy Roosevelt quote:

"I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and in another tax which is far more easily collected and far more effective - a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate."
- Theodore Roosevelt Osawatomie, Kansas on August 31, 1910

He then responded by saying:

“income reallocation = Marxism...”

Now, I love when people use words they don't understand... I responded with:

Holy oversimplification Batman! That is like a CNN assessment. Thank you, Brett, for breaking the tenets of Marxism into a soundbyte, which, while entirely worthless and factually inaccurate, is tasty and easy to digest.

If I was going to break Marxism into a one sentence soundbyte, I might prefer to say that it is:

Marxism = A belief that capitalism is based on the exploitation of workers by the owners of the means of production and that this dialectical historical process will ultimately result in a replacement of the current class structure of society with a system that manages society for the good of all, resulting in the dissolution of the class structure and its support.

There is no macroeconomic theory there. You are likely referring to Socialism. Marxism is sociological, anthropological, and philosophical theory.

You call Socialism wealth redistribution. A Marxist would say that it is workers simply laying claim to just compensation for the one part of the capitalist process that they own. That is the Labor Theory of Value, in case you were curious.

Marxism is generally wishful thinking, pie in the sky, rubbish, but the Labor Theory of Value is spot on and quite compatible with the Capitalist system.

Henry Ford (and no one would dare call him anything but a Capitalist) understood this when he voluntarily paid his employees a living wage and reduced the length of their work week. The Wall Street Journal called him a Communist. The joke was on them. He bred loyalty in his workforce and by paying them well he expanded the market for automobile ownership.
I do not believe that humans are capable of a Marxist system. It neglects the flaw of humanity, which is inherent greed. Social democracy on the other hand is a system of fairly compensating workers (without whom the Capitalist system would fail) for their role in society. Social democracy calls for living wages, adequate work-life balance, universal health care…

But I am wasting my breath on you. You are a social Darwinist and believe that everyone should be able to succeed like you succeeded. You ignore, like Ford's critics, that the tenets of social-Capitalism or social democracy are in the interests of all and that when done in unison a rising tide really could lift all boats. It means that the rich have to pay a higher percentage. The rich get richer and the poor move out of poverty creating a whole new class of consumers for the shit the rich people make and sell.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A thought that will fester for a while

That I am an unabashed fan of the Kennedy family is no secret. They are the definition of public service. Born with all the privileges in the world, they fought not for more wealth or the interests of the rich but rather for the silent majority. That Ted Kennedy has endorsed Senator Obama and says he sees the spirit of his brothers in him is a huge endorsement in my opinion. I am a huge fan of Robert Kennedy, Jr. and his work with the River Keepers, the Natural Resources Defense Council and his writings. That he found his passion for environmental policy while doing Court mandated community service to make amends for youthful failings and has turned it into his life's crusade is noble and honorable! Here are his thoughts of the Rube quoting Westbrook Pegler in her convention and stump speech:

Governor Palin’s Reading List

By Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

“Fascist writer Westbrook Pegler, an avowed racist who Sarah Palin approvingly quoted in her acceptance speech for the moral superiority of small town values, expressed his fervent hope about my father, Robert F. Kennedy, as he contemplated his own run for the presidency in 1965, that ‘some white patriot of the Southern tier will spatter his spoonful of brains in public premises before the snow flies.’

“It might be worth asking Governor Palin for a tally of the other favorites from her reading list.”

What an admirable person to want to quote in her speech. In the Rube’s defense; she has no idea who Westbrook Pegler is, she has never read any of his writings, she probably doesn’t read anything at all. For those that missed it, I recommend reading the cover article on the Rube in last Sunday’s New York Times. A particularly important snippet dealing with the Rube’s efforts to ban books from the Wasilla is particularly poignant here:

“The new mayor also tended carefully to her evangelical base. She appointed a pastor to the town planning board. And she began to eye the library. For years, social conservatives had pressed the library director to remove books they considered immoral.

“’People would bring books back censored,’ recalled former Mayor John Stein, Ms. Palin’s predecessor. ‘Pages would get marked up or torn out.’

“Witnesses and contemporary news accounts say Ms. Palin asked the librarian about removing books from the shelves. The McCain-Palin presidential campaign says Ms. Palin never advocated censorship.

“But in 1995, Ms. Palin, then a city councilwoman, told colleagues that she had noticed the book ‘Daddy’s Roommate’ on the shelves and that it did not belong there, according to Ms. Chase and Mr. Stein. Ms. Chase read the book, which helps children understand homosexuality, and said it was inoffensive; she suggested that Ms. Palin read it.

“’Sarah said she didn’t need to read that stuff,’ Ms. Chase said. ‘It was disturbing that someone would be willing to remove a book from the library and she didn’t even read it.’

“’I’m still proud of Sarah,’ she added, ‘but she scares the bejeebers out of me.’”

I think the thing that I take away from this new information is two fold. First, I could never, ever, ever support a candidate who wants to ban books for being immoral. Second, if you want to ban a book you should probably have read it, know what it is about AND (not or) be able to explain your moral objections.

Don’t be a wuss, Rube! You hate gay people. But honestly, if those are your beliefs, stand by them! Do you truly lack the intestinal fortitude to stand by your beliefs? Can you really be trusted to stand firm in the face of Putin if you shrink away from your homophobia? Stand up, Rube! Stand firm! Anything less would be to fail to live up to the standard of Westbrook Pegler, your inspirational standard bearer and moral compass!