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22 percent

Interesting and rather telling public opinion poll out in this morning’s Los Angeles Times.

Only 22 percent of Americans say they trust the federal government to be the solution to the woes that ail us. As the article points out, the last time the nation felt so gloomy, Ronald Reagan stormed into the White House.

According to the article, a growing number of Americans want government to be smaller.It is interesting to note other published reports suggesting that while Obama is now highly regarded within the Beltway, Middle America seems to think even less of him.

However, both Republicans and Democrats seem to be feeling the disdain of the voters. If ever there was an opening for a legitimate third party, now seems the time. I don’t know where that party comes from — it’s certainly not the Tea Party.

Meanwhile, the ugliness continues out there. More rallies. More open carrying of guns. The distrust of federal government is morphing into hatred of the feds. It’s a dangerous, combustible atmosphere. And I fear that it will only get worse.

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  1. April 19, 2010 at 8:50 am

    "Only 22 percent of Americans say they trust the federal government to be the solution to the woes that ail us." Gee, I wonder which political party makes the most hay of promoting the "government is the problem" mantra? I "wonder" which news media also makes the most hay of promoting the same ideal? Oh yeah, the political right does that. Why? Could it be a simple little thing like the fact that they are not currently in the driver's seat of running the government? I do remember that when the Republicans were in power, they hardly ever mentioned anything about "big government" (except maybe Ron Paul, and he was categorized as being "on the fringe"). There was never a mention about the second amendment during the Bush terms; how many times did we see news reports of protestors or demonstrators wearing firearms? I feel that there is a definite link between this thread and the previous one about racism; Is it possible that many don't "trust" the government because we have a non-white President now? How many times did we have Democratic politicians openly suggesting that the Bush Presidency was tanking our country? How is that Congresswoman Michelle Bachman can paint President Obama as "un-American" and still keep her job?

  2. April 19, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    The almost bankrupt LA Times runs to the center to stay afloat. Thus this article that says only a few radical lefty loons still trust Obama. 68% distrust Obama who has habitually lied to them.This is what happens when you don't properly vet a presidential candidate. Now that some of the truth is coming out many in his own party, independents and even the lame stream media are running away from Obama.Or…is it all just Bush's fault? hahahaha!

  3. April 19, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Scarey times! Fomented by a few people who see a chance to either make money or grab power. And the sheep follow along.

  4. April 19, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Since Barack Obama entered office, the world's view of the United States has 'improved sharply,' according to a poll carried out by the BBC World Service.Nearly 30,000 people in 28 countries were asked to rate countries on their positive impact upon the world. This year 46% of the respondents rated the US's influence as positive – the first time since 2005 that the survey returned more positive votes than negative for America."After a year, it appears the 'Obama effect' is real" said Steven Kull director Program on International Policy Attitudes (Pipa) at the University of Maryland, who helped conduct the poll."Its influence on people's views worldwide, though, is to soften the negative aspects of the United States' image, while positive aspects are not yet coming into strong focus."In Germany, positive ratings for the United States jumped from 18% in 2009 to 39% this year. Jumps like this and others helped the US overtake China in the rankings, where positive ratings dropped to 41%

  5. April 19, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    "And I fear that it will only get worse." DaveIt's going to get much worse and both major parties are equally complicit.

  6. April 19, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    “The United States is extremely lucky that no honest, charismatic figure has arisen, every charismatic figure is such an obvious crook that he destroys himself, like McCarthy or Nixon or the evangelist preachers. If somebody comes along who is charismatic and honest this country is in real trouble because of the frustration, disillusionment, the justified anger and the absence of any coherent response." Noam ChomskyExactly. It matters not that Palin, Beck, Obama et al are dishonest, people tend to accept viewpoints which reinforce their preconceived notions no matter how bizarre or crazy.Ideology is a disease.Still, the infighting and divisiveness serves power and keeps our eyes fixed on each other while our masters rake in the dough in what has become the most unequal civilized nation on earth.

  7. April 20, 2010 at 5:10 am

    The reason why only 22% think government is trustworthy is because both parties have proven to be untrustworthy. it ain't because of FoxNews anymore than it is because of MSNBC. It isn't because of the Tea Party movement (which, by the way, has no desire to be a third party) any more than it is because of moveon.org. It is because that both parties are very good at disappointing people. Obama got heckled by a bunch of anti-DADT protesters for NOT acting on his promise. The Republicans in 2006 were kicked out of office for being no different than tax and spend liberals. No politician has met a promise they didn't break. And who is government working for? Is it for the average American? Neither side, liberal or conservative, would argue that it does. Liberals feel that government failed the average American by not policing Wall Street, Big Insurance, Big Medical, Big Pharma, Big Whatever.Conservatives feel the government fails the average American with burdensome regulations, taxes that are too high, spending that is too high, size of government that is too large, and debts and deficits that are running out of control. Both sides look at the war in Afghanistan as an effort growing in fruitlessness.Right, wrong or indifferent, the only thing that 78% of Americans can agree on is that our govenrment isn't a government of the people, by the people for the people anymore. When you have a Congress that rams through healthcare reform even when a mojority of Americans oppose it, when you have a SCOTUS that says that US corporations can contribute to campaigns, when you have an EPA regulating human exhaltations, and when you have whole swaths of government not only turning a blind eye but aiding and abeting the theft of billions of dollars of wealth from middle and low income Americans by Wall Street, you are going to have people pissed off at government. 22% think government works? I'm surprised that number is that that high, quite honestly.

  8. April 20, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Part 1:In this string and the last string, some of our friends on the left seem to express fears about a major fascist, racist movement taking hold in the USA. Especially Marilyn’s posting on 17 April (previous string, 17 April 2010 8:14:00 PM) couldn’t use the word “Nazi” enough. Marilyn apparently hasn’t the faintest idea about the Nazi horror when she equates the USA in 2010 to Nazi Germany. But her hyperbole expresses a concern expressed in Dave’s lead-in comment on the LA Times article There is some sort of subliminal fear on the left that the conservative movement will resort to a coup or similar exercise of force in order to defeat the current administration’s liberal agenda.Guys, get a grip!! You have fallen victim to the same type of propaganda we discussed in the last string. You see the extremely rare kooks that the main stream media like to get in front of the cameras, and you infallibly follow the argumentum ad ignorantium by concluding that the few nuts are representative of the Tea Party, the Republican Party and the conservative movement in general. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. The conservative movement is dedicated to political victory at the polls. To assert otherwise is either to knowingly apply the same propaganda techniques used by racists in the best tradition of the “Joseph Goebbels School of Journalism” or to have been duped by others using those techniques.I read the summary Pew Research Center survey of 18 April 2010 “Distrust, Discontent, Anger and Partisan Rancor – The People and Their Government” ( http://people-press.org/report/606/trust-in-government ); interesting piece of work. I doubt that I will read all of the full 142 page report (http://people-press.org/reports/pdf/606.pdf ). The LA Times article itself could only summarize a couple of the points in the survey. While I am also still digesting the survey, here my initial impression:1. There has been a general trend in roughly the last roughly 40 years towards a more skeptical view about the abilities of government at federal, state and local levels.2. People tend to trust government to do the things that only government can do (I.e., military and security matters). However, trust decreases in the area of social services and taxation.The Pew survey has just confirmed the obvious fact that most of the people the United States – simply stated – lean to the right of center. President Obama recognized that in the election and touted himself as moderate Democrat who was at heart bi-partisan. We all remember his masterfully crafted campaign long on symbolism and “hope and change” slogans, but short on substance. He swept into office on a wave of emotion, together with an unstoppable majority in both houses of Congress.

  9. April 20, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Part 2:Then reality quickly set in. President Obama has revealed himself as the most left of center president we have ever had, at least in the memory of most Americans. Congress quickly went off the deep end on spending, the wave of emotion inevitably dissipated, and a sobered electorate quickly realized the extent to which government already intrudes into their daily lives with taxation and regulations. People are also especially realizing the extent to which President Obama and the Democrats want to expand this intrusion with health care reform, cap and trade, etc. The Democrats can only argue that the spending, taxing and regulating is all in our collective best interests, and in doing so they completely miss the point.There is a basic philosophical conflict not only in the USA, but also in Western Europe and other western style economies, which results from the tension between the rights and responsibilities of the individual, on the one hand, and the needs (or at least perceived needs) of the collective, on the other hand. Our country is based on retaining a maximum of individual liberty coupled with individual responsibility. Everything government does necessarily has an impact on individual liberty. People willingly accept this fundamental fact because it would be impossible to live together in our highly complicated society without a vast array of laws and regulations to keep us from intentionally or inadvertently hurting each other (e.g., the law requires that we all drive on the right hand side of the road). However, the American people have an almost allergic reaction when they sense that government is overreaching.The 22% of the people in the Pew survey who trust the government to do what is right “just about always” (3%) or “most of the time” (19%) shows that most people are shifting away from looking to government as a solution to all that concerns them and are apparently willing instead to rely on themselves and their fellow citizens without the coercion inherent in all governmental action. This low point in trust in the competency of government nothing new; it is comparable to the low points reached in 1992-1995 (low point of 17% in 1994) and 1978-1980 (low point of 25% in 1980)(pg. 17 of the full report).Limited government is the focal point of the conservative message being rediscovered in the Republican Party, the Tea Party, conservative talk radio and conservative writings (e.g., Mark Levin’s “Liberty and Tyranny”). This is the real import of the Pew survey, namely, the conservative resurgence within the Republican Party, the Tea Party movement, not to mention conservative talk radio, all represent the counterpoint to expansive government and as such are moving in synch with the general public mood, while the Democratic Party program of expanding government ever further is completely at odds with the majority in this country.

  10. April 20, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Oh, the irony!Big Tent's latest posting here sounds like what he would describe as "anti-American". In fact, it sounds like it could be coming from the mouth of a Communist. No crime there, of course, but interesting nevertheless. There was a phrase that was popular a while back, found on bumper stickers directed at people who complained about U.S. Government. "America: Love it or Leave it!"I don't believe in that sentiment, but when you hear people like Rush LImbaugh and Big Tent continually trashing our great nation and our government, it's something that comes to mind. And I do believe that avowed enemies of the United States such as Osama Bin Ladin, would find much comfort and hope in the words of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Big Tent and others who continually promote division, domestic terrorism and civil war in America.

  11. April 20, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    BTR, other than a few false analogies this has to be the clearest comment I have read of yours.Beginning with the Reagan administration and its assault on the middle class and the poor, this nation has become a nation of, by, and for the corporations.Bush, Clinton, Bush, and now Obama have continued much the same with the end result being that the US has become the most unequal civilized nation in the world. I would submit that said inequality is the cause for much of our nations ills.Arguing over who can marry who keeps our eyes off of the millions being slaughtered in the name of oligarchy and empire and the endless wealth such perpetual wars brings to those at the top.We are all being used and abused and have regressed to living as serfs in our own nation. The main difference between now and 300 yrs. ago is that now most of us don't know who our real masters and lords are.

  12. April 20, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    I'm not sure if this poll says more about the American people or the American government. Wasn't there a Pew poll a couple years ago that said 55% of Americans believe in guardians angels?

  13. April 20, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    "Limited government is the focal point of the conservative message being rediscovered in the Republican Party, the Tea Party, conservative talk radio and conservative writings (e.g., Mark Levin’s “Liberty and Tyranny”)." ChrisHow did that "limited government" meme work out under Reagan and both Bush's?" Did government shrink or grow?Conservatives cause government to break to show that government is bad.Government isn't bad, bad government is bad and what we have been living under since the days of Reagan has definitely been bad. 'We the People' has been replaced with 'We the Corporations'Conservatives persist with the two Santa Claus theory of government.Give huge tax breaks and then spend like crazy. When government falters, "See, we told you they spend too much."Conservatism is a front for the rich to avoid paying taxes and to increase wealth,…period.The religious subtexts of conservatism is used merely to keep the rabble base in line.That people who make less than $250,000 (Or those who make that and more but retain a conscience) continue to work for people who wouldn't give them the time of day is fascinating to observe.

  14. April 20, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    My answer to Chris in Paso:If the United States is so messed up that it would allow George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in the White House, you shouldn't be surprised that good people would be concerned that the Tea Party people would be used to subvert the democratic process.Already tea baggers have been advocating for policies that will harm them in the long run. Why is it unreasonable to believe they may be manipulated in the future to do further harm? They are just as susceptible to propaganda as anyone else. In fact, I would say that there is a personality trait among many tea baggers and "conservatives" that make them MORE susceptible to propaganda than the average person.For example, "conservatives" routinely claim to want "smaller government" or "limited government" and yet they continually elect Republicans who EXPAND government in ways that provide no benefit to the average citizen. "Conservatives" also are more supportive of wars that cost our nation tremendously in money and lives. If "conservatives" can be so foolish as to have advocated for a war with Iraq against all our nation's best interests—along with leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children—why should anyone be surprised if "conservative" tea party affiliates are herded into continuing to support policies that threaten democracy, promote domestic terrorism, and divide our nation? We have ALREADY come to the point were some tea party politicians are advocating a Confederate mentality and threatening to have states succeed from the United States of America. The "conservative" postings on this forum alone are all the evidence most of us need to truly believe that many "conservatives" are among the functioning insane. "Jerry in AZ" is a prime example, and there are others who post here who walk the same line..If there is any "bottom line" here, I would say that any group that would look to Sarah Palin as a leader is plenty capable of making many other terrible choices and bad decisions that threaten the well-being of the United States.. I could never trust the judgment and seriously question the mental health and/or common sense of ANYONE who honestly feels that Sarah Palin would be an appropriate candidate for President of the United States. I think there are millions of Americans who agree with me on that..

  15. April 20, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Well, Chris has a crafty technique of spraying so much bullshit all over the place that it isn’t possible for one person to find the time to address it all. But a few steaming gems I must: "The Pew survey has just confirmed the obvious fact that most of the people the Unites States simply stated – lean to the right of center."Never mind the well-established fact that different surveys achieve different results depending upon the wording and/or order of the questions. Also, your conclusion is based upon two faulty assumptions. First, it falsely assumes that differing positions on the various issues have been correctly categorized as either “left” or “right” positions. Second, it also incorrectly assumes that some sort of center has been established.“President Obama has revealed himself as the most left of center president we have ever had, at least in the memory of most Americans.” Um, I wish. He’s not even as liberal as Nixon. You are old enough to remember Nixon, aren’t you, Chris? I know when you were admitted to the Bar, so I assume you are. Nixon indexed Social Security for inflation, implemented the most quota-based affirmative action program we’ve had, created the EPA and OSHA, created Supplemental Security Income, established the Office of Minority Business Enterprise, introduced the Comprehensive Health Insurance Act that would have required employers to purchase health insurance for their employees, imposed wage and price controls, passed Medicaid . . . . . even his War on Drugs designated 2/3 of its funding for treatment (higher than any president since).By comparison, Obama has given the health insurance companies 35,000,000 new customers, escalated the war in Afghanistan, boosted offshore drilling, and signed a bill allowing Tea Bagging loons to carry guns in our national parks. Yeah, Obama’s such a socialist commie. And you talk about people falling victim to propaganda. I think you’ve been listening to Rush’s rants about Obama’s plan to destroy Western civilization too much, Chris. Portraying Obama as the worst sort of socialist extremist has been a great strategy for you and other Republicans to obtain contributions for the Republican Party, but the truth about Obama is much too boring for fundraising. He’s really just your average slightly-left-of-center Democratic president. That’s why he pisses off liberals (for the above as well as the continued warrantless wiretaps, support for increase nuclear and coal power, bailout of the banks, and failure to repeal Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell) and conservatives (for everything . . . . because he’s a Democrat) alike.“Limited government is the focal point of the conservative message being rediscovered in the Republican Party, the Tea Party, conservative talk radio and conservative writings.”Oh, God! The conservative concept of liberty boggles my mind? They tout themselves as great champions of liberty when they’re fighting against providing poor people with health insurance coverage, but, when it comes to who can get married or what kind of smoke a person may inhale (as long as it’s not factory smoke), they’re the first ones to ask Daddy Government to interfere.Too much hypocrisy to take.

  16. April 22, 2010 at 2:43 am

    From Michael Barone, an excellent article detailing the differences between Obama Democrats and the Tea Party Movement. You liberals are always wanting to know what the other side thinks on things and not be just "anti-obama", well here you go…"Do you realize," CNN's Susan Roesgen asked a man at the April 15, 2009, tea party in Chicago, "that you're eligible for a $400 credit?" When the man refused to drop his "drop socialism" sign, she went on, "Did you know that the state of Lincoln gets 50 billion out of the stimulus?" Roesgen is no longer with CNN, and CNN has only about half as many viewers as it did last year. But her questions are revealing. They help us understand that the issue on which our politics has become centered — the Obama Democrats' vast expansion of the size and scope of government — is really not just about economics. It is really a battle about culture, a battle between the culture of dependence and the culture of independence. Probably unknowingly, Roesgen was reflecting the mid-century sociologist Paul Lazarsfeld's dictum that politics is about who gets how much when. If some guy is getting $400, shouldn't he just shut up and collect the money? Shouldn't he be happy that his state government, headed recently by Rod Blagojevich, was getting an extra $50 billion? But public policy also helps determine the kind of society we are. The Obama Democrats see a society in which ordinary people cannot fend for themselves, where they need to have their incomes supplemented, their health care insurance regulated and guaranteed, their relationships with their employers governed by union leaders. Highly educated mandarins can make better decisions for them than they can make themselves. That is the culture of dependenceThe tea partiers see things differently. They're not looking for lower taxes — half of tea party supporters, a New York Times survey found, think their taxes are fair. Nor are they financially secure — half say someone in their household may lose their job in the next year. Two-thirds say the recession has caused some hardship in their lives. But they recognize, correctly, that the Obama Democrats are trying to permanently enlarge government and increase citizens' dependence on it. And, invoking the language of the Founding Fathers, they believe that this will destroy the culture of independence which has enabled Americans over the past two centuries to make this the most productive and prosperous — and the most charitably generous — nation in the world.

  17. April 22, 2010 at 2:54 am

    Seeing our political divisions as a battle between the culture of dependence and the culture of independence helps to make sense of the divisions seen in the 2008 election. Barack Obama carried voters with incomes under $50,000 and those with incomes over $200,000, and lost those with incomes in between. He won large margins from those who never graduated from high school and from those with graduate school degrees, and barely exceeded 50 percent among those in between.The top-and-bottom Obama coalition was in effect a coalition of those dependent on government transfers and benefits and those in what David Brooks calls "the educated class," who administer or believe that their kind of people administer those transactions. They are the natural constituency for the culture of dependence. Interestingly, in the Massachusetts special Senate election, the purported beneficiaries of the culture of dependence — low-income and low-education voters — did not turn out in large numbers. In contrast, the administrators of that culture — affluent secular professionals, public employees, university personnel — were the one group that turned out in force and voted for the hapless Democratic candidate. The in-between people on the income and education ladders, it turns out, are a constituency for the culture of independence. Smart conservatives like David Frum, Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam argued in 2009 books that modest-income conservative voters have had stagnant incomes over the last decade and that Republicans should offer them compensatory tax breaks. That seemed to make sense in the wake of the 2008 election. But it's been undercut by developments since. As Susan Roesgen discovered, tea party supporters are not in the mood to be bought off with $400 tax credits. They have a longer time horizon and can see where the Obama Democrats are trying to take us. Paul Lazarsfeld saw politics as just a matter of dollars and cents. The tea party movement reminds us of what the Founders taught — that it has a moral dimension, as well. They risked all in the cause of the culture of independence. The polling evidence suggests that most Americans don't want to leave that behind. Bottom line is that the "most American" tag line that Obama likes to use does NOT reflect who genuinely supports him. By and large, people with their hands out for welfare, whether it is poor Americans looking for free healthcare or Wall Street hedgefunds looking for free bailout money. The Tea Party Movement folks, (and yes, they are mostly white middle class) are not looking for a hand out. Tax breaks for 95% of Americans is a worthless point when Americans don't feel they got a tax break. Bush's tax cuts were felt by Americans because we all got $750 per person per household (for me that was a $3000 tax break) in the form of the rebate check. That is tangible and can be quantified. But the Obama "tax break" that amounted a little more than a dollar a day added to your paycheck as one of the tax lines being a $1+ more is not a tangible tax cut. Obama could have given every American worker a "tax break" of $1 and achieved the same valid, yet kind of worthless, line. It really is not a republican/democrat or a conservative/liberal issue; it is a dependancy/independant issue.

  18. April 22, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Chris: Since I mentioned racism in my comment first, let me address your concern that " … the left seem(s) to express fears about a major fascist, racist movement taking hold in the USA." I have no "fear" about a fascist, racist movement taking hold here; our country has always had elements of racism, both overt, for many many years, and, we have had fascist movements over the years as well. In the time period between WW I and WW II, there was a lot of interest in other forms of government since our government was so desperately trying to undo the effects of the depression, and there were legitimate concerns about our form of democracy. Communism, socialism and fascism were all explored as alternatives since democracy did not seem to be working the best that it could be during those dark years; but our representative democracy endured and was eventually strengthened through the struggles of the late thirties and early forties. What I find curious though is the absolute denial by those on the right about how far we strayed towards fascism during the terms of President George W. Bush; after the unity that we all felt after the attacks of 9/11 dissipated due to the march to war in Iraq, there was a very subtle shift by supporters of President Bush that showed up as when anyone was critical of the actions of the Bush Admin., their patriotism was questioned; those that proudly wore their magnetic bumper stickers proclaiming their "support (for) our troops" put forth an aura of any question of the war, any question of the President was viewed as not supporting the military. In the earliest days of the Iraq invasion, the media steadfastly refused to report on the thousands upon thousands of Americans who felt our country was doing the wrong thing, but the media ignored the huge numbers of protests across the country. When a country shows extreme nationality supported by an unquestioning, compliant media, that country is teetering very close to going over the edge of acting in a fascistic manner. Even Dave and Tom Madson were called un American when they expressed their doubts about our needing to invade Iraq; it is very convenient that you and many on the right choose to forget what was happening during that time. You then follow one of the right's best performing tricks of repeating a viewpoint that you believe to be true over and over, somehow thinking that by simple repetition your viewpoint will somehow magically become the accepted "truth"; please give it a rest. I know that I cannot get you to accept that there is a very strong undercurrent of racism currently brewing in the conservative movement so I am going to even try; but I will call you out when you repeat over and over again the tried but usually untrue tactics of the conservatives who feel above all, that they and they alone are right and have "the" answer.

  19. April 22, 2010 at 8:37 am

    To Chris, part II: One last point that JurisDoctor78 addressed very well but I want to put an even finer point on; your quote about President Obama being the most "left of center President we have ever had …" is really a desperate reach; our country had shifted so far to the right (as I pointed out at the beginning of this comment), that any shift to the left was going to be perceived by those on the right as a "hard" shift to the left. It is a matter of perspective; as JD78 pointed out, even Nixon was to the left of President Obama (so far) and, if President Obama were truly as far left as you seem to think he is, there are many things he actually would have done. He could have eliminated "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" with an executive order; he would have terminated every attorney working in the Justice Department that Bush had hired; he would have picked someone without a corporatist agenda to be his chief of staff; he would have directed the military to start wrapping up our presence in Iraq so that we would be leaving much sooner; he would have not increased our military in Afghanistan, and there are many more things that a truly "left of center" Democratic President would have pushed for, but he too keeps to a more center, corporatist agenda than I care for. I did not expect too much from President Obama myself since I am a social Democrat and he is more "DLC", but I am very glad that he won over John McCain because I feel that we would be in a much worse situation in almost every possible way.

  20. April 22, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    Big Tent Republican said: "Bush's tax cuts were felt by Americans because we all got $750 per person per household (for me that was a $3000 tax break) in the form of the rebate check. That is tangible and can be quantified. But the Obama "tax break" that amounted a little more than a dollar a day added to your paycheck as one of the tax lines being a $1+ more is not a tangible tax cut."First, Obama actually gave tax cuts to 98%, not 95% of Americans. I believe your 95% statistic is the percentage who received the "Making Work Pay" tax credit.Second, under Bush's stimulus bill, most individual taxpayers received $600, not $750. This leaves your per day Bush tax cut to be a little less than than $2/day. Gee, what a difference a few cents made to your opinion of two entire presidencies, BTR. Third, you've suggested the Obama tax cuts only totaled $400 for individuals. Again, you're only citing the "Making Work Pay" tax credit. In fact, the Obama tax cuts for individuals averaged $1,158. (See Citizens for Tax Justice) That means Obama gave the average American 93% higher tax cuts than the Bush stimulus rebates.Further, through out your posting history over the last couple years, you've portrayed Obama as a dangerous socialist extremist, a Marxist, and as someone who desperately wants to redistribute the wealth in this country. I am curious, believing that Bush redistributed more government money to the middle and lower classes than Obama, do you still think Obama is a dangerous socialist extremist?BTR also suggested that the Tea Baggers want a smaller government and less dependency on government. However, the NYTimes/CBS poll BTR cites indicates most Tea Baggers don't believe the country's two largest social programs, Social Security or Medicare, should be cut. A lot of these self-sufficient spirits also receive Social Security and/or Medicare. Most of these free-from government assistance Tea Baggers have also sent their children to the public schools provided by our socialist government. So, what gives?I think the poll cited by BTR reveals something: 1) 1 in 4 believe that Obama's administration favors blacks over whites 2) They are more likely than the general public, and even Republicans, to say that too much has been made of the problems facing black people.3) More than 1/2 believe the Administration favors the poor.It seems pretty clear that, for a substantial portion of these Tea Baggers, race is a huge issue and generosity is another.It seems interesting to me that, while most conservatives (Tea Baggers included) would identify as Christians, they don't want the compassionate side of their religion carried out by their government, i.e. giving to the poor, caring for the sick, etc.In contrast, they do want the judgmental/punitive side of their religion carried out by government, i.e. banning gay marriage, capital punishment, etc.Interesting double-standard.

  21. April 23, 2010 at 4:29 am

    Here's my point Bob: for all the liberal bashing of GW Bush, Obama is, with the minor exceptions of cap-n-tax, healthcare and Wall Street regulation, doing EVERYTHING Bush did.Obama still wiretaps, even more so.Obama has left G'itmo open.Like you said, he increased troops in Afghanistan. Obama extended TARP to the auto industry beyond what Bush set up.Obama has left DADT in place.So in one regard, I agree with you that America is right of center. But it is not that America moved right; IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN RIGHT OF CENTER.Look, Carter had one term because he failed in managing the economy; stagflation ruled the day. We had 8 years of Reagan with a reelection in 1984 that produced the biggest electorial landslide in history. Mondale barely won even his home state. Then GHW Bush for four years. But what did he do? He violated the "read my lips" pledge, a move to the left, and was essentially fired for it. There is no Perot campaign if Bush kept that pledge. Then you get 8 years of Clinton. Why? Clinton tries to push left with the gays in the military, nationalized "HillaryCare" and other programs. He gets his ass kicked by the Contract with America, loses both houses for the 1st time in 40 years. Clinton moves right with welfare reform and gets reelected. Bush v Gore: too close to call on where America itself really stood. But that election of 2000 was the closest America has been to a 50-50 nation since the start of the 20th Century. Bush gets latitude from the right for things like NCLB and Medicare prescription drug plan because he passed his tax cuts, invaded Iraq and he got slack because of 9-11.But look at 2006, why did the Republicans lose? they lost because of scandals and because of their spending like drunken Democrats. Some of the Dems ran on getting out of Iraq, but not enough to make that a key unifying issue. The Blue Dog Democrats that won in traditionally republican districts did so running on a genuinely more conservative platform than their Republican opponents. Now 2008. Why did Obama win? I still believe that Obama won because the economy went south at the right time (October) for Obama to take advantage of it with hsi "hope and change" and "its Bush's fault" messages. And hats off to him, Obama did what he needed to do to win. But with that said, reality has set in:almost all of Bush's policies are still in effect to the point that gays are heckling Obama for not changing the DADT policy.So Republicans didn't move America to the right, this nation has always been right of center and Obama is forced to operate with that as a constraint on his policies.

  22. April 23, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Your efforts to sound "reasonable" ring hollow, Big Tent REPUBLICAN. If I'm not mistaken you were an outspoken supporter of Bush and the Iraq war and are sympathetic to torturers and continually deny there is ANY racial component to the anti-Obama hysteria that runs through the Republican party. Your positions on nearly every issue seem to reflect a moral and spiritual vacuum.You treat world politics and economics like a score board of a football game, cheering for the triumph of your team, unperturbed by the suffering of those you wish to vanquish for no other reason than xenophobic self interest. There is a heartlessness that is celebrated within the ranks of the Republican Party that I see reflected on this forum in nearly every posting from those who consider themselves "conservatives". If anyone cares to challenge me on this last point, let me pre-empt you with this one name response: Dick Cheney..

  23. April 23, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Tent: Funny, I just stated how I feel President Obama is not that left of center, so your simply adding fuel to the argument against categorizing the President as being "far left", so coming from you, that must mean that conservatives are not of a like mind in calling President Obama "far left". Interesting.You then state: " … I agree with you that America is right of center. But it is not that America moved right; IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN RIGHT OF CENTER." What I meant to state in my last comment was that the "middle" has been shifted so far to the right, not that America has drifted to the right. It is the perception that America has a "right of center" bias that has been foisted upon the populace by the large corporate media conglomerations to support their agenda, and by focusing on comments by conservative politicians almost exclusively and ignoring more liberal politicians and events over the time from 2001 until the election of Barack Obama. When citizens of most states are polled about their views of what government is supposed to provide for and what they would possibly give up, overwhelmingly people self identify as being more liberal, they just don't like using that particular term. Link here to data that is very interesting, especially if you do read down to the sixth paragraph and beyond. Link here to scientific data about how people actually get more liberal as they grow older. To continue to assert that America is "right of center" is to continue to attempt to repeat a falsehood over and over again to attempt to get your point accepted as the "truth"; repetition does not equal "fact".2006: Remember Jack Abramoff? Randy "Duke" Cunningham? Corruption was one of the reasons Republicans did so poorly in 2006; but I understand that you or other conservatives would not want to remember that issue.2008: On the day that John McCain made the statement: "the fundamentals of our economy are strong, … ", was the same day that the market absolutely tanked, called "Black Monday", September 15, 2008. Link here to an article from HuffPo about this issue. That was the day that John McCain LOST the election, period.And you are correct; Republicans did not move America "to the right"; they tried to but were not successful, the only thing they were successful at was putting out their message that they "believed" that they had move the country to the right, but it was just the messaging by the corporate media that shifted to the right, not how actual Americans really feel about how government is supposed to work and what it is supposed to do.

  24. April 23, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    Bob, I read what you said, but you didn't read where I said "But look at 2006, why did the Republicans lose? they lost because of scandals and because of their spending like drunken Democrats."So yes, I summed up all those scandals into the word "scandal". Didn't feel the need to list everyone since you already know them. Too bad you didn't catch that; could have saved you a few minutes of typing.You don't directly answer my historical analysis since Carter that America is right of center by nature. Too bad.

  25. April 24, 2010 at 2:31 am

    Actually I would posit that America has always leaned left while governed from the right. During the past 30 yrs., by the extreme conservative right…of both parties.Dims vs Repugs serves as a useful distraction from the real class war which has been taking place and the unprecedented transfer of wealth from the working class/poor to those at the top.The propaganda has been so successful that while America is at the bottom of all economic and social indicators compared to other industrialized nations, many people continue to expound on American exceptionalism against all rhyme, reason, and facts.That people who earn less than $250,000 (Or those who earn more and possess a conscience" and continue to spout the conservative meme is astonishing to observe."The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith

  26. April 24, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    Arizona House OKs Birther BillHouse votes to check candidates' citizenshipUpdated: Thursday, 22 Apr 2010, PHOENIX (AP) – The Arizona House on Monday voted for a provision that would require President Barack Obama to show his birth certificate if he hopes to be on the state's ballot when he runs for re-election.

  27. April 24, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    This whole "birther" issue is a way for the "conservatives" and controllers of the Republican Party to promote the need for REQUIRED national I.D. cards ( with a microchip option) for EVERY citizen. The step after that will be to encourage parents to have microchip IDs in newborns. Fear tactics will be used, suggesting that non-microchipped babies if ever separated from their parents and are without a birth certificate, could be deemed "non-citizens" by mistake by the "Federal Government."This is so typical of the Tea Bagger fools who don't understand the extent that their "movement" is being manipulated to promote the EXACT opposite of so much of what the naive think they are protesting against. Rush Limbaugh proved to the far right that great numbers of American's can be manipulated and herded to go against their best interests with relative ease. It's all a matter of tapping into emotions and providing ego gratification and giving a steady barrage of misinformation day after day. Depending upon their background, some just eat it up, regardless of IQ or education. Good propaganda and brain washing trumps that.

  28. April 24, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    This whole "birther" issue is a way for the "conservatives" and controllers of the Republican Party to promote the need for REQUIRED national I.D. cards ( with a microchip option) for EVERY citizen. The step after that will be to encourage parents to have microchip IDs in newborns. Fear tactics will be used, suggesting that non-microchipped babies if ever separated from their parents and are without a birth certificate, could be deemed "non-citizens" by mistake by the "Federal Government."This is so typical of the Tea Bagger fools who don't understand the extent that their "movement" is being manipulated to promote the EXACT opposite of so much of what the naive think they are protesting against. Rush Limbaugh proved to the far right that great numbers of American's can be manipulated and herded to go against their best interests with relative ease. It's all a matter of tapping into emotions and providing ego gratification and giving a steady barrage of misinformation day after day. Depending upon their background, some just eat it up, regardless of IQ or education. Good propaganda and brain washing trumps that..

  29. April 26, 2010 at 4:20 am

    Wait a second, Wrong Guy! You said, "This whole "birther" issue is a way for the "conservatives" and controllers of the Republican Party to promote the need for REQUIRED national I.D. cards ( with a microchip option) for EVERY citizen."But in the "Frank Rich Weighs in" you said the following: "First off, microchip technology is not inherently evil. There are plenty of legitimate reasons for someone wanting to have a chip (smaller than a grain of rice) implanted in their bodies."So which is it: are microchips some birther plot or are these technologies no inherently evil? Maybe you are a 'birther' that wants microchips used? And what is wrong with a national ID card to ensure that only those legal to work in America are eligable to work? Or would you prefer that illegal aliens continue to be exploited as de facto slave labor because you and your fellow Americans (myself included) don't want to do the dirty work they do?This also goes to prove my point that you will say anything so long as it slanders Republicans/Conservatives even though you have held a similar position. And yes, they are similar to the point of being nearly identical.Does your hypocracy know no any bounds?I await your metal gymanastics as to how you can spin yourself out of this obvious contradiction.

  30. April 27, 2010 at 6:08 am

    YOU WANT TO GET MAD? We had eight years of Bush and Cheney, but now you get mad! You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President. You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy. You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got ousted. You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.. You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us. You didn’t get mad when we spent over 600 billion(and counting) on said illegal war. You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq. You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people. You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans. You didn’t get mad when we didn’t catch Bin Laden. You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed. You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city drown. You didn’t get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich. You didn’t get mad when, using reconciliation; a trillion dollars of our tax dollars were redirected to insurance companies for Medicare Advantage which cost over 20 percent more for basically the same services that Medicare provides. You didn’t get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark, and our debt hit the thirteen trillion dollar mark. You finally got mad when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans… oh hell no. AND NOW YOU’RE MAD !

  31. April 27, 2010 at 8:55 am

    First of all, I don't know who the hell you are but you got a lot more homework to do before you start just slandering people willy-nilly. How do you kinow any of what you said is true? Honestly, YOU DON'T. I was mad at half of what you said but I'm not going to dignify and legitimize what you said with a listing. Point is that you liberals (and obviously you are a liberal no matter what you say) are so eager to throw stones but you easily forget that YOUR MAN Obama has continue ANY AND EVERY policy of the man, Bush, you hate and are so mad at. As a matter of fact OBAMA HAS MADE EVERYTHING YOU SAID WORSE. I ain't mad, far from it. But you sound as though you are fit to be tied. I just pointed out Wrong Guy's hypocracy. Get over yourself.

  32. April 27, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Big Tent has inspired me. Aren't conservatives in a peculiar position? On one hand, in order to get votes in November, they assert Obama is the worst kind of socialist extremist and is fundamentally changing the structure of this country. On the other hand, in order to win debates with liberals, they claim Obama has either done nothing to come through on his promises to liberals or, worse, has done or has continued what George Bush did.

  33. April 27, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Well said anonymous and Juris Doctor. That and the continued faux use of "socialist" to describe Pres. Obama is enough to make one cringe. Obama may be a lot of things, socialist he is not.The rights continual attempts to redefine "socialist" as a perjoritive, let alone not coming close to its original meanings belays their desparation in all things conservative.In spite of the generally liberal nature of Americans our federal government has been intractable in its rightward direction. Always legislating to circumvent not only Constitutional guarantees to the people but then also limits placed on it by the same. The advent of "black box" voting has pretty much sealed the fate of the nation.Broadly speaking, the governing principle in our nation, for rank and file citizens as well as politicians, has always been predicated on unity. A willingness to participate in what was sometimes refered to as "the great experiment". Evan a casual observer of politics today can identify the disintegration. There is a real threat to our political system and economically the country is isolated in the world community – so our financial collapse is almost assured.The transgressions of the federal government are now openly defiant of law and surveillance has become the rule. The plethora of spy agencies and their numerous "black ops" subsidiaries know every facet of our lives – right down to the foods we eat and brand of toilet paper in our bathrooms. The supremes ruled a few years ago that we have no expectation of privacy once we step outside our door. And now corporate person hood.Politicians are no longer "fellow citizens", they are professional corporate politicians with little or no economic connection to most of us. They've become more the enemies of the people than representatives and there is nothing we can do about it through conventional mechanisms.As a people we've been repeatedly warned about power hungry elected officials right from the start and Zinn, Chomsky, Nader, Eisenhower, you name it – have all continued to try to make the general population aware of the trend. The powers arrayed against those voices are scheming every day on making sure those people are marginalized.For me the one that makes me most despondant is listening to or reading people's continued "faith" in elected officials as "leaders". The reality that they [politicians] are part of a political corporation seems to have no effect on them. It's an ignorance that could be cured, but we seem to be more obsessed with identifying political problems than searching for a cure.The comingling of corporate and government is complete.That so many work so hard to enrich the so few, against all rhyme or reason and against their own economic and social best interests is fascinating. Sick but fascinating.

  34. April 27, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    I stand by what I said, Big Tent. No matter how furious you are, or any lies you tell, it does not change the fact there is no "hypocracy" in my statements.As I stated so clearly before, microchips are NOT inherently evil. If there is a problem with them, it will be because of any immoral motivations of people who promote them and what they are being used for. The technology itself is neutral. But mark my words, microchips will be implanted in some humans in the United States at some point, by their choice. That can be either a positive or negative depending upon the situation. Contrary to the opinions of some, I don't believe they are "the mark of the beast"..

  35. April 28, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Just noticing -Righties routinely oppose the Government's social programs because the righties often claim, 'The more government does for you, the more government can do to you.' Righties usually will state this position in the same breath as proclaiming their love of "freedom." However, righties rarely oppose, and commonly support, governmental actions that limit individual freedom, i.e., warrantless wiretaps, extended detention without a hearing, racial profiling, governmental restrictions on marriage, the War on Drugs, etc.The position of habitually supporting restrictive and/or punitive governmental actions flies in the face of loving freedom, don't you think? Also, I've noticed that most right-wing thinkers identify themselves as Christians. Most of these right-wing Christians also stress a belief, as erroneous as it may be, that this country was founded on Christian values. Citing this erroneous understanding of our country's foundation as justification, these same righties often support Christianity's punitive/judgmental characteristics being reflected in governmental policies, i.e., bans on gay marriage, capital punishment, censorship laws, sex laws, drug laws, etc.However, these same righties fight against governmental policies reflecting any of the compassionate aspects of Christianity, i.e., healing the sick, giving to the poor, etc.The cognitive dissonance a righty has to endure must be excruciating.

  36. April 28, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    I don't believe the Leftists in this nation can stop themselves from broad-brush attacks and lump-summing every "rightie" into convienent catagories and stereotypical generalities.I am not in favor of indefinate detention: I am in favor of military tribunals.I am not opposed to any kind of marriage between two consenting adults.I am not in favor of warrantless wiretaps if it shown that they do in fact infringe on liberties of Americans.Racial profiling, no; Removing illegal aliens from American soil after they have broken the law, yes. And I don't discriminate: deport illegal Irish, Chinese, Sudanese, Isreali. I don't care who. If you are breaking the law, you gotta go.War on Drugs? You have to attack demand through treatment while you attack supplies grown here and abroad. But why is it that it is the Leftists in America that, for the first time, are FORCING Americans to buy a product? The federal government is forcing Americans to buy health insurance. This is unprecedented at the federal level. Name one other product AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL that has been mandated we buy. Name ONE. Even immunizations are voluntary. The state and local governments, yes, all the time with helmet laws and auto insurance, but not the federal government. So remind me again how it is that "righties" are so bad and you supposedly kind-hearted lefties are so good.

  37. April 29, 2010 at 4:44 am

    Tent: " Name one other product AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL that has been mandated we buy. Name ONE. Even immunizations are voluntary." Okay, that's an easy one: Social Security, which is an insurance program. Not everyone in America is mandated to participate in Social Security, but not everyone in America is "mandated" to participate in the upcoming new health insurance plan either. Almost everyone in America who works for a non government employer is required to pay into Social Security, up to the point of maximum pay in, which has been based on the amount of $95,000 yearly income. Those who claim that Social Security is in danger of running out of money either forget or ignore that everyone who makes more than the $95,000 maximum amount does not pay any more into Social Security. Lift the high amount limit and presto!, Social Security is solvent forever. And yes, Social Security is a federal government program. Any other questions?

  38. April 29, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Bob, do you ever check your own facts? The Supreme Court ruled decades ago that Social Security contributions were a tax and not an investment or an insurance payment.Seriously…everybody knows that you were being facetious.

  39. April 29, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Big Tent said: “I don't believe the Leftists in this nation can stop themselves from broad-brush attacks and lump-summing every "rightie" into convienent catagories and stereotypical generalities.”I’ll assume the irony of your statement was intended.“I am not in favor of indefinate detention: I am in favor of military tribunals.”If you think being in favor of military tribunals makes a person who values liberty, you’d better go do a Google search of “military tribunals” and learn about all of the rights defendants in military tribunals are denied.“I am not opposed to any kind of marriage between two consenting adults.”OK. So far, Liberty – 1, Governmental infringement – 1 You’ve only got a .500 average for supporting liberty and I think it’s just gonna get worse as I continue to read your response.“I am not in favor of warrantless wiretaps if it shown that they do in fact infringe on liberties of Americans.”If you think there is a way warrantless wiretaps could possibly not infringe on liberty, you don’t know enough about wiretaps, warrants, or liberty to be having this conversation. You’d better go do your usual Wikipedia search and gain a few nuggets. “Racial profiling, no; Removing illegal aliens from American soil after they have broken the law, yes. And I don't discriminate: deport illegal Irish, Chinese, Sudanese, Isreali. I don't care who. If you are breaking the law, you gotta go.”So you’re against the law that was just passed in Arizona? Good.“War on Drugs? You have to attack demand through treatment while you attack supplies grown here and abroad.”If treatment is mandated, it is still an infringement on liberty. If you place restrictions on what plants people may grow on their own property, it’s an infringement on liberty. Big Tent, the fact that, in an attempt to show how you support liberty, you’ve given examples of how you support governmental infringements on liberty shows that you don’t understand enough about liberty to have this discussion. Liberty is the freedom to do as one pleases. The mandate on health insurance is an infringement on liberty, but it is a far cry from warrantless wiretaps or suspension of habeas corpus. The fact is, Obama is responsible for real, major infringements on your liberties, but you won’t attack him for them because they are only continuations of the Bush policies you so fervently supported.

  40. April 29, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Big Tent said: “Racial profiling, no; Removing illegal aliens from American soil after they have broken the law, yes. And I don't discriminate: deport illegal Irish, Chinese, Sudanese, Isreali. I don't care who. If you are breaking the law, you gotta go.”OK. So your beef is simply that these “illegal” immigrants haven’t gone through the legal immigration process. That’s it? No racism at all? OK. So, had these same undocumented immigrants gone through the legal immigration process, you would have no objection to them being here? OK. So, since you’ve based your entire objection to them being here on the fact that they haven’t followed the legal immigration process, I’m sure you’d be able to tell me, without the help of a search engine, the details of the legal immigration process.

  41. April 30, 2010 at 5:58 am

    Bob, Social Security is no more insurance than unemployment insurance is. Anytime you get out of the system more than you paid in is called welfare. Social Security is just another welfare program, no matter what you believe FDR told you.

  42. April 30, 2010 at 6:30 am

    Dr. "Facts": Um, nice attempt at humor? You did give me a reason to do a little more research; I did not find a ruling by the US Supreme Court that declares that Social Security is not an insurance program. I did see some links to conservative blogs that assert that Social Security is just a tax. My assertion stands; Social Security was designed and executed as an insurance program, paid through taxes. You want to assert that Social Security is not an insurance program, prove it; embed some links if you can, or simply type in the full url to a credible source to back up your assertion(s). Credible, in the sense of having actual reporting of a Supreme Court ruling(s), like a news agency, or an actual government website that backs up your assertion. You may have the "belief" that Social Security is only a tax, but without evidence, your assertion or belief is only a talking point. Good luck. Oh yeah, I was not intentionally being "facetious".

  43. April 30, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Downtown, get the max on the Social Security correct. $106,800. That's $13,243.20 from me so Nancy Pelosi can take the money out of SS and spend it on alcohol on her trips back to California (it actually takes 7 people who max out there social security to pay her bar and food bill on these trips). As I stated months ago, presto, your wrong. Removing the limit will not solve the problem. It will defer it. There are not that many people making more than 106 grand. And, as I stated earlier, the future liabilities are in the trillions, not billions your model may bring in. Just do the math.Just noticing, JurisDoctor78 said some half truths…..warrantless wiretaps? Generically no, but as approved by the Bush and Obama administration after judicial review, yes. Extended detention? Not for American citizens on American soil as approved by the Bush and Obama administrations and throughout US history. Racial profiling? Well, that is just flat out a falsehood and pure politics by our "progressive" friends. War on Drugs? Your generalizing. I hate it when a Democrat makes Marijuana illegal. Government restrictions on marriage and erroneous belief on the founding of this country. Well, I have a reading assignment for you. A little book called Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States. Last printed in 1864. The author had access to many of the journals of the founding fathers and is full of letters, notes from our constitution framers. It is undeniable this country was founded on Christian values. Here is a link.http://books.google.com/books?id=H92keUU_Xy8C&dq=the+christian+life+and+character+of+the+civil+institutions&pg=PA11&ots=Vf5stLiOeV&sig=AYW_xUQhUOc5yD_F8FpjF9eV6aQ&prev=http://www.google.com/search%3Fsourceid%3Dnavclient%26aq%3Dt%26ie%3DUTF-8%26rlz%3D1T4GGIH_enUS233US233%26q%3Dthe%2Bchristian%2Blife%2Band%2Bcharacter%2Bof%2Bthe%2Bcivil%2Binstitutions&sa=X&oi=print&ct=result&cd=1#v=onepage&q&f=falseFighting compassion? Since conservatives give more to charities than any other group, it begs the question, why are you fighting compassion? Your only compassionate when you give other people's money. Real nice Juris. BTR,Chris, I have given up in here. You are trying to influence people who have a different vision of America. You have anarchist, social democrats, and lemmings in here who do not like America as it is. They quote socialists, keynesians, and anarchists. They have zero economics background (look at Bob above) and are just like kids…I want, I want, i want. Well, shoot. I want everyone to have jobs too. I want everyone to have health insurance too. I want everone to have houses too. I want everyone to have everything too. But, there is reality and at some point, someone has to pay for this "free" stuff. Look at Wiseguy on previous posts stating how the Health Care bill is going to save us money. Oops, it passes and now they say it will cost us trillions while rates go up. You can't reason with them.

  44. April 30, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Rich in Paso wrote: "Anytime you get out of the system more than you paid in is called welfare."Wait a minute there Rich! It is also called "capitalism." Social Security is a great thing and it is the mark of greatness of our nation that we come together in that way and help people at their time of need. The price of Social Security is a small price to pay so that our cities and towns would not be cluttered deep with starving, men, women and children, many of them diseased and crippled or feeble begging for hand-outs. It is a blessing to be able to feed the hungry. We should be proud of our Social Security System and be happy to do whatever it takes to maintain it as a fine, efficient, compassionate and beneficial system to keep our nation and citizenry in a state of well-being.

  45. April 30, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Om my God Bob! You are unbelievable. Let me do your homework for you.In a 1937 Supreme Court ruling (one ruling was used to settle 3 cases currently before the court regarding the new social security system) the supreme court emphatically stated that the social security payroll "contribution" was a TAX and not a payment to to a national insurance program.immediately after going into effect in 1935, various parts of the Social Security Act were challenged as unconstitutional and reached the Supreme Court for decision in 1937. In Helvering v. Davis (301 US 619), the Court sustained the Act under Congress’ power to impose taxes. In its decision, the Court revealed some of the truths about Social Security.Quoted from the SC ruling:First, employees are not making contributions into a retirement program, but are, in reality, paying a “special income tax” which is deducted from their wages and paid to the federal government by the employer. This “special income tax” is imposed on the employee for the so-called “privilege” of being employed by an employer.Second, employers are not making matching contributions into a retirement program for their employees, but are, in reality, paying an excise tax for the privilege of having individuals in their employ.Third, there is no retirement trust fund. The Court stated:“[t]he proceeds of both taxes are to be paid into the Treasury like internal-revenue taxes generally, and are not earmarked in any way.” Neither of the taxes are set aside to pay Social Security benefits. Both are general fund income taxes, which are used to pay the everyday expenditures of the federal government.Shame on you for not knowing this at your age Bob.

  46. April 30, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Bob, Dr. Facts: I see there is still some discussion on this string. Dr. Facts was 100% correct that Social Security contributions (emphasis on "contributions") are a tax. This does not mean that the social security benefits (emphasis on "benefits"), as the flip side of the coin in the social security system, is not insurance or at least based on insurance principles. Thus, Bob, you are also right when you say that social security is "an insurance program, paid by taxes".The key cases on this subject matter are STEWARD MACH. CO. V. COLLECTOR, 301 U. S. 548 (1937) ( http://supreme.justia.com/us/301/548/case.html ) and HELVERING V. DAVIS, 301 U. S. 619 (1937) (http://supreme.justia.com/us/301/619/case.html ).Under these cases there is no doubt that the revenues (= "contributions") raised under the social security legislation are taxes: To quote from the Syllabus, point 4 of the STEWARD decision: "The proceeds of the tax imposed on employers by Title IX of the Social Security Act, supra, go into the Treasury of the United States without earmark, like internal revenue collections generally." By-the-way, much of the criticism against social security is that it is an unfunded liability without any "lock box". This is an accurate statement because the "proceeds" go into the coffers of the government "without earmark, like internal revenue collections generally".On the benefits side, it is just as clear that the benefits sections of the Social Security Act are based on the same principles as insurance. The HELVERING case quotes directly from §201 of the Social Security Act which refers to "actuarial principles". A quick glance at the current version of §201 also shows that the benefits side is not just structured on insurance principles, it is also called "insurance". §201 (a), first sentence: "There is hereby created on the books of the Treasury of the United States a trust fund to be known as the “Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund.”So what does any of this mean for the health care reform bill just passed? Firstly, it is likely that the bill will be upheld as constitutional, although many of the arguments raised back in the mid-1930s still apply today. In fact, it is likely that social security would have failed if FDR had not tried to stack the court with the "Judicial Reorganization Bill of 1937" (more info on that attempt at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judiciary_Reorganization_Bill_of_1937 ). In any event, there are now challenges against the health care reform legislation winding their way through the courts, and we'll see what happens.The political discussion, however, revolves around much more than whether the legislation is constitutional. After all, just because the constitution permits a piece of legislation does not mean that the legislation is good policy. There is a lot of idiotic legislation that can pass and has passed constitutional muster.The real issue is whether the health care reform is good policy, and much of that debate goes back to the basic philosophical conflict in this country (and western countries in general) about how much do we want government to be involved in our private lives. The Republican view in general was that the problems in the US health care and health insurance systems, such as the pre-existing condition exclusion and the cost issues, could have been much more effectively resolved with simpler legislation and without the Federal government reaching so into everyone's lives.

  47. April 30, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Hoosier:As to the intention of our founding fathers, I have received several years of a formal education regarding the formation, history, and proper interpretation of the Constitution. I really don’t need to read some stupid little book the right-wingers just discovered a couple years ago because I doubt it could better inform my opinion. You may say that I’m being dismissive. I am. If you are so convinced that this country was founded on Christian principles, you should be able to give me examples of uniquely Christian principles contained in the document that formed our country; the Constitution. As to warrantless wiretaps and your belief that they’ve withstood judicial review, I can tell you aren’t aware that the Federal Court of the Northern District of California recently granted summary judgment to the plaintiff in Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Barack Obama, but that’s really beside the point. The point is that warrantless wiretaps, legal or not, infringe on liberty and freedom. You may or may not be old enough to remember the time before the Soviet Union broke apart. I am old enough and I do remember that time very well. I remember a common criticism that Americans had of the U.S.S.R. was that their government randomly listened in on their citizens’ telephone calls. In discussions over U.S./Soviet relations, I remember hearing proud Americans rightly say things like, “At least our government doesn’t randomly monitor our phone calls.” Well, folks, now they do. And there you are, Hoosier, thinking yourself a real patriot, a real freedom lover while you encourage this. And you’ll probably show up at some stupid Tea Party rally with your red, white and blue parachute pants and you’ll wave a little American flag for freedom and you’ll yell inflammatory half-truths about Obamacare for freedom and you’ll feel like a real American defender of freedom. What a sham people like you are.

  48. April 30, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Hoosier, once again you are making blatantly false statements about what I supposedly have written on this forum. I don't know enough about you to be able to claim the healthcare insurance reform bill will save YOU money or not, and contrary to your statement, I have never stated otherwise. But everything in the world is NOT about "saving money." Sometimes saving lives and ending suffering is more important and valuable than saving money. But with proper healthcare reform lives will be saved, suffering will be prevented, and money will be saved in many cases. You list all the compassionate things you supposedly "want" for humanity. But it rings hollow because you make it clear you are not willing to pay for it, which suggests you are also not likely to want to work for it either, so you "wanting" to help people is pretty much B.S.. You "want" something as long as you don't have to do ANYTHING to get it. Your continual assertion that "conservatives" give more to charity than other groups is, typically, misleading. The details need to be broken down to give a clear picture of what you try to make a sweeping generalization. What, exactly is considered "charity"? And how much of that is simply for tax breaks, so that what they deprive the government of, they get to take credit for as being charitable?And do "conservatives" give as much as "liberals" when we consider the percentage of an individuals income? Plus, charity and compassion is not all about money. Also, when rich "conservatives" donate money to get a building named after them, where did that money originate? Was it earned honorably? Was it profit that came at the expense of exploitation of workers or the environment? Was it "blood" money? Finally, much of what you refer to as "Christian values" are not exclusive to Christians. Clearly this nation was founded on ideas that fostered religious freedom and freedom from having religion imposed on people against their will. THOSE are "Christian values" as much as anything. Jesus Christ never founded a single church, never wrote a Bible, and never tried ruling over people in the way that so many misguided people do today in the name of "Christian values." Jesus Christ did not create any "religion." His "religion" was not organized. His "religion" was LOVE and he disliked when monetary concerns and greed defiled that which should be treated as sacred. Jesus preached of "sacrifice" which is different than "charity." Charity is simply giving away what one has plenty of. Sacrifice is giving up something scarce or what you don't have enough of, to benefit others. That's sacrifice, something that is not in fashion among many "conservative" Christians.Exploiting others and then shaving off a sliver of ill-gotten gains to give to the needy in order to pay less taxes or gain status is not what Jesus Christ had in mind..

  49. May 1, 2010 at 7:00 am

    Hoosier: You claim: "There are not that many people making more than 106 grand." Well, if America has 300,000,000 people, and 10% make over 100k, that is 30,000,000 people, right? So those who have stopped paying into Social Security because they make more than 106k continued to pay in for every dollar they are paid, how much more could be generated? In your world, probably not enough to bother with, since the rich would have to pay more; but to the coffers of Social Security, I'm sure that amount would make a huge difference.Dr. Facts: I did look at the 1937 Supreme Court ruling, I did see that there was mention of "taxes", but no where did I see any mention of the Supreme Court declaring that Social Security was NOT an insurance program. Even Chris in his comment agreed that Social Security is "insurance", which I agreed is funded with taxes. Big Tent had challenged anyone to post any government program that was "mandated" to be paid into; Social Security is a government program that is mandated to be paid into, regardless of whether or not it is an insurance program (which it is) or not. Thank you, Chris.

  50. May 1, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Bottom line: the U.S. Social Security system is a wonderful thing and a boon for humanity. It has strengthened our nation and prevented an immeasurable amount of suffering. It will fail only if we let it fail by allowing greed and selfishness to trump compassion and common sense.

  51. May 4, 2010 at 7:17 am

    Bob you are just as wrong as Wrong Guy. Social Security is not an insurance program; it is an entitlement program that people are taxed to support. The benefits received from Social Security far and away outpace the amounts of money paid in, especially if they are drawing SSI. Social security is another welfare program, nothing more nothing less.Wrong Guy: Immeasurable suffering without social security? Really? Seriously? Your knack for hyperbole is astonishing. And who's greed are you referring to? Wouldn't happen to be our elected politicians that have rolled every last "contribution" to Social Security to pay for part of the record deficits that BOTh parties have ran up in the last 30 years? Of course it is.

  52. May 4, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    I know elderly, frail widows who by every measure were good, decent hard-working and responsible citizens, who would be hungry, homeless and begging in the streets if not for Social Security benefits. How wonderful and blessed it is that Americans have come together to create a system that assists our fellow citizens in times of need. What greater deed is there than helping our fellow man in their times of need? What better or more noble way to spend our money? ..

  53. May 4, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Tent: Until you can post a link to a credible news source or a government site that points to a legal ruling or legislation that defines Social Security as something other than an insurance program, your assertion that Social Security is not an insurance is just your "opinion". You are entitled to your opinion, of course; I wouldn't dream of attempting to change your opinion. You are not entitled to a different set of facts other than what currently exists; you want to prove that Social Security is not insurance, you have to furnish proof, i.e., government documents or actual news reporting that shows your assertion with backing facts attached. If you cannot provide evidence to backup your assertion, you will have failed to "prove" anything.

  54. May 5, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Dear dear Bob…The Supreme court ruling clearly states over and over that Social security is NOT an insurance program despite the language the Dept of Social Security uses. They have distorted the nomenclature for decades.In the Flemming v. Nestor ruling the Supreme Court clearly spells out the distinctions between and insurance, annuity and welfare programs. Social Security was specified by the Supreme Court as the there is only one body (Congress) that can change the contract without approval of the beneficiaries, and that in fact no contract existed beyond the ruling. In conclusion…CLEAR conclusion, the Supreme Court referred to Social Security as a "welfare program". Is that a credible enough source for you Bob? Here is the link to the complete ruling for you to read Bob before you ask another inane question. I am seriously trying to help you here.

  55. May 5, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    Mr. Facts: I appreciate your trying to help me understand this complex issue; your link, however, was broken. I took your quoted case, "Flemming vs. Nestor" and did the google, and found, from the Social Security Online History Pages, the opinion of the court, written by Mr. Justice Harlan. First line of paragraph four, section one: "THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM MAY BE ACCURATELY DESCRIBED AS A FORM OFSOCIAL INSURANCE, ENACTED PURSUANT TO CONGRESS' POWER TO "SPEND MONEYIN AID OF THE 'GENERAL WELFARE, …." – so I am confused here; do you have an actual link that works that states clearly that Social Security is NOT insurance? Here is the link that I found. To be honest, I did not read the entire decision, I stopped when I read that line that I quoted. Try again, maybe?

  56. May 6, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Legitimate crime statistic experts will tell you there is not enough research done and records compiled to give definitive facts about crime statistics about illegal immigrants in the United States. But there is a lot of evidence that leads many to believe that on a a per capita basis, illegal immigrants in the United States most likely commit LESS property and violent crime than U.S. citizens. There have been right wing media pundits who have repeatedly made complete fabrications (lies) about illegal immigrant crime statistics. Lou Dobbs is one of them. So, if you think you know that illegal immigrants commit more violent or property crime than U.S. citizens, or that there are more immigrants in prison than citizens, you literally don't know what you are talking about and either made it up or were made a sucker of by some anti-immigrant propagandist. .Did Hitler make similar bogus accusations against the Jews? I'm not sure. .

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