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Old 06-29-2008, 07:47 AM   #1
Atlanta Dan
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Default The Real Issue This Election - A Broken System

Ben Stein nails the key issue this election:

Get this, friends: from 1947 to about 1973 — from the days from the great Harry S. Truman to the great Richard M. Nixon [comment here - Stein was a speechwriter for "the great' Nixon]— real hourly pay for nongovernment workers rose by about 40 percent. The peak year was the one before R.N. left for San Clemente in 1974. Since then, real wages both hourly and weekly for all nongovernment workers, on average, have fallen by about 5 percent, very roughly.

There are all kinds of reasons for this, ranging from the larger size and different composition of the labor force to the devastating foreign competition in manufacturing, which tends to set a limit on other wages as well.

But the trend is dismal. The average private worker now earns very roughly $600 a week, not counting fringe benefits. For this worker, gasoline might well account for close to one-tenth of his or her earnings. If the price of gas goes up 25 percent, the effect is serious. To put it mildly, people making $600 a week do not have a lot of leeway on spending.

As I see it, the problem is not the price of oil generally. (I think that the price will decline somewhat before long, but the long-term trend is very much up.) The problem is the stagnation of wages.
...

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/29/bu...l?ref=business


The usually insightful Tom Friedman has similar thoughts:

My fellow Americans: We are a country in debt and in decline — not terminal, not irreversible, but in decline. Our political system seems incapable of producing long-range answers to big problems or big opportunities. We are the ones who need a better-functioning democracy — more than the Iraqis and Afghans. We are the ones in need of nation-building. It is our political system that is not working.
...

If the old saying — that “as General Motors goes, so goes America” — is true, then folks, we’re in a lot of trouble. General Motors’s stock-market value now stands at just $6.47 billion, compared with Toyota’s $162.6 billion. On top of it, G.M. shares sank to a 34-year low last week.

That’s us. We’re at a 34-year low. And digging out of this hole is what the next election has to be about and is going to be about — even if it is interrupted by a terrorist attack or an outbreak of war or peace in Iraq. We need nation-building at home, and we cannot wait another year to get started. Vote for the candidate who you think will do that best. Nothing else matters.


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/29/op...ml?ref=opinion

With Hillary Clinton out of the race I had thought McCain & Obama might actually campaign on the tough choices that need to be made in the coming years as the nation can no longer continue to borrow its way out of problems - so far not so good.
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Old 06-29-2008, 08:03 AM   #2
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Default Re: The Real Issue This Election - A Broken System

Quote:
Our political system seems incapable of producing long-range answers to big problems or big opportunities. We are the ones who need a better-functioning democracy
This is the problem. Everyone thinks the government should be providing the solutions. If they would lower the strangling corporate and individual taxes, remove legislation that is hampering capitalism, and get the hell out of the way, capitalism and free enterprise would find the solutions and our country would be much better off right now. Government is the problem. Until people realize who John Gault is, things will only get worse.

So I guess everyone knows how I'm voting......
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Old 06-29-2008, 08:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: The Real Issue This Election - A Broken System

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Originally Posted by GBMelBlount View Post
This is the problem. Everyone thinks the government should be providing the solutions. If they would lower the strangling corporate and individual taxes, remove legislation that is hampering capitalism, and get the hell out of the way, capitalism and free enterprise would find the solutions and our country would be much better off right now. Government is the problem. Until people realize who John Gault is, things will only get worse.

So I guess everyone knows how I'm voting......
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Old 06-29-2008, 08:33 AM   #4
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Default Re: The Real Issue This Election - A Broken System

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Originally Posted by GBMelBlount View Post
This is the problem. Everyone thinks the government should be providing the solutions. If they would lower the strangling corporate and individual taxes, remove legislation that is hampering capitalism, and get the hell out of the way, capitalism and free enterprise would find the solutions and our country would be much better off right now. Government is the problem. Until people realize who John Gault is, things will only get worse.

So I guess everyone knows how I'm voting......
Bingo!!!....why is it that so many people cannot take the next logical step when Governmental representatives start talking about taxing their EMPLOYERS...Hmmmmmm....one less employed person?

I have seen numbers that lead me to believe that the bottom income that could be negatively affected (depending on who is elected) is about $130,000...when you take into consideration that the government sees the combined income of homes as ONE number...you begin to see that "middle class" is in the eye of the beholder.
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Old 06-29-2008, 08:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: The Real Issue This Election - A Broken System

Nobody enjoys having their taxes raised, so if there is a philosophical aversion to raising taxes (which not only Dems do - taxes under Reagan were raised repeatedly in the 1980s after the early 80s tax cuts http://www.nationalreview.com/nrof_b...0310290853.asp ) what do you cut to balance a budget that is projected to be $450 billion in the red this year?
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Old 06-29-2008, 08:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: The Real Issue This Election - A Broken System

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Nobody enjoys having their taxes raised, so if there is a philosophical aversion to raising taxes (which not only Dems do - Reagan did it repeatedly in the 1980s after the early 80s tax cuts http://www.nationalreview.com/nrof_b...0310290853.asp ) what do you cut to balance a budget that is projected to be $450 billion in the red this year?
MCCain vows to cut the pork. Can he do it? It sure sounds better than taking more of my measly little paycheck.
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Old 06-29-2008, 08:52 AM   #7
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Default Re: The Real Issue This Election - A Broken System

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Nobody enjoys having their taxes raised, so if there is a philosophical aversion to raising taxes (which not only Dems do - taxes under Reagan were raised repeatedly in the 1980s after the early 80s tax cuts http://www.nationalreview.com/nrof_b...0310290853.asp ) what do you cut to balance a budget that is projected to be $450 billion in the red this year?
In 1994, lawmakers slipped over 4,000 earmarks into bills that went on to become law..... By 2005 the number had ballooned to nearly 16,000

The Congressional Research Service says the collective cost in 2005 for such special spending perks was $47.4 billion....These cost taxpayers an extra $17.2 billion so far this year...(This is the first year legislators have had to attach their names to these measures)

The nonpartisan taxpayer watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste is out with its newest Pig Book.... that shows 11,610 pork barrel projects inserted into this year's appropriations bills by members of Congress.

(By the way....the biggest "Pig"?...Thats right...Hillary Clinton)
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Old 06-29-2008, 09:01 AM   #8
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Default Re: The Real Issue This Election - A Broken System

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MCCain vows to cut the pork. Can he do it? It sure sounds better than taking more of my measly little paycheck.
Rhetorically that sounds nice but how does "cutting pork" (whatever that means - one man's pork is another man's vitally needed development of infrastructure) balance the budget? Earmarks are estimated to comprise $16.8 billion of the FY 2008 budget http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/earmar...-site-preview/

Also keep in mind that McCain was opposed to the Bush tax cuts until he decided to run for President again. For those who think his latest position is etched in stone, perish the thought he changes his mind again.

http://www.clubforgrowth.org/2007/03..._mccains_t.php

Maybe he should add the line "read my lips, no new taxes" to his acceptance speech at the Convention
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Old 06-29-2008, 09:03 AM   #9
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Default Re: The Real Issue This Election - A Broken System

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The Congressional Research Service says the collective cost in 2005 for such special spending perks was $47.4 billion....These cost taxpayers an extra $17.2 billion so far this year...(This is the first year legislators have had to attach their names to these measures)
OK - let's attribute $20 billion to earmarks for FY 2008 - what else do you cut to eliminate the remaining deficit of $430 billion without raising taxes?
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Old 06-29-2008, 09:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: The Real Issue This Election - A Broken System

A good start would be to get the hell out of Iraq.

And then cancel the welfare checks for every illegal alien that entered the country and had a kid 10 minutes later....Wait a minute... I forgot.... thats Un-American. Talk about a rookie salary cap. How about legislation that prevents new citizens from getting on the free money train for at least 5 years.

We can talk about booting the remaining 95% of the career welfare recipients off the train at a later date.....Baby steps
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