published Monday, December 10th, 2012

Obama's way or the highway

President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about the fiscal cliff at the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers, in Washington D.C.
President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about the fiscal cliff at the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers, in Washington D.C.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

"Tonight, you voted for action, not politics as usual. (Applause.) You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together: reducing our deficit; reforming our tax code; fixing our immigration system; freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We've got more work to do."

— Barack Obama, Nov. 6, 2012

Let's put this message from our just re-elected, feeling-his-oats, my-way-or-the-highway president to the loyal opposition is clear enough once into plain English:

I won the presidency going away with more than 50 percent of the vote. My side has a mandate. Your side just has the House of Representatives.

Now here's how it's going to work. We raise taxes now on those making good money. Right. Now. By Christmas. During this lame-duck session of Congress. And I don't want any trouble about it, you hear? And we'll talk about making cuts to government spending later (if ever).

No, no, no. I don't want to hear about it. So what if the federal government is spending $3.54 trillion a year right now, and was spending only $2.73 trillion in 2007? What's $810 billion between friends, except maybe nearly a trillion dollars, which is just most of the deficit for this year? You don't know how these things work. Elections matter. And I won.

You folks went and told the media that you have no idea what I want as far as spending cuts. Let me be clear: I have been clear. As far as spending cuts go, I want higher taxes.

No, no, no. We want you people in the House, you obstacles to progress, you, you ... Republicans to pass that bill from the Democratic Senate -- the one that would avoid the fiscal cliff all the talking heads are talking about. That splendid piece of legislative craftsmanship would raise taxes just on those whose taxes need raising -- the undeserving rich, or at least anybody making six-figure salaries. Otherwise they'd just invest it or spend it or hire folks or waste it some other way -- instead of letting the government have it. Even though when it comes to spending, government has no peer. Our record proves it.

But I'm a reasonable man. A fair man. An open-minded man. Once this bill is safely passed, signed, sealed and delivered, and on the lawbooks and in the Internal Revenue Code, I would be more than willing to sit down and talk about a framework of parameters and guidelines and negotiations and contingencies that might very well envision spending cuts maybe.

Trust me.

No, no, no. You get nothing in writing. Elections matter. Now I get to write the rules. And the first rule is: I get the taxes I want now, and we can talk about your strange ideas -- like spending cuts -- later. You just forget all that talk about taxes being too high. You just shut up about how all those taxes that are supposed to affect only the rich, like the Alternative Minimum Tax, have a way of soaking the middle class, too. Don't try to confuse me with your history, economics, statistics and all those Republican tricks. We won, you lost, so pay up.

No, no, no. We're not talking about Social Security here. Not gonna happen. Don't you know that Social Security pays for itself? Not even the government's own Office of Management and Budget may believe that, but that's one of our talking points, and if you noticed the election results, I'm very good at sticking to my talking points.

So what if spending rises every year no matter how much I talk about reining it in? Don't worry about it. I'll take care of everything.

Oh, and we need to raise the debt limit, too. Quick. As my press secretary said just the other day, any talk of raising the debt limit only by the same amount federal spending is cut is "entirely inappropriate."

Now, then, you vote the way I tell you to, and I won't have to hurt you. You see what I did to Mitt Romney for the past six months? Don't make me go back into campaign mode -- much as I enjoy it.

Remember: Elections matter.

Except for the House of Representatives, of course. Because that's how these things work. My (White) House, My Rules.

— Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

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nucanuck said...

Yep, that's how these thing work!

December 10, 2012 at 2:25 a.m.
hambone said...

What part of loosing an election does the GOP/TEAPARTY not understand!

December 10, 2012 at 4:33 a.m.
EaTn said...

Just maybe, a candidate who wins two-thirds of the electoral votes has a reason to stand his ground on issues that put him back in the White House.

December 10, 2012 at 6:28 a.m.
rolando said...

Yup, yup, yup. The 47% have had their say and they now demand their piece of the action...like De-Troit, for instance.

December 10, 2012 at 7 a.m.
anniebelle said...

Check your numbers, rolando, Romney got 47% of the vote. President Obama got 51%. I guess math is not one of your priorities.

December 10, 2012 at 7:13 a.m.
joneses said...

Obastard needs to understand that not raising someones taxes is not a tax cut. But there are fools that believe obastard's lies and many are posting on this site The dumb just keep getting dumber.

December 10, 2012 at 7:26 a.m.
aae1049 said...

Exactly Rolando! Control of budget means financial windfall for Obama Dims, cliff for everyone else.

December 10, 2012 at 8:14 a.m.
rolando said...

You're a typical Progressive, annieb. Try to keep up with the news, huh?

Hint: It was the 47% of Americans who pay no federal income tax who put The Obama over the top -- and barely at that. If just 1 1/2 or 2% had voted the other way we would have a different Prez today.....but then, "if" is an iffy word.

It seems that that 47% are getting more than they asked for...and beginning to choke on it.

This one tells it all:

http://www.seattlepi.com/comics-and-games/fun/Mallard_Fillmore/

December 10, 2012 at 9:38 a.m.
Walden said...

Gee Drew - nice of you to campaign for the Republican ticket, now that the election is long lost.

December 10, 2012 at 10:07 a.m.

Rolando, actually when you factor in Mitt's performance among the senior citizens, one of the largest shares of non-federal income tax payers, you have to ask yourself who really got that vote.

No wait, you'd rather just make blind claims as usual.

Reality is starvation doesn't lead to prosperity, and the plan to end government by the Tea Party has been rejected.

The fiscal cliff is manufactured media hysteria, the debt limit is a joke, and the actual US growth in the federal budget can be linked to specific programs, not just blindly thrown out as a summary number that has no meaning except emotional.

But hey, the Republican party got 98% of what they wanted for years. How much longer does that have to continue?

December 10, 2012 at 10:42 a.m.
nucanuck said...

rolando, I thought that we had already established that you were one of the 47% who received more than you put in? Is this a form of self-hate that you express against your same 47%?

December 10, 2012 at 10:42 a.m.
EaTn said...

Happywithnewbulbs said...."The fiscal cliff is manufactured media hysteria".

As that once famous VP Cheney once said, the deficit doesn't matter as long as the national budget stays below 20% of GDP. The individual debts in overextended mortgages, student loans and credit cards, along with lenders blind lending practices is what brought us to the brink. Added to this was the govt encouraging shipment of jobs overseas. The danger of the debt is when climbing interest rates drive the payment on the debt out the roof; but then that's why the fed has kept rates low.

December 10, 2012 at 11:31 a.m.
LibDem said...

Is the "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette" a high school paper?

December 10, 2012 at 12:18 p.m.
Ozzy87 said...

George Will and Bobby Jindal summed it up pefectly. Watch the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s09KAdgb7Vg

December 10, 2012 at 12:36 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

This is what a pure democracy gets you, the majority voting themselves benefits at a cost to a minority. Anyone participating in this "legalised" theft should be ashamed of themselves. I know better however, those who promote socialism know no shame, they are so overwhelmed with hate and envy they feel they are completely justified.

December 10, 2012 at 12:46 p.m.
rolando said...

Nucanuck -- No one of consequence has established any such thing about me.

The government told me for decades that my contribution to Social Security, if invested by me instead of given to it, would amount to between 1 and 2 million dollars by the time I was 65. And that was in 1960s-1990s dollars and factored in inflation.

So...now that I am drawing down that $1,000,000 on a paltry amount it sees fit to pay me each month, your wild claims that I am drawing out more than I paid in are highly irrational.

Allowing only 1% interest, at their rate of payout it will take me roughly 400 years to get my money back.

It wasn't voluntarily paid out by me, either. These days my money is even paid out to illegal Mexicans, et al.

So go back to your Vancouver Island [Canada] fortress and stop your bitchin' about Americans who choose to remain in and support their homeland.

December 10, 2012 at 1:01 p.m.
rolando said...

Bulbs, as usual you go into deep right field in search of a fly to catch.

I love this part of your comment above; "...performance among the senior citizens, one of the largest shares of non-federal income tax payers."

You made my point beautifully -- those seniors who pay no federal income tax are, by definition, part of the 47% who voted for The Obama.

The same thing will happen for the foreseeable future, only more so. Congrats. America is dead. Long live Amerika.

December 10, 2012 at 1:12 p.m.
rolando said...

Big Ridge -- Exactly the reason why the Founders prevented the people from voting directly for the President and the Senators.

The Electoral College was -- and is, to my knowledge -- able to vote for whoever they chose, regardless of the popular vote.

December 10, 2012 at 1:16 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Rolando,

The Electoral College cannot "vote for whoever they choose". Also, the Electoral College has nothing to do with the popular vote.

Interesting fact: Only 18% pay no taxes. The majority of that 47% pays a payroll tax. But you omit that for a reason.

December 10, 2012 at 2:20 p.m.

rolando, once again you make up a falsehood, and wonder why the fantasy isn't believed.

In reality, Obama didn't get near as many votes from those Senior Citizens whose non-federal income tax paying ways you belabor as Mitt Romney did with no desire to actually see who they are.

I guess the America you want is built on lies...much like your vision of the past America.

Also, the electors are bound to vote for who they have sworn to vote for in several states. Turns out people don't like the idea of letting an elite group decide the fate of the country.

I guess this disappoints the Republican oligarchs.

December 10, 2012 at 4:33 p.m.
rolando said...

Bulbs -- You were the one who singled out senior citizens to pick on for your little charade [for which I take umbrage]. Stick with the posting.

For all I care, you can include Bozo the Clown in that 47% category [apologies to the clowns out there].


Regardless of how you want to spin it, easy, it is the Electoral College that elects the President. And since when is any elected [or appointed] government official held publicly responsible for his actions/oaths? Need I cite The Obama's oath to uphold the Constitution? [That one's a real joke]. Or Slick Willie's cigar, et al.

47% [plus or minus] pay no federal income taxes. They may pay in but they all get refunds...some of them even get more back than they pay in...illegal Mexicans, for instance. Maybe you, for that matter.

December 10, 2012 at 7 p.m.
rolando said...

Bulbs -- The Amerika you want is Communist.

December 10, 2012 at 7:01 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Rolando,

"And since when is any elected [or appointed] government official held publicly responsible for his actions/oaths?"

Why didn't you mention Bush's WMD's, FEMA, Saudi Arabia, The Carlyle Group, Guantanamo, 9/11 Commission, 9/11... need I cite more?

"Regardless of how you want to spin it, easy, it is the Electoral College that elects the President."

No spinning. You stated the Electoral College could elect who they want. That is patently false.

"47% [plus or minus] pay no federal income taxes."

That number is meaningless and a statistical anomaly. Correction to my previous post: only about 14 % paid no taxes.

http://www.politicususa.com/half-americans-taxes.html

"They may pay in but they all get refunds.."

No, they ALL do not get refunds.

"some of them even get more back than they pay in"

People outside the 47% get similar refunds.

"illegal Mexicans, for instance."

Show us all of those instances.

"Maybe you, for that matter."

Wrong again.

December 10, 2012 at 7:25 p.m.

Rolando, you're the one expressing disdain for the 47% with no regard for their circumstances, just blindly declaring them somehow reprehensible. You're even asserting they voted for Obama with no evidence of it.

The reality shows that with the number of retired seniors in that group and voting for Romney, there's more than you want to admit.

But don't worry, you can keep hating them. They don t even notice, as long as you dangle the right carrots in front of them. Like getting them riled up over "Communists" and "illegal immigrants" as well as that tax business.

All you have to do is keep stirring up fear, and they'll never notice that America isn't number one any more. Stir up those feelings of exceptionalism...

December 10, 2012 at 11:51 p.m.
rolando said...

easy -- you again make my case.


Bublbs -- I DO express disdain for the 47% who pay no federal income taxes, don't I? Gee. Wonder why. Maybe because I have little sympathy for those who feed at the public trough while standing on the backs of the taxpayers who support them in all manner of ways, all the while screaming for even higher taxes of those already overburdened carrying their share. [How's that for a first sentence?]

harp made the prediction long ago that those on the dole would re-elect The Obama and gave the numbers support it...he was right.

Yes, The Obama HAS drug us down into nothingness from being the number one superpower, hasn't he? He is even giving F-16s to Al Qaeda. [And Progressives claim he isn't a Muslim!] It only took four years...

Yes, your vision IS of a Communist Amerika. Fear not, we are getting there...so continue your distractions by saying to the 47%ers, "Look! There goes Elvis!" They're too selff-centered and/or uncaring to notice while swiveling their well-oiled necks to see Superman or whoever.

December 11, 2012 at 6:10 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

rolando said... "Exactly the reason why the Founders prevented the people from voting directly for the President and the Senators."

Surely, you do not think that is how things work these days, do you? The party machines control who comes up through their ranks and manipulate the election process to maintain the status quo. The republican party manipulation of the primary process the past election cycle made that abundantly clear to anyone who was watching.

December 11, 2012 at 8:14 a.m.

rolando, because you're blindly judgmental, and think that you can score points by condemning them. Yet all you're showing is that you know nothing of them. They aren't necessarily the parasitic leeches you want them to be, many of them are disabled, including disabled military veterans, others are senior citizens who are now on their retirement incomes. Many are just hardworking people who aren't paid very well at their jobs.

Yet you paint them with the same cloth, declaring them to be people sucking away the money of others as if they didn't do anything but demand that money. Too bad that's not the case. And too bad you'll never realize how many of them blindly voted for Romney who was trying to sell them a bill of goods himself.

And giving F-16's to Al-Qaeda? You're getting more preposterous than ever. Your vision seems to be one of fantasies and delusions where you can create an America where you go play whatever lie you try to distract the people who won't see how you're trying to bamboozle them.

It's easy for you to say "Hey, look at those poor people, they're taking your money!" but you know what? People are noticing who is really taking the lion's share of tax benefits.

It isn't the poor, they're not the ones at the front of the line to the public trough.

December 11, 2012 at 10:37 a.m.
Easy123 said...

Rolando,

"easy -- you again make my case."

You are highly delusional if you truly believe that.

December 11, 2012 at 5:11 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

Rolando, Just pay your taxes and stop whining. Your side lost the election fair and square according to the laws of the land - Not like Gore v. Bush.

December 11, 2012 at 5:12 p.m.
rolando said...

What makes you think my judgment was blind, bulbs? You think you are God or something? Or just the kind of "mentalist" The Obama has in the WH...

You read the news selectively, too.

Hey -- if the 47% can't hack it in real life -- or their family/church won't see to their well-being, TT. It isn't anyone's job but them and theirs to see to their welfare, certainly not that of strangers who happen to used better judgment to get where they are today instead of generations worth of sucking of the guv teat.

But don't worry...The Obama will give them a job. Problem is, it is easier to NOT work and STILL get paid. Paid more, actually.

You are far out of your depth in international affairs, bulbs. But we all know and recognize that...we just play along with you because you are rather funny.

The IRS and all their literature I have seen over the last five decades or so all said that one only need pay exactly what the tax laws require and not a penny more. So the wealthy hire great tax lawyers who know how to read the laws.

Those tax laws, by the way, have [only] one thing in common with the Bible -- one can find a passage somewhere therein that lets them do whatever they want [with one very notable exception]. Trick is to find it.

December 11, 2012 at 5:24 p.m.
rolando said...

Not delusional at all, easy.

You said it, in effect, right there in your first sentence [beyond which I don't read when you use that format].

Since you emulate alpo, your entire post is nicely summarized in your first sentence, why read further?

December 11, 2012 at 5:28 p.m.
rolando said...

inqmind -- I pay my income taxes every year. Which is more than the 47% who elected The Obama can say.

If anyone can complain about our government, it is those or us who pay income tax -- not those who mooch of OUR income.

Didn't pay attention to the "Hanging Chads Affair", did you? Read what the SCOTUS actually wrote, not what algore cried to the media. He lost; Bush won. Just like The Obama.

December 11, 2012 at 5:37 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Rolando,

"Not delusional at all, easy."

Very delusional, in fact.

"You said it, in effect, right there in your first sentence"

In effect, I didn't say anything that would make your case. Try again.

"[beyond which I don't read when you use that format]."

It's the most concise and easy-to-read format.

"Since you emulate alpo,"

I don't emulate anyone. I just make my posts more organized and precise.

"your entire post is nicely summarized in your first sentence,"

No, it isn't whatsoever. My first sentence had almost nothing to do with the rest of the post. Your misguided pedantry is nauseating.

"why read further?"

To not look like a childish imbecile.

December 11, 2012 at 6:16 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Rolando,

"Which is more than the 47% who elected The Obama can say."

False and fallacious.

"If anyone can complain about our government, it is those or us who pay income tax -- not those who mooch of OUR income."

Everyone has the right to complain. You have no more right than anyone else. Also, no one is mooching off your income. It doesn't work that way. You just like to complain about it because it gives you a cause.

"He lost; Bush won."

That's still up for debate. But keep acting like it was clear-cut.

December 11, 2012 at 6:26 p.m.

rolando, let's see, you're condemning a group of people without consideration or thought, just taking one characteristic to use to judge them.

Yeah, what makes you think you can claim it's not a blind act on your part? Self-delusion?

Keep doing that. Orly Taitz needs your support.

December 11, 2012 at 7:43 p.m.
charivara said...

John Boehner on CBS August 1, 2011 speaking about the result of debt ceiling negotiations with President Obama "When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the White House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted. I'm pretty happy." That's Republican "compromise", more accurately described as blackmail. They were threatening to refuse to pay the debt they largely created and drive the United States into default, perhaps even creating another Depression, merely in order to embarrass a Constitutionally elected President and deny him reelection.

These people are not interested in governing, they want to rule, mainly to benefit a small minority. They are a danger to the Republic, a cancer on the body politic, enemies of democracy. They thwart the will of the majority when they lose elections and rob them blind when they win.

How long do we have to give tax breaks to "job creators" who don't create jobs? Thirty years isn't enough time to figure out that it’s not happening? Is there any evidence that links low taxes, not to mention conservative policies in general, with economic prosperity for all? Besides the wishful thinking of mindless ideologues, that is.

A compelling case can be made that we are in the mess today largely because of Republican dismantling of financial regulations that kept greedy bankers at bay, because of Republicans starting two wars without paying for them and because of Republicans lowering taxes, especially on greedy bankers and war profiteers. Yet there are actually people who believe that more of these policies will get us out of the mess we are in! If you find yourself in a hole you don't want to be in, you might want to stop digging. But that takes a modicum of intelligence, as well as honesty, to figure out. Not much of those coming from the Republicans these days. Or from this columnist.

December 11, 2012 at 11:27 p.m.
rolando said...

Not delusional at all, easy; nor either false or fallacious. Just simple truth -- that's hurts you, huh? The truth always does.

December 12, 2012 at 1:05 p.m.
rolando said...

Here's what Thomas Sowell has to say about "taxing the rich"...and the poor.

quote

With all the talk about taxing the rich, we hear very little talk about taxing the poor. Yet the marginal tax rate on someone living in poverty can sometimes be higher than the marginal tax rate on millionaires.

While it is true that nearly half the households in the country pay no income tax at all, the apparently simple word "tax" has many complications that can be a challenge for even professional economists to untangle.

If you define a tax as only those things that the government chooses to call a tax, you get a radically different picture from what you get when you say, "If it looks like a tax, acts like a tax and takes away your resources like a tax, then it's a tax." One of the biggest, and one of the oldest, taxes in this latter sense is inflation. Governments have stolen their people's resources this way, not just for centuries, but for thousands of years.

Hyperinflation can take virtually your entire life's savings, without the government having to bother raising the official tax rate at all. The Weimar Republic in Germany in the 1920s had thousands of printing presses turning out vast amounts of money, which the government could then spend to pay for whatever it wanted to pay for.

Of course, prices skyrocketed with vastly more money in circulation. Many people's life savings would not buy a loaf of bread. For all practical purposes, they had been robbed, big time. A rising demagogue coined the phrase "starving billionaires," because even a billion Deutschmarks was not enough to feed your family. That demagogue was Adolf Hitler, and the public's loss of faith in their irresponsible government may well have contributed toward his Nazi movement's growth.

Most inflation does not reach that level, but the government can quietly steal a lot of your wealth with much lower rates of inflation. For example a $100 bill at the end of the 20th century would buy less than a $20 bill would buy in 1960.

If you put $1,000 in your piggy bank in 1960 and took it out to spend in 2000, you would discover that your money had, over time, lost 80 percent of its value.

Despite all the political rhetoric today about how nobody's taxes will be raised, except for "the rich," inflation transfers a percentage of everybody's wealth to a government that expands the money supply. Moreover, inflation takes the same percentage from the poorest person in the country as it does from the richest. That's not all. Income taxes only transfer money from your current income to the government, but it does not touch whatever money you may have saved over the years. With inflation, the government takes the same cut out of both.

[continued]

December 12, 2012 at 1:14 p.m.
rolando said...

[cont]

It is bad enough when the poorest have to turn over the same share of their assets to the government as the richest do, but it is grotesque when the government puts a bigger bite on the poorest. This can happen because the rich can more easily convert their assets from money into things like real estate, gold or other assets whose value rises with inflation. But a welfare mother is unlikely to be able to buy real estate or gold. She can put a few dollars aside in a jar somewhere. But wherever she may hide it, inflation can steal value from it without having to lay a hand on it.

No wonder the Federal Reserve uses fancy words like "quantitative easing," instead of saying in plain English that they are essentially just printing more money.

The biggest and most deadly "tax" rate on the poor comes from a loss of various welfare state benefits-- food stamps, housing subsidies and the like-- if their income goes up.

Someone who is trying to climb out of poverty by working their way up can easily reach a point where a $10,000 increase in pay can cost them $15,000 in lost benefits that they no longer qualify for. That amounts to a marginal tax rate of 150 percent-- far more than millionaires pay. Some government policies help some people at the expense of other people. But some policies can hurt welfare recipients, the taxpayers and others, all at the same time, even though in different ways.

Why? Because we are too easily impressed by lofty political rhetoric and too little interested in the reality behind the words.

unquote

Now guess who is ordering the printing of all that money and ruining the dollar's value...the printing called "quantitative easing". Yeah, right.

December 12, 2012 at 1:15 p.m.
rolando said...

Any YOU, bulbs, condemn "a group of people without consideration or thought, just taking one characteristic [their high income] to use to judge them." [Words added in brackets mine]

People who live in glass houses...

December 12, 2012 at 1:27 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Rolando,

"Not delusional at all, easy; nor either false or fallacious"

Delusional, false and fallacious, in fact.

Also, "nor neither" is improper. You would use "neither" at the beginning and "nor" between the items.

"Just simple truth"

Nope.

"that's hurts you, huh?"

Why would it hurt me? It seems to hurt you to be called out on your bullsh!t.

Also, no need for the apostrophe -s. And "huh?" doesn't make sense in that context unless you misheard something or didn't understand the words I wrote.

"The truth always does."

Not always. Apparently, calling out lies does though.

December 14, 2012 at 2:27 a.m.
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