Rep. Bill Johnson Knows What’s Wrong With the Economy
Most of our unemployment problem stems from overregulation, over-taxation and the Obama economy.
— Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), Monday
Which is why we should deregulate the financial-services industry and reduce income taxes to resemble the good ole days of the George W. Bush administration. Let’s restore the economy to its glory days: say, 2008-09. And I swoon when I think of how swimmingly the economy of Johnson’s state, Ohio, would be if only that socialist Obama hadn’t had the federal government use tax money to save GM and Chrysler.
Why, if Obama keeps going the way he has been with all that tax-and-regulation-and-pro-union stuff, he’ll drag the economy back to the days of the LBJ administration! What were tax rates then? And that Glass-Steagall law! How did U.S. capitalism ever survive the ’60s?!
Apparently Mr. Johnson from Ohio doesn’t want to be ignored by the media. To that end he is apparently willing to exhibit his own cynical ignorance which is undoubtedly a good match with the ignorance of the voters in Ohio that elected Mr. Johnson to be their Representative in the Congress. Mr. Johnson could have gained publicity by pulling down his pants at a large public gathering and mooning the crowd. That would have received much media attention, but it would also have a bit of negative notoriety attached. Being an ignorant, cynical putz in front of a public forum is, on the other hand, just what conservative Republicans do these days. Too bad that Ohio, and many other localities, has such a large number of ignorant asses that are allowed to vote on the basis of their fears, ignorance and bigotry. Worse yet is that we all have to sufer for that level of stupidity.
He fits the mode of State Senator Joe Hune who represents much of Livingston County and Oakland County. Recent comments:
– State Sen. Joe Hune called the likely expansion of Medicaid to Michigan’s working poor “garbage” he “could not stomach” to support in Tuesday’s Senate vote that narrowly passed the measure.
– Hune earlier called the bill, which passed the House in June, “nauseating” because it would increase Michigan’s commitment to government-funded health care by nearly 500,000 people. The bill now must go back to the House to review changes made in the Senate version.
It passed in Michigan by two votes much to Senator Joe Hune’s distress. It is time to send him home from the capital and finding someone better to replace that littl cherub face of his.
what else would you expect from the 6th district…that’s practically west virginia..
God by now a tired, tired cliche yet oddly maintaining huge explicative power:
Or maybe it is just me that is tired and not the cliche. Because confronting the modern Republican Party has driven the snark and the irony out of any possible responses, it is almost impossible to even make fun of these guys anymore.
Clowns yes. But traditionally clowns are supposed to be scary as well as funny. And this clown-car full has gotten me plenty scared. Because the history of the last century has been too often marked by the triumph of the intellectually dim and consciously (if that is not a logical contradiction) anti-Enlightenment folk.
It puts me in mind of one of Sinclair Lewis’s less known works: “It Can’t Happen Here”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It_Can't_Happen_Here
Because as Lewis knew full well it really could. All it takes is for all the resitors to just get tired and give up. Because “Truth DOESN’T Out”. Not by itself.
I never thought clowns were scary, or funny. Just boring and tedious.
But as I think you know, if you let yourself think about it for a moment, it is not only the anti-enlightenment (hard right) folks who resist truth and work hard to keep it out of the public discourse.
I am not referring to my arguable opinions on a certain subject, but to one plain fact that I… perhaps foolishly… think would solve the “problem” if it were widely known. That has been suppressed… or ignored… as effectively by the progressive press as natural selection was ignored in the soviet union… perhaps another stronghold of anti-enlightenment thought.
moral of all this… it ain’t just the bad guys who can’t or won’t think. it’s all of us.
Well here is the thing. Taxes likely do have at least some effect on employment as do regulations. The fact that neither is the primary reason for our continued high unemployment escapes way too many voters. as does the fact that no one including Republicans would want to live in the dystopia that would exist without them. As to Obama’s economic policy, I assume that is code for his alleged bashing of business or a circular argument back to taxes and regulation. Most of the GOP base just hear “he is black” and IMHO that is all that matters.
I don’t live in a part of the country where “he is black” is heard much less accepted as a reason for opposing him. And the emphasis on his alleged bashing of business has to be on “alleged.”
I assume the listeners to Rush et al buy the taxes, deficit, and regulation hysteria, but some of the people i know are more bothered by his support of the banks and the war on the middle east… which appear to be settled American policy … of both parties. And the ordinary people are just not happy with the economy and it is very hard to explain to them that that is all Bush’s fault (even without getting into the apparent continuation by Obama of Bush’s policies, not to mention Clinton’s). These are, after all, people who believe that Obama caused the flooding of New Orleans.
Dale as to your 11:06 there is a lot more acceptance of the substance of the Northwest Plan among certain policy progressive’s of our mutual acquaintance (including people well known to AB’ers) than you might think. Not everyone agrees that it is the ‘end all and be all’ but almost all accept it as a component. Now there is some disagreement whether we should just settle for ‘Scheduled’ as a target as opposed to ‘Enhanced’ and more disagreement on whether ‘Scheduled’ should be simply targeted by phased in increases in FICA and retention of something close to maintenance of the current cap formula as opposed to adjustments in the latter which would reduce the need for the former. But some at least are willing to entertain the NW Plan’s foundational assertion of “Social Security: “Of the Workers, For the Workers, and By the Workers”. Without conceding the total displacement of Welfare by Insurance.
As some of them have hinted semi-privately to you AND me the problem may not be entirely in the message but in the message delivery, particularly to third parties who know you only from your replies. After all the politest word I can apply to your rhetorical style is “impatient”. Which gets received in all kinds of other ways. And observed with varying degrees of alarm by people who still think of themselves as your friends. Or at least would-be friends.
I suppose that should be good to hear, but here is the impatience.
Some of the people I talked to sound to me very much like they don’t want to hear the fact. And they certainly avoid publishing it. If they have other “plans,” I can have no principled objection to that… though I may disagree with them about the wisdom or political realism of their plan.
I certainly do not propose ending welfare as we know it. I just object to trying to turn SS into welfare, because it has succeeded exactly because it is not. There is a lot that needs to be done in the world, a lot of needs to be met. But loading them all onto the back SS because it is successful is exactly the way to make it fail.
Meanwhile the bad guys have the argument all to themselves because those progressives you mention are not willing to put “the fact” in front of the people, explain it to them, and if not exactly let them decide, let them at least have the chance of knowing what is being decided.
But that is all substantive, and so unreachable by us. All I was saying was epistemic closure is where you find it.
what motivates my pique is to be accused of being insensitive, a racist, impatient, and whatever other sins i have been described as having comitted.
The people so describing me are projecting their own sins onto me. And some of them have the kind of bad manners that would get them not invited back to most decent homes. But protocol mode downward always looks like that to the folks who are expected to use protocol mode upward when talking to their betters.
And I’d be willing to bet that half the people who read this… if any… will take me to mean exactly the opposite of what I do.
You seem to be getting more confused and off-target. From my standpoint, the goal should be aligning taxes on capital and labor equally–not only increasing the capital gains tax to the same rate as labor, but adding capital gains to the revenue pool devoted to social security taxes–imagine the extra revenue to social security and medicare from foreigners who have profited from our capitalist system! Medicare would be flush with funds every time a Bill Gates sold his stock and a portion was taxed into the the SS/Medicare system’
And no one can argue that it is unfair to tax gains on capital the same way we tax wages for people who have to go to work everyday. The entire system is simply rigged by the wealthy rentiers and against working people. And now the proposed cuts to “entitlements” which people have been paying for through years of tax withholdings is just pure power grab theft by those who hold the capital in this country which I was indoctrinated to revere, and now realize how brutal and parsimonious we are as compared to say the Scandinavian countries and other EU members who actually take care of their average citizens, and even those who are disabled or cannot earn a living given the employment systems in their countries. I am ashamed to be an American now. We may rule the world militarily and even financially, but if it only benefits 1%, this is no longer a great nation.
I have discussed this with Republicans, and they just say “If you don’t like it, just leave”. They seem to misunderstand that I cannot legally move to Sweden and work there—immigration laws forbid it. The U.S. is a crappy country to live in, with the greatest military ever invented, which is basically a jobs program combined with a defense industry stimulus program, all geared to allow multinational corporations to operate anywhere without restriction, and who now have no loyalty to the US. We are the ultimate banana republic, run and owned by multinational corporations.
And people are really feeling it since 2007.. Our local institutions and universities have become hollow shells of what they once were. Basic funding for science and research has become inert, and our universities cannot produce employment for our debt-ridden students. If I has Einstein level children and were advising them on their futures, I would steer them into becoming plumbers, electricians, anything profitable that cannot be outsourced. And this is coming from an overeducated-unemployed attorney and CPA. A vo-tech education was for the dummies when I grew up–little did I know that they were going to be the winners as far as stable employment and non-outsourceable work was concerned. No tele-operator in India will take you electrician’s job–but they will take over the legal and accounting work that used to be done here.
Who to blame? Politicians and their multinational corporate owners who have allowed “free trade” to flourish. They forgot to tell us that US workers’ wages would fall to Chinese or Indian levels. Or even worse that US unemployment would grow to meet Depression era levels, just because a foreigner would work for half the price. Try calling tech-support for almost any product such as a cell phone or computer. I will bet you any amount of money, on a 5-1 odds, that your first contact will be with a foreigner, usually an Indian. When I call for tech support, I immediately demand to speak to an American representative. Not only can I understand their answers better and get a quicker resolution, by forcing them to use an American, I am helping to keep jobs here. Everyone should do the same–refuse to deal with a foreign operator and insist on having your problem solved by an American. It costs nothing to us, but forces the multinationals to hire more American tech representatives.
if you are referring to me about being confused and off subject, i agree and apologize. i just get a little frustrated with a certain class of people who make me feel like Rodney King being told he directed his own beating.
but as for paying for social security with taxes on the rich… including capital gains or a tax on stock transactions… it’s the wrong approach.
by all means raise those taxes and use the money to pay for whatever you like. defense, highways, welfare.
but social security has been the most successful anti poverty program in America for the last seventy five years exactly because it is not welfare, it is not a tax on the rich.
it is stupid to destroy social security in order to “save” the workers the extra eighty cents per week it would cost them to keep SS forever with benefits gradually rising to twice what they are today in real dollars as wages rise.
even if wages don’t rise, social security was designed as insurance exactly in case “all else fails.” it can work that way forever as long as we don’t destroy it in our greed to have the rich pay for it.
i know the Petersons lie about it and fool the politicians they don’t pay off. but there is no excuse for the “progressives” to ignore the fact that it would be cheap for the workers to pay for their own social security… as they always have, as their parents and grandparents did… just because they… the progressives… have a gut commitment to “make the rich pay for the poor”.
note i said up above “it is stupid to destroy social secuirity…” this is the kind of thing that gets me accused of being “insensitive” and having bad manners.
i don’t know what kind of manners it takes to destroy social security by refusing to tell the people what they could do to save it themselves.
For about the first third of my working career, I was under the cap and paid FICA on 100% of my salary; when Jack Welch’s policies and managerial behavior trickled down to my level and made me choose an early retirement, I was over the cap and paid FICA on about 80% of my salary. Currently, my vested GE pension is about $38K and Social Security gives me about $29K. As time goes on, the SS payment will increase with COL and the GE pension will not. (Sorry, but I find this more interesting to discuss than the latest Republican idiocy.)
I have one nephew who has been a public-school teacher for almost as long as I worked at GE, and has always been under the SS cap. Another nephew is a medical doctor and makes about $250K/year, well over the cap. Among the three of us, I think the teacher has worked the hardest. (He always takes a summer job, and does tutoring and community work outside of school hours..)
Based on this anecdotal data, my prescription would be:
1) The cap should be raised to about the same level and trend as my salary, i.e., I should have paid FICA on 95-100% of my salaried earnings ($110K/year in 2003; I estimate it would be about $120K today) – the SS pension benefit is well-worth that to me.
2) The amount of the SS benefit could be raised slightly. I don’t need the money, but some economists say that others do. (Most won’t have the company pension that the Union of Electrical Workers got from GE in the 1950’s and 1960’s.)
3) Then the NW plan should be used to keep the SS plan solvent and take it off the political table.
Anyway, that is what would happen if I were King, give or take some details.
I could agree with you. A modest raise in the cap, accompanied by an equitable raise in the benefit, would be a good step.
The only problem I have with “raise the cap” is that the people calling for it are calling for raising it too much… so that SS becomes welfare. And meanwhile they are hiding the fact, which they know, that a one tenth of one percent increase in the payroll tax, per year, would enable the workers to pay for their own Social Security.. as it increases due to longer life expectancy and higher benefits reflective of higher wages.
This ought to end the “debate.” The workers can easily afford it. It’s a very good deal for them. And once “the rich” know they are not going to be forced to pay for it with a huge increase in their taxes, they shouldn’t object. Although of course the Petersons will find a reason to object because their objection has nothing to do with taxes or the deficit. With them it is a question of “ideology” that has become mental illness.