Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston

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A Metaphor for the GOP

Monday, October 27, 2008

WHO'S A MARXIST?

From The New Yorker:

During the 2000 campaign, on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” a young woman asked him [John McCain] why her father, a doctor, should be “penalized” by being “in a huge tax bracket.” McCain replied that “wealthy people can afford more” and that “the very wealthy, because they can afford tax lawyers and all kinds of loopholes, really don’t pay nearly as much as you think they do.”

The exchange continued:


YOUNG WOMAN: Are we getting closer and closer to, like, socialism and stuff?. . .


MCCAIN: Here’s what I really believe: That when you reach a certain level of comfort, there’s nothing wrong with paying somewhat more.


For her part, Sarah Palin, who has lately taken to calling Obama “Barack the Wealth Spreader,” seems to be something of a suspect character herself.

She is, at the very least, a fellow-traveller of what might be called socialism with an Alaskan face.

The state that she governs has no income or sales tax. Instead, it imposes huge levies on the oil companies that lease its oil fields. The proceeds finance the government’s activities and enable it to issue a four-figure annual check to every man, woman, and child in the state.

One of the reasons Palin has been a popular governor is that she added an extra twelve hundred dollars to this year’s check, bringing the per-person total to $3,269.

A few weeks before she was nominated for Vice-President, she told a visiting journalist—Philip Gourevitch, of this magazine—that “we’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs.”


Perhaps there is some meaningful distinction between spreading the wealth and sharing it (“collectively,” no less), but finding it would require the analytic skills of Karl the Marxist.

15 comments:

Patrick M said...

WHO'S A MARXIST?

Obama, primarily.

McCain, a little less so.

The Griper said...

the part of your equation that you so conveniently left out, shaw, is the matter of ownership. there is your difference.

Shaw Kenawe said...

the part of your equation that you so conveniently left out, shaw, is the matter of ownership.--the griper

Do the people of West Virginia and western Pennsylvania (for example) collectively "own" the coal--a natural resource--in the area where they live? Do they share in the revenues after the coal companies mine it?


How about the rich topsoil of the farmlands? That's a natural resource that allows agribusiness to profit from the corn and soybeans grown in the heartland.

If the oil in Alaska is owned by Alaskans, why not coal, topsoil, and other natural resources in other states?

I think that what Alaska does is unique to Alaska--I don't know the history. But it IS socialism--spreading the wealth.

I don't know of any other state where the revenues from a natural resource is shared with the citizens of that state.

If you do, please enlighten me.

Patrick M said...

The difference is simple. Private citizens or companies own the land in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. And since they own it, they get profits off any resources dug out

Alaska, on the other hand, is mostly owned by the state. Since the state owns the land, it gets the profits off any resources sucked out. And since Alaska pays a dividend to its citizens off the oil profits, they get their share.

In addition, it's paid to every citizen, not just the ones who 'need' it.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Patrick, Griper:

Do you honestly think that Barack Obama would have as his advisers–Warren Buffet; Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve under Ronald Reagan, who is widely credited with saving the economy at that time; Bob Rubin, former Treasury secretary; and even Chris Buckley, the son of the godfather of the modern conservative movement–both endorsing his economic policies and help shaping them if they thought he was a socialist of some kind?

Patrick M said...

Well, given that the GOP is getting closer to a socialist agenda it than I thought possible, it wouldn't surprise me.

It seems only a choice between which form of big government we're going to get stuck with. And far too many of these advisers are enamored with the aphrodisiac that is power.

The Griper said...

as to what Obama is I do my own research on him and make my own decisions about what he is which you apparently don't since you are relying on what you believe others think of him.

but what is important here is that your post is deceptive and i'll say unintendedly so but still deceptive. and we pointed that out to you why it was deceptive.

Arthurstone said...

Obama the 'Marxist'.

Learning the tricks and ruses of redistribution of wealth and otherwise advancing the collectivist/socialist/Marxist agenda from the noted radical Warren Buffett.

Next.

Patrick M said...

Arthur, do I really need to break out the Marxist associations list here? Or start quoting Obama?

Shaw Kenawe said...

No one in their right mind thinks Obama is a Marxist.

Therefore...

And Griper, it is very condescending of you to state that what I believe of Obama I believe through other people's filter.

How supercilious of you.

How very male of you not to think that I, a woman, can come to my own decisions through my own research and deliberations on the differences in the candidates.

How old are you?

My grandfather thought the very same way.

Shaw Kenawe said...

How very male of you not to think that I, a woman, can come to my own decisions through my own research and deliberations on the differences in the candidates.

That should be CAN'T.

Arthurstone said...

Patrick wondered:

"Arthur, do I really need to break out the Marxist associations list here? Or start quoting Obama?"

Please don't Patrick. I am aware of Obama's associations and have no problem with him hanging out with the likes of Tom Daschle, Warren Buffett, Bill Ayers and the Reverend Wright. And I am up on Obama quotes as well.

I watched one of my favorite films of all time last night. Dr. Stangelove. Amazing how timely it is and how well it holds up. Rightwing paranoid fantasies of Commies never go out of fashion.

Back then it was fluoridation of the water today it's 'redistributing the wealth' by adjusting the graduated income tax.

The more things change...

Patrick M said...

Arthur: I'm guessing you don't have a problem with the redistribution of wealth. Based on that, Obama's definitely your man.

I've been watching this for year, and the criticism that I level at Obama now, will be the same things, post-election, that I will be condemning George Bush for on my blog when I do my wrap-up of his administration. And it's the same things (though to a lesser degree) that McCain proposes that make me very far from wanting him elected (despite my vote).

Those things are an expansion of government ownership and control, the redistribution of wealth, the continuation of a tax system designed to give goodies to the people in power, and the duct taping of "rights" which aren't onto the octopus with tits that is the government.

It's not Strangelove paranoia, it the application of principles.

Arthurstone said...

Patrick typed:

Arthur: I'm guessing you don't have a problem with the redistribution of wealth. Based on that, Obama's definitely your man.


ANY form of taxation in this view is a form of 'wealth redistribution'.

Well guess what. Taxes are here to stay. And the graduated income tax is indeed here to stay not least because it is fair. Don't take my word for it though:

In a letter to James Madison in 1785, for instance, Thomas Jefferson suggested that taxes could be used to reduce “the enormous inequality” between rich and poor. He wrote that one way of “silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise.”

Patrick added:

'Those things are an expansion of government ownership and control, the redistribution of wealth, the continuation of a tax system designed to give goodies to the people in power, and the duct taping of "rights" which aren't onto the octopus with tits that is the government.'

I assume you write as someone who benefited from the interstate highway system. The state university system. Fire and hospital districts. Borders secure from foreign attack. Road, bridges, airports ferries and buses. Electric utilities. Stable food prices. Retirement security. Etc. Etc.

There are some things we do better (certainly not perfectly) as a group.

And that's where government comes in handy.

The tension between government acting hands on and hands off will always exist. But after a great many years of hands off (Alan Greenspan is shocked! shocked!) let's not continue down that path. I am not happy with every gov't expenditure. Ten billion a month pissed away in Iraq comes to mind for example.

Likewise as to, as you put it 'rights' I am very much in favor of government enforcing equality of reproductive rights, racial and gender equality environmental standards and a whole host of items to lengthy go go into now.

And I'd definitely like them to keep their Jesus to themselves.

Cheers.

Patrick M said...

Arthur: ANY form of taxation in this view is a form of 'wealth redistribution'.

No. Taxation, like government, is a necessary evil. And a progressive tax structure (and the FairTax, which I incessantly link to, is a progressive tax) is logical in a sense. But for redistribution of wealth to occur, the government must confiscate money from one person, then give it to another person. That's the point at which I have problems.

I assume you write as someone who benefited from...

Of course. And you knew I'd answer that thus.

But the problem you neglect in dealing with is what is a right and what is not. I'm not going to take up that much of Shaw's comment space explaining it all, so here's my explanation on rights.