Tuesday morning I will have to drive past the "Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway Sign" on my way to a Denver suburb to celebrate Christmas holiday at my sister-in-law's home. You have to understand that every time I see that government funded road side patronizing memorial I want to THROW UP.
The last time I passed by the sign I realized that none of this ongoing political drama was going to come to pass, where most of the rest of society can begin to actually work on this century's problems is not going to happen until "we", those who are not Right-Wingers, politically and financially break the back of the Right-Wing' support and ideology. These thoughts are now at the forefront of our minds, as even my usually preoccupied wife is becoming attuned to the threats of the fiscal cliff---what is only best described as a self-inflicted economic wound via a political-collective self-destructive personality disorder.
Ironically, this part of the highway is only named the Ronald Reagan Memorial Highway in El Paso County Colorado, where the only sign commemorating this stretch of America's Federal Superhighway system to the growing mythology and leader of an American revolutionary movement but who himself raised taxes eleven times.
CBS NEWS: Ronald Reagan Myth Doesn't Square with Reality
Reagan is perhaps most often invoked by those who cast him as having held the line against tax increases. Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, for example, often points to Reagan when calling for lower taxes and spending cuts; he says, by contrast, "tax hikes are what politicians do when they don't have the determination or the competence to govern." Conservatives also hail Reagan as a budget cutter willing to make hard choices to keep spending in line.The Interstate highway also is called the "John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway" stretching from the border of New Mexico and Colorado up to the El Paso-Pueblo County Line.
It's certainly true that Reagan entered office as a full-throat conservative vowing to cut both spending and taxes. And he quickly followed through on part of that promise, passing a major reduction in marginal tax rates. (According to author Lou Cannon, the top marginal rate fell from 70 percent when he came into office to 28 percent when he left.) But following his party's losses in the 1982 election, Reagan largely backed off his efforts at spending cuts even as he continued to offer the small-government rhetoric that helped get him elected. In fact, he went in the opposite direction. [...] But following his party's losses in the 1982 election, Reagan largely backed off his efforts at spending cuts even as he continued to offer the small-government rhetoric that helped get him elected. In fact, he went in the opposite direction. [...] Meanwhile, following that initial tax cut, Reagan actually ended up raising taxes - eleven times. That's according to former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, a longtime Reagan friend who co-chaired President Obama's fiscal commission that last year offered a deficit reduction proposal.
Fortunately no one refers to it by these symbolic legislative gestures, as it is called I-25 by everyone, including the many wingnuts in my current home city of Colorado Springs, unlike the Chicago Expressways where I grew up and started a career listening intently to the dynamic traffic reports on the car radio.
Cook County Illinois gestures were more direct to the nature of local politics and the building of the road system that was the backbone to the modern Chicago economy. First there was an honor bestowed on President Dwight Eisenhower (R) for creating the Keynesian economic program called the Interstate System, the other was for the Illinoisan Democratic candidate, Gov. Adlai Stevenson, who opposed Ike twice while also bestowing a post-humus honor to JFK. They also named an expressway after two other local political celebrities; the Edens Expy named after William G. Edens, a banker and early advocate for paved roads the other, Dan Ryan Expy, was named for the late Dan Ryan, Jr., once the Pres of the Cook County Board who accelerated the construction of Chicago-area expressways. They made some kind of political and historic sense. Tell me why Reagan or Kennedy in the middle of the southern Colorado Front Range except for patronizing political symbolism, much like most of the House of Representatives work the last two years. And yes I am back to the final throws of conservative era.
So let us come to terms with the angst surrounding the dysfunctional government led by the Republicans. Collectively this is the democratic form of a Right-Wing Revolution once called the Reagan Revolution, and as with any and all genuine revolutionary movements those who are the true believers, the fighters, the members, they are willing cause great pain and suffering for their cause---even suicide. The mistake most people outside or not living amongst these revolutionaries is that they truly believe the bullshit they espouse. Just listen to a supposedly responsible member of Congress, once a committee chair, about his vision and commitment to the revolution, Rep. Huelskamp (R-KS) on Morning Joe's MSNBC program's host Joe Scarborough (a former Republican Congressman himself).
After the rejection of House Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B” plan to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kans., said there’s no way he’ll ever agree to raise taxes, no matter how many spending cuts are agreed upon.So where did this absolutism come from? Understand it has its tap roots all the way back to the Great Depression and the fact that these revolutionaries are all off-spring of parents who lived or were instrumental in causing the Great Depression but deeply believed that America got it wrong during FDR. Understand this, when Eisenhower was elected he was not part of them, he was a hired gun to gain back the White House. But when Kennedy was elected he was hated more than Obama, and they can't stand he beat the Soviets. Kennedy also lowered taxes.
“I’m not going to vote to put people out of work and that’s what these tax increases do,” Huelskamp said Friday on Morning Joe. “I’m not going to put aside the fact that this tax increase would put anywhere from 200,000 to 700,000 Americans out of work.”
Huelskamp said he would never vote for tax increases, even for millionaires, because he believes it will hurt jobs. Emphasis added
The president finally decided that only a bold domestic program, including tax cuts, would restore his political momentum. Declaring that the absence of recession is not tantamount to economic growth, the president proposed in 1963 to cut income taxes from a range of 20-91% to 14-65% He also proposed a cut in the corporate tax rate from 52% to 47%. Ironically, economic growth expanded in 1963, and Republicans and conservative Democrats in Congress insisted that reducing taxes without corresponding spending cuts was unacceptable. Kennedy disagreed, arguing that “a rising tide lifts all boats” and that strong economic growth would not continue without lower taxes.
WHAT? more below the orange waves of change.
As I volunteered before upon interviewing a number of former local political officials in El Paso County, Colorado to better learn the political landscape being the base of conservatism and right wing political movements, some of who included a former Congressman's senior aide, former County Commissioners, Mayor's and City Council Members', what came out was a consistent theme that ran through practically all of them which one now reformed and now admitted Unaffiliated registered voter described as the Republican Conundrum: Three unspoken, unwritten and rules that all Republicans ascribe as a core belief when elected into office:
1. Don't do anything that hurts existing wealth.Now understand this in its simplest form. Practically every Republican politician understands that their mission is to protect existing wealth---meaning the 1% or at least those who believe they are wealthy let us say the top 10%, as in small businesses, agribusinesses, doctors and other professionals who are fixated only in making money.
2. If you must cause financial pain to existing wealth, ensure that lower-income tax payers pay more than their fair share.
3. Don't do anything that increases the cost of corporation's or business' bottom line.
When I ran this by my father of eighty-five years who until recently was a loyal Republican of that top ten percent or better he responded like Olympia Dukakis in the movie Moonstruck when she it was finally revealed why "men chase women"?
My father said; "Someone actually admitted it? We always complained about taxes as taxes are something everyone complains about, as in "who the hell likes paying for something that goes to someone else! But when you get older you realize you are paying for something that will benefit yourself. But you also understood that we all have to pay it just was the progressive rates seemed so unfair. Now they are so unfair the other way and these bozo's are willing to take down the entire country to keep it unfair. But now this explains it more, it used to be that politicians were somewhat independent and had a conscience, now they seem to be soldiers for the extreme wealthy."
Yet this last election what really was exposed the 1%'ers of the 1%'ers, who were committed in contorting and warping the election to the point of making one-man-one-vote irrelevant, no different than how shareholders hold any actual power in corporations. This became evident during the Republican primary, where it turned into something worse than pretzel logic, not even old guard Republicans recognized any reality. The reason is that it used to be that a campaign's life was always about its cash flow from many donors, now it is about pleasing one large donor. So now the system is about some renegade Tea Party rebel who challenges an incumbent who Republicans fear, it is the money behind one of those Tea Party candidates. Ask yourself why this happened?Just ask Dick Armey.
Mother Jones obtained the email on Monday, and Armey has confirmed he sent it. The tone of the memo suggests that this was not an amicable separation.Take my word for something I know. A payout of this magnitude and departure this broad based is not simply a philosophical disagreement is about Armey and staff not being necessary anymore. FreedomWorks which originated from an earlier campaign called Citizens for a Sound Economy in 2004. Citizens for a Sound Economy was established and unwritten by none other than David Koch. Citizens for a Sound Economy then merged with Empower America in 2004 and where it was renamed FreedomWorks, when Dick Armey, Jack Kemp and C. Boyden Gray served as co-chairmen. Empower America focused on charter schools and school choice where Matt Kibbe as its President and CEO. was founded in 1993 by Bill Bennett, Jack Kemp, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, and Rep. Vin Weber. This is a very small world.
"The top management team of FreedomWorks was taking a direction I thought was unproductive, and I thought it was time to move on with my life," Armey tells Mother Jones. "At this point, I don't want to get into the details. I just want to go on with my life."A handful of key FreedomWorks officials said Monday that they, too, were leaving the organization. According to Roll Call, Max Pappas, the former vice president for public policy and government affairs, and campaigns director Brendan Steinhauser are both quitting the group. Two staffers who worked with Steinhauser have also departed.
FreedomWorks president and CEO Matt Kibbe and several of the group's board members have not returned calls for comment.
To get a big picture may I suggest reading Chrystia Freeland's book, Plutocrats, NY Times has a great archived intro written by Freeland herself to reference.
IN the early 14th century, Venice was one of the richest cities in Europe. At the heart of its economy was the colleganza, a basic form of joint-stock company created to finance a single trade expedition. The brilliance of the colleganza was that it opened the economy to new entrants, allowing risk-taking entrepreneurs to share in the financial upside with the established businessmen who financed their merchant voyages.If you understand the these two points of references, the three unspoken and unwritten rules of every Republican Party elected politician and this reference of today's plutocrats where they have created a system that there is no turnover of capitalism, that they are permanently protected and removed from society and its responsibilities you see begin to understand that there are few options remaining but to break the back of their political support system that is protecting the plutocrats power.
Venice’s elites were the chief beneficiaries. Like all open economies, theirs was turbulent. Today, we think of social mobility as a good thing. But if you are on top, mobility also means competition. In 1315, when the Venetian city-state was at the height of its economic powers, the upper class acted to lock in its privileges, putting a formal stop to social mobility with the publication of the Libro d’Oro, or Book of Gold, an official register of the nobility. If you weren’t on it, you couldn’t join the ruling oligarchy.
The political shift, which had begun nearly two decades earlier, was so striking a change that the Venetians gave it a name: La Serrata, or the closure. It wasn’t long before the political Serrata became an economic one, too. Under the control of the oligarchs, Venice gradually cut off commercial opportunities for new entrants. Eventually, the colleganza was banned. The reigning elites were acting in their immediate self-interest, but in the longer term, La Serrata was the beginning of the end for them, and for Venetian prosperity more generally. By 1500, Venice’s population was smaller than it had been in 1330. In the 17th and 18th centuries, as the rest of Europe grew, the city continued to shrink.
This is why I think Obama and Company know this as well. That politically he needs to maintain the high road, the willingness to compromise and be rational while those who hold the nation hostage are exposed. I don't have any confidence that there will be a deal before January 3rd or even January 20th until the economic pain is so severe on the 1% and those who support the 1% and still they will not relent. Howard Dean on MSNBC on the Ed Show last night.
Howard pointed out that he felt we are headed over the fiscal cliff and he was happy about it. That we need the revenues and a down payment on the debt and need to take down defense spending. Now he is saying he believes that the President actually wants a deal but he also believes the Tea Party wants to take us over the cliff. That we will have two quarters of recession but will be better off for it.
That was the question my father-in-law inquired, how could we be better off? As I thought about it, the only prism that one could be better off is to have marginalized the Right Wing where politically they lose the support of the business and corporate classes, even as they were put in place to protect them. The thing I know about the business and corporate class is that they are short-term as in quarterly and monthly financial reports and in cash is king, cash flows. No matter what corporate business is based on available credit and credit demands payments on a regular intervals. Devalue the corporate collateral as in stock values and available credit has a hair cut. Reduce the market and currency acceleration and corporate cash flows are harmed.
Now this is a form of war, an economic war so the rest of us will also take hits. Yes there will be job losses, there will retributions made by the 1%'ers. Now let us not get too giddy this is a long back breaking effort. Remember the Plutonomy memos of Citigroup.
1) the world is dividing into two blocs - the plutonomies, where economic growth is powered by and largely consumed by the wealthy few, and the rest.Breaking their back is all about exposing them as destroying society for the sake of the 1%'ers. This means marginalizing the political support system where it is evident that there is no compromise the same as there was no compromise regarding slavery. In the Great Depression the 1%'ers were voted out of the majority. In 1937 they regained some power and threw the country back into a second recession and got voted out again. The long game is to show that nothing will change until they are voted out in 2014 where everything must be done to put them out. Included in this war is to revive the Sherman Anti Trust Act and begin breaking up the plutonomies. Next is prosecuting the malfeasance across all lines.
Plutonomies have occurred before in sixteenth century Spain, in seventeenth century Holland, the Gilded Age and the Roaring Twenties in the U.S. What are the common drivers of Plutonomy?
Disruptive technology-driven productivity gains, creative financial innovation, capitalist- friendly cooperative governments, an international dimension of immigrants and overseas conquests invigorating wealth creation, the rule of law, and patenting inventions. Often these wealth waves involve great complexity, exploited best by the rich and educated of the time.
2) We project that the plutonomies (the U.S., UK, and Canada) will likely see even more income inequality, disproportionately feeding off a further rise in the profit share in their economies, capitalist-friendly governments, more technology-driven productivity, and globalization. [...]
4) In a plutonomy there is no such animal as “the U.S. consumer” or “the UK consumer”, or indeed the “Russian consumer”. There are rich consumers, few in
number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income and consumption they take.
There are the rest, the “non-rich”, the multitudinous many, but only accounting for surprisingly small bites of the national pie. [...]
The first, and probably most potent, is through a labor backlash. Outsourcing,
offshoring or insourcing of cheap labor is done to undercut current labor costs. Those being undercut are losers in the short term. While there is evidence that this is positive for the average worker (for example Ottaviano and Peri) it is also clear that high-cost substitutable labor loses.
Clearly, the analysis of the top 1% of U.S. households is paramount. The usual analysis of the “average” U.S. consumer is flawed from the start. To continue with the U.S., the top 1% of households also account for 33% of net worth, greater than the bottom 90% of households put together. It gets better(or worse, depending on your political stripe) - the top 1% of households account for 40% of financial net worth, more than the bottom 95% of households put together. [...]
Was the U.S. always a plutonomy - powered by the wealthy, who aggrandized larger chunks of the economy to themselves? Not really. [...]
Society and governments need to be amenable to disproportionately allow/encourage the few to retain that fatter profit share. The Managerial Aristocracy, like in the Gilded Age, the Roaring Twenties, and the thriving nineties, needs to commandeer a vast chunk of that rising profit share, either through capital income, or simply paying itself a lot.
Low-end developed market labor might not have much economic power, but it does have equal voting power with the rich. [...]
A third threat comes from the potential social backlash. To use Rawls-ian analysis, the invisible hand stops working. Perhaps one reason that societies allow plutonomy, is because enough of the electorate believe they have a chance of becoming a Pluto-participant. Why kill it off, if you can join it? In a sense this is the embodiment of the “American dream”. But if voters feel they cannot participate, they are more likely to divide up the wealth pie, rather than aspire to being truly rich. [...]
A related threat comes from the backlash to “Robber-barron” economies. The
population at large might still endorse the concept of plutonomy but feel they have lost out to unfair rules. In a sense, this backlash has been epitomized by the media coverage and actual prosecution of high-profile ex-CEOs who presided over financial misappropriation. This “backlash” seems to be something that comes with bull markets and their subsequent collapse. To this end, the cleaning up of business practice, by high-profile champions of fair play, might actually prolong plutonomy. [...]
So understand this is not going to change until we break the backs of the right wing and all we got is are our votes, our voices and our economic power to move away.