Monday, July 16, 2012

Obama's Pinocchio Campaign

The hooting loonies on the left think they've got something on Mitt, focusing in on how he said he relinquished operational control of Bain Capital in 1999, but held stock as the owner until 2001 or 2002.

Our Left Blogistani friend Shaw Kenaw spills it all in garish detail at her blog, Progressive Eruptions.

The lefties think they've found a lie: 

He said he left the company, but his SEC filings show he still held ownership. There is no lie, and there is no inconsistency. His words, his actions and his official paperwork all agree that he held stock in the company but took no part in operational decisions. He also stated this in his Public Financial Disclosure Report he had to file to run for president.

It's a simple matter, but the left doesn't let a few facts get in the way of a good mudball fight.
The part about lying to the SEC is absurd, since the SEC doesn't require an owner to be the operational decision-maker (Romney delegated such responsibilities, as is his right). (CNN Money)
For ordinary, rational people, that ends it, which is why the press, when they cover this, do so as a side-show, not potential criminality of a presidential candidate. But we're not dealing with ordinary, rational people; we're dealing with Obama voters who inexplicably plan to pull the lever for him again.

Conn Carroll quotes George Mason University law school corporate law professor J.W. Verret:
The Boston Globe seems to be confused about the SEC filings. They refer to Bain Capital VI, an investment distinct from what we commonly know as “Bain Capital.” Saying that Governor Romney was the CEO of Bain Capital VI is like saying that I am the CEO of my retirement account… its a silly bit of legalese but it doesn’t mean I am CEO of all the companies in which I invest.
As a securities lawyer, if the former CEO of a private equity fund had asked me for advice about what to say in an SEC filing of this type, who had retired from a company and who maintained an ownership stake but otherwise had no involvement in its management or investment strategies, I would have advised inserting the language referenced by the Boston Globe in the filing out of an abundance of caution. (Conn Carroll)
Washington Post and Fact Check also debunk the Leftist Lies

The Washington Post gave the Obama Campaign Three Pinnocchios for it brazen lies and shameless smear campaign. Much of this can be chalked up to slobbering Obama-worshipers not pausing to understand Securities and Exchange Commission legalese, preferring instead to stubbornly maintain studious ignorance and fan the flames in order to mislead as many voters as possible.
In the Massachusetts document, Romney is also listed as 100 percent owner of “Bain Capital Inc.” But there is less than meets the eye here. Bain Capital Inc. was the management firm, which was paid a management fee to run the funds and actually made virtually no profit, since it existed to pay salaries and expenses. After Romney formally left Bain in 2001, a new entity called “Bain Capital LLC” took over the management function.
By virtually all accounts, Romney was focused on Olympics in the 1999-2002 period. Yet because Romney had not legally separated from Bain, his name is littered across Securities and Exchange Commission filings concerning Bain Capital deals during this period. The crazy quilt of private-equity structures, in some ways, makes his ownership appear even more ominous, as the filings list hundreds of thousands of shares controlled by Romney.
Even so, it is a real stretch to claim that Romney — himself! — “closed” these stores. No evidence has emerged that he was involved in the KB Toys transaction. Indeed, when creditors sued over the dividend payment, they named six Bain-controlled entities and three Bain executives who had served on the board of KB Holdings.
They go on to say Romney was not listed in the lawsuit, concluding...
In other words, creditors apparently had determined Romney was only a passive investor. (WaPo), hardly a rightwing propaganda outlet, has an excellent debunking of this idiocy, complete with lots of links to source documentation.

Here's the best conclusion I've read, given the unhinged Obama campaign's penchant for over-heated rhetoric.
But if it is a felony, then why isn’t the nation’s top law enforcement officer, Obama, prosecuting Romney?
Either Obama’s Bain attacks are all lies or he has granted amnesty to a Wall Street felon. Which is it? (Conn Carroll)
Outsourcing Schmoutsourcing...

In the end, all the lefties will be left with is a sniveling charge that Romney outsourced jobs. Well, Obama did too. The WaPo gives the GOP 4 Pinocchio's for making the charge, while backhandedly admitting the charge is kinda true given the Obama charges against Romney. The valuable part of the article is their defense of oursoursing.

Go read it for yourself: A Guide to the GOP's Charges

For extra credit, read this, also from WaPo: Off-Shoring Creates as Many Jobs as it Kills, Study Finds

Here's the study: Immigration, Offshoring and American Jobs

This campaign will be a long, muddy slog, and the unhinged left will stop at nothing to keep their messiah on the throne. Information is our ammo.


LD Jackson said...

Information is our ammunition, but it doesn't seem to matter to the liberals. Obama is blissfully continuing his attacks, regardless of the truth. Unfortunately, many voters will take him at his word.

-FJ said... opposed to Obama, for whom there is no "paper trail" except for his official auto?-biography...

Always On Watch said...

Hear, hear!

As for this Romney-Bain thing, Obama is doing nothing more than slinging mud. It's part of his class warfare strategy, too.

Always On Watch said...

LD Jackson is exactly correct:

Information is our ammunition, but it doesn't seem to matter to the liberals.

I am engaged in such discussions all the time. It's so damn frustrating!

FreeThinke said...

Fabulous graphic today, Kurt. Very clever -- and fun.

If memory serves me I believe I left a comment to Ms. Shaw's post at her blog saying how disappointed I was to see nothing but more naked partisanship.

I denounced it as nothing more than a silly, childish game -- but one that unfortunately produces dire consequences in the lives of real flesh and blood people and said it was unworthy of her -- or something to that effect.

Nothing has changed my mind.


We all need to stop throwing stink bombs, and examine each other's ideas with curiosity instead of contempt.

~ FreeThinke

Shaw Kenawe said...

To the point of your post, here are some good questions:

"Here are five questions for Annenberg's and the Washington Post's Fact Checker that may help sort things out:

1.Is it possible that even without day-to-day managerial control, Mitt Romney may bear some moral or personal responsibility for the actions of Bain Capital post-1999, given that no one is disputing that he benefited financially from its actions and that his name was on the door? Is that question even fact-checkable?

2.Much of the debate over when Romney left Bain has been driven by the Obama campaign's claims that Bain invested in outsourcing US jobs while he was there. Factcheckers have said it's unfair to tie Romney to outsourcing during the 1999-2002 period. How should voters account for the fact that, as [David] Corn reported, Bain invested in Global-Tech Appliances, a Chinese company that depended on outsourcing, prior to February 1999?

3.Even if the Obama campaign made inflated claims about Romney's post-1999 role at Bain, are Bain and Romney's categorical denials that Romney was not "involved in the operations of any Bain Capital Entity in any way" and Romney "has had absolutely no involvement with the management or investment activities of the firm or with any of its portfolio companies since the day of his departure" justifiable? What is the definition of "operations" and "management activities?" Does it include signing documents? Are companies that Bain part-owned "Bain Capital Entities?" Are companies like LifeLike, whose board meetings Romney says he attended, Bain "portfolio companies?" If not, what is a "portfolio company?" Does serving as CEO/president/chairman of the Bain board count as a "management activity?" If not, why not?"

Shaw Kenawe said...


"4.Does what we know about Romney's situation during the 1999-2002 period—that Jane Swift's Massachusetts governorship had not yet imploded, that Romney was also mulling a run for Utah governor, that contemporaneous accounts refer to him taking a "leave of absence," and that on Sunday one of his advisers referred to Romney's retirement as "retroactive"—indicate that Romney was maintaining some ties with Bain, if not active day-to-day management, in order to keep his options open if a political opportunity did not become available? Given those circumstances, would the company have made major decisions he strongly disagreed with?

5.Most broadly: Given the available evidence, is it unfair to attribute any responsibility for Bain's post-1999 actions to Mitt Romney? Are such attacks completely out of bounds? Would it be correct to say that Romney's company—rather than Romney himself—outsourced jobs, given that he still owned it?"

Shaw Kenawe said...

BTW, examining Mr. Romnney's past record and his involvement in Bain Capital, [Romney's chief qualification, he says, for seeking the presidency] is not negative or evil.

It's only when unpleasant or uncomfortable information surfaces that people label it as such.

Ducky's here said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ducky's here said...

Jobs get offshored. That's Kapital.

However what Governor Olympics managed to do was often different. He would strip assets and pocket them, loading a company with debt and driving it into bankruptcy.

Lot of this stuff was illegal until Clintoon (Full disclosure: I hate that ass rack also) removed many of those burdensome regulations.

Bottom line: either one of these dicks is going to see you get your head handed to you. Enjoy and prepare carefully. Use your vote wisely(LMFAO).

Bunkerville said...

Well, it's time for Romney for stop being apologetic over Bain and embrace it. The good and maybe some failures. I keep trying to be positive about him, but he needs to get in gear real soon. There was no one more unfair than Romney during the primaries. Newt, et al, never had a fair shot with his brutal attacks. Now we are stuck with him.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Also, Kessler is now doing a bit of back-tracking:

Apparently bewildered by the amount of criticism, Kessler responds:

"I readily concede that the years 1999-2002 represent a gray period in Romney’s background."

The SEC documents, especially the ones Romney signed, do raise some questions. One could suggest that because Romney did not fully extricate himself from Bain until after his Olympic sojourn ended, he should bear some responsibility for what happened at Bain in these years. You could even say he hired the people who made these mistakes. But that is entirely different from suggesting that he had a direct role in these suspect transactions — as Obama’s ads claim — or that the SEC documents open Romney up to civil or even potential criminal investigation, as the Obama campaign has charged."

PolitiFact has ruled as "half-true" that Bain Capital was a pioneer in outsourcing.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it sad that whether Bain off-shored some jobs and whether Romney had or had not anything to do with it is, in a time when are people are suffering from disaterous government policies of decades duration, the only thing our media can find to talk about?

Silverfiddle said...

@ Shaw: 1.Is it possible that even without day-to-day managerial control, Mitt Romney may bear some moral or personal responsibility for the actions of Bain Capital post-1999, given that no one is disputing that he benefited financially from its actions and that his name was on the door?

Yes, I think it is fair game since he profited from it.

But this is playing out as I predicted: It went from charges of criminality, which were always ridiculous, to charges of lying, to now a full-frontal assault on capitalism and free trade.

Outsourcing is not against the law, and Obama blowing trillions with noting to show for it but enriched donors is a much larger issue, so this is a great distraction.

Thersites said...

Mitt Romney was a "pioneer" of outsourcing?

Marco Polo is going to be VERY upset!

Shaw Kenawe said...

"Isn't it sad that whether Bain off-shored some jobs and whether Romney had or had not anything to do with it is, in a time when are people are suffering from disaterous government policies of decades duration, the only thing our media can find to talk about?"

This is exactly what I would say about the campaign if my preferred candidate were being hounded.

Change the subject.

Mr. Romney has stated again and again how qualified, because of his business experience and decisions, he is to be president.

That's why this is a very legitimate discussion. Yes, Romney wants to change the subject to the economy, but he hasn't been able to do that. That could be construed as a weakness in the people running his campaign and in himself.

Z said...

The Washington POst information is even more interesting because the Obama people haven't backed off after the Post acknowledged he's not telling the truth. That's telling.

I just posted the video of CNN's King and Gergen telling Anderson Cooper that the whole Bain thing is wrong; They have spoken to Obama supporters at BAIN who say Romney's completely telling the truth in my video.

Ducky's here said...

Yeah, z, it's like Corey Booker wringing his hands about naughty things said about Kapital.

These carpetbaggers know who pays there bills.

A freaking parcel of rogues and the stooges that worship them may be even worse.

Z said...

Corey Booker had guts then had to back off....or was told to.
Obama was 'nauseating' as Corey put it...but he didn't have the guts to stand by it.

Silverfiddle said...

12 Evil things Bain did between 1999 and 2002

Lisa said...

I guess it's more important what Mitt Romney dd 20 years ago than what Obama did the last 4, and the last 20

Steve said...

To say a person had no involvement (that was the original question) in a multi-million dollar company he owned completely, is absurd.
To say he did not make any operational decisions decisions during a given period, is a different question (a follow up to saying he had no involvement) yet to be determined.
Sorry, proof is to be expected by the public from a presidential candidate, and Americans have learned from past experience, that a persons word must be verified.
Since all politicians lie to the people, verification, is not a strange request.
A businessman might think this is no ones business, but a politician knows better. Romney doesn't know better, which shows he has no talent, to be a politician and certainly not the leader of America.

Mark Adams said...

"That's why this is a very legitimate discussion"

This whole thing is a bogus argument from the get go to take the focus off of Obama lack of leadership and his record both with in Government and out.
There is no proof that the outsourcing was Romney’s decision, PERIOD.
Businesses, when a CEO is absent for an extended period of time will assign surrogates to carry out those CEO responsibilities, as Bain has already acknowledge, and is well within the laws and regulations of the SEC.
The left seems to ignore this, to continually hammer the issue.
It's NOT an issue. Move on.

Steve said...

If it was so important to Mitt, that he got time on most channels to refute what was being said, why doesn't he produce this Bain CEO, and let them say if they were making all the decisions during the 3 year period in question?
American people have a funny way of deciding what is their business, and what is not.
Unlike a CEO, politicians have to satisfy voters requests for information, personal, or not.

Z said...

Steve, you might want to watch this:

Yes, Bain (even big Obama supporting Bain execs) is agreeing with Mr. Romney.

Shaw Kenawe said...

What Mr. Romney did while he was at Bain is fair game, as is the fact that he refuses to release his tax returns [blaming Teresa Heinz Kerry for not doing so?--can someone tell him that she wasn't running for president, and that Kerry was, and he released 20 years worth.]

The Obama campaign has not impugned Mr. Romney's love of country nor his loyalty to this country. What the campaign has done is raise a perfectly legitimate issue, and it's working because most everyone here is very angry about its effectiveness.

Meanwhile, the titular head of the GOP, Rush Limbaugh, before whom all of conservadom trembles, goes on a rampage, personally attacking the President Obama with this:

Limbaugh: "It Can Now Be Said, Without Equivocation," Obama "Hates This Country"

to which he added:

"He [Obama] was sent to prep and Ivy League schools where his contempt for the country was reinforced."

[Wow! Has Mitt heard about how he's been indoctrinated? How can conservatives vote for Mitt now that Rush has revealed to America that Mitt learned to hate America in prep and Ivy League schools?]

Rushbo is having a very public breakdown that is quite tragic to listen to as he explodes and leaves behind a large cloud of effluvia.

Jersey McJones said...

Silver, most of the policy differences you see between Obama and Romney are either minute, or non-existent.

As for the political campaigns, Obama is probing around Romney's financials the way the Democrats on the Hill are going after disclosure laws. The GOP has a problem here: their personal financials look a little bad and sleazy to your average Joe and Jane. It makes Romney look like "the problem" incarnate.

Whether any of what I'm saying is accurate or not, Romney and the GOP still look bad by blocking the revelation of their supporters and the campaign financing.

Money has officially become speech.

You can now 'shout fire in a theater,' if you have the cash.

Great system.

Utterly, fatalistically, insane. And to think libertarians, gold standard folks, and conservatives all thin "money" is dangerous crap, while wholeheartedly embracing money as the fuel for their political machines - their very civics itself.


Mark Adams said...

Shaw "What Mr. Romney did while he was at Bain is fair game"
No one's question that.

The dispute is, was he actively engaged in daily decisions at Bain after Feb 1999, as Cutter and the Globe claim he was, but provide NO proof he was active in the on going decision making after Feb 1999 when he was working with the Olympics.
It's a smoke and mirror tactic by the Dems.
As for "the fact that he refuses to release his tax returns"
He has released one, and said he will release the prior year.

Here's a list Americans have been asking for, from the guy currently occupying the Whitehouse.

Finntann said...


Frankly I don't see how any political candidates income tax records are any of the public's business.

Sure if he owed back taxes or was fined by the IRS, perhaps that information would be relevant, absent that its nunya bizness.

Or is how much money you earn or taxes you pay under existing law now a qualifier for office?

As far as Bain goes, it is the accuser's responsibility to provide proof, not the other way around, and I haven't seen any proof, far from it.

It's really curious that the Boston Globe has done an about face on this after reporting in his 2002 campaign that "Romney was not actively involved with Bain after Feb. 11, 1999, even though he was sometimes called on to sign Bain's SEC filings." in response to Shannon O'Brien's political attacks.

Bain, Tax Records, Birth Certificates, College Records... it's all nothing but Yellow Journalism, the media should be ashamed. Report something of relevance.


Z said...

Finntann "Sure if he owed back taxes or was fined by the IRS, perhaps that information would be relevant, absent that its nunya bizness"

Like Geithner?
But I don't think it's anybody's business, either...and the Washington Post is saying that the Obama people not only know the Bain situation is not how Obama's painting it but that they're still using it, and even CNN (see my link above)'s John King and David Gergen are saying ALL the Bain people (Democrat supporters of Obama's included) say Romney's telling the truth.

But, what we have to realize is that Obama can say pretty much anything, be heard, people file it away, and they think it's the truth. Troubling times without an honest media. I was pleased to see the Post and CNN admit Obama's not telling the truth.

Z said...

SF...did you hear that Obama called for PARALEGALS when people passed at at one of his events last week in the heat? I think all speakers make mistakes and I'm not blasting him for it as the left would do to Bush, but I had to smile thinking "That's exactly what he knows about health care, the PARALEGALS" :-)

Finntann said...

That's okay, I always call an old friend in Pararescue whenever I need any legal work done.


Silverfiddle said...

Z: It doesn't surprise me. Arrogant Ivy League A** H***s like him think lawyers can do anything, including bringing swooning hopium smokers back to consciousness.

Ducky's here said...

Frankly I don't see how any political candidates income tax records are any of the public's business.

They aren't unless someone is smart enough to maneuver Governor Olympics into a corner and make folks wonder how many times he's played "Hide the Offshore Account".

Politics, it's a contact sport and Mittens is going to get chewed up and spit out.

I can't believe he hasn't invited Sarah Palin to the convention. I figured she was going to work the Champagne Room for the Koch Bros.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"Arrogant Ivy League A** H***s like him..."

Are you talking about Romney?

He has two Harvard degress, and he arrogantly thinks one tax return should shut everyone up--even though every other candidate has released much more.

"Presidential candidates began releasing their returns consistently starting in the early 1970's according to Thorndike, and in 1978, all presidential and vice presidential candidates were required to release certain financial documents as a result of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, which mandates all candidates running for office of President of the United States to file a Public Financial Disclosure Report with the Federal Election Commission."


Finntann said...

SOURCE: "while candidates running for president are not legally obligated to release their taxes, there is a long tradition of doing so".

They also have along tradition of cheating on their wives. Your point is what?

This goes both ways... Mark Adams list above is also none of our damn business.

You all flutter about like magpies chasing after bits of tinfoil dropped by our supposed 'press'.


Z said...

I love when Ducky brings up the Koch if their money's anything close to the Tide Corporation or the MacArthur Group of Progressive supporters :-)
But we don't hear about those groups....we don't hear how much money Soros has invested in progressive causes and candidates.
It's ours to lose this thing for not letting AMericans know the truth about Progressive money.
It's as stupid as most Americans thinking Wall St is nothing but a bunch of Republican fat cats...ridiculous and a lie. but a powerful one

HOrowitz has written The New Leviathan, in which he apparently talks about the gazillions of dollars progressives are having poured into every community service group, every union, the presidential campaign, etc etc..

"koch bros" small potatoes.

Ducky's here said...

z, let's make it clear once again.

The American political system is broken, total crap.

But what is really more pathetic are the people who think these two candidates aren't complete stooges and think their vote is going to make a fundamental difference.

Z said...

Ducky, what's with "make it clear once again"? Who are YOU to say that to me or anybody else, really?
RE politics, are YOU going to change it tomorrow? Before the election?

I don't think anybody's one vote makes a 'fundamental difference' but the it's laughable to say Romney and Obama are very much alike. Some like to do that, but it's ludicrous.

Politics are broken because one party wants so badly to lead more and more people into entitlements and big government and stealing from hard workers to give to non-workers...the other still believes in the America most of us grew up in which champions success and schooling and philanthropy.

I don't know for sure how the divide became this ugly and angry but when one party wants to tear this country down like that, it's not hard to guess.

Silverfiddle said...

Z: Ducky won't be happy until the government controls everybody and we're all standing in line for our toilet paper ration...

Shaw Kenawe said...

"...stealing from hard workers to give to non-workers..."

When an uber wealthy presidential candidate, [or any uber wealthy person can take advantage of tax laws that were lobbied into law by the entitlement class] can take a "legitimate" deduction of $77,000for a pet dancing horse, that's "stealing" too. It means the "hard workers," like you and me, have to make up for those "special" deductions for "free stuff" for the super rich.

FreeThinke said...

Since when has "offshore" become a verb, Canardo?

I despise such clumsy abuse of our once-beautiful language.


It's a linguistic atrocity bound to cut you off from enjoyment of great literature from the not-so-distant past.

If you welcome Newspeak into your life, the result is bound to be double-plus-ungood.

Anything does NOT go verbalizationwise.

Habitual abusers of the language should be sent to Linguistic Restoration Camps for disciplined reeducation in English Communications Skills where rulers will be freely and forcefully applied by Instructors.

~ FreeThinke

FreeThinke said...

" ... Annenberg's and the Washington Post's Fact Checker ... may help sort things out ..."

Ms. Shaw! Both Annenberg and the WaPo have been and remain avowedly left wing organizations.

That they and their supporters frequently fervently deny this only gives proof of the fundamentally deceitful nature of the left in their approach to claiming and holding political power.

~ FreeThinke

FreeThinke said...

Those who defend the essentially Marxist policies of the left, however politely and eloquently, have effectively declared themselves enemies of Capitalism.

Capitalism may have its faults -- like everything else devised by Man -- but so far, it is the only system that gives the average person the proverbial Chinaman's Chance to become rich through the application of his talent, time and energy.

Take that away in the names of "Fairness" or "Equity," and you will create a nation of serfs in one generation.

There is no way we could make the Appalachians higher and more formidable by cutting the Rockies down to size -- nor should we have any desire to do so. The concept is palpably ridiculous.

~ FreeThinke

Silverfiddle said...

Shaw: Go tell it to the federal government, which makes tax law.

And it is our money to begin with, so by definition it is not stealing when you legally hold on to what is yours.

Z said...

Silverfiddle said...
Z: Ducky won't be happy until the government controls everybody and we're all standing in line for our toilet paper ration."

as long as it has a large slice of just warm enough Brie attached to it.

Silverfiddle said...

If commies like Ducky ever took over it would be hard and moldy.

FreeThinke said...

Oh come on now, Canardo is much too fond of rare vintage wines and mocha latte ever to let his Brie get hard and moldy.

That would never do for such an ardent devotée of La cinema francaise -- or would it be Le cinema francais? Alas! I never can remember.

Methinks our Ducky's sensibilities are sufficiently delicate, and also that he loves the minor trappings of wealth and sophistication far too much ever to want to eradicate richness should the opportunity arise.

[Okay, you can stop squirming now, I've finished pulling your leg --for the moment. ;-]

~ FreeThinke

squatlo said...

Is it possible that Romney is reluctant to release more tax information not because he's done something the America people would find offensive, but because it would illustrate how the tax code can be manipulated by the wealthy (who wrote it) to avoid paying taxes they have to pay?
The story of Romney's tenure at Bain is a few short news-cycles away from being a non-issue. The average American is already yawning... The tax code and the ability of the uber-rich to conceal their money in overseas accounts, shell corporations, and through write offs like the dressage thing are issues we should all want addressed.

squatlo said...

Just curious... this is my first time to this blog and I'd like to know how your regular readers feel about the Citizens United ruling, and whether or not they support new efforts to identify the sources of money given to Super PACs.
I think this might be a non-partisan issue for a lot of patriotic people on both sides of the aisle who feel unlimited, undocumented money has the potential to threaten democracy.

Silverfiddle said...

"The tax code and the ability of the uber-rich to conceal their money in overseas accounts, shell corporations, and through write offs like the dressage thing are issues we should all want addressed.

Amen to that. I am for a gross simplification, no deductions or loopholes. I would prefer a flat sales tax (not a vat).

Rich people buy more, so they would pay more.

I am for citizens united because I am for free speech.

You can't have a situation where a politician or the government is scalding an industry or a union and they can't fight back.

More free speech, not less.

Z said...

What's really odd is lefties treat Citizens United as if it's a Republican plan; as if it only applies to Conservatives.

beamish said...

I can't stress enough how much I do not give a tinker's damn about Obama smearing his fellow far leftist Romney's name and reputation.

Romney smeared his way to the Teapublican nomination, after all.

jez said...

"Rich people buy more, so they would pay more."

Rich people spend less as a proportion of their income. Sales taxes are typically regressive.

Silverfiddle said...

Jez: I care not about making rich people "pay their fair share." We need a tax code that takes in the amount needed by government and that doesn't punish virtuous activity, like taxing our savings does.

Removing the tax from certain basic staples would help the poorest.

squatlo said...

"What's really odd is lefties treat Citizens United as if it's a Republican plan; as if it only applies to Conservatives.

Z, I guess the reason this is red flag issue to those of us on the left is because corporate donations to political campaigns overwhelmingly favor GOP candidates and causes. The false equivalency of pointing to labor unions as if they can somehow compete with unregulated cash from billionaires is not reasonable.
If money is free speech, shouldn't the source of the money at least be known just to prevent foreign entities from purchasing our elections? That's my only problem with the ruling, that billions can now be spent anonymously, and by people or corporations from other countries, because we have no way of tracking those donations under current law.
Doesn't that bother you, as an American? I think it would if billions of dollars were flowing into Democratic campaign coffers from sources in France or Britain, and no one knew who was behind the money or why they were offering it to American politicians.
Sheldon Adelson is a perfect example of how foreign cash can be employed to swing an American election. Follow the money.

jez said...

You may not want to tax progressively, but surely you can recognise the perversity of taxing regressively?

Silverfiddle said...

I don't understand the regressive argument.

Everyone pays the same percentage. Again, we could exempt subsistence items to take the edge off for the poorest.

jez said...

What don't you understand about the regressive argument? Is it how sales taxes tend to wind up being regressive, or why the fact that they are regressive is undesirable?

Z said...

squatlo, that's not true, however.
Please read David Horowitz's The New Leviathans...and see who's got the money these days.

MacArthur, Tides, Soros, etc etc...HUGE money. What you said is like suggesting Wall Street's all rich fat-cat Republicans!
A relatives is a huge and very successful headhunter on Wall St...she tells me the big money is far leftists. SHocking, I know.
America still is under the impression Republicans have the money...and that Democrats give more to philanthropy.
Hard to rid them of that misconception.

Z said...

By the way, squatlo, I also feel the unions have done FAR more damage to our workforce and our country and our children than any corporation can...

Silverfiddle said...

Jez: OK, I googled "regressive tax" and see why some would label a flat sales tax as such.

I still believe exempting basic necessities would ameliorate this.

squatlo said...

Z, you think unions have done more damage to our nation and our children than corporations ever can? I guess fighting to end child labor, provide living wages, overtime pay, decent working conditions, WEEKENDS, paid vacations, health benefits, etc. were bad for you and America?
The knee-jerk anti-unionism that pervades conservative blogs is astoundingly blind to the fact that corporations don't give you decent wages, working conditions, or benefits out of the goodness of their hearts. Those things were hard-earned by a lot of people who came before us. Suggesting that we no longer need unions might be a reasonable argument, if not for the way modern corporations are rolling back wages and benefits to those of third world countries as we speak.
Let me ask you this: when we're all making Walmart wages who will purchase your products or those of your friends and neighbors?

Silverfiddle said...

Those things were hard-earned by a lot of people who came before us

And it's not unions that keep them from being taken away, a free market of labor is. Where labor is in short supply, the worker has the upper hand, where it is not, workers don't do as well, but I do give them credit for getting the federal government to establish a floor.

Less that 20% of the labor force is unionized, so I don't know how much they are doing now. Their greatest accomplishment seems to have been to destroy Detroit and drive 80,000+ jobs out of the rustbelt and into the south.

I have nothing against unions, other than they are permanently perched in certain departments of our government and therefor enjoying special favor.

The federal government should be an arbiter, not a union advocate.

Z said...

squatlo, for pete's you know when the benefits of unions STOPPED? AFTER THOSE THINGS YOU MENTIONED. I know UNION PEOPLE who are fed up. The union membership is going DOWN....
Man, I say the unions have done harm and you bring out ancient and much-needed child labor laws?

Let me ask you this, when we can't afford to buy anything in America because of unions forcing all prices/wages UP UP UP, then what?
Corporations HIRE. What the heck do LIbs have against JOBS?

Z said...]

more union fun. my gosh

squatlo said...

A link to Faux News... why am I surprised?

I thought I'd hang around over here long enough to ask for intelligent discourse. I guess time's up.

Kool-Aid's ready, belly up to the bar, sheeple.

Z said... might learn something if you turn to FOX, the largest audience on cable. They have a large Dem and Indie viewership, too.
I know, liberals come to my blog quoting from The Nation....and expect us to genuflect to the word!
But, at least at FOX one gets all sides of every story.

jez said...

"I still believe exempting basic necessities would ameliorate this."

It would help ameliorate the most important objection to regressive taxes, (diverting the poor's income away from necessities) but there are others. My favourite (warning: unashamed socialism ahead) is that it fails to counter-balance the market tendency towards a small, disproportionately wealthy aristocracy (or modern equivalent). I'm not talking about the just rewards of production, this is a conveyor belt that takes existing wealth (possibly the just rewards of production) and accelerates it into the stratosphere.
I cherish progressive tax partly for its role as a counter-balance to this. It would be an interesting experiment to do away with it and see what happens to the aristocracy's wealth.

jez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Silverfiddle said...

Jez: I appreciate your honesty. We have a fundamental disagreement on this point. I do not believe it is the role of government to play Robin Hood.

Give a hand up, provide a safety net and more importantly a ladder and all that, but I don't believe government should be in the business of evening things out.

squatlo said...

Yep, Faux News has the largest viewership, so I guess that makes them the best. Just like McDonalds must make the best hamburgers on Earth because they sell more of them than anyone else, right?

Why is it that study after study confirm those who watch Faux News are the most misinformed? Must be all that confusion from being given "all sides of every story". You know what THAT means, right? You watch Faux News Corpse and you get Hannity's point of view, then you get O'Reilly's point of view. There you go, spanning the globe to bring you the very best of all worlds. With commentary by Dick Morris and spirited interviews with other mouthpieces from the Republican National Committee.

The World According to Rupert.

(heavy sigh...)

jez said...

"I do not believe it is the role of government to play Robin Hood."

Nor I.
(although, consider that the original Robin Hood was correcting an unjust tax.)

I don't believe it is the role of the economy to slap existing wealth on a conveyor belt of ever-higher returns for no extra value. I believe aristocracies are damaging, and I'm not inclined to forsake the obvious solution to the obvious problem on purely ideological grounds.

Silverfiddle said...

Squatlo: Those "surveys" are designed by academics to get the results they want. Take 'em for what they're worth.

I don't watch fox a lot, but they do have very sharp liberals on who know how to defend their point of view, like Bob Beckel and Kirsten Powers.

True, the headliners are all unapologetic conservatives, but they invite on strong, articulate liberals so people can hear a real debate.

Silverfiddle said...

Jez: The problem you describe is caused by a marriage made in hell between the ruling class and the oligarchs.

Our economy is shot through with rent seeking and crony crapitalism all sponsored by the government.

Additionally, they manipulate the dollar and the finance markets to their advantage, also with government approval.

That is the problem.

jez said...

You don't need government sponsorship to seek rent. Consider eg. microsoft -- clearly a rent seeker, yet not as far as I know patronised by the government.

Silverfiddle said...

How does Microsoft rent-seek?

Not challenging you. Just curious.

jez said...

I admit, I only just looked up "rent seeking" and it didn't mean quite what I thought it did! So maybe the "clearly" was out of place.
However, there remain examples of microsoft's behavior which IMO still qualify as rent-seeking, eg. lobbying the ISO to accept its OOXML file format as an "open standard". There were many irregular processes surrounding that acceptance, and it was important for maintaining microsoft's lock-in for office software in the government sphere.

Silverfiddle said...

That's not rent-seeking so much as aggressive lobbying.

Here's a sad fact. Microsoft stayed completely out of politics, gave no money to anybody, until the EU thing popped up during the Clinton years. The Clinton admin threatened them with EU-like lawsuits here. Microsoft started spreading the cash around to various politicians and created some international foundations, and it all went away...

jez said...

It's the only example I have close to hand of microsoft manipulating the political environment, and it wasn't to acquire more rent, it was to protect rent already derived from their monopoly.

So, probably a borderline case. I disapprove either way.

The point I *thought* I was making before I'd looked up "rent seeking" is that the problem I was describing (acceleration of wealth accumulation without creating value) does not require government sponsorship, and is baked into capitalism. It must either be accepted, in which case I hope you like aristocracies, or government can seek to balance it.

Silverfiddle said...

No groups of people is smart enough to "balance" it, and microsoft does not have a monopoly.

If they sucked badly enough, and someone else came along, they would lose market share.

Do you use open office? We do at my house. It works as good as microsoft for the ordinary user and it's free.

jez said...

Maybe not, but it doesn't have to be perfect to be an improvement.
Microsoft has a monopoly despite sucking badly on various areas. Honestly a great deal of their value stems from iniquity, and they protected it for a long time by engineering barriers to inter-operable alternatives. Openoffice was far more effort than it should have been! Their OS is a deeper monopoly than office.

jez said...

Ubiquity not iniquity - freudian slip!

Silverfiddle said...

Even if they do enjoy near-monopoly (which I do not concede--Doesn't meet the definition) it is a market created one, not once gained by government favor.

You don't like Open Office?

jez said...

A firm only needs to supply 25% of a market's output to qualify as a working monopoly. Microsoft exceeds this by far in the OS market, I'd be surprised if it didn't in the office market too.

I agree their monopoly (I think it is one) is market created, in fact that's my point: that the unregulated market is capable of developing and sustaining damaging monopolies.

Open office is fine. Office is fine. They're not my ideal tools, but I'll happily use either for collaboration. My main objection to MS office is (was) the insidious platform lock-in stuff, but that situation has improved recently. I remember having some old documents that wouldn't open in the then-current edition of Office, and desperately trying to obtain a vintage edition that would be suitable. Nightmare! These days, I imagine open office would do a better job at supporting old docs. For that reason at least, yay for open office.

Silverfiddle said...

What makes it a "damaging" monopoly?

The people have spoken, and are speaking, sustaining and rewarding Microsoft. I don't see the need for a bumbling government to step in.

jez said...

The reason it's damaging is that the people cannot speak. I keep bringing up platform lock-in. There are software features which do not provide value to users, whose only effect is to bar them from using alternative software.

When the market stops being competitive, you advocate doing nothing because of your ideological commitment to the market.
I like markets that work. If they need nudging towards competitiveness, so be it.
The other side of the computer industry, hardware, is a pretty much model of how the market system is effective. I'm not anti-market.

I'm not the only one who thinks that microsoft's value is largely due to its entrenched market dominance -- microsoft agrees, and their relaxed policy on piracy world-wide flows from that.

Silverfiddle said...

Who says the sofware market is not competitive?

There are alternatives.

And how would you "nudge" the market? Have government invest in Bureaucratsoft?

I don't know about the UK, but the last thing we need here is government engaging in more venture statism.

jez said...

I'm not talking about the entire software market.
Various courts have judged the OS market to be uncompetitive, due to Microsoft's abuse of its dominant position. eg.
& the equivalent eu case.

So: punish microsoft when it engages in anti-competitive practices. Don't need a publicly funded software house competing with MS.

The eu did that, and my impression is that microsoft's behaviour has improved since: better compliance with standards, less embrace extend and extinguish, more public APIs etc. Some of this may be to answer competition from open source, but whatever it is, good. I'm really talking about microsoft in the 90s.
That said, I think they still use their clout in a bad way to stop PC manufacturers offering alternative OSs.