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From Each According to His Ability, To Each According to Obama

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Via Wonkette and a zillion other sites, especially this one, comes video of the strange WFTV interview with Joe Biden, in which the anchor asks, among other things, whether Obama's promise to spread the wealth isn't striaght out of The Communist Manifesto:

The audio synch is off enough to make think it's a fake, but it's really good clean fun, like a lost episode of Max Headroom or something.

And it made me think something that I never thought I would: Joe Biden handled himself well. What have you done with the real Joe Biden?

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  1. As far as I understand it, it’s not fake — and the story works best if you dig out her “hard hitting” interviews with the McCain camp.

    In one sense, it’s not really a ‘tough’ interview — tough interviews involve interviewers who follow-up on questions, trying to get you to clarify things when you obviously want to be vague.

    On the other hand, we don’t really have a word for “Interview consisting mostly of ‘Have you stopped beating your wife’ questions”, so “tough” it will have to be.

    I wonder who wrote the questions for her?

  2. Can’t WTFV at work. What’s going on?

  3. Biden answers a few questions that talk radio gave some lady interviewer. Questions like: are you embarrassed by acorn, what does spread the wealth mean and finally, by saying we might not like Obama’s reaction to the looming test, does that mean he’d do nothing? Biden does a fine job staying on talking points and not gaffing for a change.

  4. This is why the modern GOP disgusts me.

    John McCain advocates taking hundreds of billions of tax dollars and using them to pay off peoples’ mortgages, and makes one of the main set pieces of his campaign his “campaign suspension” to take time off to try to usher through the Senate a plan to spend hundreds of billions more to effectively nationalize the banking industry, but feels no shame about arming his sycophants in the media with talking points about Obama’s “Marxism”.

    How about McCain stops being a Marxist first? Then maybe we can talk about weening the Democrats of their Marxism.

  5. How dare she pose “tough” questions to the Vice One. Look for her to applying for a Mcjob in the next few months.

    Look also for us to soon find out whether she has granite countertops, and what her real last name is. All with government computers, of course.

  6. the strange WFTV interview

    “What the Fuck Tee Vee” is my favorite.

  7. Biden answers a few questions that talk radio gave some lady interviewer. Questions like: are you embarrassed by acorn, what does spread the wealth mean and finally, by saying we might not like Obama’s reaction to the looming test, does that mean he’d do nothing? Biden does a fine job staying on talking points and not gaffing for a change.

    Thanks, James.

    So, er…what’s newsworthy about it?

  8. LMNOP,

    James is leaving out the parts where she wants to know what Biden thinks of Obama’s Marxism and his desire to slaughter millions of people.

  9. When the Loons go Marching in

    We are trav’ling in the footsteps
    Of the loons who’ve gone before,
    And we’ll all be reunited,
    On a new Libertarian shore,
    Oh, when the loons go marching in
    Oh, when the loons go marching in
    Lord, how I want to be in that number
    When the loons go marching in
    And when the bosses begin to whine
    And the little guy’s drinkin’ wine
    Lord, how I want to be in that number
    When the little guy’s drinkin’ wine
    And when Obama gives us health care
    And when Obama gives us health care
    Lord, how I want to be in that number
    When Obama gives us health care
    Oh, when welfare sounds its call
    Oh, when welfare sounds its call
    Lord, how I want to be in that number
    When welfare sounds its call
    Some say this world of regulation,
    Is the only one we need,
    But I’m waiting for that morning,
    When Libertopia is revealed.

  10. Fluffy:

    Don’t worry… being here in Ohio, anytime I decide to turn on the radio, I get to hear nothing but political ads. My personal favorite is the McCain ad attacking Obama for wanting to increase government spending by 1 Trillion dollars… please ignore the bailout behind the curtain.

    Nephilium… full of hate for both parties at this point.

  11. I shall henceforth be getting my news exclusively from americasnewtoday.com; I like their hard-hitting, honest style of journalism.

  12. I’ll take Obamas antics over McBushes stupidity and lies any day of the week.

    Jiff
    http://www.anonymity.pro.tc

  13. My fav ad is the one the RNC is running saying that Obama has no executive experience.

    Of course, neither does McCain.

    The lack of coordination between the RNC and the McCain campaign is pretty funny.

  14. sage
    What color is the grass in the world you live in?

  15. Aw, that’s cute, MNG. Mostly brown, though at this time of year it’s starting to green up a bit.

    So which part of my comment got your panties in a wad? You think we won’t be seeing her life story all over the news in a few days?

  16. Meh,

    This was really people throwing talking points at each other.

    I like the way the British do it: the interviewers politely savage their victims… er interlocutors, pointing out inconsistencies and flaws. Then again, look at the mundane tyranny that English subjects have to put up with, and it is clear that such journalism helps little.

  17. Why shouldn’t Biden explain to all of us why he thinks his running mate is not a socialist. If the question posed seem to him to be a “joke” why wouldn’t he seize this opportunity to set things straight?

    Joe didn’t get the butt-kissing he and Obama enjoy from nearly the entire MSM.

  18. I’m surprised either one of them are even granting any interviews. This election is a lock, right? Why screw it up by opening your fat mouth?

  19. Apparently socialism is sometimes unpopular even among Obama supporters:

    In a local restaurant my server had on a “Obama 08? tie, again I laughed as he had given away his political preference-just imagine the coincidence.

    When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need-the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight.

    I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I’ve decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful.

    At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn even though the actual recipient deserved money more.

    I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application.

  20. You think we won’t be seeing her life story all over the news in a few days?

    Uh…no.

    Unless, of course, you want to take upon yourself the task of informing us as to her life story.

  21. armchair: I agree. Reason here seems so concerned with style that they have missed the big point: Obama IS for socialism (as is McCain). Biden DIDN’T answer what were valid questions asked by what appeared to be a blonde airhead.

    Of course Biden wouldn’t want to be labeled a Marxist. He didn’t answer why he wasn’t one.

  22. All with government computers, of course.

    I remember the good old days, when supporters doing third-rate burglaries was enough to bring down a President.

  23. On the other hand, we don’t really have a word for “Interview consisting mostly of ‘Have you stopped beating your wife’ questions”,

    It’s called “MSM coverage of Republicans and libertarians.”

  24. I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application.

    I’d say the homeless guy swallowed it just fine.

    Did you have a point?

  25. You think we won’t be seeing her life story all over the news in a few days?

    I already saw on Digg something about her husband working for the GOP. I guess people are only allowed to ask questions when their family has been fully vetted and deemed objective by the media and DNC.

  26. I personally love how all demand-side concerns have suddenly been labeled “Marxist”, as if consumers come by their discretionary income by means of magical incantations and money trees.

    But carry on.

  27. I personally love how all demand-side concerns have suddenly been labeled “Marxist”,

    Hey, look, we’re all for legalization here, but… moderation, ok?

  28. sage | October 26, 2008, 10:37am
    How dare she pose “tough” questions to the Vice One.

    You thought those were “tough” as opposed to “dumb” questions did you ?

    The FL local press treatment of this I saw consisted entirely of “I can’t believe she made her station look that stupid”.

  29. Senator Biden, are you concerned that Obama supports eating babies? As a follow up, do you not agree that eating babies is Marxist?

  30. armchairpunter | October 26, 2008, 11:29am
    Why shouldn’t Biden explain to all of us why he thinks his running mate is not a socialist. If the question posed seem to him to be a “joke” why wouldn’t he seize this opportunity to set things straight?

    Seriously, what exactly would he be “setting straight” other than a lame talking point based entirely on the premise that he divulged a secret communist takeover plan in a discussion with a plumber ?

    You’re either retarded enough to think this needs an answer or your brain can get by without it.

  31. +1 for being willing to ask blunt questions of a political candidate

    -2 for being a simplistic, opposition party talking-points-repeating shill with no follow-up or ability to understand the real issues

  32. +1 for being willing to ask blunt questions of a political candidate

    -2 for being a simplistic, opposition party talking-points-repeating shill with no follow-up or ability to understand the real issues

    Hell, many of those questions could also be aimed at the McCain campaign.

  33. Fun With Socialists | October 26, 2008, 11:36am | #

    This is pretty funny, and would be hilariously dickish if it were true.

    I doubt a restaurant would let their employees wear partisan flair though.

  34. Aren’t all waitrons for Obama? Isn’t everyone?

    I meet people who think that.

  35. The lack of coordination between the RNC and the McCain campaign is pretty funny.

    MNG, if there were coordination between them that would be a violation of federal campaign finance law. So it’s not McCain’s fault, he’s just following the law.

    Of course, he wrote that law, so I guess it is his fault…but my point remains.


  36. I remember the good old days, when supporters doing third-rate burglaries was enough to bring down a President.

    These days, that wouldn’t even make page 10.

  37. Coordination between the RNC and the McCain campaign? I don’t even know who “runs” the RNC, but he should be taken out behind the barn and beaten to death with a rusty shovel for letting the McCain-Palin ticket happen.

  38. “I remember the good old days, when supporters doing third-rate burglaries was enough to bring down a President.”

    That only brings down REPUBLICAN Presidents. It does not work as well if you are a Democrat.

  39. “I doubt a restaurant would let their employees wear partisan flair though.”

    Might be the Wairtron was a relative of the owner. Or it could be the owner was a HUGE Obama supporter. As a libertarian I say the owner of a private business has a right to set whatever dress policy he / she wants. If the owner wants to require servers cross-dress he/she has that right. I love the story by the way and hope it is true.

  40. Considering that a “zillion” other sites are discussing this and – unlike Reason’s crack reporters – have actually verified it, of course it’s real.

    My comments on the tape are here. While I generally avoid movies, I feel like I’m living in the one mentioned at the link.

    On the one hand, tapes like this and the JTP episode vindicate my nearly two year old campaign to go ask BHO real questions.

    On the other hand, it’s incredibly sad that I’m the only person around who actually knows what a real question is.

    (I note also that the Obama-supporting Reason didn’t mention BHO shutting the station out; if he becomes president like Reason wants, he’ll no doubt go further and try to shut them up as he’s encouraged his supporters to do with radio programs.)

  41. Orange-Line-Special, why do you think Reason is “Obama-supporting”?

  42. While neither candidate really makes me look forward to the next four years, the thought of an Obama presidency honestly horrifies me.

  43. And I have to agree with Orange Line Special: Reason does seem to favor Obama. This is, of course, ludicrous.

  44. On the other hand, it’s incredibly sad that I’m the only person around who actually knows what a real question is.

    When you are standing around with thousands of people and you can see something clearly that they cannot see at all, there are a few possibilities:

    1. You’re fucking crazy
    2. You’re very, very special

    One is far more likely than the other. Doesn’t mean the other is impossible…just extremely unlikely.

  45. My favorite part of the story is the part where the asshole tipper, after not dying of food poisoning, pulls his car that is fairly guaranteed not to burst spectacularly into flames out onto the publicly paved road, while feeling very proud of himself for teaching the guy who makes $2.60 an hour plus tips the evils of taxation.

  46. “I already saw on Digg something about her husband working for the GOP. I guess people are only allowed to ask questions when their family has been fully vetted and deemed objective by the media and DNC.”

    People ask tough questions to all the candidates all the time. And most of them don’t get vetted. Joe the Plumber got vetted for a very obvious reason: John McCain invoked him two dozen times in a national debate. That kinda gets media folks interested in knowing wtf he’s talking about.

    I guess they don’t ask tough questions to Palin as she hides from the press.

    I’ve said it before, saying the “MSM” is biased really means “some media outlets don’t say what I want them to.” The fact that most people that say this are very partisan themselves actually speaks well of the “MSM” I should think.

  47. Reason is not supporting Obama so much as pointing out the Hypocrisy of criticizing Obama for being socialist while being gung ho for a U.S. Senator who voted for the bailout and is promoting a policy of government sponsored mortgage buyouts. I am certainly no Obama fan but this does seem hypocritical unless your support is prefaced in the way Glen Beck does (something like “I think Obama will do even more damage than McCain”.) Beck is no McCain fan either but gives lukewarm support to McCain for two, and so far as I can tell, only two reasons: 1. Obama is his Opponent and 2. Palin is his running mate.

  48. If this is Biden handling himself well, I’d hate to see him handling himself poorly.

  49. “Reason does seem to favor Obama. This is, of course, ludicrous.”

    Most intellectuals do favor Obama/Biden because they tend to, you know, grant interviews, use big words, not refer to people “Joe the Plumber” and other wacky things that smart people do.

    The GOP has become marketed at such a low common denominator that it is very hard for an intellectual not to abhor them.

  50. Hey, it may be reasonable to ask both Obama and McCain if their policies are socialist or Marxist.

    It’s just not reasonable to try to paint them as socialists or Marxists relative to John McCain, which is what this reporter was doing. All you have to do is watch her interview of McCain to know this.

    If Gillespie got a hold of Biden and was asking fundamental questions about redistributionism, that would be one thing. But if you’re a McCain shill, you do not have the fucking right to ask anyone if they’re a Marxist. I don’t care if someone puts marionette strings on Lenin’s waxed up corpse and walks it into your studio – until you acknowledge that John McCain is every bit as “socialistic” as Obama is, I don’t want to fucking hear it.

    That’s also the reason I have almost no patience for the people who show up here talking about their horror of an Obama presidency, or how horrible it is that Reason doesn’t give poor John McCain a fair shake. Fuck John McCain and the “Marxist” redistributionist horse he rode in on. The guy who wants a top income tax rate of 35% doesn’t get to run around screaming with alarm that the guy who wants a top income tax rate of 39.6% is a Marxist, sorry.

  51. “Beck is no McCain fan either but gives lukewarm support to McCain”

    Glenn Beck may truly be the most untalented man to have his own tv show. I’ve seen scarecrows with more talent than that guy.

  52. “Most intellectuals do favor Obama/Biden because they tend to, you know, grant interviews, use big words, not refer to people “Joe the Plumber” and other wacky things that smart people do.

    The GOP has become marketed at such a low common denominator that it is very hard for an intellectual not to abhor them.”

    I am Ingsoc, and I approve this message.

  53. “Glenn Beck may truly be the most untalented man to have his own tv show. I’ve seen scarecrows with more talent than that guy.”

    I never watch his TV Show, I only listen to his radio program. He is very tallented on his radio show. He may simply not be used to the TV format yet. I don’t know, I have not seen it.

  54. As BDB has said here before the demographic the current GOP banks on are older white uneducated non-professional rural folks. They sound like it too.

  55. A bit of an odd interview, but I wish there were more like it. When a politician from any party steps in front of a camera, I want him/her to be sweating about the questions that are going to be asked. An interview where the reporter acts with polite defference is a waste of time.

  56. MNG, I believe you are actually referring to Pennsylvania Democrats. I’ll pit Republican college degrees against Democrat degrees any day of the week. Only the degreed Democrats that stay in acedemia support wealth redistribution, because they know they are insulated from the real world.

  57. Fluffy, mcCain may be a marxist as well. But I don’t recall him working with a marxist organization like ACORN, hanging out with marxists like Ayers and Wright, or using marxist phrases like spread the wealth around.

  58. marxist: I don’t think the word means what you think it means.

    “Inconceivable!”

  59. tarran, very true, those questions can be and should be aimed at both parties

    IMHO, Obama is the lesser of two evils this election

    I’m voting for Barr, unless the election is close in my state, then it’s Obama, rather than Captain Foreverwar

  60. Mr. Nice Guy: JTP wasn’t “vetted”. So-called “liberals” – the ones with whom the so-called “libertarians” at Reason are making common cause – apparently illegally looked through his private records and then leaked them. They even tried to drive him out of work. At least they didn’t smash his shop’s windows, but expect something like that to happen to someone else later.

    And, BHO has never been asked the type of quesiton I’d ask him; my specific goal would be to completely discredit him, and no one else has the balls to do that.

    As for BHO being an intellectual, it’s the lightweight intellectuals that fall for his scam. If you really want examples, see comments #31 and 36 here:

    juliansanchez.com/2008/09/30/desperately-seeking-sarah

  61. Glen Beck? Someone is taking Glen Beck seriously?

    Rush Limbaugh has great talent, I’ll say that. But Glen Beck? He makes Sean Hannity look good. The dude is insane.

  62. Hey OLS did you forward Vince Foster emails back in the 1990s?

  63. My favorite part of the story is the part where the asshole tipper, after not dying of food poisoning, pulls his car that is fairly guaranteed not to burst spectacularly into flames out onto the publicly paved road, while feeling very proud of himself for teaching the guy who makes $2.60 an hour plus tips the evils of taxation.

    If your point was that Fun With Socialists is a hypocrite for being opposed to redistribution of wealth while at the same time taking advantage of public services, I find your argument unpersuasive. The FDA doesn’t do anything to make food safer, it only exists to give an unfair advantage to certain american companies, increasing food prices for everyone in the process. Cars are safe today because it’s in the best interests of auto companies to make safe cars; no federal agency has anywhere near their level of incentive. An excise tax on gasoline to fund roads is probably the fairest tax we have right now, but even still I assume that FWS, like me, would prefer privatization of roads anyway. You can feel sympathy for someone who makes $2.60 an hour, but if he’s wearing an Obama sticker he’s fair game in my book. I thought the story was hilarious and I hope it’s true.

  64. BDB,

    I actually agree with your statement at 4:09

  65. My favorite part of the story is the part where the asshole tipper, after not dying of food poisoning,

    Do you believe that government regulations, inspections with all of the accompanying graft actually make restaurant food safer? I don’t. I am certain it gives regulators and inspectors a steady paycheck though.

    pulls his car that is fairly guaranteed not to burst spectacularly into flames

    Oh yeah. The government does such a good job gauranteeing that engineering fuckups never happen.

    out onto the publicly paved road,

    Which are user funded to a far greater extent than mass transit projects.

    while feeling very proud of himself for teaching the guy who makes $2.60 an hour plus tips the evils of taxation.

    Hey, that unskilled laborer* makes shitloads more than the bum outside does.

    * As a former busboy, I know that waiting tables requires skills. Especially if you do it well. But I believe that the government considers it unskilled.


  66. It’s just not reasonable to try to paint them as socialists or Marxists relative to John McCain

    Unless I’m unaware of it McCain isn’t proposing the Government set pay rates for different private sector jobs by decision of Federal courts or bureaucracy. Obama supports “comparable worth”. that is quite a bit more socialist than the usual transfer payments and
    corporate welfare/bailouts.

  67. My favorite part of the story is the part where the asshole tipper, after not dying of food poisoning, pulls his car that is fairly guaranteed not to burst spectacularly into flames out onto the publicly paved road, while feeling very proud of himself for teaching the guy who makes $2.60 an hour plus tips the evils of taxation.

    But that’s not the point. The point of the story isn’t that wealth redistribution is a bad idea. The point is that Obama supporters are all upper middle class college attending hipster hypocrites who are just as greedy as everybody else in this hypocritical world.

  68. In my 4:43pm post the link is screwd up.
    Go here and here instead.

    My apologies for not testing the link in preview. I know better.

  69. The point is that Obama supporters are all upper middle class college attending hipster hypocrites who are just as greedy as everybody else in this hypocritical world.

    All? Get real. A friggin’ huge percentage of Obama supporters are lower income Americans.

  70. The point is that white Obama supporters are all upper middle class college attending hipster hypocrites who are just as greedy as everybody else in this hypocritical world.

    FTFY.

  71. The point is that white Obama supporters are all upper middle class college attending hipster hypocrites who are just as greedy as everybody else in this hypocritical world.

    And of course even that isn’t true. I’ll bet that the majority of “white” Obama supporters make less tha the median income.

  72. An intellectual, to me, is someone that couldn’t pass Calculus.

  73. … and still thinks they’re smart.

  74. Well, we’ll know on election day I guess.

  75. Great news if you are a Glenn Beck lover. He got dumped by CNN Headline News, starts on Fox after the first of the year. He’ll fit right in with his really close friends.

  76. Found this socialistic quotation today:

    “It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”

    The writer? Obama? Marx? No. Adam Smith in “The Wealth of Nations”, a seminal text promoting capitalism.

  77. Found this socialistic quotation today:

    “It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”

    The writer? Obama? Marx? No. Adam Smith in “The Wealth of Nations”, a seminal text promoting capitalism.

    Uh huh. And that’s what we have now. Your point?

  78. The guy who wants a top income tax rate of 35% doesn’t get to run around screaming with alarm that the guy who wants a top income tax rate of 39.6% is a Marxist, sorry.

    Sure he does, especially when the guy who wants the 39.6% rate give the proceeds of the increase directly in the form of checks to the rest.

  79. Damnit I wanted to see his head explode at the election results.

  80. “It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”

    The writer? Obama? Marx? No. Adam Smith in “The Wealth of Nations”, a seminal text promoting capitalism.

    Yes, I’ve seen that posted lately. I was about to believe it, but then, someone posted the full context, which reveals that he was confining his comments to one specific type of situation, not making a broad based argument in favor of progressive taxation.

    Personally, I support progressive taxation.

  81. Who pays what IRT Federal income tax (2006)

    Top 1% $388,806 39.89%
    Top 5% $153,542 60.14%
    Top 10% $108,904 70.79%
    Top 25% $64,702 86.27%
    Top 50% $31,987 97.01%
    Bottom 50% less than $31,987 2.99%*

    So how much more should we tilt it?

    *Due to personal experience, I reckon that the 2.99% paid by the lower 50% comes from the childless (who don’t suck up local dollars for education either).

  82. I support progressive taxation but only for billionaires on up. Which is originally supposed to be the limit of the income tax–for people with Bill Gates-like income, not people making $50 k or what have you.

  83. But that just shows you another case of government mission creep, huh?

  84. But that just shows you another case of government mission creep, huh?

    When was the last time a government department or agency volunteered to be dismantled? The government, like all organizations, seeks to grow and expand its influence.

    Here’s an alphabetical listing of federal agencies and commissions
    Here’s just the first seven listed (with my humble recommedations)

    Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP)
    African Development Foundation
    Agency for International Development (USAID) (50% cut in administration)
    American Battle Monuments Commission
    AMTRAK
    Appalachian Regional Commission
    Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board

  85. Orange-Line-Special, why do you think Reason is “Obama-supporting”?

    I think only Nick, Matt and Moynahan are the only three on staff who are not voting for him…

    Matt is probably the only one actually voting for McCain…and only because if McCain wins Matt stands to sell more books.

  86. I meet people who think that.

    I meet people like that too. They scare me.

    “OMG! You’re not supporting Obama! But aren’t you a computer programmer? I thought all computer guys were voting for Obama? McCain doesn’t know anything about computers so why aren’t you voting for Obama?”

    And then she starts staring at me like a strange species of beetle.

  87. This is what the state does: it sets the members of a society at each others’ throats. Its officers divide and conquer us by telling us that the other guy should pay, by demonizing those whom the state shall loot.

    The looted get their faction who tell demonizes those whom the government aids.

    “Force the rich to pay their fair share.”

    “Those degenerate hippies get high on pot.”

    The politicians sow the seeds of hatred. They divide and conquer.

    And we dutifully dance to their tune. We hate our neighbors, and thank the looters – our real enemies – and beg them to victimize us more.

  88. When was the last time a government department or agency volunteered to be dismantled?

    February 7, 1990, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

    I know, I was surprised too! 😉

    Maybe you just have to ask them nicely.

  89. “You can get a lot more done with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone.”–Al Capone, American entrepreneur

  90. Whoa. It’s highly-effective Bizarro-Biden.

    “Are you joking? Is that a serious question, or is that a joke?”

    “I don’t know who’s writing your questions…”

    “I don’t know anyone who thinks that except the far right of the Republican Party.”

    I think they stretched that woman’s face too tight, and it’s cutting off oxygen to her brain.

  91. February 7, 1990, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

    Just fuckin’ WOW!
    Thanks for a smile.

  92. LMNOP wrote “while feeling very proud of himself for teaching the guy who makes $2.60 an hour plus tips the evils of taxation.”

    And of course he stiffs the waiter for the ENTIRE tip, rather than doing something more analogous to the tax situation: giving the waiter a bit less and giving the difference to the homeless guy.

    Or even more accurately, buying an additional item, and giving the waiter a smaller tip on *that* additional portion of the bill, and giving the small difference to the homeless guy.

  93. So how much more should we tilt it?

    Show me the numbers for all federal taxes, including FICA, and then I’ll tell you.

    As opposed to picking the most progressive of all federal taxes, while leaving out the others, in order to overstate how progressive federal taxes are.

  94. Actually, taking the ten spot out of the tab, giving half to the waiter in addition to the regular tip, and giving the other half to the homeless guy would have been a better analogy.

    But Mr. Big Tough Guy isn’t going to pick on someone remotely close to his own size like the restaurant owner, is he?

  95. Yo, the whole tip was a voluntary tax on the food anyway.

  96. How many times have I read conservatives whine about the liberal media being mean to them?

    How many times have I read about how all the reporters are Democrats? It’s a mainstay of Republican propaganda.

    And now, when a silly-assed interview like that gets broadcast, I’m supposed to take it seriously when the same people who repeat that same line over and over start getting huffy because someone noticed that the interviewer is married to the GOP consultant?

    Yeah, ok. Why, that’s just terrible that anyone would look into a reporter’s political leanings. Are you kidding me?

  97. Haven’t read all of the comments, so I’m not sure if anyone has mentioned “straight” is spelled incorrectly. If they haven’t, I just did.

  98. I’m pretty sure the guy who originally wrote that tip story actually stiffed the waiter, but didn’t actually give the money to the homeless guy.

  99. but didn’t actually give the money to the homeless guy.

    I kept it and told him he could borrow and spend it. Just as good.

  100. Voluntary wealth redistribution, charity, and coercive wealth redistribution, progressive taxation, are not analogous at all. The absence of armed intermediary in the restaurant story makes it (slightly dickish) charity.

  101. Show me the numbers for all federal taxes, including FICA, and then I’ll tell you.

    Here‘s a handy pie chart that shows where the government gets its revenue from. As you can see, after FICA, income taxes and corporate* taxes, there ain’t much pie left over.

    Here is a breakdown on FICA taxes. Since employers pay an equal amount, double those #s to get the real impact omn employees.

    So joe, I ask again, how do you want to change the taxation system?

    * Businesses don’t really pay taxes, businesses just collect taxes. Business customers actually pay those taxes.

  102. And I’m going to say again, J sub D, I’d need to see the breakdown you provided for income taxes – which is, once again, a breakdown by what % of the total tax burden comes from different income groups, a breakdown you haven’t provided for all federal taxes – and then I can answer the question how much more progressive I’d like to see the income tax made, in order to provide sufficient progressiveness for the federal tax system as a whole.

  103. BTW, has either party said a goddam thing about changing the way we fund social security and medicare? If they have it must have been spoken very softly (while a trainload of howler monkeys in heat was passing.

    Be vewwy quiet. I’m hunting voters.

  104. Since employers pay an equal amount, double those #s to get the real impact omn employees.

    I do like the idea of counting this way, and would be thrilled to see a study of the progressiveness/regressiveness of all federal taxes, which assigns the entire burdern (both sides) of FICA to the employee.

    That would be a perfect starting point for the discussion.

    Though, off the top of my head, I’d like to see the cap taken off FICA, but the rate lowered, to make it progressive, or at least, less regressive than it is now.

  105. I like the way the British do it: the interviewers politely savage their victims… er interlocutors, pointing out inconsistencies and flaws.

    It would seem that British schoolchildren are still taught the rudiments of logic, which is why your interviewers are able to do this. I’d love to see American interviewers do likewise, but frankly, they don’t have the skills.

    -jcr

  106. Fuckin’ copy and paste. Why does it have to be so damned complicated?

    Be vewwy quiet. I’m hunting voters.

  107. has either party said a goddam thing about changing the way we fund social security and medicare?

    Nah, they both know that’s a time bomb, and they’re hoping that it will blow up in the other guys’ face.

    -jcr

  108. Though, off the top of my head, I’d like to see the cap taken off FICA, but the rate lowered, to make it progressive, or at least, less regressive than it is now.

    Off the top of my head, I’d like to see every employee given the option of withdrawing from the system. The Ponzi scheme will break down quicker, but the social security trust fund is a scam/fraud/joke anyway. Lets see some honest accounting for a change.

  109. Though, off the top of my head, I’d like to see the cap taken off FICA

    I always hear this as a solution, but this idea runs entirely counter to what FICA is supposed to be used for.

    The “liberal” line on FICA is that it’s there essentially to make individuals save their money so Grandma and Grandpa aren’t eating cat food on the street. If you’re making more than 80K a year, you should be able to provide for your own retirement.

    If you took the cap off, how would that work? Would you stop sending those little “this is what’s in your SS account” cards? Or would the wealthy claim benefits all the way up?

  110. The “liberal” line on FICA is that it’s there essentially to make individuals save their money so Grandma and Grandpa aren’t eating cat food on the street. If you’re making more than 80K a year, you should be able to provide for your own retirement.

    A not so old Arab proverb (if wiki is to be believed) –

    If the camel once gets his nose in the tent, his body will soon follow.

    FDR was the nose. Too lazy to do serious googling, but here’s an intersting table about the history of FICA rates versus median income over my lifetime.

  111. Of course, when you take into account all government taxes (see Figure 3, page 24), taxes in general are relatively fair. Of course, that’s due to the fact that payroll taxes and energy taxes are relatively regressive.

    Federal, state and local effective tax rates:
    Top 20% – 34.5%
    4th 20% – 31.3%
    3rd 20% – 28.2%
    2nd 20% – 23.2%
    Bot 20% – 13.0%

    This is calculated by taking share of income divided by share of taxes. Pretty much only the bottom 20% is way out of wack.

  112. J sub D

    As for progressive taxation I wouldn’t mind something like the Scandanavian nations have. They have much less inequality. They are also quite productive and happy.

    If you compare our taxation to the rest of the developed world there is just not, comparatively, a whole lot of redistribution going on.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_tax_revenue_as_percentage_of_GDP

  113. Sure he does, especially when the guy who wants the 39.6% rate give the proceeds of the increase directly in the form of checks to the rest.

    I’m not sure what tips the scales between O and M–that the “proceeds” of higher taxes will go to the poor or the “proceeds” of slightly lower taxes will go toward paying an even higher interest on our debt to China because we’re borrowing immense amounts of money to keep warring.

  114. I think about inequality the way that Rawls does. You have to have some of it because it provides incentives that make the whole society better off. But fairness demands that you not have too much of it. So the key is to find the right point.

    I feel that way because I’m convinced that economic inequality translates to inequality of opportunies. I think everyone knows this (it’s why we don’t give away money).

    I realize that’s not going to be a popular argument hereabouts.

  115. If you compare our taxation to the rest of the developed world there is just not, comparatively, a whole lot of redistribution stealing going on.

    Don’t mince words, guy.

  116. “Sure he does, especially when the guy who wants the 39.6% rate give the proceeds of the increase directly in the form of checks to the rest.”

    I love how we are supposed to think conservatives are’nt redistributing any money. Yeah, all those defense contracts don’t involve the taking of some people’s money and giving it to someone else.

  117. By the way, I think a bigger travesty than the poor underpaying taxes is the fact that investments are taxed at a lower rate than labor. This totally skews in favor of investment over labor. A natural level should have investment and labor taxed equally.

  118. It’s a funny kind of stealing though, isn’t it zoltan? I mean, it’s a kind where the victims can determine the amount “stolen” from them by majority vote. That’s odd I’d say.

  119. And we dutifully dance to their tune. We hate our neighbors, and thank the looters – our real enemies – and beg them to victimize us more>>

    And never ask them to cut power…err spending.

  120. Off the top of my head, I’d like to see every employee given the option of withdrawing from the system. The Ponzi scheme will break down quicker, but the social security trust fund is a scam/fraud/joke anyway. Lets see some honest accounting for a change.

    OK, so we’re not talking about the progressiveness of the tax code any more?

    Cuz I thought we were.

    But I guess now we’re not.

  121. TAO,

    The “liberal” line on FICA is that it’s there essentially to make individuals save their money

    Link?

    I’ve never, ever seen a liberal describe Social Security this way.

    Did you?

    Or did you read a conservative, who said that was the liberal line, and then explained why that line was wrong?

  122. So you can support Stealers Group one that steals your money and gives it to kids for free school lunches and teenagers for college grants or to Stealers Group two which gives it to companies that make tanks.

    All the evidence points to both groups stealing and spending in similar ways.

  123. What, joe? Why the hell else do you think they give you the “this is your SS account savings” card?

  124. When exactly did receiving your tax return in the form of a check become perfidious?

    I’ve received my tax return if the form of a check for twenty years.

    But now that the “40% of people don’t pay taxes” line has been debunked – very, very few workers don’t pay FICA, sales taxes, or whatnot – it’s suddenly supposed to be scary the the mechanism for reducing the tax burden is a tax return check.

  125. TAO,

    I’ve never gotten a “this is your Social Security savings” card.

    I’ve gotten a report about my expected benefits. I’ve never seen it suggested anywhere that my money is being saved in an account for me to access.

    I think you’re making up a strawman, because the hard facts about Social Security withholding blows the argument you wish to make about Obama’s tax cut plan out of the water.

    Props to J sub D for not indulging is this shoddy dodge.

    FICA’s not a tax, and the Social Security Administration tells people they’re saving their money for them. Uh huh.

  126. MNG,

    From the link Mo so graciously provided, (Tip here for commenters, this kind of link vice wiki makes your arguments much more persuasive. With the exception of leftiti and othe trolls, we are all trying to be persuasive, aren’t we?)

    Figure 8. Net Fiscal Incidence: Government Spending Received Per Household Minus
    Taxes Paid Per Household, Calendar Year 2004, page 31.

    Bottom 20 Percent = $31,185
    Second 20 Percent = $18,067
    Third 20 Percent = $6,427
    Fourth 20 Percent = -$8,091
    Top 20 Percent + -$48,449

  127. It’s a funny kind of stealing though, isn’t it zoltan? I mean, it’s a kind where the victims can determine the amount “stolen” from them by majority vote. That’s odd I’d say.

    It must be nice for the people who aren’t in the majority.

  128. Tell you what, Optimist: if anyone tells you that liberals and/or the government says that FICA withholdings are saved up in personal accounts, and aren’t you a tax, you tell them that joe would like to have a word with them.

    So…anyone care to discuss the progressiveness of federal taxation?

    I thought that was an interesting topic, and a little while ago, so did some other people.

  129. OK, so we’re not talking about the progressiveness of the tax code any more?

    What would you call allowing people to withdraw from the most regressive portion of the tax system? That is other than making it more progressive?

  130. So you can support Stealers Group one that steals your money and gives it to kids for free school lunches and teenagers for college grants or to Stealers Group two which gives it to companies that make tanks.

    All the evidence points to both groups stealing and spending in similar ways.

    I haven’t seen McCain talk about cutting school lunches and college grants (him being all for taking people’s money and giving it to others as well). And Obama will need tanks for his interventionist policies too. But keep making those emotional arguments, they’re sure to get you somewhere with those women who shouldn’t have the right to vote.

  131. What would you call allowing people to withdraw from the most regressive portion of the tax system?

    Changing the subject from tax rates, in the context of this thread.

  132. Fox News interview with McCain:
    WALLACE: You say that Obama’s tax plan amounts to welfare because he’ll give refundable tax credits – in effect, checks – to 40 percent of Americans who don’t pay any income tax.

    MCCAIN: Federal income tax, yes.

    WALLACE: Right.

    MCCAIN: Yes.

    WALLACE: Obama points out that no one will receive one of these refundable checks if they aren’t at least paying payroll taxes, Social Security taxes.

    And your health care plan would also give these refundable checks to that same 40 percent who don’t pay income taxes, federal income taxes. So if his plan is welfare, isn’t yours?

    MCCAIN: Well, it’s – the difference is that we need to provide – it’s a fundamental requirement to give people the chance to have affordable and available health insurance, or the option is to go into a big government program such as we have in Canada, in England and others.

    Americans right now are without health insurance. They need to get it.

    *****************

    MCCAIN: So is one of the tenets of socialism redistribution of the wealth? Not just socialism – a lot of other liberal and left wing philosophies – redistribution of the wealth? I don’t believe in it. I believe in wealth creation by Joe the Plumber.

    WALLACE: But, Senator, you voted for the $700 billion bailout that’s being used partially to nationalize American banks. Isn’t that socialism?

    MCCAIN: That is reacting to a crisis that’s due to greed and excess in Washington.

    And what this administration is doing wrong, and what Paulson is doing wrong, is not going out and buying up home loan mortgages, home mortgages, and giving people new mortgages at the new value of their home so they can stay in their home.

    They’re bailing out the banks. They’re baling out these institutions.

  133. I’ve never gotten a “this is your Social Security savings” card

    I have. I’d have to work 3 more years to max out my benefits. Fuck that shit.

  134. Who will receive the initial bailout payments?

    The nine financial institutions that will split that first pool of money include the nation’s four largest commercial banks –
    ? Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500),
    ? Citigroup (C, Fortune 500),
    ? JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500)
    ? Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500).
    ? Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500)
    ? Morgan Stanley (MS, Fortune 500) –
    ? Merrill Lynch (MER, Fortune 500),
    ? , Bank of New York Mellon (BK, Fortune 500) a
    ? State Street Corp. (STT, Fortune 500)

    The CEO’s of those nine banks took home on average, $32.2 million each last year, nearly triple the average CEO pay at the 500 biggest US companies. This is more than $600,000 a week. Apiece.

    Since the start of fiscal 2004, the once Mighty Five of Wall Street – Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns – lost around $83 billion in stock market value. But they reported employee compensation of around $239 billion. In other words, they paid themselves almost three dollars for every dollar they lost.

    The cost to the taxpayer of all the bailouts, as calculated by the internet investigative newsroom ProPublica.org, is a whopping $8,750 per household.

    If Obama wants to confiscate a good portion of these CEO’s incomes, let em!!

  135. J sub D

    The wiki page has a nice graphic illustration. I guess you are insinuating that wiki data is less reliable than data from a think tank? I’m dubious about that. The wiki page I linked derives its data from OECD and EuroStat info which is fairly mainstream.

    But if you want it from a think tank here is basically the same thing from the Brookings Institute’s Tax Policy Center:

    http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=307&Topic2id=95

  136. What would you call allowing people to withdraw from the most regressive portion of the tax system?

    Changing the subject from tax rates, in the context of this thread.

    Read that back to yourself. You may want to try somethoing less transparently evasive and disingeuous next time.

  137. MNG, don’t get your tits in a flutter. Wiki is great and fairly reliable for cultural and historical shit. Current events and politics, not so much. You’ve heard of the Wiki wars, rigfht?

  138. I think you’re making up a strawman, because the hard facts about Social Security withholding blows the argument you wish to make about Obama’s tax cut plan out of the water.

    I don’t have an argument vis-a-vis Obama’s tax plan. I’m frankly not even interested.

    Next time try not to assume nefarious motives from the person with whom you’re engaged in discourse.

  139. And what this administration is doing wrong, and what Paulson is doing wrong, is not going out and buying up home loan mortgages, home mortgages, and giving people new mortgages at the new value of their home so they can stay in their home.

    No, the moral thing to do is let all concerned stew in their own juices. Fuck the irresponsible lenders, the deadbeat borrowers, and the imprudent purchasers of MBSs. Amazingly enough, I’ve been consistent with that stand since the problem first reared its ugly head.

  140. J sub D

    A friend of mine who teaches at a university talks about how the profs there always combat the students getting info from wikipedia. But I think that is overblown. Sure, wiki should not be seen to be definitive or as reliable as academic work, but it’s probably more trustworthy than an ideologically oriented think tank like the Tax Foundation.

    http://news.cnet.com/Study-Wikipedia-as-accurate-as-Britannica/2100-1038_3-5997332.html

  141. Speaking of the giant Mongolian gang bang commonly known as the Wall Street Bailout, From the Friday political thraed …

  142. MNG, Wiki is a valid starting point. In some ways it’s better than Brittanica, In some ways it’s worse. I could understand a college prof getting teed off about it. I wouldn’t agree, bit I understand.

    We didn’t have all this info at our fingertips when I went through college, grumble, grrr, Get off my lawn!

  143. Get off my lawn!

    Sweetheart, did you hear what he just called it? His lawn! Isn’t that dear?

  144. I’m so kind, I even have a site about bias in the wiki pedia encyclopedia.

    There isn’t that much there, but someone really needs to explain the World one. Why is there no contrary information whatsover?

  145. Most intellectuals do favor Obama/Biden because they tend to, you know, grant interviews, use big words, not refer to people “Joe the Plumber” and other wacky things that smart people do.

    Now we know why following a successful revolution, one of the first things the revolutionaries will usually do is shoot the intellectuals.

  146. If Obama wants to confiscate a good portion of these CEO’s incomes, let em!!

    Although that might be a popular sentiment right now, it’s still morally wrong. Provided none of it was gained through force or fraud, those CEOs deserve to keep every penny of what they earned. Just like you do, and just like I do.
    I’m opposed to the bailouts too, but it’s a separate issue.

  147. “Found this socialistic quotation today:

    “It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”

    The writer? Obama? Marx? No. Adam Smith in “The Wealth of Nations”, a seminal text promoting capitalism.”

    A general comment in response to a trend I find troubling – one cannot quote texts from hundreds of years ago out of context. Of course everyone should have contributed to the public expense, it was the duty of gentlemen in the 18th century. And it was the furthest you could get from Marxism; contributing to the public expense cemented your place at the top of the pyramid – a pyramid, by the way, that lacked our modern conception of a middle class. Meanings of words change over time – before you quote Adam Smith, or the intentions of one of our founding fathers, which seems to have become quite the fad recently – evaluate the context. Please, you’ll sound much more intelligent.

    For more on ideas of deference to gentlemen and contribution to the public good – oh and the dangers of giving voice and legitimacy to working classes (which, by the way, sounds more socialistic) – read Gordon Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution

  148. Max Headroom!

    Good God Man, you’ve dated us all.

    BTW, wasn’t Max Headroom played by Drew Carey?

  149. The guy who wants a top income tax rate of 35% doesn’t get to run around screaming with alarm that the guy who wants a top income tax rate of 39.6% is a Marxist, sorry.

    Sure he does, especially when the guy who wants the 39.6% rate give the proceeds of the increase directly in the form of checks to the rest.

    No, words have fucking meanings. A “Marxist” believes in a moneyless society in which all major assets are communally owned, and in which compensation is entirely divorced from vocation. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

    See, there’s a difference between that and people arguing over a few percentage points in the top income bracket’s tax. If you absolutely must, there’s a colorable case for calling the latter “socialism,” though if so it’s a pretty damn mild version of socialism. But it’s not Marxism, goddammit.

  150. When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept.

    Yeah, because returning tax rates on the rich to their 1990s levels (and to nowhere near as high as they were before Reagan) and cutting a check to all people who qualify for one or more of a small number of credits (unlike in current policy, in which the checks are cut only to those people making a certain level of income) is so analogous to taking money from a minimum-wage-earning waitperson and giving it to a hobo.

    Nice try, moron.

  151. See, there’s a difference between that and people arguing over a few percentage points in the top income bracket’s tax. If you absolutely must, there’s a colorable case for calling the latter “socialism,” though if so it’s a pretty damn mild version of socialism. But it’s not Marxism, goddammit.

    My point was more that if McCain is going to make the standard of being a Marxist “voting for redistributionist budgets”, then by that standard McCain is absolutely a Marxist.

    You’re right when you say that standard is a little silly. But it’s the standard McCain’s people have chosen, so we need to apply it to Senator McCain, too.

    The text MNG posted of the Wallace interview shows what a jackass McCain is being. If Obama advocates redistribution it’s socialism, but if McCain advocates redistribution he just whines about how it’s necessary.

    Tough shit, Senator. And tough shit to all McCain supporters.

    McCain’s lifetime of budget votes and his current platform mean that if you are a McCain supporter, it’s absurd for you to throw stones from inside that glass house.

  152. This always happens when you point out the regressiveness of FICA taxes to someone complaining about the progressivenss of income taxes: they change the subject.

    Wah wah wah wah wah, Frankling Roosevelt said something seventy years ago wah wah wah so FICA isn’t a tax.

    Wah wah wah wah wah, the SSA mails out information about how close you are to qualifying for benefits so wah wah wah, it’s not a tax.

    Whatever.

  153. For those who do not want to look it up, the context of the Adam Smith quote (paragraph 71) was property taxes. Rich people live in nicer houses, so property taxes hit them more. Hence the section title, “Taxes upon the Rent of Houses.” The funny thing is that adding context helps it as an argument for progressive taxation, just not of income tax. The preceding sentences are about how the poor struggle for necessities while the rich buy fancy houses to show off their other luxuries.

  154. J sub,

    The problem with the government spending by income quintile chart is that it includes things like salaries for soldiers, SS payments and salaries of government employees that’s naturally going to skew to the lower quintiles. For example, an elderly couple that put all of their retirement savings in a Roth IRA, rather than a 401k, will come out with an income of $0, when they pull their money pout, even if they were a top quintile couple when they were employed.

    Then there’s the question of how things like government spending to contractors counts towards benefiting the employees and senior management of these firms. Likely, those that benefit from those types of transactions are in the higher quintiles.

  155. J sub D | October 26, 2008, 9:57pm | #

    Speaking of the giant Mongolian gang bang commonly known as the Wall Street Bailout..

    The correct term, Sir, is Mongolian Cluster Fuck

  156. Winecommonsewer: Max Headroom=Matt Frewer, although he did look like a taller, slimmer Drew.

  157. This always happens when you point out the regressiveness of FICA taxes to someone complaining about the progressivenss of income taxes: they change the subject.

    To be fair, joe, whenever anyone looks at FICA as just another tax and SSI payments as being a form of welfare payments, progressives leap to their feet and cry wah wah wah it’s a unique program, wah wah wah the beneficiaries paid in, wah wah wah a sacred trust and contract between the generations wah wah wah.

    So I’ll trade you: I am happy to consider FICA just another tax, if progressives agree to consider SSI just another welfare program.

  158. Biden does a fine job staying on talking points and not gaffing for a change.

    That’s a pretty fucking low bar for President-In-Waiting, no?

    going out and buying up home loan mortgages, home mortgages, and giving people new mortgages at the new value of their home so they can stay in their home.

    This, of course, requires Me, The Taxpayer to eat the difference, effectively subsidizing either the banks or the people who overpaid for their houses. Why, exactly, should I do that, again?

    Punishing prudence and rewarding imprudence will get you less of the former and more of the latter. Does that sound like good public policy to you?

  159. With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

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