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The Fight-Back Plan

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Posted on Sep 19, 2011
White House / Pete Souza

By Eugene Robinson

“Class warfare!” scream the Republicans, in a voice usually reserved for phrases such as “Run for your lives!”

Spare us the histrionics. The GOP and its upper-crust patrons have been waging an undeclared but devastating war against middle-class, working-class and poor Americans for decades. Now they scream bloody murder at the notion that long-suffering victims might finally hit back.

President Barack Obama’s proposal to boost taxes for the wealthy by $1.5 trillion over the next decade is a good first step toward reforming a system in which billionaire hedge-fund executives are taxed at a lower rate than their chauffeurs and private chefs.

Republicans whine that since they oppose raising taxes on the rich—and control the House of Representatives, which can block such legislation—Obama’s proposal should be seen as political, not substantive. This is just a campaign initiative, they say, not a “serious” plan to address the nation’s financial and economic woes.

But that’s pure solipsism: Whatever does not fit the GOP’s worldview is, by definition, illegitimate. By this standard, Obama could only propose measures that are in the Republican Party’s platform—which obviously would defeat the purpose of being elected president as a progressive Democrat in the first place.

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Outside of the Republican echo chamber, polls consistently show the American people consider unemployment to be the nation’s most urgent problem, not deficits and debt. Obama was on target with the American Jobs Act he proposed earlier this month, the only question being what took him so long.

Americans do have long-term concerns about debt, however, and by large margins see an obvious solution: a balanced combination of spending cuts and tax increases. In other words, they want precisely the kind of approach that House Speaker John Boehner rejected during the debt-ceiling fight—and that he vows to reject again.

Why did Republicans begin squawking about class warfare even before Obama had a chance to announce his proposals? Because by calling on the rich to pay “their fair share” of taxes, the president has hit upon a clear and simple way to illustrate how unequal and unfair our society has become.

Since the beginning of the Reagan years, the share of total income captured by the top 1 percent of earners has doubled while the share taken by the bottom 80 percent has fallen. The rich are getting richer at the expense not only of the poor but of the middle class as well.

Studies demonstrating this trend tend to be dry and, let’s face it, sleep-inducing. But the perverse disparity in tax rates between the super-rich and the rest of us is enough to grab anyone’s attention.

The very wealthy earn much of their income through dividends and capital gains, which are taxed at 15 percent. This low rate would apply specifically to a wildly successful hedge-fund manager who made, say, $50 million last year. By contrast, an insurance company executive who made $500,000—just 1 percent of what the hedge-fund manager took home—would pay a top marginal income tax rate of 35 percent. Even a teacher who made just $50,000—0.1 percent of the hedge-fund haul—would pay a top marginal rate of 25 percent.

Obama proposes tax legislation that would erase this disparity. He also vows that unless Congress enacts comprehensive—and fair—tax reform, he will allow the Bush tax cuts for households earning more than $250,000 a year to expire at the end of 2012.

The overall plan that Obama announced Monday would cut deficits by about $4 trillion over the next 10 years—without gutting programs that bolster the middle class and aid the poor. New tax revenue and money saved from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan make up most of the total.

Obama’s proposed savings in Medicare and Medicaid are modest and tailored so that their impact is progressive. The president correctly decided that ensuring Social Security’s long-term solvency should proceed on a separate track. All this should be heartening to those who really want to preserve these vital programs.

The headline from Obama’s plan, though, is the call for wealthy Americans to pay taxes like everybody else. If Republicans believe the current system is fine, Obama said, “they should be called out. They should have to defend that unfairness. ... They ought to have to answer for it.”

We’ve already heard their answer.

And we’ve heard Obama’s retort: “This is not class warfare. It’s math.”

Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)washpost.com.
   
© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group


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By hogorina, October 9, 2011 at 6:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

THE RISE AND FALL OF A PSEUDO REPUBLIC AND DEMOCRACY

The future plans for our downward spiraling of our republic has been well lain. Eventually­, we will have three distinct levels of national society. The unknown ruling element will remain intact. Too, the unshakable middle class will stay afloat. As to the thinning, the slow climbers into the middle class rungs will remain unstable. The upper elite dwellers will be completely eliminated­. This collectively, will leave a national one–class mob to be dealt with, Our state-wide police ruthlesness will increase under FEMA, SWAT, and the CIA. as this class of hoodlums with their snail like influence expands hourly. All state and federal employees will receive the highest pay, in order to control them. Our republic will be reconstruc­ted, as to the have and those who cleave to nothing but soup lines. Artificial inflation, plus the profession­s, striving from Medicare and Medicaid reciepients will dwindle. Our national population, unproductive free-loaders, will grradully die off as parasitic humanoids via poisoned water and food, as all past civilizations rid themselves as undesirabl­es are slowly fed poisoned food and water and the lack of medical care. Flouride in drinking water is the best trick going now .A standing military will be well fed and clothed. This new dictatorship will be absolutely merciless. And the circus will proceed on its well planned events, in crucifying any press club that fails to buckle down under physical and mental slavery!
Even before Noah constructed his Ark, there had been a class NOBILITY. The seedline of this tribal element created ancient Babylon, after the great deluge, NIMROD was the founder. Both pseudo parties are bought and sold before running a pick to serve these so-called NOBELESE. To rant and rave is useless. This same class of global NOBILITY rules and will never abandon their invisable manner of operation.. AMERICA IS AT ITS FINAL DEATH RATTLE.

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By drbhelthi, September 22, 2011 at 11:28 pm Link to this comment

Seriously, I think it may be time to go back to the drawing board. EmileZ

I agree.
When do you plan to return?

You might also update your avatar.

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By David J. Cyr, September 22, 2011 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

Yes, kalpal, “those” right wing people are immoral and they have no integrity.

However, it’s those in the Democrat voting wing of the Right who are most immoral and have the least integrity.

It’s those liberal voters who say they oppose war, but then vote for Democrats who make more dumb wars become “necessary” and “humanitarian” wars.

It’s those liberal voters who say they don’t want Americans to torture people, but then vote for Democrats to remove the Bush era limitations on torture and get it done medievally out-of-sight, in black-sites where “suspects” disappear and their screams won’t be heard.

It’s those liberal voters who say they support Single-Payer, but then vote to have Democrats perform a partial birth abortion on healthcare.

It’s those liberal voters who say they want clean air, water and soil, but then vote for Democrats to permit more mountaintop removal, and assure people that fracking will be “safe” when Democrats permit it to be done in the backyards of poor family farmers that Monsanto considers expendable.

It’s those liberal voters who say we must do something about climate change, but then vote for Democrats who ignore the changes in climate, while providing a market for Wall St. to profit from swapping pollution credits.

It’s those liberal voters who say they welcome immigration, because they’ve got a Dream Act coming to put brown bodies in the body bags of the resource wars that Democrat voters keep voting for.

It’s those liberal voters who say they support the unions that socialists and anarchists built, but then vote for Democrats who turn those unions into counter-revolutionary corporate-state collaborating organizations — “progressive” organizations intent upon gaining and maintaining benefits for themselves in exchange for their depraved complicit support of America’s neoliberal policies of perpetual war and ruthless global economic exploitation.

The fucking liberal “progressive” Democrats are the greater evil half of America’s Great Right-wing Conspiracy.

There’s nothing more deeply depraved than a Democrat is.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By kalpal, September 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

In the 1970s when I was a student in college I subscribed to Fortune Magazine. This led me to get many offers from law firms seeking to break my union assuming I owned a business since I was a subscriber.

Such services are still offered but I don’t think so indiscrimately as to be sent to poor college students attending on the GI Bill.

Can anyone point to any instance when the right wing originated and passed into law any legislation which backed the middle class, working class or poor against the wishes of the rich and powerful?  A multi-year search has failed to uncover any such instances during my adult lifetime.

So far as I can tell there is scarcely a smidgen of old fashioned American ethics, morals or integrity to be found in the right wing.  Those people are utterly pro wealth aristocracy and anti-workers.

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By eps62, September 22, 2011 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

RJB in PA

The only acceptable changes to taxation for me is equal
taxation. That includes capital gains taxes, corporate
taxes and everyone taxes for all. This would make that Norquist moron’s oath irrelevant, and after all, since
Corporations are people too they should pay taxes same
as me. Corporations and the rich are not there for my
benefit, but they freeload on my government services.
“MAKE THEM PAY”


RJB, This comment makes the most sense. Since Corporation are people they should pay the same taxes as normal people. Which means to me that their taxes should go up when the Bush Tax cuts expire in 2013. After all they are people!!!!

            “MAKE THEM PAY”

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By bobbylon, September 22, 2011 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

Obama’s proposed savings in Medicare and Medicaid are modest and tailored so that their impact is progressive. The president correctly decided that ensuring Social Security’s long-term solvency should proceed on a separate track. All this should be heartening to those who really want to preserve these vital programs.
=======

Hogwash. Obama just put the onus on gutting SS and Medicare to the Super Congress. You think Patty Murray is going to preserve these programs at the expense of Boeing? I don’t trust a single Dem on that group to stand up for the working man. Max Baucus? F*** me! Kerry? What does he care, he’s going to State if Obama is miraculously re-elected. Becerra and Van Hollen have already tipped their hand re: “debt reduction”. Clyburn thinks it’s perfectly alright to work til 70.

Obama has already offered these cuts as a human sacfirice in the Grand Bargain, but Boehner turned him down. Obama doesn’t have the guts to get the get any blood on him.

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By racp, September 22, 2011 at 9:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I only and totally disagree with the title of the article. This is not a “Fight-back plan” in the way Republicants try to present it. This is a mearly “Stop the Retreat plan.” Fight back against the buldozzer leveling the poor and middle classes? In what mind is a fight-back plan an attempt to go back to Clinton era taxes while taking cuts in safety net programs? A pure Stand-off would be do not touch any safety net program until tax rates go back to Clinton era. Still a long way from a fight-back would be: Since we have been in war: taxes back to war times, universal health care, and accessible education for all. Give me a break! Not a call for “to the streets! bring your pinchforks!” but if you want to think fight-back think the Bolshevik or the French revolutions. If we continue on this path of fixing fiscal problems only on the back of the poor and middle class only time will tell.

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By David J. Cyr, September 21, 2011 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

There’s not much wealth for the Republican faction of the corporate party to transfer from a Middle Class.

The Goldaman Sachs/CitiGroup economic planning Democrat faction of the corporate party has already transfered near all of it (see Robert Rubin).

What was the privileged (too miseducated to consider themselves Working Class) liberal Middle Class is now the Indentured Class — delusional Democrats who believe that their having a negative net worth means they’re closer to becoming rich than they are to joining the homeless poor.

When “educated” liberals attempt to justify their voting for Democrats they reveal themselves to be even more profoundly retarded than Republican voters… that is those liberals who are not consummately evil.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By Pat, September 21, 2011 at 7:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There are two things the republicans want. 1. Transfer wealth from the middle class and 2. Hide the fact you are doing number one.

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By David J. Cyr, September 21, 2011 at 4:35 am Link to this comment

There’s nothing less credible than a corporate (R) & (D) party voter claiming they oppose corporate government.

In the corporate-state’s elections the conservative and liberal collaborators are allowed to choose between interchangeable corporate pre-selected “electable” candidates.

In 2008, the corporations selected two McCains. The corporate party collaborators fought over whether the McCain candidate to be seated should be colored white, or colored black. The Bible damaged conservatives predictably chose the “pure” white one. The drug damaged hippie liberals, who always want something devious about their choice so they can claim they were just fooled again predictably chose the black McCain. They also got mindlessly motivated because his black colored disguise reminded them of Lucy in the skies.

The choices between sames that the collaborators make usually result in benefiting one group of corporations more than another, dependent upon sponsorships.

What’s “historic” about the 2008 choice is that none of the corporate sponsors of either McCain has been left unrewarded.

While the permafrost has become impermanent the permanent government has become more permanent… because there are too many natural persons choosing to be (R) & (D) corporate collaborators.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By drbhelthi, September 21, 2011 at 4:19 am Link to this comment

And if you really think a newly elected president has much to say about who he will appoint for the financial department of his administration then you do not know as much about how american politics really work as you think you do.  Marian Griffith

Whoever is elected has been pre-selected to continue the GHWBushSr/Zionist plan, and need not concern oneself with cabinet-level selections, which are also pre-selected.

The “Democrat Party”  &  the “Republican Party”  are unrecognizable as such and will remain so.  A swift review of the “current cabinet” identifies AIPAC clan leaders, who will continue.

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By entropy2, September 20, 2011 at 6:46 pm Link to this comment

Pretty predictable…BHO proposing all kinds of lib-pleasin’ vapor legislation now that there’s not a snowball’s chance in Texas that it’ll be passed. No political posturing here…no sir.

Now all the Perry-fearin’, go-along, get-along Dem sheep can bleat…but he triiied!”, thereby covering their shame in voting again for the Prez and party that scorns them and betrays them at every turn.

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By Big B, September 20, 2011 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

Marian Griffith, you have to understand that poor david cyr was kicked by a hippie when he was 4.

He doesn’t seem to realize that its not US against the repugs and dimmos. Its us against the corporate oligarchs. You know, the guys who want completely de-regulated markets and free trade, libretarians.

Has 30 years of this shit not been enough?

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By Marian Griffith, September 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@David J Cyr
—The Goldman Sachs faction of the corporate party (Democrats) keeps looking for bigger fools to believe that (D) corporate party faction cares about the people it misuses and abuses.—

You realise this makes no sense at all, do you? I understand you want to hate the democrats and blame them for everything that is wrong in the world but ...
The same people who run the finance department for Obama ALSO did run it for Little Shrub. And for Clinton. And for Big Shrub.
Because the political system is set up to put the president with a blank slate he will need advisors, and those must be ‘known experts’ to be considered trustworthy (to be suggested by the party leadership). For several decades now ‘financial expertise’ has been steadily defined in more and more narrow terms, meaning only the Chicago School (Friedman) and select managers at three or so investment banks (who do their time as handler for whatever president sits in the white house and then, if they loyally served the interests of the bank, will get rewarded with a position in the board of directors). They don’t care what party the president is from, they are only there to push laws through that increase the opportunities to make more money and to block legislation that might negatively affect the bank’s profit sheet.

They have succesfully indoctrinated -both- parties that the only possible candidates are either extreme supply side deregulatists or top managers of the banks that are at the heart of all the economic problems. And if you really think a newly elected president has much to say about who he will appoint for the financial department of his administration then you do not know as much about how american politics really work as you think you do.

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By anaman51, September 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm Link to this comment

Makes me smile, it does. Great satisfaction is being gleaned from watching the GOP moan and bellow like a gored ox after getting a dose of their own medicine. The GOP has been performing thinly-disguised class warfare against everyone but the rich for the last forty years. Their ultimate goal is to do away with all forms of government subsidy for our less-fortunate, disabled, and aging Americans, including the eventual termination of Social Security.

They believe that you should be able to save enough money for your retirement from at least one of your minimum wage jobs, as you continue to try to feed your family and keep a roof over your heads on an income that won’t support gerbils.

I find it ultimately sad that this sacrosanct group of overmoneyed Americans must have their arms legally twisted and thrust up behind their backs before they’ll do the right thing. Cough it up, rich America!

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By bpawk, September 20, 2011 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

Obama has no cards left to play unfortunately.  He had to have taxed the rich at the beginning of his term not now which looks like a quick grab for another term at the white house and not sincere. He had a chance to help the other america and he didn’t take it. Now he’s too little too late.

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By doomster, September 20, 2011 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

Why didn’t they do this back when the Democrats held the House and the Senate? It’s a fairly good proposal but I’m not going to hold my breath… We must remember that most of the “representatives” from both parties as well as Obama himself are rich.

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By Gabriel, September 20, 2011 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

@ Truthdig Mod

Why do I get “Sorry, Page Not Found
We dug around, but couldn’t find that page for you.”
... when trying to preview comment or trying to submit it when links are included?

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By FRTothus, September 20, 2011 at 10:47 am Link to this comment

Big on promises, especially when in campaign mode—lousy on delivery.  Obama talks tough, but he’s got no bite, no backbone, no stomach for the fight.  We’d be better off with a Republican in the White House… at least that way the enemy would be recognizable, and the lies and empty promises would be known for what they were.

“What the workingmen of the country are profoundly interested in is the private ownership of the means of production and distribution, the enslaving and degrading wage-system in which they toil for a pittance at the pleasure of their masters and are bludgeoned, jailed or shot when they protest — this is the central, controlling, vital issue of the hour, and neither of the old party platforms has a word or even a hint about it.
As a rule, large capitalists are Republicans and small capitalists are Democrats, but workingmen must remember that they are all capitalists, and that the many small ones, like the fewer large ones, are all politically supporting their class interests, and this is always and everywhere the capitalist class.”

“It is better to vote for what you want and not get it, than to vote for what you don’t want and get it.”
(Eugene V. Debs)

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By Doug, September 20, 2011 at 9:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The wealthy claim that they should not be taxed, or at least not be forced to pay the same rate as their secretary does because they are the ones who create jobs. Perhaps they should be seeking tax relief in China then, because they certainly are not creating jobs in America. Truth is the wealthy have not had ANY tax increases in over a decade, and all the Bush tax cuts are still in place, but still they are not creating jobs, and probably have no plans to until they have finally succeeded in getting rid of the president the people fairly elected. As long as Obama is in office, the republicans will do whatever it takes to stifle the economy.

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By mrfreeze, September 20, 2011 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

To me the real enemy is the seemingly unchallenged and insidious conservative/republican narrative that goes something like this:

“Why should the wealthy pay more in taxes? After all they are being rewarded for their ‘talent & genius.’” Also, why should anyone trust the govenrment to do the right thing with all that extra tax money?” Then there’s the ancillary: “They’re job creators!”

Indeed, most of my friends repeat this mantra endlessly when it comes to taxes, taxing the wealthy, “fair taxes,” etc.. Hey, it’s a narrative that sticks with people…...especially those who think they’ll be those wealthy people someday.

Indeed, what is the solution?

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By RJB in PA, September 20, 2011 at 7:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The only acceptable changes to taxation for me is equal
taxation. That includes capital gains taxes, corporate
taxes and everyone taxes for all. This would make that Norquist moron’s oath irrelevant, and after all, since
Corporations are people too they should pay taxes same
as me. Corporations and the rich are not there for my
benefit, but they freeload on my government services.
“MAKE THEM PAY”

Report this
EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, September 20, 2011 at 5:58 am Link to this comment

@drebhelthi

You are all over the place.

You obviously have much to say.

I think you should try to focus your comments and tone it down especially with the word “zionist”.

As an experiment, perhaps you could try to stop using the word altogether for a little while. To put it kindly, perhaps it is making you intellectually lazy.

Just a thought.

Also…. Caucasiods???

Seriously, I think it may be time to go back to the drawing board.

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By oddsox, September 20, 2011 at 5:46 am Link to this comment

“Obama was on target with the American Jobs Act…the only question being what took him so long.”
—ER

Obama’s jobs bill won’t work because it won’t pass.  The best we can hope for is a cherry-picked version that keeps the expanded payroll tax cuts.  The price paid for waiting too long.

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By oddsox, September 20, 2011 at 5:45 am Link to this comment

“...polls consistently show the American people consider unemployment to be the nation’s most urgent problem…”
—ER

“He’s a nice guy, but he doesn’t have a clue how to get this country going again.”
—Mitt Romney on Obama

Sadly, right on both counts.

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By drbhelthi, September 20, 2011 at 5:43 am Link to this comment

Robin-Hood proposals at this stage of the game might constitute a “fight-back” plan for Obama supporters who ignore the facts.  For me, they represent a fix for the sinking ship and also, preparation for the 2012 election. Continued deceit and falsification; seductive tools. Do only Caucasoids believe the information broadcast by Dr. James Manning, which is provided by insiders and research ?

Promising the wish-list, or a major part of it, a Robin-Hood proposal to take from the rich and distribute among the poor, is a repetition of the seduction of the poor, the pre-election promises of 2008.  Pacification for the decreasing number of people of color, who hang onto the fantasy of a half-Negroid winner at the helm, is also provided. 

It takes a slick operator to continue an “Idi Amin” in 3rd world countries, while deceiving the homefolk with statuesque speeches and fraudulent “do goodery.”  Of course, having a cabinet of Zionists with vast experience tends to insure success.  The Democrat Party and the Republican Party are no longer recognizable.  Only NAZI-ism is clearly, increasingly recognizable. 

NAZIs in the US and Germany falsified family histories and U.S. passports for 2,000 NAZIs and family, 1946-1952, Operation Paper Clip. Falsifying various birth and educational records for “Barack Obama” years later is comparative child´s play for the C.I.A.  Not to speak of the hundreds of thousands of identities for C.I.A. operatives and similar secret operatives of various other U.S. agencies that have been falsified.

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, September 20, 2011 at 5:30 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Eugene Robinson:

“The GOP and its upper-crust patrons have been waging an undeclared but devastating war against middle-class, working-class and poor Americans for decades.”
_____________________

The Goldman Sachs faction of the corporate party (Democrats) keeps looking for bigger fools to believe that (D) corporate party faction cares about the people it misuses and abuses.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By prisnersdilema, September 20, 2011 at 5:04 am Link to this comment

Yes Republicans have done their best to destroy the middle class, and loot the country.

The job creators, as they fancy themselves, who create those jobs overseas, devalue
every American.  The wealth creators, have created vast amounts of wealth by working
people to death, for themselves. By renaming the sweatshop a global economy, they
have perpetrated one of the biggest political lies.

Their endless irrational prattle about deregulation, and lowering taxes, are the central
political delusion of their political lies.

The economy Americans face is a result of decades of conservative politics. And now
they want more of that?  They are insane. Might as well put a bullett right between the
eyes of every man women and child in this country.

The Democrats have acted as the enablers of this. So they are to blame as well.

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By Dr Bones, September 20, 2011 at 4:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is only an illusion of a two party system.  They serve the same masters on K Street.

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By EmileZ, September 20, 2011 at 3:00 am Link to this comment

After Obama’s disgraceful performance in the lame duck session, it is no longer a question that his proposals, put before a Republican controlled house, should be seen as political rather than substantive.

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By Robespierre115, September 20, 2011 at 2:27 am Link to this comment

“Obama’s proposed savings in Medicare and Medicaid are modest and tailored so that their impact is progressive.” What else could we expect from a partisan tool like Eugene The Clown? These idiots will defend any right-wing policy by Obama just to defend their side of the ring, pathetic.

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By Memory Stick, September 20, 2011 at 1:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yes, Eugene, O gives good speech.

But do you believe those that continually lie to you?

If so, why is that? And aren’t you therefore the bigger fool? Or is there something else at play here?

Maybe, if I don’t support O’s newest half baked bunch of half truths, outright deceptions and lies, I’m a Racist?

Here’s an example of an Obama ...(call it what you want, Eugene):

http://youtu.be/9R-z-fFnuh0

Oh, you didn’t want to talk about that little “reversal” did you. Much better to pretend it didn’t exist at all.

Fool me once, Eugene, shame on you.

Fool me twice or three times or ten, shame on me.

That is, no doubt, a curious concept for a beltway “insider” like yourself, isn’t it.

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