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More apologies for light posting and 12-word platform open thread

Big day today painting and showing the place and chewing my hands. And I know I should consolidate the super 12-word platform thread, which (as readers point out) has grown unweildy.

So, herewith!

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nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

OK, my summary of where we are on the additional planks –

First issue is approximate number of additional planks. Danps makes what I find a convincing argument to keep the platform down to a bumper sticker. However, no convincing argument could stop any of us from piling in with our own absolutely crucial, cannot-do-without issue. Everybody else's crucial issue, while desirable, risks running the platform too long, turning it into a laundry list of wishes. I'd say the issue of number of planks is still open.

Is the current 12-word platform still the best starting four planks? There seems to be consensus favoring "Medicare for All". Questions surrounding the others:

-"End the Wars" Most Americans seem to have accepted the wars, so for political reasons should we drop this one out of the top tier?

-"Tax the Rich" Is this an accurate statement of what we want, vs. something like "Tax Wealth"? Is "tax" a turnoff to people we may want to attract? There are a number of suggestions in the thread for something like "Share resources" or invocations of "commonwealth"

-"A Jobs Guarantee" Alternatives argued for include a basic minimum income and a living wage.

There are still open questions on how to proceed. How specific should we be, ranging from statements of philosophy down to specific implementations? Note the plank that has consensus hits the right balance, not "Health care for all" but Medicare for all". But that's because there's already a program in place. We're still discussing most of the other policies, mainly on how to get the philosophical statement like "Economic Justice" into a specific action that isn't too limited.

The other question of process is the balance between our goals and our wish to attract support. Should we drop "End the wars" or "Tax the rich" because a lot of people may not like them? The same question applies to other potential planks.

The major areas of discussion appear to be reversing depredations of the police state, finance, extension of and equal access to the commons, environment (including energy and climate).

We all ought to read Lambert's post opening the discussion and at least skim through the comments to that, before picking up here.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

definitely "partially due to the tax code."

The AMA and the American Bar Association all have lobbyists who help keep the numbers of doctors and lawyers to a number that helps makes them fabulously affluent--and in some cases, wealthy in time.

As I understand it, they do this by limiting the number of both medical and law school applicants/admittances, and by restriction of the issuance of H1-B Visas.

But who lobbies for the bottom three quintiles? No one.

Which is why between 30 and 35 million low and unskilled workers have been allowed to flood into the US, forcing down working class wages for many Americans.

BTW, I lived and studied in Latin America. So, this statement is not intended as a "racial or ethnic" slur.

I am using the number of undocumented immigrants which was quoted by a right-wing think tank dude in the video link below (I believe that he was from Heritage), who debated Barbara Ehrenreich and Rocky Anderson shortly before the 2012 election.

If the number was off-base, neither Ehrenreich or Anderson "batted an eye."

I just found the video at FDL (here) which contained the over 30 million figure, but the video is now restricted in the US.

That figures.

In truth, by the nature of the situation, I doubt anyone actually "knows" the true figure.

But I have long suspected that many politicians in both parties tend to "low ball" the figure, since politicians of both parties tend to kowtow to conservatives, many of whom are (wrongly) adamantly against allowing undocumented immigrants citizenship, etc.

Anyway, my only point is that some affluent Americans use the tax code and immigration laws to protect their affluence (of course, this is not necessarily restricted to just these two professions).

This contributes greatly to inequality in the US.

So, however it's worded, taxes need to be raised on the very top wage earners, and on the flat-out very wealthy--both federal income tax and inheritance or estate tax.

With wages continually shrinking for the working classes, and a huge "mandate" looming to purchase health care insurance (which may cripple many working class Americans), taxes must be raised on those with considerably more than barely subsistence wages.

That--or "end empire building" and military adventurism. And we know that's not going to happen.

{Sigh . . .}

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

On the issue of whether we should select planks for what we believe is right or for their potential appeal to the widest possible audience, I'm firmly in the declare-the-right camp. Mostly it's because the goal isn't to win empty elections, but to effect desirable policies. And you also raise another point that we shouldn't be led by the conventional wisdom on what other people believe.

On the tax issue -- a top rate of over 90% on incomes and inheritance, applied both to individuals and corporations. So, Tax the Rich!

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

"what is right"--not "what is an easy sell."

Agree on taxes, but hey, I could even settle for a tax hike on the highest wage earners to "70%." (That'll be the day, huh?)

Of course, we all know, the Grand Bargain will REDUCE the marginal tax rates of the wealthiest Americans to 30% (or even as low as 23%, per Bowles-Simpson), and same for corporations--lowering some "manufacturers" to as low as 25%.

And at the same time, "tax loopholes" for lower and middle income Americans will be eliminated (or reduced) in order to "offset these reductions."

But I guess that we can dream . . .

Submitted by lambert on

But if you want a coherent platform that works for a decade or so, that answers most policy questions, and not just those that are hot, then you need more. Say, 10 to 12, scope that demonstrably works without being a laundry list. (10 commandments, 12 steps).

Nothing wrong with bumper stickers. But only one bumper stickers? I don't think so.

Adding... What I'm really trying to do here is create the "alternative" to TINA, the Washington Consensus, the work product of "the neo-liberal thought collective." I want to put a dagger in the heart of TINA.

That can be done in short form, I am convinced. It cannot be done on a bumper sticker. There isn't the conceptual space, no matter how clever we are with words.

Submitted by hipparchia on

"tax the rich" can refer to income tax, or wealth tax, or both. we used to tax the very very rich both ways much more than we do now.

i usually refer to some combination of these charts, depending on the conversation...

the rich are not paying taxes like they used to:

the rich are getting richer and you are not:

corporations are not paying taxes like they used to: (scroll down to figure 2)

your productivity (as a worker) has gone up up up, your pay has not: (figure a)

what if minimum wage had grown as much as productivity? (low estimate) (range of estimates)

but we're the most-taxed nation on earth!!!!! (hint: no we're not)

depending on how staid or how radical i think my audience of the moment is, i try to point out that we're doing all the work and corporations and rich people are keeping (or stealing) all the money. they could just as easily have chosen to voluntarily let the rest of us share in the general prosperity (through more spending and higher wages), but they have chosen not to.

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

Most people need meaning in their lives. Pursuit of happiness is part of our declaration of freedom. Freedom comes from not being subservient to another. So what would facilitate happiness? Motto is Life, freedom and pursuit of happiness. The French had liberte, equality, fraternity.
Medicare for All -
No more wars or end the making of war machines. Make washing machines not war machines.
Share the profits.
A national livable pension

This is hard.

Submitted by lambert on

I was thinking of something like "a living wage for life."

One lesson ObamaCare definitely teaches is the folly of eligibility buckets.

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a good education.

jo6pac's picture
Submitted by jo6pac on

only thing that's not on the list and should be is everyone gets 6 weeks paid vacation every year.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

And we know, that "all" the social insurance programs will be "means-tested" soon.

That's what Bowles-Simpson's proposal is all about.

Except that THEIR GOAL is simply cutting benefits and saving bucks, in order to pay for the soon to come (September, if there's a Grand Bargain) major cuts in the marginal tax rates for the wealthy and corporations.

It's not about creating a more "fair" social insurance program.

Their pernicious proposal actually starts slashing benefits (Social Security) at barely poverty levels (oh, but not "quite as deeply").

I am simply "blown away" that (as far as I can tell) that there appears to be no "push back" from the liberal/progressive blogosphere to at least insist upon "substantial progressivity" in these cuts.

Rarely is levying the same rate across the board actually "fair."

Great example--sales taxes--one of the most regressive of all taxes.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

should not have not had a "cut off" for subsidies.

That's why the Social Security Act was written the way that it was.

I see references by many who oppose the ACA (I strongly oppose it, but my reasons are different) to it being another welfare program (since it is "means tested" and subsidies are not extended to all).

This charge could not be levied if the corporatist shills and Dem Senators who mostly wrote this bill had insisted upon even a "nominal" amount of sliding subsidy for everyone.

Can't imagine what they were thinking. Partly for this reason, I've begun to believe that this bill (as it is presently constructed) may be repealed or overhauled down the road.

Lambert has given us plenty of nightmare scenarios, and it's not even been fully implemented.

Maybe it will all "come out in the wash." Many of the individuals most affected by losing decent health insurance plans may be "the types" who will raise a ruckus.

Unfortunately, the poorest Americans (whom we KNOW have been screwed over by the ACA), are not too likely to raise their voices.

Undoubtedly, 2014 will be an interesting year . . .

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Here’s an excerpt and a link.

Lew: Obama not negotiating over debt limit

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew challenged Congress on Tuesday to raise the debt limit—telling CNBC that President Barack Obama will not negotiate over the issue. . . .

As part their budget-reduction strategy, Republicans have been trying to repeal and defund the president’s health-care law. But Lew said the White House won’t accept any delay or defunding of Obamacare.

Last week, Boehner took one of the fall budget fights with Democrats off the table—saying he plans to avoid a government shutdown at the end of September. He has urged lawmakers to pass a “short-term” bill that maintains sharp automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester, to keep the government funded for two months past the Oct. 1 deadline.

The president has tried to reach across the aisle in every way on budget issues, Lew asserted, saying the sequester must be replaced with balanced policies to deficit reduction. . . .

“As we get to the end of the year, we think that without the headwinds of additional federal cuts, the economy should pickup a notch again,” he said.

The president is “prepared to do tough things on entitlement programs,” Lew said. “But those tough actions … require balance in terms of revenue, both for fairness and because for economic results.”

Lew made it clear the White House wants tax increases as part of the discussion. “We’ve pressed very hard for the kinds of agreements that would do both spending reform, entitlement reform and tax reform.”

On the issue of corporate tax reform, Lew said he sees ideas from Democrats and Republicans that indicate progress can be made.

“[But] on the individual side, it’s a little more complicated because it is intrinsically connected to the larger fiscal policy conversation,” Lew said. “Without additional revenues, I don’t see a path toward comprehensive tax reform.”

—By CNBC’s Matthew J. Belvedere. Follow him on Twitter @Matt_SquawkCNBC. CNBC’s Chief Washington Correspondent John Harwood and Reuters contributed to this report.

Sounds like it's time to reach for the proverbial "cryin' towel."

With members of the President's own Cabinet making such blatant statements, can anyone tell me why I keep reading posts which "deny" that the President is getting ready to slash entitlements?

Go figure . . .