Some of the Members suggested we set up posts where we concentrate on coming up with solutions to our country's (and the World's problems), rather than just complain about them.
I love that idea but I still think we need to point out things that need to be solved. I'll be honest, I'm not a Republican. I know this may come as a shock to many of you as I hide it so well but - well, I just don't like those guys. It's not the "Conservative Values" stuff, which is basically a joke anyway with Republican sex scandals outnumbering Democratic ones by 2 to 1 over the past decade (and with Democrats it's usually a MAN and a WOMAN, who is over 18 - with the Reps, it's ANYTHING GOES!) and it's not even a contest when you compare indictments for other evil activities.
No, that doesn't bother me but, as Barry Ritholz so rightly put it: "I am not a Democrat, because I have NO IDEA what their economic policies are; and I am not a Republican, because I know PRECISELY what their economic policies are." While I agree with Barry that BOTH parties are loathsome and corrupt and selling out our nation to the Corporate Kleptocracy that has taken over our once great nation (and Bloomberg had a nice report on the Koch Brothers this weekend) - I have simply decided to choose the lesser of two evils. The Democrats are not quite beyond redemption but the soul of the Republican party was corrupted so long ago that I feel it is completely beyond redemption.
Let's take Thursday night's Republican debate, for example. There we were with eight "different" candidates, and, about 48 minutes into the debate, Bret Baier, asked the eight candidates on stage whether any of them would walk away from a “real spending cuts deal” that required one dollar in new tax revenue for every 10 dollars’ worth of reductions.
To put this in perspective, Mr. Baier’s hypothetical deal, if it entailed rescinding the Bush-era tax cuts only on Americans earning more than $1 million annually, would yield something like $6 trillion in spending cuts — a lot more than anyone is actually talking about.
EVERY ONE of the Republican candidates INSTANTLY and emphatically raised his or her hand, as if Mr. Baier had just asked whether they liked puppies or whether they had voted for Ronald Reagan. Not a single candidate gave any hint that he or she would even entertain such a totally one-sided compromise. In other words, ALL the candidates were essentially saying that they wouldn’t embrace fiscal reform if it included even a penny of additional taxation. No compromise could possibly be favorable enough to earn their support.
AND THEY GET APPLAUSE! All eight possible Republican Presidents get applause for being COMPLETELY unwilling to compromise under any circumstances. See, it's not just the Republican candidates I have a problem with, it's the people who are clapping for this lunacy...
Take away $10Bn of tax breaks for Corporate Jets and the Dems are willing to give up $100Bn of entitlements - THEY WON'T DO IT! Ask GE to pay $1Bn in taxes and the Dems will agree to $10Bn in cuts to Social Welfare Programs - THEY WON'T DO IT! Raise Capital Gains taxes 2.5%, collect $20Bn of additional annual taxes and get $200Bn worth of annual concessions from the Dems - THEY WON'T DO IT! You're not electing "leaders" here, you are electing NO stickers and giving them the Veto Pen to boot!
We tried this low tax thing already - Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover kept the Republicans in power from 1921 through 1933 and this country was almost destroyed by the imbalance of wealth that arose and the carnage of the resulting collapse of the middle class, followed swiftly by the rest of the economy. In fact, the damage was so severe in the 1930s that Communism was being considered as a viable alternative and LUCKILY for the Capitalists, we ONLY went a bit Socialist instead.
Don't let the chart above fool you either. Out of $2.3Tn of taxes collected by the Government last year, just $192Bn (8.3%) were Corporate taxes, the rest were taken from the people, who don't have armies of accountants and lawyers to fudge their figures. Meanwhile, we already know cutting our military spending is as off the table as raising taxes to the Republican'ts so where is the necessary $1.4Tn annual spending cut (38% of the pie) going to come from?
Administration? Sure, who needs government telling us what to do and "organizing" things. Just leave the guys who write the checks to the Defense Contractors and approve the war stuff and the rest can go back to being community organizers or whatever. Housing? That seems like a waste as no one is buying houses anyway - shut it down and let people fend for themselves. Health? That's my doctor's job - get your own.
Education? I wouldn't put my kids in "regualr" schools anyway so shut 'em down. If the kids want to learn, that's what TV is for. Transportation? A Hummer can get around and over potholes just fine. Environment? Cut the red tape and this country will be a better place, right - just ask the people who live in the Gulf States or Love Canal. Science and Energy? God and the Koch Brothers will provide. International Affairs? We hate all those people anyway.
There you go, problem solved - we just cut out that green stuff and we've got our 38%. THAT'S WHAT THE REPUBLICAN'TS ARE SAYING WHEN THEY ALL RAISE THEIR HANDS! It's not just irresponsible, it's not just irrational and it's not even just insane - it's a vote to destroy the United States of America and turn it into a Military Regime with an economy that resembles Darfur, Honduras or Burma. Egypt IS a military dictatorship and they STILL have a more socially balanced budget than we do!
Wake up people, this party was willing to - DID, in fact - allow the United States of America to lose their Triple-A credit status and sent the markets into a downward spiral that we have no way of knowing if we are going to recover from (as the effects are still rippling through our economy). They have turned our government into a Global joke and they just had two hours of Q&A where they PROMISE more of the same and the problem isn't just with the Presidential Candidates - it's the WHOLE PARTY and it needs to go!
That's what I think the first problem we need to address is. What do we replace it with? I'm very open to throwing all the bums out on both sides and start from scratch but I simply don't think it's realistic in the short-term so, logically, I'm going to choose to keep the party that there is at least the POSSIBILITY of compromising with. The Republican way is nothing more than a Thelma and Louise suicide run over the cliff and THEY MUST BE STOPPED!
That's my opinion - now what's yours?
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.