The Wrong Direction

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Now we will look at the flip side of the Democrats policy paper:

THE WRONG DIRECTION

The policies of the Bush Administration and the Congressional majority have taken the country in the wrong direction, making us less secure and putting the privileged few ahead of the common good.

Let us take each point in turn....

WEAKENED SECURITY

Failed to capture Osama Bin Laden or destroy al Qaeda

Granted, but al Qaeda's operations have been severely hampered by our efforts, and many of them have been killed. Thus, al Qaeda is less able the attack the U.S. than they were before we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. Still, I would like to see more troops in Afghanistan hunting down al Qaeda and the Taliban.

rushed to war in Iraq on manipulated intelligence...

No-one in the Bush administration manipulated intelligence. Congress had access to the same reports that President Bush had. Any congressman or senator who did not read those reports before voting on the invasion of Iraq should resign in disgrace.

...with no realistic plan to win the peace;

Did we have a "plan to win the peace" when we invaded Germany and Italy? Did Johnson have such a plan when he decided to invade Viet Nam? A realistic post-war plan is simply not possible to construct before the war, because the post-war situation is unknowable until the war is over.

failed to provide [a] strategy to stabilize Iraq

We are stabalizing Iraq. The "insurgents," many of whom are not Iraqis, are trying to destabalize it. That strategy is working, although the foreign terrorists are hampering the process.

or begin the responsible redeployment of our troops;

As I said in my last article, redeploy them where? ("Redeploy" does not mean "bring home," because if they are home, they are not deployed.) I'd like to see more troops in Afghanistan, but Iraq needs those troops for now. That's why the terrorists are attacking the police training stations -- to keep those troops from going into Afghanistan. We have about 150,000 troops in Iraq right now. Sixty years ago, we had several million troops in Europe alone. This is not a matter of can, it's a matter of will.

strained the U.S. military;

Only because the military had been gutted by the Commander in Chief who "despised the military."

wasted billions on no-bid Halliburton and KBR contracts;

Money was never wasted under Democratic adminstrations? Sure, money was wasted, but the Democrats haven't been any better when they were in power. Show me how you're going to deal with the waste, don't just point out examples of waste and say, "we won't do that."

failed to protect our borders, ports, transportation systems, and chemical plants;

Democrats have blocked or tried to block every effort by the Republicans to close the border. We have not done enough to protect our infrastructure. We have about 12 million people ages 18-20 in this country. The military does not want a draft, but how about DHS?

received failing homeland security grades from the nonpartisan 9/11 Commission;

The 9/11 Commission's report was considered in Congress, and many of the recommendations in that report were implemented. The Democrats do not specify which unimplemented recommendations they want.

cut veterans’ health care.

I'm with them here. Our vets should never be short-changed.

RISING ECONOMIC INSECURITY

No minimum wage increase for 6.6 million Americans since 1997; real family income down since 2001 as CEO compensation soared; support for subsidies for outsourcing American jobs; $5.6 trillion budget surplus turned into $3.2 trillion deficit; national debt doubled to $12 trillion by 2011.

The Senate Democrats blocked a measure to raise the minimum wage.

The real median household income increased from 2004-2005, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report. Looking at the charts in that report, the current pattern matches earlier recoveries: first job growth, then income growth as the labor pool tightens. (Do you notice how the Democrats are not harping on job growth anymore?)

I do not know what subsidies they're talking about here -- their larger policy paper does not mention them at all.

The budget deficit and surplus they quote are ten-year projections. Nevertheless, the deficit spending is very disappointing to fiscal conservatives. It seems that whichever party is in power spends like drunked sailors, and whichever party is out of power (and so not getting the earmarks) becomes the party of fiscal responsibility. Perhaps Congress should look to the Constitution (for once), and only spend money on those things that are permitted. That would get us into a surplus in a real hurry.

RISING COLLEGE COSTS

$12 billion cut from college student aid; cost of loans increased; college Pell Grants frozen as tuition soars - 57% at public universities and 32% at private schools since 2000.

As I mentioned in my earlier article, a higher percentage of people in the U.S. have at least a bachelor's degree than ever before. That does not sound like a crisis. While I'd sure like to get the feds to send my kids to college, I can find nothing in Article I, Section 8 that allows Congress to give my child money for college. Holding to my "only spend money on those things that are permitted" line above, I have to oppose the federal government's student aid and grant programs. That said, the programs may still be good, and the States do have the authority to implement such programs.

Of course, interest rates have been rising everywhere, not just in student loans. Forcing a reduction in credit card interest rates would probably do more people more good.

RISING ENERGY PRICES

Gas over $3 per gallon; growing dependence on foreign oil; billions in new subsidies for oil and gas companies despite record profits; blocked efforts against price gouging; opposed energy efficient technology and alternative fuels.

Didn't Clinton, ten years ago, block drilling in ANWR, saying we wouldn't see anything from it for ten years? So much for long-term thinking. Ten years later, the Democrats still oppose drilling in ANWR, drilling off our Atlantic and Pacific coasts, and wind farms off Cape Cod.

Anyway, the price of petrol is coming back down, and even at the $3/per gallon price we had this August, gas prices had only risen 5.6% per year since August of 1990, according to the Department of Energy. At the current price of $2.26/per gallon, gas has only risen 3.4% per year since October of 1990. That is not out of line with the inflation rate over that period.

RISING HEALTH CARE COSTS

Family health insurance costs up 70% ($4,500 per family) since 2000; 6 million more uninsured; confusing Rx drug benefit prohibits negotiating lower drug prices; stem cell research obstructed.

The main policy paper recommends that we "Provide universal, affordable access to health insurance, beginning with a 50 percent tax credit and multi-insurer pools to help small businesses provide affordable and comprehensive health care coverage for their employees."

Why don't we just stop taxing the businesses in the first place. The tax costs just get passed on to the consumer anyway or, as the Democrats indicate here, come out of employee benefits.

Since the insurance laws are state laws, the states should be implementing the "multi-insurer pools," whatever they are. (I think they mean multi-insured pools, in which several small businesses band together to buy insurance as a group. I think this is already legal, but that depends on the state.)

I'll grant that the prescription drug benefit is confusing. It's unconstitutional, too.

As for "obstructing" stem-cell research, since when has "not funding" become "obstructing"? I guess if the government does not pay for my new car, it is obstructing my purchase of a car?

In any case, Congress did vote to fund stem-cell research, and the bill was vetoed by Bush. Since Bush is not running ths year, there really is no point to this point.

RISING RETIREMENT INSECURITY

Promoting substantial privatization of Social Security and benefit cuts for millions of retirees; employee pensions collapse while CEOs get golden parachutes.

The larger paper also gives no indication of how Social Security will be saved from collapse when it is no longer running a surplus. (Mind you, that's projected to be in 2007, and as we
have seen with the ANWR drilling, it is not for Democrats to think ten years ahead.)

They do, however, promote "AmeriSave," which will match the first $1000 of retirement savings for low- and middle-income people. (Where in that in Art. I, Sec. 8?) Of course, many people who now have matching 401(k) plans do not participate. According to the Employee Benefits Research Institute, one fifth to one quarter (depending on age) of the people who can contribute to a 401(k) do not do so, foregoing any matching contributions. Since 83.4% of plan participants are eligible for employer contributions, some are already not taking the bait.

Those that won't take the bait are primarily those who need their money now -- the poor, whom the Democrats say they are trying to help.

The solution to that problem, of course, is to make the contributions mandatory via payroll deductions. The net result is an increase in the Social Security tax, and private accounts. So we're back to privatization as the solution!

My own solution is detailed in Fixing Social Security.

Employee pensions have collapsed partly bacause of regulations preventing a company's over-contributing in the good years to cover the bad. The reason these regulations were in place was because money going into pensions is not taxed, so the feds weren't getting "their" money. Once again, the solution is to eliminate the corporate income tax, and then there will be no problem with companies' funding their pensions.

I encourage everyone to read the Democrats policy paper.

If you want my opinion on a specific aspect of their plan, just ask.

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24 Comments

zimzo said:

Excuses, excuses. Here's a shorter version:

Republicans: More of the same failed policy in Iraq, the corrupt party of Mark Foley and Jack Abramoff.

Democrats: Change.

Jack said:

Change for the worse.

At least Foley had the grace to resign. Clinton did not resign after lying under oath. Clinton pardoned convicted pedophile Rep. Mel "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" Reynolds, and pardoned his own half-brother Roger Clinton.

Rep. Gerry Studds actually had sex with an underage male page (Foley did not), and took that page on a vacation in Spain. Not only did Studds not resign, but his fellow Democrats gave him a standing ovation from his fellow congressmen during the vote on his censur, was re-elected five more times, and was given committee leadership positions. Under Clinton, "Studd's companion was given a job at the Minerals Management Service while Studds was Chairman of the Committee that had jurisdiction over Interior." (http://prorev.com/family.htm)

Tell us again how the Democrats are so much better than the Republicans.

Jack said:

I'd also rather have politicans getting money from Abramoff than from the PRC.

Stay Puft's lawyer said:

PRC?

So when $hit hits the fan it's, "at least we're not as bad as they are!" you're a real visionary.


"At least there aren't any more rape rooms"

-Sean Hannity (at least twice nightly)


the way republicans frame the debate, we have a choice between bad and worse. people are tired of that message.

Rogers just struck out a 7th guy!

Jacob Ash said:

Marshmallow,
"So when $hit hits the fan it's, "at least we're not as bad as they are!"" What do you expect? The real "functional gap" between the republicans and democrats is far smaller than we all make of it.

The real questions in this country were decided a long time ago. What is left to argue over? Studd's or Foley? Some choice. But its all the choice we are going to get. That is what is left on the doestic front outside of immigration? No one is having a real policy debate on tax policy currently so it is a non issue this election cycle.

On the home front, real wealth which is measured by goods owned and comforts enjoyed goes up every year. Home ownership is a real measure of wealth. When it and other true measures of wealth, starts going down nationwide then we will real see changes in policy. The interesting part will be to see which way it goes.

The only real current difference is on the foreign policy front. Here the difference is not the manner in which a party disposes of its resident pedophile, but weather it will take an aggressive or passive approach with respect to Islamo Facism.

So yes Marshmallow it is just a question of degree. Did you really think politics was any less pedestrian?

-JA

Jacob Ash said:

Zimzo,
You wrote “Republicans: More of the same failed policy in Iraq, the corrupt party of Mark Foley and Jack Abramoff.”
It is such an interesting world you live in; Vanilla Sky anyone? What do Foley or Abramoff have to do with foreign policy? Please explain Zimzo, oh scion of liberal 'thought.' Oh wait, it’s that whole grammar thing that keeps eluding you. Your run on sentence is just a pathetic, simpleminded Democratic talking point. I get it. You were not connecting Abramoff or Foley to policy, you were just barking again, my mistake.

As for Foley, he was dropped like a bad habit for grotesquely risque IM's. Dear ol' Studds took a 17 y.o. boy to Spain, actually buggered him, and then got a standing ovation by the very Democratic party you are so enamored of in the chamber of congress. Do you fail to notice the difference in treatment, or you just don't care? Could you answer that question?

And please, there is absolutely NO evidence of a Republican cover up. What I would like to know when did the Democratic operatives on Sorross(sp?) know about the IM's and how did they know. I believe failing to bring this information to the police is commonly referred to as 'conspiracy after the fact', which is a felony. Which begs the question, "What did Nancy Pelosi know, and when did she know it?”

-JA

Jack said:

Mr. Lawyer:

Voting has long been a choice of the lesser of two evils. Are you just now realizing this?

Stay Puft's lawyer said:

where's your JFK? where's your FDR? don't give me that defeatist attitude. ever since 2000, the GOP has been an effective PR machine, but "lesser of two evils" is a long way from, "honer and integrity"

you guys usually back up the GOP in an almost blind way, as if this conservative movement will save us from liberal evils, and now it's, "well it's all the lesser of two evils, didn't you know?" talk about bait and switch.

what I don't get is why you aren't happy that the guy got kicked out. you ought to take i as a sign of the success of the conservative movement in America, "look how far we've come; states are banning gay marriage, mega churches are going up faster than walmarts, and nowadays politicians who have inappropriate relations with pages are booted instead of cheered."

but no, it's typical partisan complain-e-pants

Jack said:

JFK? The adulterer?

FDR? The guy who threatened to stack the S.C. if they did not declare his policies constitutional?

There's honor and integrity for you.

No, the Republicans have not saved us from ALL liberal evils, but many of them. I have been disappointed by them, but they are still preferable to the Democrats.

As for Foley, I am very glad he resigned. (I assume you mean Foley. He did not get kicked out.) I do see that as a sign of success for the conservative movement.

Jacob Ash said:

Marshmallow,
JFK was the ultimate PR president. He was in office for two years. His missteps at the bay of pigs (with-holding air power when the plan was centered around it) was the primary catalyst for Kruschev getting the brass to put nukes in Cuba. Credit where its due, he did play it right during following the stand off in the missile crisis. But, do not forget it was a crisis of JFK’s own making.

The trip to Berlin was where he announced he was a donut, which does make him unique. But please, FDR had some real accomplishments; JFK is a foot note, get over him and grow up.

-JA

zimzo said:

I wonder how you all will feel when this news "comes out":
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lawrence-odonnell/who-is-scott-palmer_b_31171.html

Jack said:

My favorite comment over there was this: "The Democratic tent is big enough for the disaffected Republicans betrayed by the congessional leadership they sent to DC to provide morality and good government. Maybe we should invite them in."

Funny. That tent isn't big enough for Lieberman.

Stay Puft's lawyer said:

no no no. JKF the guy who founded the peace core, said, "ask not...", defused the Cuban missile crisis, and challenged the country to go to the moon.

FDR who led us out of a great depression and through a world war against fascism.

come on, guys, you're old enough to remember what Leadership was, no? (ok, maybe not)

oi vey, talk about revisionist history.

Jack said:

The lunar program your client said was unconstitutional?

As for WWII, we lost, several times, more men in a single battle that we have in the entire War on Terror, and the Democrats are saying our losses in this was are too high.

Stay Puft's lawyer said:

I believe the point was that funding for such a space program was not mandated by the constitution, not that the program was unconstitutional.

you want to do a result-based comparison between WWII and GWOT?

"our losses in this was [sic] are too high."

here I've cut and pasted a phrase which contains a typo so I can write SIC next to it. this seems to be a tried and true method of yours for getting under people's skin, and I just thought I'd give you a taste... :)

Jack said:

Mr Lawyer:

It was a typo. According to your earlier post, though, I'm sure you meant "persons," not "people."

Stay Puft's lawyer said:

Thank you for correcting my grammar and for generally being my nemesis.

Jack said:

You're welcome.

Kevin said:

You guys are cute.

Jacob Ash said:

Kevin,
Your idea of cute is pretty gruesome. Talk about oy vei!!

-JA

Jacob Ash said:

Marshmallow
'Ask not ...' was one of the best speaches ever in our country.

My favorite part is "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty."

So, how does this square with the Democratic plan for us pulling out of Iraq?

-JA

Kevin said:

Jacob,
My ideas have been called worse. . .btw:

"'Ask not ...' was one of the best speaches [sic] ever in our country."

(ha! just having some fun)

Jacob Ash said:

Kevin,
Trust me, I know what Jack looks like. Cute is about the last word that comes to mind.

-JA
PS I do not [sic] people.
PSPS In some cases I do mention their grammar is so bad. ;-)

Jack said:

Jacob:

You're fat.

BTW, it's PPS, not PSPS. :-)

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