Communism and Socialism

26 Oct

An Obama administration would be no more socialist or communist than the Bush administration, or any prior president’s administration. Anyone who says otherwise is either an ignoramus or a demagogue. Raising the upper tax bracket by a few percent while lowering the rates for middle-income earners is not socialism. All they’ve got left is a hammer-and-sickle variant of Godwin’s Law. Fail.

68 Responses to “Communism and Socialism”

  1. Mike In WNY October 26, 2008 at 8:59 pm #

    It can be quite hard for people to admit they are supporting socialist policies. Once they get past their conditioned response, if ever, socialism is there.

    Constantly invoking Godwin’s Law when you don’t agree doesn’t amount to an argument based on anything but emotion.

  2. Buffalopundit October 26, 2008 at 9:05 pm #

    Knee-jerkedly calling anything remotely to the left of your political views “socialism” or “communism” doesn’t amount to an argument based on anything but emotion.

  3. STEEL October 26, 2008 at 9:16 pm #

    Isn’t Fascism the opposite of Communism?

  4. The_other_mike October 26, 2008 at 9:30 pm #

    I have watched and listened to the various platforms of our politicians and they very much resemble a socialist or communist sentiment. Listen and count how many tout that they are looking out for the little guy, the middle class, and the less fortunate. There are many politicians who are looking to increase the individuals dependency on government and government programs like heath care and social security reform.

    There are many socialist economies in existence that work well today, take Sweden for example. Stating that we wish to be more socialist is not a bad thing, as long as we don’t try to cover up our desire to move away from capitalism at the same time. Trying to be both a capitalist and socialist economy is impossible. We cannot be capitalist for the wealthy but socialist for the middle class and poor. When taken to extension, doing so will result in a drive to the lowest common denominator and the lack of incentive and drive for improvement.

  5. Jon Splett October 26, 2008 at 11:48 pm #

    Obama is a far cry from real socialism but in America, where people learn everything they need to know about politics from handy 30 second sound bytes and rhetoric repeated ad nauseum until the words lose all meaning, he can get called one. I’m sorry but when the guy doesn’t even have to stones to propose a single-payer health plan, you aren’t allowed to call him a socialist because it’s offensive to those of us who realize socialist programs can work if you do them the right way.

    When America starts producing candidates like Olivier Besancenot you can start calling them socialists.

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

    THAT is a socialist and it’s a sad state of affairs that you can lump a corporate democrat like Obama in with the true left and get away with it in America.

  6. Dave A. October 27, 2008 at 12:21 am #

    As an Army guy, I have some major disagreements with Splett’s world view – but that’s another argumrnt for another day. He’s got a point here. Most people wouldn’t know a socialist if one bit them in the ass. It’s just another fear-mongering buzzword, like ‘liberal,’ or ‘the boogeyman.’

  7. Starbuck October 27, 2008 at 1:09 am #

    Communism is going too far, and it’s a stretch to say Obama’s plans represent socialism (just like it’s a big stretch to say McCain’s plan for Social Security is privatization). But these terms can be a matter of degree.

    Increasing the progressiveness of income tax rates is more socialist than having flatter rates, by comparison. From page 73 of the 2007 book “Socialism” By Thomas Fleming (published by Marshall Cavendish, ISBN 0761426329), which can be previewed via Google Books:

    …Graduated taxation, that is, a program that assesses higher incomes at higher tax rates, is a common method used by socialist governments to redistribute income. In 1891 German Socialists adopted the Erfurt Program, calling for a massive welfare state to be financed by graduated taxation. The program was quickly imitated by other socialist parties, including Sweeden’s SAP …

    Obama also says he plans to redistribute wealth by increases on capital gains tax rates (telling Charlie Gibson at a primary debate he supports that out of “fairness” even if it causes federal revenues to fall).

    He also wants to expand government involvement in quite a few private sector activities including health care and child care. Although saying all this adds up to full socialism is overboard, is it unreasonable to say the net affect of his themes and proposals would move in a socialist direction compared to where we are now?

    Here’s a radio interview from 2001 in which Obama strongly supports the idea that our government should do much more to redistribute private wealth (again, socialism? – no, but a more socialist direction? – you tell me) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iivL4c_3pck

  8. Jon Splett October 27, 2008 at 2:02 am #

    @Starbuck- Yes, it’s certainly a babystep towards socialist policies but to then start throwing around “He’s a socialist” as the McCain camp has is pretty dishonest.

    Conservatives get up in arms when liberals apply the ‘facist’ label to the Bush administration, but plenty of their policies moved us in a facist direction. It’s just as intellectually dishonest to paint Obama as a socialist as it is to paint Bush as a facist.

  9. Russell October 27, 2008 at 8:31 am #

    Some presidents have been much more socialist than others. As we speak, the government is buying up shares in national and regional banks. Even commentators in Europe have referred to it as a nationalization of the financial system (see The Economist). That’s socialism. The New Deal and the New Society were both basic socialism. There is no purely capitalist system in any country. The case could be made that we are the closest, or the least socialist, but there are socialist characteristics in our system. Some presidents have been more proactive in bringing those characteristics into our system. Some have been a result of situations where government had to take more control and fix market failures.

    I would not say Obama’s tax plans are socialist, but the concept of redistributing wealth, as he himself characterized his plan, is a socialist concept.

    Not all presidents are equal in this area. For good reason, Obama will be far more socialist than William McKinley. I just hope he’s not more socialist than FDR or George W. Bush.

  10. Russell October 27, 2008 at 8:51 am #

    Excuse me, that’s the New Deal and the Great Society. I’m sure all of you knew what I meant but some of you would have attacked me for my mistake anyway.

  11. Mike In WNY October 27, 2008 at 9:09 am #

    Fact: Obama’s tax plan increases the redistribution of wealth through taxation.

    Fact: Redistribution of wealth is a principle of socialism.

    Conclusion: Obama’s tax plan move us closer to pure socialism.

    No emotion involved in this conclusion, just the facts. Also, even if Obama’s claim that only 2% of small businesses would be affected by the higher maximum tax rate, that 2% generates much more than 2% of the jobs created by all small businesses. The tax rate will lead to a reduction in employment by small businesses. History shows that when the top tax rate is reduced, as well as the capital gains tax, increased economic activity actually results in more tax revenues being generated.

  12. Buffalopundit October 27, 2008 at 9:25 am #

    Every American – even the working poor – pay mandatory payroll taxes. The maintenance of tax brackets, which mandate how much you pay in income taxes based on your annual earnings, is not generally what one would call “socialism”, and that’s ultimately what we’re talking about. I’m not aware of any plan of Obama’s that would increase taxes on the wealthy so as to hand a check over to the not-wealthy, but I do understand that his plan is to revert to the upper bracket from the 90s (which worked quite well, thank you) and lower the taxation burden on those making less.

    Naturally, Mike in WNY’s protests have to do with his libertarian notion that all government spending must essentially cease, and that Medicaid should be abolished, as should unemployment insurance, food stamps, WIC, and every other welfare program that exists to ensure that at a bare minimum people have access to sustenance and shelter. To the extent that this is a “socialist” notion, that may be technically true, but the US is the least socialistic of any and all of the industrialized nations throughout the world, and because of the way our government is structured we never underwent any sort of political upheaval of the socialist or fascist variety back when both were fashionable. Thus, any description of American economic or taxation policy that uses “socialist” in it is chiefly demagoguery, because it is designed solely to evoke an emotional, rather than rational reaction.

    The fact that the majority of Americans (this does remain a democratic representative republic, after all) have not flocked to the libertarian cause underscores the fact that most Americans have no interest in the abolition of these programs, and I’d wager that the reason why has a lot to do either with participation in them on some level, or general knocking-on-wood.

    So, to hurl around the socialist label at Obama because he intends to give a tax break to the middle class and a tax hike for millionaires is facile and designed solely to inflame rather than to discuss, thus the Godwin variant.

  13. Russell October 27, 2008 at 9:53 am #

    Ironically, you’re hurling of “Godwin” is designed to inflame rather than discuss.

  14. Buffalopundit October 27, 2008 at 9:58 am #

    Possibly, but I think that hurling a label like “socialist” or “Nazi” at your opponent means you’ve conceded the argument. Which basically means that the Freeners, as Byron likes to call them, pre-emptively concede every argument, because they can seldom get beyond labels. Whatever they like is constitutional, and whatever they don’t is socialist or communist or corporatist or whatever the label du jour is.

  15. Byron October 27, 2008 at 10:04 am #

    Shocking, I know, but that lawsuit against Obama got dismissed.

  16. Snarky Snarkmore McSnarkamaphone October 27, 2008 at 10:09 am #

    Libertarianism is simply the economic theory of selfishness.

  17. Mike In WNY October 27, 2008 at 10:19 am #

    We only use labels as a basis to describe the type of activity being proposed or already in use. The labels are based on fundamental principles, not some desire to inflame. While searching for a descriptive adjective for a tax plan that increases the burden on the wealthy and decreases the burden on other classes, socialistic is the one that best describes what is happening. Liberals prefer the use of the adjective “progressive”, which to me is a misnomer because it also conveys the impression that it is a move forward or something positive.

    Politicians have a time-honored tradition of labeling legislation with names that make no sense. An example would be the “Employee Free Choice Act” which Obama also supports. Eliminating secret ballot elections has nothing to do with giving employees a free choice, it is designed to make resistance to union organizing less likely by exposing everyone’s vote, thereby making it more likely for an employee to be harassed or subjected to violence for voting the “wrong” way.

    And, yes I do favor the abolition of all social welfare programs. Not to make life more difficult for the poor, but to give them a much greater number of opportunities to provide for themselves. Underlying this position is a strong likelihood that much of the poverty could be eliminated through opportunities not currently available because the government consumes the wealth necessary to create those opportunities. Leaving more money in the hands of the people will also enable more than enough voluntary charity to assist the truly needy. Current programs are a failure and have created a permanent subservient welfare class with few real opportunities to improve one’s lot in life.

    Libertarians believe very strongly in the compassion and resourcefulness of human beings and seek to leverage those qualities for the good of society. Government reliance crushes the best and most noble qualities of humantiy.

  18. Mike In WNY October 27, 2008 at 10:23 am #

    Libertarianism is simply the economic theory of selfishness.

    It is sad the you have such a low opinion your fellow human beings and don’t believe that people will do good voluntarily.

  19. Buffalopundit October 27, 2008 at 10:55 am #

    Libertarians believe very strongly in the compassion and resourcefulness of human beings and seek to leverage those qualities for the good of society.

    Any political or economic philosophy grounded on the belief that people will act any one certain way is impractical, mostly because there are as many ways of behavior as there are people in the world.

    Compassion has been incorporated into our body politic through social programs and a welfare safety net, to ensure that everyone has access to assistance if they need it. Resourcefulness is guaranteed through a system that permits free enterprise to start, grow, and thrive – driving our economy. A balance has been reached as between those forces over the years, as it has in every industrialized free country.

    Libertarianism is a theory that has yet to be put into effect anywhere. The people selling it have yet to close the deal. I wonder why.

  20. STEEL October 27, 2008 at 11:48 am #

    If Libertarianism as a pure concept was really workable then Firemen would be millionaires because no one risks more in their work.

    This idea that we are paid commensurate with the hard work and sacrifice that we put in is hogwash. No one is this country works hard enough to deserve $400M in pay when a fireman risks his life each day to pull in only $50K. People who make it big in this country do so because of the country and all the opportunities created by the hard work of ALL. To pretend that the good fortune you enjoy is based only on your own efforts is myopic and self aggrandizing. Let Oprah put in the same effort in Zimbabwe and see if she accumulates Billions. She makes her money because of a system we all work to create in this country. I think she can afford to chip in a bit more of the money that we all helped her make including the $50K fireman that might someday save her life by risking his own.

  21. Mike In WNY October 27, 2008 at 12:05 pm #

    Austrian Economics has been very prophetic in predicting economic activity for many, many years. One of the reasons is that Austrian Economics accounts for human behavior and reaction to various economic stimuli.

    Compassion may be incorporated in our current social programs, however, decision making is far from local, extremely inefficient and wasteful, and subject to the whims of politicians who are more concerned about votes than actually doing something right.

    You say we have a system that permits start, grow and thrive. I say we have a system that discourages many entrepreneurs from getting started and saddles them when many burdens once underway. If your point is correct, why is the business climate so crappy in Western New York?

    Our country was founded upon much more libertarian values than we currently have in practice today. Those values contributed to one of the greatest rises in history of a new nation.

    Since then, we have strayed very far from those values. We have an education system that indoctrinates students in favor of big government. We have a national debt at nearly $10 trillion dollars. We have a government spending hundreds of billions of our dollars propping up failing businesses. The future is much more bleak with the obligation of funding entitlements. The poverty level is rising.

    In short, we need to do things radically different than the recent past (100 years or so). If not, our country will become a footnote in history alongside the Soviet Union.

  22. Mike In WNY October 27, 2008 at 12:07 pm #

    STEEL, the question isn’t whether or not Oprah can chip in more. The question is whether mandatory increases in taxation are beneficial. I say they aren’t.

  23. Buffalopundit October 27, 2008 at 12:10 pm #

    The Soviet Union existed in that essential form from 1917 – 1991.

    The United States has existed in its essential form, under the same constituent document, since 1787.

    I hardly think the US will ever be a “footnote in history” regardless of what happens in the future.

  24. LC Scotty October 27, 2008 at 12:56 pm #

    Anyone seen this? According to Obama, it’s a great tragedy that the Warren court was too far to the right and didn’t just chuck the Constitution under the bus to pursue redistributionism.

    Maybe the guy is not an out and out socialist, but when these things keep popping up you’ve got to wonder.

  25. STEEL October 27, 2008 at 1:24 pm #

    Well Mike the argument is that if Oprah has to kick in a few more dollars she will close up shop and take all her toys home.

    No pure idealized system really works the way the true believers think it will. One of the reasons our system works as well as it does is because we can change it as it needs changing. In a pure Libertarian world slavery would not be outlawed, Child labor would not be outlawed, dumping pollution where ever we like would not be outlawed. Just as government has shown it imperfection so has the private sector. If the private sector was so perfect we would never have had the reason for government intervention . This has been proven in recent times as our illustrious bankers could not help but gorge themselves to oblivion on free credit.

  26. Byron October 27, 2008 at 1:26 pm #

    He didn’t say anything of the sort. The mis-quoted excerpt is here.

    I guess you didn’t learn anything from your global warming snafu.

  27. Buffalopundit October 27, 2008 at 1:31 pm #

    From Sully:

    If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement, and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples, so that I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at a lunch counter and order and as long as I could pay for it I’d be okay.”

    “But,” Obama said, “The Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society. And to that extent as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, as least as it’s been interpreted, and Warren Court interpreted in the same way that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties, says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf. And that hasn’t shifted.”

    Obama said “one of the, I think, the tragedies of the civil rights movement, was because the civil rights movement became so court focused, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change, and in some ways we still stuffer from that.”

  28. STEEL October 27, 2008 at 1:37 pm #

    Do you really believe in you own position if you consistently twist the facts to advance that position?

    Does McCain really believe in any of his right wing pandering or is it just a cynical tactic to win the presidency?

  29. Byron October 27, 2008 at 1:47 pm #

    Shorter LC Scotty: This audio link will clearly show that I don’t know what I’m talking about.

  30. hank October 27, 2008 at 2:27 pm #

    No more a tactic that making a promise to take government funding, then shucking it to outspend your opponent 4:1.

    The excuses have already started. Barry said at a rally over the weekend,”Bush dug us a big hole, we may not be able to get out of it right away”…. So after 4 years we’ll hear

    “Everything’s still a mess, and it’s STILL Bush’s fault.”

    Every lowering of marginal Tax rates, including the one JFK got thru, resulted in increased revenue to the treasury.

    Once Barry lets the Bush tax cuts expire, every working American will see his witholding go up 10%. That’s not a middle class tax cut. Barry thinks so. How about you? Are you ready for that immediate extortion of 10% of your paycheck every week?

    Someone tell me how that HELPS THE WORKING PERSON.

    This Robin Hood Bullshit of —we’ll raise the rate on the rich and lower it for the poor—who don’t pay taxes anyway, if that’s not socialism, what the hell is?

    When the people who create jobs have their taxes go up, they do 2 things, for all you idiot liberals out there.

    1. They RAISE THEIR PRICES—which of course, does SO MUCH to help THE POOR that the left is trying to help with their tax increases on “The Rich” I got that now.

    2. They hold off expansion, opening new locations, and can LAY OFF EMPLOYEES—THAT HELPS THE WORKING PERSON TOO, RIGHT? I’m sure all of you with jobs agree that

    I had occasion this weekend to speak with the owner of a sub shop. He has one location, and I told him he would do well in our town, about 10 miles north. No go. Once Barry O raises his taxes, he won’t have the money to develop the new location. 10 employees per location.

    So that’s 10 people who won’t be getting a job because Barry wants to raise taxes on “The Rich”.

    Why the hell does this not compute with you people?

    I’ve been reading here for YEARS that until the STATE of New York changes their tax structure to reverse the hemmorage of companies leaving the state, that population will continue to decline, and job creation rates will stay low.

    But when it comes to the Federal Income tax, let’s use it as a tool to give money to those who don’t deserve it, because they sit on their asses and wait for a hand out.

    If in doubt, contrast hurricane Katrina with the floods in Iowa this spring. Did the Governor of Iowa call his state a “Vanilla” state? Did you see FEMA rushing trailers, 2000.00 debit cards, and cruise ships up the Mississippi to house the survivors?

    Nope–you didn’t even HEAR about it. Because they helped each other, people who work for a living and aren’t afraid of work, who know God helps those who help themselves.

    New Orleans is Barry territory. So there’s families who haven’t had a job between them in 4 generations. So what?

    Vote for Barry–they need more help. Then they can have 6 and 7 generations of families in New Orleans who live off the Government dole.

  31. LC Scotty October 27, 2008 at 2:37 pm #

    From Sullivan-“one of the, I think, the tragedies of the civil rights movement, was because the civil rights movement became so court focused, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you bring about redistributive change, and in some ways we still stuffer from that.””

    Stated another way-

    It’s a tragedy that the movement focused on the courts, because that failed to achieve redistribution. We should instead have used other means to assemble power to force the redistribution.

    That’s hardly a misquote, and his own words tell us that failure to redistribute was tragic. He was talking about victories and failures of the movement. Granting rights to those previously denied is clearly a victory and the failure to redistribute is clearly a failure. If it isn’t something he wanted to see, it wouldn’t be a failure.

  32. LC Scotty October 27, 2008 at 2:42 pm #

    I invite anyone else to restate the paragraph above in their own words as well. Seriously. I don’t think I’m twisting anything to fit, that’s how I read those comments.

  33. STEEL October 27, 2008 at 2:50 pm #

    Off topic:
    Is calling Barack, “Barry”, supposed to be some kind of put down? I am asking because so many right wingers use that nickname for him but I never hear them call McCain “Johnny” Should I be using the name johnny when I talk about McCain’s failed Bush policies or is pointing out his right wing record good enough on its own? Should I throw in Johnny’s middle name with emphasis every once in a while to make some kind of point?

  34. Mike In WNY October 27, 2008 at 2:51 pm #

    I read it as the failure was in not legislating the redistribution of wealth.

  35. Buffalopundit October 27, 2008 at 2:52 pm #

    People think the Warren Court was radical, but it wasn’t – it adhered to long-established principles of Constitutional jurisprudence.

    If one of the goals of the Civil Rights movement was redistributive change, they went about it half-assed – relying almost exclusively on the federal courts, while failing to take other social and political avenues that might have brought about redistributive change. It’s something you can’t just sell to the courts, you have to sell it to society, too.

    When he says “we still suffer from that” I interpret that as saying, “Civil Rights activists still rely too heavily on court action, and don’t rely strongly enough on organization, activism, and political persuasion”.

  36. STEEL October 27, 2008 at 2:52 pm #

    LC,

    This is what you said the first time

    “Anyone seen this? According to Obama, it’s a great tragedy that the Warren court was too far to the right and didn’t just chuck the Constitution under the bus to pursue redistributionism.”

    I don’t get this anywhere from Obama’s statement

  37. Byron October 27, 2008 at 2:56 pm #

    What you originally claimed Obama said was “it’s a great tragedy that the Warren court . . . didn’t just chuck the Constitution under the bus to pursue redistributionism.”

    Obviously what he actually said was nothing like that, as you’ve now admitted.

    But keep beating the “Obama = socialist” drum if you like.

  38. Byron October 27, 2008 at 2:57 pm #

    Oops. Yeah, what STEEL said.

  39. LC Scotty October 27, 2008 at 2:59 pm #

    So the first time through, it was a “rhetorical flourish”.

  40. Mike In WNY October 27, 2008 at 3:04 pm #

    STEEL,
    The argument is that if Oprah has to kick in a few more dollars, tax revenues will decrease and Oprah will employ less people. But hey, she’s rich and doesn’t deserve all that money. Obama’s plans do not help the poor and middle class, they only address his perceived social injustices at the expense of everyone.

    Libertarianism never has claimed to be the framework for a perfect society. That is your progressive/liberal mantra. Libertarianism claims to be a fair, just system that provides equal opportunities and freedom for everyone. The sad thing is that most people either don’t see that or fail to believe in their ability to lead a productive, quality life without the government leading them around by the nose.

  41. STEEL October 27, 2008 at 3:19 pm #

    Mike

    Show me one system where libertarianism has successfully promoted fairness, equality, and freedom for everyone.

    The problem with true believers is that they think there is one answer that rules the world. earth to mike, the universe is a lot more complex than that.

  42. Buffalopundit October 27, 2008 at 3:19 pm #

    The argument is that if Oprah has to kick in a few more dollars, tax revenues will decrease and Oprah will employ less people. But hey, she’s rich and doesn’t deserve all that money. Obama’s plans do not help the poor and middle class, they only address his perceived social injustices at the expense of everyone.

    The only people Oprah employs are her personal assistants and servants. She doesn’t employ anyone on her television or radio shows, her production company does. Furthermore, Oprah is worth about $1.3 billion, and she earns an estimated $260 million per year. Are you really telling me that if Oprah pays $101 million instead of $91 million in taxes (just a wild guess based on the tax brackets), she’s going to be unable to “hire people” around her house and as her personal assistant?

    Somehow, I suspect that $159 million after taxes is a tremendous amount of money, as is $169 million per year. I fail to see how Oprah Winfrey, given this simplistic hypothetical would be particularly hamstrung from not only maintaining her lifestyle, but hiring anyone whom she pleases.

    On the other hand, a single adult making about $60,000 will get about a $500 tax cut as compared with what she pays now. When you’re in the middle class, $500 buys something. When you’re Oprah, you’re sort of financially able to afford whatever you want, whenever you want.

    Hence, if you cut taxes on the middle class, it trickles up through the economy as these people spend their money. If you cut taxes on the wealthy, you get no net benefit, as they’re not all of a sudden able to afford the new HDTV they’ve been wanting or that new water heater they’ve needed.

    Libertarianism never has claimed to be the framework for a perfect society. That is your progressive/liberal mantra. Libertarianism claims to be a fair, just system that provides equal opportunities and freedom for everyone. The sad thing is that most people either don’t see that or fail to believe in their ability to lead a productive, quality life without the government leading them around by the nose.

    The difference, of course, is that the system we have today has been brought about through democratic change – people voting for candidates who stand for these things. It’s a competition for ideas, and these are the ones that have, over time, prevailed.

  43. mike October 27, 2008 at 3:45 pm #

    Wow hank must of spent his 10 minute break writing up that comment, oh boy another subway won’t open or they won’t build a super walmart and leave the other one empty. Why can’t you people understand that?

  44. LC Scotty October 27, 2008 at 4:19 pm #

    @BP

    I disagree a bit. It seems to me that he feels the tragedy was that wealth was not re-distributed. Maybe I’m in error, but I don’t think that the civil rights movement was about robbing the rich to give to the poor, but about making sure that everyone was treated the same under the law, treated without regard to color, religion etc in employment and had equal access to opportunity in government provided services such as education and voting rights.

    He also states that he is not optimistic about using the courts to redistribute wealth.

    If he’s not a re-distributionist on some level, why is a failure to redistribute a tragedy? Why is the courts not going along with this scheme cause for lack of optimism?

    I can see your take on still suffering from that-I don’t think it’s clear either way what was meant there.

  45. STEEL October 27, 2008 at 4:42 pm #

    I think he clearly states that they should have used a legislative tack instead of the courts. He says the courts rightly stayed within their constitutional bounds. In no way did he ever say:

    “Anyone seen this? According to Obama, it’s a great tragedy that the Warren court was too far to the right and didn’t just chuck the Constitution under the bus to pursue redistributionism.”

    As you have contended LC.

  46. Timothy Domst October 27, 2008 at 4:43 pm #

    Steel said

    “Firemen would be millionaires because no one risks more in their work.”

    “Do you really believe in you own position if you consistently twist the facts to advance that position?”

    http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/invest/extra/P63405.asp

    Firemen aren’t even on the list, and the reason we have an economy that works somehow is that most people who work jobs on that list wish they would make 50,000 bucks a year, and get Cadillac health care and pension like the firemen here. Those people need Obama, not because he’s Socialist, because he’s not, but because they need lower payroll taxes to make ends meet in dying rust belt cities that have been made bankrupt by civil service unions. If being a fireman is so bad then why is the waiting list so long to join? OOOPS, I forgot, can’t talk like that around here, the only real working people are in a union.

    Libertarians are on the whole people who don’t realize that they don’t make enough to afford the armor-plated car, armed guards, and fortified house they’d need to live in the crumbled society that would be a libertarian America. The day over half of the USA will vote for a socialist or libertarian president will be a long time coming, thank the gods.

  47. LC Scotty October 27, 2008 at 5:51 pm #

    STEEL,

    What should they have tried to accomplish legislatively? According to the Obama quote (BTW, I happen to agree with you about people calling him Barry. It’s infantile and serves no purpose.) it was redistribution. He’s not saying that they should have legislatively gone after equal rights for everybody, because that was already accomplished largely through the courts.

    Yes, the first statement was really poorly worded. He said the Warren court wasn’t all that radical. The folks that see the Warren court as radical, see it as radical left. When someone says they aren’t radical, at first blush it sound like “they weren’t that far left”. Perhaps I’m reading too much into his words, but when he says “It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution,” it sounds like he really wanted them to break free from those constraints-chucking the Constitution under the bus.

    So yeah, the initial statement was inelegant, poorly worded and at least partly wrong. The fact remains (as I read the quote) that it was tragic that the court did not break with constitutional constraints to redistribute wealth, and had the movement no been so court focused they could have achieved that desired end.

  48. Byron October 27, 2008 at 6:06 pm #

    Nothing in that quote suggests that Obama thought that the Court should have imposed redistributive policies, much less that he considers it a “tragedy” that it didn’t do so. I don’t know where you’re getting that from.

  49. LC Scotty October 27, 2008 at 6:14 pm #

    So what was tragic?

  50. STEEL October 27, 2008 at 6:18 pm #

    Timothy Domst,

    When, God forbid, the fireman runs through a wall a flames to save your but please tell me you think he is being paid too much and then ask yourself could Paris Hilton afford to throw a few more bucks into the pot.

  51. Byron October 27, 2008 at 6:27 pm #

    That the civil rights movement was too litigation focused, didn’t concentrate on building legislative coalitions, etc. – the quote is right there. Do you have a reading comprehension problem?

  52. LC Scotty October 27, 2008 at 6:29 pm #

    STEEL, Byron,

    Please tell me what you think Obama thought was tragic, and tell me what you think he thought should have been pursued legislatively. It was not the application of equal rights, because he points to that as a success of the court based approach.

    Tell me if this post feels like this to you: You’re looking at a dog, you know it’s a dog, but some other commenter is swearing up and down it’s a cat.

    Because that’s how it feels to me.

  53. LC Scotty October 27, 2008 at 6:33 pm #

    If wealth redistribution is completely not the point, then why is it in the quote? What’s the point of bringing that up if it doesn’t matter?

    He claims that those coalitions would have been built to redistribute wealth. Why do you suppose he thinks they should have focused on building coalitions? His answer is that they should have built coalitions of power for redistributive change-his words not mine.

  54. Byron October 27, 2008 at 6:40 pm #

    I didn’t say wealth redistribution wasn’t the point – it was. I’m saying that Obama’s opining that it was tragic that a given result was achieved in a certain way is clearly and obviously NOT the same as saying that it was tragic that it was not achieved in a completely different way.

    Or do you think “I’m glad I found $100 in the street” is the same as “I’m glad my best friend died and left me $100”. Or that the difference between the two is merely “inelegant phrasing” or a “rhetorical flourish”?

    You didn’t just come close and miss with your first paraphrase – you totally mis-characterized what he said. Or, more accurately, you quoted a Drudge headline as if it were true instead of, you know, right wing bullshit.

  55. Byron October 27, 2008 at 6:41 pm #

    was not achieved . . .

  56. Byron October 27, 2008 at 6:51 pm #

    And as a side note, being in favor of “wealth redistribution” doesn’t make you a socialist, unless you adopt the whacked Freener definition. Any government expenditure funded by taxes redistributes wealth. So? Seriously, is this all the Republicans have left – screaming socialist at a proposed tweak to the income tax? If a small increase in the highest marginal rate is socialism, then what were Reagan’s huge tax cuts – a Nazi putsch?

  57. LC Scotty October 27, 2008 at 6:57 pm #

    There’s two aims that are distinct in his monologue. The first aim of equal rights was achieved successfully in the courts. He is not saying that it was tragic that the court route was successful, or that it was tragic that going through the courts resulted in a favorable outcome. He is saying that the tragedy is the failure of the movement to achieve its second aim-wealth redistribution. The cause of that failure was focusing on courts and not coalitions.

    “Or do you think “I’m glad I found $100 in the street” is the same as “I’m glad my best friend died and left me $100”. Or that the difference between the two is merely “inelegant phrasing” or a “rhetorical flourish”?”

    Huh?

    If wealth redistribution was the point, what are we arguing about?

  58. Byron October 27, 2008 at 7:04 pm #

    I can’t clarify what I’ve already said any more. If you think your first paraphrase was accurate or semi-accurate, good for you. I think it was blarney.

  59. Byron October 27, 2008 at 7:08 pm #

    As do (apparently) STEEL and BP.

  60. LC Scotty October 27, 2008 at 7:08 pm #

    Fair enough. Have a good night-Go Sabres.

  61. Mike In WNY October 27, 2008 at 8:26 pm #

    @Timothy Dornst

    Libertarians are on the whole people who don’t realize that they don’t make enough to afford the armor-plated car, armed guards, and fortified house they’d need to live in the crumbled society that would be a libertarian America.

    You are confusing libertarians with anarchists. Libertarians do not favor letting criminals run free. Tort law would provide protection against civil injustices that are not covered by contractual law.

  62. STEEL October 27, 2008 at 8:30 pm #

    What Byron says. And Go Sabers (a socialist entity by the way)

  63. Timothy Domst October 28, 2008 at 4:47 pm #

    Mike in WNY,

    Libertarians would, instead of cutting social programs or departments that waste money, abolish them all, and that would destabilize society. Government shouldn’t exist to spend money as an end in itself and invent useless programs to do that, but many programs like Social Security serve vital functions that Libertarians want to deny so they pay less in taxes.

  64. Timothy Domst October 28, 2008 at 4:54 pm #

    Steel,

    When a logger dies cutting lumber for your house, or a farmer has his tractor roll over and kill him while he’s producing food for you, or a truck driver dies on the road bringing stuff to your store, just pretend they don’t matter because they’re non-union, and/or not a fireman.

  65. TheRover October 28, 2008 at 10:17 pm #

    “Comrad Obama, come join us” says every liberals favorite guy, Mr Lenin.

  66. The Humanist October 28, 2008 at 10:43 pm #

    @TheRover – 1952 called…it wants its bullshit garbage conservative talking point back.

  67. STEEL October 29, 2008 at 12:33 am #

    Timothy D

    I am not sure what your point is other than that you are making my point stronger. I am not talking about unions( not sure why you are either). I am just highlighting the fact that the amount of earnings you generate in a year is not a measure of your true value to our American society as many republicans and repubo-tarians like to think.

  68. TheRover October 29, 2008 at 7:20 am #

    @Humanist- Obama called….he wants your wallet.

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