The revenue effect of a tax increase: it’s not what you think (via The right-wing liberal)

Why is President Obama adamant about raising taxes? That’s the question The right-wing liberal considers. That is, he notes tax increases stifle economic growth. Even the president’s own economic advisers know that.

As arguments over tax increases versus spending cuts continue, Veronique de Rugy (NRO – The Corner) refers to a paper by Christina and David Romer (the former was Chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors for over a year and a half) on the effects of tax increases on GDP. The National Bureau of Economic Research summary of the paper has this eye-popper (emphasis in original): Tax changes have very large effects: an exogenous tax in … Read More

via The right-wing liberal

So why is Obama so determined to raise taxes. When Boehner finally realized that negotiating with Obama is pointless, here is what the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent to potential contributors.

Friend —

This is inexcusable.

Earlier this evening, Republican Speaker John Boehner quit negotiations with President Obama, refusing to raise the debt ceiling to secure tax breaks for big oil companies and his billionaire jet-owning friends.

 It’s now clearer than ever that Republicans won’t say yes to anything and would rather see our economy fall into catastrophic default than offend Grover Norquist and the Tea Party fringe by asking billionaires to pay their fair share.

Enough is enough. If Republicans would rather carry water for big oil companies and shadowy special interests than work on behalf of ordinary Americans, we are going to make sure their constituents know about it.

 The DCCC is launching a hard-hitting advertising campaign starting this weekend and continuing through August to hold Republicans accountable.

Contribute $3 or more immediately to our Emergency Rapid Response Fund >>

Thank you for standing with us.

Robby Mook
 DCCC Executive Director

 P.S. President Obama has been left at the altar several times now. Stubborn Republicans in the House are playing chicken with our economy in a dangerous and reckless ploy to preserve tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans while balancing our budget on the backs of the most vulnerable. Make the truth known now. Contribute to our Rapid Response efforts now >>

Any farmer can tell you that you can only get so much milk out of a cow. Trying to get more just hurts the cow. Similarly, our economy can only produce so much in tax revenue. That is, at some point increasing the tax rate will hurt our economy more than it is worth. Yet even in the middle of a severe recession Obama wants to “raise revenue”. Revenue doesn’t come from taxes?   :roll:

Why such stupidity? Apparently, after he wrecks the economy, Obama believes he can persuade us to blame everybody except him and the Democratic Party. He and his party think we are that stupid!

Other Views

Here is a another view on the Dems fundraising. Dems are already trying to fundraise from Speaker Boehner quitting negotiations…tacky? by Greta Van Susteren.

Just in case you think Republicans will stand firm, think again. See Rep. Wolf Supports Gang of Six Budget Proposal By Krystle Weeks. Wolf represent you? Write him. Make him explain.

Need some comedy relief? See Little Known Reason for Budget Talk Collapse by isophorone.

WHEN THEOLOGY MEETS POLITICS

When I was writing my last post, I discovered The Christian Left. Michael Bindner appears to have been posting for awhile, so his is not a new blog.

Like my own blog, Bindner mixes religion and politics. That is, as we know from our history, dangerous. However, I don’t think the risk is what people think. There is nothing wrong with mixing Christianity with politics. The problem is mixing what we want to believe about religion with politics.

An Aside

Consider that Jesus did not come to us as a political leader. If he had come to us as a political leader, Jews and and Gentiles would not have pinned him to a cross. Instead, we would have hoisted him up on a throne.

As his first priority, Jesus came to save our souls. He came to tell us to render unto God what is His due. When Jesus walked amongst us, He taught moral lessons about loving God and man.

Although Jesus’ teachings now provide a foundation for our political system, we find it awkward to discern the relationship between Christianity and our political system. Because Jesus taught only as a religious leader, we each have to work out for ourselves the connection between our Christian life and our political life.

Where I Think The Christian Left Fails

Proverbs 3:5-7 (Today’s New International Version)

   Trust in the LORD with all your heart
       and lean not on your own understanding;

   in all your ways submit to him,
       and he will make your paths straight. 

   Do not be wise in your own eyes;
       fear the LORD and shun evil.

The word “eyes” occurs over 500 times in the Bible. Why? The Bible teaches us find “favor in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8).

What we each perceive about good and evil is important. However, because our perceptions are so narrow and biased, we cannot reliably trust in our own wisdom.  Therefore, we each must learn to see ourselves with the eyes of the Lord.  That begins when we carefully study the Word of God. 

Unfortunately, The Christian Left does not contain much Bible study. Search that blog for the word “Bible.” That word last last appeared in December 2009.

In Mary and Advent (Jesus is Coming), Bindner provides an interesting study of what defines sin and the importance of Mary’s example. Although the concluding paragraph is cockeyed, Mary and Advent (Jesus is Coming) is otherwise insightful and well worth reading.

Going further back in time, we do not see an appearance of the word “Bible” until June 2004, Education, Welfare and Religion (Geocities Rescue). That post uses the word “Bible” in this sentence.

Such an exposition casts doubt upon the theory that God dictated the Bible to Moses. (from here)

In this post Bindner uses the word “Bible” only to attack the Bible’s authenticity. The contrast between these Mary and Advent (Jesus is Coming) and Education, Welfare and Religion (Geocities Rescue) is both striking and confusing.     :-?

Consider Bindner’s arguments in Fr. Scalia, Carl Paladino, and the message of gay marriage. Except for an allusion to Psalm 139:14, Bindner does not cite scripture. He just provides his own opinions. That is a personal view, not a Christian’s or God’s view.

What is God’s view on homosexuality? If we are going to call ourselves Christians, then we should take what the Bible says seriously. And the Bible clearly says homosexual relationships are sinful (Consider the references at HOMOSEXUALS IN OUR MILITARY: ARE HOMOSEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS A SIN?).

Should we hate homosexuals? No, but we cannot elevate as sacred what God condemns.

What is sacred about marriage? Consider this passage.

Genesis 2:24 (Today’s New International Version)

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

When a man and a woman give themselves to each other, they are joined in sex as one. That experience is delightful, but it begins in need, not love. Moreover, by comparison with what usually follows the sexual relationship itself is a trivial matter. It is with the fruit of their relationship that a man and a woman are made one. In our children, we combine our cares, our concerns, our genes, and most of all our love for each other.

All We Do We Must Begin With a Sound Foundation

Matthew 7:24-27 (Today’s New International Version)

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

I AM A WINNER? — PART 4

vablogs2.pngWith this post, we have our second winner, the winner in the Liberal Category.  However, before I get into that, I would like to mention a post at the Prince William-Manassas Family Alliance, TEA PARTY KOOL-AID?  The poster, Tom Salmon, cites an article in AlterNet, Don’t Drink the Tea Party Kool-Aid, to make the point that Liberals close their minds to any Truth save their own.  Instead of considering what their opponents have to say, they react angrily and emotionally.

Here is how Don’t Drink the Tea Party Kool-Aid begins.

As I continue to read the goings on at the Tea Party Convention, I am overwhelmed by my disbelief that this is a serious movement. However, when I step back to take a rational look, I completely get it. Humankind has a long history of rallying around hate and propaganda. If you recall the Frank Capra films used by our country to rally the nation during World War II, you understand that we have a rich history of being taken in by effective messaging. The American Right Wing movement over the last thirty years has known exactly when to pounce on any deep-seated fears in order to gain political advantage. In the guise of patriotism and our so-called freedom, the public has been hoodwinked into believing that government is evil and government services are only for the poor or someone else. The roads we use, the mass transit we ride, the public schools that serve our children and yes, the air we breathe, can only work with an effective and well-organized government. To say over and over again that government is evil and actually believe it is the most Un-American rhetoric anyone could buy into. (continued here)

What is most contradictory is that even as they react with such venomous disdain, Liberals accuse their opponents of anger and hatred. Does Don’t Drink the Tea Party Kool-Aid ever actually discuss the Tea Party movement?  No.  

The Tea Party movement rose up spontaneously in response to trillion-dollar deficits. Unfortunately, instead of trying to determine whether the Tea Party movement has any Truth in its complaints, Don’t Drink the Tea Party Kool-Aid portrays the Tea Party movement as a sinister enemy.

The modern Liberal stands Liberalism on its head and insists upon defining the Truth for everyone else.  The Liberal would use the power of government to enforce his definition of Truth and make everyone else live according to his Truth. Yet government can offer only earthly truths. 

What is the Truth? None of us can answer that question satisfactorily for everyone else.  That is why men fight for a free society.  They want to live their own way, to live by their own version of the Truth. 

What is Truth that will stand for eternity?  

Psalm 15 (Today’s New International Version)

A psalm of David.

LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy mountain?

Those whose walk is blameless,
who do what is righteous,
who speak the truth from their hearts;

who have no slander on their tongues,
who do their neighbors no wrong,
who cast no slur on others;

who despise those whose ways are vile
but honor whoever fears the LORD;
who keep their oaths even when it hurts;

who lend money to the poor without interest
and do not accept bribes against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.

The Winner in the Liberal Category

The blog Too Conservative wins in the Liberal Category. This post, I AM A WINNER? — PART 2, describes the criteria.

Why Too Conservative?

Because Too Conservative portrays itself as “Too Conservative” and Republican, this choice may strike some as a little odd.  However, Too Conservative has a habit of supporting “Moderate” Republicans and attacking Conservative Republicans.  Why does that deserve some discussion? We are at that time of year when we select our Republican nominees.  So instead of talking about Liberal Democrats, it makes more sense to talk about Liberal Republicans. 

Who has Too Conservative attacked?

  • Here is a post where VA Blogger could not figure out who he disliked more, Jim Gilmore or Bob Marshall.
  • Here is a post where Loudoun Insider attacks Ken Cuccinelli  and Fasil Gill.  Here is another where he calls Cuccinelli paranoid.
  • Here Loudoun Insider rags on Steve Hunt — after Hunt lost.

Since Too Conservative‘s older material is no longer online, we can only find left over references in Google, not the original posts.  Here we have an attack on former PWCGOP Chair Tom Kopko.

embarrasing, and over the edge

13 May 2006 by Too Conservative  
in an incredible display of hypocrisy, the new prince william gop chairman tom kopko held a joint press conference with the prince william democratic chair and two democratic candidates for the prince william board of supervisors,
Too Conservative – http://tooconservative.com/References

So what is the point?  With friends like these….  

Too Conservative generally supports the Republican nominee but, Too Conservative leaves little doubt that its support Conservative Republicans stems from its greater dislike for Liberal Democrats.  Is that a sin?  Not necessarily. Politics provides no perfect choices. We can only choose what we regard as the best candidate, not the perfect candidate.

So what really is the point? “Too Conservative” is a “Moderate” Republican blog. At best, Conservative Republicans can count upon Too Conservative only for grudging support.  

 A Review of a Too Conservative Post

Which post? We are in the process of nominating our congressional candidates.  So the proper pick is a post related to that subject.  Thus, we have Fimian and the Frederickistas desperate to find a challenger to Anthony Bedell by Brian S. In this post, Brian provides us a rather weird attack on Keith Fimian.  It starts with the title. What does Fimian have to do with Frederickistas? Darned if I know.

The weirdness continues with these accusations.

After some of the scenes I witnessed at the last FCRC meeting when Keith Fimian ignored the decision of the Committee to not allow any candidates except Kerry Bolognese and Samantha Rucker to speak (which was the right decision, considering if he’d allowed candidates from the 11th to speak, he’d have to allow candidates from the 8th and 10th, and there are at least 6 of those out there) it was only a matter of time before Fimian’s team started searching for a more pliable Chairman.

Imagine that.  A congressional candidate wants to speak to the FCRC.  Did Fimian ignore Bedell? According to a commenter (see I’m Just Sayin), nothing of that sort happened. Fimian did not speak during the meeting. When Brian “refuted” I’m Just Sayin, Brian did not reaffirm his version of the story. Instead, he made excuses (see here).

Is Fimian looking to replace Bedell? I don’t know.  I am not a member of the FCRC, and I don’t claim any inside knowledge. The only source we have for this “news” is Brian. When he has already changed his story once, what reason do we have to believe Brian?  Because he has provided his name, Brian asks us to trust him (see here). Nonetheless, his sources are unwilling to provide us their names.  The funny thing is that he asks us to trust him without noticing that irony. My guess is that Brian has read — and believed — too many newspaper exposés.

So what else should we know?

  • FCRC Chair Tony Bedell endorsed Pat Herrity (see here).  Somehow Brian did not think it pertinent to mention this fact in his post.  In spite of Brian’s inside knowledge, a commenter had to add that fact (see I’m Just Sayin again).  The same commenter also suggested the following.

    Fimian and Herrity had spoken the week before at the PWCRC, and rumor has it that Fimian was extremely well received. It would be interesting to hear from somebody who attended the PW meeting. There is speculation among some in the Fimian camp that the Herrity camp did not want a repeat performance.

    Here a link to a post that describes that PWCGOP meeting.

  • Brian supports Herrity. Apparently, Brian thinks Fimian too conservative for Too Conservative to support.

Did Herrity and Bedell conspire to prevent Fimian from speaking?  We can only speculate.  My experience is with PWCGOP.  If our chair refused to allow congressional candidates to speak, I think it would raise quite a stink.  Why would the members of the FCRC react differently? They are too busy to listen to their own candidates?

So is Brian right? Is Fimian looking to replace Bedell? Well, I suppose it is reasonable to speculate that Fimian might want to replace Bedell. If you were a serious contender for the 11th Congressional District, how comfortable would you be with a FCRC Chair who supports the nomination of someone else?  Here is a portion of comment I left on Brian’s post.

Fimian’s supporters will risk a great deal of time and money in their race for Congress. If they do not believe they will have Bedell’s whole hearted support, that is quite sufficient reason to seek a replacement. No spite is required. (from here)

So why did Brian write such a nonsensical post? The answer is at the beginning of this post.  Brian never considered Fimian’s point of view, he reacted with venomous disdain.  Consider this quote from Brian’s post.

It still surprises me the antipathy that some on the Committee have shown to anyone who has been willing to put pragmatism over ideology. 

Brian thinks of himself as pragmatist (Pragmatism seems to the preferred of “ideology” of self-styled moderates.). Brian apparently considers Fimian and his supporters (the Frederickistas?) ideologues.  However, if you look at the comments, Brian and his friends at  Too Conservative do not seem to know what it means to have an ideology.

History and experience demonstrate that those who adhere to an ideology can accrue certain advantages. Pragmatism is ideology for beginners. Pragmatism is just about what seems to work. The pragmatist tries different things.  Then he continues doing what he thinks works.  However, the right ideology provides a body of time-tested wisdom, wisdom gathered and tested by those who went before us. 

In his comments, Cato the Elder explained the advantage of learning from the past.

It strikes me that, over time, the meanings of our words get lost for a variety of reasons. In the contemporary lexicon, uttering the term “ideology” is designed to provoke the image of a set of values and ideas that are firmly held in the absence of logical premise. Which leads to flawed statements like:
*
“Ideology is un-American.”
*
Bullshit. Ideology was formed from the Greek roots idein (meaning “idea”) and logos (meaning “reason”). America was founded on ideology. The ideology that the human condition will reach full potential when not restrained by tyranny. The ideology that all men are created equal. These were not new ideas, but rather borrowed from Greek and Roman society. Both were formidable and both failed for different reasons, but our founding fathers had the foresight to steal the best elements and learn from past errors. That’s our “marketplace of ideas.” It’s managed to stand the test of time against the polar opposite, central planner/coercive approach. So far, we’ve come out ahead, and I’d consider that a pretty good basis for a “reasoned idea.” (continued here)

The Internet provides a forum for discussion, and there are excellent discussions at Too Conservative. Occasionally I comment there.  :wink:   Hopefully, the guys there read as much as they write.

Other Contest Winners

See I AM A WINNER? — PART 1 for a list of winners and contest rules.

NO SHORTAGE OF NONSENSE

vablogs2.pngSo what set me off today?  The Tenacious Poodle decided to repeat some nonsense from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the SPLC Urges Congress to Investigate Extremism in the MilitaryHere is the SPLC article, and here is their letter to Congress.  The SPLC would like us to believe that white supremacists threaten to take over the United States Armed Forces.

Apparently, the SPLC is trying to stir up trouble for the US military.  Why?  I fear is that the SPLC wants to take advantage of the inability of some people to think critically.  Its article is designed to stir up an emotional attack.  That “works” against some people.  After all, who amongst us wants to be harassed and called names?  When the corporate news media takes up the cry of “bigot” and “homophobe,” how many of us have the moral fortitude to stand our ground?

So what is wrong with the SPLC’s “advice” to Congress?   Look at the size of the United States military.  We have about 1.5 million people in the active military and another 850,000 in the reserve (see here).  What about those in the military not involved in a white supremacist group?  Since the SPLC’s “evidence” is entirely anecdotal, we know nothing about the vast numbers not involved in a white supremacist group.  Because the SPLC did not consider the military as a whole, its “evidence” is meaningless.

Moreover, the SPLC has an axe to grind, homosexuals in the military.  Aside from the fact the military does not have any use for either group, there is no relationship between our military’s treatment of homosexuals and white supremacists.

Anecdotal Evidence

Here is the definition.

Anecdotal Evidence:  If you discount evidence arrived at by systematic search or by testing in favor of a few firsthand stories, you are committing the fallacy of overemphasizing anecdotal evidence.

Example:  Yeah, I’ve read the health warnings on those cigarette packs and I know about all that health research, but my brother smokes, and he says he’s never been sick a day in his life, so I know smoking can’t really hurt you.

As evidence the military is being swamped with white supremacists, the SPLC provides a bunch of websites, and we are suppose to take this “proof” at face value.  Why?  How sure are we that what we see on the websites is even true? Relative to the general population, what does the SPLC’s “proof” tell us about the percentage of military personnel  involved in white supremacist groups?

Instead providing logical and substantiated evidence, the SPLC has provided “evidence”  aimed at swaying our emotions.  We should regard this an insult to our intelligence and integrity.

Apples and Oranges

Supposedly, the military is throwing out homosexuals and allowing radical white supremacists to stay in the military.  That is not the way things work.  What the military (and for that matter, the government) does is investigate just about everyone it accepts into its ranks.  Before the U.S. Army gives anyone access to a gun or its computer systems, an investigation is required.  Investigators ascertain the following qualities (from here):

  • Honesty
  • Trustworthiness
  • Character
  • Loyalty
  • Financial Responsibility
  • Reliability

Any applicant who belongs to a group demonstrably hostile to the United States, including certain white supremacist groups, will not be able to get a security clearance.   On the other hand, security investigations do not discriminate based upon sexual orientation.

Because it believes homosexuality would undermine good order and discipline, the military discriminates against homosexuals.  The military does not allow admitted homosexuals within the ranks. Because military personnel must work together closely, and because they rely upon each other for their lives, the military discourages what it calls fraternization within the ranks.  The preferential treatment that lovers give each other has no place whatsoever within a battlefield unit.

Conclusion

What SPLC has done with its cheapshot “report” is give itself a lame excuse to complain about the military’s discrimination policy against admitted homosexuals in the military.  Nonsense such as this should serve as an object lesson.  This is how people with an agenda try to fool those of us who have lost objectivity.  When we are unwilling to think critically, we can be taken in and used by those without scruples.