Friday, October 24, 2008

Campaign Droppings XVI

Taxing the Poor

The road John McCain thinks will lead him to the White House is actually a sewer built by Joe the Plumber, the biggest celebrity poseur since Tiny Tim.

He keeps talking about Barack Obama is some kind of socialist for having told Joe he thinks “spread the wealth” would be a good idea for millions of Joes – and Jills – who would actually benefit from the tax cut he is proposing and fall farther down the ladder of success if McCain is elected.

McCain says says Obama would redistribute wealth, “taking money from one taxpayer and giving it to another.” As has been previously pointed out, that is the exact purpose of the progressive tax system in effect in most democratic countries and here since 1916. The question is and should be “how much” and “who.”

The fact of the matter is that the Republican ascendancy since 1980 has meant a redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich and the social and economic ills that necessarily result from this class warfare.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, representing the world’s advanced industrial nations, reports that the United States is above only Mexico and Turkey in terms of poverty and income disparity between rich and poor. The average annual income of the top 10 percent of Americans is $93,000. The average annual income of the poorest 10 percent is $5,800.

Between 2002 and 2006, tax returns show that the richest 15,000 families’ pocketbooks increased from $15 million to $30 million on average, accounting for more than 25 percent of all U.S. income growth, while the rest of the 1 percent of richest families accounted for another 50 percent of total growth.

That McCain’s tax policy would help Joe the Plumber is, if you’ll pardon the pun, a pipe dream.

How the Fruit Flies

Sarah Palin apparently flunked science class either in 10th grade or in one of the six colleges she attended.

In one of the godawfullest stupid performances in any campaign, the governess with the brain of a beauty contestant spoke today on the importance of reforming government policy toward special needs children, saying, correctly that “Early identification of a cognitive or other disorder, especially autism, can make a life-changing difference.”

She then explained the money for the special needs kids would come from cutting earmarks, “You’ve heard about some of these pet projects they really don’t make a whole lot of sense and sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research inParis, France. I kid you not.”

As any first-year biology student knows, fruit flies reproduce almost as fast as Palins, and therefore are excellent critters for studying genetic changes, such as those than are leading to cures for -- child leukemia and autism.

Where could she have gotten such an idea about French fruit flies? Could it have been an op-ed in this morning’s New York Times, which she claims is not on her nonexistent reading list, by former Rep. John Kasich, who used the very same example (or talking point) to bash government waste?

This is the same criminal mind who tried to abolish the one government science agency that promotes the highest standards for turning basic research into improved patient care. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality was rescued at the last moment in 1995 by then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (though with sharply reduced budgets and authority) and powers), who on the same op-ed page today said what this nation needs is a new government agency to do what AHRQ already does.

Any voter who values his or her health or life has more to fear from McCain-Palin than any terrorist attack.

McCain as Wallace

Again, the New York Times is relevant, this time only as an example of someone writing the same thing I was thinking before I got around to inscribing it on this blog. I will not at this evening hour go back to look at it, so I don’t wind up appropriating too much, but the point is this: John McCain is like George Wallace, much as Rep. John Lewis, hero of the civil rights movement said a few weeks ago and then backed away from.

The truth of the matter is Wallace by background and nature was a populist Democrat, a decent guy and someone who while in the state legislature was accommodative toward blacks at a time when that was highly unusual. He ran for governor and was defeated because he was not racist enough, and as has been reported many times, vowed, “I’ll never be out-niggered again.”

The rest is history. He ran again and won as a race-baiter, announced in his inaugural speech, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” He stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama to prevent a black student from enrolling, moving aside only after armed troops sent by President Kennedy “asked” him to.

He then ran for president three times as a racist, setting the stage for Richard Nixon’s “southern strategy,” which is still the animating force behind Republican campaigns – including W’s racist campaign attacking McCain in 1980. People died because of Wallace’s rhetoric.

McCain is no racist, but apparently having vowed never to be out-“terroristed” again, he and his campaign’s sewer-rat attacks on Obama have had the same effect that Wallace had on his audiences of struggling barbers, taxi-drivers, secretaries and plumbers – inflaming hatred and violence. In his declining years, he apologized for his politics. McCain is in his declining years and it is looking as if he will go down to defeat, not like a proud competitor, but as a disgrace to his party and the country he swore he would put first.

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