Outrage: Obama Believes in Separation of Powers; Opposes Activist Judiciary

The latest outrage of the day in this campaign cycle, which is being heavily hyped by Drudge, National Review and others, is an old radio interview that Obama gave in 2001. There are about four paragraphs being called out, and I’ll take a look at them one at a time.

You know, 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 the Supreme Court never entered into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.

So far, this is purely descriptive. It is true that the civil rights movement achieved a lot of victories in the courts. It is also true that the Supreme Court never entered into the issues of the redistribution of wealth. So far, this isn’t controversial. It’s basic facts that anyone with a basic grasp of American history should know.

On to paragraph two:

And uh, 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 — at least as it’s been interpreted, and Warren Court interpreted it in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties: [It] 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.

Once again, this is purely descriptive–it’s an interpretation of part of the jurisprudential philosophy of the Warren Court. I think that the essence of this argument is correct, but I might quibble with some details. Again, though, nothing here is that controversial.

And that hasn’t shifted, and one of the, I think, the tragedies of the civil-rights movement was because the civil-rights movement became so court-focused, uh, I think that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and 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 suffer from that.

In other words, Obama is saying that the civil rights movement became too focused on the courts, instead of waging a cultural argument and moving their agenda through the legislature. Now, one might not agree with the agenda, but are there really conservatives out there who think that it’s not a superior option to move social change through the legislature rather than the courts? Here’s Obama talking more about this same issue:

You know, I’m not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. The institution just isn’t structured that way. [snip] You start getting into all sorts of separation of powers issues, you know, in terms of the court monitoring or engaging in a process that essentially is administrative and takes a lot of time. You know, the court is just not very good at it, and politically, it’s just very hard to legitimize opinions from the court in that regard.

Proper separation of powers? Quel horreur! Keeping the courts out of having a legislative or administrative function? Why, that’s a conservative’s worst nightmare!

Now, there’s no doubt that much of the harping is going on about the “redistribution of wealth” and how that means Obama is really a socialist. Most of the conservative blogs that are harping about how this interview isn’t “being taken out of context.” But here’s the thing–they are taking Obama out of context. Barack Obama has been clear–throughout his political career, as well as in his books–that what he means by a “redistribution” is not a radical socialist agenda, but rather a tax code that is a bit more progressive–with the middle class having their taxes cut and wealthier people getting their taxes raised back to Clinton-era levels, a larger government role in health care, and a bigger role for government in creating economic opportunities. Now, you can definitely quibble with Obama’s policy prescriptions, but they are clearly not socialist, and there’s nothing in Obama’s political record which pushes towards anything but a moderate Democratic economic policy agenda.

The GOP punditry’s misinterpretation of what Obama means by “social justice” and “redistribution” is a variation of the classic logical fallacy of equivocation. In this case, Obama’s critics are using their own definitions of those terms used by Obama, rather than using the context of Obama’s politics to determine what Obama means by those terms and arguing accordingly. That’s just bad logic.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Law and the Courts, ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    Describing the Warren Court the most activist in our history, as not being radical should have sent alarm bells off in your head, Alex.

    Fail.

  2. Alex Knapp says:

    Bithead,

    The Rehnquist Court struck down far more laws than the Warren Court, and the Burger Court wasn’t that far behind. Or is a court only activist when it strikes down laws that you like?

  3. Bithead says:

    Numbers of laws struck is not a measurement of court activism, Alex.

  4. Davebo says:

    Numbers of laws struck is not a measurement of court activism, Alex.

    So in other words, Alex’s number two answer was correct.

  5. tom p says:

    Numbers of laws struck is not a measurement of court activism, Alex.

    OK, I’ll bite, What is?

  6. carpeicthus says:

    Precisely right, Davebo.

  7. Billy says:

    Describing the “numbers [sic] of laws struck” as “not a measurement of court activism” should have set alarm bells off in your head, Alex.

    Arguing with Bithead = fail.

  8. Bithead says:

    Assuming the masurement of court acitivism is only tied to the numbers of law struck down only makes sense, one supposes, when you’re dealing with someone who figures law and government is the end all and be all… the solution to all the problems on mankind. example…”Can’t afford a house? Why, we’ll pass a law. That’ll fix it.”

    And yes, it comes down to what kidn of rulings are made and on how the constitution is viewed.
    As an example, did anyone note Obama’s where he’s pissed the court didn’t try to redistribute the wealth? In what part of the Constitution is that doctrine to be found, I wonder?

    Socialist? Check.
    Activist? Check.
    Let there be no doubt who we’d end up with as USSC nominees with this guy.

  9. anjin-san says:

    did anyone note Obama’s where he’s pissed the court didn’t try to redistribute the wealth?

    Well, those who form opinions from actually reading what Obama said and not blindly accepting the Red State edits know that that is not what he said at all…

    D is for Desperation.

  10. The Other Ed says:

    We are definitely in the silly season now but I am pleased to see that reasonable conservative websites like OTB and Volokh Conspiracy have resisted the last week of the election urge to start creating commie bogeymen under the bed.

    Maybe there is hope yet.

  11. Eric says:

    As an example, did anyone note Obama’s where he’s pissed the court didn’t try to redistribute the wealth? In what part of the Constitution is that doctrine to be found, I wonder?

    Hold on. Isn’t the entire point of Alex’s article to explain how the right is taking the “redistribution of wealth” comment out of context? Bithead, did you even read Alex’s post?

    Good grief. You righty loonies seem only to have a 5th-grade understanding of what socialism (and communism) actually are in practice. Seriously, do you even know the difference between that and Stalinism? or is it all the same to you?

  12. John Cole says:

    At this point, the only thing I am curious about in regards to this comment thread is whether or not Bithead’s post-election underground bunker is generator powered and if he has stocked provisions for four or eight years.

  13. G.A.Phillips says:

    Well, those who form opinions from actually reading what Obama said and not blindly accepting the Red State edits know that that is not what he said at all…

    I heard what He said, did you?

    Seriously, do you even know the difference between that and Stalinism?

    And do semantics matter when you argue with liberals about there beliefs.

    I say you and he are more like the Nazi but I call zero a communist, when your apparatus is Marxism by way of fascism whats the difference when he and you people i.e. liberals show the traits, habits, mentality and philosophy of the socialist dictator class, 16 wrongs don’t make a right no matter how you consensually rationalize it among yourselves.

    like the old saying goes you can put lipstick on a donkey but its still a jackass.

  14. G.A.Phillips says:

    The GOP punditry’s misinterpretation of what

    Obama means by “social justice” and “redistribution” is a variation of the classic logical fallacy of equivocation. In this case, Obama’s critics are using their own definitions of those terms used by Obama, rather than using the context of Obama’s politics to determine what Obama means by those terms and arguing accordingly. That’s just bad logic.

    And there have been stunningly BOLD faced lies made to cover for 000000000bama but this pile of fraudulent spectacularly miss diagnosed psychobabble should be applied to itself and then studied for many years under sterile conditions.

  15. Billy says:

    And, via Godwin’s law, we have a winner loser.

  16. Jim Durbin says:

    Alex, the complaint I think is in his language- the actual words he uses.

    I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples…

    but the second part of his statement:

    …but the Supreme Court never entered into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.

    So he’s saying that the court succeeded in one area, and this “failed” in a second way. They failed in redistribution of wealth.

    He then goes on to say that the courts aren’t the right place for issues of redistribution of wealth, because they are administrative issues difficult for the courts to oversee.

    You missed part of his quote – where he says that the legal justifications for redistribution of wealth are easy to find.

    So I think that, although you can craft theoretical justifications for it, legally, you know, I think any three of us sitting here could come up with a rationale for bringing about economic change through the courts.”

    Obama is saying very clearly that economic change is redistribution of wealth brought on by community activism. He says the court could come up with reasoning, but it’s not popular politically. His words, in context, seem to disprove your post’s central contention that the court can’t make the case. In fact he says the court can, but shouldn’t, because the public won’t like it.

    You then assert that Obama’s changes are reasonable and moderate, which is more your opinion, and not backed up by the facts.

    Obama’s tax cuts to the middle class are all refundable, which means that in essence, he’s using the Income Tax to write checks to the lower and middle class votes. He’s taking money from the top brackets, and using it to write checks to voters who pay no income tax.

    You can call that moderate, and minor, but it’s about as clear of a case for socialism as you’re ever going to get.

    So two things. First – Obama does see a legal case for taking wealth from some citizens and giving it to others. But he thinks it’s more effective and popular to do so through another branch – say the executive and legislative ones, which he might soon control.

    Second – redistribution of wealth is not the same as a progressive income tax. Asking the wealthy to pay more to build roads, bridges, and defense is defensible. Increasing taxes on the wealthy to fund entitlements to low income and middle class voters, on the other hand, is by every definition socialism.

  17. Jim Durbin says:

    There’s a second problem with your assertion that Obama is talking about moderate Democratic policies.

    Why would you need to come up with legal reasons to make minor changes in an already progressive tax code. If redistributive change is really just taking us back to Clinton era tax codes, why would the court ever be involved?

    It’s a huge stretch that you’re making Alex. You’re suggesting that in September 2001, Obama, a state senator, was casually discussing the Constitution in terms of redistributing income, but what he really meant was dreaming up legislative plans to undo the Bush Tax Cuts from the spring of that year.

    Even Bill Burton doesn’t come up with spin that good.

  18. Drew says:

    Alex continues to amuse with faulty logic.

    On the one hand he scolds the “GOP punditry” for “bad logic” and general unawareness for reacting negatively to Obama’s Constitutional world view………while at the same time defending Obama and questioning how anyone could not be aware of Obama’s long stated philosophy.

    In Obama’s own words, he says he wants to overturn – by either a legislative or judicial effort – the “essential constraints .. placed by the Founding Fathers….” OK, he doesn’t like the Constitution, as written or as historically interpreted. Fine. But it should come as no surprise that Republicans/conservatives would be adverse and call out Obama for a non-“strict constructionist view.” They have argued that case for years. Are you surprised, Alex? Why is this “harping,” but later you defend Obama for his views: “Obama has been clear” you say. Further, Mr. Van Winkle, did you just become aware that conservatives oppose wealth redistribution?

    You go on to describe such opposition to wealth redistribution as an “out of context” interpretation, minimizing it as “a bit more progressive” approach by Obama. A “bit more?” Ah, yes, the camel’s nose in the tent. Here is some economic reality, not political hype.

    Straight from IRS data tables we note that the top 10% of taxpayers paid 56% of the income tax in 1987, increasing to 63% in 1997, to 71% in 2007. (Dastardly Republicans!) In the same period the share of the bottom 50%? 6% goes down to 3%. Let’s have a moment of clarity. The majority of Americans don’t pay the income tax burden; the well off carry the burden. Period, full stop. And the portion carried by the well off has been increasing, not declining, Democratic lies, er, “characterizations,” aside. Democratic dogma on tax policy is just absurd on its face.

    So how does this happen? Well, the top 10% make a higher fraction of the income. In the same time frame the pct earned by the top 10% has increased from 37% to 47%. If we create an instant crude index, we see that the tax share % to income share % ratio has gone from 1.5 to, uh, er, 1.5. That is, the “rich” are forking over their gains in income to the Feds in a like percentage. We unleashed the doers! Why do they make a higher fraction of the income? Its NOT TAX POLICY, as Democrats would have you believe. (They are making higher GROSS income.) No, its is because the economic return to risk taking, skills and talent, brains, information and hard work are higher than ever before in our lives. Punitive tax policy won’t change that one iota. But punitive tax policy could kill this golden goose -and do we want to do this just to elect a run of the mill pedestrian populist?

    Does anyone believe that an Obama Presidency combined with a rabid leftist Congress will result in a tax policy “just a bit more progressive?” I, for one, wasn’t born yesterday. (And I remember promises to college girl friends…but this is a family site.)

    Punitive tax policy could indeed kill the goose – MARGINAL tax rates matter. They make everything I just mentioned work. As a person involved with “small business” for 18 years now (lending and a private equity principal) I can tell you unequivocally that Obama’s plan to increase marginal tax rates (ahem, “a bit more progressive”) is not going to yield the expected result. The “rich” have forked over more and more of the share of the tax burden because they have been able to reap the benefits of increased income. But if you tell them go ahead and risk capital, invest, work………..and then, thanks,….more of the income is ours. It won’t happen. It just won’t.

    You simply can’t help the poor by “hurting” the rich. It is a lazy man’s fallacy. Same as it ever was.

  19. anjin-san says:

    Look, I am as in favor of making a lot of money as the next guy. I have busted my ass to move up the career ladder. I have a very nice income, and I want more. And when I get more, I will pay more taxes.

    The top 10% in this country control, what, 85-90% of the nation’s wealth? And the top 3% of that group almost certainly has the lion’s share of the 85-90% pie.

    So spare me the violins about how much the top wealth owners are getting taxed. I enjoy a nice standard of living, a sports car, golf at good clubs and so on. I don’t have “success envy” or any nonsense like that.

    The folks in this country who are actually rich own almost all of the country’s wealth. How exactly is it “unfair” to tax them accordingly? And let us remember how many tools they have at their disposal to reduce their tax burdens that the rest of us do not have. A team of top tier tax lawyers and CPAs can do wonders.

    The “Obama wants to eat the rich” line is nonsense. Pursuing these sort of fairy tales is one of the things that has moved the GOP to the edge of a major election day disaster.

  20. Drew says:

    anjin-san –

    Let me ask you a question: If you were a basketball coach, would you say: OK MJ and Scottie, you make 85% of the points, so quit the hogging. I know if we take the opportunity away from you we will score 20 fewer points – and the team will probably lose – but spare me the violins, I’m concerned about the hangers on.

    Our goal is to spread the wealth, and winning the war is second.

    I know the rest of the team needs you to win, but screw that, tie your hands behind your back; I’m more interested in “fairness.”

    Silly.

  21. Alex Knapp says:

    Drew,

    From 1950 to 1960, the GDP in this country grew 79%, and that was with a marginal rate on the top tax bracket of 91%.

    From 2000-2007, the GDP grew 43% with a marginal rate on the top tax bracket of 35% (starting in 2003).

    I’m not sure the numbers correlate.

  22. Bithead says:

    Hold on. Isn’t the entire point of Alex’s article to explain how the right is taking the “redistribution of wealth” comment out of context? Bithead, did you even read Alex’s post?

    Of course!
    But does that mean we’re not to take him at his word? Does that mean that his connections with very vocal socialists cannot be mentioned? All this meshes up rather well, and it all points to socialism.

    Look, Biden got hammered at another local station today about all of this, and justifiably so. Meanwhile, Obama hasn’t given a press conference in over a month and isn’t likely to before the election. Doesn’t it strike anyone that the Democrats are hiding?

    As an example of the question that would get asked, check the vid in the link. Also, what should get asked is how 95% of people can get tax cuts when over 40% don’t pay taxes…

  23. anjin-san says:

    If you were a basketball coach,

    If this was a basketball blog, you might be on to something. As it is, you are not.

  24. Alex Knapp says:

    asked is how 95% of people can get tax cuts when over 40% don’t pay taxes…

    Because Obama is cutting more than just income taxes…

  25. anjin-san says:

    Look, Biden got hammered at another local station

    Oh yea, he got hammered. Democrats are laughing their asses off over that interview. One reporter’s 15 minutes of fame cut short to 5 minutes for ineptitude.

  26. Eric says:

    I say you and he are more like the Nazi… .

    And here we come to the natural end of all discussions with G.W. and his ilk.

    So hard to resist the Nazi references, isn’t it, G.W.

    I say you and he are more like the Nazi but I call zero a communist, when your apparatus is Marxism by way of fascism… .

    You really have no clue what you’re talking about, do you? Marxism by way of Fascism? You simply do not know the differences between historical movements and ideas. If you did, you never would have even made such an ignorant statement. Of course, yokels like you have no need for higher edumacation–that’s just elitist and liberal.

    Maybe you can join Bit in his bomb shelter watching The Survivors and reading the Left Behind series.

  27. just me says:

    Does anyone believe that an Obama Presidency combined with a rabid leftist Congress will result in a tax policy “just a bit more progressive?” I, for one, wasn’t born yesterday. (And I remember promises to college girl friends…but this is a family site.)

    I don’t believe the only tax increase that is going to happen in an Obama presidency is his increase on those making 250k a year. As a matter of fact I bet it won’t take long for the congress and Obama to decide that the threshold needs to be lowered.

    I do suspect comgress and Obama will go through with the tax credit though for lower income and some middle income people-because it involves redistributing the wealth around.

    But my curiosity is more in how Obama intends to pay for everything-and it isn’t that McCain hasn’t proposed new spending, but Obama is going to put a chicken in everyone’s pot. He is going to expand education downward and upward-and I am really not sure why every child needs free preschool, and I think paying for everyone’s college degree with just turn college even more into continued high school. Then there is his healthcare proposal which appears to be funded by a magic money tree. I just dont see how a tax increase on the rich is going to pay for all this, but then Obama apparently wasn’t a math major.

  28. sam says:

    I do suspect comgress and Obama will go through with the tax credit though for lower income

    You do know about the Earned Income Tax Credit, that we’ve had since 1975, right? And you do know about Milton Friedman’s Negative Income Tax proposal, right? Goddamn socialists.

  29. G.A.Phillips says:

    You really have no clue what you’re talking about, do you? Marxism by way of Fascism? You simply do not know the differences between historical movements and ideas. If you did, you never would have even made such an ignorant statement. Of course, yokels like you have no need for higher edumacation–that’s just elitist and liberal.

    From OTB lookup—>mostly.

    What you think you want.

    “The political and economic philosophy of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in which the concept of class struggle plays a central role in understanding society’s allegedly inevitable development from bourgeois oppression under capitalism to a socialist and ultimately classless society.”

    how your getting there.

    “A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.”

    “Meaning #1: relating to or consistent with or typical of the ideology and practice of Nazism or the Nazis”

    Change a few but not all of the victims and it’s what you and your party are becoming
    you have the prerequisites leading to this and if do not understand it’s because you have no understanding of history like all liberals.

    lol called me a yokel, and it’s G.A. you new age NAZI gimp.

    and forgive me for mostly just talking sh-t,I have tried to explain things to brainwashed liberal and found it a wast of time and now just make fun of them for the most part.

    oh and one more thing that you have probably missed because you seem new here, I used to think just like most of you liberals when I was a dumb ass teenage atheist evolutionist who thought I new everything.

  30. Bithead says:

    From 1950 to 1960, the GDP in this country grew 79%, and that was with a marginal rate on the top tax bracket of 91%.

    Your confusion on how that translates is understandable Alex, since the statement is both true, but bogus… in that there were a large number of loopholes, to the point where nobody really paid that amount. As is usual, the IRS is incomprehesable to mere humans.

    So hard to resist the Nazi references, isn’t it, G.W

    Mostly because it’s so easy to compare the tactics of the Democrats to that of the nazis. And BTW, the reason your having problems, Eric, with the historical references, is you’re talking goals and he’s talking tactics.

    Oh yea, he got hammered. Democrats are laughing their asses off over that interview. One reporter’s 15 minutes of fame cut short to 5 minutes for ineptitude

    They asked the questions that America wants answers to. And I note again, Biden’s getting these questions, (When they make it through the screen put up by Obama’s people) because Obama himself hasn’t had a press coference in over a month. Whatever happened to the daily screams of anger we used to her about how Palin wasn’t talking to the press, Anjin? Funny how Obama gets a pass on it.

  31. anjin-san says:

    They asked the questions that America wants answers to

    The ones that get their marching orders from Red State, at least. Everyone else is busy planning to vote for Obama.

  32. Bithead says:

    So spare me the violins about how much the top wealth owners are getting taxed

    Translation: “Obama’s not really calling for socialist class warfare, but I’ll defend it anyway.”

  33. Grewgills says:

    Ah, yes, the camel’s nose in the tent.

    The redistributionist camel’s nose poked into the tent during the Civil War, then again in the 1890s, and came in to stay in 1913. Since then the camel has been living comfortably in the tent.

    Your confusion on how that translates is understandable Alex, since the statement is both true, but bogus… in that there were a large number of loopholes, to the point where nobody really paid that amount.

    Of course that is no longer true since all of the loopholes have been closed.

    Mostly because it’s so easy to compare the tactics of the Democrats to that of the nazis.

    It is easy to compare anything to Nazis if you don’t ground yourself in rationality.

    They asked the questions that America wants answers to.

    The questions were absurd and she deserves to be laughed out of the newsroom.

  34. anjin-san says:

    socialist class warfare

    If paying one’s fair share of taxes is what you call “class warfare”, so be it. I write a pretty big check each year, in line with my income. I think everyone should do the same, even people who can afford to buy someone like George Bush to play Santa Claus for them.

  35. Bithead says:

    If paying one’s fair share of taxes …

    A flat percentage is fair, where everyone pays x percentage for each dollar earned.

    Some paying higher rates because they make more is decidedly NOT fair.

    It is easy to compare anything to Nazis if you don’t ground yourself in rationality.

    The comparisons of Bush to hitler, for example?

    The questions were absurd and she deserves to be laughed out of the newsroom.

    well, let’s see what you do with the same questions, grew…

    Obama wants to redistribute the wealth.. to take from the haves by government fiat and give to the hav nots. How does that not mesh with Marx’s call to take from each accoding to their ability and give to each acording to their need?

    Take your time.

  36. Grewgills says:

    The comparisons of Bush to hitler, for example?

    That would be another example of an idiotic comparison of an American political figure to Nazis. That does not make yours or GAs comparison any less idiotic though.

    Obama wants to redistribute the wealth..

    Every rational politician in modern American politics has supported redistribution of wealth, even Reagan. Was Reagan a Marxist?
    The disagreement about redistribution of wealth in American (indeed all developed nations) is not about if, but how much. You may be on the radical fringe that does not think any taxation or any social programs should exist, but that is only the position of a truly small and radical fringe.

  37. anjin-san says:

    Some paying higher rates because they make more is decidedly NOT fair.

    Hmmm. And the rich ducking all sorts of taxes because they can afford the best tax attorneys and CPA’s (and politicians)is? Cause that is what is happening now.

  38. anjin-san says:

    Good point about Reagan. The earned income credit was a Reagan deal. Guess he was a socialist after all…

  39. Floyd says:

    Karl Marx sold “The Communist Manifesto”.
    I guess that makes him a Capitalist.
    Right?? Riiight! FER SURE DUDE!!

  40. Drew says:

    Alex –

    Your correlation of GDP growth and MTR’s has several faults. (and I realize you caveat the notion) Most importantly, deductions in effect in the ’50 – ’60 time frame make the MTR a misleading statistic. Effective tax rate would be better.

    Second, the 2000 – 2007 time period includes the combined effect of the recession and 9/11 early in the short measurement period.

    In any event, absolute correlations of tax policy and GDP growth are very difficult, indeed. An obvious retort from the high tax apologists is the experience of the 90’s. However, this ignores the fact that the Clinton administration enjoyed walking into office in the middle of recovery…and then was present (not a cause) during one of the greatest productivity booms in history, with the odd Y2K effect at the end.

    And of course while riding out on his chariot, leaving imminent recession and a stock market bust that saw the Wilshire Index plummet 35%. Good luck, George, with your statistics!

    Hence the data anlysis problems.

    I happen to live in the world that would be called “small business.” Investing, operating and owning $30 – $200MM revenue businesses. Having done this for 18 years now, the academic notion that increasing capital gains and marginal OI income rates will have no effect on employment and capital investment can only be described as bizarre. It may work in the ivory tower, but it fails miserably in the board room, and at the kitchen table of the entrepreneur.

    I noted in a previous post that I am generally hesitant to pull rank, preferring to construct arguments from the ground up rather than make pronouncements. But 18 years of real life, practical experience in this arena informs me that Obama’s tax policies, presented so sweetly and seductively as they are with a velvet glove, will not help the “little guy.” No way. Not one bit.

  41. Drew says:

    anjin-san

    I am one of those “rich” you refer to. For over 10 years now I have had one of those “top 1%” incomes.

    I have expensive professional accountants do my taxes. We talk about tax management alot.

    I have no clue what you are referring to when you say “ducking” those taxes. In fact the opposite is true. Deductions phase out as income increases. Can you provide us with specific examples – specific – of how to “duck out” from those taxes?

    Or are you like all the rest, just working your unit?

  42. Eric says:

    From OTB lookup—>mostly.

    What you think you want.

    “The political and economic philosophy of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in which the concept of class struggle plays a central role in understanding society’s allegedly inevitable development from bourgeois oppression under capitalism to a socialist and ultimately classless society.”

    how your getting there.

    “A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.”

    “Meaning #1: relating to or consistent with or typical of the ideology and practice of Nazism or the Nazis”

    OK. So basically you’ve done what a high schooler writing his first term paper does: put together a few quotes and dictionary definitions out of context and try to pass them off as somehow coherent. Never mind what historians of Marxism or Fascism have to say, G.A. knows better.

    Marxism is a social and political theory, while Fascism is an ideology (i.e., it lacks any philosophical underpinning). Each operate on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Fascism, whether of the Nazi variety or the American variety (e.g., Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nation) is a phenomenon of the right–got that, G.A.: A phenomenon of the right. The only thing that the two could have in common is that is that they both are authoritarian (at least Marxism in practice; in theory it doesn’t have to be). Just because they share that trait does not mean you can get to one from the other.

    The bottom line is that you fear both so you apparently don’t feel the need to make any distinctions. Marxists? Fascists? Gay? Abortion?. Hate everything and lump it all together to tar your opponent with. Eric Martin hit this on the head today while talking about the Republican smear narrative:

    This is the problem… it’s a problem for the entire wingnut noise machine. Obama is a Marxist Muslim Arab Jesus Black White Terrorist Technocrat Racist Do-Gooder Liberal FDR Stalin Hilter [me: Chamberlain!] Commie Fascist Gay Womanizing Naive Cynical Insider Noob Boring Radical Unaccomplished Elite Slick Gaffe-Prone Pedophile Pedophile-Seducing Liberation Theology Atheist Etc. & Anti-Etc. with a bunch of scary friends from – wait for it! – the Nineteen Hundred And Sixties. It makes no sense. It’s a jumble sale of fears and scary associations from 50 years of wingnut witch hunts and smear campaigns, a flea market of pre-owned and antique resentments, and if one does detect a semi-consistent 1960’s motif running through it all, that’s because that’s when most of these ideas were coined.

    Does that encapsulate nicely what you fear, G.A? Did Martin leave anything out? Let us know ASAP, OK?

    lol called me a yokel, and it’s G.A. you new age NAZI gimp.

    I always love how the rightwing loonies like to tar the left with the Nazi smears, when Fascism comes from the right. LOL!

    I used to think just like most of you liberals when I was a dumb ass teenage atheist evolutionist who thought I new everything.

    Another rightwing nuthouse chestnut: only kids and the immature are liberals. Adults and grownups are conservatives. LOL! Really? You’re so much smarter than the rest of us youngsters, huh. Maybe we shouldn’t be able to vote. Or maybe older people shouldn’t vote. (So hard to resist the Nazi references, isn’t it, G.W?

    —->Mostly because it’s so easy to compare the tactics of the Democrats to that of the nazis. And BTW, the reason your having problems, Eric, with the historical references, is you’re talking goals and he’s talking tactics.

    Oh, great. The whole tactics versus strategy thing that you conservatives seem to get confused between all the time. Yeah, Bit, that’s what it is. I’m just confused that I can’t lump two totally different things together and pretend they’re the same. By the way, since you are so confident that Democrats use Nazi tactics, perhaps you can come up with a few clear examples of this instead of merely asserting it to be true. I know Anjin has been asking you to do this for some time (i.e., actually support your arguments with facts), but maybe if I ask nicely you will do it this time. Pretty please?

    But then again, you rightwing nutties never let the facts get in the way of a good smear, do you?

  43. anjin-san says:

    Drew,

    Let’s qualify you. Do you have an income of over a million dollars a year? That would get you in on the bottom rung of “rich”.

    The people I am familiar with have net worth roughly in the 50 million dollar range. I do not know all the inner details of their taxes, but I have had discussion with them where they have talked about some of the creative (and legal) methods their accounting people use to reduce tax liabilities. And they all seem to think George Bush is Santa Claus.

  44. Drew says:

    anjin –

    Yes, more than a million. (Although I think your characterization of “rich” is bizarre. Obama has it implicitly at $250……now $200K, Joey has it at $150K….is it Thursday yet?? On our way to $100K?????)

    I hear about these exotic tax avoidance schemes all the time………..but somehow no one ever comes through with the details.

    Usually, when pressed, you find out that the “tax avoidance” is really the realization of losses.
    Well, losses are reductions in income. And unless the “new math” has changed our universe, a loss of a dollar offsets only 40-50 cents in tax. You are still out 50-60 cents. You won’t stay in business very long under that math.

    Give me specifics, or concede the point.

  45. anjin-san says:

    Obama has it implicitly at $250

    That’s your read, and it is not a very good one. Where did Obama say that 250k a year constitutes “rich” or that he intends to “only raise taxes on the rich”? Back it up or concede the point, that door swings both ways…

  46. Drew says:

    anjin –

    Please, are you a serious poster or not? Until recently Obama has clung to the $250 figure as his tax breakpoint. Implicitly, his “rich” definition. If you want to sophomorically wordsmith save it for your fellows at the coffee shop.

    If you want serious discourse, please engage. My time is valuable.

  47. anjin-san says:

    Implicitly, his “rich” definition

    Sorry dude, that is just your spin. You can parse language, but no one else can? Obama has never said he will only raise taxes on “the rich”, and to my knowledge, he has never said that he considers 250k a year to make one “rich”. He is a bright guy, he knows that income is very nice for a resident of NYC, LA or SF, but it is not an income that makes one rich.

    If you time is so valuable, run along and do something important. You posts don’t really qualify as such so far.

  48. anjin-san says:

    Drew… I am going to give you McCain’s own words and call it a night.

    During the 2000 campaign, on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” a young woman asked him why her father, a doctor, should be “penalized” by being “in a huge tax bracket.” McCain replied that “wealthy people can afford more” and that “the very wealthy, because they can afford tax lawyers and all kinds of loopholes, really don’t pay nearly as much as you think they do.” The exchange continued:

    YOUNG WOMAN: Are we getting closer and closer to, like, socialism and stuff?. . .
    MCCAIN: Here’s what I really believe: That when you reach a certain level of comfort, there’s nothing wrong with paying somewhat more.

  49. G.A.Phillips says:

    OK. So basically you’ve done what a high schooler writing his first term paper does: put together a few quotes and dictionary definitions out of context and try to pass them off as somehow coherent. Never mind what historians of Marxism or Fascism have to say, G.A. knows better.

    lol the truth of what I say about you is what it is, that your to dumb to to understand it is your reason for denial and attack, you said I don’t know why or what I meant, and I gave you prefect examples that even you could look up you gimp. they fit you, if you can’t see that I know why and you never will is your problem.

    The bottom line is that you fear both so you apparently don’t feel the need to make any distinctions. Marxists? Fascists? Gay? Abortion?. Hate everything and lump it all together to tar your opponent with. Eric Martin hit this on the head today while talking about the Republican smear narrative:

    And this is how much of a trained brainwashed little idiot you are, the play book misdirected bullshit, grow up, and think for your self, WTF are all you fools
    of the same puny mentality?

    I fear nothing But GOD and I only hate the sh-t you do and believe in, and when you are all of the above(and I don’t think Ive ever lumped gay in at any time but in your case) I’m gonna tell you here or to your face. Yet as always you and your like repeat the stupidity of another gimp to argue with me.

    But then again, you rightwing nutties never let the facts get in the way of a good smear, do you?

    I know don’t why I get so mad at the liberally retard, I fell bad now, please forgive me I know you can’t help yourself and it’s not your fault.

  50. Bithead says:

    Every rational politician in modern American politics has supported redistribution of wealth, even Reagan.

    I note your claim comes iwth no specifics attached. Someone offers up the earned income credit, but that falls over at the first logical hoop… that it was done to satisfy the Congressional Democrats.

    By the way, since you are so confident that Democrats use Nazi tactics, perhaps you can come up with a few clear examples of this instead of merely asserting ….

    Consider the reactions to Joe the Plumber. Consider the reactions to Jerome Corsi.
    Conisder the reation to Stan Kurtz.
    Consider the reaction to David Freddoso.
    Consider the reaction to KYW-TV.
    Consider the reaction to WFTV.

    Are you getting the pattern, yet? This kind of nonsense has been employed by every socialist despot in history… Say, for example, Hugo Chavez and RCTV, or if you’d like a more historical point of view, Stalin’s use of the Cheka, to eliminate all opposition. There are others; Mao, Castro, Hitler are prominant among them. And yes, I include Hitler, since he was a socialist, like the rest.

    And along comes Obama, who has lifelong connections to socialists, occasionally violent ones, such as Bill Ayers… and we’re to expect anything less of him?

    No, I suggest he’s already shown hhis hand in the items I list, and more.

  51. Bithead says:

    MCCAIN: Here’s what I really believe: That when you reach a certain level of comfort, there’s nothing wrong with paying somewhat more.

    Anjin, nobody in here claimed Mccain was the perfect choice. Just that given Obama, he’s by far the better choice.

  52. anjin-san says:

    Anjin, nobody in here claimed Mccain was the perfect choice.

    Look bit, if you want to rationalize your support of the socialist McCain, that is your business.

  53. Eric says:

    your to dumb… .

    you gimp… .

    brainwashed little idiot you are…

    liberally retard…

    G.A., I’m sorry, but aren’t you one of the ones in here who always complain that liberals call names because they have no real arguments?

    In any event, regarding your inane assertions about Marxism and Fascism, you still don’t know what you are talking about. My whole point was that people who are smarter than you or I and study this stuff all day, every day, make distinctions between Marxism, Fascism, Communism, et cetera because all of them are discreet philosophies and ideologies. You don’t get to Marxism with fascist tactics–you get to Fascism with fascist tactics.

    People like you don’t care for these distinctions, of course, because to you it’s all the same. Just lump it all together into an incoherent whole and blame liberals for it all is just too convenient for you to pass up. And of course it doesn’t do any good to cite Bullock or Kershaw or any of those people who have devoted their lives to studying Fascism and Stalinism, because, after all, they’re just liberal professors out to destroy America. Instead, be like Bit and cite fringe authors as authoritative, right?

    onsider the reactions to Joe the Plumber. Consider the reactions to Jerome Corsi.
    Conisder the reation to Stan Kurtz.
    Consider the reaction to David Freddoso.
    Consider the reaction to KYW-TV.
    Consider the reaction to WFTV.

    (Here, let me look all these up since you didn’t bother to link to any of them…)

    Seriously, these are examples of what you call “Nazi tactics?” Really? Forgive me for being unimpressed. Usually when someone claims someone or some group are like Nazis, I’m expecting examples like torture, illegal surveillance, abrogation of constitutional rights and checks and balances, concentration camps, et cetera (whoops… didn’t see that coming, did ya?). Mere public dismissal and disdain of fringe authors whose work is discredited or of a journalist who conducted a clearly biased interview based on fringe rightwing talking points is laughable on its face. I wonder, if these are examples of liberals using Nazi tactics, I wonder what you must think of the real thing.

    But of course, if someone asks Sarah Palin what newspapers she reads, that is clear evidence of Nazi “gotcha” tactics.

    Are you getting the pattern, yet? This kind of nonsense has been employed by every socialist despot in history… Say, for example, Hugo Chavez and RCTV, or if you’d like a more historical point of view, Stalin’s use of the Cheka, to eliminate all opposition. There are others; Mao, Castro, Hitler are prominant among them. And yes, I include Hitler, since he was a socialist, like the rest.

    And along comes Obama, who has lifelong connections to socialists, occasionally violent ones, such as Bill Ayers… and we’re to expect anything less of him?

    OK. So what you’ve pointed out here are what authoritarian regimes can have in common. But I see that you’ve conveniently left out any rightwing authoritarians and in fact have made the brazen assertion that Hitler was a socialist. That is of course a convenient rationalization in order to help you justify your warped world view. Hitler may have been many things, but a socialist he was not. But, please, don’t believe me. Believe Bullock or Kershaw or any number of respectable historians who study this stuff.

    It must be very satisfying to live in a fantasy world world where all that is good and green and beautiful is represented by the right and everything bad and evil is simply attributed to liberals despite what is commonly understood or factually known to be otherwise.

    Hitler a socialist… ho-ho, that’s one of your better ones, Bit.

  54. Bithead says:

    Seriously, these are examples of what you call “Nazi tactics?”

    Apparently, you’ve not done your homework on Geobels.

    Forgive me for being unimpressed

    No, Eric you misunderstand me. My intent is not to impress you. You’ve long since demonstrated your ability to ignore any fact that doesn’t run parallel to your own stunted worldview.

    OK. So what you’ve pointed out here are what authoritarian regimes can have in common. But I see that you’ve conveniently left out any rightwing authoritarians and in fact have made the brazen assertion that Hitler was a socialist.

    Add any you please; you’ll have furthered, not lessened my point, albeit only insofar as tactics. The point you intentionally miss, however, is that the similarity the names I’ve listed share with Obama is heir socilaism. I can understand why you’d want to do that but dont think for a moemnt that your attempt to delink the two got by anyone.