The Palin Letter, from someone who knows her- an analysis

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palin family Since I make no bones about being neutral here on P&P, I thought I’d post my own thoughts about this supposed letter from someone who knows Gov. Palin (the Republican V.P. pick) that is circulating the Internet.

If you haven’t seen it, let me introduce you: Click Here

Now that you’ve read it, I’d like to put forth a few thoughts about the letter that I’ve not seen noted anywhere (yet). And maybe that’s because, as a writer, I pick up a lot about a person by the way they write.

Interested?

  1. Any writer worth his or her salt, is trained to provide full disclosure at the beginning of any opinion piece, of which this clearly is. Instead, it is not until the end of the letter, after we’ve been witness to numerous claims by the author, that we find out that the author is, in fact, on the opposing side of one of Palin’s most notorious skirmishes (the attempted firing of a librarian).Also, despite the writer’s claims of being “just a housewife,” she’s somehow managed to attend more council meetings during Palin’s career than, “…about 99% of the residents of the city.” This alone leads us to believe the writer is more than she offers. Couple that with the facts that the letter is nearly flawlessly written and leaves out any mention of her past education and political leanings, and we can’t help but be skeptical.
  2. The writer makes reference to Palin’s giving oil dividends back to the residents of Alaska, but makes no mention of the fact that this has been a lawful tradition since Congress enacted the Oil Dividend program in 1976 (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_Permanent_Fund). Life is certainly more difficult in Alaska than in most of the States’ moderate climates, so if someone wants to go stake a claim in Alaska, then I say they deserve their free parcel of land and oil dividends!
  3. Hillary Clinton is good looking? Oh come on! Now you’re really stretching!
  4. The letter is written in true bad news form. It goes like this:

Good News (which is usually some trivial something that sounds good, but really doesn’t mean much), then the REALLY bad news, and then some more trivial Good News.

Good News:

  • It’s her baby
  • She “worked” out at the gym (note the tense here)
  • “[Palin] is energetic and hardworking.”
  • This is one of my favorites: “She is savvy. She doesn’t take positions; she just “put’s things out there” and if they prove to be popular, she takes credit.”
    Notice how she compliments Palin and then gives her a backwards compliment, metaphorically likening her to all politicians.
  • She extols the virtues of Palin’s husband, so as to not anger the men-folk out there, but then she can’t help but mention, “Nor has her life-style ever been anything like that of native Alaskans.”
    Um, which native Alaskans is the author referring to?  How many of the Alaskan population can claim to live like a native Alaskan? For that matter, how many Southerners can claim to live like the native Americans? And who would want to?

REALLY Bad News:

  • Palin wanted to fire a librarian over some books. This is the one place here that I have to side with the author based on the information presented. Constitutionally, I can’t condone the banning of any books. However, what we aren’t told, are any of the details surrounding the incident, such as:
    – What were the books?
    – If they were pornographic or rated R in nature, were they separated from the other books so that children couldn’t access them?
  • She increased govt. expenditures by “over 33%(note to would-be writers; it should be “more than” not “over”) and that the amount of taxes collected by the city increased by 38%.
    What she didn’t say here was that any of this was due to a tax increase. In fact, she mentions these increases in the context of it being during a period of “low inflation.” Now, any fiscal Conservative will tell you that when people have more money in their pockets (Corporations too), that they will spend more, thus generating more tax revenue. So, these increases are just in line with Conservative economics.
  • She says Palin reduced property taxes, but increased a regressive sales tax, which included food.
    So, what’s 7% of a $150,000 piece of property?  It’s $10,500
    What’s 7% of the total amount of money people spend on “things” in a year, including groceries? Let’s assume people will buy $25,000 worth of stuff. That comes out to approx. $1,750. I’m betting the property tax savings came out to more than the increase in taxes on food and other purchases.
  • The rest of the “Really Bad News” essentially boils down to what you might expect to hear in a high school girls’ locker room, so I won’t bother repeating it here.

Good News

  • The writer goes through the public knowledge facts about Palin, and in all cases where the truth is not cut and dried, her assertions are pure opinion. For instance, where Palin claims to be a “pro tax relief” the writer states that Palin “…increased tax burden on residents.” This is not a factual statement as proven by my analysis of property taxes and sales tax above. She also mentions the fact of “pro-labor/pro-union” and then follows it up with supporting Palin’s husband’s union status, but then rather than saying “yes she is” or “no she isn’t” the writer speculatively says, “I have seen nothing to support any claim that she is pro-labor/pro-union.”
    How about instead saying, “I have seen no evidence to the contrary”?

To use one of my favorite overused phrases from my corporate life, “At the end of the day” we are left with a highly opinionated article written by somone who, at the very least, had some major polishing work done on the letter before publishing it. In my experience, average people don’t go public by themselves; especially when it comes to publishing. Granted, the Internet has made self-publication without verification, very simple, but that doesn’t mean people do.

Regardless, it won’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who this person is and I bet it won’t be long before we get the real story behind this letter. Either way, I’m betting she won’t be a friend of Palin’s parents much longer!

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20 thoughts on “The Palin Letter, from someone who knows her- an analysis

    Lindy said:
    September 5, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    Here is another refutation of “The Letter.” http://lindyborer.wordpress.com
    I agree, the author sounds like she’s got some sort of grudge.

    dotan said:
    September 6, 2008 at 1:31 am

    Brilliant analysis. Thank you.

    Greg said:
    September 6, 2008 at 2:31 am

    FYI, property taxes are rarely 7%, usual range is between 1% and 3%, although some areas can be higher. How much one pays in property taxes depends entirely upon the community. So, a $100,000 home with a 2% property tax will get $2,000/yr taxed. If the mayor drops the property tax by 40%, which I think Palin did, the owner’s taxes are reduced by $800/year. But what Palin dropped was a progressive tax, meaning a tax rate that increases as the property value increases. Basically, she gave a break to richer folks. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it can generate more spending, which it did in Wasilla, which dovetailed nicely with her 2% increase in sales tax. She basically just rerouted the money. Same amount paid in tax, but more of it attached to buying goods, which increased trade/businesses, which in turn triggered development, which in turn triggered more revenue. In tandem, she started going for federal earmark monies, then lowering the sales tax to .5% when the earmark money started coming in at an average of about 4.5 million per year.

    The bad thing about her tax plan was that the sales tax was regressive, harder on the poor. A poor person with a 50K home still pays right around the same 2% sales tax, $1,000/yr. because they do not benefit (at all or as much) from a cut in progressive taxes, but they get hit with the increase in sales tax… all on a much smaller budget than a wealthier person has and so won’t really feel the 2% sales tax much. But without more info about how she dealt with that, it’s hard to say what effect the sales tax had on the poor. Plus, there are all the usual add-ons to property and sales taxes, so there are a lot of things at play here.

    I’m only taking the time to write this because I know people will be Googling Palin over the next few months and will probably come by your site. People should know that there’s just not enough info here to ascertain anything.

    RE: Here’s what Democrats don’t get: A reduction on Sales Tax doesn’t “hurt” anyone. I believe you said that her sales tax was, “…harder on the poor.” A sales tax reduction, across the board, helps everyone, no matter how small the reduction. And frankly, isn’t it more “fair” to lower the tax burden on the people who pay the majority of taxes anyway? Or, to put it in more general terms, let’s say you have a pizza, and normally, before you get it, they take away 3 of 8 slices. Let’s pretend your friend only loses 1 of 8 of his slices. If suddenly everyone is getting 50% fewer slices taken away, then your friend is now getting 7.5 slices, and you’re getting 6.5 slices. They’re still getting more pizza than you, so why should they complain?

    cui said:
    September 6, 2008 at 2:59 am

    Roger that!

    The letter seems to be written by Obama’s speech writer.

    RE: Yep, wouldn’t surprise me. The Internet is home of the unsubstantiated story!

    dotan said:
    September 6, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    This is brilliant. Thank you.

    RE: You and everyone else who read it, are welcome. The first time I read the letter, I thought, “Oh my, this is not the person we thought she was.” But then, the more I digested the letter, the less impact it had. So, I’m happy to share my thoughts.

    bleedingheartmama said:
    September 6, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    I think you are absolutely correct in your analysis of this letter. The writer, while verifying some basic facts about Palin, basically aims to take her down, and not always fairly.

    I do think, though, that a housewife who is politically active might spend that much time at city council meetings. You can be a politically active housewife. Lots of private citizens make it a big part of their lives to be closely involved in local government without being employed to do so.

    The other thing is that, while it seems this woman is clearly biased in her personal opinion of Palin, that doesn’t dismiss her criticisms, and this letter (as I understand it) began circulating before Palin’s speech and before we all knew much about her as an answer to the numerous calls for some biography and policy record. I can’t dismiss or support any of the numbers or statements made, but as a writer myself (one who is thoroughly familiar with the amateur writing of my students) I can’t really classify the author of the letter as a “writer.” There were many writing conventions that this woman didn’t observe, and, to me, that speaks to her lack of experience as a writer of political commentary, not to her subversive intentions.

    RE: As a “writer” we both know that there are as many writing “conventions” out there as there are styles: AP, APA, AMA, Technical, MLA, etc. Had she written a form letter that adhered to any particular style, it would have lost it’s “amateur” flavor. My argument is that the letter was extremely well-written for someone who claims no expertise in such matters.
    The other point is that people rarely write happy notes. Few people ever go public to extol the virtues of a person without recompense, so we always need to question the motives of unsolicited experiences.

    Steve said:
    September 8, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    NPR interviewed this woman. Sounded like a regular housewife to me. Any proof to your conspiracy theories yet, or is NPR all part of it?

    RE: Never said she didn’t exist, only that she had help. Read the words man, read the words. Oh, and NPR is part of it. It doesn’t take a expert on verbal cues to hear the change of tone when Fresh Air hostess, Terri Gross starts questioning anyone who doubts her liberal ethics.

    batguano101 said:
    September 9, 2008 at 8:05 am

    Don’t worry about the specifics.

    Election fraud will decide this election, just as the last two.

    Nothing has been done to correct it.

    RE: I assume then, you’re referring to how the Republicans stole the election. Perhaps…perhaps. But, in retrospect, aren’t we all glad we didn’t get yet another philandering democrat, or an overzealous “Sky is falling” global warming harbinger who has, since the election, completely lost all control at the dinner table (oh now, that’s just mean!)

    I have to ask you though, as the Soviet Union gears up for another Cold War, and don’t kid yourself that they aren’t, just look at the recent parades of missiles in the streets, whom would you rather have in the Oval Orifice? I’m no McCain fan, but I’d rather have someone there who’s faced down cold-hearted killers in his day, than a Community Organizer (Oh wait, I’m sorry, his new Experiene tagline is “Campaign Organizer”).

    SDye said:
    September 9, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    I read with interest your disection of the letter and have a few comments of my own. First it is amusing that you take her to task as a writer, not using appropriate conventions, etc. and give her credit for a well written letter. Ever occur to you she just might be intelligent?

    But back to Sara Palin. The major problem with her,is she takes credit for things she does not deserve credit for. As a CPA I found your analysis of the property tax savings obviously flawed, applying a 7% rate to the value of the house. But that has already been pointed out to you. I just wonder how much Sarah Palin and husband Todd saved.

    Back to the issues. She holds herself out to be a “tax reformer”, however, since there are no individual income taxes in Alaska, and no state sales tax, she can’t reform much and perhaps she is hanging her hat on this bait and switch property tax reduction for a local sales tax increase, which has been pointed out to be more advantage to the wealthy. But what would one expect from a Republican discussing tax decreases.

    The Bridge to Nowhere – Interestingly she says “Thanks but no thanks, if we want a bridge, we’ll build one”. However, as everyone knows by now, while campaigning for governor she supported the building of the bridge. Only afterward did she decide to oppose it. However, she does not oppose to continue collecting the funds and applying them to other projects. (Wonder who will get stuck with the completion).

    Which brings me to “pork barrel projects”. I do not believe she can say with a straight face some of the things she says about being opposed to them. As a mayor she hired consultants to assist in getting funds. She is the governor of the state that receives the most “pork barrel funds” of any state in the union per capita. (Over $300 per person per year.) She attacked Obama for requestion about $1 billion since becoming a senator. Actually the number is $850 million and none in 2008 when Palin requested $197 million for a state with just over 670,000 people.

    She takes credit for the proposed pipeline when this was in the works for many years.

    And family values, now that is another story. Possibly pregnant when married, preaches abstinance . . . I will not buy into the story that Trig is the child of her oldest daugher, but I don’t think that makes any difference. For a woman that preaches “Right to Life” she sure acted in a very irresponsible way which risked the health of the unborn baby. She knew she had a high risk pregnancy but insisted on speaking several hours after signs of her water breaking. Then without doctors checking her she takes and 8 hour plane ride to Alaska, followed by additonal driving time before she goes to the hospital????

    The question regarding her family vs. working as the Vice-President of the United States has been projected by the conservatives to be sexist. (And buttons that say “We’re for the Hot Babe” are not) The issue is not about female v. male, but about parenting. In the case of most men, there is a wife and mother at home to be with the family (at least when they have risen to this level) We are told Todd works full time, and if he truly is a commercial fisherman (and an oil field worker) he just might be gone overnight, who takes care of the children? Personally I couldn’t care if it was the mother or father, but it should be one of them, and the job as vice-president of the United States is far more demanding than governor of Alaska.

    I could go on, but thinking about her just wears me out. I pray, that her newness wears off soon and those jumping on the bandwagon will soon settle down and analyze all the facts behind Sarah Palin.

    RE: Doctor Laura, you almost had me there…right up till the point where you started hating on dual-income family earners. I suppose you’d have her forgo any education she’s received and the opportunity for a career at least equal to that of her husband, in favor of staying home and raising children that, with the exception of Trig, are in school the majority of the day. See, my family is in a similar situation. After grad school, my wife had more than $40K in debt, debt which we’ve worked our butts off to pay down, while providing a fine life for our children. It’s not perfect. Would I love to be the sole bread-winner while my wife stayed home with the kids and kept the house nice and tidy and had a hot meal ready when I came home? Sure, but life is rarely like that. In fact, most of the men I know in this situation, don’t come home to a happy wife. My marriage is far more “normal” the way it is than many of the “dad works while mom watches the kids” families I know.

    But, your man Obama, now THERE’s a reformist. More money for charter schools, more taxes on the rich (which according to the U.S. gov’t, is a whole lot less than most retirees have in their 401K account), more, more more. And now, he can’t even figure out which side of Iraq he’s on. First he hated the war, now he’s bashing Bush for trying to bring troops home from the war.

    You didn’t provide any facts to support your stats, but you sound well-informed, so I’m going to assume you have a basis in reality, although I’d love to see the breakdown on the “pork.” Nobody is saying Palin is perfect, but everything is measured against it’s opposite. And between the two, I’d rather take people who are more like me (ex-military, working wife) than a lifetime politician (Biden, why haven’t you made any of the changes you espouse in all your years in Congress?) and a upcoming wannabe who can’t make up his mind.

    Maysman said:
    September 9, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    The Person is real… the letter is real… I analyze it in much the same way at http://fuanglada.wordpress.com/

    SDye said:
    September 10, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    No one hates dual earning families, and I recognize that it is a requirement for many. However, I doubt seriously if your or your spouse’s jobs are quite as demanding as those of the vice-president. And we are not talking about a “need” here to be a dual earner family. And we have a child with special needs. It all adds up to a woman who puts herself ahead of her children.

    By the way, I disagree with Dr. Laura on most issues.

    And life time politician should also apply to John McCain. OK he did spend some time in the military, but not in a command position. Remember he was a fighter pilot and prisoner. You need to go back to his speeches in 2000 and here him talk about change, then he supports Bush 90+% of the time.

    Interesting you should say “your man Obama” I did not mention Obama once. It is quite possible I support McCain and just simply wish he had chosen a better VP candidate. Charlie Crist or Bobby Jindal are both qualified and governors, what about Pawlenty in Minnesota or Romney. There were any number of better qualified people to chose and he made the political choice. Does not show good judgement to me.

    RE: Since neither of us are going to change the other’s mind, I’ll not argue over semantics.
    But change is in the eye of the beholder. Nobody in the Republican party actually expects McCain to change anything. That’s what neither he, nor the Democrats understand. We, the base, are fired up because we finally feel that we can beat Obama and thereby save the country from death by taxation in the coming decade. Do I think Palin is terribly qualified to be President? No, but neither was/is Hillary, Obama, McCain, Bush, Roosevelt, Washington, etc. At least, not by the measuring stick that the media use. But thank God for that right?

    SDye said:
    September 10, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    After also reviewing your comments to other writers, I must again take exception to your basic understanding of what transpired. You state “Here’s what Democrats don’t get: A reduction on Sales Tax doesn’t “hurt” anyone.” What does that have to do with the discussion. Palin reduced Property taxes and increased sales taxes. So those with sufficient funds to own land and real property got a break. Poorer people generally don’t own; they rent. Therefore the landlords also got a break, because you really are not going to try and tell me they lowered the rent to give back to the renters. The sales tax was raised. And it includes tax on food. Therefore the poorer received no benefit and only added to the taxes they paid. Sounds like a plan by someone who cares about the people. (Her people, the wealthy)

    RE: I’m so sorry you’re so ill-informed. Didja read tha rest of my comments? Cuz, if ya did, you see that when the taxes are lowered on the “rich,” they spend money on everything and everyone else…like jobs and benefits and bonuses. That’s not debatable, that’s factual.
    Business don’t cut back on employees because Sales Tax goes up; no, they cut back on employees when corporate taxes go up and then when Property Taxes go up, it not only hits homeowners/landowners but Small Businesses. Crikey, even my state university taught that in economics!

    batguano101 said:
    September 10, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    No, rigged elections are not a joke.
    There is no argument that appointed presidents are superior to elected presidents.
    That is the essence of the USA.
    I like the USA.
    Without real elections, we now have a different form of government.
    No glib remarks makes that ok, no arguments that we have a better nation because the elections are rigged and any candidate was appointed are valid.

    The United States of America is more important than anyone’s political party/power.

    RE: You must be drinking that Jimmy Carter, “I’m gonna travel to Africa to make sure the elections aren’t rigged” Kool-Aid (as if African warlords are scared of an old, failed ex-President).
    BTW: We’ve never had “REAL” elections. Not sure how old you are, but you do realize the populace has never actually elected a president right? And who’s arguing that the country is better off with rigged elections? And which jury found that the elections were actually rigged?

    But seriously, um…batguano…I’m not even following your logic here. “There is no argument that appointed presidents are superior to elected presidents.” So, are you saying that Americans are unfit to determine who could best lead them and that you feel “appointed” presidents are better?

    If so, then why the last statement about, “No glib remarks makes that OK…”
    You contradict yourself, much as your candidate does on a daily basis.

    And I gotta tell ya, I’m pretty sure that you are not a native-born American because most Americans don’t say, “I like the USA.” We LOVE AMERICA period! And if anyone wonders why Republicans and Libertarians want to close the borders, it’s so those from socialist countries don’t come over here to earn our money, and then turn around and complain about the way we’ve run ourselves. We’ve obviously done a damn fine job thus far otherwise they wouldn’t be over here.
    Go home. Take your socialist beliefs with you. We don’t care whether or not you hate us…really we don’t. It’s just the media who care.

    me said:
    September 14, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Pfff, what are u people even doing? Doesn’t the letter clearly state not to be posted? But anyhow, i can believe this is an actual housewive writing the letter. I would write a letter like that if i were fed up with someone who made me life more expensive. You guys do realize this is written by someone in a poor financial situation, on wich especcially those taxes have a huge impact. If ur normal groceries cost, lets say, 250 dollar a week, and then become 260 a week whilst u got only 1000 dollar to spend on a whole month, wouldn’t you be a bit angry? Especially when u see, that those who can spend way more get more back on the house.

    But i also agree with u, she should have written it more logical, and leave irrelevant stuff, like workout schedule and having a down-baby, out. I don’t care about the baby, to be honest, i don’t care about the whole town, state or country.

    RE: And let’s not forget that since this letter was “written,” it’s since been disproven (via an interview with the librarian in question) that Palin ever asked for any books to be banned. So, back to the drawing board regarding the authenticity of this letter.

    Ron R said:
    September 16, 2008 at 1:06 am

    Quote: “Nobody in the Republican party actually expects McCain to change anything. That’s what neither he, nor the Democrats understand. We, the base, are fired up because we finally feel that we can beat Obama and thereby save the country from death by taxation in the coming decade.”

    Um, that would be so we can have death by excessive spending?

    What, exactly is the benefit in cutting taxes when you at the same time increase spending out of control through cronyism, corruption, and bloating the bureaucracy? Note that (according to the notoriously left wing American Enterprise Institute) even when factoring out defense and homeland security expenditures the Current Administration has increased discretionary spending a whopping 36%. And that the previous (Clinton) administration decreased such expenditures by 8%. And balanced the budget. The interest on the debt that is being created will suck energy from the economy for years. Meanwhile we fail to invest in infrastructure and research that could help build future wealth.

    Cut taxes to nothing, but if you keep spending like a drunken Republican it won’t “save” the country.

    RE: Harken back to one of my previous posts where I say, “I’ll keep voting Republican until the Libertarian party comes up with a viable candidate.” But to your point about the Bush bunch increasing spending while the Clinton admin. did the opposite, I don’t have the figgers in front of me, but what Clinton did was cut the military to the point of bare-bones AND he wasn’t fighting a massively costly war. So, while spending and debt has gone WAAAY up since Bush took office, he also had a lot of rebuilding and sustaining to do by way of the military.
    And finally, please show me in the Constitution where it says that the role of government is to “invest in infrastructure and research that could help build future wealth.”
    Whereas, protecting the country is absolutely a charge of the Constitution.

    SDye said:
    September 16, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    It is amazing how the disciples of McCain continue to spread the rumors about taxing us to death. Below is a chart of how the tax plans of Obama and McCain compare. This was prepared by the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan policy group in Washington D.C. I can see why those of you who make over $603,000 per year are complaining, but note, until you get over $227,000 in earnings the tax cuts are relatively the same except that for those below $112,000 in earnings all get a bigger cut with Obama. This is very much like the argument against the Estate Tax. Most of you don’t even realize that there is no way in Hell you will pay Estate taxes. As a couple in 2008 you would have to have over $4,000,000 in Net Assets before the tax would be assesed. And if you have more and do pay some tax, maybe you should be a little more like Bill Gates who said (I’m paraphrasing) If I didn’t live in the United States I would not have been able to become so wealthy so I owe it to the country to return some of it.

    BREAKING DOWN THE NUMBERS
    Here’s how the average tax bill could change in 2009 if either John McCain’s or Barack Obama’s tax proposals were fully in place.
    MCCAIN OBAMA
    Income Avg. tax bill Avg. tax bill
    Over $2.9M -$269,364 +$701,885
    $603K and up -$45,361 +$115,974
    $227K-$603K -$7,871 +$12
    $161K-$227K -$4,380 -$2,789
    $112K-$161K -$2,614 -$2,204
    $66K-$112K -$1,009 -$1,290
    $38K-$66K -$319 -$1,042
    $19K-$38K -$113 -$892
    Under $19K -$19 -$567

    RE: This just bolsters my support for McCain. Looks to me like he’d cut my tax bill by twice as much as McCain. And frankly, while this tax bracket may seem like a lot to those not in it, if you are a dual-income family with a decent educational background, this bracket is VERY reachable.
    But here’s really where Democrats miss the boat completely:

    Why should those who earn more carry the burden for everyone else? This philosophy of Democrats is rooted in class envy. How else can you justify a belief that takes from the rich and gives to the poor? America is not Sherwood Forest and Obama isn’t Robin Hood (or Jesus for that matter…”…was a community organizer…” gimme a break!). Why is it OK to raise taxes on the rich, just so we can lower taxes on the poor when it’s the rich who bankroll this country anyway.

    SDye said:
    September 16, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Well that didn’t work, chart changed upon submitting. However, highlights, Tax savings at 38K to 66K McCain $319 Obama $1,042. Tax savings 227k to 603k McCain $7,871 Obama, will cost additional $12. Tax savings 603k and up McCain 45,361 Obama Additional cost $115,974.

    So for all you making over $603,000 I highly recommend a vote for McCain. Country First!

    Ron R said:
    September 16, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    Quote: “But to your point about the Bush bunch increasing spending while the Clinton admin. did the opposite, I don’t have the figgers in front of me, but what Clinton did was cut the military to the point of bare-bones AND he wasn’t fighting a massively costly war. So, while spending and debt has gone WAAAY up since Bush took office, he also had a lot of rebuilding and sustaining to do by way of the military.”

    The figures I cited exclude military, homeland security, and non-discresionary spending, specifically to factor out this sort of argument. These increases are in exactly the areas that “conservatives” are supposed to want to cut. And the Clinton administration really did cut those areas.

    Speaking as an independent entrepreneur and long time member of the military-industrial complex (30+ years) I can say that the Clinton admin. did not cut real military spending all that much- when you take into account that the cold war had (theoretically) ended, and the military needed to move from a huge weapon system model to a lighter, more agile, small conflict model. They pushed the concept of special forces over big weapons systems against a lot of political pressure. Lots of folks were not happy that the cash cow was changing pastures. I remember Trent Lott forced the Navy to take several ships they did not want because they were being built in his district. I can tell you from personal experience that military procurement became a lot more efficient under reforms instituted by the Clinton administration. I will not be an apologist for them, they made plenty of mistakes, but they look like complete professionals compared to the clowns that have been running the show for the last 7.5 years. Take out the spin, and the Republican Administration and the six years of Republican Congress were all about siphoning huge amounts of cash from the federal treasury into the hands of large corporations and wealthy individuals. They were certainly no friend of small business, or of competition, or of free markets, or of “ordinary people”.

    I have a friend who recently retired (early, in disgust) from a high level technical position with the census. She describes a bureaucracy run amok, with a proliferation of unqualified political appointees who suddenly decide they need to have a newly created special assistant-to-the-sub-secretary of whatever, who just happens to end up being a crony, also unqualified. Then they “outsource” functions that have been previously carried out efficiently and easily by the department (without cutting the department staff or budget, of course) and write a contract that can only go to a single source- a big Republican donor, say. But the contractor is unqualified, doesn’t deliver the work and We the People are left holding the bag. The Department of the Interior is sounding much the same. The sheer incompetence and greed is stunning. And I believe you’re right- McCain won’t change anything, not now that he’s sold out.

    You are of course correct in stating that there’s nothing in the Constitution that says the role of government is to “invest in infrastructure and research that could help build future wealth.” But nothing in the Constitution prohibits it, either, and long precedent and experience has shown it to be worthwhile (think Thomas Jefferson sending Lewis and Clark out exploring). I believe that federal investments like the GPS Satellite system (which did not have to be made freely available to all) provide incredible benefits and would never have been possible through strictly private investment. Ditto aids to navigation, the FAA (for all its flaws), and so on. You might reasonably disagree about any of these- that’s why we have a political process, to decide what we should and should not do. And many projects are incredible boondoggles or incompletely run (see Iraq Reconstruction). My philosophy is that government should absolutely not intrude where private enterprise can do better, which is almost everywhere, but there are plenty of arenas- particularly basic research and education (think how many Nobel Prize winners were educated by the G.I. Bill) where careful federal investment can reap huge benefits.

    The Constitution does, however, guarantee a good many rights that this administration has been quite willing to trample over. There is really a lot more in the Constitution about those rights than there is about defense. I think McCain has a sense of these rights. Palin, as far as I can see, is a complete authoritarian.

    As a strongly anti-authoritarian, free market Libertarian Progressive with some bleeding heart liberal tendencies around the edges, Obama looks like a better deal to me. We might get our Constitution back. And maybe a smart foreign policy rather than just a belligerent one.

    RE: Wish I had the time to completely respond to this, but I don’t. Bush is no fiscal conservative. I don’t think any “grass roots Republican” would argue with that. And while I generally stopped “believing” in Bush’s enacting true Republican policies years ago, I also believe (based on my previous experience in the DOD) that there is much the American public does not know. We can criticize all we want, but we’ll never know the truth; and to make it worse, the Bush Administration can’t counter due to the restrictions placed on classified information.
    Your argument about the many programs the gov’t funds that don’t necessarily align with the Constitution, is the basis for many of the bloated programs we have now; but I will say that programs such as the ones that support exploration (Lewis and Clark) and that support the military, however ancillary they may be (e.g., G.I. Bill) directly affect the sovereignty of this nation and are therefore warranted.

    I think generally we agree on things, other than the fact that you think Obama is better in the next few years, while I disagree. Honestly, what really scares me about Obama, is that it’s clear he’s NOT the mastermind behind his policy (which seems to change from week to week). It’s the people behind the man, as it has always been with him, that scare the crap outta me. When he hasn’t voted as the most liberal politician in history, he’s abstained from voting one way or the other. That tells me that unless someone is telling him what to do, he’s going to vote liberal. And if he’s voting liberal, then the people supporting him are liberals too. And who are these people? We know who he’s affiliated with in the past and I don’t see why that should change if he takes office. The only thing that will change, will be that his supporters will be even more secretive and more powerful.

    That should scare anyone.

    SDye said:
    September 17, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    The answer to your question about why the wealthy should pay the most is best answered by one of the wealthiest men in America, Bill Gates. He simply stated that if he hadn’t lived in the United States he couldn’t have earned what he did. It’s simply known as being grateful for the opportunity and giving some of it back.

    RE: Giving vs. Taking. Government vs. Charity
    I would LOVE to be able to give more, but when I’m already “giving” thirty percent to the gov’t. I need all I have left.

    dorf said:
    September 19, 2008 at 4:29 am

    It is quite amazing to me this idea that trickle down economics is the best and only way to stimulate an economy. This is the classic chicken and egg conundrum.

    No rich people = no jobs = no consumer = no rich people
    no consumer = no rich people = no jobs = no consumer

    What comes first .. the chicken or th egg?

    An aside:
    (well.. actually … some ‘chicken defining DNA alteration of some ancient ‘chicken-like’ bird came first.. this alteration passed to the fetus … which was ‘the first chicken to be’. So … I’d say the chickeness was established at the level of the DNA during sexual reproduction-or whenever the defining DNA change took place- prior to the EGG forming)

    America has succeeded specifically because we’ve enfranchised the masses more than any other country in history … more people with more money = equals more creative ingenuity … as well as more demand for goods and services.

    All classes of a capatilist society (especially one that mainly feeds on itself- i.e., we buy our own stuff) are primary (business, consumer, working) If any becomes too weak the whole thing collapses … RIGH NOW the middle class needs help. It’s weakened substantially in the last 50 years while the top tier has gotten stronger. This needs to be balanced. We need a stronger consumer class (i.e, that can actually afford to consume w/o relying on credit). How do we do it?

    The recent rise of the top tier hasn’t resulted in an equivilant fortification of the middle class … in fact .. it’s been the opposite … so I’m hard pressed to believe that supporting the rich to be richer will necessarily create the middle class our country depends on …

    I’m not sure what the answer is …

    Perhaps, it has something to do with the fact that our forefathers were American Capatialist, whereas today, we’re just capitalist.

    Society at large benefits from the wealth of honorable leaders … however, greater power in the hands of dishonerable bosses only brings greater suffering …

    The rich, middle, and working classes are partners .. mutually dependent … in the experiment of American civilization. We used to know this … everybody use to respect each other. The CEO took care of their employees and the employees took care of the company … and everyone respect a hard days work …

    See the tax debate forgets that it’s not us versus them … it’s how do we better work together and get the system working again … we all have to pat each other’s back.

    dorf

    RE: Uh…yeah…what he said!

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