Category Archives: Scarborough

It started with William Howard Taft

By Joseph Ballin 1/3/2018 8:16 am EST

People always wonder how we got to Trump. How did the GOP lose it’s mind? Where did everything go so wrong? This all didn’t start with Trump, go back to Mitt Romney, well actually go back to McCain, well actually go back to George W. Bush Jr., well actually go back to Bob Dole, well actually go back to George H. W. Bush, well actually go back to Ronald Reagan, well actually go back to Gerald Ford, well actually go back to Richard Nixon, well actually go back to Barry Goldwater, well actually go back to Dwight D. Eisenhower, well actually go back to Thomas E. Dewey, well actually go back to Wendell Willkie, well actually go back to Alf Landon, well actually go back to Herbert Hoover, well actually go back to Calvin Coolidge, well actually go back to Warren G. Harding, well actually go back to Charles Evans Hughes, and finally we get to William Howard Taft.

I did that to show you that this cancer that that has infected the Republican Party and later the Democratic party has been around for a long time, and has historically go by different names over the years. Regan ran on “trickle down economics”, also called “voodoo economics” by his very own vice president George W. H. Bush. Coolidge ran on “Less government in business and more business in government.” One of the earliest critics of trickle down economics was Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan, a political hero of mine, who would say the following about that issue, “There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it.” Bryan not only was the Democratic presidential candidate several times, he also changed the party platform of the Democratic party to move away from the Bourbon Democrats like Cleveland who governed as fiscal conservatives. Imagine if Sanders won the Democratic nominee and somehow managed to change the entire platform and party structure of the Democratic Party.

The Republican Party also saw an insurgency of it’s own on the progressive and nationalist side. Theodore Roosevelt was the vice president of William McKinley, until McKinley’s assassination by an anarchist. Roosevelt was trusteed into the presidency. During the time just before the United States entered World War 1, America was at it’s height in terms of the power of unions and radical movements in the US. We had anarchists, Wobblies, Socialist Party candidates receiving a million voters in a presidential election, etc. It was an era of American history called the “Pogressive Era”. Roosevelt came into the presidency dealing with a Republican Party that since at least the 1880s had sold out to big business and the intrests of the robber barons.

Roosevelt went to war with big industry, enacting break up of big corporations, who would later go on to merge together due to neglect, protecting our national parks, his “Square Deal” social welfare program, brought about the birth of our national parks, and brought an end to the Russo-Japanese war without involving US troops. It would be later he would be held up by Congress who refused to enact his progressive agenda. Roosevelt did not run again in 1908 and William Howard Taft. However, Taft was a conservative and refused to continue Roosevelt’s progressive. Roosevelt felt betrayed by Taft and the Republican establishment. After losing the nomination to Taft and created his own third party, the Pogressive Party. The Pogressive Party platform called for the following:

* Strict limits and disclosure requirements on political campaign contributions
* Registration of lobbyists
* Recording and publication of Congressional committee proceedings
* A National Health Service to include all existing government medical agencies.
* Social insurance, to provide for the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled
* Limited the ability of judges to order injunctions to limit labor strikes.
* A minimum wage law for women
* An eight-hour workday
* A federal securities commission
* Farm relief
* Workers’ compensation for work-related injuries
* An inheritance tax
* Women’s suffrage
* Direct election of Senators
* Primary elections for state and federal nominations
* The recall election (citizens may remove an elected official before the end of his term)
* The referendum (citizens may decide on a law by popular vote)
* The initiative (citizens may propose a law by petition and enact it by popular vote)
* Judicial recall (when a court declares a law unconstitutional, the citizens may override that ruling by popular vote).

Kept in mind this was in 1912 his platform was purposed, not 2016. What America would look like today if Roosevelt didn’t lose control of the Republican Party to the right wing of the party, which caused the Republican Party to turn far right and the Democratic Party to move to the right wing, is up for debate. However, Taft refusing to continue Rooesevlt’s progressive policies would inevitably lead to the rise of Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, who would massively slash US taxes (The top marginal rate was reduced annually in four stages from 73% in 1921 to 25% in 1925.), lead to a massive economic bubble in the US, with massive inequality and most of the US being ruled as a police state by the KKK, and finally the collapse of 1929. Trump’s 2017 tax cut will go down in history in the same way the Harding tax cuts went, a complete economic collapse of the global economy. My only hope is this time we learn our lesson.

The Mendacity of Hope for the End of Trickle Down Economics

Summary of my reaction to the Democrat's actions over the last 18 months: OK. OK. Oh no. Shit. Goddammit. Now that they are lame ducks can they do one thing right and put an end to trickle down economics?

Folks, we all know how disappointing the last two years have been. Shameless theft of this title is from a brilliant but thoroughly depressing summary of our country's political reality. You should definitely Click to see a preview of this book But that only makes this site more important, as our founder has recently pointed out. So, let's follow along with what should be easy for the lame ducks to get right: bring back the personal income tax rate to the wealthiest among us to where it was under Clinton.

You know the chatter…NPR said ALL the Bush tax cuts will most certainly be extended at least for a year or two. Fox said the same, Newsweek said the same… I especially liked to hear our Maine Senators put away their 'Rino' tusks for a moment to conflate small business tax cuts (which everyone is in favor of) with maintaining the historically low tax rate for the wealthiest among us. So they will hold hostage making all the other cuts permanent for the wealthiest 2%?

Why?, we ask. Well, I'm not thinking this is a rich folk country club taking care of their own type of thing. And previous posts have brilliantly shown the history of the upper bracket rate, the amount of money at stake and the impact on balancing the budget. Oh wait, that's it! The old 'end around' to bankrupt the treasury so we'll have to roll back the New Deal because 'we can't afford it'. This is popular among our Teabagger friends. Has anyone heard where, exactly, they want the Federal Government to shrink? Defense? Hell no. This is the old 'two Santas' approach that Thom Hartmann likes to point out…you can have everything you want, and an amped up military to make you feel safe and secure, but you never have to pay for it!

Selling (Out) Healthcare Reform

Let’s be honest.  Who here thinks they’re ultimately going to fuck up healthcare reform? There’s so many ways for this to go wrong, I hesitate to even speculate.  The noises coming from the administration recently have all been of an oinking quality.  Obama has downplayed the importance of the public option, as did Gibbs and Sebelius on the sunday yakathons.  Seriously, how crappy must the likely bill be if the insurance industry, AMA, and Big Pharma are all on board with it?

It’s just amazing to me how something that should be a political no-brainer (universal coverage) could be transformed by Democrats from gold into lead.  I’ll grant, the opponents of reform are vocal and angry and batshit insane, but it’s the weak-kneed opportunism of mushy Democrats that fills me with the most contempt.

Fortunately, this seems to be the week that progressives are finally getting some pushback on the narrative.  I suspect the lefties may have put their heads together for some strategery at last weekend’s Netroots Nation conference, but the Gibbs and Sebelius statements provided the perfect opening for a burgeoning shitstorm.  Here’s a typically insightful post from Digby responding to Dean Baker’s claim that mandates without a public option will inevitably be portrayed as “the insurance companies’ employees [Congressmen] … taxing workers to line their bosses pockets.”

That’s certainly how it will be framed by the right — and I can’t see how anyone could argue with them. Insurance “reform” will end up being defined as the government acting in concert with the insurance companies to force Americans to buy their expensive product — and it will play perfectly into the right wing populist argument that’s gaining currency. Without a public plan as a low cost option, this thing looks a lot less like reform and a whole lot more like a shake down. I could see the new Newtie Populist Republicans using that against all these Blue Dogs and Corporate Senators in their districts next time and taking them out. Personally, I’d be hard pressed to say they were wrong.

It was never going to be easy to sell mandates, but they are making it substantially harder if they tank the public plan. They’re another bullshit compromise anyway, made before anyone even got to the table, just like single payer — health care should be paid for by higher taxes on the wealthy scumbags who are the only ones winning in this godforsaken economy anymore and the elimination of health insurance’s obscene profits. But in the interest of “going to the middle” the reformers went with mandates and now, without the public option, they’ll be stuck with a regressive tax that’s going to be very politically difficult to defend.

Couldn’t have said it better.  Let me close with a solid clip of Rep Anthony Weiner making the STRONG case for single payer.  Relish the moment when he nails witless Joe on the question of what insurance companies actually bring to the table for their $230 billion profits.  Note that his single payer bill will actually get a vote when Congress reconvenes, something you may like to call and remind your Congressman about.

See how easy it is to make the case when you have a plan that makes sense?

UPDATE:  More fun and games on Morning Joe…

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Plus, Taibbi’s latest post is cathartic as well. The armchair pragmatism coming from liberal pundits is fucking-a ridiculous. These process geeks all write like they are the politicians, worrying about where the votes will come from and that kind of nonsense, when they should be using their writing platforms to APPLY THE PRESSURE. Instead we get a bunch of cautious wizards roleplaying Dungeons and Dragons: Healthcare Reform!

Would you like some more tea, Polly Prissy Pants?

Truth be told, I hate these damn media clips. They’re not fun, they feature humorless assholes who you’d rather pretend don’t exist, and if you think about them too much you mostly just want to weep for the future of America. That said…

Cramer seems like a fun guy. He likes being a loud mouth, but you can tell he really craves approval… he wants to be loved, and it kills him to be ridiculed. (Scarborough on the other hand – not so much. His enormous ego gives him all the love he’ll ever need). But these guys have the nerve to sit there and complain about being under the “comedian’s” microscope, when the reality is, Cramer isn’t being ridiculed about being laughably, utterly, terribly wrong about the stock market – it’s because he’s spent the last month carrying on about Obama the , wealth-destroying scourge of American markets. In the clip above, he’s right: everybody, including you, got it wrong when it came to the market. But that just means it’s time to put your tail between your legs and shut the fuck up.

Besides, the Jon Stewart episode was glorious…

While I’m at it, Colbert’s continued send-up of Glenn Beck…