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Political anorexia nervosa
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1369

PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:03 am    Post subject: Political anorexia nervosa Reply with quote

I may finally have discovered the key to a lot of right wing politics in America. For years I have been unable to figure out if people promulgating right wing nonsense actually believe what they say or are just really cynical exploiters of stupidity. I just thought of an analogy that works for me. People with anorexia nervosa suffer from a false body image and take actions that destroy their own health based on that false body image. This strongly suggests that right wing thinking may actually be a mental disorder: political anorexia nervosa.

How did people divorced from reality get control of the national discourse in the USA to such an extent that almost all politicians are now talking about cuts and pretending they will help the economy grow? A technological civilization cannot be maintained cheaply. The cut taxes & cut corners & cut regulation & cut personnel mentality leads to problems such as collapsing bridges, gas pipeline explosions, unsafe nuclear reactors, airports staffed with only a single controller on duty who can fall asleep, and many other modern news items. There was a lot of talk a couple years ago about repairing our infrastructure that has been decaying from decades of neglect, but that isn't even being mentioned lately--just more talk about cutting back to let things fall apart even more. Lots of politicians talk about cutting fat, but they are cutting off the oxygen supply, cutting off the blood supply, and cutting muscle from our society.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_tax_in_the_United_States#Tax_rates_in_history
If the table in this article in correct, the top U.S. income tax bracket was 94% during part of World War II, so I find assertions that current taxes are too high rather disingenuous with a current top bracket of 35%.
Many people cite Ronald Reagan as some sort of icon of tax cuts, but he raised taxes several times, making total resistance to taxation look like another triumph of ideology over reality.
Multiple polls have shown that even when people claim to support the notion of tax cuts, when you actually get down to the level of government functions that would be hurt by imposing cuts, they don't want to lose anything. This suggests that many people only think of tax cuts as an answer because they have been pushed relentlessly and unrealistically. What this country really needs is to accept responsibility: if we want to maintain an advanced society, we must be willing to pay for it. This means accepting realistic taxation to support essential functions.
My personal preference would be to see a flat tax with the same rate for ALL personal AND corporate income sources and NO exemptions or deductions or shelters, but the likelihood of that getting enacted with our current political structure is extremely low. I suspect, but don't know, that a lot of people would support a flat tax if they could be sure that rich people and corporations couldn't weasel out of paying their honest shares.
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1369

PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2011 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One definition of insanity is repeating an action expecting a different result. Too many current Congress-critters are pushing the same policies that have messed up our country in the last decade. The behavior of many current officeholders is so disgusting that I've been thinking of new acronyms for them.
GOP: Greedy Oligarch Politicians
CRAP: Corporations & Rich Above Populace
CURS Cynics Using Ridiculous Stupidity
DOG: Demagoguery Over Government
IDIOT Irresponsible Dogmatic Ideologues Over Taxation
III: Intransigent Ideological Idiots
KFC (suggesting fried birdbrains): Koch Flunkies in Congress
LIAR Legislators Ideologically Against Regulation
PEABRAIN Politicians Eternally Asserting Banal Ridiculous Asinine Ideological Nonsense
PIG: Politicking Instead of Governing
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LizE



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 253

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
PEABRAIN Politicians Eternally Asserting Banal Ridiculous Asinine Ideological Nonsense


My favorite!
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Sterling_95



Joined: 04 Oct 2008
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Political anorexia nervosa Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
I may finally have discovered the key to a lot of right wing politics in America. For years I have been unable to figure out if people promulgating right wing nonsense actually believe what they say or are just really cynical exploiters of stupidity. I just thought of an analogy that works for me. People with anorexia nervosa suffer from a false body image and take actions that destroy their own health based on that false body image. This strongly suggests that right wing thinking may actually be a mental disorder: political anorexia nervosa.

One definition of insanity is repeating an action expecting a different result.


*headdesk*. Mark, I suggest that you consider your first post in light of your second statement. Unless you truly believe that insulting the other side and discounting their views as a mental disorder wins you friends and allies, you are falling into that definition of insanity by repeating the ad hominem attacks ad nauseum.

Quote:

My personal preference would be to see a flat tax with the same rate for ALL personal AND corporate income sources and NO exemptions or deductions or shelters, but the likelihood of that getting enacted with our current political structure is extremely low. I suspect, but don't know, that a lot of people would support a flat tax if they could be sure that rich people and corporations couldn't weasel out of paying their honest shares.


Steve Forbes ran on that platform in 2 separate elections. People rejected that idea precisely because they thought that paying the same taxe rate as the Soroses, Forbes, etc was not an "honest share".
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1369

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BARBARIAN Blocking America's Recovery Barring All Revenue Increases America Needs
This acronym is by way of continuing a theme and making a point.
A common F&SF theme I've seen for many years is that barbarians destroy civilizations, but that not all barbarians come from outside--sometimes they are homegrown.
I see modern right-wing politicians as barbarians bringing down Western civilization. Whether one chooses instead to describe them as spoiled children, anorexics, stubborn mules, power-mad, cynical or just stupid, their behavior is inconsistent with maintaining a complicated civilization.
I have posted many facts (such as that Americans are paying the lowest taxes in many decades) and long reasoned arguments over many months (in several threads), but barbarians are impervious to reason. I am beyond trying to reason with the unreasoning, but choose to express myself verbally, unlike the right-wing extremist in the news in Norway. This is my version of trying to get a mule's attention with a 2x4 upside the head.
I mention cynicism because the whole current fight over deficits is a total flip-flop from right-wing actions just a decade ago when they pushed the tax cuts that strongly contributed to the current mess and said deficits didn't matter. Republicans spent years on a drunken sailor spree of spending & deregulating, and only started talking about deficits when they could use them to attack Democrats.
Barbarians think only of their own personal power or the good of their narrow in-group, not of the good of society or civilization as a whole.
Barbarians can't govern well because they don't believe in government.
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JaneO



Joined: 17 Feb 2008
Posts: 798

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gee, Mark, you think people who disagree with you are suffering from a mental disorder and you come up with a bunch of pejorative acronyms with which to dismiss them, and then you think that you are open-minded?

Are you serious?
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maryskl



Joined: 25 Apr 2009
Posts: 352
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would probably not be quite as acerbic as Mark, but I agree with him. It has gone beyond ridiculous. When you have a group of people who are willing to take down an entire country economically merely to defeat a sitting President, that is lunacy. I don't see how anyone can even justify this behavior. It is mean-spirited, vindictive and extraordinarily destructive. We have a bicameral legislature for a reason and that is to negotiate, not hold the whole nation hostage. Some damage has already been done. Most economists say that even if we raise the debt limit by next week, our credit rating will still be downgraded. The cynical part of me thinks the Republicans engineered this entire debacle to bring the US to a crisis so they can finally get rid of Social Security, Medicare and other entitlements. I don't want my SS retirement in the hands of private investors. One huge hit in the market and there goes my money. If I am 70 or 80 when it happens, I don't want to have to wait 10 years for the market to correct itself.
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maryskl



Joined: 25 Apr 2009
Posts: 352
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are people on the right that agree as well. Bruce Bartlett, former Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary under the first George Bush and a policy adviser to Ronald Reagan had this to say:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/07/28/999759/-Hardball:-Bruce-Bartlett-desroys-every-Republican-fiscal-talking-point-in-5-minutes-?via=siderecent
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="maryskl"]I would probably not be quite as acerbic as Mark, but I agree with him. It has gone beyond ridiculous. When you have a group of people who are willing to take down an entire country economically merely to defeat a sitting President, that is lunacy. quote]I

I agree. It is disgusting and horrible.
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iluvarake



Joined: 26 Jan 2009
Posts: 799

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Mark on the main issues but I don't think namecalling in political discourse is really helpful.

What is clear is that something has gone seriously wrong in the Republican party. They claim they can't bear deficit spending suddenly (they didn't talk much about it during the Bush years, did they?) but tax increases even for the very wealthy are off the table even with tax rates the lowest they've been in my lifetime. They are seeking drastic spending cuts even in a recession when we need stimulative spending to get the economy going again. They insist that tax cuts will cause job creation even though we've had these low tax rates for a decade and no jobs have resulted. They insist we can't raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations even though they are enjoying a boom time right now while the rest of us are suffering with unemployment, declining wages and medical bankruptcy. Remember moderate Republicans? These Republicans would consider Eisenhower and Robert Dole socialists. Obama's health care reforms were basically Dole's repackaged and they are considered Communist by rightwing demagogues.

And the Democrats don't demonstrate any skills other than being really good at buying into the GOP rhetoric and caving to them at every turn.

These spending cuts are going to gut education and infrastructure spending which is the economic equivalent of a farmer trying to save money by cutting back on seeds.

I'm so discouraged about this country's future right now. I don't know how we're going to compete with nations that actually invest in the health, welfare and education of their citizens.
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iluvarake



Joined: 26 Jan 2009
Posts: 799

PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Former Bush Assistant Treasury Secretary Bruce Bartlett addressed a lot of these issues recently on Hardball:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/07/28/999759/-Hardball:-Bruce-Bartlett-desroys-every-Republican-fiscal-talking-point-in-5-minutes-?via=siderecent

He says that we really need to return to the Clinton era tax rates for our economic wellbeing. Of the debt ceiling trouble he says:

"Yeah, I think a good chunk of the Republican caucus is either stupid, crazy, ignorant or craven cowards, who are desperately afraid of the tea party people, and rightly so."
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maryskl



Joined: 25 Apr 2009
Posts: 352
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

iluvarake wrote:
I agree with Mark on the main issues but I don't think namecalling in political discourse is really helpful.


I agree that it is not helpful, but I also understand his frustration. I have felt so many times in the past year that I was talking to a brick wall when I tried to explain (in a calm manner) that these policies were ultimately harmful to our nation. I just got parroted talking points in reply. Draconian cuts in a poor economy will only make things worse. At least the bill that is presently before us puts the largest cuts on the back end of the ten year period. Any cuts we make at the federal level will not be revenue neutral. When cuts are made, people are fired. When people do not have jobs, they pay no income tax. With less income coming in, more cuts will have to be made to sustain the $2 trillion projected spending cuts. It is a downward spiral that will make the economy even worse than it already is. With unemployment at the level it is today, the private sector will not be able to absorb the loss of jobs in government. It is a bad plan all around without increasing revenue.
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LizE



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 253

PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And let's not forget the "Super Congress" part of the deal. It will be interesting to see what this handpicked group of individuals comes up with--and how Congress reacts.
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iluvarake



Joined: 26 Jan 2009
Posts: 799

PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LizE wrote:
And let's not forget the "Super Congress" part of the deal. It will be interesting to see what this handpicked group of individuals comes up with--and how Congress reacts.


I HATE this Super Congress idea. It's just a way to hand off responsibility and blame to someone else. It's Congress being too balless to do their job.
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maryskl



Joined: 25 Apr 2009
Posts: 352
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

iluvarake wrote:
LizE wrote:
And let's not forget the "Super Congress" part of the deal. It will be interesting to see what this handpicked group of individuals comes up with--and how Congress reacts.


I HATE this Super Congress idea. It's just a way to hand off responsibility and blame to someone else. It's Congress being too balless to do their job.


I agree.
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