The Changing Meaning of Words

Old definition: Socialism is public ownership of the means of production.

New definition in teabagger-inspired America: Socialism is a few percentage point increase in the marginal tax rate on multimillionaires.

Posted in Economy. Tags: , . No Comments »

David Letterman: Top Ten Signs Herman Cain’s Campaign Is In Trouble

David Letterman: Top Ten Signs Herman Cain’s Campaign Is In Trouble

(List from last week before the sexual misconduct allegations)

10. Can’t afford cigarettes for new campaign ads
9. It’s been fun, but there’s no way we’re actually electing a guy named ‘Herman’
8. While campaigning, kissed a photo of himself and signed a baby
7. New campaign slogan ‘Mayday!’
6. Even Michele O’Bachmann thinks his ideas are nuts
5. He trails Gadhafi’s corpse in the polls
4. Refuses to acknowledge the road to the White House goes through me, Dave
3. He’s acting less fun-crazy and more crazy-crazy
2. Just accepted million-dollar offer to pose nude in Playboy
1. There’s a 0-0-0 chance he’ll be president

Obama Mocks GOP Religious Fanaticism While Promoting Government Plans So Sensible That Even Ronald Reagan Would Support Them

Modern conservatives typically confuse secularism with opposition to religion. They are unaware of the facts that the Founding Fathers intentionally created a secular republic, and that many early religious leaders supported this because it was the best way to ensure that they would be free to practice their religions without interference from government. Today’s Republican leaders promote fear and hatred by promoting a revisionist history and scare stories that Democrats want to take away both their guns and Bibles. Therefore it is not surprising that the Republicans made a show of spending time in Congress with a bill to reaffirm “In God We Trust” as the national motto, even though there is no effort to try to change this. What is pleasantly surprising is that Barack Obama made fun of the Republicans for doing this. The Hill reports:

President Obama invoked God on Wednesday as he criticized Congress for voting on commemorative coins and a resolution reaffirming “In God We Trust” as the national motto in all public buildings, public schools and other government institutions.

“That’s not putting people back to work,” Obama said. “I trust in God, but God wants to see us help ourselves by putting people to work.”

Obama called on Congress to approve his jobs package.

“There’s no excuse for 100 percent of Washington Republicans to say no,” Obama said. “That means Republicans in Washington are out of touch with Republican voters.”

Obama continued: “The American people are with me on this.”

Normally I look down on those who make statements about what God wants, but I’ll forgive Obama this time. Normally when people (these days generally Republicans) talk about what God wants, it is in the context of either an excuse for them to use government to impose their views upon others, or as a reason for why they are running for president.

As for the political message of spending government money on the infrastructure, this is one of many things opposed by modern Republicans but supported by Ronald Reagan. Greg Sargent wrote:

In this morning’s speech calling on Congress to pass his new infrastructure and jobs bill, Obama again invoked Ronald Reagan, claiming he supported the same ideas Obama is now championing — and that Republicans are rejecting. Obama pointed to this as proof of today’s GOP extremism:

“If you don’t want to take my word for it, take it from one of my predecessors. He said that — and I’m quoting here — “the bridges and highways we fail to repair today will have to be rebuilt tomorrow at many times the cost.” He went on to say that rebuilding our infrastructure is common sense — and an investment in tomorrow that we must make today. That President was Ronald Reagan. Since when do we have Republicans voting against Ronald Reagan’s ideas?”I’ve tracked down the 1982 Reagan speech Obama was referring to, and the historical comparison is actually more interesting than this. The speech is right here. In it, Reagan proposed legislation for a new highway and bridge repair program.

Reagan did not call for any income tax hikes to pay for the proposal, so in this sense the historical comparison doesn’t work. However, he did call for a tax on motorists to pay for it — and he explicitly justified this added tax by arguing that infrastructure spending would stimulate the economy:

“The program will not increase the Federal deficit or add to the taxes that you and I pay on April 15th …Good tax policy decrees that wherever possible a fee for a service should be assessed against those who directly benefit from that service.

“So, what we’re proposing is to add the equivalent of five cents per gallon to the existing Federal highway user fee, the gas tax. That hasn’t been increased for the last 23 years. The cost to the average motorist will be small, but the benefit to our transportation system will be immense. The program will also stimulate 170,000 jobs, not in make-work projects but in real, worthwhile work in the hard-hit construction industries, and an additional 150,000 jobs in related industries. It will improve safety on our highways and will make truck transportation more efficient and productive for years to come.”