George Will's questions for John Kerry

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A41071-2004Feb13.html

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I love it! Hopefully the Republicans will bring some of this to light in the upcoming election fight.
Mike Eberlein (give me Barbara, GW, then GH Bush for president, in that order)
Andy Asberry wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Any chance you can post the article here so we don't have to go through the registration process?
Lane
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The 1st 28 Questions For Kerry
By George F. Will Sunday, February 15, 2004; Page B07
In the more than 250 days until Nov. 2, John Kerry can answer questions that linger despite, or because of, all he has said so far. Such as:
Other than denoting your disapproval, what does the adjective mean in the phrase "special interest"? Is the National Education Association a special interest? The AFL-CIO?
You abhor "special tax giveaways for the privileged and special interests." When supporting billions in ethanol subsidies, mostly for agribusinesses, did you think about corn-growing, caucus-holding Iowa?
Is the National Rifle Association a "special interest"? Is "special" a synonym for "conservative"?
When you denounce "lobbyists" do you include those for Planned Parenthood and the Sierra Club? Is "liberal lobbyist" an oxymoron?
All the Americans affected by laws you pass -- that is, all Americans -- refuse to pipe down and mind their own business so that you can mind their business for them. Often they hire lobbyists to exercise their First Amendment right to "petition the government for a redress of grievances." Can you despise lobbyists without disparaging that right?
You say the rich do not pay enough taxes. In 1979 the top 1 percent of earners paid 19.75 percent of income taxes. Today they pay 36.3 percent. How much is enough?
You say the federal government is not spending enough on education. President Bush has increased education spending 48 percent. How much is enough?
In January 1991, after Iraq extinguished Kuwait's sovereignty, you opposed responding with force rather than economic sanctions. Have such sanctions ever undone such aggression?
On Jan. 11, 1991, you said that going to war was abandoning "the theory of deterrence." Was it not a tad late to deter Iraqi aggression?
The next day you said, "I do not believe our nation is prepared for war." How did unpreparedness subsequently manifest itself?
On Jan. 22, 1991, responding to a constituent opposed to the Persian Gulf War, you wrote "I share your concerns" and would have given sanctions more time. Nine days later, responding to a voter who favored the war, you wrote, "I have strongly and unequivocally supported President Bush's response to the crisis." Did you have a third position?
You say the Bush administration questions "the patriotism" of its critics. You say that as president you will "appoint a U.S. trade representative who is an American patriot." You mean the current representative, Robert Zoellick, is not a patriot?
You strongly praise former Treasury secretary Bob Rubin, who strongly supports NAFTA and free trade. Have you changed your mind about him or about free trade (as you have changed your mind about the No Child Left Behind Act, the 2002 war
resolution, the Patriot Act, etc.)? You oppose immediate termination of U.S. involvement in Iraq, and you opposed the $87 billion to pay for involvement. Come again?
In 1994, the year after the first attack on the World Trade Center, you voted to cut $1 billion from counterterrorism activities. In 1995 you proposed a $1.5 billion cut in intelligence funding. Are you now glad that both proposals were defeated?
You favor civil unions but not same-sex marriage. What is the difference? What consequences of gay marriage worry you? Your state's highest court says marriage is "an evolving paradigm." Do you agree? You say you agree with what Dick Cheney said in 2000: States should have a right to "come to different conclusions" about same-sex marriage. Why, then, were you one of only 14 senators who opposed the Defense of Marriage Act, which protects that right? Massachusetts opponents of the same-sex ruling are moving for a referendum to amend the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. How will you vote?
You favor full disclosure of political spending. Organized labor is fighting new regulations requiring full disclosure to union members of the political uses of their mandatory union dues. As president, would you rescind these regulations?
Praising McCain-Feingold restrictions on political contributions, you said: "This bill reduces the power of the checkbook, and I will therefore support it." In December you saved your sagging campaign by writing it a $6.4 million check. Why is your
checkbook's unfettered freedom wholesome?
You deny that restricting campaign contributions restricts speech. How much of the $6.4 million did you spend on speech -- in the form of broadcast messages?
Billionaire George Soros says he will spend whatever is necessary to defeat President Bush. As one who believes -- well, who says -- there is "too much money" in politics, are you appalled?
There are 28 more questions where these 28 came from.
snipped-for-privacy@washpost.com
Lane wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I saw that in this morning's paper. His tax numbers sounds like a serious misquote of tax brackets, and are in violent disagreement with the numbers I hear from more progressive sources.
It would be nice if the right and the left would actually try to cast the debate in terms of how things affect me, my children and my (very hypothetical) grandchildren instead of cherrypicking issues that are flexible enough to be _really_ blown out of proportion and doing just that.
Oh well, enough of this, I'm off to listen to the next sound bite.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I
Yeah, I think Dr. Will pulled a little bit of a fast one here, implying that the rich are paying more of their income in taxes. In fact, they're paying less. And you don't need "more progressive sources." You only need IRS statistics.
Will said: "You say the rich do not pay enough taxes. In 1979 the top 1 percent of earners paid 19.75 percent of income taxes. Today they pay 36.3 percent. How much is enough?"
His figures are right as far as they go. But the tax rate on net taxable income for the top 1% over those years dropped from roughly 28% to 25%, while their total *share* of taxes increased as Will indicated. What that means is that the top 1% got one whole hell of a lot richer during that period. In fact, their percentage of income rose from about 5% of national income to 9%. They're making almost twice as much money, relative to the national average, as they were in 1979. And their tax rate declined as they got wealthier. That's on *net taxable income*, remember. They do tend to make a bit more than that in fact. <g>
I'm surprised at Dr. Will for playing this game. He doesn't usually go in for that kind of stuff.
If you want to see these and some interesting, related figures, they're in this IRS report:
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/03strudl.pdf
Check graphs B, C, and D. Remember to add the "top .1%" to the "top .1-1%" wherever actual dollars are concerned. The two groups are reported separately, and the "top 1%" doesn't include the "top .1%."
Ed Huntress
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
It will get a lot worse. The top 1% got more than half the 2001 tax cut. For 95% of us (up to about $100K/year) next is the last year of our tax cut. From there on out it is actually an increase. The top 1% keeps getting more all the way to 2010. For a real eye opener check out:http://www.ctj.org/html/gwb0602.htm
The same thing happened with the 2003 cut. Because it effected mostly dividends and capital gains the vast majority went to the top 5% See http://www.ctj.org/html/gwb0103.htm
Then there is the deadly Alternative Minimum Tax that is going to trap more and more families in the $50-$100K range.
Ed Huntress wrote:

--
Glenn Ashmore

I'm building a 45' cutter in strip/composite. Watch my progress (or lack
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Who cares if they made more money (net) if they doubled their share of the total taxes paid? The nit pickers on this one are showing their true colors :o). Greg Sefton
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

colors
Who cares? Most people who haven't yet somnambulated into Heritage Foundation drones. <g>
It used to be that the consensus in this country agreed that the very rich benefited far more than average income earners from the institutions that government enabled and regulated, including a banking and securities system that was kept fairly honest; an educated populace of workers; protections for their property and wealth; and so on. Then came Ronnie Reagan, and we did a kind of flip backwards into old-world thinking, in which wealth was equated with virtue, and the special treatment and special access that accrued to wealth was dismissed and forgotten.
They've done one hell of a snow job on the population. The idea that taxes for the rich should be reduced in the interest of "fairness" is the most incredible example of self-delusion and suspended disbelief in modern history. It didn't come cheap, of course. They built a very expensive propaganda machine to make it all stick. And it's working.
Speaking of which, the word is that the guys down at Heritage could use a few million extra for expenses. Why don't you write them a check? They're doing good work, ya' know, getting the word out and all...
Ed Huntress
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I don't give a hoot and feel that the opportunity to accrue wealth is part of what stimulated this country & still does. Looks to me like they are paying their way, along with operating business which produces jobs & taxes etc.. There will always be those "take from the rich & give to the poor" types. Marx, et all would be proud of them :o). Greg Sefton
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

of
Indeed it is. Opportunities to get rich are an important part of our economic success and stature.

Well, when the tax on dividends drops to 0% in 2008, you may want to reconsider what that really means...especially when *you're* still paying taxes on the income you get for actually working.
Ed Huntress
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Here's _my_ sound bite: Let's Privatize the National Debt !
You owe about $25K. I owe about $25K. Your wife: $25K. Each of your kids: $25K. That's what the national debt will be, per capita, by the end of this year. Now, maybe $25K per person is not that bad. Most of us have mortgages, many of us have car loans, some of us have credit card balances, bigger than that. But we have individual choice about those things.
The Republicans, who want to "privatize" Social Security, Medicare, education, and practically everything else, on the grounds that "people make better decisions about their _own_ money", will never suggest that maybe you should have the same kind of choice about your share of the national debt as you have about your mortgage, car loan, or credit card balance. Can you imagine why?
-- Tony P.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
tonyp wrote:
> Here's _my_ sound bite: Let's Privatize the National Debt !

That definitely won't work. That would be like having your dad pay off all your credit cards without cutting them up.
--
Glenn Ashmore

I'm building a 45' cutter in strip/composite. Watch my progress (or lack
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You mean, the government would still be free to run deficits? Sure. Except not so free as now, because every person in the country would be able to see for himself, in his end-of-year "privatized debt" statement, how much his "outstanding balance" increased as a result of the deficit.
-- TP
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Except not

for
Do we each get to print money, too? There's the ultimate "privatization" for you. <g>
Ed Huntress
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

As a liberal, I am perfectly willing to let you print your own money, Ed. I'm just not willing to sell you anything for it :-)
Seriously, I'm trying to decide, independent of political rhetoric, whether the "national" debt is too big or not. Scaling it to human dimensions seems like a plausible way to go about it. Hence my musings about "privatizing" it.
I had a run-in with Sean Hannity of FOX News last month at the NH primary. He is certainly a prominent spokesman for the Right, and he mumbled the straight party line: the debt is not the worst it's ever been compared to GDP. That was in person. On the air, I notice, he has recently been paying lip service to the notion that Republicans are spending way too much. So even the "fair and balanced" folks are having a hard time with the debt question.
-- TP
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote

for
Well, we can all go back to barter, then. I'll give you two bushels of rutabagas for one of your wooden ox yokes.

whether the

It's too big.

It's an interesting way to get people to think about it.

He
straight
That was

to the

They're running into a conflict in their own philosophy. They're conservatives, so they're supposed to be fiscal conservatives. But they're beginning to notice that deficit spending produces the same contribution to national debt whether it's the result of government spending or of tax cuts. And, given that they have the presidency as well as the control of Congress, they've awoken to the fact that they're the ones who are enacting both the tax cuts and the new spending. So they're sort of hoist on their own petard.
The question of whether the debt is too large hinges on this (and I'm sure you're aware of it, but sometimes it helps to put it simply into words): can the stimulus provided by more additions to the national debt be great enough to pay for the accumulated debt service? Most economics say, not in this case, bubba. The Bushies say it can and it will.
It's not impossible. It just requires that our economy grow at rates that we haven't seen in modern times, and that something doesn't break or implode along the way. Conservatives normally would *never* bank on 5% or so growth, because it would scare the spit out of them. To them, at least in their traditional incarnation as conservatives, that's a rate (assuming it could be achieved, which is another very big roll of the dice in itself) that will lead inevitably to serious inflation, and there is nothing in history, even our rather benign history of inflation control over the last couple of decades, that suggests otherwise. The fact that we're currently letting the dollar slide in order to take the political heat off of our official trade policies adds to the problem, even while it's likely to temporarily boost employment.
But to say that now would be heresy, because, having committed to big tax cuts, the growth has to come in a big way or we're all screwed. Those foreign investors who are buying US bonds are going to get antsy about buying any more if the dollar's fall doesn't slow down in a real hurry. The governments who are buying our 30-day Treasury bills are going to be less enthusiastic about rolling them over unless we intervene on our own to halt the dollar's slide. But we can't intervene before the election, or the hiring may stop. Man, I'd like to have the Tagamet franchise for the US Treasury Department. That guy Snow must be eating them like M&M's about now.
So all the chickens have been spanked and sent flying, and the RNC has its fingers crossed that none of them will come home to roost before November 2nd. They're all going to be doing a Texas Two-step from now 'till then, trying to scare those chickens away.
If and when it turns sour, we won't have to go back to living in caves, but we'll have a big, leaden blanket hanging over our economy for a couple of decades, which will make future growth very difficult and which will burden the economy in other ways, as interest rates go up on the debt that's rolled over. If you know how to dance, now would be a good time to warm up.
Ed Huntress
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

for
I am with you on that one. I bet my printing press is faster than yours! ;-)
Pete.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Ed Huntress writes:

Yes, Ed, although it's called a "check". Or any other negotiable credit instrument you care to name.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That's no fun, and it's nothing like what the government gets to do. It can just print money all day long, buy things with it, and then forget all about it. <g>
Ed Huntress
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.