Wednesday, October 29, 2008

There is nothing to see here

As I blogged yesterday, I think that the 2001 interview with Barack Obama is unclear as to whether he believes that the constitution should be interpreted to confer rights to certain redistributive policies. That is one plausible reading. But it also may be that he is saying that the courts are a poor forum for pursuing such policies. The only thing that is clear is that he is sympathetic to what a caller calls "reparative economic work" and that, whether rightly or wrongly, its not going to come from the courts.

This has resulted in two lines of attack on Obama. One is that he favors the type of judicial activism that constitutionally mandated redistributive policies would constitute and that he would appoint judges who would want to bring that about. I agree that the interview, standing alone, does not prove or disprove those charges. I would note, however, that some of Obama's key legal advisors and defenders, including Cass Sunnstein, a prominent legal academic often mentioned as a potential Obama nominee to the Supreme Court, seems to favor precisely that.

The second line of attack is that, whether or not, he wants to do it through the courts, Obama favors substantial additional redistribution. As blogged yesterday, part of the response to this is too cute by half. We know that the government already redistributes money and that neither John McCain or Sarah Palin has argued that it never should do so.

But will Obama favor a substantial increase in redistributive policies? Professor Sunstein and Emily Bazelon say that there is no evidence for this.

But there is.

Obama has proposed tax credits (he calls them cuts) and spending increases that may cost at least 4.3 trillion dollars over the course of his administration. In addition to what he has proposed, his rhetoric - calling for the government to (as if for the first time) heal the sick, provide jobs and stem the rising of the sees suggests even more.

What do we know about Obama's past? We know that he had a very liberal - and very partisan - voting record in both the Illinois and United States Senates. We know that he was a "community organizer" working for things that can fairly be called "reparative economic work." We know that he is steeped - this is where Ayers, Wright, Pleger and ACORN come in - in the leftist politics of Hyde Park and the south side of Chicago. We know that, if he wins, he is likely to have large Democratic majorities who believe it is their time.

Is it possible that Obama will recognize that there is only so much "reparative" work that can and ought to be done. Possibly. But we know that he has no compunctions against shifting his positions and that his history suggests that he is to the left of every Democratic nominee since McGovern.

I hardly think this is a phony issue.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Let's get this straight. The Bush administration offers up $770 billion to the banks -- for a noble cause, of course. McCain proposes refundable tax credits of $2500 a person or $5000 a family to purchase individual health insurance policies -- another noble cause. Sarah Palin increases taxes on the hardworking oil companies in order to be able to send each and every Alaskan a check for $3200.

And you're worried that Obama is Barack the Redistributionist?

Give me a break!

Anonymous said...

I think the only things we know for sure are that 1) Esenberg will be blogging frantically in the days leading up to the election and 2) he will have nothing good to say about Obama.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:49 -

I think you do need a break because it appears that you have not thought this out.

The bail out was nothing less then the Federal Government protecting its trillions of dollars of deferred taxes in our 401k accounts. If we lose, the federal government loses and that is not redistribution but partnership.

Offering tax credits does not translate automatically into raising someone else taxes. It also is not taking the money out of one persons pocket to put it into someone else’s pocket. It could actually require the government to cut costs somewhere.

If oil is ever struck here in Wisconsin, I hope that we all somehow find some tax relief from it. I will welcome it if that means getting a check that will help us pay our taxes or it reduces taxes. That is the cost of a raw product that in this case the government has some control over.

Obama wants to start the process that eventually would put everyone on the same level. If we go down that road, we would have to expect that also eventually, that private property would go and government would be our master. Not a pretty picture.

Dad29 said...

Ayers, Wright, Pleger and ACORN

Not to forget Meyers and Klonsky.

And the entire Columbia faculty.

Anonymous said...

And lions, tigers, and bears! Oh my!

The politics of hope beats the politics of fear, every time. That's why Reagan won. That's why Clinton won. Even Bush the Uniter -- remember him, the compassionate conservative?

That is why Barack Obama will win next Tuesday, in a landslide. He offers us hope. Keep on peddling fear, folks; it will lose you this election.

Dad29 said...

The bail out was nothing less then the Federal Government protecting its trillions of dollars of deferred taxes in our 401k accounts

Say WHAT?

Or are you doing sarcasm, which properly is end-tagged "/sarcasm"?

tom paine said...

Rick,

How can you pretend to worry about what Obama "might" do in view of what Team Bush has already done per "redistributing wealth" to Wall Street and the banking industry?

Did you happen to catch today's headline in that newspaper where you sometimes get some ink?

Seems that a large local bank, well actually THE largest bank in WI, is getting a neat little government boost of 1700 million dollars. (wrote it that way since $1.7 billion looks like a used car car price)

And guess what the bank said? Marshall & Ilsley's chief financial officer said the bank had "ample capital" and that the bank was "in a very strong financail position."

So before you start yapping about what Obama the Terrible "might" do please explain the above piece of socialism to us?

tom paine said...

dad29, that's really easy to do. How about:

The Keating Five
G. Gordon Liddy
Raffaello Follieri
Rick Davis
Oliver North
Ted Stevens
William Timmons
Jack Abramoff
Randy Scheunemann

The only big difference is that most of the guys above have INTIMATE realtions with Sen. McCain and they (unlike the guys you mention) have either been convicted of crimes or are admitted agents for foreign nations.

Anonymous said...

"Obama wants to start the process that eventually would put everyone on the same level. If we go down that road, we would have to expect that also eventually, that private property would go and government would be our master."

Ahh, yes. The parade of horribles. Don't forget about Obama wanting to kill all the puppies and kittens.

Calm down and keep in mind that the elected members of Congress define the tax code - which can always be revised if things get as bad as you think they will.

While there are issues with both the candidates' tax plans, McCain's proposal to allow for annual 15k deduction for capital gain losses would have an immediate detrimental impact and is simply idiotic. Considering the present situation of the stock market, the raise will provide a great incentive for people to pull money out of the market - and in bunches. With all these people claiming deductions, the government will lose much of its badly needed revenue from taxes. Like it or not, the government needs money - probably now more than ever.

But we should only get our panties up in a bunch when someone proposes to tax the wealthy rather than when someone proposes to give tax breaks that favor the wealthy but to the detriment of the entire country, right?

Anonymous said...

"Ahh, yes. The parade of horribles. Don't forget about Obama wanting to kill all the puppies and kittens.

Calm down and keep in mind that the elected members of Congress define the tax code - which can always be revised if things get as bad as you think they will."

It is very reassuring to know that we do not have to worry because we have a democratically controlled house and senate that will make sure that Obama does not lead us down the road of Socialism. You must think everyone is a moron.

Anonymous said...

I think the point is that one first has to look at the provisions within the candidates’ tax plans that would have an immediate detrimental impact on the country. Arguing that Obama has some diabolical master plan to take away all private property rights and convert the country to communism is a scare-tactic, and nothing more. First, even assuming that Obama had such a plan using the tax system, it is unlikely that a radical plan, by its nature, would gain sufficient support in Congress if Obama would want to implement it immediately. Second, if Obama’s diabolic plan involves some long-term process , it would be subject to party changes in the congressional make-up. If things weren’t going so well, the public will switch sides. But if the dems keep controlling, then the public must have a reason to keep electing them in.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:39 -

“Arguing that Obama has some diabolical master plan to take away all private property rights and convert the country to communism is a scare-tactic, and nothing more.”

You do not appear to argue that Obama is not sympathetic to socialism. Of course, socialism is the first step to communism and anyone that has basic knowledge of communism knows there is much to fear.

tom paine said...

Quote:
"Of course, socialism is the first step to communism and anyone that has basic knowledge of communism knows there is much to fear."

You must "fear" Team Bush. Actually, considering the recent government bailouts and wealth transfers to the Wall Street white shirts and the banks you must be downright terrified of the current administration. Right?

tom paine said...

Also, I have another question for you about communism. Excepting what Communist China has been allowed by Team Bush to do to the American economy, please tell us exactly what things that communism has done to the USA?

Seems to me that our own government and Wall Street has done far, far more damage to our nation than communism ever has. Yet the fear of communism has been used at every opportunity by the politicians.

In fact, if terrorism had not come along as the new "great threat to our nation" I'm guessing that we would still be getting aheavy dose of "communism is a threat to our nation" by the clever guys in Washington.

Yes, communism and terrorism are certainly real but the former was used for about 50 years and the latter is at this moment being used by Team Bush and in the presidential campaigns.

Only a huge dose of common sense by the public so that the fear mongers know that we know what they are realy up to might stop it.

Anonymous said...

tp -

I take it you're voting for Obama because you desire socialism?

Pete Gruett said...

You righties keep right on telling each other ghost stories about how Obama's totally going to steal every last cent from anyone who works for a living and give all the money to lazy, anti-Israel, whitey-hating, gay terrorists.

The real world will be waiting for you (in fake America), where a centrist senator from Illinois will be elected president on a platform of making sure working Americans don't have to sacrifice health care and basic dignity at the altar of a widening income gap.

Or just stay irrelevant. See what we care.

tom paine said...

Quote..

"tp
I take it you're voting for Obama because you desire socialism."

Have you read any newapapers lately? Seems I saw something about $770 BILLION bailouts or something a few weeks back. I don't think that they were talking about a leaky boat so I guess it was our tax dollars going to Wall Street white shirts.

Or try the Oct. 29 edition of the Journal Sentinel. Headline on the front page about Wisconsins biggest bank (M & I) getting 1700 million dollars from the federal government. Might have been a misprint but they haven't revoked it yet.

Why would anyone need to vote for Obama to get socialism when it's being stuffed down our throats right now by the administration that YOU probably voted for in 2000 and 2004!

Wake up.

Martha Washington said...

One thing is for sure. With a President Obama, this country will fall apart and go to hell.

Sigh...

Linda Blair said...

The thought of an Obama presidency makes my head spin.

Enjoy your last bag of candy kids.

tom paine said...

Martha and Linda,

Ummm.....have you been paying attention here lately. President Bush has led our nation into it's biggest (and possibly fatal) mess since the Great Depression and WW Two.

Don't you agree that all the goobers who voted for him should stand up and be counted?

I'll go first: I voted for Michael Badnerik in 2004.

Anonymous said...

Oh let's say now: eliminating habeas corpus, illegal wire tapping, federally funded (i.e. taxpayer paid) bailouts for Wall Street (but hey--let the CEOs keep their golden parachutes), tax breaks for the wealthy (which includes said CEOs keeping their golden parachutes), tax breaks for companies who send US jobs overseas thereby adding to the unemployment list, prez lying about reasons going to war, outing a CIA agent (and no one is punished for the said outing), and countless executive orders. And some poor fools are worried about Obama making this country a socialist country?!?!?! Poor Martha and Linda--they are so misguided. Maybe they should read something other than the Shark and Shepherd and catch real news other than on Faux News.

guy who "gave birth" to alien said...

oh no....you Obamaites drive me so crazy I feel like I'm being ripped apart.

Joe the plumber said...

anony 10:49

Not to worry about Linda and Martha. With Obama, Pelosi, and Reid at the helm, first amendment rights will be taken away from conservatives. Shark's computer will be stolen in the middle of the night. Sean Hannity will have his tongue cut out.

Take today..."the One" threw three reporters off of his plane because their respective papers endorsed McCain. Then there is the little dust-up between Joe "gaffe" Biden and the blond news anchor in Orlando. How dare they ask Joe the tough questions? I never!
Just wait anony...you speak out when "the one" goes against his promises, they'll be digging through your trash too. And he will go against his promises. He already has a team working on lowering the American people's expectations of him. And the Obama's are working on picking out curtains for the White House. Really. Maybe the Oprah could help him.

Anonymous said...

Wow! This thread has really diminished into nonsense.

"How dare they ask Joe the tough questions?"

Maybe they should stick to easy questions like name a Supreme Court decision.

Take it away Sarah:

"Uhm... uhhh... in this great... errr... country of ours...derrr... there are just... uhmm... so many... (but I can't name even one!)"

Anonymous said...

anon 4:54

And you have contributed to its' demise.

Let's see...how many letters in the word "jobs"?

Sarah, our veep, has more experience governing than Obama, your president.

People such as yourself, have been sexist in your juvenile portrayals
of Sarah.

Norman Bates - no Mother - no... said...

Ayers...why he wouldn't hurt a fly.

tom paine said...

Quote:

"How dare they ask Joe the tough questions?"

Did you not actually hear the question? It was so stupid that Biden simply asked if it was a joke. It was similar to when some college kid asked Sen. McCain a stupid question and John said "you little jerk"...or don't you remember that?

You folks are sometimes ridiculous. It's fine to take any candidate to task...but at least keep it slightly above Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter.

Asking Biden if Obama is a Marxist is similar to asking Palin if McCain is a neo-con Nazi.

tom paine said...

anon. 5:15

"People such as yourself, have been sexist in your juvenile portrayals of Sarah."

I think that he quoted Gov. Sarah verbatim. And that is "juvenile" how?

I would have asked if you and Gov. Palin still believe that Alaska "produces 20% of america's energy" as Gov. Sarah said?

Or asked if you and Gov. Palin still think that being able to see Russia is foreign policy expertise?

Or asked if you and Gov. Palin still think that the VP is the "leader" of the US Senate and "sets policy" for that body as Sarah said?

Or asked you and Gov. Palin why she gave a speech just a few years ago to the Alaskan Independence Party that wants to split Alaska away from our nation?

Or asked the Gov. why her "first dude" hubby Todd was a card carrying member of the AIP up until very recently?

Or asked Gov. Palin why just last year she requested $254 million in those ever evil earmarks that Sen. McCain so hates?

Are you getting the message? This has nada to do with sexism and is absolutely not "juvenile"...it is documented fact that you should be happy to answer.

Tick, tick, tick, tick........

Anonymous said...

If you ever need a laugh...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rXmuhWrlj4

Of course, this will end up being scary if she does become VP.

tom paine said...

Well, that one is funny. Not quite as funny as when she was asked about her "foreign policy" experience and she began by saying "Well, energy is important..." and didn't even try to answer

But for pure "scary" (even on Halloween night) it's pretty darn difficult to beat this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwkb9_zB2Pg&feature=related

Anonymous said...

So "the One's" Auntie Z, who lives in poverty, is here illegally. Why, I am just so surprised that O has hidden AyersWright (oops a gaffe - I meant to say "something"...sorry) -something from the American people. But not to worry; he really does care about her (that guy in Kenya too). O must have had no money left for Auntie after airing that heart wrenching infomercial a few evenings ago. I am still verklempt from that one.
And those cry-baby reporters that O kicked off the "change plane" yesterday really do need to get a grip. After traveling with and reporting on his campaign all year, who made them so special? Supposedly these whiners, come from the Washington Times, The NY Post, and the Dallas Morning News, all McCain endorsing papers. O reportedly had absolutely no problem with the work that they had done. He just needed more room on the plane, darn it. I hope the "change plane" people forgot to remove the reporters luggage. Their seats by the way, were given to "reporters" from Jet,Essence, and Glamour (just heard that so I have not confirmed);that Glamour is some hard hitting stuff. Wow.
Now let's play a guessing game and define "middle class". Initially, O promised no increased taxes for those making under $250,000. This past Monday, that silly Joe Biden "gaffed" again. During a speech in Scranton, he assured the crowd that tax cuts should go to the middle class, that is, "people making under $150,00 a year." Yeah! Bill Richardson must have not gotten that memo because yesterday HE defined the middle class as -come on pick a #- as those making "under $120,00." This will make an awesome Trivial Persuit question someday, won't it? Those of you who don't want to fork over (oh gosh, gaffe #2 - should read as redistribute) your hard earned cashola, why you just want to make a "virtue out of selfishness." Sister Mary Elizabeth would not be proud. Two demerits for you.
Finally, can you "Bush is a Satan loving Nazi" guys believe that US troop deaths for 10/08 (in Iraq) fell to the lowest since the war began (tied with 7/08)? Iraqi deaths as well. The NYT,NBC,CNN,MSNBC, HuffPo (etc) simply could not see that as significant enough to report, so how could you even know? Probably the result of O's hope for change...couldn't be the result of that silly surge idea that McCain had.
Glad we have straightened all of this out. I have a feeling that O very well might have this thing tied up.

Don't blame me.

reddess said...

tp

Thanks for reminding me to set my clock back an hour when I go to sleep tonight. Extra hour of snoozing! I would probably forget about it for several days and miss voting for:

McCain/Palin

Go Pack

tom paine said...

reddress,

If you watched the video of the "witch hunter" Rev. Muthee praying and laying hands on Sarah Palin and are still considering putting her a heartbeat away from the presidency then you probably will need to be "reminded" of the correct time a few more times prior to Tuesday. :)

tom paine said...

anonymous...7:57 finished by saying "Don't blame me" if Obama is elected but used nonsensical reasons.

Whatever, no need to "blame" you for anything that Obama MIGHT do since he has not spent a day in the White House and it's nothing but your opinion per what Obama might do. And we all know what opinions are similar to.

But there might be one thing where we could assign "blame" for the current mess that our nation is in...who did you vote for in 2000 and 2004?

In fact, anyone pretending to give advice on voting in 2008 should be required to state who they voted for in 2000 and 2004. Then we would all know exactly how skilled and prescient they are when it comes to evaluating a president.

Anonymous said...

tp

we don't even require voter i.d. here. i suspect that requiring to know how someone voted in the past would be a slight violation of their rights. oh wait. libs don't care if a conservative's rights are violated. only their own.

although if O wins, anyone who speaks against him will have a complete background check.
some idiot lib shock-jock in san francisco, had a vile rant against Joe the plumber on air. he called for someone to kill Joe.
why don't we rummage through this jerks trash?

tom paine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tom paine said...

anonymous 11:10,

You ignored (big surprise) the part of my post that said

"In fact, anyone pretending to give advice on voting in 2008 should be required to state who they voted for in 2000 and 2004. Then we would all know exactly how skilled and prescient they are when it comes to evaluating a president."

That's not a "violation" of anyone's rights...except maybe the goobers who voted for Bush twice and now want to give advice or influence others in this election.

Let me guess who you voted for in 2000 and 2004................