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05:11 PM on 07/20/2010
Obama's problem is that he has done far too much for business and far too little for the average family.
Perhaps Obama thought that by bailing out business, or socializing business loses, he believed that business would begin investing in America. Surprise! They just banked it. So now business has more money in the bank than ever before. While the big banks have free access to free money at the Fed.
The middle class got a tax cut that was so large they didn't notice and health care which they will pay for(guaranteed income for Health Insurance Companies).
Business whines because whining wheels get the bailouts. At some point the people are going to start whining. At some point business will have to stop taking their welfare from government, the people can't afford to carry them anymore.
04:53 PM on 07/20/2010
"Progressives need to concede that a good economic and tax system, with readily apparent certainty, is one that encourages investment, growth and jobs, not one that intrinsically soaks the rich and punishes corporations."

No, Progressives need to:

Push for corporations to pay the 'taxes payable' that shows on their balance sheets,

Stop the quarter million plus per day tax depreciation BP pays on its wells in the Gulf,

Demand hedgefund operators pay taxes on their earnings as ordinary income,

Stop the continued escalation of CEO incomes from approx 30 times average employee earnings to now over 300 times average employee earnings,

Enact legislation to reverse thirty years of tax system manipulation resulting in the transfer of wealth from the middle class to the upper class,

Enact legislation to reverse , then accelerate , the transfer of wealth back to the middle class,

Enact legislation imposing taxes on banks and other financial institutions in an amount equal to the current value of the funds they took from the public purse until the amounts are fully recovered,

Enact a progressive tax structure.

These are the things progressives need to do now.

The 'fear' of Obama by the business community is a ruse. One element of the business community just got the biggest bailout in history; the health insurance industry is continuing its robbery of the citizenry; pharma and energy the same. So....let's use government to help the middle class; corporations are the biggest recipients of welfare in the nation.
05:25 PM on 07/20/2010
All true..... but unless we as Progressives assume an OFFENSE position, nothing will change.

For too long, we have sat back, waited politely and hoped for change in a defensive posture, bowing to the authority complex pervasive in our society..

We have the numbers and the financial power to enact consequences for the malfeasance of this corporate state protected by our government. All we need is the will to coalesce and act.
04:49 PM on 07/20/2010
The Chamber of Commerce has been taken hostage by the Tea-Party Republicans. It can be the only reason that it is blasting away at this administration that saved their tails after the TARP with the stimulus. most Americans forget that they GOT a tax cut - using 1/3rd of the stimulus - in their paychecks. it is so easy to forget about that when parsing out just what was helped by the stimulus. The Chamber apparently believes that if they are not left unfettered to SIT on their Trillion $$ that this administration is against business in general. Let's just say they aren't prone to kiss up to the Robber Barons. Start hiring and quit whining - you HAVE jobs.
Geoff Lewis
04:48 PM on 07/20/2010
Nice piece. You nailed the essential Obama problem: Faced with opposition, BO's first impulse is to ask, "What can I do to mollify this critic?" Well, a leader can't mollify the critics, no matter how powerful they are. The first response should be to reiterate/clarify his position, remind the critics that there is more at stake than their parochial interests and LEAD.
Ivan's a great guy unless you happen to be a shareholder, customer or employee. I'm sure he's a lot of fun at Sun Valley....
04:46 PM on 07/20/2010
Why not tell some of your corporations at the Roundtable to start hiring, start providing some reasonable benefit packages, and stop kicking employees in the teeth. Obama is not the only one who is dissatisfied with corporate America. And stop blaming the condition of this country on him, Obama. Have you heard of the housing bubble, have you heard of the unscruplous lenders, have you heard of derivatives? Obama had nothing to do with that.
buy the ticket-take the ride
04:41 PM on 07/20/2010
multi-nationals with American names make their profits overseas and have no need for anything from this country....POTUS plays along....
04:41 PM on 07/20/2010
There is no "Obama vs Big Business". I think you meant to say Obama AND Big Business. Only people who don't read the news believe our President acts contrary to the interests of big business.
04:39 PM on 07/20/2010
Until Obama the US citizens regulated the government work. Obama is the first president openly aiming on regulating the citizens work. The economy could not tolerate this violence and recoiled. The citizens are waiting for November.
retired professor of History, Comparative Religion
04:38 PM on 07/20/2010
Democrats being business friendly. What a concept! So much has already crossed under that bridge.
President Obama's already friendly face toward a Republican dominated business community at the big business level has cost the tax payers billions of dollars and a national debt to be justified. I agree that their motivation is not service oriented nor is it to improve the Middle Class' status. They are shortsighted and find it hard to see that deregulation kills the goose that lays their golden egg. Fair regulations of all social institutions helps. What also helps is relieving the big investors and big banks, corporations, Pentagon, medical monopolies, Insurance cartel, Energy Companies, etc. of their loose change and then hiring workers for new jobs in the alternative energy field as quickly as possible. That will do more to put people back to work and insure Democratic victories than playing nice with Boardrooms of advantage minded business types. But what do I know? Democratic Socialism, European style, has a strong MIddle class. I wonder why?
04:33 PM on 07/20/2010
Modern big business has less and less need to invest in America. They really don't need a healthy US economy any longer. They have all diversified into giant multinationals with their real growth coming from outside the US. They have more growth potential domestically from consolidation, cost cutting and outsourcing than from actually doing a better job producing better products and services. They can actually do more for the bottom line in some cases by lobbying harder for more tax cuts and subsidies than they can from actually trying to grow their business's. For some they are simply so big, they may actually have to start breaking up or accepting negative growth. There just isn't anywhere for them to go. Job creation is the last thing on the minds of CEO's of the S&P 500.
04:38 PM on 07/20/2010
Okay, sounds plausible, what about evidence?
Aaron Zisook
04:30 PM on 07/20/2010
In my opinion, government should tax for two purposes:
1. Revenue Generation.
2. Encouraging or discouraging behaviors that are socially desirable or undesirable (like the cigarette tax, which also happens to be a good revenue generator).

Counter-intuitively, tax policy doesn't dramatically change inequality. If anything, it often perpetuates or even worsens it by creating barriers to advancing upwards in income. And no, I am not one of those Reagan acolytes who also believes in no government budget. What I do believe is that it is government services, not taxation, which can truly promote the interests of the poor.

A lot of people care more about punishing the rich than they do about figuring out ways to help the poor. A government "Robin Hood" strategy can only be effective when the services provided are desirable to the poor. Case in point: Let's say we raise taxes on the rich and then use the extra revenues on increased military spending. That's not gonna help the poor. Conversely, we could also NOT raise taxes on anybody, but instead cut military spending, combine overlapping federal agencies to save administrative costs, and then use the saving to promote education.

Basically, there are solutions that everyone will like - consolidating federal agencies would save money on administration that could be shifted to directly helping people, and no taxes would be needed. The only people against it are people working in those bureaucracies we'd be streamlining.
04:54 PM on 07/20/2010
I guess that's why there was such a huge expansion of the middle class under Truman, Ike, JFK and LBJ, when the top marginal rate on millionaires was in the 70% or higher range. That argument does not add up when viewed through the lens of history.
Cut on the bias
06:42 PM on 07/20/2010
There is more than tax rates involved, World War 2 was very influential in the economy, the previous expansion came when a war ravaged Europe and Japan, left the manufacturing sector in the US without large competitors. Now China undersells and over produces everyone.
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06:01 PM on 07/20/2010
there is a third way- one that was used here very successfully. get the dvd and then read Web of Debt by Ellen Brown- she has a number of articles on HP
04:25 PM on 07/20/2010
Government policies CAN NOT FIX ANYTHING as complex as "the economy" or "the environment" or "health care"... or "affordable housing".

Few economists disagree that the housing boom and bust played THE key roll in this economic disaster. What caused the boom? The GOVERNMENT's brilliant idea that everyone should be able to "own" a home..... whether they could afford it or not. So the Fed lowered interest rates..... and helped create an UNSUSTAINABLE and ARTIFICIAL demand that extended to almost every major industry from construction to mortgages, home furnishings to landscaping...... all artificial demand created by the brilliant central planners in Washington.

What about all those worthless derivatives you say? Well.... those Mortgage Backed Securities weren't worthless until the GOVERNMENT-PLANNED housing boom PREDICTABLY busted and too many people with little or no "skin in the game" started defaulting on their no-down, interest-only mortgages.

Obama's Keynesian attempts to plan and control everything from health care to the auto industry to the financial markets will end in the same disaster as did "affordable housing for all".

Central planning only works in the minds of the intellectual/political elites.... on paper. LOTS of it, in the form of "stimulus" bills, health care "reform", financial "reform", energy "reform".... and $3.8 TRILLION dollar budget.”

The bottom line: Get the Government out of Business and Business out of Government and the PEOPLE will prosper from it.
04:33 PM on 07/20/2010
What nonsense. Peddle it to your right wing friends.
05:07 PM on 07/20/2010
Please see:

"F.A. Hayek and the Fatal Conceit of Barack Obama"

".... The lesson from Hayek is that when the rules are right, markets are collectively much smarter than any individual or group within them. This is the lesson that the Obama administration has utterly missed....

.....The administration evidently believes that experience in policymaking is an effective substitute for the local and contextual knowledge of how to produce goods and services. This is a complete misunderstanding of the way in which markets work and what kinds of knowledge matter."

"...Much of the same is true with Obama's supposed fixes for health care and financial services. Imposing a vision of how an industry "should" work and how it should produce and deliver its products from the top down is the height of political hubris."

"....The conceit behind it is one that dates back to the earliest visions of socialist central planning. Even as belief in that more comprehensive vision has died, the mindset behind it is still manifested in the belief that top-down fixes driven by well-meaning political actors are more rational than letting individuals with their local knowledge coordinate and cooperate via markets."
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06:02 PM on 07/20/2010
get banks out of the governing business: get the dvd and then read Web of Debt by Ellen Brown- she has a number of articles on HP
04:22 PM on 07/20/2010
We have conducted an extensive test and have discovered the best way to make capitalism work. It is called regulation. Business enterprises are constantly stiving to do one thing and one thing only and that is to create maximum profits. Given that fact and given the creativity practiced by capitalist, regulation can hardly go too far. Between the 1930s and the 1980s, we heavily regulated business enterprises. The larger the enterprise and the riskier the enterprise the more we regulated them. Thus, airlines were strictly regulated. The most heavily regulated businesses were those that held and controlled our our savings. In 1960 we elected a man who called on our better nature and asked us to put country (i.e., all of its people) first. In 1980 we elected a man who asked us to consider only ourselves. He asked, are you better off than you were four years ago? He told us we should fear and resent government. Here we are thirty years later, and we have given up our government to the very enterprises we have deregulated. We have a Supreme Court packed with justices who believe ExxonMobil is a person with rights equal to an individual, perhaps greater. And that period of heavy regulation was one of the most prosperous in the history of any nation. We know what works; we simply have to return to strict regulation of all large businesses and enthusiastic enforcement of our antitrust laws.
Steve Ali Lee
04:45 PM on 07/20/2010
I like alot of what you said and you make sense..(something our elected officials seem not to have) I would like to ask if it would be better to use some of the regulations from the past ? As I believe that we have made some strides with deregulation.
Examine the reasons of your true intent.
04:21 PM on 07/20/2010
It really boils down to massive greed. Corporations want no regulations, slave workers around the world, and no fear of prosecution for their dirty deeds. They are now considered "a person" thanks to activist judges on the Supreme Court. Yet, all of this is not enough for them.

You know you are headed in the right direction to help the middle-class when big business squeals about proposed new laws. And really, it's not "new" laws and guidelines that will help pull us out of this Great Recession. It's tried and true old theory, Keynesian economics. Conservatives hate Keynesian theory because essentially, it would mean having guidelines and rules to follow and a spreading around of the wealth.

This, from Paul Krugman: "He (Keynes) did challenge the notion that free-market economies can function without a minder, expressing particular contempt for financial markets, which he viewed as being dominated by short-term speculation with little regard for fundamentals. And he called for active government intervention — printing more money and, if necessary, spending heavily on public works — to fight unemployment during slumps."

Markets do not do better with less regulation. We really need to abandon the belief that everyone is rational and markets work perfectly.
retired professor of History, Comparative Religion
05:03 PM on 07/20/2010
Good Call. Business is based on several factors.(1) Having and Taking advantage. (2) Never admitting you have failed or done anything morally offensive. (3) never loosing sight of the bottom line, profit (4) Greed is good, avarice is better. (5) it's not wrong unless you get caught. and (6) the old Mafia slogan: It's not personal: it's business. I worked productively and successfully in both Government and Big Business. I know how they think. Seeing the service light would make them blind to having a competitive edge by becoming cooperative. You only cooperate when you have no other choice. Their mod-is operandi reminds me of what the Hebrew Prophets railed against: Greed, Deceit and Cruelty.
05:14 PM on 07/20/2010
I disagree; I believe people, especially successful people, DO act rationally. The BIG, BIG players in our global economy aren't "people" though; they're "fictitious persons". That's where the insanity creeps into the system.

Corporations can't imagine "living" in the economy they create. They will never "live" as we know it.

Corporations do exceptionally well at serving their own interests, however. Their interests are simple: grow and grow some more. They have no ulterior motive. Corporate management, having no "official, corporate objective" other than that, content themselves with spending obscene fortunes on personal goods and the occasional charity. Where is the motive to circulate Capital and create a more dynamic society?

Globalization is a worthy goal; but to the corporations that profit from it most, it is more expedient to degrade the American middle-class and create a foreign middle-class consumer of equal wealth. That probably works out OK if you're alive in 3010, as they will be, but it's kind of tough on us mortals stuck here in 2010.

The ultimate downfall of Corpocracy will be its tendency to homogenize the world-wide consumer. Just as diversity is the key to ecological survival, it will ultimately prove to be essential to economic survival also. Corporations, when correctly seen as the parasites they are, are killing their host, Capitalism, in order to "serve the stockholders", - us. If that's not irrational, I don't what is.
Examine the reasons of your true intent.
07:58 PM on 07/20/2010
falbergsawco – you confuse me. Reading your post I agree with almost everything you said.

My little "tweeks" where I vary from what you believe is I don't think all successful people act rationally. You don't need too many rotten apples to spoil the lot. And, I don't think (or hope) that in 3010 it will be acceptable to degrade the American, or any other, middle-class.

Other than that, we are on the same page.
04:21 PM on 07/20/2010
Dump Timmy and Larry!