Daily Archives: March 16, 2004

Unassailable Logic

Paul Waldman of The Gadflyer on the new “100 Days” Bush ad:

Over the next eight months, we will see many, many television ads extolling the virtues and weaknesses of John Kerry and George W. Bush. Some will be inspiring, some will be insipid, some will be biting, some will be banal. But after last week, you can bet that more than a few will be dishonest, and not just because of the campaigns’ urge to play hardball.When the Bush campaign unveiled an ad called “100 Days,” it was a shot across the press’ bow: if we put up an ad with an utter fabrication in it, will you call us on it? They got a clear answer: NO. Bush and Kerry both now understand that the press has given them permission to lie.

The Bush ad claims that Kerry wants to “raise taxes by at least $900 billion.” A credulous viewer would hear this claim and conclude that John Kerry wants to raise taxes by at least $900 billion. But the claim is, simply put, a lie. Not an exaggeration, not a misrepresentation, but a lie.

John Kerry does want to roll back the President’s tax cuts for those who earn more than $200,000 per year. Over ten years, this proposal raises around $250 billion in taxes. So where does the $900 billion figure come from? It’s the cost of Kerry’s health care plan. The Bush campaign just assumed that to pay for it, Kerry will raise taxes by an identical amount.

By that logic, George W. Bush has a plan to raise taxes by $521 billion. That’s this year’s deficit in the budget he recently submitted to Congress.

Jo Fish at Democratic Veteran on what Kerry needs to do to counter the perception being sold by the Bushies that he’s an opportunist:

John Kerry needs to get an “aw shucks” mannerism, stand up on a podium in jeans and a T-shirt, stick one hand in his pocket, while drinking a 10-2-4 and say: “Ya know, I became a politician, because “Politicians” sent me and my comrades to fight and die in SE Asia, I did my duty and came back to work from inside the system to make a change. So call me a “politician” I’m as proud of that as my service on Swift Boats in South Vietnam”.Sorry Chimpy and Karl, there goes that argument.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

On Wednesday, the administration postponed appointing a Nebraska manufacturing executive as the country’s new manufacturing czar after the Kerry campaign alerted reporters that the nominee had set up a factory in China. Administration officials said the reconsideration of the appointment was not related to the Kerry campaign’s move. The executive, Tony Raimundo, yesterday removed himself from consideration for the job.

Nebraska Sen Chuck Hegel’s response to this WH treatment of one of his major contributors: Windows Media Player or Real Player (Via Benedict@Large)

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo on Scott McClellan’s insistence that Kerry prove his statement that other world leaders want Bush gone:

[T]he idea that [Kerry]’s making this up is laughable. The question isn’t whether or which foreign leaders don’t want to see George W. Bush get another term. A better question is whether there are any outside of perhaps a half-dozen capitals around the world who do.(Powell knows this perhaps better than anyone.)

The reason it’s unwise to say this — or at least say it so bluntly — is precisely because it’s so undoubtedly true. And the fact that it’s true is a difficult matter politically for both candidates.

Digby at Hullabaloo on the connection between racism and economics in America:

This ancient attachment to racism in this country is going to finally bring us down if we do not force it out of the body politic once and for all. The need is urgent, not just on a moral basis — the moral case is always urgent — but on a pragmatic, survival basis as well. The American frontier is closed, our total dominance of the world economy is rapidly diminishing and globalization and technology are pressuring the middle and working classes of this country in ways that we are only now beginning to see. This path of ever lower taxes and higher deficits in service of a nonsensical insistence on the ruination of public schools, a refusal to endow universal health care, a systematic destruction of social security and the combined devastation of rolling back workplace regulations while destroying unions is based on a theological belief in unfettered capitalism and American “individualism.” This romantic notion manifests itself as modern Republicanism but, in fact, it is nothing more than the same phony excuse for opportunism and racism that has existed since the founding. (It fueled the more virulent forms of anti-communism, as well.) Unless we commit ourselves to keeping this country’s education and health care systems secure, ensure that workers continue to have the opportunity to thrive and achieve in the workplace and provide a decent safety net for those who cannot work, we are shortly going to find ourselves living in a high tech banana republic.

Bushings

The only way for a poor man to make some money in BushAmerica.

The Bush “Moon Song”–Not Quite Mars But We’re Trying

Bush Ponders “Democracy”

Emperor George’s Elba?

Growth industries in BushAmerica

How we pick Bush’s next opponent? (Thanx to Kryton)

Election-Year Rules of Conduct if Our Dear Leader deigns to come to your town. (File under “Life or Death Information”)

The Nonsensical Threat From Iraq–What they said, and what they meant to add.

A Bush relative?

Bush addresses the troops in disguise (Junior’s in the disguise, not the troops).

Have you got what it takes to be on Bush’s staff?

"Jobless Recovery" Back-Up

In a post that was an answer to Mark Kleiman’s question about the “jobless recovery” last week (scroll down to Wed, March 10), I wrote this:

It boils down to this: Owners don’t like having employees. Owners see us as pains-in-the-butt: we want days off to take care of sick kids, we rebel against 80-hr work-weeks, we want health care, some vacation time, managers that don’t abuse us, etc etc etc–and this all costs them money. They don’t give a damn about creating a middle class because, like most people who only accept reality when it hits them upside the head, they don’t see the connection between a healthy middle class and their profits.This is a psychological reality and has been for well over a century, Henry Ford notwithstanding. 20 years ago I worked for a company that spent more than $150,000 developing a machine that would replace 2 workers making less than half that much. The machine worked but had to be repaired constantly and replaced every year or so. Even tho in this particular case real people would have been more cost-efficient, the company continued to throw between $70 + 80,000/yr at this machine rather than give the job back to actual people.

Charlie Cook apparently agrees with me. This is a paragraph from his last newsletter:

In December, the CEO of a California-based high tech firm told me that “there is no amount of overtime that we will not pay, there is no level of temporary services that we will not use, there is no level of outsourcing or offshoring that we will not do, in order to prevent us from having to hire one new, permanent worker in the U.S.” As I travel around the country, meeting with business leaders, I hear similar, though less succinct thoughts in almost every sector and every part of the country. U.S. wages, health care, and other benefit costs have gotten so high — and the press by investors for high stock prices is so great — that the premium is on wringing every last bit of work out of as few employees as possible, to do anything but incur the costs of adding permanent employees. (emphasis added)

Charlie’s speculation of cause is incorrect. though. He, like Kleiman, writes as if this is something new, a response to investor pressure that has racheted up in the last few years. It isn’t. It’s exactly the same attitude it has always been, and for exactly the same reasons.