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March 18, 2010


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I'm not sure if I'm responsible or a buffoon but I do know that there are a lot of wonderful people in both political parties who take the time to express their views. I do not care for the extreme policies of the far right or far left. So here are my thoughts as expressed to my friend Senator Reid:
I will be anxious to finally learn what exactly is enacted and when it will be implemented so that I can make some decisions about the future of my company, benefits and employees. It is an amazing situation that the Congress is about to enact legislation impacting all Americans and American businesses costing trillions of dollars and I do not have much of an idea what it consists of or it's impact on our future. For example when my company insurance is scheduled for renewal in November will my premiums go up ? One would think that after all this exchange of arguments that I would know that answer but I honestly do not. My guess is that I will be hit with a huge increase to cover the cost of preexisiting conditions for people who do not work for me, the cost of 21-27 years olds who do not live with my employees and the cost of uninsured people who do not work for me. But that is just a guess. I have no idea. And, that is sad.
Hopefully, you are right and I am wrong on this and there will be an immediate positive impact on the rate I will be charged next year to cover my employees. I know you still have work to do to complete this process. But, I think you have achieved most of your goals. I would have thought the President would have included you in the "thanks" last night. Certainly you, more than the VP, contributed to this moment for him. I'm sure he is reserving that thanks for when you get it through the Senate. Congratulations, on doing the job you have on his behalf and, hopefully, for all Americans.

And, this, Harrycat, is the way I would hope that most Americans can speak to each other in debating our policies. Although I must admit I too at times become frustrated with the oppositions' foolish logic. That's when I call them socialists. Thanks for the commentary--it's all good.

There are many serious Republicans who feel that their party has been hijacked by non-serious "responsibility-free talkers on television and radio" and that those members of the "conservative entertainment industry" have caused your party great harm. You have allowed entertainers to become your voice and no Republican dare speak out against them. If you continue to follow these people you will be dragged down even more. What I wish for is for you to break free of their grip on your voice.

The quotes are from David Frum on FrumForum yesterday.

By the way, I would describe myself as a slightly left of center former Republican whose party has deserted him.

And this is exactly why I refuse to discuss ideas with anyone who ends as Harrycat just did. I am a thoughtful, conservative Republican who supported Sarah Palin, enjoys Fox as well as Morning Joe on MSNBC, and reject being called a buffoon. I am neither ignorant nor reactionary.

Harry: Perhaps we do not understand the concept of a discussion of ideas - not just calling Republicans buffoons while showing neither consideration of their ideas nor any criticism of liberal ideas.

Thank you for your thoughts. I very much like the idea of a Republican proposal. Ryan's proposals are just about the only serious effort from the right in at least the last year.

One of my concerns is that his proposals would effectively raise taxes on 90% and lower taxes on the upper 5%, particularly the top 1% (Institution on Taxation and Economic Policy) by removing all taxes on unearned income and increasing taxes on labor income. Would our nation be better off if the wealthy were even wealthier? I don't think so.

On Social Security: extend the retirement age (70 may be too high) and means test. This is an easy problem to fix if we have the will to tackle it honestly.

On Medicare: As a recipient I find it too generous with no real controls on how either my doctors or I spend the money. I have had a major surgery (perhaps costing 100K) which cost me absolutely nothing (zero !!). While certainly not wealthy, I should have been asked to contribute. I am not sure of health care account and would have to hear a lot more specifics. Clearly, this is the major budgetary problem of the next generation. I welcome a full discussion. Neither side can be allowed to dig in their heels and "just say no".

Requiring a 2/3 vote to raise taxes is just a way to build in an automatic veto. For evidence look at the large number of Republicans who will vote no to anything that Obama wants no matter how reasonable. Dems will probably do the same when positions are reversed.

In the Bush years much policy was driven by two really bad ideas. First, that if markets are left unfettered they will correct and manage themselves. Hopefully, the current crises will have put that idea to bed (but I fear that it has not).

Second, that if the wealthy are allowed to control the economy so as to create even more wealth for themselves, then we will all prosper. I see no evidence that this is true. The lower half, or perhaps two thirds, of our citizens have fared very poorly in the last decade while the highest few percent have done very well. The Bush tax cuts did not produce national prosperity, but instead concentrated wealth at the top at the expense of everyone else, and is a significant contributor to our national debt.

These two philosophies have gotten us in a lot of trouble and I am afraid I see Republicans continuing to push these ideas.

A sidebar: I draw a firm distinction between Conservatives and Republicans. The Republican party has become a gathering place for buffoons and those more interested winning that governing. How can a supposedly serious political party look to Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh, Palin, etc. for a source of ideas and inspiration? These people are self-serving for their own agendas, not patriots looking out for our country. This is a time when Conservatives need to disavow themselves from these cancerous carpet-baggers.

A little harsh - I think not.

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