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05/13/2009

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Sigh.

I first read about this here.

The money quotes:

"More than anything, this reeks of impotence, operating almost as a concession that the right’s argument on the merits that the left is evolving towards socialism isn’t working to shift public opinion.... [snip] The alternative, that they’re simply sticking their fingers in their ears and repeating “socialist” over and over out of spite like a five-year-old, is too depressing to contemplate.

And that's from a conservative website.

Great. Now if only we could get the Democrats to go along. They could start by passing a National health care plan. Socialism would also involve nationalizing the Financial Sector and the Auto Industries. This would be in contrast to simply throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at these same companies and getting nothing in return, after which they will still declare bankruptcy and sell off any remaining assets at bargain prices to capitalists whose goal will be to start the cycle again.
Obviously, I'm not supporting most of what I ranted. I just find it bizarre that folks are screaming Socialism when Socialism is the one thing the Obama administration is bending over backwards to avoid. They're doing everything possible to not take over the banks. (Summers and Geithner would never do that to their Wall St. friends) to the financial detriment of the American taxpayers.

Wally, you may get your socialist utopia yet. (I know, you don't really want that. But play along for the fun of it.)

"The Obama administration has begun serious talks about how it can change compensation practices across the financial-services industry, including at companies that did not receive federal bailout money, according to people familiar with the matter.

The initiative, which is in its early stages, is part of an ambitious and likely controversial effort to broadly address the way financial companies pay employees and executives, including an attempt to more closely align pay with long-term performance.

Administration and regulatory officials are looking at various options, including using the Federal Reserve's supervisory powers, the power of the Securities and Exchange Commission and moral suasion. Officials are also looking at what could be done legislatively."

So, Obama wants to decide how much you should get paid, whether or not your company is receiving bailout money or not. sounds a lot like socialism to me.

Little by little our freedoms are being taken away. I hear an awful lot of whining about that on this blog during the Bush years. I wonder how much Tom would have been bitching had the Bush administration started decided how much he could earn? Because there is no better incentive to entrepreneurs than to tell them that if they go out and start a company and become successful the government is going to make damn sure they don't get paid for it.

This country.. more specifically our free market followed by our freedoms.. is going straight down the socialist crapper. The unfortunate part is that there are far too few people with enough sense to look at history and realize what a colossal failure socialism has been anywhere it's been tried.

So please, yes, give us our national health care. Be sure to tax my soft drinks to help pay for it. Hell, while you're at it, be sure to tax anything else I may possibly enjoy eating.

Issue me my state manufactured hybrid. Please be sure that the GPS monitoring device is active to ensure I don't travel more than my allotted distance per month, so as to provide as little impact on the environment as possible.

I'll report to my state mandated, union job every day as a dutiful citizen. I'm more than happy to earn whatever the government thinks is adequate salary. Then I'll go home to my government housing and report to my mandatory volunteer activities.

I've got my bib on and I'm ready to suckle at the government teat.

Frank, you need to understand what socialism is. It isn't regulation, no matter how egregious. Socialism is government ownership of the means of production.

The current vogue for ownership of preferred stock in troubled companies -- a mild, crisis-driven form of socialism not unlike that which has been practiced at intervals throughout American history -- was a conservative reaction to a Bush Administration policy. That is, President Bush sought to infuse capital into the financial system by buying troubled assets. Because there was no way to realistically value those assets, however, recapitalization by way of stock purchase quickly became the preference of Chamber of Commerce conservatives. Stock purchases theoretically enabled the government to infuse new capital in the system with minimal distortion of functioning markets and, once the crisis has passed, makes it possible to recoup some of the investment over time. (We could have loaned the companies money, but given financial industry accounting rules that would have technically made the banks weaker, not stronger. So: equity investments.)

However socialist that policy may be, it isn't something that originated with President Obama and the Democrats, so Republican howling about it is the equivalent of Republican howling about, for example, getting out of Iraq.

It seems to me, as I've said before, that the productive thing for the opposition party to do right now would be formulating and advocating plans to get the government out of business ownership and management once the crisis has passed. The current crop of Republicans, it seems, would rather crack wise and hog the camera than do the hard work of formulating actual policy.

Which is fine, I guess, if the party's goal is to look buffoonish. If it intends to influence policy, it needs to settle down and be serious.

"including an attempt to more closely align pay with long-term performance."

Wouldn't a successful entrepreneur want to earn pay commensurate with his/her success? Wouldn't it also be good if he/she could not manipulate the numbers to make the company look good on paper, sell out for a bundle and watch it crumble behind them as they walked to the bank? The current executive pay schemes have shown themselves to be poor business practice. The boards of directors, not the government, should be the ones leading the charge on exec compensation reform. But where angels fear to tread, fools (Govt.)rush in...
Frank, we know you don't want to pay more taxes. I hated writing a check for a portion of Dick Cheney's pocket change for 8 years and I hate contributing to Geithner's Wall St fraternity brothers. But you know you would grudgingly pay a lot more tax rather than change your life style. So would I. No one has gone Galt yet and at a maximum tax rate of 35% on amounts ABOVE $372,950, no one is likely to. If you earn a million a year and shelter none of it , you only pay 32.77%. On the one hand you have to pay some taxes, on the other you get to be a relatively well-to-do white man in America. How good a deal is that? I know I'm diggin' it and I'm not living a life style anywhere near that $373K mark. You weren't going to start a new Auto Manufacturer with the extra 3-4%. You were gonna blow it on red wine and Omaha steaks.

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