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New Poll Confirms Country is Clearly Progressive

6:52 pm in Uncategorized by Cenk Uygur

New poll out indicates that the country is clearly, massively, overwhelmingly progressive. While they talk about cutting so-called entitlement programs in Washington, the American people have completely different priorities.

When asked what’s the first thing they would do to balance the budget, Americans had an unmistakably clear answer — raise taxes on the rich. It came in number one by a mile, with a whopping 61 percent.

If that wasn’t progressive enough, cutting defense spending came in number two, with 20 percent.

And if all of that wasn’t clear enough, when asked about cutting Medicare, only 4 percent were in favor of it. Only 3 percent wanted to cut Social Security as a way to balance the budget.

I thought the country was center-right? That’s what all of the pundits tell us 24/7 on television. What happened now? Do those answers look center-right to you? They look decidedly center-left to anyone with a pulse.

Washington is going to hate this news because they were just getting ready to cut people’s Social Security. That’s what the president’s Deficit Commission suggested. That’s what all of the Republicans are massively in favor of. That’s what a lot of the Democrats are already saying is “necessary.” All the meanwhile, they just gave a $407 billion tax cut to the richest people in the country.

Well, apparently the American people disagree with Washington’s priorities. If the Democrats, Republicans and the president persist in trying to cut Social Security in the face of these numbers, then we will know that we have lost our democracy altogether. That the people in power couldn’t give a damn what we want. That the take over of the American government by the corporations, the rich and the powerful is complete.

Every time you hear any politician or pundit say we have to cut Social Security or what they derisively call entitlement programs (you paid into them your whole life, that is why you are “entitled” to them), send them this poll. And ask them why they don’t care at all about the will of the American people.

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The Hidden Cost of Capitulation

2:27 pm in Uncategorized by Cenk Uygur

Now that the president has signaled yet another collapse in agreeing to tax cuts for the rich, there is a hidden cost to this capitulation. He is now stuck defending this deal for the rest of his term. I predicted this on the show yesterday and today it’s playing out exactly the way I imagined, with the president sending out advisers to talk about what a great idea it is to give tax cuts to the rich.

Once you sign off on a political position, you own it. This could be a corollary to Colin Powell’s doctrine on foreign policy. Powell said if you break it, you own it. In this case, if you make it, you own it.

The president claims he will fight hard against these same tax cuts two years from now. It’s hard to stop laughing long enough to make a point against that, but I will try. If you are sending out your people to talk up polls about how the right the Republicans were on the tax cuts for the rich now, how are you going to send out the same people to talk about how wrong they were – and how wrong you were – two years from now?

These are the things that make me wonder if President Obama has a firm grasp on basic political fundamentals. Yesterday he said that the political reality is that he just didn’t have the votes in the Senate (by far his favorite excuse). He even said “I can’t win” in the Senate. That’s a damning reversal for a man who ran on “Yes we can.”  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Is Barack Obama Stupid?

5:49 pm in Government, Politics by Cenk Uygur

New CBS News poll out confirms every other poll we’ve seen on the topic – the American people are solidly against tax cuts for the rich.

53% of respondents said there should only be tax cuts for the middle class and no tax cuts for people making over $250,000. That’s the number most people in the media are using, but that’s not quite accurate. Another 14% said they don’t want tax cuts for anybody, including the top bracket. So, the reality is that an overwhelming 67% of the country don’t want tax cuts for the rich (including 52% of Republican voters!). Only 26% said that everyone should get a tax cut, including the rich.

So, let’s do the math for people who are a little slow. That’s 67% to 26%. That’s a crushing 41% lead. If it was an election, that margin would be so large they would think it was rigged. The group that doesn’t want tax cuts for the rich is more than two and half times the group that does.

If that weren’t enough, there is an internal memo being sent around to Democrats on the Hill by Anzalone Liszt Research that shows that 77% of Americans would let the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire if the extra money went toward helping small businesses and balancing the budget. 77%!!!

Now, as a politician, how stupid do you have to be on the other side of this issue?  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Why Can’t We Be the Job Creators?

9:10 pm in Government by Cenk Uygur

Civilian Conservation Corp workers in east Washington State during the 1930s - paid by the U.S. Government. (photo: Pictoscribe via Flickr)

The Republicans always use the excuse that we have to give the rich huge tax cuts because they are the “job creators.” Of course, the reality is that giving tax cuts to the rich is the very worst way of getting more money into the economy. The multiplier effect for tax cuts for the wealthy is the lowest of almost any stimulative program the government can try.

Plus, if they are creating jobs, it isn’t here. The money is flowing out of the country and into developing markets at an incredible rate. Between 2002 and 2008, the Bush tax cuts equaled $1.3 trillion. The amount of money leaving the United States in the form of investment in developing countries in that same time period — $1.9 trillion. It can be argued that all of the tax cuts to the rich went out of the country and then some (of course, it’s a little more complicated than that but obviously a huge portion of the extra money went into investment abroad).

So, if jobs are being created through tax cuts it’s probably in Shanghai or Mumbai. So, the Republican answer now is to give … more tax cuts to the rich. They want to give $700 billion in tax cuts to the top bracket over the next ten years. I have a revolutionary idea instead.

How about instead of giving the money to the rich and hoping that they create jobs, we just create the jobs! Imagine what we could build and how much good we could do for the country if we used that extra $700 billion to actually hire people directly. Imagine how many jobs that could create.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

The Big Republican Lie on Tax Cuts

3:18 am in Uncategorized by Cenk Uygur

Republicans have repeated the lie that tax cuts are always good for the economy so often that all of Washington seems absolutely convinced that it’s true. The conventional wisdom is so established on this that all a Republican has to say is, "Everyone knows you don’t raise taxes in the middle of a recession …" Or in good times or in mediocre times or ever. All tax cuts are always good.

Republicans add another layer of absurdity to this as they say that tax cuts always lead to more revenue for the federal government because of supply-side economics. The economy expands, people make more money and the government collects more in taxes even though it takes a smaller percentage. Great theory – how about if we cut taxes down to 1%? Would the government still get more revenue?

The question isn’t whether tax cuts or tax increases are always the right answer. The question is at what level of taxes to do we stimulate the economy, collect enough revenue to run a functioning government and let people keep as much of their income as we can. No one, not even the world’s biggest liberal, wants to pay more in taxes personally. We just want to find the right balance so that everyone wins.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →