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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Greider suggests looking elsewhere

The Nation magazine columnist and economist William Greider has written a very important article which ought to wake progressives up to the reality that the President is no longer our guy. What we don't need is a primary challenge to Obama. What we do need is Ron Paul to give up on the idea that GOP voters are going to give him the respect he deserves. Libertarians and progressives both need to suspend their dreams of enacting anything with less than a super majority. We get nothing over the next 5 years if we can't form this coalition. The deal is simple and progressives in power need to grab Dr. Paul and hash it out: Major cuts in the empire with savings split evenly between  debt reduction and peaceful green infrastructure. Here's the article: http://www.thenation.com/article/162337/obamas-bad-bargain#comment-884415

Friday, July 29, 2011

Insanity leaves us no choice

I know this is the strangest reason to vote for Ron Paul but when  budget cutting during a time of 9 % unemployment and anemic job growth is all that both parties talk about, we must face reality: Cuts are coming and they are going to hurt. Since they are coming, let's put the worst first: empire building and maintenance through 100s of overseas bases, endless weapons systems for wars we will never fight, wars that we supposedly are not fighting, wars on drugs,subsidies for international corporations, etc. Only 2 candidates are advocating significant cuts in all of these items: Ron Paul and Gary Johnson. Let's make the latter the VP of the former by persuading Ron Paul to name his cabinet now with a list that includes the likes of Kucinich, Sanders, McKinney at the top.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Blue Republican strategy debated...my response...

Fascinating argument. I guess we will know after SC what strategy is working and what is not. I'm an amateur so I'll not pretend to be an authority but it seems to me that Ron Paul will have to compete against a cultural conservative and a neo-con/establishment candidate. I think if the party sees him finishing 2nd or better in 2 of the 3 first states, there will be an incredible surge to demonize him in the slickest commercials ever run in a primary. Gigantic wads of money will get pushed in the pocket of the establishment candidate and the cultural conservative will be sweet talked and ne're a discouraging word will be said against her in any situation or ad. Given this scenario, Ron Paul will need every Republican he can get but I doubt very seriously that a conventional strategy will work. There has to be a significant wave of progressives to come on board. I do mean progressives because the moderate Dems and independents are less likely than progressives to embrace Paul.
On the other hand the Blue Republican Facebook page is I suspect a libertarian created page and mostly liked by life time libertarians or supporters of Paul who were converted during the last election. The strategy of trying to convert progressives to libertarians so they will vote for Ron Paul will not work. Imagine if Romney were president now and Kucinich supporters were telling libertarians come vote for our candidate and he will end the war and restore civil liberties. There's not enough bait on the hook. However, if Kucinich said that he would devote 50% of the money saved on drawing down the empire to debt reduction so that we have a net reduction in the overall size of government, libertarians would begin to at least listen. Let's then say that Kucinich offered a pledge to reduce taxes for 98 percent of the population beyond the current Bush rates. The listening then starts turning to movement. Then Kucinich says I promise that all revenue gained from increasing taxes on the top 2% will go exclusively to debt reduction. Now we have a candidate who wants to end the empire building and maintenance, restore civil liberties, lower taxes, reduce the size of government and significantly pay down our national debt. Now the Libertarian is faced with this opportunity to support a candidate who is endorsing a great deal more of the libertarian agenda than the incumbent and certain party nominee. Looking down the primary ballot she sees no competitive races involving a libertarian Republican... what is she going to do?
The man himself has got to clarify just how sweet the pot is if he is going to get the extra numbers he needs to win a nomination which will be fought in a way that makes Rove look like a dove. If you really want to know how to talk to a progressive about switching parties here's how:http://progressivesforronpaul.blogspot.com/

Friday, July 22, 2011

An idea

Our tax code is riddled with loopholes for those who can afford it to escape taxation and undermined what is supposed to be a progressive structure of taxation. We need something much simpler and Robert Frank's idea of a progressive consumption tax http://www.democracyjournal.org/8/6591.php is the best idea I have seen to do this in the simplest way possible.

I would want to supplement Frank's proposal in an even more progressive way by still providing incentives for work, savings and socially constructive investment without all the paper work. Why not give everyone a Resident Earned Income Tax Credit Voucher (REITCV) card. The amount on your card would be progressively dependent upon your earned income. Let's say your first $25 K of earned income from the previous year would be matched at a rate of 40%, the next $50K at 30%, the next $100K at 20%, the next $200K at 10%, the next $400K at 5% and all earned income above that at 1%. These margins could, of course, be modified.

There are several advantages to such a system. Among these, work would be encouraged as well as the full reporting of all earned income. Incentives to do positive things like get an education or buy a home could continue and even if politicians invented esoteric items for purchase with your REITCV card, there would be an absolute limit based on your earned income as to how much one could purchase with higher income persons having a smaller percentage of income allowed on their REITCV card. With a robustly progressive consumption tax, this is bound to increase revenue as it encourages honest reporting of all income, reinforces the incentive to work and provides lower paid workers with greater income to use for purchasing products and services which will strengthen their ability to earn and save more.

Much more could be said but just think of how politically popular these would be with the American people who are sick and tired of the headache of spending much needed time and money to find out how little they are worth and how much they owe. Why not relieve them of this burden while rewarding them for all of their hard work with substantially raised purchasing and saving power?

Friday, July 15, 2011

What if...

We live in an age of faux bi-partisanship which turns out to be the expediency of the lowest common denominator. Ron Paul has displayed a brave penchant for real bipartisanship when he works with a Kucinich, a Frank, a Sanders, etc. when most Republicans would avoid being seen in the same room with such leftists. He does so because, when he finds common ground to advance the principles he believes in, he's not going to let conventional political wisdom stand in the way. We also live in a time of great crisis. Our nation has run out of money fighting unjust wars and our culture is tempted toward fascism with corporatism being the precursor. 

Given the urgency of the hour, Ron Paul ought to step out of bounds in a big way. When a district or a state has only neo-cons running in the primaries for House or Senate and there are, in the same states or districts, progressive Democrats taking on corporatist Democrats, Ron Paul ought to endorse the progressive Democrat. 

Such cross-party endorsements would help him in two ways: First, it sends a clear signal to progressive Democrats in other districts and states that he intends to run a coalition government in his first term, thus giving them an added incentive to vote in the Republican primary. Second, if progressive Democrats can win from having Paul's endorsement, they will also get Obama's endorsement in the general election, thus increasing the likelihood of having a cooperative congress to pass the deal I describe several times in this blog. Of course, in the general election Ron Paul ought to endorse the progressive Democrat when there is not a libertarian Republican in the race. 

This is not conventional strategy. It will confuse the media who have turned politics into sports entertainment, and it will infuriate bosses and banks in both parties who know they own the show. However, voters will be intrigued and after they get to hear from the Doctor why he is prescribing this strange medicine, many Americans will take it. We certainly need a different medicine than the one we've been taking.  Ron Paul is the right person to prescribe the right medicine. And we to his left are listening to what the Doctor has to say.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Libertarians taking the lead in this strategy...

...is a mixed blessing. As a first step Robin Koerner's articles on Blue Republicans and the new Facebook  page dedicated to the same are helpful. They show libertarian hospitality to progressives, a welcome difference from the demonization we get from typical GOPers. However it would be more helpful if Koerner and other libertarian hosts would try to think about how a progressives respond to all the common ground talk of civil liberties and ending wars.

Progressives are likely to think, "I'm glad we have this common ground but we are worried that what you want to do is get our votes and then gut social security, medicare, and the rest of the New Deal and Great Society. Obama is far from perfect but at least he has begun a significant draw down in Iraq and is starting a reversal in Afghanistan. We would rather take the chance that America sees the Republican party for what it really is in 2012, and once an anti-war, progressive congress is in place, you can come on board and help us to roll back the military industrial complex and restore our civil liberties."

I am apt to agree with libertarians that Obama's track record represents who he will be until 2016. He is going to keep a significant force in Iraq, many of them hidden as military contractors. He is also likely to continue a counter terrorism strategy in Pakistan and nation building in Afghanistan. He has shown no signs of wanting to draw down forces in the other 400 plus foreign bases. Heaven help us if he gets inspired by winning in Libya.

Even if Obama's wishes are more progressive than his policies, he needs 60 progressive Senators to get anything progressive done. Unfortunately, the American people are not likely to give progressives a bigger victory in 2012 than they did in 2008.

Libertarians may shake their heads and throw up there hands given progressives' unrealistic hopefulness toward President Obama. That's also understandable but rather than stick with the same selfish game of flirtation liberals and libertarians have been at with each other for decades, why not offer a little bit more incentive?

Ron Paul's transition plan offers a template of how to reach out beyond the usual "do it my way and you'll be happy" game, and I suspect that he is willing to tweak it a bit to get the nation where he wants it to be in 2016.  The tweak he needs is to expand on what that 50% of savings can be spent on. He opens the door by saying he is willing to use it for entitlements. If he promises not to veto any bill that uses it for other domestic purposes such as block grant funding to states and localities for green projects, he will awaken multitudes of progressives who are beginning to see that Obama will not or cannot provide the funding the peaceful green economy needs.

Rather than avoiding the tricky economic issues so as to be a good host, Koerner and other hosts who long for the libertarian utopia ought to take a cue from Ron Paul's realistic side. The principle is: don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. A good coalition economic agreement might look something like this:

During Ron Paul's 2013-2017 presidential term, we want to see an annual average of 1 trillion dollars reallocated from projected spending on war, military, security, drug wars, foreign military bases, etc. Half of this must be used to pay down national debt. The other half must be spent on social security, medicare, medicaid, green infrastructure or block grants to states based on population. Any new revenues arising from tax reform or economic growth must also be used to pay down national debt. Cost of living increases for entitlements must be granted throughout these 4 years. Any other savings from reductions in spending must be apportioned in the same manner as above.

Such a coalition covenant does not have to extend beyond 4 years. It would significantly reduce the overall size of government in accordance with Ron Paul's transition plan. It provides for an honest conversation about real tax reform. According to both libertarian and progressive economic thinking, it should create jobs on a much larger scale than is happening now.  It likely puts the alternative before America of a truly libertarian plan versus a truly progressive plan in 2016 instead of the same old rerun of liberal corporatist against conservative corporatist.

Keep at the nice talk about what we already agree on and libertarian hosts will win a few of us over but not enough to get Ron Paul the nomination. Just think if the same coalition covenant were proposed by Bernie Sanders against Mitt Romney. Surely you would support the socialist while holding out hope for better things in 2016.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Expanding the strategy

If you want to know the full strategy check this out first:

We need to expand the strategy to find Ron Paul Republicans to run in the house and senate primaries and when there is a competitive down ticket race between a blue dog and a progressive on the Democratic side, ask Democrats to stay put and get Ron Paul to endorse the progressive if there is not going to be a libertarian  candidate nominated in that same state or district.

If Ron Paul can find some progressives to nominate, he will send the right signal to the left and get more to jump ship. In cases where there is no chance of a libertarian winning in the primary, vote for the extremist so that the Democrat wins the general election. The goal is to get a 60+ vote majority coalition of progressives and libertarians in the US Senate to dismantle the military empire building and maintenance budgets.

Follow up 8/15/2011... I see that this post is getting a lot more attention. Progressives like Sanders and Kucinich need to start thinking seriously about endorsing Paul if Paul will agree to endorse progressives in Democratic primaries where neo -cons have the GOP primaries locked up.

Follow up 8-16-2011  Here is another post that elaborates a bit more on this expanded strategy with an interesting discussion in the comments section: http://progressivesforronpaul.blogspot.com/2011/07/what-if.html?showComment=1311765212201#c4417197615767618775

If not then here's plan B: http://progressivesforronpaul.blogspot.com/2011/08/plan-b-since-it-looks-like-we-might.html

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Once again...

This is a bit off topic, but President Obama and the Democrats are once more wanting the world to know that they are politically brain dead. There is an easy way to win the tax debate with the Republicans but they are fixated on bipartisan budget cutting and "reforming" of the tax code. They talk about simplification and closing loopholes. Both sound well and good but this sort of talk comes up every 10 years and what minor changes get enacted are soon undermined.

This time they think they are going to be clever and reduce marginal rates while closing loopholes. It will be popular and when Republicans agree to a diluted version of it, who do you think will get the credit?

A better plan involves three components. First, instead of closing loopholes, just cap them. Call it the loophole limit lock box. Put an absolute limit on the total value of all deductions, exemptions and credit. Make it be say, 100K. Sell it by saying to the American people, "You know the fat cats' lobbyist and accountants are going to find a wiggle space so that if we close one loophole they will find another way out. So we are saying wiggle and make as many holes as you want but no matter what you take you're not getting a break of more than twice what average Americans make."

Second, reduce the number of margins to three numbers we can all remember: 10, 20, and 30.  In addition impose a 10% surtax on all annual consumption over 1 million dollars. No way can they scream  that Democrats are punishing "job creators" because these supposed job creators actually get a cut in their income taxes and get to keep more of their income if they invest rather than spend it.

Third, double the values of exemption, basic deduction and child tax credit and/or give tax payers the opportunity to replace their April paper work with a resident earned income tax credit voucher card (REITCV). Base this on the previous year's earned income like this: The first 25K in earned income gets a 40% ( up to $10000) credit on their REITCV card. The next 50K in earned income is rewarded with 30% up to $15000. The next $100K in earned income gets 20% up to $20000. The next $200K gets 10% up to $20000. The next $400K gets 5% up to $20000.  All earned income above that gets 1% on the REITCV cards.

All of these measures truly simplify the tax code, encourage work and savings and does so in a progressive way. The REITCV card encourages reporting at all levels of income and maintains popular and productive incentives for things like education, home buying, energy efficiency, etc. Nobody is talking about such ideas because their brains are in park. All they know how to say is "targeted" tax cuts. Target away. It means you and I get shot and none of us are included in on any of the benefits. I, like millions of other nobodies, am wasting cyber breath.