Saturday, February 7, 2009

Will Obama Be a Great Republican President, Time for the NoBull Party

I always said that Bush was a great Democratic president, in the sense that he was a great president for the Democratic party.

It turns out that Obama may be a great president for the Republican party, as evidenced by his administrations first two weeks in office. First the Daschle debacle, as described in The New York Times, Republicans Seize on Nominees’ Tax Problems:

"[T]he succession of Obama nominees who failed to pay all of their taxes handed the Republicans a simple, powerful and possibly enduring argumentin future tax debates. “It is easy for the other side to advocate for higher taxes,” Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Republican whip, told a party retreat last weekend, “because you know what? They don’t pay them.”That’s become a common refrain in conservative circles in recent days:

Senator Jim DeMint, a South Carolina Republican, on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday: “I can see now why liberals don’t mind if the tax rate goes up, because they’re not going to pay it anyway.”

Roger Hedgecock, a California radio talk show host, on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” on CNN: “It came down to a situation where the American public realized the Democrats who always want to raise taxes on people didn’t want to particularly pay the taxes on people.”

Sean Hannity on his Fox News Channel talk show: “I guess the reason Democrats want to raise taxes, use class warfare, attack corporations is because they take everyone else’s money and redistribute it. But they themselves don’t pay taxes, so there’s no reason for them to worry about tax increases, right?”"

Now a messy stimulus bill for an economic mess, which has empowered the Republi-cons (who as I say again are largely at fault for this mess), as described in The New York Times, The Gang System:

"Barack Obama is a potentially transformational figure. In political style and intellectual outlook, he is unlike anything that has come before. On matters of policy substance, however, he’s been pretty conventional. The policies he offered during the campaign matched those of just about every other Democrat.

So an important question for the Obama presidency is this: Will his transformational style eventually lead to transformational policies, or will his conventional policies eventually force him to shelve his transformational style?

In the first major episode of his administration, the stimulus package, the conventional policies so far have won. The Obama administration sent a series of stimulus principles to Capitol Hill and allowed the Old Bulls in the House and Senate to write legislation. They produced sprawling bills that gathered dozens of traditional liberal ideas. The resulting bills would have been no different if Nancy Pelosi had been elected president, or Harry Reid, or any other conventional Democrat.

The substance of the legislation set up the polarized debate that followed. Liberal interest groups were happy. Conservative Republicans were united in opposition. But something interesting happened this week. The momentum of the debate was set by moderates. Conservative protests wouldn’t have amounted to much without nagging moderate unease."

I think the two major parties have pretty much shown us the limits of form and fluff, and after Iraq and the economy, the lack of substance.

I think it is time for the NoBull Party. Want to join me?

Incompetence Tax

Great idea from The New York Times, Please Raise My Taxes

"This week, President Obama proposed imposing a $500,000 compensation cap on companies seeking a bailout. It’s a terrible idea. We all want the taxpayers’ money returned, and capping compensation at bailout recipients will just make it that much harder for those boards to hire and hold on to the executives who can lead their companies to compete and thrive.

Perhaps a starting place for “tax, not shame” would be creating a top federal marginal tax rate of 50 percent on all income above $1 million per year. Some will tell you that would reduce the incentive to earn but I don’t see that as likely. Besides, half of a giant compensation package is still pretty huge, and most of our motivation is the sheer challenge of the job anyway.

Instead of trying to shame companies and executives, the president should take advantage of our success by using our outsized earnings to pay for the needs of our nation."

Which gave me the idea for the incompetent tax. When the government needs a lot of money to bailout an industry, tax the executives in that industry to pay for the bailout, and provide for a retroactive application of the tax.

In other words, you break it, you buy it (or fix it in this case).

P.S. Sometimes a little humor helps make a point: