My Opinion

The fundamental progressive mindset-Elizabeth Warren is a prime example

I admit it, the progressive ideology sounds very appealing; do everything that is best for average people and do it at the expense of the “wealthy” and corporations and with no consequences and very limited personal responsibility. Oh, if only the world worked that way. 

Following are two quotes from Sen Warren perhaps the leading progressive in Congress. Note that she agrees the deficit is a problem, but her solution is not as she implies; making choices about spending, but rather raising taxes and spending more. Look at her words, she wants some to pay more to keep investing in our future, but what happened with her concern for the deficit?  What has been achieved by all the investing we have done for decades? 

Forget the deficit, what about the national $20 trillion and growing debt and the interest payments on it, billions upon billions that could be used more productively. 

Why do Republicans often mention Social Security and Medicare in the context of spending? Simply because that is where the bulk of non-discretionary government spending is and growing daily. 

Seniors consume more of Americas wealth than any other single group. We seniors had a lifetime to prepare for our old age. We made choices along the way, some not so good and as a result society is now responsible and we should take more from or children and grandchildren?  Where is it written Americans should not be responsible for their life decisions (yes, of course there are people with unfortunate valid exceptions)?

Never mind funding more spending with higher taxes or even cutting the deficit, higher taxes are needed just to keep these two programs sustainable as is let alone with increased benefits as many progressives seek. 

Someone had asked me how we were going to tackle the deficit, and in my response I got a little wound up. We hear about the deficit as if it’s a monster and America’s only choice is to slash and burn huge swaths of our budget immediately or face total destruction. All or nothing, live or die.

Yes, the deficit is a problem, and it deserves serious attention, but I don’t buy that there’s only one way out. I think we have to face a more fundamental issue first: How we spend our government’s money is about values, and it’s about choices. We could cut back on what we spend on seniors and kids and education, as the Republicans in Congress insisted we should. Or we could get rid of tax loopholes and ask the wealthy and big corporations to pay a little more and keep investing in our future. How we spend our money isn’t some absurdly complicated math problem. It’s about choices.

Source: A Fighting Chance, by Elizabeth Warren, p.214-5 , Apr 22, 2014

And then there is the old progressive story about the great recession.  Dangerous actions by banks you say? Okay, right, banks bundled bad risk loans and sold them and when homeowners stopped paying mortgages the investments went sour. 

But progressives like Sen Warren ignore the first half and most important part of the story. What about homeowners who took mortgages they could never afford (and then claim they were talked into or told what they could afford)? What about government pushing sub-prime lending as part of a policy to promote homeownership? What about homeowners who used their equity like a cash machine? What about irresponsible government and individuals?  

We didn’t need a cop or more regulations to prevent a crash, we needed common sense from bureaucrats, politicians and average citizens and if we had had that no bank would have any ability to do what it did with mortgage-backed securities. 

Financial crisis due to deregulation, not boom-bust cycle

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, I’d quoted his remark that a financial crisis every 5 to 7 years was inevitable and given my own blunt assessment: He was wrong. The real cause of the crash was not some inevitable cycle; this crash was the direct consequence of years of deliberate deregulation and the resulting dangerous actions of the big banks. I’d repeated this view multiple times, saying we needed a cop on the beat to make sure that a crash didn’t happen again.

Source: A Fighting Chance, by Elizabeth Warren, p.177 , Apr 22, 2014

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The progressive ideology is incomplete, it is appealing but naive and it fails to consider consequences or human nature. And don’t compare us to other countries a fraction of our size and with very different cultures. Americans have no desire to live like most average Europeans whether they know it or not. 

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4 replies »

  1. And then there is Phil Murphy, a multi-millionaire running for NJ governor. The 2nd highest taxed state in the union.

    “His agenda includes increasing the minimum wage to $15 and hour; implementing sick leave for all making college more affordable; reinstating funding for Planned Parenthood; and addressing the state’s affordable housing crisis.”

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    • Murphy is a Jon Corzine clone who will get NJ into trouble again with tax increases on the wealthy and increased spending as well. No wonder why many are fleeing the state into other better tax situations like South Carolina and Florida.Met a former NJ resident the other day and he mentioned that he only pays about $1,000 a year in property taxes for a home near Hilton Head vs his Morris County property tax of more than $12,000 per year. Essex County would probably be over$15,000 a year.

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      • I pay “$14,500 in NJ on a 90 year old house on a 50×120 lot and $2,000 on a house in Mass on over a third of an acre for a bigger house.

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  2. Dick, you need to look up our past discussion of the 2008 recession and housing crisis. You’ll find quips like those of former congressman Barney Frank who wanted to “roll the dice” and offer more taxpayer support for risky loans to unqualified borrowers. Or maybe Senator Chris Dodd who personally got sweetheart loan deals from banks. And, yes, these are the same legislators who created the Dodd-Frank bill which leaves us just as exposed to risk today.

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