Daily Archives: September 22, 2018

Why Government Needs to Tax, and Why Government needs to Spend

There are two important things we have to understand about federal government taxation and federal government spending. Just because I mention these two things in the same post, don’t get hung up on the false premise that you cannot do one without doing the other. It may be better to do both, but it is not essential to do one before the other.

  1. The federal government needs to control the misspending in the private sector by the obscenely wealthy
  2. The federal government needs to make investments in society that are not profitable for the private sector to make

With the current level of economic disparity, the obscenely wealthy have so much money that they can’t find useful places to invest their money. They end up inflating the value of stocks and other assets to the point of creating a bubble that must burst at some point in time. The obscenely wealthy’s hoarding of money prevents the rest of us from having enough money to buy the things we need and keep others (and ourselves) employed. Taxing the wealth and not giving trillions of dollars to the already rich is one way to exert this control. Making sure the rest of us have some money is not helped by cutting the budget for government services the rest of us use.

There are investments in infrastructure, education, and health care that a society needs. These are not investments that are profitable for the private sector to make. These necessities really need to be provided at cost rather than being hugely profitable to the rich. Only the federal government can make these investments in the way most beneficial to the society.

Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9” Aims Not at Trump But at Those Who Created the Conditions That Led to His Rise

The Intercept has the article Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9” Aims Not at Trump But at Those Who Created the Conditions That Led to His Rise.

The following quote from the article explains why it is worth seeing Michael Moore’s movie. What was Obama thinking when he stole hope from the people of Flint? Until I read this, I wasn’t sure I wanted to see the movie.

One of the most illuminating pieces of reporting about the 2016 election is also, not coincidentally, one of the most ignored: interviews by the New York Times with white and African-American working-class voters in Milwaukee who refused to vote and – even knowing that Trump won Wisconsin, and thus the presidency, largely because of their decision – don’t regret it. “Milwaukee is tired. Both of them were terrible. They never do anything for us anyway,” the article quotes an African-American barber, justifying his decision not to vote in 2016 after voting twice for Obama.

Moore develops the same point, even more powerfully, about his home state of Michigan, which – like Wisconsin – Trump also won after Obama won it twice. In one of the most powerful and devastating passages from the film – indeed, of any political documentary seen in quite some time – “Fahrenheit 11/9″ takes us in real-time through the indescribably shameful water crisis of Flint, the criminal cover-up of it by GOP Governor Rick Snyder, and the physical and emotional suffering endured by its poor, voiceless, and overwhelmingly black residents.

After many months of abuse, of being lied to, of being poisoned, Flint residents, in May, 2016, finally had a cause for hope: President Obama announced that he would visit Flint to address the water crisis. As Air Force One majestically lands, Flint residents rejoice, believing that genuine concern, political salvation, and drinkable water had finally arrived.

Exactly the opposite happened. Obama delivered a speech in which he not only appeared to minimize, but to mock, concerns of Flint residents over the lead levels in their water, capped off by a grotesquely cynical political stunt where he flamboyantly insisted on having a glass of filtered tap water that he then pretended to drink, but in fact only used to wet his lips, ingesting none of it.

A friendly meeting with Gov. Snyder after that – during which Obama repeated the same water stunt – provided the GOP state administration in Michigan with ample Obama quotes to exploit to prove the problem was fixed, and for Flint residents, it was the final insult. “When President Obama came here,” an African-American community leader in Flint tells Moore, “he was my President. When he left, he wasn’t.”

Like the unregretful non-voters of Milwaukee, the collapsed hope Obama left in his wake as he departed Flint becomes a key metaphor in Moore’s hands for understanding Trump’s rise. Moore suggests to John Podesta, who seems to agree, that Hillary lost Michigan because, as in Wisconsin, voters, in part after seeing what Obama did in Flint, concluded it was no longer worth voting.