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Friday, October 21, 2016

WASHINGTON — Finding a way out of our current political impasse requires some agreement on what problems we need to solve. If anything should unite left, center and right, it is the value of work and the idea, in Bill Clinton’s signature phrase, that those who “work hard and play by the rules” ought to be rewarded for their efforts.

This is why one of last week’s most important and least noted political events was the introduction of the 21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). Murray favors a minimum-wage increase to $10.10 an hour, but she also has other ideas that would help Americans at the bottom of the income structure to earn more.

Let’s start with principles, and then move to specifics.

There’s a new vogue among conservatives: to talk less about entrepreneurs and to stop talking altogether about “makers” and “takers.” Instead, many of the wisest heads on the right are urging a focus on work. The new emphasis reflects a realization that President Obama won in 2012 in large part because Mitt Romney and his party failed to convey empathy for those who live on wages and salaries.

An early champion of this view was Ramesh Ponnuru, a writer for National Review. “The Republican story about how societies prosper — not just the Romney story — dwelt on the heroic entrepreneur stifled by taxes and regulations,” he wrote shortly after the election. It is, Ponnuru added, “an important story with which most people do not identify.”

Writing earlier this year in National Affairs magazine, Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center was more biting. “Modern conservatives,” he argued, “have tended to discount the moral value of the average person, focusing instead on extolling the moral superiority of the great.”

Two other conservative thinkers, Reihan Salam and Rich Lowry, say the antidote is for Republicans to become “the party of work.” As they see it, work “stands for a constellation of values and, like education, is universally honored.” The GOP, they said, “should extol work and demand it.”

Yes, that last phrase — “demand it” — could lead to a darker kind of politics involving the demonization of those who simply can’t find jobs. Thus did Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) get into trouble for mourning “this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working.”

  • What they’ll do instead is lie about what is in the Workers Tax Cut Act (or they’ll kick and scream that “Workers” is a code word for “Socialism”).

    We know this because that was what they did about the Affordable Care Act. They couldn’t offer any possible excuse whatsoever for opposing the bill (except for those brave few who flat out admitted they just didn’t want Obama to have any signature accomplishments), so they made up reasons about government takeover, insurance premiums and the infamous “death panels.”

    If anything, the WTCA will probably be opposed even more. 21st century Republicans aren’t just apathetic to the working poor — they practically regard them as enemies who must be destroyed. Poor people, after all, tend to lean to the left, and if we’ve learned anything from the immigration reform “debate,” it’s that the G.O.P. would consider it a perfect world if every subcategory of Americans that typically leans to the left wasn’t allowed to vote.

    In this way, crushing poverty is actually one of the G.O.P.’s goals. Every single life saved by the Affordable Care Act is one more vote that will be counted against them, as will be every minimum wage worker uplifted from poverty enough that they can afford to pay attention to politics in America.

    • paulyz

      But the Republicans are correct about Obamacare, how it is costing regular, hard-working Americans dearly. Many lost their jobs, many more will, & the costs of premiums has risen greatly, many lost their health care AND Doctor, while instead of saving the “promised” $2500, they pay more. Everyone knows that Obamacare was rammed through by LIES!!! And it will get worse. Why can’t you just admit that, most Democrat Congressmen know it?

      • Daniel Jones

        As you spouted Faux Noise lies to decry so-called lies and even did an “everyone knows” guano pile bullshit bucketful of hogwash, I have flagged your crap as offensive.

        Have a nice day.

      • pisces63

        I work for a health insurance complay. I watched as one by on they changed their coverage to higher deductible plans. Up to $6,500 family yearly deductible until they pay on a 80/20, 90/20 or in some case 70/30 co-pay plans, depending on the group. The group determines your plan not the insurance complay under insured plans. Self-pay groups like USSteel, Alcoa, Ford, Chevey,etc., determine their own coverage and THEY pay for it. The same for public employees, self pay. Their claims are paid out of their ORS plans as well as their pensions. Not the insurance companies. No one lost a job except for a lot of underwriters, which if the companies were honest and not trying to make this president look bad, they could have found them another place in 5 years. No one rammed anything down anyone’s throat. They had a majority vote and trying to get something going/passed in 80+ years, is finalizing, not ramming. IF Nixon had not had Watergate/resignation, HE would have had one passed. He was a staunch believer in this insurance WITH a single payer. Where would you/we be then? I read the original version and then, the finalized one. Printed them out took, it home and read it. Did you? No, of course not, you listened to liars instead of reading the real deal. Those that lost coverage or jobs were deliberately put into that position to make a black president look bad. He did not sell one plan, underwrite any, collect any premiums and paid not one claim. Now, explain how he caused a loss of jobs? Black man in the room, blame him. Susan Smith. Man in Boston. Illinois has a moratorium on the death penalty because DA’s railroaded so many people of color to death row, with forged evidence, covered proof of innocence, paid liars, they are STILL overturning bogus trials. If there is a black person in smelling distance blame them. One of the outer ring suburbs, here in Ohio, majority white, has an FBI probe going about public corruption from buying prostitutes, money laundering, from the Mayor down. When the story came out, all the white written letters to the editor, ranting about corruption, just targeted Cleveland’ s black mayor, who has/had done nothing, maybe 2 out of 10 about the white oficcials in the story. It really is in your DNA, isn’t it?

        • CherMoe

          Thank you for an excellent and true comment. I am in Ohio, as well.

      • Dennis Mullins

        pauly2, every thing you have said above is absolutely untrue except some people did lose their Insurance. Noooo they do not pay more, neither has Insurance gone up because of Obama care. Quit trying to Bull Sh** the people. It was not rammed through, it was approved at all levels of Government.You do not know that it will get worse. 6M signed up and climbing!

        • Sand_Cat


      • rzinny1

        IF it was rammed through it was because Obama promised that there would be a health care program . And instead of the lazy GOP constructing a better health care, for the past 26 years. Their great brain trust decided to fight it in the supreme court and LOST. GOP is a party for the rich, dumb and lazy. Most of their ivy- league degrees were bought not earned.

      • raginyank

        The ACA will only get worse if the opposition never works towards a common goal of making it work for everybody; like the rest of the civilized world. It is amazing that the GOP likes to tout US greatness and yet when there is a difficult task facing the US they recoil and say it can not be done.

      • Which is kind of like blaming Obama for Putin invading Crimea. Or, in terms a tea-bagger would understand, like blaming the NRA for Sandy Hook.

        It’s not Obama’s fault that some corporations were so sour about losing that they took it out on their employees.

      • Sand_Cat


      • JPHALL

        Prove what you say. Otherwise you are just another Republican troll lying about Obama. As for other Democrats, politicians always squirm when they do not know the outcome and are facing re-election.

      • CherMoe

        BULL. The LIES are all on the part of Republicans! I have watched the private insurance go up every year BEFORE President’ Obama’s health care plan took effect. I paid for my own coverage under my husband’s plan at work. First it went up 7%, then up another 10% and the third year before my husband died, it went up ANOTHER 15%. After he died I had to pay for COBRA was cost me a hefty penny. That was in 2008. Before the Obama health care plan, my insurance was up to $500 a month, then went DOWN because of the Obamacare. This year, however, it went up. HOWEVER, I called to apply for the new health care under the ACA and was told I could reduce my insurance premiums from $560 a month (private insurance with $5,000 deductible, then pays 50%, then another $5,000 OUT OF POCKET. It pays for NOTHING) down to a little over $100 PER MONTH. That’s a SAVINGS OF OVER $400 PER MONTH UNDER OBAMACARE.

        So you, my friend, are full of horse crap.

      • Dominick Vila

        When my eldest son decided to start his own business he had no choice but to try to get healthcare insurance on his own. He was quoted $1,700 a month for a family plan, in part because he is type 1 diabetic. When the Obamacare exchanges became available he applied for a family plan and got one for $700.
        As it turns out, his latest attempt at self-employment was short lived and he now works for a company that offers healthcare coverage to their employees. That, by the way, is a circumstance that is seldom mentioned. The Obamacare options are often a temporary solution until the insured finds a job with a company that offers healthcare coverage. Nobody is being forced to do anything, and nobody is losing their jobs or their doctors because of Obamacare. Doctors don’t drop patients because they have insurance coverage or a better insurance plan.
        If you have a specific concern about Obamacare, why don’t you offer a viable alternative?

  • Dominick Vila

    I guess we should all be grateful by the fact that Republicans finally realized that the overwhelming majority of Americans are not takers and, instead, spend our lives struggling to make ends meet. Contrary to the perception that Republicans have been trying to portray during the last several years, most Americans don’t depend on government handouts, most of us work, pay taxes…and many are underpaid for our labor.
    Raising the minimum wage, keeping taxes at a level that does not stifle investment and credit, supporting government initiatives such as the Veterans Jobs Act, supporting investment in the modernization of our decrepit infrastructure, putting in place social program that lessen the financial burden that corporate-sponsored healthcare benefit represent for our corporations, policies that encourage investment at home instead of the financial and intellectual drain we have seen during the last several decades, and investing in education are part of the solution to achieve sustainable economic growth and job creation.
    I think it is important to note that the reason so many Americans – and people worldwide – have been displaced and are struggling to find work is because of the impact of automation, which reduced the reliance on a large labor force; new concepts and processes, such as shopping on line; and a focus on education to ensure our workforce is trained to fill the best jobs that our economy has to offer.

    • Independent1

      “I think it is important to note that the reason so many Americans – and people worldwide – have been displaced and are struggling to find work is because of the impact of automation, which reduced the reliance on a large labor force; new concepts and processes, such as shopping on line; and a focus on education to ensure our workforce is trained to fill the best jobs that our economy has to offer.”
      All the more reason, Dominick, that we absolutely need to get control of congress in 2016, if not in 2014, so America can be focused on developing more alternative energy sources, improving the nations’ infrastructure and educational methodologies, coming up with solutions to combat climate change which could open up a miriad of new industries and just plain moving the country further into the 21st century, instead of continuing the GOP’s nonsense agenda of trying to move America backward at least a century; while focusing on little more than recreating the past: like more energy exploration using technologies and principles that have long since been obsoleted and are disasterous for the planet.

      • Dominick Vila

        Absolutely. The jobs that were lost as a result of automation, outsourcing, and other reasons are not coming back. The option is to invest on things that cannot be outsourced, such as modernizing our infrastructure. Since the private sector has never been interested in infrastructure investment because return on investment is too low or non-existent, the only option is to let the public sector take the lead.

      • DurdyDawg

        Shhhh! The GOP framework is ‘OIL’ not alternative energies.. Not education.. both take away the promise of ‘OIL’ and infrastructure is borderline so long as it’s prime directive revolves around ‘OIL’.. What your proposing is GOP sacrilege which becomes an open door for more GOP lies and covert rumors.. Conservatives will never be satisfied until Obama and his liberal Democratic commies are out of office so that deregulation, unions and welfare programs can be eliminated without a hitch. Let the corporations regulate themselves? Look how they accomplished that perk in the 1930’s.. Oh for the good old days.

  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    Unfortunately, to the GOP, work means eliminating pesky things that inhibit someone’s ability to run a company the way they want to. Like eliminating minimum wage, vacations, unions, environmental protection, worker safety, liability insurance and other nuisances. That doesn’t even cover their feelings that any penny they must pay in taxes is a potential dollar removed from the pockets of the people who own the company.
    Like the Republican Congressman who said people who are looking for work should move to the States (theirs) where the jobs are. I guess they don’t remember during the Great Depression when thousands of families from the “dust belt” uprooted themselves to move to California, where they thought the jobs were, or when folks moved from the South to the Northeast because they thought the factories would hire them.

    • paulyz

      Even N.Y. that has been losing jobs & people leaving their State & city, endorsed the Republican answer by giving businesses a 10 year corporate tax break to remain in N.Y.! Even they understand that to have jobs, businesses need to be competitive in the Global Economy.

      • Dominick Vila

        Most “liberals” understand the need and benefits of creating a business friendly environment. What most liberals oppose is letting corporations that are posting tens of millions of dollars in profits pay no taxes on their earnings, giving subsidies to companies that are posting record profits and don’t need help from the public sector to prosper, and a tax code that allows the elite to pay little or no taxes while a single Mom working two jobs has to contribute to SS the entire year and is taxed for every dime she makes. Letting the elite claim dancing horses as a medical deduction, allowing the wealthiest members of our society to invest overseas and pay no taxes on their earnings, or stash their money in foreign banks to avoid paying Uncle Sam is not good business and does not contribute to economic growth and prosperity. At least not for the average Joe and our country.

        • BillP

          Don’t pay any attention to paulz, he writes the same ignorant comment day after day. He probably does a copy and paste so he doesn’t have to actually type his ridiculous comment.

    • Daniel Jones

      They don’t want anyone to REACH said states.. just try, die, and leave all their effects to the politicians in question.

  • paulyz

    Isn’t it the Democrats that just stated that “With Obamacare, people can escape from Job-Loc, to do whatever they please and not be tied down to a “job”? By the way, Liberals should like Paul Ryan, he is pushing for “another” Amnesty.

    • ProudACLU

      Where did you get the “fact” that liberals want amnesty?

      • gmccpa

        He has a lot of his own ‘facts’.

        • Independent1

          He’s a typical Republican who makes facts up as he goes along.

    • Grannysmovin

      Republicans are against: School Food Programs for kids, Food
      Stamp Programs and all programs for the poor, Healthcare for everyone, Social Security, Medicare, Same sex marriages and equality, Public Education, Science, Global Warming, Women’s Right to Choose, Veteran’s care, Equal pay for women, Violence against women, Every citizens right to vote regardless of color, gender and political affiliation, Raising the minimum wage, Head Start, and Separation between Church and State.

      Republican are for: Tax cuts for the wealthy, War, Subsidies for Corporate Farms, Subsidies for Oil Companies. They believe Corporations are people too, well send those Corporations to fight the wars you want.

      • DurdyDawg

        No! That’s when they will really believe their, “corporations are people too” BS as in a war they WILL send their workers (who are people) over.

    • Daniel Jones

      No, it is not. Also, you have shit spelling and *no-one* should like Paul Ryan, for any number of reasons. As is usual when you try to lie here, I’m flagging your tripe as offensive.

      Have A Nice Day.

    • guest

      Where did you get the stupid idea that the ACA caused people to not want to have a job??? The thing is that you are still listening to FOX and not paying attention to real fact. Those people that were being referred to are people of retirement age or very close who do NOT want to continue working but are “Job-Locked” due to health insurance reasons. They SHOULD be allowed to stop working when they choose. This has nothing to do with unemployment or unemployment insurance. It has to do with someone wishing to retire but can’t due to health insurance which they are locked to by their employer. The ACA stops that. Also, the majority of those jobs being opened up would need someone to fill those positions. So, in this way ACA is also creating new jobs for those who want them! You need to get out into the real world once in a while. How about this? Arrange a meeting with a bunch of your “liberal” relatives and just ask them questions that are perplexing your brain (most questions probably are), and see what their answers are. If you stop interrupting them and actually listen to them with your own ears and not those of FOX, you might actually learn something and realize FOX is not where you should get your news. I would suggest a new source and not an “opinion network”. FOX claimed that is all they were in front of the a court judge not all that long ago when confronted about telling lies as news. It’s ok though – they are not a news network.

      • Allan Richardson

        It also has to do with people who have saved up enough to start their own business, have the talent to be successful at it, and would rather run their own business than continue in their present jobs (ALL CONSERVATIVE GOALS!), but, unfortunately, could NOT get health insurance for them and their families because of “pre-existing conditions” without the group affiliation of their employers. Now, THESE people can quit their old jobs, leaving VACANCIES for others to fill, and become business owners, possibly at some time CREATING jobs for others, and stimulating the economy as well.

        • Independent1

          Important point! Thanks for bringing it out!

  • atc333

    It is a fact that higher taxes do not slow the economy. It is a fact that Cororate tax rates between catagories of corporations is grossly unfair. It is a fact that minimum wage today has less than 70% of the purchasing power it did 20 years ago. It is a fact that even with a larger portion of Americans not working, or living in poverty, Corporate America is still earning more profits than ever before. It is a fact that since the Reagan years, and tax cuts for job creators, and “deregulation” the top 2% have increased their ownership of all of America’s wealth to over 40% of everything, as the middle class shrinks, and now 47% of Americans are living in, below, or just above poverty levels. We have watched our infrastructure decline in quality and maintenance to now being rated as D+ compared to other Western nations.

    Somehow, GOP economic theory has worked wonderfully for the rich, and Corporate America. It is time for change. History has demonstrated that once a small group controls most of the wealth of a nation, that nation goes into decline. Why can’t or politicians begin to put nation and people first, instead of Party first.

    • Daniel Jones

      Not somehow.

      It is beneficial to them at the expense of everyone else by design, the better to set up a plutocratic ruling class.

    • DurdyDawg

      Because it’s difficult to ween yourself from an unlimited cash cow. Even when they’ve retired from the circuit they live like kings on taxpayers sweat and who would want to lose that for the sake of a nation full of so-called freeloaders?

  • pisces63

    It was republicans who did the OTHER amnesty, not democrats. Get a grip. To be serious and I know it is wrong, as a 65 year old black woman, I am laughing my butt off at you whining white people when it comes immigrqants, especially south of the border but not the rest. Pay back is a real mother. Guess what? Everytime a first nation group buys up more land and creates more banks, jobs, wealth for the native populace, I laugh even harder. People who do not work cannot get AHC. That would be medicaid, Already out there. Get it? My family and i work and are covered to a person with wonderful plans. Most from my place of employment. AHC was for people who had no coverage at work, were offered no coverage or like Wal-mart cut hours to keep their employees affording their plans. Not welfare people or non-workers. That is medicaid as it has been since I don’t know when. My family never used it. Now, the idiot republicans SAY they have one. LOLOLOL!! They don’t want the poor to vote or eat, do you really think they care if they get health care? They would prefer our tax dollars to pay $1billion a year to hospitals, in Ohio alone, for the uninsured, indigent, people who prefer not to buy it though can afford it and go to the ER. I work here, I KNOW what the average ER visit costs. I had to go for a medical emergency last year, that ER bill, though incorporated into the in hospital charges, was over $18,000 of the total charges. I have damned good insurance, though. My out of pocket just for the ER was a $100.00 deductible which was waived since I was admitted.

  • mike

    Paul Ryan is an asshole.

    • whodatbob

      Well put!

    • Carol

      How do we get the rest of the State of Wisconsin and United States to understand that. His buddy Governor Scott Walker is his equal…

    • JDavidS

      I would have said “fuckin’ little weasel bastard” but in the interest of brevity “asshole” works quite well!

  • elw

    The Republicans do not get it that we understand what they continue to say no matter how many times they reword their same old messages.

  • Bill

    Give me a break, the GOP cares less about people, all they want now is to get your vote and give you nothing in return. Are people really stupid enough to fall for this again?

    • JPHALL

      Unfortunately the answer is yes. Some people, “GOP/TP” especially, believe in an ideology and facts are not important to them,

  • bcarreiro

    define value republicans???

  • charles king

    People, America would not be in this kind of problem if our Unions had stayed honest with its workers and Not sold them out to the Plutocracts and Do Nothing Politicans. Wake-up America, your Democracy has been taking over by your States Plutocracts Who? has a lot of MONIES and Power. Thank You are the magic words in my book. I Love Ya All. Mr. C. E. KING

  • Faraday_Cat

    If they are going to “extol work…” maybe I will finally get an explanation of how dropping 1 million of your 2 billion into a “sure thing” investment and “earning” $50,000.00 can be considered WORK in any sense of the word.

    • DurdyDawg

      It’s not the money that makes them salivate, it’s the perks of owning a g’ment representative.. Some do put a million dollar price tag on being bought.. They thought they were the house when they gambled on Mittens and what they lost, they gained in tax breaks and consumer price gouging.. The hidden ones have made up for their losses ten-fold and now their looking for another political clown to (hopefully win thus) perform presidential tricks for them then they can finally scrap that idiotic ‘corporations are people too’ that they had to endure.. They know that PEOPLE aren’t corporations… THEY ARE!! To the mogul, pitting themselves with ‘people’ is so below them.