letter to the editor

Dennis Wood: America heading toward financial ruin

2012-11-19T00:15:00Z Dennis Wood: America heading toward financial ruinBy Dennis Wood | Bangor La Crosse Tribune
November 19, 2012 12:15 am  • 

We hear much concern about the “fiscal cliff,” but there is another cliff that is far more dangerous and from which we may have already fallen.

Apparently the majority of voters thinks Uncle Sam is really Santa Claus and that every day is Christmas. When, inevitably, Santa runs out of other people’s money, there will be hell to pay. We will make the riots in Greece look like a friendly block party.

If President Barack Obama increases taxes during this recession, it would be like pouring gasoline on a fire and wondering why it won’t go out.

Alternatively, if Obama and his liberal cohorts continue to add to government hand-outs, the country will certainly go off the more dangerous cliff.

One wonders why mankind seems to always find a way to screw up a good thing.

Copyright 2015 La Crosse Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(48) Comments

  1. Jefferson Paine
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    Jefferson Paine - November 23, 2012 11:09 am
    Loud mouth ignoramus.....
  2. Jefferson Paine
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    Jefferson Paine - November 23, 2012 11:05 am
    Let's just go back to the tax rates we had when we had a balanced budget under Clinton. You Obama-haters know nothing, blinded by your irrational mind set. We have massive debts=because we are running wars while letting the wealthiest off the hook.

    Tax rates are at 60 year lows......how come job creation isn't at 60 year highs. Too many stupid people commenting here. That is our biggest 'cliff'......the collective stupidity of the Nation.
  3. greater
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    greater - November 22, 2012 5:41 pm
    "In 2014 you will now have to pay income tax on your health insurance."
    Please provide a link whereby that statement can be verified.
    Bottom line, this is just another Republican lie.
  4. FUBAR
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    FUBAR - November 22, 2012 9:46 am
    I am a business owner. So NO I am not support staff.
  5. burnout
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    burnout - November 21, 2012 10:16 am


    We already went over the "fiscal cliff". What we are up against now is the "austerity wall".

    The Democrats plan to address this is to raise YOUR taxes. Not stop the spending. Historically it has been shown that no matter how high you raise taxes that you will never get an increase in revenue over 17.7 percent of GDP. Raising taxes does not increase revenue.

    How bad is it going to get for you? Obama lied when he said he will not raise taxes on the poor and middle class. Obamacare is a huge tax increase on the middle class.

    First thing you will see is that the Bush tax cuts expire. The minimum income tax bracket will be 10 percent from zero. The 10 percent bracket will now go to 15 percent (a 50% increase in taxes on the middle class).

    In 2014 you will now have to pay income tax on your health insurance. Thanks to the Democrats allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire the middle class will now be pushed up into this higher tax bracket and paying an additional 25 percent tax on their health insurance premiums.

    This is a general example of the tax increases and will vary depending on your individual situation:

    If your taxable income is $60,000 per year and you have a $14,000 per year health insurance plan, your tax increase will now be 60,000 * 5% = $3,000 per year in additional federal taxes. Then you will be pushed into an even higher tax bracket and will now pay income tax on your health insurance of $14,000 * 25% = $3,500.

    So those in the middle class would now see a $6,500.00 increase in federal taxes per year or over $500 per month!

    This is what you fools voted for.
  6. The Veteran
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    The Veteran - November 21, 2012 6:06 am
    BB You say tax them like other civilized countries do,at what rate should they pay so you can have more,it looks like your envy and petty jealousy are taking over your reasoning,SEEK HELP!!!
  7. B Butterfield
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    B Butterfield - November 20, 2012 11:17 pm
    @Lucenet: "The scary part isn't what you are compensated, it's that you have access to kids."

    Online political debate could be such a positive thing, but you guys make it so ugly. We are a deeply troubled, immature species. I guess we get what we deserve. Congratulations Lucenet, you've succeeded in making me more pessimistic than I already was. Happy Thanksgiving.
  8. Lucenut
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    Lucenut - November 20, 2012 10:17 pm
    The scary part isn't what you are compensated, it's that you have access to kids.
  9. pheasant
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    pheasant - November 20, 2012 6:14 pm
    There is no "hate" Butter. I welcome your debate. Actually that is what negotiating for benfits/pay SHOULD be. You see you have someone from your side arguing, and someone from our side arguing. Then they can reach a compromise. The status quo is you have stuffed both sides with your people. You see Butter i the real world employers do not send Union Workers to negotiatie pay/benefit levels in his behalf across the table from Brother Union Members. In the real world?
  10. pheasant
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    pheasant - November 20, 2012 6:09 pm
    For the 100th time. It is about pay/benefit packages. And you people are gifted too much on both counts. Your argument is old and well worn. It is a guise/ruse/confusion for the ignorant and apathetic.
  11. pheasant
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    pheasant - November 20, 2012 2:52 pm
    You sir are truly not that special. In fact you are delusional. At best a psuedo intellectual. As you attempt repeatedly to squish this bloated/unfair/dispropotunate/unaffordable problem into just the Educators realm. LOL!
  12. B Butterfield
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    B Butterfield - November 20, 2012 11:20 am
    It's not about benefits, it's about total compensation, and you think cops, judges, teachers etc should be compensated less. But less than whom? Who, in your arbitrary opinion, should be compensated the most (whether in benefits or income) in our society? Are you on the side of the 1%, or do you think they should be compensated less and the rest of us more? Should only people who make money off other peoples' labor be compensated well? Do you want all workers, public and private, to be compensated the same, or should those with more training and time on the job be compensated better?
  13. B Butterfield
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    B Butterfield - November 20, 2012 11:11 am
    Disproportionately to whom? I'm a highly trained professional, it took over ten years of higher education and 80K in student loans for me to qualify to do what I do, and I make 55K as a full professor (which is as high as I can go). The fact that you think bankers and corporate executives should be paid millions and teachers should be paid less than 50K is purely your own bias.

    And my salary is paid mostly by tuition, not by you, but when people pool their resources together and spend them on government services, it's no different then spending your money alone on a private service. Whether we spend as individuals or as a group, it's all the same. We all fill our pockets with money from other people by providing them products or services that they pay us for. Your hatred of all things "public" is irrational.
  14. pheasant
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    pheasant - November 20, 2012 9:27 am
    Darn it must be heard t interact with people that have a different opinion. Not like your captive audience students?
  15. pheasant
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    pheasant - November 20, 2012 9:23 am
    My goodness do you even hear what you have just said. The arrogance and self importance in such a statement! One can only take that you are not support staff. There is nothing special about teachers, cops, and fireman. It is a job. Go over to CCS and Luther and see what their benefit levels are. Go online and see what jobs around us are far more dangerous than cops, judges,politicians, or fireman.
  16. pheasant
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    pheasant - November 20, 2012 9:19 am
    Butter, You and your pals are filling your own pockets disproportionately on the backs of your private sector neighbors.
  17. B Butterfield
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    B Butterfield - November 19, 2012 9:05 pm
    Well, you got your way, so we'll see if the Republicans are actually going to pay good teachers more. The way it's looking though, it'll be a cold day in h#ll before Republicans raise taxes to pay teachers more. They already made us take a pay cut (i.e., benefit cut), and besides, the only college professors Walker would consider paying more are those who turn out the most skilled workers, not those like me who teach things like literature. Republicans have never been teacher friendly, so I don't see why they'll start now that they killed our unions.
  18. FUBAR
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    FUBAR - November 19, 2012 7:21 pm
    I have said it many times on here that I have NO problem with teachers, cops and fireman getting paid well. I just hate their public sector unions. I also do not think public sector lawn mowers, janitors and secretaries should be getting great benefits like our public sector workers that do "socially valuable work," We should pay our teachers well and we should be able to remove those teachers that are not very good. Remove public sector unions.
  19. B Butterfield
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    B Butterfield - November 19, 2012 5:24 pm
    @pheasant: "What you continue not to identify is the problem of your unaffordable benefits is not isolated."

    I didn't identify this as a problem, but again, compensation is the issue, not benefits. You can take away all our benefits and compensate us in pure salary, and it'll be the same so long as you pay us enough to purchase our own health and retirement plans. What you're saying is simply that public employees are all over-compensated, no matter how much professional training, no matter what they contribute to the public good. But what about hedge-fund managers? Are they overcompensated? Our country is FLUSH with money, it's just all concentrated in the hands of the very few at the top. Tax them more (like every other civilized country does, like we used to) and we can afford to pay teachers etc more, and if you pay teachers etc more, they'll buy more and create demand, and then the supply side will start hiring again because it's in their interest.
  20. pheasant
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    pheasant - November 19, 2012 4:47 pm
    Butter- More cuts are on the horizon for you and our brothers. That is for sure. Time will tell. I will guarantee you that benefits will not get better for private sector workers. What you continue not to identify is the problem of your unaffordable benefits is not isolated. It stretches from coast to coast. Along with the present promised fund benefit shortages. TRUTH
  21. pheasant
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    pheasant - November 19, 2012 2:19 pm
    Smart mouth anonomyous coward
  22. B Butterfield
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    B Butterfield - November 19, 2012 1:37 pm
    If you're a small business owner, you'd have done way better to support a single-payer healthcare plan instead of crying "socialism!" And businesses large and small thrived under Clinton's tax plan. What you need is money in the pockets of the middle class (many of whom are public workers) to increase demand for whatever you're supplying, but conservative policies are busy shrinking the middle class, and their (and your) animosity towards public education will only end up shrinking the middle class even more. I define as scoundrels the Wall Street vulture capitalists and market manipulators whose greed caused this recession, not to mention those who try to blame it on teachers.

    But enough. You've made up your mind and it's obvious nothing will ever change it.
  23. lookout
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    lookout - November 19, 2012 1:31 pm
    Republician no rule didnt work
    Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Pub.L. 111-203, H.R. 4173) was signed into federal law by President Barack Obama on July 21, 2010.[1] Passed as a response to the late-2000s recession, it brought the most significant changes to financial regulation in the United States since the regulatory reform that followed the Great Depression.[2][3][4] It made changes in the American financial regulatory environment that affect all federal financial regulatory agencies and almost every part of the nation's financial services industry.[5][6]

    As with other major financial reforms, a variety of critics have attacked the law, some arguing it was not enough to prevent another financial crisis or more "bail outs", and others arguing it went too far and unduly restricted financial institutions.[7]

    The law was initially proposed by the Obama Administration in June 2009, when the White House sent a series of proposed bills to Congress. A version of the legislat
  24. TeapartiesR4L'ilGirls
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    TeapartiesR4L'ilGirls - November 19, 2012 1:26 pm
    Pheasant

    1. This is a letter about the financial affairs of the nation so your mindless WRS rants really highlight ignorance.

    2. You say nothing about the substance of my comment, which was pointing out that giving Big Oil subsidies for purpose the government believed was important in the 1920's but not relevant today given the resources of oil companies is ridiculous.

    3. Your beef with my not revealing my name, gender, occupation, etc. is you lack the brains to discuss and rationalize ideas.

    As Eleanor Roosevelt stated:

    "Great Minds Discuss Ideas; Average Minds Discuss Events; Small Minds Discuss People."

    You are pathetically obsessed with people you do not know. You are obviously incapable of having a discussion involving any sort of rationalization that would be common to inhabitants of this planet.

    Revealing my identity to you would be like giving a shot of whiskey to an alcoholic--instead of helping someone inflicted with a sad disease.

  25. easy
    Report Abuse
    easy - November 19, 2012 1:09 pm
    Did you see in the last article about the murderer Golatt that he has eight children by six mothers, and is 50,000 behind on his child support?
  26. Tim Russell
    Report Abuse
    Tim Russell - November 19, 2012 1:07 pm
    That's exactly the same thing this guy told me back in 1993 when Clinton took office. Give it up already old man.
  27. B Butterfield
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    B Butterfield - November 19, 2012 1:02 pm
    "Your side has bloated benefits all across the board..."

    For the millionth time, it's not about benefits, it's about compensation, and public employees are over-compensated only according to right-wing extremists like you who talk (hatefully) about them being "thieves" who are "at war" with the private sector.

    Your chanting this "bloated benefits!" mantra is a dirty trick, meant to make public workers look over-compensated compared to people with crappy benefits packages, but it's not the benefits package but the entire compensation package that matters when you compare one person's earnings with another's. We do socially valuable work, we are not getting rich by scamming our neighbors, so stop demonizing us.
  28. pheasant
    Report Abuse
    pheasant - November 19, 2012 12:53 pm
    My family had fighting men in Africa and at the Reservoir in Korea. Fighting with half-a## equipment, weapons, and clothing. While those neutrality people at home left us unprepared and 18 year olds life cheapened when we threw them at the struggle.
  29. pheasant
    Report Abuse
    pheasant - November 19, 2012 12:50 pm
    Oh Butter, and a 'rising tide does not raise all boats'? The boat builder is bankrupt!
  30. pheasant
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    pheasant - November 19, 2012 12:48 pm
    "scoundrels at the top?" I too could ask that you define the scoundrels. At what income point, what what level, what info? 2/3 of private sector business' are like me. Small Mom and Pops. You see the business is leaving by the droves. Leaving to many psuedo intellectuals like you. Offering services for each other. Attempting to expand and grow their campuses giving so-so minds continuing education. Hoping that they still can jump on the bandwagon of cornering the Technology Market. While in fact our World Market share shrinks and the pacific rim's grows. Most never to return. Those of us who dance to the Profit Gods feel the strong arm of the government each and every year. Try it Butter, the water is not fine. This year the elections that won the elections were government workers, minorities, and educators. Looking for the same disproportionate Red Meat that their private sector neighbors are paying for. Post/working coverage, dental, retirement? It is a pipe dream.
  31. pheasant
    Report Abuse
    pheasant - November 19, 2012 12:37 pm
    For goodness sakes Butter. We have allowed the infusion of 560 million illegals. To do the work that 50 million of our citizens do not have to get up to do, because they get a check in the box. Your side has bloated benefits all across the board. In every benefit. You are in denial. 'Counterparts' Butter! From the broom closet to admin. You still walk around the fact that the County, City School Board have a majority of WRS Employees setting pay/benefit levels for WRS Brothers. That is why your inability to even discuss that FACT makes you in denial. Hate is strong word, for not agreeing....vehemently!
  32. otherwise
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    otherwise - November 19, 2012 12:10 pm
    There's nothing unusual about this letter, which sees every day as Christmas, Santa as the bad guy, Greek riots as party time, and he!l as our debt-collecting agency. Hot-air media visionaries make such visions common.

    Opportunistic, highly-paid hot-air media visionaries see Medicare as a handout to be replaced with vouchers. They see no contradiction in their argument against the rising debt and for more debt-increasing tax cuts. They didn't notice our debt ballooning during previous tax cuts, unfunded wars, and the deregulation fiasco which culminated in the lost tax revenue of the Great Recession. They liked Mitt Romney's backward vision of the number of ships in 1916, upon which he based the need to increase our national debt by $2 trillion in military spending which the military doesn't want, and Romney's tax cutting for another $4.8 trillion in lost revenue.

    The hot-air media visionaries from our debt-collecting agency see no evil debt problem with their tax cuts.

  33. B Butterfield
    Report Abuse
    B Butterfield - November 19, 2012 11:49 am
    This is a tired right-wing myth ("Fannie and Freddie made us do it!"). It's been thoroughly debunked time and again:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/12/for-the-last-time-fannie-and-freddie-didnt-cause-the-housing-crisis/250121/

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marvin-meadors/fannie-mae-freddie_b_1549411.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/24/opinion/nocera-the-big-lie.html

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/11/dish-check-who-caused-the-financial-collapse-not-fannie-and-freddie.html
  34. B Butterfield
    Report Abuse
    B Butterfield - November 19, 2012 11:42 am
    @pheasant. Your idea that public workers are over-compensated is purely subjective. Compared to whom are we over-compensated? Compared to vulture capitalists? Compared to doctors and lawyers? Compared to corporate executives? We do socially valuable work, and we will never get rich by it, even when the economy is booming. There are no boom times for teachers, social workers, cops etc.

    Your obsessive hatred of public employees comes off as irrational and paranoid. Even if you're right and there was some favoritism (nepotism or not) in some WRS bargaining process, it hasn't resulted in public employees getting rich and/or breaking the bank. It was greed on Wall Street, not in public school classrooms, that broke the bank. Why don't you direct your anger at the scoundrels at the top? As Walker said on tape, his strategy was "divide and conquer," i.e, to pit private against public workers, while the uber-wealthy rats get away with the cheese, yet again. You're on the wrong side.
  35. B Butterfield
    Report Abuse
    B Butterfield - November 19, 2012 11:41 am
    @pheasant: "While WRS Employees have bloated benfits all across the board. Compared to their private sector counterparts."

    You don't seem to understand. It's not about benefits, it's about total compensation. We accepted lower salaries in exchange for higher benefits, which was a good deal for the state because it costs them less to pay us in benefits. As a liberal, I want to help workers in both the private and public sectors to get good compensation packages so that they can have decent retirements and see doctors when they need to. This is why I support private sector unions too. If you want working class people to be better compensated (whether through pay or benefits), you're on the wrong side of the political fence.
  36. B Butterfield
    Report Abuse
    B Butterfield - November 19, 2012 11:33 am
    @Dennis Wood: "If President Barack Obama increases taxes during this recession, it would be like pouring gasoline on a fire"

    Raising taxes on the middle class would certainly be a bad idea--we need them to keep spending money in order to increase demand so that the supply side will start hiring again; but there is no evidence that raising taxes on the rich would hurt the economy. This is a conservative myth. Read my letter from Friday, Dennis, or better yet, read some actual economists from outside the right-wing echo chamber.
  37. RetPopo
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    RetPopo - November 19, 2012 11:18 am
    I remember for six out of the eight years GWB was in power unemployment was low, (but the Dems would say the jobs were low paying and did not count), inflation was in check, and the stock market was good. Then the Dems took control of Congress and the Senate. All this while probably the worst attack on our country took place. But we were supposed to ignore what was occurring in Iraq and Afghan. Thank God for Bush during those times.

    This Napoleon character fails to address the main culprit behind this econonic mess. The housing bubble and sub-prime mortgage debacle were primarily the work of Dems. Along with the Congressional Black Caucas they pushed this through so everyone should own a house whether they can afford it or not. If the banks did not go along with it, watch out. Bush and the Reps warned Fannie and Freddie but then you also had to deal with Dodd/Frank. One of the mistakes the Reps made during this time was they did not cut domestic spending.
  38. pheasant
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    pheasant - November 19, 2012 11:04 am
    'Lil girls' states "fairness". Mind you he is a anonymous coward. How pretends he has commitment toward fairness. But makes potshots out of sight. While WRS Employees have bloated benfits all across the board. Compared to their private sector counterparts. Even some benfits that are extinct extinct in the real world.
  39. Napoleon
    Report Abuse
    Napoleon - November 19, 2012 10:58 am
    Clinton had us running surpluses, remember? Then came GWB, with a five-trillion-dollar tax cut for his Super Rich patrons, with two unpaid-for wars. Bush then deregulated Wall Street. That sent us into a death spiral, that's why we went into a financial collapse in 2008.

    So, don't pin this on Obama. This is a Republican mess. Republicans, you're the problem!

    Wastin' away again in Margaritaville
    Searching for my lost shaker of salt
    Some people claim that there's a woman to blame
    But I know it's my own d a m n fault
    Yes and some people claim that there's a woman to blame
    And I know it's my own d a m n fault

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cbX4DUACYU
  40. Napoleon
    Report Abuse
    Napoleon - November 19, 2012 10:47 am
    Again, Luce, why do you care? You told the world you want to secede from the United States, remember? That's renouncing your U.S. citizenship: hey, in Wisconsin, if you renounce your American citizenship, you can't even get a concealed carry permit.

    America, love it or leave it!

    "Petition created for Wisconsin to secede from the United States"

    www.weau.com/home/headlines/Petition-created-for-Wisconsin-to-secede-from-the-United-States-179581401.html

    "I think petitioning gets it's point across, sometimes it's the only way
    to get the ear of some of the politicians is to get so many signatures
    and make a petition,” said supporter Greg Luce.

    "I think petitioning gets it's point across, sometimes it's the only way
    to get the ear of some of the politicians is to get so many signatures
    and make a petition,” said supporter Greg Luce.

    "I think petitioning gets it's point across, sometimes it's the only way
    to get the ear of some of the politicians is to get so many signatures
    and m...
  41. pheasant
    Report Abuse
    pheasant - November 19, 2012 10:46 am
    The Johnson War on poverty took any role, pride, etc from too many black men in the nation. Here in WI a woman with 2 children is able to gather in assistance than the $33k per average capita income. So when you have no trade, skill, or education, Why work? Seperate your legs.
  42. pheasant
    Report Abuse
    pheasant - November 19, 2012 10:43 am
    They are moving in by the droves. Women with numerous babies and Dad's and lineage as well. Generational assistance recipients. The man is not supposed to be living there, but who cares? Here is one thing you will not read or hear. The statistics and the rise in lacrosse County.
  43. pheasant
    Report Abuse
    pheasant - November 19, 2012 10:41 am
    Funny how the posters on these Threads are split. Pulibc employed versus private. There is the split. See you in the streets. Ammo, rice, gas, candles, gen...............
  44. Lucenut
    Report Abuse
    Lucenut - November 19, 2012 9:06 am
    Nugget, get your head out of the sand. There is a "cliff" coming in some form. Do you think doubling our national debt in the next 4 years is going to make us better off? Maybe instead of 50 million Americans on foodstamps, 100 million will be better? 200 million? How about every citizen will have to get their food from the government? That's what you advocate?
  45. RetPopo
    Report Abuse
    RetPopo - November 19, 2012 8:33 am
    Excellent observations Dennis. You are exactly correct and don't get down by the comments of those who "don't get it" they will always be around. Simply put, their "wires are crossed". All one has to do is look at a place like California. This state has been driven into the ground by years of Democratic control and policies. Now they want to again triple the car tax, voted in Prop 30, but of course over the years did not want to confront illegal immigration as needed. This has cost that state about 15 billion year after year. But as those amazing "progessives" will say....its the fault of those evil corporations, those evil under taxed 1%ers, but not the bs associated with movements like "occupy". But, with Obama and company and there pandering to the misinformed and ignorant they will save the day with more entitlements that are out of control. Darn, those Red states, but never mind the masses sitting on there porches waiting for monthly mothers day to come around again.
  46. Seriously Now
    Report Abuse
    Seriously Now - November 19, 2012 6:34 am
    While, whine, whine.
  47. Nugget
    Report Abuse
    Nugget - November 19, 2012 6:22 am
    Don't worry, the GOP will ensure we go over the cliff. I have no doubt about that. The majority of voters rejected the GOP's policies. They have failed over and over again. You may want to look into who is getting all these handouts you are complaining about. It's the Red states, you know those bible thumping individuals.
  48. TeapartiesR4L'ilGirls
    Report Abuse
    TeapartiesR4L'ilGirls - November 19, 2012 5:50 am
    That darn Obama. He should stop talking about fairness, especially when it comes to Big Oil. Don't touch those subsidies creates in the 1920s that provide companies like ExxonMobil billions. The author is right and makes so much sense.
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