Friday, August 17, 2012


It is no secret that the big money backers of Romney/Ryan are outspending the Democrats by a very large margin. It is clear there is no way Obama supporters will be able to compete financially against them even though they have raised a great deal of money and do not have to fear being unable to compete at all. I am now wondering if there might reach a point where this huge imbalance in funds might become less of an asset than anyone might think. There must at least theoretically be a saturation point where further money and ads become counterproductive. First of all there is only so much air time available for political ads, second it is quite possible that after hearing an ad over and over and over it no longer resonates with the listeners, third, it is questionable if the sheer quantity of ads will produce much more than fewer ads of higher quality, and fourth, if the Republican ads are as dishonest and stupid as their campaign in general , they may have little or no effect on anyone but the Tea Party believers. It is possible, I believe, the claim that the most money always wins may well be incorrect.

Overkill may also be a factor when it comes to the threat of war with Iran. Israel has for years made claims about a Iranian nuclear weapon that apparently does not exist. And even though their claims are shown to be false over and over again they go right on making them. It’s like the shepherd by crying wolf to the point where no one believes him anymore. Similarly, Netanyahu keeps threatening to unilaterally bomb Iranian nuclear facilities even without U.S. support, although that is highly unlikely. What makes the situation even worse is the fact that from time to time even Israeli generals and others admit that Iran is not in fact an existential threat to Israel, is not about to attack Israel even with a bomb, and so on. The fact that this is true makes the Israeli threats all the more suspicious. I assume that as the Israelis know Iran is not a genuine threat to them their concern really has to do with not wanting Iran to have any significant influence in the Middle East, a goal shared apparently by the U.S. It appears that at the moment Netanyahu is threatening to attack in order to pressure President Obama into taking even more actions against Iran, if not outright military action at least more and more severe sanctions. I think it is much to Obama’s credit that so far he has refused military action and avoided another war in the Middle East that would be absolutely devastating for everyone concerned. Obama would earn the gratitude of the entire world (sans Great Britain and perhaps a couple other European nations) if he would announce publicly that under no circumstances will the U.S. support military action against Iran, continue his pressure on Netanyahu to stop the illegal settlements, and insist there be a fair and equitable solution to the Palestinian/Israeli problem once and for all. Is such thing likely to happen? Of course not. The Neocon warmongers in favor of permanent war, along with the Evangelical nitwits yearning for Armageddon, as well as the Congressional mindless puppy love of Netanyahu and Israel, would never allow it. While Obama would go down in world history as a truly great leader he would probably face immediate impeachment here at home.

I don’t know if overkill is the right word to describe our numerous tax breaks for the wealthiest among us, but it might at least partly serve for that purpose. Reflect for a moment on the fact that we live in a culture where working is actually punished by the tax code. One main reason Romney and the rest of the obscenely wealthy pay a lower tax rate than working people is because taxes on investment income are lower than those for working income. That is, once you have enough money to just sit back and clip your coupons, you pay lower taxes than the average working man. This strikes me as absurd, as rewarding non productive activities greater than productive ones. In effect, the lower down on the financial level you are the more you will be taxed, whereas the higher you are on the financial scale the less you pay. Is that fair? Is it even sensible? I suppose there are arguments for why this different scale was created, probably having to do with claims that those investing money are thereby creating the very jobs that can be taxed, but I doubt this is a very credible argument. I would have to be shown that the money saved in taxes by those at the top actually produces jobs rather than yachts, mansions, and art collections. There is little doubt in my mind that the reason the tax code is as it is, is because those with all the money have more influence on members of Congress and thus get legislation that favors them above all others. Don’t color me green with envy, color me red with outrage because of a system so patently unfair to those who do productive work and so favorable for those who do nothing except count their money. Money should not be allowed to breed and reproduce itself, at least not without paying for the privilege.

The easiest way for your children to learn about money is for you not to have any.

Katharine Whitehorn

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