View Poll Results: Do you think Obama wants to redistribute wealth?

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Thread: Do you think Obama wants to redistribute wealth?

  1. #401
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    Re: Do you think Obama wants to redistribute wealth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diogenes
    "Willing" - to me - means free of external coercion, and the exchange applies to both labor and goods.
    Still no good--what counts as external coercion? Suppose I am Joseph Stalin, and I keep food shipments from reaching a particular region of Siberia. Now, people are working there because I decided that was a good place for a factory, but I've since decided it would be better if those people weren't a burden on the Soviet State any longer. I'm not preventing them from eating anything--they can eat each other, or pine bark, or whatever. Am I engaging in any external coercion?

    If you answer yes to this, how do you avoid also thinking that workers in our society are coerced, since the means of production are all owned? Land is the primary resource, and there isn't a single piece of land anywhere that isn't owned by someone. Those owners determine what resources will be developed on their land, and more particularly, how much is paid to those who develop those resources. This last, for two reasons: first, because it's just true. As Adam Smith points out, the "masters" will always collude on wages. This is partly facilitated by government, and partly by associations such as chambers-of-commerce, or institutions like Robert Half, which publishes a "wage guide" to businesses every year. Second, because the owners of resources are privileged to decide not to develop a resource, even if that resource is needed by the community.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diogenes
    The only way to make that work is for a discontented worker to be free to go make (and try to sell) his own barrels. Then your algorithm will work, and the worker who overvalues his effort will go hungry while the owner who undervalues the worker's efforts will go broke. But you can't sit in your faculty lounge and determine the value of either barrels or workers; only the market can do that.
    Why is that the only way to make this work? Seems like it could simply be legislated into reality: whatever the factory owner sells the barrel for determines how much the wages are for the barrel-maker. The owners expenses are deducted, and a determined profit, and the rest is remitted back to the barrel maker.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diogenes
    T-bills and CDs are, to some extent, guaranteed. A new business is certainly not
    The point I was making is that we would have to provide such a guarantee. I'm trying to be sensitive to, and sensible about, the fact that a person with capital risks it to start a business.

    In combination with an overhaul of how money works, as I have suggested, there wouldn't be any real loss to doing this. Suppose I start a business under such a system and fail miserably. I'm just no good at business. Still, I get bailed out--I get all my capital back because that's what the law says should happen. In fact, taxpayers are paying me, but the money I lost still went back into the economy somehow. Where I lose, someone else wins (perhaps I was selling barrels below my costs; either others now have barrels that can sell for a profit, or my materials suppliers have more money).

    Quote Originally Posted by Diogenes
    I've known several people who became quite wealthy during the tech boom of the nineties, and several who have lost a great deal of money betting on failed ideas like electric cars. As you observe, low risk and low reward will appeal to a cautious person - but I see no reason whatsoever for government to get involved in high risk endeavors, either to penalize the successful gamblers or subsidize the failures. Perhaps you can offer some counter-examples.
    I think perhaps I haven't been clear: I'm proposing that to acheive any measure of social justice, we will have to completely overhaul our economic system at a basic level. Capitalism, as currently practiced, does not work. Neither does socialism. Purely or mostly competetive models of commerce are unbalanced one direction, and purely or mostly cooperative models are unbalanced in a different direction. But if these don't work (as I think they do not), what does?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diogenes
    Money is a medium of exchange, nothing more. A fiat currency is more dangerous than a gold standard because it is subject to government manipulation (as in post-WWI Germany, or currently in Argentina).
    I never said otherwise, but the gold standard is really no better. Instead of manipulating the currency, you just manipulate the gold market, and still end up with essentially the same bad consequences.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diogenes
    After-tax wealth belongs to the person who owns it, not the government or society. What is the rationale for limiting who that person can give it to?
    Again, I'm willing to jettison just about any idea about such things as ownership, money, markets, or the like, provided there is a good reason for it. So, your assertion that after-tax wealth belongs to the person who owns it is neither true nor false under such a framework. I'm asking whether such things should be the case, not whether they are or are not the case.

    That said, despite the other overhauls I've suggested, there remains the problem of attractors. As more and more money accumulates in some container, the rate of accumulation for that container also increases. This is a problem for the rest of society when wealth is finite (as it must be).

    I think a good case can be made that when we're trying to figure out ownership, society qua society has a seat at the table. To see why, just try this thought experiment: take any wealthy individual--doesn't matter who--rewind the clock on them so that they're young again, and place them smack in the middle of Summeria in 2500 B.C. How likely are they to amass the same kind of wealth as they currently enjoy? Even assuming they know the language and customs, and can blend in like a native, I think the obvious answer is that they simply will not accrue such wealth. Bill Gates will not start up microsoft, Warren Buffet will not get Berkshire Hathaway going again, and so on. But why not? The only difference is that societies have changed. This must imply a direct role that society has in the accumulation of wealth, and therefore in ownership.

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    Re: Do you think Obama wants to redistribute wealth?

    Quote Originally Posted by LiberalAvenger View Post
    No, your computer did.
    Are you actually accusing me of lying about changing my lean? I've been 'independent' since day 1. A mod can confirm that.

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    Re: Do you think Obama wants to redistribute wealth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diogenes View Post
    Would you require a secret ballot? Have you seen the 1953 movie On The Waterfront?
    of course. They always are.

    no but i will.......

    Yes, I see the plot. But this goes to my point that the rich LOVE mob and or corrupt unions.
    This distracts the union people from fighting the corp, to civil war and not getting anything.

    That is why major labor reforms are needed.

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    Re: Do you think Obama wants to redistribute wealth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diogenes View Post
    Affordable, but not necessarily available at that price. If you cap the price too low, you no longer have willing sellers.
    I dont care if they are willing or not. Law says they will offer the coverage per the ACA.

    So agian, the poor WILL BE COVERED with REAL insurance.

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    Re: Do you think Obama wants to redistribute wealth?

    Quote Originally Posted by 274ina View Post
    I dont care if they are willing or not. Law says they will offer the coverage per the ACA.

    So agian, the poor WILL BE COVERED with REAL insurance.
    Never happen. They will only offer ACA coverage if they want to be in the business. When they can't make a living at it, they will find something else to do.
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    Re: Do you think Obama wants to redistribute wealth?

    Quote Originally Posted by ashurbanipal View Post
    Still no good--what counts as external coercion? Suppose I am Joseph Stalin, and I keep food shipments from reaching a particular region of Siberia. Now, people are working there because I decided that was a good place for a factory, but I've since decided it would be better if those people weren't a burden on the Soviet State any longer. I'm not preventing them from eating anything--they can eat each other, or pine bark, or whatever. Am I engaging in any external coercion?

    If you answer yes to this, how do you avoid also thinking that workers in our society are coerced, since the means of production are all owned? Land is the primary resource, and there isn't a single piece of land anywhere that isn't owned by someone. Those owners determine what resources will be developed on their land, and more particularly, how much is paid to those who develop those resources. This last, for two reasons: first, because it's just true. As Adam Smith points out, the "masters" will always collude on wages. This is partly facilitated by government, and partly by associations such as chambers-of-commerce, or institutions like Robert Half, which publishes a "wage guide" to businesses every year. Second, because the owners of resources are privileged to decide not to develop a resource, even if that resource is needed by the community.
    No sale. Absent government or union coercion, the workers are free to move, free to change their line of work, free to go into business for themselves.

    Why is that the only way to make this work? Seems like it could simply be legislated into reality: whatever the factory owner sells the barrel for determines how much the wages are for the barrel-maker. The owners expenses are deducted, and a determined profit, and the rest is remitted back to the barrel maker.
    Fail again. Price controls have never worked for anything.

    The point I was making is that we would have to provide such a guarantee. I'm trying to be sensitive to, and sensible about, the fact that a person with capital risks it to start a business.
    Like Solyndra? Fisker? Ener1? We don't have to provide a guarantee, and we don't have to insure against failure. Let the free market work. That's the way this country has provided the highest standard of living in history.

    In combination with an overhaul of how money works, as I have suggested, there wouldn't be any real loss to doing this. Suppose I start a business under such a system and fail miserably. I'm just no good at business. Still, I get bailed out--I get all my capital back because that's what the law says should happen. In fact, taxpayers are paying me, but the money I lost still went back into the economy somehow. Where I lose, someone else wins (perhaps I was selling barrels below my costs; either others now have barrels that can sell for a profit, or my materials suppliers have more money).
    Under that system, the government has foolishly taken money from those who used good economic judgment so pay for poor economic judgment. That is not social justice.

    I think perhaps I haven't been clear: I'm proposing that to acheive any measure of social justice, we will have to completely overhaul our economic system at a basic level. Capitalism, as currently practiced, does not work. Neither does socialism. Purely or mostly competetive models of commerce are unbalanced one direction, and purely or mostly cooperative models are unbalanced in a different direction. But if these don't work (as I think they do not), what does?
    Again, what is your concept of "social justice" ?? Poor choices to yield the same outcomes as wise choices?

    I never said otherwise, but the gold standard is really no better. Instead of manipulating the currency, you just manipulate the gold market, and still end up with essentially the same bad consequences.
    The gold market hasn't been manipulated since the Spaniards starting hauling tons of the stuff back from the New World 500 years ago.

    Again, I'm willing to jettison just about any idea about such things as ownership, money, markets, or the like, provided there is a good reason for it. So, your assertion that after-tax wealth belongs to the person who owns it is neither true nor false under such a framework. I'm asking whether such things should be the case, not whether they are or are not the case.
    What rationale do you have for stealing the property of those who own it?

    That said, despite the other overhauls I've suggested, there remains the problem of attractors. As more and more money accumulates in some container, the rate of accumulation for that container also increases. This is a problem for the rest of society when wealth is finite (as it must be).
    Your first error is assuming that wealth is finite. Can you really believe there is no more wealth in the world today than their was a century, or a millenium, or 30,000 years ago.

    I think a good case can be made that when we're trying to figure out ownership, society qua society has a seat at the table. To see why, just try this thought experiment: take any wealthy individual--doesn't matter who--rewind the clock on them so that they're young again, and place them smack in the middle of Summeria in 2500 B.C. How likely are they to amass the same kind of wealth as they currently enjoy? Even assuming they know the language and customs, and can blend in like a native, I think the obvious answer is that they simply will not accrue such wealth. Bill Gates will not start up microsoft, Warren Buffet will not get Berkshire Hathaway going again, and so on. But why not? The only difference is that societies have changed. This must imply a direct role that society has in the accumulation of wealth, and therefore in ownership.
    There will always be people who become wealthy (relative to the average for the society) because they understand the society they live in and find a way to serve that society usefully. Only the nature of the service changes to take advantage of changes in the society. The idea that society somehow has a role in creating the wealth, and therefore a claim of ownership, is the same kind of nonsense that leads Obama to claim "You didn't build that." It is a specious claim to attempt to justify theft.
    "We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress & the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution."
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    Re: Do you think Obama wants to redistribute wealth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diogenes
    No sale. Absent government or union coercion, the workers are free to move, free to change their line of work, free to go into business for themselves.
    I disagree. When you have no money, you are not free to move (no one should seriously consider, in today's age, the fairness of a person starting out with the clothes on their back and nothing more, and walking from, say, Atlanta to New York City in search of anything better--especially since, if and when you get there, it's just going to be more of the same). When you have no money, it's fairly difficult to change your line of work. When you have no money, you are not free to go into business for yourself. And where the purse-strings are controlled tightly enough, a person is not free to choose how much money they will have. That seems like a pretty bald violation of your case.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diogenes
    Fail again. Price controls have never worked for anything.
    Two points:

    1) "Never for anything" is a pretty far-reaching claim, especially when "worked" is an unclear predicate. We're pretty sure, for example, that economies were largely engineered in the Ancient world, and we know they were in Medieval Europe. And they certainly "worked" in the sense that the countries which had them were relatively stable over a long period of time.

    2) Who said anything about price controls? Under my scheme, the market controls the price of barrels. It therefore also controls the wages the workmen receive. The only thing being controlled is proportional profit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diogenes
    Like Solyndra? Fisker? Ener1? We don't have to provide a guarantee, and we don't have to insure against failure. Let the free market work. That's the way this country has provided the highest standard of living in history.
    This seems obviously false, or at best incomplete. Why don't other countries with free markets also have equivalent standards of living? Why has the U.S., despite "free" markets, endured periods of lower standards of living. Finally, what is your basis that our standard of living is the highest in history?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diogenes
    Under that system, the government has foolishly taken money from those who used good economic judgment so pay for poor economic judgment. That is not social justice.
    Not without an equivalent amount going back to those who used good economic judgment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diogenes
    Again, what is your concept of "social justice" ?? Poor choices to yield the same outcomes as wise choices?
    Not exactly, though I think poor choices should be forgiven, even if it means not rewarding wise ones quite as much. This, partially because "poor" and "wise" choices are sensitive to context. Because we control so much of our own environment now, choices which might seem wise a priori can nevertheless lead to a bad outcome due to malevolent or even acquisitive human agency, and vice-versa.

    Social justice is probably best captured, in my view, by Rawles' notion of the veil of ignorance. The idea is this: would all, or the vast majority (i.e. 99.99999% or better), of people now in the U.S. wish to still be citizens if they could not know their social or economic status, what medical problems they would have, where they would be born or where they could or would go to school, what race they would be, and so on? The system to which all or most would agree is the one that guarantees social justice at least as perfectly as it may be manifest in human society.

    My contention would be that a very large number of current citizens would not agree to anything like the current system, which means that there is not social justice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diogenes
    The gold market hasn't been manipulated since the Spaniards starting hauling tons of the stuff back from the New World 500 years ago.
    It seems to me that FDR did it many centuries later. Prior to that, the (rather famous) manipulation of gold futures (and other markets) by Nathan Rothschild is another case in point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diogenes
    What rationale do you have for stealing the property of those who own it?
    I don't, necessarily, though I do ask whether such concepts as "stealing" and "property" should continue to have the definitions or moral weight they currently seem to have.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diogenes
    Your first error is assuming that wealth is finite. Can you really believe there is no more wealth in the world today than their was a century, or a millenium, or 30,000 years ago.
    No, but how does this imply that wealth is not finite? No one ever extracted an infinite amount of wealth in a finite amount of time. The volume of the earth is also finite, and so a finite amount of resources can be withdrawn from it. Finally, the longevity of the earth is constrained in time--the sun will explode in a few billion years, if nothing else.

    But beyond this, each year's total GDP for all countries on earth is a finite number.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diogenes
    There will always be people who become wealthy (relative to the average for the society)
    The parenthesized expression carries a pretty heavy burden here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diogenes
    because they understand the society they live in and find a way to serve that society usefully.
    I find this rather difficult to swallow. Taken literally, I suppose I agree: some people become wealthy by serving their society. Historically, however, it appears that most who become wealthy, especially those who become fabulously so, do so through violence, fraud, manipulation, bribery, corruption, or other such means.

    Quote Originally Posted by Diogenes
    Only the nature of the service changes to take advantage of changes in the society. The idea that society somehow has a role in creating the wealth, and therefore a claim of ownership, is the same kind of nonsense that leads Obama to claim "You didn't build that." It is a specious claim to attempt to justify theft.
    Your last two sentences do not follow from anything you've said. If, for instance, Bill Gates built Microsoft, entirely on his own and with no input from any other entity other than himself, including American society, then he ought to be able to do this at any time and place. However, obviously, he cannot. He must, therefore, have received input from somewhere else, and input that is almost certainly not credited to its source. In the thought-experiment, the only thing that changes is the society in which Bill Gates exists. By Mill's theorem, then, causation for the relative success of the actual Bill Gates is traceable to society. The difference between how we would have done in, say, Medieval France vs. how well he's done now can be a measure of just how much society actually contributes. How much society should own of Bill Gates' fortune is a complicated matter, since it wasn't just he alone that benefitted from society. But to say that literally none should be owned by society is to ignore what is obviously correct.

  8. #408
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    Re: Do you think Obama wants to redistribute wealth?

    Quote Originally Posted by ashurbanipal View Post
    I disagree. When you have no money, you are not free to move (no one should seriously consider, in today's age, the fairness of a person starting out with the clothes on their back and nothing more, and walking from, say, Atlanta to New York City in search of anything better--especially since, if and when you get there, it's just going to be more of the same). When you have no money, it's fairly difficult to change your line of work. When you have no money, you are not free to go into business for yourself. And where the purse-strings are controlled tightly enough, a person is not free to choose how much money they will have. That seems like a pretty bald violation of your case.
    Millions of people have already done so, and you can do it also if you want to badly enough.

    Two points:

    1) "Never for anything" is a pretty far-reaching claim, especially when "worked" is an unclear predicate. We're pretty sure, for example, that economies were largely engineered in the Ancient world, and we know they were in Medieval Europe. And they certainly "worked" in the sense that the countries which had them were relatively stable over a long period of time.

    2) Who said anything about price controls? Under my scheme, the market controls the price of barrels. It therefore also controls the wages the workmen receive. The only thing being controlled is proportional profit.
    1) If you have trouble with the concept of "worked" we aren't going to get very far.
    2) Point made. I should have said "profit controls."

    This seems obviously false, or at best incomplete. Why don't other countries with free markets also have equivalent standards of living? Why has the U.S., despite "free" markets, endured periods of lower standards of living. Finally, what is your basis that our standard of living is the highest in history?
    Occasional periods of lower standards of living can usually be traced to governmental attempts to bring "social justice" although natural disasters like hurrricanes and tsunamis can also cause setbacks.

    Not exactly, though I think poor choices should be forgiven, even if it means not rewarding wise ones quite as much. This, partially because "poor" and "wise" choices are sensitive to context. Because we control so much of our own environment now, choices which might seem wise a priori can nevertheless lead to a bad outcome due to malevolent or even acquisitive human agency, and vice-versa.
    I take a dim view of those who take my money by force and then make poor choices. People make choices and should be allowed to benefit (or not) from the consequences. A former neighbor of mine once sold an iPad on eBay and shipped it to the buyer in Nigeria before discovering there was no money in the PayPal account he was given. I feel no responsibility to make good his loss.

    Social justice is probably best captured, in my view, by Rawles' notion of the veil of ignorance. The idea is this: would all, or the vast majority (i.e. 99.99999% or better), of people now in the U.S. wish to still be citizens if they could not know their social or economic status, what medical problems they would have, where they would be born or where they could or would go to school, what race they would be, and so on? The system to which all or most would agree is the one that guarantees social justice at least as perfectly as it may be manifest in human society.

    My contention would be that a very large number of current citizens would not agree to anything like the current system, which means that there is not social justice.
    We are as close as any society has ever been to that standard. Everyone is born with different talents and different circumstances, but no other society in history has given its citizens such freedom and opportunity to change their circumstances.

    It seems to me that FDR did it many centuries later. Prior to that, the (rather famous) manipulation of gold futures (and other markets) by Nathan Rothschild is another case in point.
    The FDR case is a good example of the failed kind of government meddling which you seem to be proposing, which is incompatible with free markets and material progress.

    I don't, necessarily, though I do ask whether such concepts as "stealing" and "property" should continue to have the definitions or moral weight they currently seem to have.
    When you deny property rights, you are proposing a failed society.

    No, but how does this imply that wealth is not finite? No one ever extracted an infinite amount of wealth in a finite amount of time. The volume of the earth is also finite, and so a finite amount of resources can be withdrawn from it. Finally, the longevity of the earth is constrained in time--the sun will explode in a few billion years, if nothing else.
    So you actually believe that only physical resources are wealth?

    But beyond this, each year's total GDP for all countries on earth is a finite number.
    And one that increases every year, with no limit in sight.

    Taken literally, I suppose I agree: some people become wealthy by serving their society. Historically, however, it appears that most who become wealthy, especially those who become fabulously so, do so through violence, fraud, manipulation, bribery, corruption, or other such means.
    Fraud, etc. are especially prevalent where the government has control.

    Your last two sentences do not follow from anything you've said. If, for instance, Bill Gates built Microsoft, entirely on his own and with no input from any other entity other than himself, including American society, then he ought to be able to do this at any time and place. However, obviously, he cannot. He must, therefore, have received input from somewhere else, and input that is almost certainly not credited to its source. In the thought-experiment, the only thing that changes is the society in which Bill Gates exists. By Mill's theorem, then, causation for the relative success of the actual Bill Gates is traceable to society. The difference between how we would have done in, say, Medieval France vs. how well he's done now can be a measure of just how much society actually contributes. How much society should own of Bill Gates' fortune is a complicated matter, since it wasn't just he alone that benefitted from society. But to say that literally none should be owned by society is to ignore what is obviously correct.
    Society merely provides the garden in which ideas can flourish and further benefit the society. It is up to the individual to make something of it, and a free market society will reward contribution. A managed economy does not spread the wealth, it only spreads the poverty.
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    Re: Do you think Obama wants to redistribute wealth?

    Yes. Obama wants to redistribute wealth from the third world to multinational, oil, defense and banking cartels, by acting out his role as a puppet for the Council on Foreign Relations.

    Consider the U.S. invasions of Libya and Syria, the corporate conglomerate media narratives the American Govmnt relies on to propagandize we the people.

    What I find vile is that the American Government thinks that because they lost the battle to triumph economically thru competition, can instead be won by bombing the world into submission.

    Are you old enough to remember John Birch Society meetings on CSPAN?

    They spewed the fears the United Nations would be the One World Government, the boogeyman, like the commies, and Alex Jones got this philiosophy from a John Birch Society book his dad gave him, to co-opt dissent for a decade.The real one world government has turned out to be the CFR. What the UN has become is a tool for the Elites to instigate and institutionalize illegal interventions by getting faux support from U.S. installed puppet states and corrupt bought off govmnts like the Gulf Co-operation Council. The coalitions of the willing. How easily dissent can be turned against us, as the Democrat Party boosters wish us to forget Obama/Homeland Securitys clampdown of Occupy.

    Birch was run by ex-Pentagon people/CIA stoking the fears of commies for the defense contracting industry, the same Reaganites in his cabinet of military buildup people, who couldn't wait to scare you with the Russkies and unneceesary nuclear missle buildups. They claimed they did not want to be the worlds policemen, but by keeping dissenters eye off of the ball, people thought they were legitimate anti-establishment. They were not. These Birchers were controlled dissent, like the pre-packaged Astroturf Common Dreams and Democracy Now, we know now Chomskys MIT was started as a CIA front, and Working Assets funded by Ford Foundation is also.

    Al Jazeera institutionalized the "Arab Spring" in the same way. Divide and conquer at Al Jazeera controlled behind the scenes by Centcom. A show called "Listening Post" monitored the Facebook "activists" while the PsyOps played the staged YouTube "injustices" the CIA, State Dept., and CentCom wanted you to see, to cultivate the portrait Big Brother wanted you to feel for the 2 minutes hate. Another news report on there detailed how stand up comics took payola in foreign countries to put pro-govmnt propaganda into their acts, support for the war on teror, for instance.

    Stealth politics, indeed. With expert camera crews, excellent reporting, and a using a CNN type model complete with a Larry King/Crossfire segments. The sheer competence of Al Jazeera cameras in foreign lands depicting Wag the Dog scenarios was enough for us to realize that the best Western propagandists money could buy are working at full throttle under Obama, much better than CNN/Fox could ever hope to want to promote their invasions.Religous fundamentalist muslims eclipsing independant reporters, just as the Christian Coalition hijacked CNN for a time with William Bennet, Ralph Reed and Falwell turning issues of State into religious fodder, and yelling extremism deliberately used to sabotage progress.

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    Last edited by Kane; 09-24-12 at 09:56 PM.
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    Re: Do you think Obama wants to redistribute wealth?

    He's certainly not reversed the financial flow toward the 1%.
    Don't work out, work in.

    Never eat anything that's served in a bucket.

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