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Can We Talk?

August 23, 2006

Look, I know we disagree about a lot of things. You like George W. Bush and I don’t. But I think it’s time we talk about some things, you and I. We’ll each do some give and take, and maybe we can find some middle ground together.

I can admit that wiretapping Americans suspecting of chatting with al Qaeda is a good and necessary thing. Can you admit that it’s important to do such surveillance legally, with warrants issued by a court?

I can admit that immediately withdrawing every last American soldier from Iraq by next Tuesday may not be the best strategy. Can you admit that we are, as Thomas Friedman recently put it, not midwifing a democracy in Iraq but rather baby-sitting a civil war there?

I can admit that Islamic jihadists are a very real and dangerous threat, that negotiating with them isn’t really a viable way to deal with them, and that they kick puppies and hate rainbows. Can you admit that they had nothing to do with our invading Iraq, and that at least some of the people killing our soldiers there today aren’t fighting us because they embrace the ideology of Osama bin Laden, but because they simply do not want us in their country?

I’ll admit that some people may have made perfectly honest mistakes about whether there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Can you admit that there weren’t any?

I’ll admit that we may need to do something to ensure Social Security remains solvent through the coming decades. Can you admit that conservatives have always hated this program, fought against it from the beginning, still hate it, would like to see it eliminated, and that president Bush’s plan for “saving” it really was step one in the plan to do away with it?

I’ll admit that you have a case worth hearing when you say that cutting taxes on the wealthy may stimulate the economy. Can you admit that eliminating the estate tax has nothing to do with preserving “family farms” and “small businesses”?

This list could go on and on. Feel free to increase it with your own suggestions in the comments.

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  1. Well stated great post.


  2. C’mon Scott, we can always talk, and without rancor.


  3. You keep making sense like this and I’m going to have to ask for you membersip card to the Wackadoo Wing of the Democratic Party back, eh?


  4. Scott, you and I have nothing to talk about, I’m with you all the way!


  5. Here I come to rain on the parade! Scott, you are being utterly reasonable but you are also explaining succinctly why Republicans have been kicking Democrats’ butts this decade. Republicans (or at least elected ones in Washington and their sycophants outside the beltway) have freely lied and used McCarthyism to accumulate political power. Reasoning with people who don’t care about the truth will get you nowhere. Those Republicans who have sincere interest in honest debate are currently overwhelmed by political strategists within their party. Until Republicans are thrown out of office for being lying frauds, they will continue to do so because it works.


  6. Ha! Well I am explaining succinctly why people like myself never win any high office: reasonable guys finish last. Gals, too. At least in today’s America they do.

    Politics is not driven by facts and reason. It is an endeavor comprised of emotion, ideology and belief.

    But before we go overboard praising my levelheadedness, where are the people who regularly call me a highly partisan attack dog? Where are the people who regularly decry my “hate” and my political viciousness? They do not speak up today for some reason.


  7. Look there is waaaaaayyy to much warm and fuzzy going on here so I am going Republician, in 3…2…1…

    Social Security- Since when was/has it been the Governments job to fund a persons retirement. The last time I checked this falls under the category of personal responsibility….You want to live a certain lifestyle after you stop working, PLAN FOR IT. NOT A TOUGH CONCEPT!!!

    WMD- Fine none were found. And how do we know they are not/ were not in Syria and or Iran?

    …eliminating the estate tax has nothing to do with preserving “family farms” and “small businesses. To this I SCREAM, BULLSHIT!!!!
    My family is preparing to sell 118 acres to a devolper for $30,000 an acre, divided by 7 people. The problem here is 2 fold, Wisconsin taxes on anything over $675,000 and NOT the 2 million dollar threshold that the Federal government does. So anything that we (the 7 of us) net from the sale gets taxed at the 675,ooo state rate as well as the 2 million federal rate, AND as individuals we each (as individuals) also get taxed on whats left over. Meaning that we lose almost 60 percent of our inheritence, to the government, before I see a check. SOMEONE PLEAZZZZE explain to me how this is fair? This is just another BULLSHIT law that, supposedly “levels the playing field” by TAKING from the “alleged rich” (myself, and my aunts and uncles, and father) and gives to the poor. And giving it to a government that has just proven to be SOOOOOO responsible with what started out as MY money in the past!!! BTW someone on the Democratic side please define wealthy!! BTW for the record Michael Cheaney Trucking did $150,000 in revenue in 2005, and after expenses Michael Cheaney made $15,000. Go ahead tell me how wealthy I am!!! I’da done better working at Wal-Mart for minimum wage!!!

    I can admit that immediately withdrawing every last American soldier from Iraq by next Tuesday may not be the best strategy.
    But you know what…if the dems win in November, this is exactly what will happen…and then the islamo-psychos, will declare victory, percieve America as gutless, and weak, (2 words that describe the current Democratic party) and view it as a chance to re-arm and plan their next big attack. NOW THERES A WINNING STRATERGY!!!
    And in 10-20 years where will that leave us? Fighting the same war, with a bigger STRONGER enemy, (kinda sounds like the immigration issue does it not?) and all because the Democrats Do not have the guts to hurt someones feelings!


  8. Social Security- Since when was/has it been the Governments job to fund a persons retirement.

    It’s been the government’s job to supplement a person’s retirement since 1935. It’s most successful and popular social program in the history of the United States. The greater majority of Americans want this service and are willing to pay for it. But more to the point: you seem to be agreeing with me that you want to end the program and admitting that Bush’s plan to “save” it was just a ruse. I guess we found common ground of sorts.

    To this I SCREAM, BULLSHIT!!!!

    Well that’s odd because all the data I’ve ever seen indicates that the number of family farms affected by the estate tax is extremely small. Maybe you can explain why that is. Here’s an example. Google can give you dozens more.

    http://www.factcheck.org/article328.html

    But you know what…if the dems win in November, this is exactly what will happen

    If things go badly there in the next five or ten years it won’t be because we elected a Democrat in 2008, nor will it be because we pulled 50% of our troops out in 09 or 25% out by 2010; it’ll be because we invaded when we shouldn’t have in 03, leaving zero good options for the future.

    I predict that very little will change in Iraq when we win the white house in 08. I further predict that you and people like you will immediately do a 180 and become critics of everything that goes on there. Every bomb, every murder, every gunshot will be laid at the feet of the party you despise. You will completely ignore the fact that we are in this fiasco with no good options of getting out clean because of you. Every shred of bad news will be because we failed to continue on with your mad, destructive policies.

    …and then the islamo-psychos, will declare victory

    Brace yourself: they’re going to do that no matter what we do. Funny thing is, they’ll be partly right. Invading Iraq only strenthened their hand, it didn’t weaken it. It was a colossal folly from the beginning.

    And in 10-20 years where will that leave us? Fighting the same war, with a bigger STRONGER enemy,

    Where indeed. And I blame Bush and the Republican party and their actions over the last five years. And I blame you for supporting it all.


  9. The number of family farms affected may be small, but one thing that gets lost in the debate, is the number of Family Businesses’ affected in one way or another by this tax.

    Just remember that each and every one of the businesses in the United States is/was a Family business, either Currently or Previously. Including mine.
    But it does tug at the heart strings a wee bit more than say Say Scott Feldman passing away, leaving a house, a nice car, and what evers left of a 401K or similiar retirement account.

    My bigger point is this though,

    1. That is money that you PLANNED to be able to leave to your loved ones.

    2. Doesn’t the Government already get enough of your money in taxes and fees? Property tax, gas tax, Federal Excise tax, sales tax, user fees etc, etc, etc?

    Iraq- The Democrats are on record as saying they want a COMPLETE and Total pull-out of the troops, AND that is what I am AGAINST.

    If President Bush were to say OK we are going to reduce troop levels by say 25 percent-as an example- I would be OK with that. My feeling there, is that his Military Advisors, the Iraqi Government, (well everyone EXCEPT the Media) Are in a much better position to judge how well -or badly- things are going in the region- than Michael in Pewaukee, or Scott in Waukesha are. And besides it is why we pay them!!

    It was a colossal folly from the beginning.
    -I or more than a few others don’t see it that way, we did rid Iraq of a horrible, murderous dictator, in Saddam -something that 41 should have done in ’91.
    -I predict that very little will change in Iraq when we win the white house in 08. I further predict that you and people like you will immediately do a 180 and become critics of everything that goes on there.
    THATS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!!! BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE HYPOCRITICAL. And if there is one thing that I cannot stand it’s a HYPOCRITE!! – And yes there are hypocrites on both sides, John MCcain and John Kerry come to mind-If we stay and finish what we yes, I said we… started. If on the other hand the United States elects a Democrat President and he decides (I say he because, Hilary has NO chance) to pull a Feingold, and Withdraw completely, and we have another 9/11 type attack on OUR soil, you can bet your ass, I’ll blame the Democrats, if however, we keep plugging along and finish what we started, I. Michael J. Cheaney will also GIVE the Democrats a share of the credit.

    BTW: just how do you define “getting out clean”

    Every shred of bad news will be because we failed to continue on with your mad, destructive policies.

    Fine. Thats your perogretive, Won’t effect my life either way, but if Scott Feldman was elected President What exactly would he do?

    One thing that people forget. The war on terror is NO different, than The War on Poverty, or the the war on Drugs.
    It will always be ongoing, and it will be fought on several fronts.


  10. Scott: Maybe you should start up Drinking Moderately, or Moderately Drinking.


  11. If Scott Feldstein were president I would:

    hmm.. I sense another blog entry coming on.


  12. Michael said – “Social Security- Since when was/has it been the Governments job to fund a persons retirement.”

    Scott Said “It’s been the government’s job to supplement a person’s retirement since 1935.”

    Scott I would like to point out the difference between “fund” and “supplement”

    There is a HUGE difference between the two words. If all SS was doing today was supplementing retirement that would be fine. But it is now funding many people’s retirement in addition to so many other things.

    #2 When SS was originally put into law the average life expectancy was 62. When people retired on SS they didn’t live very long. Now the life expectancy is in the high 70’s (78 I think) yet 65 is the retirement age. Are you willing to support changing the age in which is more in line with the original life expecticy:retirement age ratio of 1935?

    #3 (the reason for ‘private’ accts) – If I pay 15.3 % (the current rate)into the system until I am 64 I will have accumulated several hundred thousand dollars into that account. If I die, before collecting a penny of it, what happens to that money?? Most if it goes back into the gov’t fund. If it is in a private account – My wife will get it. Under the current system she will get ‘survivor’ benefits but those will NEVER be near the rate of return that she would get of that several thousand dollars earning 5% in a CD ($500,000 *.05 = $25,000 annual return vs survivor bennies of an extra $500/month and my kids can still inherit the principle) And that assumes that her pension doesn’t drive her over the income restrictions that allow her to collect SS.

    If SS was EXACTLY as it was intended 70 years ago – it would still be solvent and there would be no issue with it, but because of the liberal agenda of expansion – it isn’t solvent and it is an issue.

    I would comment on more but IE stinks – maybe when I get home and can use Firefox…


  13. Scott I would like to point out the difference between “fund” and “supplement”

    So what’s your point? That SS pays out too much or that people don’t do enough independent savings? I’d disagree on the first point, but certainly agree on the latter one.

    Are you willing to support changing the age in which is more in line with the original life expecticy:retirement age ratio of 1935?

    I’m certainly willing to have that discussion, yes, and make sensible changes if need be. But there are a lot of complex issues in play, here. For starters, just because we live until 78 doesn’t mean we can work that long. Medical treatments keep us alive far longer than they used to, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we are physically or mentally capable of productive work. I’d like to hear some experts weigh in on this. Second, if we keep older Americans working longer that’s fewer jobs available for the younger ones. I don’t know that that’s a bad thing, just something to consider.

    If I die, before collecting a penny of it, what happens to that money??

    You seem to think Social Security is some kind of retirement fund, like a 401k. It’s not that at all. It’s insurance. It’s insuring yourself against an event that everyone hopes to collect on: that you live long enough to retire.

    If SS was EXACTLY as it was intended 70 years ago – it would still be solvent and there would be no issue with it, but because of the liberal agenda

    I have no idea what you’re talking about. But I do know a few things about what ails Social Security today. For starters, the “problem” may not need fixing at all. If the economy does as well in the next couple decades as it did in the last couple, nothing needs to be done at all. If we use some more pessimistic numbers (a wise way to plan) then, yes, we need to do something. We could: a) increase the retirement age, b) reduce benefits or c) (my favorite) put taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Americans back where they were when Clinton was in office. Yes, that would more than cover it. Such a terrible, terrible financial crisis! How ever shall we deal with such an insurmountable financial issue! Heh.

    No, the whole “crisis” is manufactured to frighten people into cooperating with the conservative plan to dismantle it. You were against it in the 30s, you’re against it now. That is the real issue and I wish we could discuss that rather than whether your “plan” adequately “saves” it or not. It would be more honest to have a discussion about whether we should have it or not have it, period.



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