BEARISH?

Where does the estimable Alan Rogowsky find these? Click here. You don’t have to read Dutch (is it Dutch?) to enjoy knocking these guys over and watching them get right back up. It is a triumph to the human spirit. Or in this case, the infant ursine spirit. To innocence! To optimism!

GRANNY

Marty: ‘Turns out my sister, Rev Emily Preston, knows Granny D. well as she is a member of her church in Dublin, NH. What an inspiration. She’s got me going again.’

BUSH REMEMBERED

Dave Dawson: ‘Unfair! How would you like to have your 30 year old opinions played back to you as the gospel. Back then I was to the right of Attila; now I simply somewhat right of you.’

☞ Love to see you making progress, Dave (grin). I actually tried to write a book about Attila when I was 12. ‘Like demons out of hell they came,’ it began, describing the Huns on their swift ponies, and the way they ‘cooked’ slabs of beef between the horses’ backs and their saddles. But my parents made me stop because they feared the effort would interfere with my studies and drag down my grades and I wouldn’t get into the college of my choice. My argument was that, yes, my grades might suffer, but what college wouldn’t take note of an applicant who had, at twelve, published a book? Why I thought I could actually finish, let alone publish, such a book, I cannot now recall. But it’s just that kind of youthful incident – telling or not – that I would expect to see dredged up in a column like this if I were running for President. And in the case of President Bush, as he is remembered in his late twenties at Harvard Business School, it seems he hasn’t changed his political philosophy much at all. (And neither have I.) Yes, he was Born Again, not a small thing – blessed are the meek – but, his devotion notwithstanding, he does not seem particularly interested in providing the meek with health insurance or protecting them with workplace or environmental regulations or increasing their minimum wage or earned income tax credit or encouraging them to become somewhat less meek through collective bargaining.

BUSH DEFENDED

Bill Herflicker: ‘Just remember without the rich people( Who by the way pay most of the taxes thats why they get the tax rebate, imagine that.) your social programs for the poor and yes Andrew some of them are lazy, would not have any money to be fund them. Its ok for John kerry to be rich or Mr trial slip and fall rich man Edwards to be rich, because they are for the middle class. Thats a load of crap. How come in your column maybe just once it would be nice to see you say something bad about kerry. God help us all if he wins the election in November. Oh Im sorry am I allowed to mention God in your column. BTW you should go to newsmax.com and drudgereport.com and definitly listen to sean hannity more ,, you need to be hannitized. Money wise maybe your smart but politics? You need help.’

☞ My thought on taxes is not to impoverish all the rich people, of whom by many measures I would have to count myself one (just not seriously rich, sad to say). The thought of most Democrats, and of John Kerry, is to restore taxes for people at the top, earning hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars a year, more or less to where they were under Clinton/Gore. Not the 90% top tax bracket of Eisenhower or the 70% of every President from Kennedy through Reagan, or the 50% (and 28% capital gains rate) of Reagan’s first term . . . no, just to the 39.6% (and 20% cap gains rate) of the Clinton/Gore years. It was a pretty great eight years for rich and poor alike. Bush is the first war-time President in history, I think, to ask nothing more of the wealthy than that they accept a huge tax cut.

BUSH DEFENDED SOME MORE

Rob Zelms: ‘I found it interesting that you took Bush to task for his ‘people are poor because they’re lazy’ speech. The point of being in an academic setting is to speak freely, whether you actually believe what you’re saying. Isn’t that what happens on campuses across America. Students rant and make radical proclamations about social issues. So what if he did utter those words. You can’t indict someone for what they talked about in a classroom, especially when we don’t know the context.

‘Nonetheless, let’s analyze that statement. I have the advantage of having been poor or working class most of my life until the last several years. I was poor because I grew up primarily with a single mother and we were essentially immigrants. Although my mother started out poor, she worked her way up to working class through hard work and perseverance. I worked my way out of working class through hard work and perseverance. Let’s be honest Andy, most ‘working’ poor are poor because of lack of education and possibly bad choices/judgment. Most ‘non-working’ poor are just plain lazy. I’ve seen it firsthand, have you? Don’t try to explain me away as an exception to the rule. I’ve seen classmate after classmate stuck in the working class because of their own choices regarding education, friends, relationships, work ethic, etc.

‘I hope you’ll print this because it will resonate with everyone who reads it. The most important thing everyone needs to know is that The United States of America in 2004 provides individuals with the greatest opportunity for class advancement and success than ANY SOCIETY IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND! Does anyone out there dispute this notion? In lawyer terms, it’s called JUDICIAL NOTICE. Its taken as a fact. Life is not fair, never will be. There will always be rich, poor, and somewhere in between. Children can’t control their lot in life, but adults can. But the ‘overwhelming majority’ of us in ‘this country’ have control over our destiny. Also, in case anyone wants to write me off as some ideologue, I consider myself a moderate and I actually voted for Gore in 2000. And I have not decided what direction I’m doing this election.’

☞ So basically, no matter how much we cut taxes on the best off, and how much we pinch education and health care and jeopardize Social Security, the only ones who would suffer from this are the lazy who don’t just pull themselves up by their bootstraps the way George W. Bush did.

I know you’re not actually going that far . . . and I agree with you this is a wonderful country, and a great land of opportunity. But I think it was getting more wonderful from 1992-2000 and has gotten markedly less wonderful in the last three years, and I would like to see us do better. I think we can.

I would also point out that there are a lot of jobs we do want to have done – garbage collection, strawberry picking, motel maid service, hedge-trimming, security guarding – and we have to decide how we want the people who fill those jobs for us to feel. If we think they should be the working poor, living difficult, demeaning lives, unable to provide very well for themselves or their children, then it’s fine to say they just made bad choices or should have been born brighter or studied harder or chosen parents who could afford to straighten their teeth.

But if we take what I would consider a more progressive view, we might want anyone who works hard in America to have a reasonably decent life, even if that means that someone who received $3.6 million a year in dividends on stock he inherited couldn’t have the $800,000-a-year tax cut President Bush gave him.

I am not talking about anything drastic. We were making pretty good progress from 1992-2000. Why did we need to veer so sharply off a successful course, heading almost entirely in the direction of the already rich and powerful?

Don’t forget to play with the bears.

 

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