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Tuesday Talk: Why protect the 1%?

December 13, 2011 By Joe Sheeran, Communications Director

To keep middle-class tax relief, which is set to expire at month’s end, in place while maintaining fiscal solvency, the President proposes a 2% tax on income above $1 million. Conservatives reject this idea, saying it would hurt small business owners. However, a recent National Public Radio story reports conservatives were unable to produce a single millionaire small business owner to talk about the impact.

How come conservatives insist on protecting the 1% over the rest of us?

Thanks for participating! Commenting on this conversation is now closed.


  • herbert says:

    December 13, 2011 at 8:38 am

    It isn’t that they are against us…they are for themselves.

    The “conservatives” and their theocratic stooges are at war with the government and they are winning the “starve the beast” battle.

  • judy parkin says:

    December 13, 2011 at 9:08 am

    This is about “we have ours” too bad for you.  I think it just shows what has been at the base of Republican philosophy all along they just now have the guts to be out front about it!

  • Lois Pearson says:

    December 13, 2011 at 9:17 am

    I am a small business owner,  and if I was making a million dollars or more I would gladly pay more taxes and not ask for a tax break.  I know many small business owners and not one of them make a million dollars or more, many of us are bearly making a living.  I wish the conservatives would be honest and say it’s big business owners they are protecting, they are not helping the small businesses at all. It such a joke.

  • Christeen Stone says:

    December 13, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Saw the Buffett’s the other day on TV and thought I wish all millionaires were like them, we wouldn’t have a problem. The son who farm’s and helps others around the world less fortunate, my kind of millionaires. Too bad there aren’t more like them.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    December 13, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Obama has set us up for anouther year of failure by again going back to the failed class warfare line. Anouther “my way or the highway” line that will again leads back to gridlock and failure. What is amazing to me is that Democratic stratagists think they can really turn this self centeredness into victory when it failed them last round. We can’t get to utopia without deep cuts and the elimination of large numbers of fat public employee jobs and no amount of taxing the rich get’s us around that fact. Let’s start with the BS massive security build up that has gone on unchecked since 911.

  • John Crampton says:

    December 13, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Let’s take the first big step by asking all our representatives in Congress, state legislatures to pass a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission which bans limits on corporate funding of candidates for election.  In my humble opinion, this is the root of many evils.

    Only by making our elections publically-funded and short, at most 6-8 weeks, can we eliminate the system we have now where our elected representatives are essentially bought-and-paid-for whores.  If a little puke like Grover Norquist can get our representatives to take the pledge, so can we!

  • KJC says:

    December 13, 2011 at 9:55 am

    There are people who don’t want to believe that Republicans would wreck the country for political gain and to get more for the 1%, despite the accumulating evidence.
    Well, now they’ve said it openly and brazenly.  Ornstein is the Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute… where Newt and lots of people like him work, and it is one of the mos prominent conservative “think- tanks” in D.C.  Usually they have clever-sounding arguments that give politicians pushing one-sided policy positions ways to justify, as the Wall Street character Gordon Gecko said, that “Greed is Good.”
    How far have things gone?  Now they don’t think they even need a “fig leaf” of cover, Ornstein is saying it outright this time:  “If Obama is for it, we’re against it, even if it’s good for the country.”  This is the very definition of “win at all costs,” the politics of divide and conquer. 
    The link to the page is below, and you’ll find those massively destructive words near the bottom of the first column. It’s time for Americans to send a message clearly to politicians who say and act like this: You Work for Us.  And if you think creating more suffering in our country will help you get more power, you are sadly mistaken.  We will reject you at the polls, over and over.  You work for us, not for YOURSELVES and the 1% that has 40% of all USA wealth!
    And now it can no longer be denied that is their greedy intention… they’re even openly bragging about it in print.


  • Dan Conner says:

    December 13, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I think evidence has been clear for quite a while.  Republicans are so determined to gain absolute political power, they are willing to wreck our country to do it.  I believe they feel they have captured so much of our country’s wealth they can weather any economic calamity and experience little relative financial loss.

    I think the Republican efforts are beyond wealth now.  They now want absolute political POWER.  Then, they will dictate terms to everyone in the country.  We are an oligarchy.

    It is about time the 99% wage war on the 1%.  The 1% has been terrorizing and waging war on the 99% for years.  And the 99% hasn’t even been aware of it.  The wealth and power of the 99% has slipped to a mere shadow of its former self.  Today, it’s the 1% that call the shots.

    I say it is time to reduce the political power of the 1%, again take back the political power of the 99%, and get our country on the path to growth and benefit for everyone, not the elite few.

    [edit]  Just look at WD Billy’s ideas.  He abhors socialism, but tries to sell the strongest socialist program on this website…Mondragon.  Mondragon is a huge SOCIALIST enterprise in Spain. I’m not adverse to socialism when it benefits the people.  However, WD Billy refers to it hatefully, while trying to sell the biggest example of it…Mondragon.  [edit]

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    December 13, 2011 at 10:31 am

    The “small businesses” the Republicans are worried about when they talk tax break are high-priced attorneys and plastic (or other) surgeons and probably even lobbyists who may not employ many people but who earn millions upon millions every year.

    How come conservatives insist on protecting the 1% over the rest of us? They are completely devoted to the goals of corporate power over the media and the economy/financial systems, excessive militarism, and paranoiac “security” measures against penniless immigrants and Occupyers.

    We just saw the energy industry exercise its influence in Durban in order to allow the U.S. and other big polluters to delay addressing climate change until it is too late, while poor countries take the heat.

    The same industry is trying its best to force the Congress to advance the cause of the extremely dangerous Keystone pipeline.

    The “common good” has completely left their right-wing psyches, which are now inhabited only by the Ayn Rand and Grover Norquist philosophies of selfishness and greed.

  • Mike Rust says:

    December 13, 2011 at 10:35 am

    @Bill Hamm, Are you “nuts”? The old class warfare line? you have got to be kidding me.  Why is it that this is tossed out as a conversation killer? As Warren buffet said, this is class warfare, and my class won a long time ago. Who is waging class warfare when 10M jobs have been sent to India, China, Viet Nam and Malaysia”? Bill, you have had some faily good things to say but this isn’t one of them.  The declining income of the middle class is class warfare, the reduction in education support is class warfare, the increase in sales and property taxes is class warfare. I’ll second your comment on the Pentegon Homeland budgets however.

  • Rob says:

    December 13, 2011 at 10:39 am

    If you are making a million dolars after deducting business expenses ( hahaha ) you are not a small business or you are gouging your employees.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    December 13, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Danny boy, your misunderstanding of the Mondagon Coops is almost comical. They are the next logical evelutionary step beyond Socialism. They are not top down socialist government control but bottom up worker controled capitalistic structures. It is often called the democratization of capitolism. These structures have competed succesfully in the marketplace since the early 1950’s and have survived all reccesions since with flying colors which no socialist entity has ever done. Reaserch before you speak Danny.

  • Rob says:

    December 13, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Republicans are advocates for greed. Plain and simple.They have one dominant purpose: divide the classes along financial lines.The sharper the divede the more successful they are. Frankly, since Reagan began the vile attack on workers, Republican politicians have done a phenomenol job. If I were a greedy rich guy or an ignorant wannabe, I would be very happy with them.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    December 13, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Mike, I’m not the brilliant strategist that dreamt up this Middle Class against the Rich warfare line. Nor am I ignorant enough to believe that taxing the rich more is going to fix any of the serious problems we have with sckrewed up entitlement programs like SS, SSI, Medicade, and Medicare. Nor am I ignorant enough to believe that the uncontroled growth in the Federal Government that I have witnessed all my life is sustainable. As for Education, I do most definately want the Federal government out of education as the bueracracy costs and arrogant attitudes of the educrats has almost destroyed the once great education system we had. The more power we take back from the Federal government and put in the hands of local citizens, the cheaper and more efficient everything will work.

  • Rob says:

    December 13, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Danny boy,  You are absolutely right-on. American-styled democracy is broken. Foul Republicans have gamed the process via the fillibuster. Minority rules.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    December 13, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Rob, first of all demonizing all republicans is as idiotic as calling all Democrats Socialist, something we clearly are not. Most of the republicans I know are working class folks like myself who are fighting the elitists in their structure just as folks like myself are within the DFL. Many of these folks use to be solid labor DFLers who were driven out by the anti-god coalition within our party. As for the Reagan attacks, that was public empoyee unions one chance to pay for their political victory in 1964, and they failed in every way. Had they shut this country down like they should have we would have seen very different outcomes now. Your gutless cowards turned and ran undermining the entire union movement in this country. Don’t blame Reagan for the cowardes of public employee unions in my presence. I stood loud and clear then as I do now on this issue.

  • Rob says:

    December 13, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Hamm,All the evidence shows that America functioned best when government was more involved. Have you heard about the deregulation in the mortgage industry that trashed the world economy? The core of the deregulation happened between 2002 and 2006. Have you heard about the S&L crisis under dear old Ronnie in the 80s or how about the deregulation that staged the 1929 crash. I could fill this blog with evidence of the dire effects resulting from eliminating governmental control, but you are so stubborn and bias that the truth only emboldens your bizaare anti-socialist droning.  Government is the body guard of the working classes. Why do you think it is always the Steve Forbes’ types that rant agains government? Gov. gets in the way of their greedy games.

  • Rob says:

    December 13, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Any Republican that understands what the Republican party is doing is a demon. The ignorant are simply ignorant.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    December 13, 2011 at 11:56 am

    You know Rob, the big cunundrum here for you is; How can this government that you complain is owned by the rich ever be the protecter of the working class? I do agree with you on the need for financial restraints but you didn’t talk about the Freddy and Fanny fiesco that were all about spreading the wealth and allowing poor people to buy homes by lying about income and by allowing lending at 125% of market value. This fieasco was born of Democrat not GOP legislation, there is plenty of blame for all who profited here by undermining this country.

  • Frank Hawthorne says:

    December 13, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Not unlike the robbers barons who came before them—with key differences being that many of the old-&-entitled Rich were at least inculcated with an honorable sense of “noblesse oblige;” plus many of their latter-day apologists are merely “1% Wannabes”—these self-described Defenders of Capitalism & Free Enterprise may end-up destroying the economy, while tacitly allowing assaults on our constitutional freedoms, in the name of “security.”

    They see themselves in a righteous battle for the essence of America; but so many of them have such narrow views of what constitutes “real Americanism” that we can only hope/work for Sanity to prevail.

  • Al says:

    December 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    A friend had a bumper sticker before “w” stole the whitehouse:
    “Vote GOP for war, graft and corruption.”
    The worst case of “I told you so”.
    Wedge issues, disinformation and a complete fleecing of America BY the one percent! They make me sick to my stomach. Protect them?? ha ha ha…

  • Rob says:

    December 13, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Bill, the Dems. have been corrupted too. The point is we ned to clean house and get socialist progressives that carry a big stick to tame the animal spirits of capitalism. It always morphs into a sick and abusive economic system - always. Does the Civil War mean anything to you. We started a civil war to blunt the steamrolling Southern capitalists.The Republican politicians have no respect for working people. They honestly believe that an underclass exists that is only there for personal gain. Effectively, the lower classes are just very talented monkeys, farm animals and dogs.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    December 13, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Frank, after that anti-capitolist rage I need to see your definition of sanity before you get any support from me. Why Rob did you have to make such a hatefull anti-social statement as that after some sign of serious discussion. When did we lose the right to freedom of opinion, or the right to try to change what we see as wrong from within, which is what is happening within the GOP? And some people wonder why nothing gets done in DC with these kind of proggresive attitudes present.

  • Carl says:

    December 13, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    What we all must realize is that money in politics is the corrupting influence whether Democratic or Republican.  Until we solve this issue through reform, grassroots politics winning elections over money, or constitutionally.  I think that the Stock Act limiting insider trading by Congress is the 1st in major step in this reform.  Then we must force Congress to agree whether a Corporation has all of the same rights as a Person.  The corrupting force may be more on the Republican side but don’t any of us kid ourselves that it also impacts Democrats.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    December 13, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Jeez Rob, you jump right from the UnCivil War to the reasoning behind the Mexican Revolution. I assume you are suggesting revolution against all those elitists b**tards, both rich and middle class, who look down on us and misuse us and our children. I betcha I can find a lot of Republicans who would join that fight. The rich can’t rule us without the middle classes help and consent just as in any elitist form of governance. The rich never get their hands dirty when they can by wannabees.

  • Rob says:

    December 13, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Bill, Can you expound? I do not see why you are so defensive. The truth is a wonderful medicine, but you must take it.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    December 13, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Rob, reasonable regulation and a “Proggresive Socialist with a big stick to tame capitolism” are 2 different things. When you come down a little you will realize that Capitalism always controls Socialism because bueracracies have little or no concept of efficiency and are always self serving and self supporting entities. That is why Socialism is the most failed system of ,so called, democratic governance on the planet. That is why it fails so often into horrible dictatorships. That is why those ateistic dictators were able to kill more than 100 Million civilians in less than 100 years. Socialism only works in small unicultures and has failed miserably in any large diverse society such as ours. Every singe piece of socialism in this country is miserably flawed and so many like you don’t care. Don’t preach Socialism to me.

  • Mike Rust says:

    December 13, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Bill, you seem, no you state, that bureaucracies are only a problem with socialist organizations.  You don’t think they exist in capitalistic ones as well?  What took down AIG, Lehman Bros. and GM, et al ?  I get to work with a bunch of engineers from all over the TCs.  One of them was a VP of quality control for a Fortune 500 company in Mpls. In talking about mfg. in China, he told me that American companies, if run efficiently can compete, heads up with China.  Trouble is, he said is that most corporations and organizations have about 40% waste due to bureaucracies and other inefficiencies.  People are running both entities, capitalistic and socialistic, you get good people (in either) and you get good results.  It’s not so much the system, it’s the people and their failed nature, which is why we need both intelligent rules and regulations.  Your Johnny “one note” social bashing tune is becoming annoying. And don’t conflate socialism with communism they are not the same get a dictionary

  • Mike Rust says:

    December 13, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Bill says: “Every singe piece of socialism in this country is miserably flawed and so many like you don’t care.”

    Flawed like, SSI, public power & water utilities, Police and fire departments, Interstate highway system, I happen to think these social services work quite well. What are your overhead costs for your 401K. Or your private health insurance plan?

  • Rob says:

    December 13, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Bill, Please could you denounce Germany - home of the nationalist socialist movement and the best educated, longest lived, cleanest, best economy, greenest, healthiest society on earth. Need I go on? By the way they are about 90 million people - not exactly a wandering vilage. Oh, by the way Sweden, Norway, France, Japan, and others are looking good, too. They all battle it out for highest rankings in every category, while the most capitalist and wealthiest nation on earth languishes near the bottom of most categories. On the other hand, there is not a single example of runaway capitalism that is around to talk about it, and the U.S. is next.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    December 13, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Mike, if you want to see bueracratic ineffiecys at their best, look at Stalin’s or Chairman Mao’s collectives. The concept of working harder to help the State does not resonate nearly as well as working harder to help yourself (capitolism).

  • Susan Rengstorf says:

    December 13, 2011 at 3:51 pm

      It is part of the GOP plan that the rich are to get richer and the poor are to get poorer. This is the primary plan and that is the reason they all signed the “no new taxes” pledge. If you’re not in the 1%, you should never vote GOP again. If you vote Republican you’re voting for huge corporate bonuses that trickle down only to other super wealthy people, while the rest of us lose what little we were ever able to save.

  • Rob says:

    December 13, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Bill, Can you respond to my last post about Germany and The U.S.?

  • Dan Conner says:

    December 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Wonderful point Rob.  You stated this issue accurately and well.  WD Billy is generally pretty confused about governments vs economics.  Hopefully, he will learn.

  • Joe says:

    December 13, 2011 at 5:15 pm

      Thank you everyone so far for a great discussion. We’re glad to see you’re fired up about how to find more equity in our society.  While passionate views are encouraged, I want remind everyone to stay on topic, with comments directed at issues—not personal attacks.  There have been a few comments today we’ve had to flag.
      We’d much rather moderate a discussion, than play comment police.

  • Rob says:

    December 13, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    The top one percent are sociopaths that are obsessed with money.They have no interest in the common good. History will be hard on the insane tax and wage system the Republicans have pieced together over the last three decades. Guaranteed: this thing is going to implode.I think we hear $100 million and $1 billion so often we are numb to just how much it is. If any working class person was given a million dollars just once - not year after year - it would completely change their world. A million bucks is an incredible amount of money. Think about it. The average income in America is about $29 thousand a year. That is 34 torturous years of work. By the way, it costs about a million to survive (barely) for 34 years. Liars can figure, but figures do not lie.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    December 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I’ve been to Germany Rob and I don’t know where you are getting your info but you need to dig a little deeper. Being of German ancestorage I can say we are very good with machines but we have lagged a little in the abstract conception of government. I’m sure you could get a visa to live there if you want, I have no urge to.

  • Rob says:

    December 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Bill, So are you acknowledging the fact that by nearly every measure of what constitutes a successful society Germany (socialist heaven) is kicking our butts? I did not get a lot of substance from your last comment. The facts are the facts. Come on over to the truth. It is awsome.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    December 13, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    You know Joe, when you got me standing over here in the corner you have no idea what kind of faces I’m making at you.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    December 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Actually Rob, the medial income is about $47,000.00 right now, your $26 figure is about poverty level for a couple with a child. As for your Germany question you got the second version.

  • Rob says:

    December 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Bill, Sorry, you are looking at family income not individual. By the way they have declined since the hard righties took charge.

    Simple mistake.

  • Christeen Stone says:

    December 13, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    I read through the days discussion and thought how political it sounds. I thought of many GOP friends I have who feel as deeply as I do the world we live in does favor the rich. They do care about the more vulnerable people. So we lump them in one group and call them conservatives. I feel they don’t always think how conservative the person they vote for is, or how party politics forces them to follow the party line. Maybe we all need to get back to asking what is good for America, and what does my party do when elected?

  • Dan Conner says:

    December 14, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Christine, I hear what you say, but I think Republicans better think about whether they want to be members of a party looking to desroy our country as e know it.  We give so much homage to the 1%, who don’t create jobs, but hoard wealth at teh expense of the masses in our country.

    If there are Repbulicans who really do care about our country, the many many poor in it,a and equitable treatment of people, then I think it is time they consider a party change, or make a new party.

    Today, I believe there are too many lies in politics.  However, the head dog in that race is the Repbulican Party.  The party is premised on lies.  Have you noticed that they campaign the entire season telling the public what they will do to benefit them, bu when in office only tende to the needs of the rich. 

    This was the most unproductive Congress in history, largely due to Republicans that have filibustered virtually every piece of legislation intended to help the people.  They have intentionalyy thwarted the President the moment after his inauguration.  This is not responsible legislative leadership.  It’s destructive of our nation.

  • Bernice says:

    December 14, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Thanks for the reminder, Christeen.  We seem to hear and read most about either conservative or liberals, but not so much about the moderates in the middle.
    In 2010, Gallup polled Americans to see how they describe themselves, and the result is:

    Conservative 39%
    Moderate 37%
    Liberal 23%

    Most descriptions I’ve seen in the media say “conservatives still way ahead of liberals” in their numbers, but my personal opinion would be that moderates are much closer to liberals (concern for the common good, for civil and human rights over excessive security that infringes on those rights, for investment to help make an economy grow jobs rather than letting it shrink for lack of tax revenue, and adequate public support for education, housing, health care and people’s other daily needs). 

  • Dan Conner says:

    December 15, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Maybe Republicans better reflect on Scott walker in WI.  507,000 signatures for recall and 30 days to go.  It looks like the recall is on.  Hopefully, Scott Walker will be a victim of his own tough policies.  TGhen, he can listen carefully and hear my smallest violin playing “0my heart bleeds for you.”  He screwed with the bull now he got the horn.

  • W. D. (Bill) Hamm says:

    December 16, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Your going to be crying a whole different tune when he wins the recall election and the odds are better than even that he will Danny boy. The sacred cow has been breached, now the taking back of our country from public employee domination begins. The DFL in Minnesota and the Dem. party nationally belong to the people of the country, not to your elitist minority. One way or anouther your domination will end, and I say that as a DFLer who witnessed how you gained power.

  • Dan Conner says:

    December 16, 2011 at 9:53 am

    WD Billy - It isn’t only about unions that have gotten Scott Walker into trouble.  He has grossly underfunded schools in WI, while he gives tax breaks to the rich.  You see, Scott Walker isn’t about most of the people, certainly not about the 99% of the people.  He’s about the 1% of people. You see WI finances were in great shape after the financial collapse.  Scott Walker changed that.  He decided to turn WI’s budget into a huger deficit.

    You should have been watching polls.  Scott Walkers favorability in WI is tiny.  Something like 30% of the voters approve of Scott Walker’s job.  Bye-bye Scotty.

  • Dan Conner says:

    December 22, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    I think the last few days are even a clearer picture of where Republicans sit with the American public.  The House did not vote to continue the Bush tax cuts or unemploymen benefits for the 99%.  However, they earlier stated they would have supported the cuts for the top 1%.  Suddenly, when tax cuts for the bottom 99% are thrown in the mix, the Republicans say it needs to be “paid for.”  Why were they willing to cut taxes for the rich without “paying” for it.

    Republicans are not about the vast majority of people in the US.  They are really only about the 1%.  They have to be humiliated into helping the 99%.  Then, they plan on passing restrictive enough voting laws in the states that only the 1% have the right to vote.

  • Bruce Halverson says:

    March 13, 2012 at 8:49 am

    “Right To Work” is a misnomer.  It should be called, “Right To Work For Less” !

  • David Dixen says:

    January 22, 2013 at 11:46 am

    The Republican oppose taxes on the rich because they recieve most of their campagning income from the top .1%.

  • Dan Conner says:

    June 18, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    The political right is predicated on selfishness and greed.  The rich have an insatiable thirst for wealth and power, regardless of the effect on others.  They now wish to skip paying taxes because, as New York multi-millionaire Ms. Helmsley said, paying taxes is just for the “little people.”  Our nation is afflicted with a wealthy, selfish, self-assessed royalty, who believe they only have rights, without responsibility.