January 18, 2009

"Nearly 100 wealthy families and power couples contributed at least $100,000 each to help Barack Obama over the past two years."

See how long it takes you, reading this article, to figure out why this was possible, given the campaign finance laws. Now, should we be upset, and if we are, what are we upset about and is it not poetic justice that John McCain came out the loser?

IN THE COMMENTS: The subject of pull-ups arises, and a fine point about pull-ups is explained. Conclusion:
To me this exercise of brawn says more about the mind of the man. He knows his strengths and the weaknesses of others. Even strong people don't necessarily practice the inverted pull up. He knows that and uses it to his advantage.

52 comments:

traditionalguy said...

That internet sure is a powerful fund raising tool. This real fund raising may be why Howard Dean was seen as useless to the One. I also wonder what is a "power couple"? I am having fantasies of buying me a power partner and us going into training until we can sponsor us a big winner.

Beldar said...

The devastating question still unasked of Barack Obama by any representative of the press is: "Did you authorize the dismantling of the anti-fraud protections built into the online credit-card contribution system through which your campaign raised hundreds of millions of dollars -- and if it wasn't you, who was it, why weren't they fired, and why weren't those safeguards reinstated?"

Pogo said...

Poetic justice?
How?

m00se said...

Poetic as in McCain championed campaign finance reform laws that clearly didn't work.

Pogo said...

Ironic maybe.
What justice was rendered?

Perhaps there are those who actually believed the campaign finance reform laws were actually intended as named. As it was, they were successful in that the intent was to favor incumbents. Obama and McCain both benefited.

Everyone else lost. Where's the justice in that?

EDH said...

"Perkins, president of the energy development and investment firm Small Ventures USA, said he told Obama he believes in increasing the inheritance tax and argued that there are too many loopholes that unfairly benefit the wealthy.

"... He and his wife each donated $50,000 to the inauguration, and he asked the committee if he could contribute on behalf of his 18-year-old stepson Corbin and his two daughters, 4-year-old Skye and 22-month-old Brisa. So far, he's received no answer.

"Inaugural officials said the committee's rules would allow only his stepson to give, and the money would have to be from his own bank account."

Not only would it have to be from his stepson's bank account, but under the gift/estate tax it'd have to be his stepson's own money to avoid reporting the transfer against the unified exemption, wouldn't it?

Unless it was the stepson's money to begin with any transfer to the stepson over $12,000 in one year would have to be reported per the gift/estate tax under the Perkins' estate. Then again, two $12,000 transfers before and after New Years would do the the trick to the tune of $24,000, but eat up the entire non-educational/medical expense exemption for each year.

Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, the article obtusely makes no mention of what Perkins actually did in response to navigate the situation.

Perkins "believes in increasing the inheritance tax and argued that there are too many loopholes that unfairly benefit the wealthy."

Fred4Pres said...

Chavez says he smells something

The Drill SGT said...

Now, should we be upset, and if we are, what are we upset about and is it not poetic justice that John McCain came out the loser?

Poetic? no.
Ironic perhaps.

McCain didn't champion campaign finance laws because he thought it would give him an advantage. He did it because he thought it was the right thing to do. He's an honorable guy. One can beleive the law was misguided or that McCain's sense of honor gets in the way. However, he saw what he thought was a problem and together with Feingold attempted to do the right thing to improve the system.

Obama, not so much. He broke his promise on campaign finance the moment he saw it would give him an unfair advantage. As for his clearly fraud ridden internet fund raising, I would call that gross hypocrisy on the part of a guy whoo says he wants to change Washington.

Obama now plans to run a 4 year fund raising campaign with paid workers raising and spending soft money to influence Congress. I'm sure that effort is going to leave Washington a kinder gentler more bipartisan place.

The Hope and Change we all were waiting for.

somefeller said...

For McCain, it's like rain on his wedding day.

SMGalbraith said...

I hope (er) I'm wrong because this country doesn't need another scandal at this time but the Obama campaign's cavalier attitude towards fundraising will follow it to Washington (cf., Bill Clinton and Ron Brown).

The question is will a fawning press rigorously investigate the matter?

The track record says no; but I'm not sure.

Anyway, I hope (again) I'm wrong on both counts.

Greg Toombs said...

Obama's "gross hypocrisy on the part of a guy who says he wants to change Washington."

He's a natural and fits right in.

And now he will lead this country over the edge, leading the greatest wealth-destruction process the world has ever seen as he and the congress conspire to waste unconscionable amounts of money we don't even have.

Our children will pay the price.

But I forget, they're "doing it for the children."

Oh, and isn't it lovely when those who are already wealthy and can game the system to protect themselves from competition seek to prevent others from attaining the same as they.

Ralph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg Toombs said...

Everybody sing now:

"Oh Happy Day"

bearbee said...

Looks like a lot of loopholing.

During the campaign there was all this talk about BO raising the bulk of campaign funds from the 'little people.' Anybody believing that to be the case is smoking.

Will there be eventual 'poetic justice' for Feingold?

Sure would like to hear McCain on the effectiveness of his campaign finance 'reform.'

If BO keeps to his pledge to raise taxes on the wealthy, then there will be 'poetic justice.'

Ralph said...

Someone should ask Perkins' children if they want the inheritance tax increased. How many rich people will go into hiding from their families in 2010, when it goes to zero for one year?

Ann Althouse said...

I stand by my use of the term "poetic justice." Think about it!

cwk981 said...

What is with these masters of the universe who want to raise taxes? It seems they feel government is the solution, and it must be generously funded. Take that old skinflint Buffett, for example. He keeps saying his taxes (now and prior to the hereafter) are too low, but he never says why he believes that.

bearbee said...

Re: Chavez he is feeling a pinch of the nutcracker with the slide of oil prices.

rcocean said...

"McCain didn't champion campaign finance laws because he thought it would give him an advantage. He did it because he thought it was the right thing to do. He's an honorable guy."

Ha, Ha. I assume you're being ironic.

Yes, it had nothing to do with McCain sucking up to the Democratic Party, Feingold, and MSM elite like David Broder (his base). It had nothing to do with helping incumbents. And nothing to do with his preening egotism.

Yes, it was for "honor". Of course, anyone who opposed McCain -rightly- and thought CFR would be a disaster was "dishonorable" and corrupt.

McCain's pushing of Amnesty is part of the same pattern.

Ralph said...

but he never says why he believes that.
He's made a lot of money buying family-held companies in estate sales forced by the high tax.

john said...

Greg Toombs said - And now he will lead this country over the edge, leading the greatest wealth-destruction process the world has ever seen....

Greg, this "greatest wealth destruction process" is nearly completed with a Republican executive. Obama's been one senate vote so far, the rest only words.

K T Cat said...

Beldar, The devastating question still unasked of Barack Obama by any representative of the press is: "Did you authorize the dismantling of the anti-fraud protections built into the online credit-card contribution system through which your campaign raised hundreds of millions of dollars -- and if it wasn't you, who was it, why weren't they fired, and why weren't those safeguards reinstated?"

I'm trying to wrap my head around the MSM's unfolding relationship with Obama. Because of their complicity in his election, will they try to avoid such questions because it will reflect badly on them? Assume that everyone involved is in it for themselves. How will this turn out? The MSM needs bailouts, too, you know.

Darcy said...

I agree with Pogo - this was not justice, in my opinion. I truly believe that John McCain tried to make the system fairer and less corrupt with his campaign finance reform efforts. How was this fairer and less corrupt?

It was ironic, exactly as The Drill SSGT expressed. Sadly ironic. Perhaps thankfully ironic. Poetic irony? But not justice.

1jpb said...

Who cares about this piece?

I saw it yesterday. And, I ignored it. I realize W had a $250,000 limit, and no limits on corporations and all sorts of others. We all know about the millions Bill receives (post-office) as fees and donations.

When I saw this WaPo headline yesterday I thought this must be journalism on the cheap--review publicly available documents, practice addition skills, call folks, hit deadline and hope readers care.

Of course, I still haven't read the piece so my ignorant assumptions could be completely wrong--my loss, I guess. Maybe this is Joe P. Prize material. Who knows; maybe JTP will also win a Joe P.

MayBee said...

Perkins, president of the energy development and investment firm Small Ventures USA, said he told Obama he believes in increasing the inheritance tax and argued that there are too many loopholes that unfairly benefit the wealthy

And just as with the campaign finance laws, the wealthy will continue to find loopholes and all the new tax laws created to close those loopholes will hit middle and upper middle income wage earners.

This is why I always fear the candidate of the super wealthy who are asking to be taxed more. Tim Geithner will be their perfect representative in Washington.

Chip Ahoy said...

Please direct all caterwauling to the outgoing president and his party. Nothing to see here, move along.

Goodness, you people are terrible at myth-building.

Calm yourselves. Allow this cheering thought to settle; best president money can buy.

holdfast said...

John McCain may be an honorable, but his is also a preening, self-righteous, preening douchebag. I guess one good result of the Obama victory is that conservatives no longer have to pretend that they like McCain, who would stab his best political allies in the back to get a favorable writeup in the WaPo. I don't know who the next Republican standard bearer should be, but that person needs to have a real grasp of main street economics and hold true to the majority of bedrock conservative principles. McCain was a part-time Democrat, so the voters decided to go with the genuine article.

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quayle said...

The presidency is not about a single person, because a lone person can't get there alone. It is about a group of people, one of them being the public face of the group.

This is the truth that must be realized. Obama is the public face of a larger group of people that are seeking power.

Obama could be the nicest, warmest guy in the world, and still have vicious and conspiring players behind him. They play the down and dirty hardball; Obama smiles and waives.

He does his public part and gets rich for it. They do their hidden part and get rich for it. It is a Faustian bargain.

That is politics in America today on the big stage of the presidency, just as it ever has been.

amba said...

They're not all vicious schemers. I know one of those "power couples" well (the name is laughable as applied to them). I don't know if they make the six-figure cut but I know they were major donors and the picture of them smiling with Barack came with their holiday card.

They are believers. They are utterly sincere. There's nothing in it for them except progressive policy, which they believe in, even though it is, as Thomas Frank might say, against their economic self-interest.

MayBee said...

There's nothing in it for them except progressive policy, which they believe in, even though it is, as Thomas Frank might say, against their economic self-interest.

That's where I balk. Anybody with 6 figures to donate to a Presidential campaign is going to have to work hard to find a policy against their own economic self-interest.
It is the people slightly below them on the income scale that always end up having to sacrifice their comfort to pay for the lofty progressive goals of the truly wealthy.

amba said...

On the one hand, you're right about the liberal wealthy and their lofty progressive goals. They can give 6 figs to a presidential campaign, or pay more taxes, and not really feel it. Not true of the successful small-business owner. Where would you set the cutoff point for "wealth"?

On the other hand, there are plenty of others who also could give 6 figs to a presidential campaign without feeling it who vociferously reject more-progressive taxation as an infringement on their liberty and a confiscation of their hard-earned money, even if it was hard-earned by their grandfather, in recent times has mostly earned itself (i.e. "if you have $100 you have to struggle to make $200, if you have $1 million you almost can't help making $2 million" -- poorly paraphrased), or is massive and perhaps unmerited executive compensation. EIther way we're talking about a few percent of the population. Which policy is better for the rest of us? And who are "the rest of us"? (I do not mean to insinuate an answer.)

Greg Toombs said...

john @ 10:04, you are not wrong. However, as I watch and listen to what's going on in Washington I fear the momentum is only accelerating.

Ann, I agree, "poetic justice" is apt.

Hoist on his own petard, too, has a nice sound to it, especially for a Navy man.

john said...

Greg,

I don't feel any momentum. What momentum that big plop of shit had has now dissipated upon hitting the bottom of the tank.

Except for the smell, of course.

I thought a petard was a mortar or a siege gun.

Greg Toombs said...

john, you appear to be correct.

There goes the Navy-irony bit. Oh well.

The Drill SGT said...

a Petard was what w would call today, "a door charge".

Hoisted on one's own Petard means being a bittoo close o the charge when it goes off. e.g gettin caught in ones own blast

From Inwood said...

Prof A

Apparently you agree that “poetic justice” while "Loosely, that ideal judgment which rewards virtue and punishes vice…[may] in its modern sense…be considered as fulfilled when the outcome, however fatal to virtue, however it may reward vice, is the logical and necessary result of the action and principles of the major characters as they have been presented by the dramatist.” (Thrall and Hibbard's A Handbook To Literature, 3d ed. emp. removed).

Noted.

And you voted for Obama & see that as a virtue.

It’s also a fulfillment of the Biblical prophesy, if you want:

“The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine”

(OK it wasn’t exactly “slowly” in the case of Campaign Finance Reform &, was, rather, linear from that Act to the Election 2008 results you so aptly describe.)

So, I see your form of “poetic justice” to McCain, perhaps, but no justice for the Country here. Alas, we’re in real life, not in our college literature class.

William said...

The article presents another example of why we need seperation of State and Media. I am sure that there are many high minded, altruistic hedge fund managers and Rockefellers. If they give to Republicans their motives will be scrupulously examined. If they give to Democrats, they will be celebrated as a force for progress. I don't a priori question the goodness of wealthy Obama supporters; I question the objectivity of the reporters who write about them.

m00se said...

Virtue is not a survival trait in politics, and particularly not in Presidential politics.

Obama is what he always was - a cagey operator who is careful to not reveal his cards too early, if at all.

Just about all his important stands, policy positions, and cabinet picks have been carefully triangulated with an eye toward a "centrist" position. In this, he is being exceedingly fair and making just about everyone mad about something.

The trouble is that pragmatacism can also be a cover for cynicism and a condition for governing by poll, developed by the Clintons.

Obama is not going to be the person everone thought he was when he was running for office - he is going to perhaps be greater than that, or perhaps as a great a failure as Carter.

What he is to those perceiving him is a screen upon which their hopes and fears are being projected. And I think that is precisely what he learned growing up. Not being of any particular world, he grew up fitting in and using his intelligence to succeed.

What drives Obama still has yet to be discovered. Its not as simple that what drove Bush or Clinton. We have yet to see what it is...

jmatt said...

The press has granted Obama a license to do anything he wants.

Chinese mobsters could back up trucks to the White House front door and unload pallets of laundered cash -- and Time Magazine would call it a foreign policy coup for the next Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama.

David said...

Well, I read the article and got a general idea of how they avoided the supposed contribution limits. You have numerous closely related persons (in this case by blood) make contributions to different entities. This of course is a game for the very rich and the very well connected.

What I did not learn was how these loopholes got into the law and who put them there. (That might require more work than the average reporter wants to expend.)

I also got confirmation of what I already knew--our politics is a giant charade in which the media and the voters (that's us) are participants.

Cedarford said...

The Drill SGT - McCain didn't champion campaign finance laws because he thought it would give him an advantage. He did it because he thought it was the right thing to do. He's an honorable guy. One can beleive the law was misguided or that McCain's sense of honor gets in the way. However, he saw what he thought was a problem and together with Feingold attempted to do the right thing to improve the system.

And in trying to do the "right thing" deprived unions and associations of their voice. And McCain's "reforms" were meant for earlier times before mass-based internet funding came in.

I disagree as well with the idea that because McCain was "honorable" 40 years ago when he was captured by the enemy, he is both honorable now and also infinitely owed high office due to his enemy custody and "victimhood". We had 560 other Vietnam era prisoners..many held longer who resisted better or who were not passed over for Flag Officer later - just none of them divorced and remarried into a megamillionaire beer heiress family.

The actual McCain of 40 years later, as another poster mentioned, is a "preening douchebag" who will stab any Republican in the back if it serves the greater glory and good press of The Great Man of Honor.

His acts of lying to other Republican Senator's faces, betrayal of agreements, treachery at the last minute after the Washington Post or TV cameras are on him are legion. Instances of his sour temper, erratic behavior, dim grasp of certain issues - as well.

Ann Althouse said...
I stand by my use of the term "poetic justice." Think about it!


I missed it, went back after Althouse's plaintive "think about it". Get it now. Silly Diva, casting your clever pearls before swine..
***************
cwk981 said...
What is with these masters of the universe who want to raise taxes? It seems they feel government is the solution, and it must be generously funded.


One great problem is that Bush figured he could be a profligate spender AND give tax cuts for the Rich so the "freedom lovers!" who wisely guided the markets and home equity value would grow it so much in value that the later generations stuck with his trillions in debt could easily pay off the bills he and other Supply Siders were sticking them with.
It didn't work out.
Bush doesn't care. He's gone. But his 5 trillion in IOUs to China, Japan, and Saudi Arabia still fall on the taxpayer to make good on. Along with the 13 trillion added on his watch to later Medicare obligations from out of control costs.

cwk981 - Take that old skinflint Buffett, for example. He keeps saying his taxes (now and prior to the hereafter) are too low, but he never says why he believes that.

Actually, one of the great things about Buffett is his ability to explain his strategy, decisions, and financial beliefs to his investors, politicians, and fellow businessmen in crystal clear terms.

He has explained this many times in the parable of the Billionaire and his Executive Secretary exactly how the tax system favors the very rich, redistributes some to the very poor, and screws the Middle Class, especially the higher end making 60-120K a year.

He noted that champions of tax cuts for the Rich tend to try and limit the debate to the Federal Income tax on only that income from direct compensation. He argues that to to average taxpayer, they don't care who in government takes their money. They operate, and standard of living arises from disposable income...

Namely that money that each of us have as a fraction of each dollar we make after basic living necessity (the poverty line, more or less) and whatever "bite" government takes out in all forms from fees to regressive sales taxes to income.

When you examine his secretary's remainder of what each dollar she gets after those necessary expenses and her total taxes...she has far less of each dollar earned than Warren does. For two key simple reasons, he says: (1) Most of his income is from capital gains, not the higher taxed income from mere labor and work. (2)All his basic living necessities, plus all his regressive taxes, including FICA, are paid off in his 1st week on the job each year. Leaving his residue of 51 weeks of wealth harvesting free and clear of any burden but capital gains and a small medicare remainder.

He keeps about 80% of what he makes as disposable income - his secretary, around 55%.

Buffett also notes that unlike most fabulously wealthy people, he does not seek to press his advantage over mere ordinary working folks under the tax code further with all the goodies he could avail himself to to legally hide capital gains, shift comp from direct pay to options, park new corporate wealth he gets offshore in tax havens in the Caymans, Israel, Switzerland, etc. Nor construct the "Foundations" "philanthropic charities" other wealthy individuals or familes have done to considerably reduce their tax burden - even further - while keeping full or partial control of their art collections, 3,000 acres of estate set aside for "conservation of deer and ducks".

His case is a good one. And the theme is being picked up by many on Wall Street and by wealthy Christians that agree with many of Buffet's and Moderate Democrats beliefs about tax code fairness, exec and corporate responsibility to be good citizens of high ethics. They also believe it is a matter of self-interest, as capitalism cannot prosper if the masses see the wealthy grabbing all they can get while punishing the workers and small investors and rigging the tax laws to give them a much lower total tax burden than the middle class.

(Many Republicans in the upper middle class or higher also agree with most of Buffet's paradigm. Resistance is strongest in the Voodoo economics Wing of the Republican Party.)

Methadras said...

McCain-Feingold was nothing more than a scam to paper shuffle one set of laws into another that garnered who can contribute how much to whom and under what circumstances. Hence the 524's. You think you got rid of a problem, only to have created a hydra that you cannot contain any longer. What a mess and what a joke. Thanks McCain. You get the wrap while Feingold is nowhere to be found. Stooge.

Alex said...

It's going to be a never-ending fundraising campaign for 2012. Expect $400 million warchest by Jan 2012. Expect another $300 million to be raised that year alone. The best President money can buy?

terrye said...

Well I guess this just just proves that the White House really is for sale. The old days of citizen representatives governing the Republic have gone by the wayside. Now the guy who wins is the guy with the most money. I don't find that poetic justice, I find it scary.

john said...

Remember back in 1996 when Steve Forbes was running for the Repub nomination, and the accusations about how much he was spending? It ended up costing him something like $1000 a vote, as I recall.

Also, didn't someone say we spend more on Easter candy each year than we spend in four years on presidential contests? (I know we do at our house.)

Palladian said...

Cedarford would love to be a communist if it weren't for all the Jews.

amba said...

Update: my friends are far short of the $100,000 club, although they gave more than they'd ever given to a political candidate and they got their picture taken with Obama. (As a bonus, one of them's a homegirl from Hyde Park, my high school buddy.)

theobromophile said...

This may have been mentioned upthread, but I question the idea that wealthy individuals who vote for progressive policies are voting against their self-interest.

Maybe they realise, as many people do not, that progressive policies do not work as intended. When I look at Obama's stimulus plan - or any of his other plans, such as for health care or defence spending - I cannot help but think that they are going to make some people much, much richer than they would be otherwise. Government intervention distorts the free market (which, unfettered, has a way of separating out the producers from the non-productive); more government intervention means more opportunities for exploiting the situation. For those who lack the productive ability of their wanna-be peers, "progressive" policies can be an excellent thing.

Just sayin.'

From Inwood said...

Paladin

Over 1,000 words & he didn't mention Jews once. Cedarford is slipping.

Nichevo said...

And I won't taunt him for it either. (He should be encouraged in this, I have always said. It is possible to think that C4 is only mad north-north-west.)

But I wanted to respond to you (or anyone) on the Medicare drug entitlement - what do they call it, Part D?

Granting that there will be new drug costs - drugs can avert a larger expenditure on surgery and other medical costs which Medicare now covers.

Mr grandmother died last year at 87 due to complications from surgery on a hiatus hernia. I believe her last medical bill was over $100K.

How much Nexium/Prilosec/Aciphex, Zantac/Tagamet/Pepcid, Rolaids/Tums/MoM, etc., can you buy for a hundred grand? Answer: a lot.

IOW, perhaps the Part D expenditure is a good idea that will realize a net cost savings. If we could get off the hook for Medicare entirely, that would be one thing. But we can't, so perhaps resenting Part D is pennywise and pound foolish.

Unpossible? Am I a bad person for thinking of it this way? A commie Jew pinko or something?

BTW, sorry about that elderly relative of yours.

AllenS said...

Army paratrooper pull-ups are done with the palms facing you. It's got nothing to do with which type of pull-up is harder, but to build up your arms so that you can grab a riser (one of four, or you can grab two at a time) and pull it down to pitch the chute in a direction that you want to go. You cannot climb a riser with your palms facing out. Usually tilting the chute into the wind will slow your speed.

Obama is a leg.