Obama — your typical Democrat

In keeping with my prior post, about the callous illogical shown in one of the Times’ most recent articles, I’d like to highlight Obama’s insistence on a “windfall profits tax” — another “bright” idea showing a rather typical Democratic refusal to recognize cause and effect, not to mention a willful refusal to acknowledge historic evidence:

You may also be wondering how a higher tax on energy will lower gas prices. Normally, when you tax something, you get less of it, but Mr. Obama seems to think he can repeal the laws of economics. We tried this windfall profits scheme in 1980. It backfired. The Congressional Research Service found in a 1990 analysis that the tax reduced domestic oil production by 3% to 6% and increased oil imports from OPEC by 8% to 16%. Mr. Obama nonetheless pledges to lessen our dependence on foreign oil, which he says “costs America $800 million a day.” Someone should tell him that oil imports would soar if his tax plan becomes law. The biggest beneficiaries would be OPEC oil ministers.

The WSJ from which the above comes is called “Windfall Profits for Dummies.”  I have a bigger question:  Are dummies attracted to the current incarnation of the Democratic party, or does being a member of the Democratic party make you dumb?

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Comments

  1. Mahlon says

    Ah, a classic chicken/egg conundrum. This one, however, is a bit more complex, methinks. I think you have to be rather dense to accept most of the Left’s fundamental propositions. For example, the idea that a corporation pays – or, more aptly put, bears the burden of – the taxes assessed to it is simply wrong. Those taxes either (a) force a rise in product prices, or (b) reduces investor value or dividends. In short, only individuals pay taxes, corporations don’t.

    This basic point is completely lost on the Left. Or, at least for some of them, it is ignored in favor of the snake oil du jour. The problem is that these dumb/ignorant/naive believers then swallow whatever ideological swill the Left serves them. By embracing the faulty premises, these followers are more likely to follow blindly any Democrat proposition.

    Ignorance is the Left’s biggest ally. And thus we have The U.S. public school system dominated by the Democrat Party’s greatest supporter, the NEA.

  2. Mike Devx says

    Here’s one I’m struggling with that I hope someone can answer…

    Generally, when the price of your inputs go up, your profits go down, don’t they?
    The typical businessman’s decision is to raise the costs of the product, but reluctantly, they DO NOT raise them to cover the full increase in the costs of the input. In other words, typically, the consumer suffers from the higher end price, AND the businessman suffers because the profit margin shrinks.

    Of course, if the input price increase persists for long enough, the businessman will raise the product costs to fully cover it, thus regaining the profit margin. Competition, on the other hand, forces the set of businessmen to seek better ways to produce products so that the cost goes DOWN.

    However, now, let’s look at oil.
    We have seen simply incredible increases in the cost of the input (oil). If I’m right, the cost of gasoline should go way up… but the profits should not! Profits should remain stable or actually decline. Instead profits have skyrocketed as well. That means that not only is the cost of oil being passed on to the consumer, but the cost to the consumer has actually gone even HIGHER, thus producing even larger profits than expected.

    Sounds like rape to me.

    So… I will ask the question again… where am I wrong??? Why have our oil industries made record profits in this situation? Do they not control their industry vertically? Do they produce oil just as OPEC produces it, then CUT their control over that, and then produce their gasoline from such a communist-style source-oil pool? Is that why they cannot control profits when consumers are being absolutely nailed by input cost increases?

  3. Mike Devx says

    If I can refine my question in the prior post, currently held for moderation and I don’t know why???) under a capitalist system increases in input costs should NOT lead to increases in profits, and often lead to smaller profit margin, at least at first.

    Note the many interviews with business owners who say they may have to reluctantly raise their prices because their profit margin has disappeared and even gone negative. They’ve been deliberately holding down their profit margins even while input costs skyrocket. But then there comes a point where the pain is too great. In other words, as the consumer suffers from the input cost increase, the business suffers from lower profit margin, too.

    But we’re not seeing that with oil companies.

    Why not? Please help me out here! Is the oil industry profoundly non-capitalistic? Is it communist at its core? How is it that speculators get to control everything? (If speculators are the reason for this vast-price and profit-increase season?)

  4. socratease says

    Mike, The oil companies are making about an 8.4% profit margin, which is below average among US companies. The ABSOLUTE amount of profits is going up because that percentage is applied to the amount of money that is going through their business, which increases as the price of oil increases. (Of course, gasoline taxes do the same thing, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Obama to complain about the ‘windfall’ the government is reaping from rising oil prices.)

  5. Mike Devx says

    And one more on don’t get stuck on stupid… (apologies for my rush of comments)

    From:
    http://www.melaniephillips.com/articles-new/?p=582

    On the day after Ben-Gurion declared its independence, six Arab armies invaded and tried to wipe it out. With the current exception of Egypt and Jordan, the Arab and Muslim world has been trying ever since.

    Israel is the only country whose creation was approved by the UN; yet it is the only country whose legitimacy is called into question. It is the only country which the world requires to compromise with its Palestinian Arab attackers and accede to their demands, even while they are firing rockets at its schools and houses and blowing up its citizens.

    It is the only country which continues to provide electricity and basic services to those attackers and routinely treats thousands of Palestinians in its own hospitals, even those who have Israeli blood on their hands. And yet it is the only country which, in the court of public opinion, is condemned for behaving ‘disproportionately’ when it uses targeted military means to defend itself, and is accused of causing the very ‘Nazi’ or ‘apartheid’ atrocities of which it itself is the victim.

  6. Mike Devx says

    Hi Socratease (and thanks!)

    By your argument (the 8.4% argument), if input costs increase, then profits automatically increase.

    I don’t buy that argument. Is that the argument you intended? That as input costs increase, consumer cost automatically increases?

    And should the price of gasoline have increased as much as it has?

    I’m grateful for Socratease’s argument, but I’m wondering if others have other arguments. It just doesn’t seem clear to me. IF we saw the price of oil decline back to $20 per barrel (from $110), does anyone really think we’d see the price of gas decline from $3.50 down to 64 cents per gallon?

    What’s REALLY going on here, or am I just being foolish wondering about this? How global manipulation of “the oil commodity” has absolutely NOTHING to do with classic forces of capitalism?

  7. Ymarsakar says

    Israel is the only country whose creation was approved by the UN; yet it is the only country whose legitimacy is called into question.

    That’s what happens when you allow the UN into things.

    does anyone really think we’d see the price of gas decline from $3.50 down to 64 cents per gallon?

    The refineries are the bottleneck so while lower oil prices won’t produce a price drop in the short term, in the long term it will allow companies to invest in more refineries because now they have the money to do so. More refineries means more capability to deal with the various environmental restrictions the US has, which lowers refinery max capacity and also increases the cost of refining petro into gasoline and other products because of strict controls over “clean” gasoline.

    Refineries must refine petro into a summer and a winter mixture, and those mixtures differ from California to Georgia. That’s where the price bottleneck is, and the fact that these refineries are expensive to retool and thus just can’t be pumping out max gasoline just cause demand is higher.

  8. Deana says

    Hi Bookworm –

    In response to your question: Are dummies attracted to the current incarnation of the Democratic party, or does being a member of the Democratic party make you dumb?

    I’m sure your question is rhetorical but it is something that I think about from time to time because I simply can NOT believe what liberals say they believe. We see all the time their refusal to look at facts and results. Historical evidence means nothing to these people.

    So how is that they have such a following? Well, with some of the older people, I suspect strongly that they were old school Democrats (pre-1964). There families were Democrat and so they are Democrat. I don’t always agree with these folks but most of the time, they actually are quite conservative. I’m convinced they do not realize how much the Democrat party has changed.

    Then there are the younger ones, say 65 and younger. While there are dumb ones in every crowd, I am more and more sure that the reason they are Democrats is because of peer pressure. Many of them are intelligent and quite successful in their careers so their political affiliation is not associated with ignorance or the inability to think through ideas.

    Instead, these people CRAVE having friends and being seen as important and influential. And because all of these people went to American universities where they were indoctrinated by very liberal professors, the “cool definition” has already been set. These people simply carry over what they were taught was cool in college into their professional adult lives.

    I have seen this in my own life. I know all kinds of people who, if they were honest with themselves and honored the values that I know they have and live by, would be conservatives. But they have all of these “friends” and jobs in which the pressure is great for them to conform to certain ideas. These people would NEVER risk coming out in public and say “I believe that affirmative action is wrong and here is why” or “I believe we must have a very strong military and this is why.” They know they would be ostracized and viewed as barbaric or fascist and they can’t handle that.

    I can’t blame them – it is hard being a conservative when your peers are all liberal. But I simply cannot stomach going along with the crowd when I know that something is not right.

    And I think that is one of the big differences between liberals and conservatives. Conservatives retain a streak of independence. They are willing to pay the price of being alone and sometimes villified for the sake of a principle.

    That’s just my two cents.

    Deana

  9. Ivan Ivanovich says

    Mahlon said “In short, only individuals pay taxes, corporations don’t.” That’s right! And to expand it’s only customers, stockholders, and employees that can pay. Customers pay through higher prices. Stockholders pay through lower returns and falling stock prices. Employees pay through lower wages or benifits.

    Mike asks “or am I just being foolish wondering about this?” Answer: YES!

    Deana describes well why people follow these silly proposals, but there is something else at work. That is the rooting for my team syndrome. Growing up in Detroit, I cheered for the Tigers and I hated the Yankees, but I loved Mickey Mantle, Yogi Bera, and Roger Maris. Later, I asked myself how I could feel this way and I began to understand that most people never ask themselves this question. It seems that most prefer to accept the talking points put out by thier team.

  10. Ymarsakar says

    Are dummies attracted to the current incarnation of the Democratic party, or does being a member of the Democratic party make you dumb?

    The lower 25th quartile of any group will naturally gravitate towards causes that promise social elevation and recognition. They haven’t achieved what they see as their destined lot in life, you see, so they are bitter. This applies the same to nobles just as it applies to commoners without wealth. Nobles just tend to have more money and be more spoiled so that they can dream big about being King and ruling over everything.

    So what you have are two spheres of the social order, the upper 25% quartile and the lower 25% quartile, working together. The nobles up top are in the 25th quartile, but they aren’t on the “top” of the heap so they are bitter and dissatisfied. Because they do have more money than 75% of the rest of humanity, they then start plotting ways to gain even more wealth and power, and often they do so by using the hopes, aspirations, or bitterness of the lower 25% quartile.

    The Democrat party doesn’t attract dumb people nor make people dumb so much as the Democrat party is simply one of a numerous chain of human institutions that was designed to organize the bitter, the greedy, the conceited, and the treacherous into cooperation for greater rewards. If it was just a matter of ignorance, being dumb, or being intelligent, Book, it could never have been as harmful or as everlasting as it has been.

    In feudal societies, the commoners attached themselves, by oaths of loyalty, to nobles, who paid the commoners with their salt and safeguarded the commoners’ family, health, and economic prospects. This is, essentially, the same thing that the Democrat party does, Book. Which is why the party loyalty of a Democrat is far stronger to their party than a Republican’s loyalty is to his. You will naturally be more loyal to the institution or organization that you see as buttering your bread and protecting your family. This is also a derivative of factionalism, in which people don’t see their nation as their primary benefactor but looks towards close family members, political factions, or religious and ethnic factions for identity and succor.

    The Republican party loyalty is based upon free will. It is a decision made not because the Republican party gives you bread and ensures your economic prospects, but because the Republican party promises not to interfere in your affairs or promises to help you get the government off your back. Conservatives tend to believe that individuals produce wealth and secure their own economic prospects. Thus the loyalty of a conservative or even a classical liberal to the status quo government or the Republican party is very loose because their ultimate loyalty is to the nation and the protections that nation provides for them. The Republican party is not the benefactor of the NRA or individual citizens trying to live their lives. The Democrat party, however, operates under very different principles, Book. Thus you will often see the natural inclination of a Democrat, a Leftist, or one of those so called cynical moderates that poo poos both parties to defend their ideology by justifying Democrat party behavior as being the same or better than Republican behavior. In their world, everyone really does operate under Democrat principles of fiefdom and patronage. They accuse the Republicans of corruption and cronyism even as Bill Clinton pardoned criminals that then paid Clinton’s allies useful money for feting Clinton’s Presidential legacy. This is because, to the Democrats, everyone does corruption and cronyism and this is the natural state of the nation and the government. Not only that, but they think it should be the natural state of things and only the opinions of the masses force the Democrats to pretend that corruption is bad. Well, if corruption is perceived to be bad, then at least the Democrats can tar their opponents with it while leaving themselves pure and pristine. There’s a silver lining in every dreadnought, after all.

    Conservatives retain a streak of independence.

    I do not disagree with Deana’s contention of conservatives having independence: or at least, more independence than the Demoncrats.

  11. Danny Lemieux says

    Let’s not forget that it was the Democrats who made fun of McCain for admitting that there was much that he didn’t understand about economics. I truly believe that most Democrats are very insecure and NEED to believe that they are intellectuals and therefore smarter than other people when, in reality, they can be rather thick. I see this in the Liberal/Left members of my own family.

    Never mind “corporate America is the enemy” Obama, think of Hillary (“smartest woman in “America”), Jimmy (“I was a nuclear engineer and why can’t we all be friends”) Carter, Jean Francois (“I speak French…badly”) Kerry, Michael Dukakis (“what would I do if my wife was raped? Hmmmm…let’s rationalize this”) and, of course, “I invented the Internet ” Al Gore (a college dropout).

    Juxtaposed with this is the Democrat’s constant need to portray the opposition as slow, dimwitted rubes (Eisenhower, Ford, Reagan, Bush I, Bush II). The exception, of course, was Nixon – and that is because he was “evil”. Yet in the end, who was it that moved history?

    George Orwell perfectly described today’s Democrat/Left intelligentsia in his 1945 “Notes on Nationalism”.

    “It is, I think, true to say that the intelligentsia have been more wrong about the progress of the war than the common people, and that they were more swayed by partisan feelings. The average intellectual of the Left believed, for instance, that the war was lost in 1940, that the Germans were bound to overrun Egypt in 1942, that the Japanese would never be driven out of the lands they had conquered, and that the Anglo-American bombing offensive was making no impression on Germany. He could believe these things because his hatred for the British ruling class forbade him to admit that British plans could succeed. There is no limit to the follies that can be swallowed if one is under the influence of feelings of this kind. I have heard it confidently stated, for instance, that the American troops had been brought to Europe not to fight the Germans but to crush an English revolution.

    One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.”

    All of which led me long ago to conclude that far too many Liberal/Left Democrats comprise dangerously insecure people with the minds of young adolescents.

  12. Ymarsakar says

    Thus you will often see the natural inclination of a Democrat, a Leftist, or one of those so called cynical moderates that poo poos both parties to defend their ideology by justifying Democrat party behavior as being the same or better than Republican behavior.

    In comparison, most Marines and many US military servicemembers sacrifice criticism in order to unite behind their nation, which represents and consists of every faction and individual in America.

    Their loyalty is given to a higher cause than simple politics or political and ideological factions. But Democrats don’t see America as being the one to butter their bread, or if they do, they recognize that the only part of America that butters their bread is the Democrat party. So thus when they say “America” and “Democrat”, they really mean the same thing. Since they recognize not “all” America is under the power of the Democrats, they work very hard to defend the Democrats and expand Demoncrat power, just as the US military works very hard to defend the US and expand US power.

    These sociological behaviors are natural things to the human species. Evil, however, isn’t. Evil requires free will and a freely made choice just as Good does. People have a choice of which society or social hierarchy they are going to follow. And they are either damned or saved by those choices.

  13. Deana says

    Hi Ivan – I think you are right. There probably is a healthy dose of just going along with whatever the party says and never stopping to ask oneself, “Do I really agree with this?” or “Do I see evidence that supports this idea?” It takes energy to go against the flow.

    Y – I really enjoyed your thoughts on why one sees less loyalty by conservatives to the Republican party and such unquestioning loyalty by liberals to the Democrat party. I had never thought of that before but of course, that makes perfect sense. Conservatives are, by definition, individualists who see themselves as responsible for achieving their goals and dreams. They look toward party affiliation only as a means of ensuring that government and other forces do not get in their way and limit their liberty.

    But a liberal is a different breed. It’s like you said – the relationship between a liberal and the Democrat party is not so different from that of a serf and lord or a woman and her sugardaddy. They NEED the party to ensure that they keep getting the benefits they’ve grown accustomed to. Which makes it convenient – because the party needs them to continue to justify its existence and prop up its power. All that this can lead to is dependence and debilitating weakness – two ideas that were anathema to those who laid the foundation of American greatness.

    Deana

  14. Ymarsakar says

    http://shrinkwrapped.blogs.com/blog/2008/05/understanding-s.html

    Has up a very good post people should read. This is my recommendation and if you know what kind of things I tend to link to, you can get a preview of whether this is something you need to read or not. However, if you can’t quite piece together that kind of vision, here’s a quote.

    Most people confuse “self-esteem” with what I will refer to as a “sense of self”. It is the latter–not the former, that is so often screwed up in the angry, violent, grandiose, and generally narcissistic people in the world. If you have a healthy “Self”, you are likely to have a healthy self-esteem–which is not the same at all as a high self-esteem.

    The psychological defect that leads to so many problems is a defective or distorted sense of one’s SELF. The excessive self-esteem you see in a bully comes from a distortion of reality that person has with regard to their self. It was once widely believed that low self-esteem was a cause of violence–and you see that idea reflected today in the platitudes and rationalizations of terrorism– but in reality violent individuals, groups and nations think very well of themselves.

    ….

    The pop-psychology that promulgated the widespread belief that if you nurture kid’s self-esteem neglected to mention that if the sense of self was already damaged, all you managed to do was to create a narcissist; and it is simply a waste of time and money….

    In my post on The Rising Tide of Narcissism, I added to Dr. Sanity’s discussion by pointing out “another problematic aspect of the disorders of self known as narcissism.”

    One point often glossed over is that the Narcissist’s self esteem is actually quite fragile. Since it is based on an inflated sense of the self, ie it is not based on a realistic assessment of the self, the Narcissist needs constant affirmation by the environment that they are, indeed, the “special” person they have always been told they were. Such people have a noticeable lack of resiliency. When the Narcissist inevitably smacks up against an indifferent environment, as when the young person graduates college and enters the work force, reality intrudes in unmistakable fashion. Your boss does not consider you special unless you can actually do a good job. It is very easy to see how the Narcissist, who already tends to use projective defenses to avoid knowing of his own short comings, can very easily slip into a paranoid position with the real world.

    “Since I know I am special, and have never really been challenged, when my boos tells me I have done a poor job, it can’t be true. ——> He must have something against me!”

    Now, multiply that attitude to a much larger scale. Major societal problems arise when a large group of people with fragile self esteem and a poor sense of self collide with modern day tribalism, ie, identity politics. Then the problem becomes the system, or the man, or the ruling class, or the Jews, or Bush and the Rethuglicans, or racism; never does the person take responsibility for their own failures because to do so risks a psychological catastrophe. Suddenly, one’s always fragile self esteem, artificially buttressed all these years by a facile environment, crumbles. The result is devastating despair. Alternatively, reality can be denied and the despair defended against by externalizing the rage and directing it at those you believe now oppress you.

    There is power in the truth.

    Like this little incident that has everything I hate about public speakers and those that use verbal skills to manipulate and attack people.

    http://www.snowflakesinhell.com/2008/05/03/speaking-truth-to-power/

    I have almost all the theory and some of the practical applications behind manipulation and attack philosophy, but I don’t have the verbal skills to carry such things out. The strategic pauses, the fake body language, the modified voice tones, etc. are all needed to craft a visual-auditory message in face to face communication. The skill sets with the written word just does not transfer directly to the rhetorical-oratory line. The theory does, however.

  15. Ymarsakar says

    Y – I really enjoyed your thoughts on why

    I’m glad you liked them.

    The process of connecting the dots is something I learned from the study of war, where knowing an enemy from fragmented and oftentimes contradictory data is vital to the success of any campaign or battle.

  16. says

    “… they work very hard to defend the Democrats and expand Demoncrat power, …”

    Y, was this (Demon-crat) just a typo? A Freudian slip? Or an intentional play on words?

    Whatever the case, I loved it!

  17. Deana says

    JudyRose –

    Good catch on Y’s “error.” (I think it was just a Freudian slip on his part. Hee-hee-hee!)

    You are definitely an editor!

    Deana

  18. Ivan Ivanovich says

    Ymarsakar writes about “self-esteem” vs. “sense of self”, but imagines this only in regards to violence. Does this mistake not also apply to the victim mentality? Many children ask, “Why is everybody picking on me?” Some never grow out of that view of life into a sense of self-esteem. They turn into the “Blame Bush and Big Oil” types.

  19. Ymarsakar says

    Whatever the case, I loved it!

    Thought I’d slip in some attack philosophy in there somewhere.

    but imagines this only in regards to violence.

    Where did you get that from? Shrinkwrapped didn’t write about it in relation only to violence.

    Many children ask, “Why is everybody picking on me?”

    Cause they’re weak and thus on the bottom of the social hierarchy for their group. There’s a social reward for those above to get some kicks by kicking the omega dog in the pack.

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