Sigh … More Snarky Snippets …

Some nights the mind bounce simply does not allow me to focus on my more in-depth projects … I have three of them in-process at the moment … and so nothing will do but a few snarky snippets.  Sorry, folks … I simply cannot help myself.  Sigh.


Underpaid???

I want you to get out your box of tissues and don your sympathy hats, for this one’s a real tear-jerker.  Members of Congress have not had a pay raise … not even so much as a cost-of-living increase … since 2009 – ten years!!!  The horror!  I mean, the majority of them only earn a paltry $174,000 per year!  How on earth are they managing?  So, two republican representatives, Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise, have quietly proposed a pay increase … just about a 2.5% increase … ballpark $3 million per year in total … nothing to break the bank.

But wait!  The minimum wage rate of $7.25 also has not been raised since 2009.  The full-time minimum wage worker earns $15,080 per year.  Um … that is a mere 8.67% of what those members of Congress are earning.  All of which might not cause a raised eyebrow except … back in March there was a bill in Congress to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour in increments by 2024.  Guess what?  The bill ran into a bit of a snag, with every single republican, including Representatives Scalise and McCarthy, committed to voting against it, and even some democrats refusing to support it, saying it would place an “unfair burden” on small businesses.  Unfair burden?  Unfair burden???  What about the burden of all those people working second jobs just to survive???

The very people who are poised to grant themselves a $4,500 per annum pay increase, would deny the minimum wage worker an increase. The bill hasn’t garnered the 218 votes needed to pass the House, and even if it passes the House, Mitch McConnell has indicated that he will not bring the bill to a vote in the Senate.  And even if it passed both the House and the Senate, in all likelihood Trump would veto it.

Think about that one … the people who are making 11.5 times as much as minimum wage earners, most of whom are already millionaires, want a raise for themselves, but none for the man or woman who is struggling every day to feed their children, pay the rent, pay the doctor’s bills, and keep the electricity from being shut off.  My answer to the members of the U.S. Congress is do what the minimum wage earners are having to do … take a second or even third job!!!


Ignorance

In year’s past, a president might be applauded for a brilliant speech, or criticized for one that wasn’t so good, but it tells you all you need to know about Don Trump when he is praised for not veering off-script.  The speech he gave at the ceremony for the 75th anniversary of D-Day was praised by two of Trump’s media antagonists, Jim Acosta and Joe Scarborough, not for it’s content (Trump didn’t write it) or sincerity (there was none), but because he stayed on script and didn’t go off on a tangent as he is prone to do.

“This is perhaps the most on-message moment of Donald Trump’s presidency today. We were all wondering if he would veer from his remarks, go off of his script but he stayed on script, stayed on message …” – Jim Acosta, CNN

“I’m also glad the president chose to have the discipline to stick to script …” – Joe Scarborough, MSNBC

Sorry, guys, but given that he spent three full days making an ass of himself and of this nation while visiting our allies, he gets no kudos from me for managing a few minutes reading from a paper without veering off course.  Two and a half years in office, and this is his crowning achievement – being able to read a speech that somebody else wrote???  That’s sad.  That’s really, really sad.


Truer words have never been spoken than these by President Dwight David EisenhowerD-Day


Th-th-that’s all f-f-folks

bugs bunny

While we were distracted, look what oozed in through the keyhole – by musingsofanoldfart

Our friend Keith Wilson wrote this post a couple of weeks ago … 05 February … and I meant to re-blog it when I first read it.  I actually thought I had shared it with you all, but I eventually figured out that I hadn’t, and by that time the re-blog button had disappeared, so I waited.  Obviously, holding my breath for the return of the button is not working, so I will share Keith’s post in this manner, for this is too important and we really need to get the word out.

Please take just a minute to read the latest in our government’s attempt to help the rich get richer and ensure that the poor get poorer.

musingsofanoldfart

Independent views from someone who offers some historical context

KeithOn December 5, 2017, the Department of Labor under the guidance of the self-proclaimed populist President offered proposed regulations that would affect tipped employees. The 60 day comment period just expired, so unless the push back was convincing this proposal may become regulation. The proposal unwinds an Obama regulation which prohibits an employer from garnishing tips from workers who make at least the $7.25 minimum wage.

It should be noted that restaurant workers have a lesser minimum wage of only $2.13 which has been in place for twenty plus years. They can be paid an hourly wage this low, provided their tip income brings their total hourly pay to $7.25. As of May, 2017, the average combined wage and tip income for restaurant workers was $11.82 per hour.

In essence, the proposed regulation would allow an employer to garnish the extra tips above a total wage rate of $7.25. Now, the employer could be altruistic and reallocate this tip income to all workers, such as the cooks and buspeople (those that clean off the tables). This could also include the tipped worker who would receive a reallocated portion, but less than the direct tips garnished.

Read more

Many thanks, Keith, for allowing me to share this important information!

It Trickles Up … Not Down!

Trickle-down economics is a theory that says benefits for the wealthy trickle down to everyone else. It is a theory that makes sense … on paper.  In reality, it has been tried more than once and proven that it does not work.  Repeat after me:  Trickle-down economics does not work.  It does not trickle down, but rather pools in the bank accounts and investment portfolios of those who already own most of the nation’s wealth.

economy-8The theory is that if the government provides substantial tax cuts, industry de-regulations, and negotiates trade agreements that favour the big businesses of the nation, those big businesses will earn higher profit margins, and will therefore use their additional wealth to build more factories, hire more people, create more jobs, increase workers’ wages and benefits. The workers will have more money to spend, will buy more ‘things’, thereby increasing the profits of the big businesses who will use that additional profit to … well, you get the picture, right?  Sounds about right, don’t you think?  Yes, it sounds good, looks good on paper or white boards in boardrooms and congressional offices around the nation … but it does not work in reality.

economy-3Ronald Reagan tried it in the 1980s, thus leading to some calling it ‘Reaganomics’.  It did not work.  The U.S. economy was in a slump when Reagan took office in 1981, so he did two things:  lowered taxes and increased government spending.  Now, at this juncture I want to take a minute to let you know that I do not intend to provide a lesson in economics.  I am savvy enough, but I am not an economist, and I typically leave these discussions to fellow-blogger Erik Hare over at Barataria.  But Erik sometimes goes into more depth than is needed, as he IS an economist.  Since I am not, I will put what little explanation I deem necessary in layman’s terms.  So, using an over-simplification to explain what happened under Reagan …

Think of it on a personal level.  You decide you want to enjoy life more, so you cut back your hours, thereby reducing the income from your job.  At the same time, since you want to enjoy life more, you spend more money on such things as dining out, travel and household goods & clothing.  For a while, perhaps, life is great, but then … the homeowner’s insurance comes due, there is a huge auto repair, and your daughter starts college.  Uh-oh … it just caught up with you and now you must take out … loans.  Go further into debt.

This is what happened under Reagan.  He decreased the federal revenue by cutting taxes, increased federal spending in order to stimulate the economy, and for a while there was the illusion that it was working.  People had more money, and spent more, and they were happy.  But … time came to pay the piper and the money wasn’t in the treasury, so our federal debt tripled from $997 billion in 1981 when Reagan took office to $2.85 trillion in 1989 when he left office. Money is a finite resource.  If you rob from Peter to pay Paul, as the saying goes, then soon you will need to rob from somebody else to pay Peter back.  And remember that debt is not free.  Take out a loan for that new car, and you will pay approximately 4.5% in interest.  The federal government must also pay interest on its debt.

Then in 2001, George W. Bush tried the theory once again, cutting income taxes in an effort to stimulate the economy.  Which it did … temporarily, until unemployment began to rise.  So in 2003, he further cut taxes on business.  According to the theory, the tax cuts should have helped people in all income levels. In fact, the opposite occurred. Income inequality worsened. Household income rose 6 percent for the bottom fifth. And 80 percent for the top 1 percent who saw their income triple. Instead of trickling down, it appears that prosperity trickled up.

economy-4

Okay, so we see that it does not work, but why?  I could point you to any number of studies with lots of graphs and charts to show inverse correlations, etc., but we would all be bored.  The bottom line, I firmly believe is multi-fold.  First, tax cuts reduce the revenue of the federal government, meaning that, since our government will almost never cut military spending, it will instead cut funding for social welfare programs, meaning the lowest income families will actually have less spending power.  Second, federal debt will have to increase to cover the deficiencies caused by the tax cuts.  And … here is, perhaps, the biggest reason:  GREED.  Big businesses that benefit from tax cuts are typically corporations who owe their very existence to their stockholders.  They will keep those stockholders happy with higher annual dividends before they consider paying their employees higher wages or increasing benefits, let alone hiring additional staff.  Purchasing additional factories?  Perhaps, but that is not likely to increase jobs significantly, especially with today’s rapidly growing technological advances cutting jobs in many fields.

Now why, you are asking, is Filosofa boring me to tears with all this?  Because, friends, Donald Trump is proposing/planning to go far beyond what either Reagan or Bush did in order to help big businesses, and he is dead wrong.  I won’t expound on the potential outcomes if he is fully successful in pushing his plans, for that is an entire topic in itself.  However, he has already begun with his rollback of certain regulations for which we will pay a terrible price, with no benefit to those who most need it.

Take, for example, what he said last week in a speech in Missouri: “We must reduce the tax rate on American businesses so they keep jobs in America, create jobs in America and compete for workers right here in America — the America we love.” Excuse me, but a large portion of Trump’s own products are manufactured overseas, as I have mentioned in previous posts, and 100% of his daughter, Ivanka’s products are manufactured overseas. Put your money where your mouth is, Trump!

What has Trump done thus far to help businesses see higher profits?  Let us look at a few:

  • He has postponed rules that protect workers from dangerous silica dust and beryllium
  • He has given green lights to the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, which will help create a few thousand very temporary construction jobs
  • He has pulled out of the Paris climate accord, is seeking to scrap rules against coal-fired power plants and allowed the dumping of coal waste in streams
  • He has claimed credit for the opening of the Corsa coal mine in Pennsylvania, even though the mine opened some two months before Trump was inaugurated
  • He claims to have kept some 1,200 jobs at the Carrier plant in Indiana from being moved to Mexico, but between layoffs and some jobs relocating to Mexico after all, the net number of jobs remaining in the U.S. is around 200

There is more, but this is enough for a wake up call, especially when we look at the cost of some of these moves, especially as pertain to the coal industry and oil pipelines.  Coal companies dumping their waste in streams in their backyard obviously, to those of us with eyes and brains, poses a health threat for the families of those coal miners Trump claims to “love”.  The rollback of regulations against coal-fired power plants and the blatant disregard for the environmental studies surrounding the pipelines is nothing short of criminal negligence and failure to protect the environment and those of us who inhabit this planet.  Add to that, the fact that coal jobs may come back in very small numbers and for a short time, but overall, increased use of cleaner energy substitutes like natural gas, solar and wind have come too far and proven effective both in terms of a cleaner environment and cost-effectiveness to ever take a backseat to fossil fuels again.

economy-6.jpgIn addition, Trump has been applauded by businesses for rolling back or repealing workplace regulations – safety regulations – that were costing businesses billions of dollars annually.  I don’t know about you, but I would rather see OSHA do its job in keeping workers safe than trust businesses to take matters of worker safety into their own hands.

So what’s next on the Trump agenda?  Why, tax cuts for business and industry, of course.  And this brings me, after a circuitous route, but I hope one with some value, to the reason for this post.  Tomorrow, Congress returns from its summer break, and among the first, highest-priority orders of business will be Trump’s budget.  The key feature of said budget, from what I am able to discern, is increased military spending coupled with tax cuts, primarily large tax cuts for corporations.

Cuts in revenue, the result of cutting business taxes, must be offset by either cuts in spending or an increase in costly debt. One of the more egregious items reportedly in Trump’s budget proposal is to cut money for mine safety enforcement and eliminate funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission, which has aided hundreds of coal counties by financing job retraining and social services, helping to cut Appalachia’s poverty rates nearly in half.

economy-7The most recent jobs report shows that job growth is slowing and wage rates are stagnant.  No surprise there, as the job growth rates over the first six months of Trump’s administration were merely a continuation of job growth under Obama.  Slow job growth with stagnant wage rates is not exactly a win-win, and Trump has adamantly argued against a raise in the federal minimum wage.

economy-2The budget debate is just about to begin in Congress, and I expect it to be contentious, especially in light of funding that will be required to help with disaster recovery from Hurricane Harvey.  One thing that is not needed, that will not help We The People, is tax cuts for large corporations and the top 1%.

Good People Doing Good Things – Dan Price

“It’s not about making money; it’s about making a difference.” – Dan Price, CEO Gravity Payments

Many times in the past few years, I have commented, snarkily, about the notorious 1% … the group of wealthy magnates who, though they account for only 1% of the population, control more than 90% of the wealth of the nation.  It is what we have come to think of as the ‘income divide’ or the ‘income gap’.  It is a vicious circle.  Rich people buy companies, the companies make money, the rich people who own the companies take that money and use it to buy more companies that make more money … Meanwhile, they balk at raising the federal minimum wage above $7.25 an hour, or about $15,000 per year.

The following came onto my radar through one of the sources I typically troll in search of ‘good people doing good things’, and as soon as I read the first paragraph, I knew I had found my good-person-of-the-week!  I almost backtracked, as I came upon some controversy & critique, but after reading everything I could find, considering the sources of the criticism, I concluded that this guy is the real deal and worthy of this post.  Allow me to introduce you to Mr. Dan Price, the CEO of Gravity Payments, a credit card processing company on the west coast.

Dan-Price-1

In March 2015, Dan Price was hiking with a friend, Valerie Molina, who lamented about being about being able to make ends meet on her $40,000 annual salary.  Listening to her was a bit of a wake-up call for Price, as many of his own 120 employees earned even less than his friend.  Then, he says, he recalled a paper by Nobel prize winners Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, who found that people’s emotional well-being improves as their earnings rise, until their pay reaches about $75,000 a year, beyond which any additional earnings do nothing to increase happiness. Dan’s mind was made up that day, and he told his hiker-friend, “I’m going to pay all my employees minimum $70,000. I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to do it, I need to run the numbers, but I am. Is that crazy?”

And that is exactly what he did.  But that, in itself, is not the best part of the story in my view.  The best part is that he did it by reducing his own salary from $1.1 million annually to around $77,000 in order to cover the increases for his employees.  For the remainder, he has committed up to 80% of the company profits. According to Mr. Price, “That was the happiest I’ve ever felt. For me, it was the best money I’ve ever spent.”

But the road was not a smooth one, as he had his share of detractors, some disgruntled employees, and was even sued by his own brother!  Former Idiot of the Week, Rush Limbaugh:

“He is a good liberal, and he’s read that people are happy at 70 grand. What he doesn’t understand is, happiness does not equal productive. Happiness equals comfort. “Seventy grand, well, I can stop working hard,” is what it means.

Anyway, he’s not tying this to anything other than employment. He’s not tying it to performance. He’s not tying it to sales. This is pure, unadulterated socialism, which has never worked. That’s why I hope this company is a case study in MBA programs on how socialism does not work, because it’s gonna fail. My guess is that just like when Solyndra went south, there will not be a story on Gravity Payments succumbing to gravity and going under.”

Limbaugh wrote a very long-winded and critical piece on Mr. Price, the gist of which was that he is a socialist and his employees will become lazy and useless.  He has since been proven wrong, but remember … there is a reason he was Idiot of the Week last August.

Others were critical as well, saying he had an ulterior motive, or was doing it only for publicity.  Other entrepreneurs in the area were not happy, saying Price’s decision made them appear ‘stingy’.  And his brother, Lucas, who owned 30% of the company, filed a lawsuit claiming that Dan had “worked against his brother’s interest as a minority shareholder”.  Last July, a judge ruled in Dan’s favour, but nonetheless there is a rift now between the brothers.

Two employees resigned shortly after the announcement, saying that in their view it was unfair to double the pay of some new hires while the longest-serving staff members got small or no raises. There is some validity to that argument, but I still applaud what Mr. Price did, and perhaps if the employees had stayed, a compromise could have been reached.

The company’s success speaks for itself:  employee turnover is drastically reduced, business is booming, and net profits nearly doubled between 2014 and 2016.  While measuring happiness is not an exact science, the employees appear to be happy … so happy, in fact, that they all pitched in to buy Mr. Price a brand new Tesla automobile!

And perhaps even more important than what Mr. Price did for his own company is the ripple effect it has had, expanding to other companies who followed Price’s example:

  • Josh Ledbetter of Ledbetter, Inc., cut his own salary by 82% and used it to give his three employees substantial raises.

  • Tony Tran of Third and Loom was so inspired by Price that he raised the wages of all his employees in the U.S. and his factory workers in Vietnam to $70,000.

  • Mario Zahariev of Pop’s Pizza saved $7,000 annually in credit card fees when he became a customer of Gravity Payments.  He used it to give raises to all eight of his employees.

  • Andrew Green of Green Solutions gave all his employees raises beteen 35% – 50%, which doubled the pay of his lowest paid workers.

Megan Driscoll, chief executive of biopharmaceutical recruiting firm PharmaLogics Recruiting also took a page from Dan Price’s book after hearing him speak, and increased her employee’s salaries from $37,500 to $50,000 … with commissions they will be earning $70,000 or more.  She says the results are remarkable … employee turnover has reduced, revenue has more than doubled, and the profit margin is steady.

No one person is going to reduce the disparity in incomes in the U.S., but it seems to me that Dan Price has, despite some overwhelming odds, done his fair share.  “Income inequality has been racing in the wrong direction,” he said. “I want to fight for the idea that if someone is intelligent, hard-working and does a good job, then they are entitled to live a middle-class lifestyle.”

Dan Price – a man who cares more about people than money.

If you are interested in reading more about Dan Price, his decision, and his company:

Interview on Today Show

About Gravity Payments

The Gravity of $70k

Meanwhile, Back At The Sweatshop …

The minimum wage in the U.S. is $7.25 per hour.  For the fulltime worker, working 40 hours a week, that equates to $58 per day, $290 per week, $15,080 per year.  The federal poverty level for an individual is $11,770, and for a family of four is $24,250.  There has long been a call to raise the minimum wage in the U.S., one which I fully support.  However, I cite these figures today for comparative purposes.

In Bangladesh, 3.5 million workers in 4,825 garment factories produce goods for export to the global market, principally Europe and North America. Nearly every major clothing store in the U.S. sells clothing made in Bangladesh, including Macy’s, The Gap, Wal-Mart, L.L. Bean, Sears, J.C. Penney and many more too numerous to list.  While you may pay $40 for that pair of Lee jeans you are wearing, or $75 for the Anne Klein sweater you gave your sister for Christmas, the people who made those items are earning far less than subsistence wages.

In Dhaka, garment workers earn 5,300 taka, about $66.39 US dollars, per month, or about $797 USD per year.  Bangladesh is the second largest clothing exporter after China, yet has the lowest minimum wage in the world. The minimum wage rate was increased in 2013 from $38 USD per month.

bangla-2Last month, workers in Ashulia, a hub for garment factories on the outskirts of Dhaka, tens of thousands of workers joined a large protest for a raise in pay.  What they got, however was not what they had hoped for.  The protest caused some 50 factories to shut down for a week, many were arrested, and more than 1,500, including some who were not part of the protest, lost their jobs and were blacklisted.  Some of those who lost their jobs now fear harassment by police.

The minimum age for employment in Bangladesh is 14, however many smaller factories employ children much younger and pay them only a portion of what adults are paid.

There is also a safety factor to consider.  In 2013, known as the Rana Plaza disaster, a run-down eight-story factory complex making clothes for Primark, Benetton, Walmart and other Western brands collapsed, killing 1,138 and injuring more than 2,500 workers.  The death toll was eight times that of the historic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911.  One factory worker described working conditions:

“Since the disaster, employees have to work harder. They have higher production targets. If they cannot fulfil them they have to work extra hours but with no overtime. It is very tough; they cannot go for toilet breaks or to drink water. They become sick. They are getting the minimum wage as per legal requirements but they are not getting a living wage.”

When workers took to the streets to protest back wages owed to them, as well as working conditions after the Rana Plaza disaster, police opened fire, used tear gas and batons, injuring at least 50.  Western clothing companies, who benefit greatly from cheap labor in Bangladesh factories, were asked to contribute to a compensation fund for the victims, but a year after the disaster, only 5 of the 27 brands had offered to help.

We all complain from time to time about our jobs, working conditions, bosses, salaries, etc. – it is human nature, I think.  My daughter and a number of my friends have truly legitimate complaints, and I empathize.  However, I think that when we put things in perspective, most U.S. workers have it pretty good.  Certainly there is room for improvement, but there always will be.  It is all relative – the minimum wage in the U.S. ranks 11th worldwide (see chart below), however Bangladesh is at the bottom of that ranking.

bangla-minwagechrt

As I was writing this piece, I needed to go upstairs for a sweatshirt, as it is cold downstairs today, so I decided, just out of curiosity, to check the labels on a few articles of my clothing.  I found a pair of jeans was made in Egypt, while a t-shirt was manufactured in India.  But the one that confounded me was the sweatshirt of which the label says, “manufactured in EU, assembled in Mexico”.  It’s a sweatshirt, for Pete’s sake, not a 5,000-piece puzzle.  Two arms, a front and a back … and they needed to send it from the EU to Mexico to sew those four parts together?  I’m still scratching my head over that one!

It should also be noted, though it is not my reason for writing this post, but merely an aside, that some of the shirts in Donald Trump’s line of clothing are made in Bangladesh, while the rest are manufactured in China, Honduras and Vietnam. Make of that what you will.

bangla-gap

$90 Gap jeans

I do not know what the solution to the working conditions and low wages in Bangladesh are … I wish I did.  To boycott products manufactured in that country would only exacerbate the problem, as factories would close, workers would lose their jobs altogether, and poverty would increase.  So, while I have no solutions, I think it is necessary for us to be aware.  Aware and thankful, for our lives could be so much worse, and I think we often forget that.

Two words for last night’s GOP debate: boring, predictable

As a student of International Relations, obviously my interests lie more in the direction of how the next president will handle the many global crises and issues that face the world today than the economy of the U.S., which was the topic of the night.  I tend to find economic discussions taxing (pun intended), to say the least, though not outside my comprehension.  I support raising the minimum wage, though perhaps not to $15 an hour.  I support tax cuts for median-income families who are struggling to put food on the table and their children through college.  I support continued funding of Social Security.  I support curtailing jobs being outsourced overseas and the creation of more jobs at home.  However two hours of discussion about how to achieve our domestic economic goals by eight people who are under-educated on the topic is more than I can abide.  That said, let us move on to the “highlights” of the debate, if one can call them that. (Italicized text is my own thoughts/comments)

  • Nobody appears to want to raise the federal minimum wage:
    • Trump: “ [people] they have to work really hard and have to get into that upper stratum
    • Carson: “ … Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases … only 19.8 percent of black teenagers have a job … that’s because of those high wages ($7.25 is high wages???). If you lower those wages, that comes down.”
    • Rubio: “If you raise the minimum wage, you’re going to make people more expensive than a machine. And that means all this automation that’s replacing jobs and people right now is only going to be accelerated.”
  • Paul blames the democrats and the Federal Reserve for income disparity (he used 268 words to say this, most of which made no sense whatsoever)
  • Carson, who has recently come under fire for stating “non-verifiable facts” (I’m trying to be nice here and not say “outright lies”) regarding his past, whined that he is being lied about. (Yawn #1 – I’m already bored)
  • Bush: I think we need to repeal every rule that Barack Obama has in terms of work in progress, every one of them.  (No clarification as to which “rules” or why, just reverse everything that President Obama has done … that is his proposed policy, and this actually got applause from the audience who also, obviously, have no clue)
  • Fiorina: “ … citizens of this nation must help a President Fiorina get it done.”  (Doesn’t matter what “it” is, because she has no clue either, but what a joke that she already refers to herself as President Fiorina!)
  • Trump: “We will have a wall.”  (Yawn #2 … not this again … can I go now?)
  • Bush: “Thank you, Donald, for allowing me to speak at the debate. That’s really nice of you. Really appreciate that.” (Maybe one of the best lines of the night)
  • Rubio: “… we have a crazy health care law that discourages companies from hiring people,”  (Seriously???  I thought it provided affordable healthcare to millions of citizens.  Silly me.)
  • Cruz: “I am the son of an immigrant who came legally from Cuba…”  (Yawn #3)
  • Moderator Cavuto: “Dr. Carson, to you. You say you are in favor of a tax system, I guess akin to tithing, sir, with a flat tax rate of up to 15 percent because you said, if everybody pays this, I think God is a pretty fair guy, so tithing is a pretty fair process.  But Donald Trump says that is not fair. That wealthier taxpayers should pay a higher rate because it’s a fair thing to do. So whose plan would God endorse then, Doctor?”
  • Cruz: “There are more words in the IRS code than there are in the Bible “  (So????)
  • Carson (on being asked to respond to President Obama’s decision to put 50 Special Ops forces on the ground in Syria): Well, putting the special ops people in there is better than not having them there, because they — that’s why they’re called special ops, they’re actually able to guide some of the other things that we’re doing there … Putin is trying to really spread his influence and we have to oppose him  … it’s a very complex place. You know, the Chinese are there, as well as the Russians, and you have all kinds of factions there. (WHOA … the Chinese are there??? Who knew???)
  • Bush (on being asked what is the biggest threat facing America today): “ … Islamic terrorism”.  (Can anybody remember the last time ISIS or al Qaeda or Hamas or Hezbollah attacked citizens on U.S. soil?)
  • Trump: “But, as far as the Ukraine is concerned, and you could Syria — as far as Syria, I like — if Putin wants to go in, and I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes, we were stablemates, and we did very well that night. But, you know that. But, if Putin wants to go and knocked [sic] the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it, 100%, and I can’t understand how anybody would be against it…  (Yawn #4 … or is it #5?  So good to know that Trump and Putin are such good buddies, isn’t it?)
  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Well okay, you get the gist.  This takes us up to about mid-point in the debate and I cannot stand any more.  If you are really interested, you can read the entire annotated transcript at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/11/10/well-be-annotating-the-gop-debate-here/

A few brief thoughts to sum up:

  • Why does every single candidate think we care about what their parents and grandparents did for a living? It is irrelevant and frankly uninteresting in this context.  You want the world to know all about your ancestry?  Write a book.  Oh wait … most of them have already written one (or more).
  • I disregarded the whole discussion about tax-reform and a balanced budget because not a single one of these candidates are educated about the topic and it was a “pie-in-the-sky discussion that doesn’t bear repetition nor analysis.
  • I think that Mr. Trump, as well as some other candidates, defines an “American” as White Rich, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant … or WRASP … guess that leaves me out on at least 3 counts. I will be drafting my letter to the Prime Minister of Canada asking for political asylum if, by some freak chance, Trump should become the next president of the U.S.
  • A fellow blogger asked me why I always write about the republicans and never the democrats. I replied that I am having too much fun mocking the GOP. This was the most boring debate … perhaps it IS time to turn my sights to the left …