Monday, May 05, 2008


Hillary Clinton was asked on Sunday morning TV about her (and John McCain's) stupid and ineffective idea for a gas tax summer holiday - which would split 18 cents per gallon between consumers and Big Oil, with Big Oil deciding on the split (about 14-4 in favor of Big Oil profits, I'd bet).

Clinton said, "I'm not going to put my lot in with economists." She also added, "We've got to get out of this mind-set where somehow elite opinion is always on the side of doing things that really disadvantage the vast majority of Americans."

Well that's just nifty. First, I wonder who Clinton WOULD ask about the economic impact of reducing federal taxes on gasoline? Paula Abdul? Tiger Woods? Borat? Dick Cheney? Personally, I like the idea of seeking expert advice on complicated issues. You know, like asking General Eric Shinseki about how many troops would be needed to occupy and pacify (as opposed to defeat militarily) Iraq? Not to say of course that a president must follow every bit of the experts' advice, but giving yourself access to analysis and information just might help make wise decisions. I think that the next president, whoever it might be, should try it. It would be a nice contrast from the current fiasco of a presidency.

Second, I kind of agree with Clinton when she says, "We've got to get out of this mind-set where somehow elite opinion is always on the side of doing things that really disadvantage the vast majority of Americans." But I don't agree with how SHE meant it. She was using this as a dig at Barack Obama, who people consider an elite because he isn't fat and can string words together coherently.

But the REPUBLICAN Party elite really IS on the side of doing things that disadvantage the vast majority of Americans. For example, the Republican Party elite consistently call for the repeal of the estate tax, which touches on the richest 2% or so of Americans, to let them keep wealth to pass on to society parasites like Paris Hilton. And they keep on pushing cuts in capital gains taxes, which benefit that small minority of Americans who sell assets for big profits. For MOST Americans, the only asset they will sell for a serious profit is their house, and there is already a huge deductible there that prevents capital gains taxes from biting most of the time. And they push tax cuts that are aimed at the RICH not the poor; even Warren Buffett and Bill Gates spoke out against the Bush tax cuts, saying thanks but they don't really NEED them.

On the other hand, some "elites" do call for things that would HELP most Americans. You know, like elite economists who call for a single-payer health system that would extend coverage to ALL Americans regardless of employment status. Or elite environmentalists who think that limiting the amount of arsenic in the water you drink might be a good idea if you want your children to grow up healthy.

I hate this American tendency to bash so-called elites. It's even worse when done by actual elites - because honestly, ANY Senator from EITHER party qualifies as an "elite" even if NOT a former First Lady of a state and of the country. Doesn't Clinton think we'll notice?

And I hate it the most when the TRUE elites - as George W. Bush once called them, his "base" - are given a free ride. That's who Clinton should be bashing.



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