As the octogenarian was wheeled on to the dais, he paused, as if to announce himself to the crowd, and was overcome by the appreciative applause from the 600-plus crowd.
Before the night was over he was labelled as "cantankerous" by one young student, held up as the greatest U.S. president they never had by another, and would thoroughly entertain, if not enlighten, the congregated mass, though a dozen or so walked out before his talk had concluded.
Forty years ago, wealthy Americans financed the U.S. government mainly through their tax payments. Today wealthy Americans finance the government mainly by lending it money. While foreigners own most of our national debt, over 40 percent is owned by Americans – mostly the very wealthy. ..... Over that four decades, tax rates on the very rich have plummeted. Between the end of World War II and 1980, the top tax bracket remained over 70 percent — and even after deductions and credits was well over 50 percent. Now it’s 36 percent. As recently as the late 1980s, the capital gains rate was 35 percent. Now it’s 15 percent.
Whether or not one agrees with Reich's assessment that "a tax increase on the super rich must be part of any budget agreement," the shift (or "switch," to use Reich's term) is an interesting one historically. The switch Reich describes can't be denied, but it is almost certainly part of a larger historical narrative. (What other economic changes were happening during those 40 years? Obviously, many! And which are relevant to the relationship between the power of the wealthy and the power of the state? Almost certainly several.)
Also, it may be fair to ask, which gives the republic's wealthiest citizens the greatest power or least threatens them: for the government to use them as a means of financing or as a means of revenue? And which one, if either, is more a matter of the rich using the government than the government using them?
Vidal hams away; in fact he clowns away. He brings up the royal wedding and pretends to be breathless: “Every time I look at the TV, there’s that boy, there’s that girl… and they’re adorable!” The interviewer says they’ll be Canada’s king and queen one day. “I know,” Vidal says. Then, hoarse: “… and how lucky you are.” A bit later, receiving a compliment from the professor, Vidal answers with a plummy “We do our best to give satisfaction.” When that gets a laugh, he spreads his arms wide. “What a nice audience,” he says.
An interview with Gore Vidal by David Frost is featured on iBookmarkIt.com. Gore Vidal's view of the American republic's erosion in the last few years dovetails with his long-held view that America's "golden age" was pretty much exactly 1945-1950; i.e., from the end of WWII until the inauguration of what he terms the "national security state," a system supporting "perpetual war for perpetual peace"--primarily for the benefit of US corporations--in the name of fighting communism. He cites 1950 specifically because by the close of that year we were at war Korea, and our gov't had already instituted loyalty oaths and review committees to measure government employees' "Americanism," and the red scare was well underway--not to mention so pervasive that the Cincinnati Reds temporarily renamed themselves the "Cincinnati Redlegs," for fear they be too closely associated with what, who, had become the "Reds," those unseen legions of the dreaded Commie fifth column in America.
[In Lincoln,] Vidal has succeeded magnificently in imagining much of what [Walt] Whitman leaves out [of his book, Leaves of Grass, in its Memories of President Lincoln section]. The Lincoln invented by Vidal is a man of Shakespearean dimensions, full of doubts and mixed motives, a closet dictator who started the Civil War as much out of a desire to trump the glory of the Founders as out of any nobler instincts. Whitman’s Lincoln is a cartoon Christ-figure: he died not to remind us of our sins but to inflame our self-righteous sense of America’s greatness. Vidal’s Lincoln is a much more interesting person. His death isn’t seen as the ultimate glorious sacrifice to the Union’s victory. Instead, he seems to will his own murder as a guilt-ridden, inadequate atonement for all the blood he has spilled in the pursuit of his relentless compulsion to amass unprecedented glory for himself.
She said she was shocked to hear that many Americans weren't aware that millions of Jews had died until after World War II ended.
Bachmann said the next generation will ask similar questions about what their elders did to prevent them from facing a huge tax burden.
"I tell you this story because I think in our day and time, there is no analogy to that horrific action," she said, referring to the Holocaust. "But only to say, we are seeing eclipsed in front of our eyes a similar death and a similar taking away. It is this disenfranchisement that I think we have to answer to."
Shorter Michele Bachman: "Expecting me to bear a fair share of my civic responsibility is like gassing me to death!"