Laura Bush was asked to talk about her husband having the third lowest approval rating of any president in 50 years. When she was asked why she believes that the American people are losing confidence in President Bush, she said, “Well, I don’t think they are. And I don’t really believe those polls.”
Also, Bush is confronting the nation tonight at 8 PM. He’s going to talk about immigration and his proposition to put the National Guard along the Mexican border. Does this seem absurd to anyone? Granted, I know very little about it, but it seems really very strange and unnecessary. Also, won’t it cost us greatly and don’t we need that money?
who cares about money or iraq when the mexicans are invading and smuggling in al qaeda members?
what pisses me off, is this: if the country has any national guard members to spare, why the fuck aren’t they in iraq along with the rest of the military? I’d love for there to be no war and for everyone to come home – but if there’s a bullshit war going on where the troops complain there’s not enough people there, the casualty rates prove that they’re not safe, and there are enough troops to patrol the border—it looks to me like someone is an idiot in resource management.
Overextending the National Guard in an effort to puff up a non-existent ‘threat’ posed by Mexican immigrants, fabricated entirely to cover up myriad scandals seems a little extreme. At least SOME attention is FINALLY being paid to security, though.
I wonder how far into the speech he will go before taking a moment to claim that coverage of the NSA disaster is a national security threat.
Did you see that Rove blamed Iraq for the horrible Bush ratings? If so, did your eyes bleed a little, like mine did?
But illegal immigration gives the Republican party something to run for come the next election. No? Strategy? Or necessity, therein lies the question.
Strategy entirely. There has been no change in immigration patterns in twenty years. This new ‘threat’ is pure hype. When it dropped a little in the headlines, it needed a little pomp.
> Did you see that Rove blamed Iraq for the horrible Bush ratings?
I saw that and laughed.
I don’t understand this. Bush has supported immigration up to this point.
You shouldn’t be expected to understand anything Bush does more than he can himself—which is not really at all.
If you’re really dying to know though, yo could look up scapegoat or diversion in your nearby dictionary
Perhaps Bush should deal with ratings disillusionment or find someone else to interpret them.. I call Oscar Wilde..
Did anyone find it offensive that he used a term normally applied to fish to refer to humans?
I’ll bite, I don’t understand? I’m slow today and slightly annoyed with my daily work life.
I think the best part was when he said, “It’s best not to use immigration as a means for political enhancement” (or something similar.) Ummmm OK, bush.
I get it. NM. Catch and release.
Well, there was the whole fish issue from earlier. He likes his fish.
While wearing my tin foil hat for a bit last night, I turned to Tobyjoe and said, “Do you think they know something from listening to our calls? Is that why their getting all Greatest American Hero at the Mexican Border and the National Guard?”
bush is a fool and i think laura is too….their pole numbers are down because 1) they are not fighting the war hard enough….2) they are not speaking out hard enough about all of these “so-called” scandals…3) they are not standing up to the media’s constant attacks …..4) they are not taking our border security seriously….5) they are not defining this “guest worker” thing for what it is…Illegal Aliens and it’s not immigration either. 6) they are not being conservative enough with their spending! ever since george bush was elected, the left has hated him…..they continue to hate him. the reason his pole numbers are low laura, is because the republicans who were the 50% probush before are now only 20%. these are not new democrats speaking out, these are republicans showing their diustaste for his cowering to moderates and the left and not following the principles of conservatism that helped get him elected in the first place. we should be kicking the shit out of these people and coming home when we are pussy-footing around with this wimp president who acts like he’s on another campaign trail of kissing ass to the people who hate him now and will hate him in 20 years, he’s just adding people from his own side to that list of haters!
I think the numbers are low because they’ve gotten to the point of being so corrupt and so inept that karl rove can’t save his ass anymore.
Lets face it – Bush is a piece of shit. The left knew it, the right was fooled into thinking its not true, and now they’re all “Oh wait, this guy is garbage. he’s just an awful human being, oh, oh oh no what did i do? jesus hates me now”
nice photo. says it all, really.
Jonathan, watch your words, please.
It doesn’t help that there is so much (so, so much) scandal behind Republican leaders and bribery and spending beyond ones means and granting massive contracts to corporations owned by their buddies. That’s the bad taste I have in my mouth… greed.
It’s true that the administration is pro-business. It’s also true that there is a difference between pro-business and pro-market. In many cases, regulation helps the marketplace by fostering competition. Pro-business can (and in many cases does) mean pro-specific-company. That type of favoritism spits in the face of the free market.
The nepotism and influence peddling have created an environment that is undoubtedly pro-business, but rarely pro-market.
Lawrence Lessig published a great essay about this topic in Wired recently.
Tobyjoe, link? I’d love to read it.
i find this article quite humorous. the government claims to do something nice for a citizen who is only required to fill out an “easy” form? but now the government is paying itself to do it for them and for who’s convenience i ask? what may have cost nothing (self-filing)or H&RBlock 150 bucks, now is going to cost the taxpayers and unknown amount of taxpayer money…not to mention open a door to regular filers.
looks to me like the revenue employees are trying to show that they’re jobs are important and maybe they’ll create some new jobs in the government sector to expand this new department. this is actually a great idea, we, the government, can knock the legs out from under H&R Block because “we don’t have to worry about making a proffit, we’re paid nomatter what and year round too. they have to deal with a “tax season” that we imposed on them too… feast in april and famine in november.” hehehehe government involved in something efficient? they need to stay out of things and allow them to happen….sure, there needs to be regulation, but within reason.
just a thought
Well, the meat of the article was about the influence of specific private entities in using the government to skew the market in favor of their industries.
On the specific note of the auto-filled tax forms, if the process of collecting data for taxation is automated by the IRS, it’s more efficient in a number of ways. Primarily, there is little need to audit claims when they have been created using data the state has already verified. There was no additional budget appropriation for this pilot program, Greg. Instead, the state attemped to improve efficiency by shifting burden and would likely end up with surplus budget were this to be implemented permanently.
This isn’t about the state crushing an industry or competing with the market. It’s about the state realizing that the way they have been collecting information has been inefficient, flawed, and has lead to a high margin of error and scores of unfiled taxes. They were already providing forms, tables, envelopes.
In this case, they were simply shifting the role of getting, filling out, and verifying the forms for the parts of the population with the simplest tax scenarios. They weren’t competing with H&R Block – they were making an attempt to stop being so inefficient.
The results were measurable, so there is no arguing that there was an improvement in efficiency. The state didn’t step outside of its role, it merely improved the process of doing what it has done all along.
As Lessig goes on to say, preventing the government from improving processes in the name of bolstering an industry whose necessity may be coming to an end is like preventing the FDA from approving a vaccine in the name of keeping doctors busy.
A free market doesn’t skew towards one industry, business, or individual. It’s always a matter of the best competitor winning. The state wasn’t, in my opinion, stepping into an industry. After all – there was no charge for pre-filled forms. It was simply improving a clunky process. The tax-prep industry – just like all others – needs to be able to respond to changing demands, or it needs to crumble.
i see……i feel it’s a false economy to try and make the government more efficient, that usually means, we need more people to implement the idea. ; )
More people, possibly. Different people, possibly. Different supplies, processes…
If the budget stays the same, are you opposed to the government improving its processes in favor of closing a hole and staying up-to-date and relevant?
Even if the budget stayed at the exact same level, there is still the benefit of an improved experience for taxpayers (and doubtlessly for IRS employees, as well).
This is a kind of weird situation, as there is a cleary fiscally ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ angle to this.
The tax-prep industry existed soley to ease difficulties people had with a mandatory procedure.
Would you interpret making things more efficient be liberals “nationalizing the system” and expanding government?
Or would you interpret keeping things inefficient as a government handout and subsidy, creating an artificial market? I think it would be an easy argument calling the $150 H&R Block fee a ‘tax’ if the government was creating forms that were the average american felt they needed professional advice for.
BTW, I wouldn’t mind seeing H&R go out of business. They have a long history of misleading people into signing up for their “Advanced Tax Refunds” , which are just term loans with the highest interest they can legally charge.
I agree, Jon, that you can easily invert any sophmoric left/right analysis of this. That sort of discourse is really getting to me lately, anyway. The aisle only exists in the Congress, after all.
The H&R ‘advance’ is so exactly as you describe it. It’s a damned shame that people mindlessly overpay taxes, then think they’re getting a prize at the end of the year when their no-interest loan to the government is repaid. Seeing them pay interest on an advance in that case is really odd.
What I’ve found interesting is that this is one of the few things people can argue either side of in a left/right discussion. Its a very grey subject, and what I’ve found really interesting are the materials that people draw on when they argue in either direction—its something that you see a bit more depth to character than traditional party line crap.
toby, i think what i’m leaning towards is that….in this cali state tax situation, the government first made an assumtion that those 50,000 people were going to file the “simple return” so they took the time to fill it out. but i wouldn’t call that adding to the efficiency, because they didn’t take out the part that the citizen still was required to then send in the return as they would normally. all they did was add a step to the process….and to the “simple return.” they should have sent the tax payer a note saying…..”we’ve completed your taxes for you you’re off the hook this year!” that would be efficient, but i’ll bet that there wouldn’t be one person who didn’t question if they were getting screwed by the government that year either.
as for equal budget to better service? i’d love to see it, but it just never seems to happen. here’s an example, the state run PA Architectural Licensing Board went to computers to be “more efficient,” cost went from 50$ in 1969 to 1200$ in 2005 an increase of 2400% over 37 years. in market terms, inflation has only increased +/-112% in that time…this was all in government’s idea of efficiency. this, i know, is not a good example, but hey, it’s an example.
i think people need to understand that federal withholding is just another scam the government (incumbants rep and dem) uses to keep the taxayers just far enough removed to be able to pull the wool over their eyes when stealing their money at tax time. it’s not in their best interest to do ‘real good’ and make it easier for the “Non-Simple Returners” and instead, they insult my inteligence by doing something that doesn’t need to be done by them at all. it’s another reason to scrap the IRS and implement a fair tax and save the tax payers the estimated 50 billion dollars a year in tax prep….
how did i get here, oh, laura bush being clueless….right!
Spinning out pre-filled returns for users as part of this pilot program didn’t force citizens to use them. The option to accept them or not is still there – the same way choosing a standard deduction is always there for people who don’t want to itemize.
This was an effort to minimize mistakes on both sides, and to reduce oversight to a quick glance by taxpayers before signing off on their paperwork. For the test subjects, there was a better experience and the budget didn’t change. There’s your example :)
Ultimately, it’s still an effort to eliminate problems in the system, and giving in to lobbyists who feed off the problems is a pathetic exercise in government.
hehe…..i guess you’re right, that is an example even if it isn’t very exciting…gotta start somewhere! : )