Posts tagged ‘The New Republic’

August 9, 2011 and Paying Taxes

by Vince

John Judis at The New Republic has an interesting piece on Amazon’s intentional efforts to avoid taxation in several states that direly need revenue. After all, Amazon’s ability to avoid charging sale’s tax provides you and I opportunities to buy books (as well as plethora of other items) for dirt cheap.

This subject, which has been intensified lately due to Borders declaring bankruptcy, may be a good time for us all to question when to buy books online and when to buy in a store. What logic comes into play when we choose one outlet over the other? For me, if I can find a book for a penny plus ~$4 s&h on Amazon, I will go with that option over a store that may charge anywhere in the upward vicinity of $27 plus tax. If I can find a book in a store for a few dollars more than Amazon, I will go with the store. Judis elaborates on the ripple effects of the latter choice: “local realtors sustain neighborhoods and suburban malls; they fund local newspapers and theater groups. They are part of a community in a way that Amazon or Overstock—its Utah-based partner in fighting state sales taxes—will never be.” It is also worth noting that Amazon would not me Amazon without bookstores or trading houses who originally sell the books that we find online for a low price.

September 21, 2010

Defending Obama From Ideological Labels

by Vince

Barack Obama was labeled the following by Charles Krauthammer:

“This is no ordinary Democratic administration. It is highly ideological and ambitious. It is determined to use whatever historical window it is granted to change the country structurally, irreversibly. It has already done so with Obamacare and has equally lofty ambitions for energy, education, immigration, taxation, industrial policy and the composition of the Supreme Court.”

Andrew Sullivan rebuts. His full rant is worth reading:

I think the notion that this administration is ideological is bizarre. Did it nationalize the banks when it could have? Nope. Did it withdraw troops immediately from Iraq and Afghanistan? Nope. It followed Bush’s timetable on Iraq and has massively – and foolishly – doubled down on counter-insurgency in Afghanistan. Did it prosecute the war criminals of the last administration? Nope; it has covered for them. Has it raised taxes on anyone? Nope. It merely wants the already-sunsetted Bush tax cuts on the wealthy to expire on schedule. Did it provide a Krugman-style stimulus? Ask Krugman. Is Obama a peacenik? I suppose we have forgotten that he used the Nobel ceremony to defend Reinhold Niebuhr, has retained extraordinary rendition, and ramped up the troop-levels in Afghanistan to far beyond anything Bush ever contemplated. Has the president publicly backed marriage equality or pot-decriminalization? Au contraire. Has he even risked an iota of political capital to end the ban on gays in the military? No. In fact, it is now more likely than not that gays will still be persecuted by their own country by the end of Obama’s first term. Compare that to Clinton’s early efforts – in a climate far more conservative on the issue. “No ordinary Democratic administration.” You mean – like LBJ’s? This is preposterous piffle.

I was amazed to find last months edition of The New Republic today. In it, I believe John B. Judis does a fine job documenting Obama’s fall as a populist favorite. Mitt Romney was recently quoted as saying that Barack Obama has united the country indeed, but only in unison to oppose him. I feel for Obama because what he is pushing with his agendas, his support lent towards others, his own morals, and his appearances to the world is past most American’s comprehension, patience level, and moral capacity. That is a hard road to walk. He is deeper than I expected and it looks as if much of the country against him is playing catch up. But I could be hopelessly wishing or too in tune to the right wing circus show. In the end, Obama approaches his policies and our countries woes in a piece by piece manner refusing to approach with a wide brush all the while fighting an uphill battle against the tidal wave of our economy and an unaccountable right of center party.