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  • Morning Bell: The Ugly Face of Progressive Corporatism

    During the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, President Bill Clinton mastered the art of burying bad news: release everything late on Friday afternoon and hope everyone in Washington forgets about it by Monday. Only one week into his presidency it is clear that President Barack Obama is equally adept at this skill. Late Friday night Obama Health and Human Services secretary nominee Tom Daschle told reporters that he paid over $140,000 in back taxes and interest to the IRS on January 2, of this year. The $128,00 in unreported income came from the $353,552 he received in consulting fees and the use of a car service from a wealthy Democratic donor in just the three years since Daschle left the Senate.

    But Daschle’s trouble paying taxes on income he received from wealthy Democratic donors is just the tip of the iceberg. As the New York Times reports this morning, Daschle’s post-Senate career, which allowed Daschle “to make $5 million and live a lavish lifestyle by dint of his name” provides “a new window into how Washington works.” Much of Daschle’s lucre has come from his work for the firm Alston & Bird where “Mr. Daschle has operated in the gap between the popular understanding and legal definition of a lobbyist.” While there, Daschle has “consulted” for clients with business before the federal government including two Indian tribes, a firm with heavy stakes in ethanol subsidies, and another with key issues before the Federal Aviation Administration. Not to mention Daschle’s work for the supposedly non-profit firm EduCap which allows some students to borrow up to $50,000 a year, sometimes at 18 percent effective interest rates.

    But these links between big government and big business are not the most worrisome. Daschle will after all be in charge of health policy, and that is where his income from big business is the most troubling. The Health Industry Distributors Association, which successfully lobbied to kill Medicare’s first ever competitive bidding program for health care supplies this summer, paid Daschle $14,000 to deliver one speech at their conference last year. And Daschle was also paid for his policy advice by UnitedHealth, a giant insurance company which receives a third of its revenue from HHS regulated sales of Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplement and prescription drug plans.

    Daschle’s ascension to Secretary of HHS comes at a crucial time for health care in this country. For more than a decade, the federal government has been gaining more and more control over the total number of health care dollars spent in this country. Today, the private sector spends only 53.7% of all health care dollars; while state and federal government cut the checks for the rest. The combination of the recently passed SCHIP expansion, and the further expansion of eligibility under Medicaid will certainly push government spending on health care well past 50%. But this is only half of the story. If we include all of the state and federal regulations that dictate private spending, the government already controls over 60% of the health care sector.

    Daschle and the health care sector are only part of the big business/big government nexus that is killing our economy. The Obama administration is also using the power of the Wall Street bailout purse strings to dictate how cars are made in this country and how financial firms should operate. Just as the New Deal failed to restore economic growth because it tried to marry big government planning with big business profits, so will Obama’s new New Deal. Daschle’s story is just one window into what the failure will look like.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    40 Responses to Morning Bell: The Ugly Face of Progressive Corporatism

    1. kent, Virginia says:

      The late hour revelations of a few of Tom Daschle's many 'indiscretions' come as no surprise. The Liberal fascists now in control of our government have already demonstrated appointees will be belt-way insiders and political cronies and their decisions will favor special interests and campaign contributors. The President's "Stimulus Package" awards hundreds of millions of American tax dollars to unions, mega-conglomerates like Acorn, hollywood producers, and others in the Obama millionaire club that helped him buy the Presidency. I see that as a blatant betrayal of the Public Trust.

      This "Stimulus Package" is an abomination in its present state. If the fawning media would tell Americans the truth about the contents of this 600 plus page Package of Pork they might begin to awaken to the kind of Change their savior in the oval office has in mind. Welcome, America, to Obama Nation.

    2. John Theobald, Marie says:

      Taxes don't apply to the progressives … they are above it all. Passing judgement and deciding what is in all of our best interest is their right and destiny. We should be grateful to them all for taking the time out of their busy lives to help us all run ours.

      It is our privlege to be served by them and we are entirely beyond our limits to expect them to pay their share of the burden.

      "With the decline of society begins, indeed, the bellum omnium in omnia [war of all against all], which some philosophers observing to be so general in this world, have mistaken it for the natural, instead of the abusive state of man. And the fore horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression." –Thomas Jefferson

    3. Bob, Billings,Mt. says:

      Can you guys compile a list of all of the folks sitting in the federal prison system for tax evading, plus the amount of payback and penalties? I know about a people whom have done time plus paying back more than owed.

    4. Ken in Santa Barbara says:

      Thanks for the levity. The Morning Bell is of course letting it's readers comment and rightfully so. I'm sorry to see so many take you seriously but the harm done can often be corrected by patience, and intelligent repetition of facts. It also helps to show support and kind words when the MB is correct. They are most certainly "right" not wholly like others defined in dictionary's and post WW2 scholarly posts but they are seldom truthfully correct not unlike the political partial truth tellers Sean, Rush, Laura I, Michael S. and Glen. I think I'll go back and re read about Lt. Colonel Smedley Butler and set myself up to feel good again. It's about knowing who the real fascists and corporatists are even if they aren't dealt with properly by the government and as usual ….the media.Tsk tsk eh….. Morning Bell??

    5. Bryon/NC says:

      This is how stupid our Infernal Reverse Tax System. Two years ago my wife worked two part time jobs. Part time jobs usually don't take out taxes, so we owed the IRS back taxes. We overpaid our taxes because of an ex IRS agent/CPA couldn't add correctly. About four weeks later, I get a letter stating that I overpaid my taxes $58.00 and I also owe them $27.00 more for interest and penalty. I call them and a lady says that I owe them because I should be paying estimated quarterly taxes. She said I had three choices on how to proceed on solving this problem. 1- Pay the $27.00 , 2- Set up payments for the $27.00, 3- Fill out form to protest. I picked option 3. I call my ex-cpa and he says pay the $27.00 and be done with it. NO DAMN WAY!! Four weeks later the IRS sends a letter saying they have dropped the $27.00. Talk about double standards. Isn't this a great country. The CROOKS in Washington put a tax evader over the treasury department and IRS!!!

    6. J.D.Robinette, Hende says:

      Tom Daschle, Secretary of health and human services

      and Sect of Treasury – Timothy Geithner should be put in jail, they are common crooks. Not paying your taxes was a minor oversight according to Senator Reid, give me a break!!

    7. Ken, Santa Barbara says:

      Silver43……Tell others where in Texas and see if it wouldn't be possible to colonize a portion of the State with like minded citizenry. It would serve a purpose for both sides of the political fence "as it were" as well as your (or a) model. Talk is wasted without action and "win win" is what we all should be seeking. Imagine progressives, liberals, conservatives, and staff of the MB rejoicing at a successful model of free market, capitalist economy that can and will afford to pay it's own way and effectively provide peace on earth, education for its people, goodwill to all. Can you see that happening? I hope you can and do pull it off.

      Write us in what I imagine to be a new "daily" on the successes of a new social and political life. You are not alone.

    8. Ken in Santa Barbara says:

      I'd like to share a website with the readers and the staff of MB.


      Tell a friend about The Word of the Day!

      New word every day……. old and pertinent words source for usage and definitions.

    9. OSCAR says:

      Any numbers on our Senators and House of Rep. delegates annual salaries, then once there are out of office what type of annuity check (retirement) do they recieve? Is the retirement check (which the recieve for LIFE) in proportion to the number of years workded and how does it measure up againt the federal worker and the private secetor? This needs to be exposed and perhaps the sentors, house delegates and the Pres. retirements should be reduced~!~~~~~

    10. Sara, Middleville, M says:

      Imagine if a conservative president appointed people who hadn't paid back taxes. Oh, excuse me, hadn't realized there where taxes to be paid. The libs would be all over it, kicking and screaming until they had reduced the president's popularity ratings sufficiently. Amazing.

    11. Philadelphia, PA says:

      Leading w/ a Monica Lewinsky reference?

      Um, glad the folks over at the Heritage Foundation are tracking down the big stories….

      Keep it up guys (and hint: better start looking into this Billy Carter fiasco–could mean trouble for the Dems….)

    12. Richard Ahern FREMON says:

      Power corrupts. absolute power corrupts absolutely

      I DON'T TRUST POLITICIANS-Socilalism does not work



    13. jim toledo says:

      T. Daschle’s nomination shouldn’t even be considered and he should just withdraw, I suspect he won’t; the arrogance of the Democrats will just continue and they’ll just push through their nominees. Like it or not, even if they are the best picks.

    14. Darrel Kent says:

      I really believe that If the Dems don't take care of this one they will be dead in the water ! Some of the Democrats in our small town are asking," Where did he find these duds". Even the working Democrats are starting shake their heads.

    15. Dennis Logan, Round Rock, Texas says:

      Fascist Dictatorships need to create or invent an external enemy or threat to blame for the troubles of their country to gain more political power, and mobilize, with trite slogans(unity!/yes we can!), their citizens and industry and distract them from the real issues.(1984)

      Iran,Syria,Zimbabwe,Venezuela, to name a few, all come to mind.

      In this context, I predict a Trade War with China, by Labor Day, if not sooner.

      Thank You.

    16. Mike Sheahen, Hickor says:

      Yet again another example of at once misleadingly sold, diabolically orchestrated and increasingly blatant government power-grabs, of which we've been warned since the beginning of this country (the U.S.A) by such as Thomas Jefferson when he said "Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now".

      To both see what Thomas Jefferson meant when he said "as our souls are now", and see more examples of how he warned us against even such government power-grabs as in the article above, all we have to do is consider, for example, two other things he said in warning us.

      To wit: "Were we directed from Washington when to sew and when to reap, we should soon want bread", and "Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have. The course of history shows that as government grows, liberty decreases".

    17. Pingback: Liberally Conservative » Blog Archive » Another Tax Cheat In The Cabinet

    18. Ken says:

      This appears to boil down this; the more socialize our medical system become, the more expensive our private medical insurance becomes. Therefore, since we can not reverse this conundrum, each step forward the federal government goes, the more expense private healthcare becomes. Thus, doubling the burden on the middle-class. Since they pay for their insurance along with paying the taxes on government healthcare. This is a travesty since it will ultimately crush the ability for the average joe to choose their own doctors in the end.

    19. Joanne, New York says:

      Oh, boy…here we go..We need to spread the news to others, I have been sending your link to many family and friends…in return they have been sending it to there family and friends.

      How long will it be before the left wants to silence this website…

    20. Damon B. Flowers, Ann Arbor says:

      All sounds very much like the same old, tired, and typical bashing of the left, from the now out of power, old and tired right wing wacko’s. Keep it up, the right wing republicans are so popular these days (for those few still listening.)

      Monica Lewinsky scandal? Now that’s really relevant.

    21. Mrs Sharon Lada says:

      All the information you publish is well and good. But, what can an ordinary citizen like myself do about it? I vote but, even that doesn’t count anymore. I am concerned about the direction this country is heading.

    22. LVKen7@Gmail.com - Las Vegas says:

      Tom Daschle, Secretary of health and human services
      and Sect of Treasury – Timothy Geithner
      can BOTH be used as
      Proof that we need a
      National Sales Tax – NSTx
      where all taxes are paid when the Purchase is made.


    23. sliver43 WI says:

      Damon, you if anybody should be concerned, you live in Michigan which will soon be the biggest rust belt in the country thanks to your Dem/Commie politicians. Hey guys Dennis is right if you read anything about fascisim you would see we are right on track, I’m moving to Texas. God help us.

    24. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      The “Midas Touch” muffler man running government healthcare via his brand new Lexus? I worried about this guy as a senator. Seems like alot of Obama’s top choice tax and spend democrats are having problems paying their fair share.

    25. sliver43 WI says:

      Hey Ken from Santa Barbara, I took your advice and subscribed to Word of the Day. See we are together. THANKS

    26. ella quinn kinsto says:

      You democrats who are not pleased with obama, come on over and join us.We conservatives know what he is. His adminstration is all about helping the rich and evil.They donot care about the american people.A lot of people are seeing what the liberals are all about.We are proud of Sean,Laura,Glen Beck,rush and the heritage foundation.Also Newt G.

    27. Dennis Social Circle Ga. says:

      How long before the IRS would come to my door if I owed this much money??? I guess it is all in who you know{CLINTON’S}. This is not right, but seems to be the norm for the dems. This country put them in charge and do not seem to care one way or the other. It is to bad the hard working folks can not be treated the same way, pay your bill and aplogize and all is good.

    28. Tony, Australia says:

      I read the Morning Bell because I am absolutely fascinated by the level of self-delusion in the American Conservative Movement.

      Take this Quote from Dennis in Texas: "Fascist Dictatorships need to create or invent an external enemy or threat to blame for the troubles of their country to gain more political power" which so easily could apply to George Bush and his "PATRIOT" Act, the most insidious piece of fascist legislation I've ever seen.

      Or take the opening line of this bulletin, bringing up the Lewinski affair. Hillarious, given the contrast between alleged presidential crimes: Clinton got a blow job, Bush authorised the use of torture in war.

      I thank you all, America's Conservatives, for providing me with so much morning mirth. You are the laughing stock of the world. We watch with great amusement as you struggle to deal with the fact that you now have a President who can speak in coherent sentences and appears to actually think before he acts.

      It would be even funnier if your ridiulous political ideology wasn't the cause of a global recession that is hurting people in countries most of you don't even know exist.

    29. michael hutchings says:



    30. Tony, Australia says:

      Mrs Dorothy Barron from Nashville, if your book is as grammatically incoherent as your comment, then even blatant self promotion on conservative sites will not help boost your sales.

      But good luck with it!

    31. Ron, Fla says:

      Tony, Australia, you need to stay alert for the next few years.

      If you do, and you're honest, you may learn a few things.

      You are one dummy at this time.

    32. Spiritof76, New Hampshire says:

      Tom Daschle didn’t know he had to pay taxes. Geithner didn’t know he had to pay taxes when he signed papers with his employers saying that he would pay. Charlie Rangel who writes IRS codes didn’t know he had to pay taxes on income from his rental property. May be we should send these guys to Gitmo for an education on ethics and honesty.
      Worse than the blatant disregard and tax evading is the willful ignorance of their supporters, such as the posting above from Ann Abor. This is not Republican or Democrat issue although, the same guy would exert a loud voice of opposition if it had been the Republicans. This country is governed by rule of law and not by men. No excuses, please.

    33. Mrs. Dorothy Barron Nashville, TN says:

      What do you expect when those sworn/affirmed to support and uphold The Constitution of the United States fail to and depart from its mandates?

      Dorothy Barron
      Blog: http://mrsdbarron.typepad.com
      “Slinging Stones When United States Congress has lost control and American Courts are out of control” by Mrs. Dorothy Barron- a book that will have you, the reader, looking at, questioning and thinking about The Constitution of the United States and officers of this government in an entirely different light.

    34. Mrs. Dorothy Barron Nashville, TN says:

      Hello, as author of the book, “Slinging Stones when United States Congress has lost control and American Courts are out of control”, my comment is in the form of a question, what do you expect when those sworned/affirmed to support and uphold The Constitution of the United States fail to and have egregiously depart from it?


    35. John, Colorado says:

      If we’re going to take a demographically driven recession and turn it into a depression, and have a 1930′s style trade war, then let’s do the Fair Tax for the heck of it, and let’s nationalize all the free/alternative energy/supercarburetor technology patents, and ban the import of all foreign oil except that from Canada and Mexico, and produce all the rest of our own energy.

      Oh, sorry, forgot the socialists control everything now, and the purpose is to deliberately destroy the American economic engine and trash the constitution.

    36. bhi, California says:

      Ok, so Daschle has withdrawn. Now he should be indicted for tax fraud. $350,000 in unreported income? Unbelievable.

      As to 53.7% of health costs being paid for by the private sector, remember that close to half of that amount is also paid by government in the form of tax exclusions.

    37. jerry says:

      Tony of Australia should learn if you live in glass house you shouldn't throw stones. We don't even want to get into a comparison of countries because you lose. As for as the ability of the Savior being able to talk fluently you could do as well if someone told you what to say and wrote every speech. Don't praise the almighty to soon because the bubble will break sooner than later and the world and even Australia will have a different opinion.

    38. Kelly Rae, Fort Wort says:

      I wonder if we would all be forgiven penalties and interest if no one in America paid their taxes this season? Probably not since we are not being nominated by President Obama.

    39. David Walker says:

      If there's one thing that cost "right-wingers" any seats in the House and Senate (and the White House, for that matter), it's due to the fact that those folks elected to represent them became — in effect — Democrats!

      Bush & Co. cost conservatives a lot of face because GOP leadership sold their principles to the highest corporatist bidder. Now that all the smoke is clearing and we can see a little flame, perhaps genuine conservative leadership will have a chance, once and for all, to retake Washington and straighten the mess. That said, I'm not gonna hold my breath. The Republican Revolution of 1994 sure didn't take long to get watered down.

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