Interesting John Edwards Speech on Economics

John Edwards, Democrat Senator from North Carolina is currently out stumping for President. He recently gave a lengthy speed on economic policy which I found very interesting.

Here is the full text:

Here is Slate’s summary:

To summarize, he’s basically turning a lot of the left/right economic rhetoric upside down, in a way I find very compelling. He argues that free market values (emphasis on values) are the core of our country’s success and then argues that the Bush administration’s views although cloaked in the facade of being pro-free-market are actually undercutting free market values (like rewards for hard work, and economic success based on your accomplishments). He also makes a pretty strong argument about taxing capital gains less than income from labor is contrary to free market values (This is a view I strongly share).

Obviously, this is a campaign speech full of flowery rhetoric but I thought it was the best treatment of economics by a big name politician in a LONG time.

Oh, and if you feel the knee-jerk reaction to bash Edwards simply b/c he is a “communist” Democrat, read the speech first. You might find it interesting.

(I fear I may be becoming an Edwards fanboy)

Oh I thought you were talking about the psychic guy.

— Alan

Edwards is the only Democratic candidate that doesn’t come across like a complete freak of nature right now. I think he’s the Demo’s best shot.

There’s a fundamental difference between his vision and mine. I believe America should value work. He only values wealth. He wants the people who own the most to get more. I want to make sure everybody has the chance to be an owner.

People who own, get more. He wants to make sure everybody has the chance to be an owner. TRANSLATION: I’ll give you some of what he’s got. What part of communist rhetoric doesn’t anybody see here?

Make no mistake: this is the most radical and dangerous economic theory to hit our shores since socialism a century ago. Like socialism, it corrupts the very nature of our democracy and our free enterprise tradition. It is not a plan to grow the American economy. It is a plan to corrupt the American economy and shrink the winners’ circle.

Typical Dem…accuses the opposition of exactly what he intends to do.

Second, I will give America a tax code that rewards work, not wealth. Today, middle-class families pay income tax on their earnings at a rate of up to 25%, plus another 7.65% in payroll tax. Yet under the law President Bush just signed, a CEO who pays himself whatever he wants can sell millions of dollars in stock and pay tax at a total rate of 15%.

HEY JOHN! I’ve got a nifty idea…cut MY tax rate to 15% too. You’re a congressman, you hold the power to tax, not the president, nor the administration. You spend the money, you make the tax law, not the president. You are responsible for the mess we are in today, not any administration. Congresspeople have a nifty gravy boat they ride when campaigning, blame the navigator while they till the boat and gas up the motor.

Hurr, my name is bmulligan, and I’m a troll, hurp burp hrlugalrualguagh.

Edwards sounds like he’s been reading Kaus back when he made sense.

hi, my name is McCollough. I like ear candy and being lied to. I’m a lamb waiting for my fair share of pie from the baker who is now bankrupt.

bmulligan may be bombastic, but to say that he’s a troll and Koontz isn’t is to completely miss the definition of “troll”.

Socialism has worked everywhere it has been implemented, so why shouldn’t it work in America?

where do you live? Socialism is already here, and it doesn’t work here, or anywhere else.

My Dutch relatives seem to be quite happy and their country appears to be doing quite well.

But that’s just personal experience.

Calpundit said it best – why are hard core conservatives obsessed with sex and communists?

because sex is natural, productive, and a celebration of life. Communism sucks the tit of productivity and celebrates death. Eradication of communist philosophy is therefore, natural and right.

Socialism/Communism can only survive as long as their are ‘producers’ (i.e., people who produce more than they consume) Once the creators have been tapped, all will drown in a sea of mediocracy. When there is no incentive to produce, no one will.

I am not a conservative. Why are leftists obsessed with the notion of ‘equality’ to mean everyone should have the same amount of wealth no matter how much effort they exert to create it?

So, does anyone have anything to say about the speech or its content?

I found it to be quite good. One of the things that I’ve found about the Bush administration is that they talk a good game (“compassionate conservative” “we want to create jobs” “we want to give the people’s money back to them”) but their actual policies express a hardcore pro-wealth philosophy that doesn’t actually embrace key elements of healthy capitalism. I believe there is a pretty big difference between “healthy” capitalism (by which I mean a stable, middle-class-oriented system, with broad-based participation in the market economy) and “crony” capitalism which tends to be about concentrations of wealth, connections, and which in my opinion leads to unstable and dangerous banana republic conditions. Bush IMO uses the rhetoric of healthy middle class capitalism to push banana republic policies. Edwards’ speech calls him on that and I think its an immensely strong argument.

One of the very strongest arguments Edwards makes points out the large relative difference between marginal rates on income from labor (25% to 35% for most earners, plus another 15.3% in employer and employee payroll taxes) vs income from capital gains (15% on most transactions). Why should capital be taxed so much less than labor? Sure, capital investment drives the economy but so does the labor of the workforce. You can argue this both ways (capital should be taxed more b/c it is “unearned”; capital should be taxed less to encourage investment), but it seems to me that to promote a long term healthy society that has real opportunity for everyone who has some talent and wants to apply it, capital and labor should be taxed equally.

Not to repeat the interminable tax thread - there is a flip side to taxes which we didnt debate, which is government spending. A strong argument can be made that by trimming government spending we could resolve much of the problems with the tax code. Edwards did not address that at all, IIRC, and that’s a typical Democratic weakness. However, the rest of his speech made enough sense that I now feel he is a candidate with some very worthwhile ideas. Also, I think its about time that somebody called the Bush administration on the vast gulf between their “moderate” rhetoric and their hardcore right wing policies.


Why do you think that any sort of progressive taxation is communism?

Why do you ascribe communist motives to liberals?

And lastly, where is your teleporter? I think if you sold the device that brought you here from the mirror universe where the NYSE has been turned into a home for squatters, you could make a good deal of money and move to a small carribean island where you would never have to pay taxes again.

It agree with you – it sounds good. Of course, the devil is in the details. While Bush hasn’t been good at doing everything he said he would, some of the points he talked about (offshore tax shelters), some of that is due to the general problem that large amounts of money are subverting the democratic process.

So while I"m going to agree with most of Edwards points, I’m not sure if all of them can be blamed on Bush.

Read that Kaus book for more along these lines.

What’s with you people, anyway? Deconstructing a joke?

xpav wrote-

Why do you think that any sort of progressive taxation is communism?

Because it’s communism.

Why do you ascribe communist motives to liberals?

because their politics are based on their communist philosophy.

And lastly, where are those magic goggles you wear that allow you to see your reflection in a mirror? I thought vampires didn’t make reflections. And where did you get those magic earphones that allow you to hear lies and think they are truths?(re: Edwards speech).

I have already commented on the speech’s content.
How can you listen to Edwards gobblygook and resist the urge to vomit?

You’re funny.

The United States has had a progressive tax code since the dawn of World War I, in 1913. From that point forward the United States has become the world’s only superpower.

Since, as you’ve successfully argued, progressive taxation is communism, then it’s accurate to add that not only is your previous statement demonstrably untrue:

…but further, that the United States, since becoming a communist nation in 1913 (the time when it adopted the progressive tax code which you’ve pointed out is a hallmark of communism), has become so much more productive, creative and efficient, that it is now by far the world’s most powerful nation, with the strongest economy; the biggest, most advanced military; and a government which ensures a way of life for its people that guarantees freedom and the pursuit of happiness for all.

As you’ve clearly shown, communism is the most successful form of government to actually be implemented on the face of the earth. While laissez-faire capitalism sounds good on paper, and appeals to utopian sentiments wherever it is discussed, the fact is that no country has ever successfully implemented real capitalism. The United States, on the other hand, is living, breathing and working proof that communism is the most advanced, efficient, and successful form of economic organization yet thought up by human beings!

bmulligan may be bombastic, but to say that he’s a troll and Koontz isn’t is to completely miss the definition of “troll”.[/quote]

Yeah, bmulligan isn’t a troll he is a right wing nut job and just the kind of person I would hate to ever see with any kind of political power.

– Xaroc

Yeah, bmulligan isn’t a troll he is a right wing nut job and just the kind of person I would hate to ever see with any kind of political power.

you’re in luck, unlike you leftist nut jobs, I do not crave power over others. My philosophy is leave me the fuck alone, I’m fine. Don’t try to ‘help’ me, just look out for yourself. You are not my brother, nor my keeper.

Ignatius wrote:

The United States has had a progressive tax code since the dawn of World War I, in 1913. From that point forward the United States has become the world’s only superpower. etc…etc…

I’m impressed with your use of logic. Did you learn it during your slave training(i.e., college)?

You carefully omit the truths about communism: When the looters are done sucking the blood of producers, we all go bankrupt. Do you actually believe that our communist tax code is the reason America became so productive? If yes, then you should change your name to Ignoramoose. Yes we have the strongest economy. Not because of our government, but in spite of it. Laissez-faire capitalism IS democracy with dollars being the equivalent of votes. It is not perfect, but it is the only system that allows for individual choice(i.e., freedom).

Individuals have created our successes. Individuals with ideas, theories, initiative, desire for advancement. All because they had incentive to do so, not because of any government reward or compassion for humanity. We ride on the backs of the thinkers, the achievers. You commies hate these people, because you cannot control them.[/i]