Posts filed under “Politics”


The first Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll since Bush got re-elected finds that public opinion remains rather skeptical about any shifts in the 69-year-old Social Security program — which offers retirement and disability income to more than 47 million Americans — and is wary of rewriting the tax code.

The public, by 50% to 38%, is inclined to believe it’s "a bad idea" to let workers invest Social Security taxes in the stock market. Similarly, the poll found Americans somewhat more likely to advocate leaving the tax code as is rather than embracing some of the more sweeping changes that have been advanced.


I would be remiss if I failed to point out that private retirement accounts — such as IRAs and 401k — have existed for many years. Further, IRAs in particular tend to be not fully funded by people in the lower salaried employees — the bottom tax brackets — who would be most impacted by a decrease in Social Security benefits when they retire.

Playing to the Base: The Journal poll also found that while the president retains "overwhelming personal and ideological support among Republicans" he fares much more poorly amongst people who have not drunk the kool aid. Not surprisingly, President Bush generates poor ratings (personal and ideological) amongst Democrats, and produces "mixed feelings" among political independents. (duh).

How likely is the passage of a full revamp of Social Security or a overhaul of the Tax Code? Perhaps less likely than many presuppose:

"The upshot is that the president, to sell his legislative program, will have to repeat the winning formula for his 2004 campaign: add just enough middle-of-the-road support to his strong political base to form a narrow majority.

On contentious issues such as Social Security and tax overhaul, "that’s a difficult starting position," says Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducts the Journal/NBC survey with his Democratic counterpart Peter Hart. Yet as the November election proved, Mr. McInturff adds, "they have sustained their coalition with these numbers" so far."

For those who believe that a major shift in Social Security is likely to be an unmitigated disaster, that’s encouraging news.


As Bush Sells 2nd-Term Agenda, New Poll Shows Public’s Doubts
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, December 16, 2004; Page A4,,SB110315110255701381,00.html

Category: Markets, Politics

Politics & Shopping

Are you donating your money to a party that holds the opposite of your political views?

You may be doing so, albeit indirectly. Nearly everytime you spend money somewhere, some of it (a few cents, anyway) ends up as a corporate political donation. While most companies play both sides of the aisle — looking to stave off unfriendly regulation at the least — some seem to be strictly Red or Blue outfits, donating money to just one side.

That’s not exactly the smartest business strategy, potentially alienating half of your clientele.

It used to be exceedingly difficult to determine who was giving what. Thanks to recent disclosure rules — and a slew of webtools — its now quite simple to determine where your shopping dollars are going:

Check out:

Choose The Blue

Open Secrets

Center for Public Integrity

The Center for Responsive Politics

Business for Social Responsibility

Politcal Moneyline

Special mention should go to Choose The Blue for their incredibly easy to use page. While an obviously Democratic site, they get kudos for their very complete and even handed data. Choose any shopping category, and their crossed reference menu shows you exactly where your money is going.

There were a few surprsies. GM splits their donations 60/40 GOP/Dem; Ford was more heavily Red at 71/29, while Toyota was the only Blue manufacturer at 74%. Progressive Insurance was 91% Blue (no surprise there), while State Farm was 81% Red.

Worth noting that both my favorite (TGT) and least favorite (WMT) discounters are Red: Target at 72%, and Walmart at 81%. The cooperative CostCo is 91% Blue . . . Tech firms were surprisingly Blue (Sun, Cicso, HP and IBM), with Siebel, Intuit and Activision the Red exceptions, as were music .

Terrific guide if you want to know where your dollars are going this holiday season . . .


Additional Source:
Political Favors for Sale
By Selena Maranjian
Motley Fool, September 30, 2002

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Category: Finance, Politics

We’ve gone Map Crazy, part II!

Category: Politics

We’ve gone Map Crazy!

Category: Politics

Bush’s Win Draws Mixed Reviews


The very excellent On-line WSJ has an interesting round up of editorial reactions around the world to the re-election of President George W. Bush. Papers like Pakistan’s Nation and the Lebanon Daily Star saw Mr. Bush’s win as strengthening his apparent go-it-alone approach. But some editorial writers urged Mr. Bush to try to make more effort to cooperate with the international community.

Liberation, France

It is a revolution of which the consequences will endure longer than the “hangover” of criticism coming from the rest of the world, including France. … It was truly America that made its choice in the person of this Texan by adoption: a populist, mostly suburban or rural, fundamentally nationalist America. Preoccupied above all by its security and focused on the fundamental values of its Christian religion, the two core motivations of the Bush vote. … A new reactionary majority, rallied around Bush by a law-and-order reflex in a time of war has cemented its grip on democracy in America. The rest of the world can deplore it, but it must adapt itself to this reality.

* * *
Times of London, Britain
Bush Has an Exceptional Opportunity — He Must Seize It

The paradox of Mr Bush’s endorsement at the polls is that he is now free of the constraints imposed by voters. He should consider this a liberation and an extraordinary opportunity. He can serve one more four-year term in Washington and has the capacity to shape his legacy like few American politicians before him. He must seize that chance. He can advance an imaginative agenda for himself and his party. … Even if Mr Bush were to do all this and more, there would still be some who belittle him or doubt the sincerity of his motives. That is unfortunate. The President should not waste time trying to appease or win over those who have no time for him. There is the chance, perhaps, that with the passage of time the qualities which Americans see in this politician will become more obvious to others. Mr Bush must exploit the prominence that he has been given for four more years.

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Category: Politics

Interactive Polling Maps

Category: Politics

The Tragedy of the Bush Administration

Category: Politics

New Column up at Real Money: Myths of the 2004 Election


The latest column is up: “Myths of the 2004 Election.”

Its a look at some of the more annoying fallacies of this elction cycle.

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Category: Economy, Finance, Politics

More on Presidential Futures Exchanges

Category: Markets, Politics

The Market Is Saying…

Category: Finance, Politics