Don’t Trust Anyone Over Fifty! Stop The Old Slide Downward

(1) a versailesTwo years from now we’ll be examining the results of the presidential election. Then the question would have been answered. We may end up with someone who is or is close to being a septuagenarian. That will be a tragedy. Here’s why.

In New York City the “top 5 percent of households earned $864,394, or 88 times as much as the poorest 20% ($9,800).”  The only places in the developed world that have a bigger gap between the rich and poor than the United States are Hong Kong and Singapore. “The share of income for the top percentile of Americans was 23.5% in 2007, the highest since 1928. . . .”

Now consider this: since the official end of the Great Recession in mid-2009, 95 percent of all income gains have flowed up to America’s top 1 percent, who also now accrue 20 percent of the nation’s total pretax income, doubling their 10 percent share from the 1970s”.

Or this: “Income from wages and salaries, the essence of middle- and working-class wealth, has shrunk from more than 50 percent of the GDP pie in 1970 to 42.6 percent in 2012 – the smallest piece ever measured.”

Those quotes are all from an article that begins with Bill Gross one of the richest people on the planet saying: “It can’t go on like this, either from the standpoint of the health of the capitalist system itself or the health of individuals and the family.

The oldies now leading the parties are all part of the past 30 years which have brought us to edge of the precipice on which we now live where most of us are going under.  The Democrats are led by Joe Biden (73), Nancy Pelosi (76) and Harry Reid (76). They will offer us another oldie in the elderly Hillary Clinton (69).  I was going to call Hillary “old lady Clinton” but decided the proper adjective is “elderly.”

That’s not to say the Republicans are any younger. They will be led by Mitch Miller McConnell (76)  and a youthful John Boehner (66). I’m not sure what old piece of toast they will be offering but I see no one who may be a contender who will be older than Hillary unless Mitt Romney (69)  or John McCain (80) wants another go.

Remember when Ronald Reagan was elected and we thought he was so, so old. He was the oldest person ever elected president, four years older than the oldest one prior to him Buchanon. Is that why we feel the country is going down the trash heap because we’re led by people who are so ancient I wondered? Not necessarily, I realized,Barack Obama was 47 when he was inaugurated and he must take his share of responsibility for our national angst and slide.

I expect the Reagan fans out there must look with fondness upon elderly Hillary taking office, especially since she will lean for advise on her elderly husband Bill (70). But what about the rest of us? Shouldn’t we take a look at our prior presidents to see whether there is a correlation between age and performance.

A survey of scholars has the following list of the best presidents: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Jackson, Polk, Lincoln, Teddy R, Wilson, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Reagan. I’ll go with their list.  [I’d pick Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, (no I have not been influenced by Mount Rushmore, or have I?) his cousin Franklin (Not Benjamin), Truman, Kennedy (my Irish may be showing). Jackson was close, never liked Wilson, Polk forgot what he did, I was wishy-washy on Reagan, I liked him but had my reservations, as for Eisenhower, I thought he was good but not great.]

The scholars have also listed the worst presidents: William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, Millard Filmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanon; (all blamed for not avoiding the inevitable War Between the States) and Andrew Johnson and Ulysses Grant (hurt because the war went on after the fighting stopped), Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge.

I’ve averaged out their ages. The average age for the best presidents is 54 years, but so is that the average age for the worst presidents. So age is not a telling point. But in the context of the present times, we need people who are not captured by the past 30 years or so whether Democrat or Republican for they have brought us to where we are today.  We need youth, but youth with something else since Obama has shown us youth alone is not enough.

That will require further examination. But for a starter, let’s take a vow to bring new competent young blood into our leadership. Those there have failed us.


  1. MSfreeh: you are talking to yourself and wasting space: wasting space and time with irrelevant posts which always begin: “Matt, you’ll like this or find this interesting” and then what’s posted is an irrelevancy. I believe you don’t read what’s posted here; you just post whatever you’re thinking about at the moment. Spare us, please!!!

    • Right, let her start her own blog and find the proper means by which to promote it (i.e., not threadcrapping on others’ blogs).

  2. ” When a man starts to slide downhill he should try to reach the bottom as fast as he can and pass out of the picture ” …. Douglas Fairbanks ( aka Mr. Mary Pickford) 🙂

  3. since I started reading this blog
    I have gone from infancy to senility
    skipping maturity.
    Do I trust myself?

    Message to Matt from Major Tom..

    see link for full story

    Judge to weigh whether FBI in contempt in case of Utah attorney investigating brother’s death

    On Monday, a three-day trial is scheduled to begin in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City on a lawsuit by lawyer Jesse Trentadue that seeks documents and videotapes from the FBI investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing — including one tape that he believes shows suspects exiting a Ryder truck parked in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and the detonation of explosives in the vehicle. Trentadue believes the records will provide information about the death of his brother in a federal prison cell in Oklahoma City a few months after the April 19, 1995, attack.
    On Monday, a three-day trial is scheduled to begin in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City on a lawsuit by lawyer Jesse Trentadue that seeks documents and videotapes from the FBI investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing — including one tape that he believes shows suspects exiting a Ryder truck parked in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and the detonation of explosives in the vehicle. Trentadue believes the records will provide information about the death of his brother in a federal prison cell in Oklahoma City a few months after the April 19, 1995, attack. Trentadue was photographed in Salt Lake City, Saturday July 26, 2014. Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune)
    On Monday, a three-day trial is scheduled to begin in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City on a lawsuit by lawyer Jesse Trentadue that seeks documents and videotapes from the FBI investigation into the Oklahoma City bombing — including one tape that he believes shows suspects exiting a Ryder truck parked in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and the detonation of explosives in the vehicle. Trentadue believes the records will provide information about the death of his brother in a federal prison cell in Oklahoma City a few months after the April 19, 1995, attack. Trentadue was photographed in Salt Lake City, Saturday July 26, 2014. Federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents and FBI agents survey the damage to the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City Wednesday, April 19, 1995. A car bomb blast gouged a nine-story hole in the federal office building. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) The north side of the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City is missing after what federal authorities believe to be a car bomb exploded Wednesday, April 19, 1995. (AP Photo)

    Courts » Judge says he is “perplexed” by failure to provide report on allegation of witness tampering.
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    Saying he is “perplexed” by the FBI’s failure to provide a timely report on a witness tampering allegation, a federal judge has scheduled a hearing for Thursday in Salt Lake City for the bureau to argue why it should not be found in contempt.

    At the hearing, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups also wants the FBI and Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue — who is suing the agency over records he requested about the Oklahoma City bombing — to discuss the possibility of having a court-appointed special master oversee compliance with court orders in the case.

    The tampering claim came up during a four-day bench trial in July on a lawsuit Trentadue filed in 2008 claiming the FBI had failed to conduct a search reasonably calculated to locate all records in the bureau’s possession that he requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The agency has responded that it conducted an “exhaustive” search; Waddoups took the case under consideration and has yet to rule.

    On the second day of trial, Trentadue said he had just learned one of his witnesses, John Matthews, was backing out of testifying. According to court documents, Matthews planned to testify that he believed the FBI was monitoring bomber Timothy McVeigh in the run up to the 1995 detonation at the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City — information that Trentadue believes the agency wants to suppress.

    Trentadue alleges that Matthews — who he describes as a former undercover operative for the government — was threatened by the FBI with the loss of his disability and other veteran benefits if he took the stand. Department of Justice attorneys, who are representing the FBI, denied any coercion and argued an email Matthews sent to them saying he was not threatened settled the matter.

    However, Waddoups disagreed the issue was resolved and scheduled a hearing for Thursday to hear testimony on the allegation. He also ordered the FBI to investigate any communications between the bureau and Matthews and submit a report to the court far enough in advance of the hearing so Trentadue could prepare subpoenas, if necessary.

    Waddoups noted the DOJ attorneys had said they planned to file the report on Nov. 3 — 10 days before the scheduled hearing — but had not done so, leaving Trentadue with inadequate time to issue subpoenas. In an order issued Thursday, the judge postponed testimony on whether there has been witness tampering and said the upcoming hearing will be devoted to the contempt and special master issues.

    The DOJ attorneys responded that the investigation, which was done by the FBI, took longer than expected but the report has been completed and filed. In a motion filed Friday, they asked Waddoups to cancel Thursday’s hearing, arguing that because the FBI conducted the probe and submitted the report as ordered, “no contempt order is warranted, nor is there any need to appoint a special master.”

    In addition, they asked Waddoups to find that an evidentiary hearing on the tampering allegation is unnecessary. The information contained in the report “makes clear that no witness tampering occurred and that there is no basis to conduct any further proceedings on this matter,” according to the motion.

    In an affidavit attached to the motion, retired agent Don Jarrett says Matthews, who he has known since about 1992, called him in early July to say that he did not want to testify. Jarrett says he had not heard of the case and suggested that Matthews contact the FBI’s attorney in the case.

    Matthews then contacted the Salt Lake City office four times and talked to Special Agent Adam Quirk, who was the person assigned to handle incoming calls the day of the first call, the motion says. Matthews said he had been asked to testify in a trial involving the Oklahoma City bombing but did not intend to appear unless subpoenaed, Quirk said in an affidavit.

    “I was not familiar with any trial matching Mr. Matthews’ description,” Quirk said. “I was not sure why Mr. Matthews was contacting the Field Office, but I simply confirmed that, in order for him to be required to testify, he would have to be served with a subpoena.”

    Quirk said Matthews called three more times saying Trentadue wanted him to testify but that he did not want to.

    Three of the four calls and two voice mail messages that Matthews left for Quirk were recorded and they “irrefutably demonstrate that it was Mr. Matthews who initiated contact with the Salt Lake Field Office and that SA Quirk did not threaten or attempt to discourage Mr. Matthews from testifying,” the motion says.

  4. It is a dilemma. We want to be capitalistic, but we don’t like robber barons. We want free enterprise, but question government’s corporate welfare policies that result in GE paying zero taxes on billions in profits. 2. Middle class income have been flatlined for the past forty years. 3. The rich are getting fabulously more rich. The fab rich buy lobbyists who hire tax lawyers who propose IRS regulations’ changes which benefit the fab rich. 4. one flat tax for everyone, with a $30,000 deduction. 5. Make government small and we’ll all reap the benefits and close the gap between rich and poor by sampling developing a Fair System for all. Fire half of all IRS employees and take the tax burden off rich and middle class. Don’t punish the rich, many of whom are fabulous philanthropists. Narrow the gap by getting government out of the way and lobbyists out of the way and drug traffickers out of the way. Let Poland be Poland and the Cornpoppers be themselves and America be free—free of excessive government and corporate welfare. 2. Help the poor and sick; help them to get on their feet; end the Plantation Mentality.

    • William:
      1. Better GE pay no tax and hire tens of thousands of people than it pay taxes and use robots.
      2. True and going down with no hope of going back up if the oldies remain in power
      3. True – they’ll soon become like GE.
      4. Flat tax without loopholes may have some merit – could make it a progressive flat tax – no tax at 30,000 – 1% at 40,000 etc.
      5. The size of government is irrelevant – government workers pay taxes – better have people working for the government than being on the dole – or is it the same thing? Stop firing people, they have families to support. If you get government out of the way you will return to the child labor days – remember the Irish factory workers who laboed 14 hours a day for a pittance and when they got hurt were rolled out into the gutters.

      • See above, Government workers look like they pay taxes but in fact they do not. If Joe the postman gets 100,000 and pays 20,000 in taxes, he’s actually just giving back the 20 he got from Uncle Sam and so he’s walking away with 80 from Uncle Sam. He takes 80,000 from the Government. Where did he get the 80? From the private sector workers. Government drains, government employees drain money. Government employees are necessary, but they decidedly do not contribute to the nation’s wealth; they drain it. Tbe private sector creates wealth and creates real tax-paying, not tax-draining, jobs.

        • William:

          The way I look at it he got the 80 from the other government employees who also paid taxes. But look at it another way, the guy is doing a job that has to be done and he’s costing the government 20% less than it thought it would have to pay him.

  5. Matt –While I disagree on some of the opinions expressed by the blogger-in-chief (and some commenters as well), I must admit that it takes a lot of guts for you to put your opinions out there for all the world to take pot shots at. Congratulations for having the nerve to keep your very-interesting, mostly-intelligent blog going strong !!! — CB

  6. Our best presidents were the redheads. Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Coolidge and Reagan. They all produced peace and prosperity. Booming economies and no foreign wars. Our worst ones were those who plunged us into war. Lincoln was the worst ( 600,000 dead) followed by FDR ( 350,000 dead), Wilson ( 150.000 dead), LBJ (66.000 dead ) and Truman ( 35,000 dead). Anyone who voted for Dukakis and thought he had any talent or is unable to credit Reagan for winning the cold war and creating 20 million jobs is totally confused politically. Reagan brought moral clarity to the country. Was he right that the Soviets were an evil empire? Did Kennedy, O’Neil or Dukakis support him? The liberals were on the wrong side of history and even today they can’t admit their mistake. 2.Income inequality is an irrelevancy. In Mao’s China there was no income inequality. Everyone was poor. There was no prosperity. Per capita income was less than per capita income in North Korea. Fortunately Deng changed their socialist model to a free enterprise system and today there are 500 million middle class Chinese. China has great income inequality because they still have hundreds of millions of rural poor. Which is the preferred condition? Todays China or Mao’s? What America needs is robust economic growth. It needs what Reagan gave us. Instead BHO has followed the European social welfare state model with it’s high taxes and oppressive regulations. That model produces stagnation, anemic growth and malaise. Jimmy Carter tried it to no avail. BHO is copying his misadventure.

    • NC is right on all points. Especially true is that just as communism is de-humanizing, so too is the European social welfare state (like LBJ’s great society) a bane to the human spirit, a stumbling block to individuals reaching their true potentials and societies freely evolving. Reagan was right, Big Government is the Problem, not the solution. 2. Unbridled capitalism also produces its own evils such as Robber Barons. 3. We need a Revolution in political thinking and social thinking that maximizes human capital and sets free the human spirit. Let Poland be Poland, etc.

      • William:

        You, NC and Pat Buchanan seem to agree – Europe is one fine place – don’t hear many complaints from the people there –

    • NC:

      Washington and Jackson were warriors. As you would have it Lincoln should have understood the complaints of the Confederacy and let them go and as a true Buchanonite FDR should have surrendered to Japan and stayed out of the conflict with the Nazis.
      2. Income inequality is new to America – calling it irrelevant is not to realize the devastating effect it will have. Comparing us to Chins is silly. What is preferable the 1950s America or today’s America. Reagan raised taxes, or did you forget. Don’t forget the beginning of the misadventure was by Bush and by the way, you seem to forget about your buddy Nixon.

      • Matt, I think Pat Buchanan’s point was we could have let the NAZIs and Stalin’s Commies slaughter each other, and we’d come in in the end and save a lot of American and European lives. Buchanan never suggested we surrender to Japan, Hitler or Stalin. 2. What America needs today is to rid itself of the war mongers like John McCain; he emboldened Georgia to attack South Ossetia; he and his CIA interventionists did; of course the Georgian president thought the US and NATO, which were dangling inclusion in NATO in front of him, would back him up. Wrong! 3. Its NATO’s attempt to expand its sphere of influence to Russia’s borders which is Napoleonic, in addition to its attacks in North Africa, and the Middle East. 4. It’s American Imperialism and American Interventionism which we AMericans should be en garde against. 5. NC didn’t list Bush or Nixon as his favorite presidents: he listed five who kept us out of wars and brought prosperity to the Nation. My favorites were the eloquent Lincoln, a man of principle, Washington, who forsook the proffered crown, Truman, who had guts, Ike, who had guts, JFK who was idealistic and formed the Peace Corps and Special Forces Navy Seals (I think), and Reagan. The two Bushes were good men, but were big government type Republicans. 4. My recommendation to narrow the gap between rich and poor: reign in the lobbyists, make government small, get government off the private sector’s back. 5. Government employees really do not pay taxes: For example, a government guy gets $100,000 salary, it looks like he pays $20,000 in taxes, but in fact all that’s happened is the government gave him $100,000 and he gave $20,000 back, so the government gave him $80,000. Where did the government get the $80,000 to give him? From the private sector! So, you see, government employees do not contribute to the nation’s wealth, they drain it. They are a necessary drain, but their numbers should be cut in half. Their salaries and benefits cut by 25%, at least. PUBLIC SERVICE! not get rich quick off the public welfare, which is like corporate welfare.

        • It wasn’t the Navy Seals, it was the Green Berets, I think that JFK started.

        • William:

          1. And what if that didn’t happen as Buchanon suggests.
          2. McCain never saw a war he didn’t like.
          3. Napoleon didn’t stop at the borders.
          4. Get government out of the way and return to child labor days.
          5. The private sector cannot exist without the government employees.

  7. Regarding the income gap, let’s concern ourselves with those at the lower end of the income scale. I havent yet seen any analysis showing that, by reducing the income of those at the top, we automatically benefit those at the bottom.

    If there’s a solid relationship there, please let me know; otherwise, to me it’s all confiscatory socialism, drowning all free-market incentives and causing more jobs to vanish.

    • GOK:

      The concern at the lower end is starting as we’ve seen with the demand that the minimum wage be raised as the results in some states is that it has been. I’m not sure reducing the income at the top will neessarily help the bottom but I am sure that when we find ourselves in the company of Hong Kong and Singapore we’re moving in the wrong direction which can’t be sustained in the long run.
      I know some will suggest I’m arguing for some type of “confiscatory socialism” but those people used that argument back when the income tax was first introduced which was a progressive income tax based on the belief that those who earned more should pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than others. That was never considered an unAmerican idea (socialist, communist) until around the 1970s when the top rate began to come down until it has reached its present low points. The relationship I see is that when the top rate on the millionaires was what we’d consider a confisatory rate now the country had a booming middle class and a small group outside of that on either side. I don’t see the relationship between higher taxes at the high end and free-market incentives aong with jobs vanishing. It didn’t happen in the past when the upper rate was in the 90% range.

      To do nothing other than what we have been doing is to let the problem, and I think it is a real problem when you have a country where the great majority have no chance of enjoying what a small percentage enjoys, continue. It wasn’t too long ago when a college age kid could work summers and earn enough to pay his tuition at a private college – that is one example where the best colleges have walked away from most middle class families and are inhabited mostly by the rich who can afford them. It is a drastic change in America – not something that we have experienced in the past. What is the best rememdy for it remains to be seen.

  8. “new competent young blood”

    Obama was new and young. My biggest fear, once he was elected, that he was EXTREMELY inexperienced. Now we know all about the significant lack of competence…and the boatload of arrogance he brought to the Oval Office.

    • GOK:

      Your fears were justified. I gave him the benefit of the doubt expecting he could learn and move us forward.