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pseudotriton ruber ruber
09-05-2008, 06:51 AM
If the Republican nominee, for some strange reason, espoused a clear policy of raising taxes, while his Democratic opponent vigorously opposed expanding taxation even a nickel, wouldn't most people simply swap political parties? Abortion, foreign policy, book-banning, right to privacy, patriotism--all this stuff would fly put the window, wouldn't it?

I attended a barbeque this weekend, on a multi-million dollar estate, where my host was fulminating against Obama, not really making any sense, just generally ranting, which was strange because my host was a pretty smart, very successful and fairly sophisticated guy--and then I realized: If Obama gets elected his taxes will almost certainly go up sharply. This is just a business decision for him: Candidate A means he'll make 4.8 million next year, Candidate B means he'll make more like 4.2 million, of course he's going to go for Candidate A. Obama's going to cost him $600,000 next year--that's a powerful motivation to choose one candidate over the other.

What was troubling, to me, was the smokescreen he was putting up. He kept ranting about patriotism, service, experience--all of them abstract kneejerk positions, none of them really arguable. It was like "I like McCain" and who could tell him that he didn't? Most actual policies, he seemed to think that Obama's position made considerable sense, but he wasn't interested in the nitty-gritty policy matters, just the broad abstract ones, which made me wonder if this wasn't all just code for "McCain will save me coin." Is it?

Renob
09-05-2008, 07:10 AM
Ah, yes, the old "Republicans only vote that way because they are greedy" canard. Well, you figured us out. We are sick, greedy bastards who are only interested in getting our hands on more filthy lucre. Democrats, on the other hand, are enlightened souls who put the interest of the nation ahead of their pocketbook.:rolleyes:

If your assertion was true, then no "middle class" (however that is defined) people would vote for Republicans, since Obama has promised a middle class tax cut. How do you explain them?

And, to flip your question, it's likely that a lot of poor folks vote Democratic because Obama has promised them new welfare benefits (in the form of expanding Medicaid and other social programs). That's more money in their pocket. So are they just as bad as the evil greedy bastard whose barbeque you attended?

pseudotriton ruber ruber
09-05-2008, 07:36 AM
Ah, yes, the old "Republicans only vote that way because they are greedy" canard. Well, you figured us out. We are sick, greedy bastards who are only interested in getting our hands on more filthy lucre. Democrats, on the other hand, are enlightened souls who put the interest of the nation ahead of their pocketbook.:rolleyes:

If your assertion was true, then no "middle class" (however that is defined) people would vote for Republicans, since Obama has promised a middle class tax cut. How do you explain them?

And, to flip your question, it's likely that a lot of poor folks vote Democratic because Obama has promised them new welfare benefits (in the form of expanding Medicaid and other social programs). That's more money in their pocket. So are they just as bad as the evil greedy bastard whose barbeque you attended?

"the evil greedy bastard whose barbeque you attended"? Hey, that's a friend of mine--watch it.

Explaining why middle class voters buy into the Pubbie line is simple--besides the Pubbies arguing that Obama wants to tax everyone making over fifteen cents, which scares the shit out of some cautious middle-class voters (as is its intention), people are hopeful about how much they'll BE earning that they aren't earning right now. If some poor slob making $20,000 somehow manages to understand that Obama isn't going to tax him even one cent more than Bush is right now, and will even tax him less, which is a hard point to understand when McCain is shouting how we'll ALL get soaked under an Obama administration, the poor slob is fantasizing "B-b-b-ut if I get a tremendous raise next year, or if I win the lottery--and I'm pretty sure I can make at least one of those things happen, if not next year, then the year after furshure, I want to get to keep it, like Bill Gates and all my future pals at the country club."

So if you're quite done obfuscating my question, and playing "Well, aren't Obama voters even worse?" games, would your vote change if you became convinced that the taxation policies were also reversed?

Renob
09-05-2008, 08:03 AM
It's always fun to see what liberals really think of conservatives/libertarians. Your view of us as a bunch of either rich, greedy bastards or morons who are either too ignorant to know about tax policy or too stupid to realize that they will never become rich is the reason why you folks have a hard time appealing to Middle America.

The tax issue is, indeed, one of the main reasons I stick with the GOP in spite of the war in Iraq and the Religious Right. It's not because I'm in the top tax bracket or because I'm ignorant of the candidate's tax policies or because I hope against hope to one day be rich and take advantage of lower taxes. It's because in my view any candidate who proposes raising taxes just doesn't understand the proper role of government. Government isn't there to take the money from the productive and give to the unproductive. It isn't there to provide me with all my hopes and dreams. It's not there to make society "fairer" by taking away money from some and giving to others. Government is there to provide police, a justice system, and national defense (I may even throw in the roads, but only if I'm in a generous mood).

For me, a candidate's tax policy is much more of a symbol. It tells me something about how that person thinks of government. If he or she has no problem raising taxes (regardless of who is being taxed) then it indicates to me that this person does not hold the same type of views that I do. Sure, many politicians who oppose tax hikes don't share my views, but they are more likely to at least hold somewhat similar views.

Taxes are a bitch. I hate paying them. I'm self-employed so I see exactly how much the goverment steals from me every four months. But no matter who is elected the amount I mail to the U.S. Treasury won't change that much. Maybe I'll pay a few more dollars if Obama's elected, maybe I'll pay a few less if McCain's elected. That doesn't really matter. What matters is the principle. Obama thinks that the government has the right to take more money from "the rich" to provide government programs that I think are both useless and morally wrong. McCain at least pays lip service to the notion that people should be able to keep their money (not that I'm voting for McCain, but at least I like his views on taxes better than Obama's).

If the GOP and the Democrats swapped views on taxes it would mean that the Democrats underwent a fundamental shift on how they view government. I would definitely support them if that were the case. But not for the reasons you think.

Airman Doors, USAF
09-05-2008, 08:08 AM
"the evil greedy bastard whose barbeque you attended"? Hey, that's a friend of mine--watch it.

Explaining why middle class voters buy into the Pubbie line is simple--besides the Pubbies arguing that Obama wants to tax everyone making over fifteen cents, which scares the shit out of some cautious middle-class voters (as is its intention), people are hopeful about how much they'll BE earning that they aren't earning right now. If some poor slob making $20,000 somehow manages to understand that Obama isn't going to tax him even one cent more than Bush is right now, and will even tax him less, which is a hard point to understand when McCain is shouting how we'll ALL get soaked under an Obama administration, the poor slob is fantasizing "B-b-b-ut if I get a tremendous raise next year, or if I win the lottery--and I'm pretty sure I can make at least one of those things happen, if not next year, then the year after furshure, I want to get to keep it, like Bill Gates and all my future pals at the country club."

It's not as simple as this. Say you're the guy making $20,000. You know intuitively that your taxes will not go up. They can't go up. Even if you do pay anything it's negligible, and any sort of increase is politically unfeasible. So, are you fooled by tax cuts? Not at all. They do not benefit you one bit, because you're already exempt. As a result you find yourself more likely to vote for policies that will benefit you, and you don't necessarily care how they're paid for because you're not looking too hot yourself.

However, you also know in the back of your mind that one day you will make some good money someday. You aspire to get out of your impoverished condition. It's the American Dream, after all, and sure, you might be shut out, but giving up and admitting failure is not an option. With an eye to that future you also realize that one day you'll be paying taxes. Just like anybody else, and perhaps more so having come from poverty, you recognize that people who do pay taxes often get hammered. Sure, you make a lot more, but haven't you earned your way out of poverty? Don't you deserve the fruits of your labor?

That's the disconnect. When you're poor you don't necessarily care who you take money off of, because baby needs a new pair of shoes. When you have money you think it's unjust for it to be taken from you. That's where the appeal lies for the middle class. The middle class is distrustful of people who raise their taxes because it always hurts. Republicans don't usually raise taxes. The poor have little interest in tax policy because they don't pay anyway, so they are swayed by social programs and the like, generally Democratic proposals.

BetsQ
09-05-2008, 08:51 AM
Renob, I'm baffled by your position that the govenment is not there to provide fairness, but the government is supposed to provide justice. I see a lot of overlap between fairness and justice.

But I agree that it's about the principle rather than the bottom line. I suspect that the vast majority of Americans are like myself and couldn't even give a ballpark estimate of how much they pay in taxes. I'd have to dig around in the files to find my income tax return, I'd have to try to find a year end pay statement somewhere online to get a sense of things like social security and unemployment taxes. I'm not even sure where I'd find out how much I pay in property taxes - I think the mortgage co pays that one, right? I have very vague ideas about the (occasionally absurd) ways that the tax code works in my favor. So for most people, I assume that the bottom line of various tax proposals is at best a hazy guess. I know it is for me. Therefore, rhetoric about tax cuts doesn't appeal to a rationalized cost-benefit analysis, but a sense of how things ought to be funded.

erislover
09-05-2008, 09:11 AM
It's always fun to see what liberals really think of conservatives/libertarians.I will happily amuse you, then, though I don't know if I count as a liberal. Anyway.

Libertarians: anarchists that lack the courage of their convictions.
Your view of us as a bunch of either rich, greedy bastards or morons who are either too ignorant to know about tax policy or too stupid to realize that they will never become rich is the reason why you folks have a hard time appealing to Middle America.I don't know many rich, greedy bastards. Personally, I wouldn't characterize people that way. I want more money, too. I sympathize with that position.
The tax issue is, indeed, one of the main reasons I stick with the GOP in spite of the war in Iraq and the Religious Right. It's not because I'm in the top tax bracket or because I'm ignorant of the candidate's tax policies or because I hope against hope to one day be rich and take advantage of lower taxes. It's because in my view any candidate who proposes raising taxes just doesn't understand the proper role of government. Government isn't there to take the money from the productive and give to the unproductive. It isn't there to provide me with all my hopes and dreams. It's not there to make society "fairer" by taking away money from some and giving to others. Government is there to provide police, a justice system, and national defense (I may even throw in the roads, but only if I'm in a generous mood).To me, a well-functioning democracy depends crucially on an educated population. Thus, public eduction. To me, a well-function market economy requires a healthy workforce. Thus, public health care. If the market showed it was capable of providing these things through magic, invisible hands, then so much the better. It hasn't.

Lightnin'
09-05-2008, 09:35 AM
The amusing thing is that the theory that Obama wants higher taxes than McCain is, in fact, a lie (http://outtheotherear.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/gr2008061200193.gif).

The only people who would see higher taxes under Obama than they would under McCain are those people who make more than $111k/year- and the difference is only about $400 at that point. The only ones who get really hurt by Obama's tax plan are the ludicrously wealthy- those that bring in more than $600,000.

The Republicans have spun this into, "Obama wants YOU to pay more in taxes!", and, unfortunately, people believe it.

marshmallow
09-05-2008, 10:21 AM
Government isn't there to take the money from the productive and give to the unproductive.

Both the government and major industry disagree.

Renob
09-05-2008, 10:26 AM
Libertarians: anarchists that lack the courage of their convictions.
I doubt we want to turn this into a debate about the differences between libertarians and anarchists. However, let me say that having a few friends who are anarchists and having read some Murray Rothbard, I can truly say that my libertarian views and those of anarchists are quite different. They start with a different premise about the necessity of government, for one. I think government is necessary. They do not. That's a pretty big difference.

To me, a well-functioning democracy depends crucially on an educated population. Thus, public eduction. To me, a well-function market economy requires a healthy workforce. Thus, public health care. If the market showed it was capable of providing these things through magic, invisible hands, then so much the better. It hasn't.
And people require food, but we don't rely on the government for that. They need shelter, too. Again, that's not the government's job. There is nothing "magic" about the market. It works quite well when government allows it to work. Health care is a great example. Our nation's health care consists of the government paying for half the health care expenses in this country and regulating the industry more heavily than any other industry. And people think that this is somehow a "free market." I'll chalk up this kind of ignorance to the poor education offered in most government-run schools.

Renob, I'm baffled by your position that the govenment is not there to provide fairness, but the government is supposed to provide justice. I see a lot of overlap between fairness and justice.
What I mean is that it's there to provide a system to dispense justice. That is, you commit a crime then you get punished. It's not there to create some kind of cosmic justice where people get stuff just because some social planner thinks that it would be great if every person had X.

Therefore, rhetoric about tax cuts doesn't appeal to a rationalized cost-benefit analysis, but a sense of how things ought to be funded.
I'll agree with that. It's much more a question of ideology and how you view govenrment than whether or not it will put money in your pocket.

erislover
09-05-2008, 10:44 AM
I can truly say that my libertarian views and those of anarchists are quite different.I can agree that they are different.They start with a different premise about the necessity of government, for one. I think government is necessary. They do not. That's a pretty big difference.Well it is a difference. You suggest this difference is fundamental. My somewhat tongue-in-cheek comment suggests that it is related to libertarians being cowardly anarchists. You offered that you found descriptions amusing; I tried to amuse. Nothing more. :)
And people require food, but we don't rely on the government for that.That's because the market can provide food, more or less.They need shelter, too.And generally, the market can provide shelter.Again, that's not the government's job. There is nothing "magic" about the market. It works quite well when government allows it to work. Health care is a great example. Our nation's health care consists of the government paying for half the health care expenses in this country and regulating the industry more heavily than any other industry. And people think that this is somehow a "free market."I don't think it is a free market. I think the government stepped in because when the market was free-er, it wasn't providing health care to the satisfaction of the citizens. As you note in the food and shelter examples, when the market can provide things, people are pretty satisfied. So why do you suppose people aren't satisfied with completely private health care or education? I will offer up two possibilities. One is that this is a, say, ethical or political position. The market, even at its best, simply cannot provide the level of care required. I find this argument completely unsound and will pay no more attention to it. The other is that there are very real reasons why something like health care might constitute a market failure, that in our case it actually did fail, and so intervention was required. In this case the question is how to properly intervene. (There are other possibilities. I only picked two. They are not exclusive, exhaustive, or other adjectives. All rights reserved, &c.)
I'll chalk up this kind of ignorance to the poor education offered in most government-run schools.Well if you are starting from the position that your opponents are ignorant, this will probably not go very far.

msmith537
09-05-2008, 10:59 AM
What was troubling, to me, was the smokescreen he was putting up. He kept ranting about patriotism, service, experience--all of them abstract kneejerk positions, none of them really arguable. It was like "I like McCain" and who could tell him that he didn't? Most actual policies, he seemed to think that Obama's position made considerable sense, but he wasn't interested in the nitty-gritty policy matters, just the broad abstract ones, which made me wonder if this wasn't all just code for "McCain will save me coin." Is it?

Why are you surprised? For someone making several million a year, their only real issue would be taxes. They may have an opinion about health care, education, and pretty much everything else in an abstract way, but none of it is an actual issue for them. They have health insurance. They can afford to send their kids to any school. Even the economic issues might be no more than a nuisance unless it actually affects their business or other interests.

But getting a tax bill for several hundred thousand is a real tangible thing that will actually test their political beliefs.

pseudotriton ruber ruber
09-05-2008, 11:22 AM
Why are you surprised? For someone making several million a year, their only real issue would be taxes.

I didn't say I was surprised--I said I was troubled. This friend, who's pretty articulate when he needs to be, was babbling all sorts of weak, ill-formed general statements about why he was so strongly supporting McCain (he referred to Obama as a "Communist" which seemed very unsophisticated to me) and I sensed that he felt embarrassed to say that it was all about the coin. So I thought I'd ask here, and find out if I was on to something.

Despite some perfunctory insults from friend Renob, that's what I'm finding out. It's really not that far-fetched to imagine an expensive Republican platform (wars are expensive to maintain, and sophisticated systems for spying on your citizens' privacy must mount up, too) that an honest Pubblie might acknowledge would require a tax hike, and it's not impossible to imagine a Democrat who wanted to reduce government expenses (Clinton's welfare reform ideas, for example) at a time of a booming economy that might allow for lower taxes--if you thought that would happen with McCain and Obama, wouldn't that turn you around pretty quickly? Why do Pubbies have such a hard time putting their central "principle" into simple words?

control-z
09-05-2008, 11:23 AM
For a person that doesn't follow politics closely, yes, I'm sure taxes are what it broils down to.

Mosier
09-05-2008, 11:30 AM
Taxes are a major issue. They're not the only issue, and for some voters it's barely an issue at all. I support raising taxes to keep the government out of deficit spending, but if a candidate could convince me that they could keep taxes the same (or lower them) while balancing the budget, I would consider voting for them.

I'm what people call a "character voter". I actually care about the issues much less than I care about the personal impression I get from the candidates, their charisma, their assertiveness, honesty, integrity, etc. Lots of people, especially here, would call me foolish for that, but I don't really care. I'd rather vote for a good person than someone I agree with.

DrDeth
09-05-2008, 11:34 AM
The tax issue is, indeed, one of the main reasons I stick with the GOP in spite of the war in Iraq and the Religious Right.

That doesn't really matter. What matters is the principle. Obama thinks that the government has the right to take more money from "the rich" to provide government programs that I think are both useless and morally wrong. .

Umm, no. In fact the Dems are the party of Fiscal responsibility whilst the GOP is the "tax & spend party". The Bush Admin has increased the Nat'l debt by a HUGE amount in the last 8 years. Anyone with half a brain has to know that that stuff has to be paid for someday, and it has to be paid for by taxes, as we're short on magical unicorn wishes. What the GoP is hoping is that the Dems will be the fiscally grown-up and raise taxes to pay for the GoPs crazy run-away charge the credit-card up to the limit spending.

The GoP is currently and has been for the last 8 years been spending trillions on "government programs that I/we think are both useless and morally wrong", just that they've been borrowing it and ruining the economy and the dollar by doing so.

At one time the GoP was the "cut spending and taxes party" but that time is long past. Now it's the 'spend money like a drunken sailor and hope someone else gest the blame for paying for it" party.

You let GWB spend all that money- how do you propose we pay for it?

gonzomax
09-05-2008, 11:37 AM
Somehow we have to deal with the national debt the cut taxes and spend republicans cause. The interest is crippling to the economy.
It is difficult to convince people to accept your viewpoint if it costs them money. They will find some way to explain their choice and may even convince themselves it is true. But it is asking a lot to expect someone to vote against their own short term interests.
Not just taxes ,but regulation. Anything that costs money is rejected on some vague philosophical basis , but the root is money.

Renob
09-05-2008, 11:51 AM
DrDeth, I agree that the GOP has dropped the ball on spending. However, the Democrats propose even more spending. They have made absolutely no efforts to cut spending during their time in control of Congress. They merely want to raise taxes to pay for their new spending. No thanks.

The GOP continues to at the very least pay lip service to controlling spending. Yes, they haven't lived up to it, but at least they don't celebrate speding as a positive thing like the Democrats. I continue to hope that they will actually live up to their words of fiscal discipline. Perhaps I'm being naive but I really have no choice given the Democrats' rhetoric and action on this issue.

On the state and local level, there is a large difference between the GOP and Democrats on these issues. I'm mainly a Republican based on this. I would not be part of the GOP if the only thing I cared about was national politics.

gonzomax
09-05-2008, 12:17 PM
DrDeth, I agree that the GOP has dropped the ball on spending. However, the Democrats propose even more spending. They have made absolutely no efforts to cut spending during their time in control of Congress. They merely want to raise taxes to pay for their new spending. No thanks.

The GOP continues to at the very least pay lip service to controlling spending. Yes, they haven't lived up to it, but at least they don't celebrate speding as a positive thing like the Democrats. I continue to hope that they will actually live up to their words of fiscal discipline. Perhaps I'm being naive but I really have no choice given the Democrats' rhetoric and action on this issue.

On the state and local level, there is a large difference between the GOP and Democrats on these issues. I'm mainly a Republican based on this. I would not be part of the GOP if the only thing I cared about was national politics.

Do you think we should raise taxes to take care of the national debt. ? We had it cleaned up nicely before the repubs got back in.

Renob
09-05-2008, 12:22 PM
Do you think we should raise taxes to take care of the national debt. ? We had it cleaned up nicely before the repubs got back in.
No, the national debt was still pretty high when Clinton was in office. We didn't have a deficit for a few years. Of course, we had a GOP Congress in place, too. I think the natural tension of divided government leads to better fiscal discipline.

But to answer your question, no, I don't support raising taxes to take care of the national debt or even to reduce the deficit. We need to cut spending. And, yes, I do support ending the war in Iraq and cutting our military spending dramatically to help do that. There is no need to raise taxes if spending is cut. Even if spending increases were merely kept to 1% to 2% a year we could grow our way out of the deficit in a few years. Of course, long term we need to address entitlement spending since those will kill us within a decade or two.

DrDeth
09-05-2008, 12:29 PM
[The GOP continues to at the very least pay lip service to controlling spending. Yes, they haven't lived up to it, but at least they don't celebrate speding as a positive thing like the Democrats. I continue to hope that they will actually live up to their words of fiscal discipline. Perhaps I'm being naive but I really have no choice given the Democrats' rhetoric and action on this issue.
s.

So the Dems are telling the truth and the Repubs are lying, thus you support the Repubs out of hope? Ok, you tell me how to get out of the debt hole the GoP has gotten us into. And if the answer is "cut spending" I want actual progams and dollar amounts. Then compare said dollar amounts to the deficit.

Renob
09-05-2008, 12:40 PM
So the Dems are telling the truth and the Repubs are lying, thus you support the Repubs out of hope?
Since both have a history of increasing spending, but one wants to cut taxes and says it wants to increase spending and the other wants to increase taxes and increase spending and is proud of it, I'll choose the former. It sucks as a choice, but it's the best choice I have.

Ok, you tell me how to get out of the debt hole the GoP has gotten us into. And if the answer is "cut spending" I want actual progams and dollar amounts. Then compare said dollar amounts to the deficit.
If I were dictator, I'd pretty much cut everything -- no Dept. of Ed, no Commerce Department, sell off public land, eliminate Medicaid and Medicare for anyone who makes over 150% FPL, phase out Social Security to totally end in twenty years, cut the Dept. of Defense in half. I don't have dollar amounts off the top of my head, but I guarantee that doing that would cure our fiscal ills.

Of course, that ain't gonna happen, but if you want a realistic solution I'll need some time to put together the figures.

Huerta88
09-05-2008, 12:43 PM
To the OP:

I know more people who are single-issue voters (left and right) on issues other than taxes, than I do who are single issue voters on taxes.

Just my two cents.

mazinger_z
09-05-2008, 02:24 PM
Somehow we have to deal with the national debt the cut taxes and spend republicans cause. The interest is crippling to the economy. Yes, 5% interest rate is really killing people. :rolleyes: My parents bought their first house at 18%. We survived then, we will survive now.

As to raising taxes to get rid of the debt: also not a great idea. Again, the country is not a person. But, to use a "person" analogy to make my point: would you take out a $60k loan to go to law school? See, I would, and I make much more money now, even with my law school payments than I would have had I worked for my dad's company starting at a third of what I make now, even starting off my career with no debt. This is what the country is doing by taking debt. Balanced budgets are misnomers. They sound nice, but is it really needed? What happens when a government takes in too much tax money? What happens to next year's budget?

Also, a country can pay out its debt by issuing more bonds/securities/t-bills, what have you. This has been going on for quite some time and we're still by far the largest economy in the world. Yes, there is a breaking point, but as Japan proves, even at 150% of GDP, they still manage to be a first world nation, say unlike The Philippines and most of China.

As to the OP, a lot of taxes that Obama proposes (and this I'm not too sure off as this info comes from a lunatic right winger in the office, in the tax department), falls on businesses. The US has something like the second highest tax rate in the world when it comes to corporations. Taxes are a fundamental reason to whether or not a company will expand or even keep operations open. This directly affects the $50k/yr middle class person. I have joint venture agreements on my desk waiting until the election is over to see how to proceed with operations. Our choices are San Antonio or Ireland. If taxes are high enough, we're moving operations to Ireland, and taking a loss on all the prep work to stay in the US.

Cisco
09-05-2008, 02:37 PM
In my experience with single-issue Republicans, the single issue has been abortion. That's probably because I grew up in the bible belt. In Manhattan, the single-issue Republicans are probably about taxes. In Nebraska, it might be guns.

Huerta88
09-05-2008, 03:30 PM
In my experience with single-issue Republicans, the single issue has been abortion. That's probably because I grew up in the bible belt. In Manhattan, the single-issue Republicans are probably about taxes. In Nebraska, it might be guns.

Probably aren't too many Republicans in Manhattan.

And there are single issue Dems on abortion or (you wouldn't have to cast too far about on this board) homosexual rights.

Cisco
09-05-2008, 04:05 PM
Probably aren't too many Republicans in Manhattan.
There are 10s of thousands of Republicans in Manhattan. Even in the bluest areas of the country there are Republicans and in the reddest areas there are Democrats. People forget that but it's true.

pseudotriton ruber ruber
09-05-2008, 04:50 PM
There are 10s of thousands of Republicans in Manhattan. Even in the bluest areas of the country there are Republicans and in the reddest areas there are Democrats. People forget that but it's true.


And the OP's friend works (owns a company) in midtown Manhattan. (The BBQ was in Westchester County.) What strikes me as oddly ungrateful is that somehow these guys manage to earn million-dollar salaries, buy fabulous homes, have personal freedom up the wazoo yet when the time comes for them to pay for the privilege of living in a country where such things are possible, they say "What, me? No, no, tax the guys who work for me. Tax them all up the ass."

As if they'd leave the US if they paid a little more in taxes? As if they'd ever notice? Well, maybe when they got to buy their lazy overprivileged never-did-a-day's-work-in-their-lives kids a new Mercedes every year, it might have to be the model without the sunroof.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
09-05-2008, 05:17 PM
Probably aren't too many Republicans in Manhattan.

And there are single issue Dems on abortion or (you wouldn't have to cast too far about on this board) homosexual rights.

I don't know about Manhattan, but I know we have a San Francisco Doper who suggests that he is a lonely conservative in a sea of liberals. I don't want to say his name in case I'm mis-remembering. Given Manhattan's population, there must be some Republicans there...I don't know, maybe 10,000? :D

begbert2
09-05-2008, 05:28 PM
The females in my family all vote based on the "Save The Babies/Say No To Teh Gay" issues. Taxation has nothing to do with it.

As far as I can tell, my dad votes Republican because he opposes social programs like welfare and whatnot. That and he reads Pubbie slander proganda. :smack:

Of course, none of these people are filthy rich, either.

foolsguinea
09-05-2008, 05:40 PM
This is sort of true for some of the GOP, but almost backwards. The GOP is an anti-tax party. That's been for a generation the one sine qua non of being a Pubbie officeholder. They embrace, or pretend to embrace, the pro-life stance, the military-industrial complex, & so forth, to get enough votes to win elections now & then. A Republican who advocated raising taxes would lose funding if not quite be run out of the party. A sufficiently anti-tax Republican who could win votes in his district with socially liberal stances has still been useful to the one core value of the funding establishment.

The rise of the Moral Majority-derived social conservative base may be changing that, but a party with a pro-tax stance would lose a lot of its old core; big GOP donors, the small businessmen who vote GOP, etc., aren't really all (or even very many) Falwell sympathizers.

The Democrats, on the other hand, I'm a bit less clear on, but they seem to be a coalition of people who want government to do various things. Apparently, cutting taxes isn't an issue for them one way or another; funding the government enough to do what it is statutorily obliged to do is.

DrDeth
09-05-2008, 05:56 PM
A Republican who advocated raising taxes would lose funding if not quite be run out of the party. i]

Such as the #2 Repub in the nation, the Governator of CA?:p (he has advocated raising taxes, just recently)

woodstockbirdybird
09-05-2008, 06:20 PM
Since both have a history of increasing spending, but one wants to cut taxes and says it wants to increase spending and the other wants to increase taxes and increase spending and is proud of it, I'll choose the former. It sucks as a choice, but it's the best choice I have.


So you'd go with the party that has the worst understanding of economics? I mean, I honestly don't get it - if you're going to increase spending, isn't raising taxes the more responsible thing to do? How does that not equate to selfishness?

Algher
09-05-2008, 06:24 PM
So you'd go with the party that has the worst understanding of economics? I mean, I honestly don't get it - if you're going to increase spending, isn't raising taxes the more responsible thing to do?

ONLY if you keep the spending increase inline with the tax increase, and you cut the spending when revenues drop. The Democrats do not have a great history of cutting spending EITHER.

The big revelation was that when the Republicans finally had control of it all, they spent like drunken sailors. That spending binge pissed off a lot of Republican voters who felt betrayed.

There are STILL a lot of voters that want the size of the Federal government cut. They vote for anti-taxes in hopes of starving the beast, since we have yet to find a way to put people into office who will actually cut spending.

woodstockbirdybird
09-05-2008, 06:31 PM
ONLY if you keep the spending increase inline with the tax increase, and you cut the spending when revenues drop.

Good point. Even so, if even some of the tax increase went toward the spending it would be better than none, no?

Renob
09-05-2008, 06:56 PM
What strikes me as oddly ungrateful is that somehow these guys manage to earn million-dollar salaries, buy fabulous homes, have personal freedom up the wazoo yet when the time comes for them to pay for the privilege of living in a country where such things are possible, they say "What, me? No, no, tax the guys who work for me. Tax them all up the ass."
So the guys you know are opposed to all taxes, huh? Really? Outside of some hardcore libertarians and tax resisters, I don't know of anyone who is opposed to the idea of paying taxes. It's usually an opposition to paying an incredibly high level of taxes. If you think the government is confiscating too much of your money to waste on a variety of programs with which you disagree, you'd bitch, too.

Also, it seems odd to me that these people you hang out with want the taxes of other people raised. Most of the low tax crowd I hang out with wants lower taxes for everyone. Of course, Obama and the Democrats like playing the game of "we'll lower your taxes but raise the taxes of those bastards over there," so perhaps you were hanging out with Obama supporters.

As if they'd leave the US if they paid a little more in taxes? As if they'd ever notice? Well, maybe when they got to buy their lazy overprivileged never-did-a-day's-work-in-their-lives kids a new Mercedes every year, it might have to be the model without the sunroof.
Who cares if they burn the money? They earned it so they should determine how it's spent. Why do you think you get a say in how they spend it?

Your attitude seems pretty typical of someone who has little idea of actually running a business or creating wealth. Of course, your views are pretty prevalent among many people who think that the wealth created by others should be theres to spend on whatever they want.

rock party
09-05-2008, 07:04 PM
I definatly see them voting with their pocketbooks, but they hate to admit it.

Some friends of mine who are rakeing it in are just like the friend of the OP. They say "You know I'd like to vote for Obama but I just don't trust him...and you know I'm really a democrate at heart." Further investigation reveals they have some left of center preferences (like health care for example) but they just can't vote for someone who MIGHT cost them more money.

The right wing message isn't really all that appealing for the middle class...that's why they have to wrap themselves in religion, abortion, gays, ect. It gets the middle class (especially the older ones) out to vote for them even though what they're proposing isn't middle class "friendly" at all.

Algher
09-05-2008, 07:34 PM
Good point. Even so, if even some of the tax increase went toward the spending it would be better than none, no?

Depends on the total deficit created (which then leads to even more debt).

pseudotriton ruber ruber
09-05-2008, 07:40 PM
They earned it so they should determine how it's spent. Why do you think you get a say in how they spend it?

They earned it in a country that gave them an opportunity to it, and since (as you admit) they don't object to paying taxes, I think they should pony up for the infrastructure that underlies such a country, and for the schools that try to educate their workers better, and for universal health care so that their neighbors can afford to see a doctor when they need to, and for federal agencies to try to prevent them from using the environment as an all-purpose toilet bowl and source of free resources. You seem to think that this money should come from anywhere other than from those who wouldn't miss it if they did burn it.

You probably think Obama's a communist, too, don't you? I know my friend who claims that is certainly too smart to believe it (he took college classes, I know, in poolitical economy, and did quite well explaining subtle ideas about various political theories) but that's what he says these days. Tell me, these taxes you're playing now, under George Bush for the last eight years--are they too high? Is there anything about them you can support? What percentage of your present taxes would you rather not be paying, because it's a waste of your hard-earned money?

jsgoddess
09-06-2008, 12:44 AM
If the Republican nominee, for some strange reason, espoused a clear policy of raising taxes, while his Democratic opponent vigorously opposed expanding taxation even a nickel, wouldn't most people simply swap political parties? Abortion, foreign policy, book-banning, right to privacy, patriotism--all this stuff would fly put the window, wouldn't it?

Good question, I think.

Frankly, I don't trust people who say they are going to lower my taxes unless they also are acknowledging that the money has to come from somewhere. (Obama, for example, doesn't seem to be promising a realistic tax cut, though I was reading somewhere that the numbers might be in the realm of feasible under certain circumstances).

No one likes paying taxes. I grouse just as much as the next person when it comes time to send mine in, and always double check everything ("Oh, maybe I missed some great deduction that means they'll send it all back!"). But in the end, when I can reengage my rational brain, I see that my tax burden is hardly crippling, especially when compared with what I expect of the government.

I will pay more in prescription drug costs this year than in federal income taxes. Any way I look at that, it's messed up.

Renob
09-06-2008, 12:46 PM
They earned it in a country that gave them an opportunity to it, and since (as you admit) they don't object to paying taxes, I think they should pony up for the infrastructure that underlies such a country, and for the schools that try to educate their workers better, and for universal health care so that their neighbors can afford to see a doctor when they need to, and for federal agencies to try to prevent them from using the environment as an all-purpose toilet bowl and source of free resources.
Again, folks like me don't object to paying taxes. We just want to stop the government from taking so much of our money. We are especially upset that the government wastes so much of it on worthless and counterproductive programs, but that kind of leads us in a different direction. Even if the government had 100% efficiency, I'd still be opposed to high tax rates.

And why should they pony up to pay for all these things you think are so great? I'm unclear as to why the fact that they live in a certain geographical area gives people like you the right to take their money to spend as you like. Yes, people should contribute to a government that helps keep the peace and provides a stable judicial system. It doesn't logically follow that they are morally obligated to pay for whatever silly social programs anyone can think up.

You seem to think that this money should come from anywhere other than from those who wouldn't miss it if they did burn it.
No, the "rich" (however you define them) should pay taxes just like everyone else. They shouldn't be singled out for punitive tax rates, though. Who cares if they wouldn't miss the money (an arguable point)? It's their money. They earned it. If you want to spend the time starting a business, risking your money, spending twelve to fourteen hours a day working at it, and earn money so you can give your money to the government, go ahead. Others would prefer to do these things so they can live the good life, as they define it. There is nothing wrong with that.

You probably think Obama's a communist, too, don't you?
Of course not. He's a liberal Democrat. And, to be honest, I prefer him over McCain.

I know my friend who claims that is certainly too smart to believe it (he took college classes, I know, in poolitical economy, and did quite well explaining subtle ideas about various political theories) but that's what he says these days.
Then he's either ignorant or engaging in hyperbole.

Tell me, these taxes you're playing now, under George Bush for the last eight years--are they too high? Is there anything about them you can support? What percentage of your present taxes would you rather not be paying, because it's a waste of your hard-earned money?
Yes, they are too high. As far as taxes I wouldn't object to, I'm fine with the gas tax. It's essentially a user fee to pay for road building. The money collected shouldn't go to pay for public transportation, though. As far as tax money collected by the feds, I think that it's fine to collect enough to fund a military that can defend us if we are threatened. We also need a federal judiciary. As far as money for other federal agencies, I can't think of anything else now that I'd miss too much if it disappeared. On the state and local level, of course, there is a need for more government services. But I assume you want to keep this focused on the feds.

gonzomax
09-06-2008, 01:55 PM
No, the national debt was still pretty high when Clinton was in office. We didn't have a deficit for a few years. Of course, we had a GOP Congress in place, too. I think the natural tension of divided government leads to better fiscal discipline.

But to answer your question, no, I don't support raising taxes to take care of the national debt or even to reduce the deficit. We need to cut spending. And, yes, I do support ending the war in Iraq and cutting our military spending dramatically to help do that. There is no need to raise taxes if spending is cut. Even if spending increases were merely kept to 1% to 2% a year we could grow our way out of the deficit in a few years. Of course, long term we need to address entitlement spending since those will kill us within a decade or two.

Had a GOP congress and Senate for nearly 8 years and yet you will somehow blame the dems for the fiscal ignorance of the GOP. You can not cut enough programs to compensate for a 10 to 12 billion a month war.
We will never be able to grow our way out of anything. Offshoring our industries and jobs killed that. We peeled another 86,000 jobs last month. Our tax base shrinks with every months statements. McCain has no plans to cut the war or war spending. If he gets in it will just get worse and worse. Where does it end.?

T_SQUARE
09-06-2008, 03:03 PM
It doesn' have to be greed driving high income people to want lower taxes. If you're talking about a tax liability differnce of, say, 100K a year, it's not too crazy to think that you could do more good for the country than the government can. Rich people give a lot of money away, in general.

Furthermore, even if you planned to spend that money on ivory back-scratchers and such, it's not a totally foolish idea to think that consumption and investment by private individuals is better than the same for the government.

Taxes are a big part of the issue, but I think quite a few business types like more free trade, so I'd throw that in there too.

Ludovic
09-06-2008, 03:09 PM
these guys manage to earn million-dollar salaries, buy fabulous homes, have personal freedom up the wazooOnly since Lawrence... ;)

foolsguinea
09-06-2008, 05:41 PM
Such as the #2 Repub in the nation, the Governator of CA?:p (he has advocated raising taxes, just recently)Apparently, this rule can be broken for Austrian bodybuilder superstars, in California.

jsgoddess
09-06-2008, 05:51 PM
Apparently, this rule can be broken for Austrian bodybuilder superstars, in California.

The taxes, he wants to pump *clap* them up!

emarkp
09-06-2008, 11:56 PM
Such as the #2 Repub in the nation, the Governator of CA?:p (he has advocated raising taxes, just recently)

Not the first time. Which is why he's rightly been called a RINO since his first run. Now he's just a liar.

Voyager
09-07-2008, 12:35 AM
Not the first time. Which is why he's rightly been called a RINO since his first run. Now he's just a liar.

No, he is trying to get the state government to work, and trying to be practical, and not a fanatic anti-tax we'll hold our breaths until we turn blue so we'll get our way moron - like the Republicans in the legislature. I suppose him trying to do right by the state and facing reality does make him a RINO these days.

Voyager
09-07-2008, 12:46 AM
It doesn' have to be greed driving high income people to want lower taxes. If you're talking about a tax liability differnce of, say, 100K a year, it's not too crazy to think that you could do more good for the country than the government can. Rich people give a lot of money away, in general.

Furthermore, even if you planned to spend that money on ivory back-scratchers and such, it's not a totally foolish idea to think that consumption and investment by private individuals is better than the same for the government.


Given the growth of income of the top percentile, a $100K a year tax increase would hardly be notices.
From here (http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~saez/saez-UStopincomes-2006prel.pdf) Warning: pdf

Table 1 next
distinguishes between the 1993–2000 expansion of the Clinton
administrations and the 2002-2006 expansion of the Bush administrations.
During both expansions, the incomes of the top 1 percent grew extremely
quickly at an annual rate over 10.1 and 11.0 percent respectively. However,
while the bottom 99 percent of incomes grew at a solid pace of 2.4 percent
per year from 1993–2000, these incomes grew less than 1 percent per year
from 2002–2006.
Therefore, in the economic expansion of 2002-2006, the top
1 percent captured almost three- quarters of income growth.

Notice the difference in economic growth during the Clinton and Bush years - especially today. Might this be the result of the bottom 99% getting such a small share of the increased pie that they can't afford to buy anything, ruining demand, and ruining the economy. Up to now this has been made up by borrowing, but the shit has now hit the fan.

Given this share of growth by the top 1%, if your hypothesis about them spending the money more effectively were true, we'd now be living in paradise. See paradise? If you were in the top 1% you would. If you are not, then supporting the Republicans is just screwing yourself.

You might have seen income growth rates for rich and poor in Democratic and Republican years. The growth rate was higher for Democratic years - even for the rich. So, if you want growth, I'd advise you to vote for Obama.

emarkp
09-07-2008, 12:57 AM
No, he is trying to get the state government to work, and trying to be practical, and not a fanatic anti-tax we'll hold our breaths until we turn blue so we'll get our way moron - like the Republicans in the legislature. I suppose him trying to do right by the state and facing reality does make him a RINO these days.

Last year the Republicans in the legislature warned that the budget was out of whack. They precisely predicted the mess we're in right now.

Look at this image (http://bp0.blogger.com/_nSTO-vZpSgc/R4lLa3tCUUI/AAAAAAAAB2Q/juXK9KYHWB4/s1600-h/ca-budget-3.png) and tell me if there's a revenue problem or a spending problem.

pseudotriton ruber ruber
09-07-2008, 06:44 AM
you also know in the back of your mind that one day you will make some good money someday. You aspire to get out of your impoverished condition. It's the American Dream, after all, and sure, you might be shut out, but giving up and admitting failure is not an option..

Well, here’s where the American Dream suckers people in to voting against their own interests—in a nutshell, this is the way the Republican Party survives. I agree with the notion that people “aspire to get out of” poverty, and most do, briefly but temporarily. The vast majority of lower-middle class Americans do NOT break through to real wealth, on anything like a permanent basis, although many if not most have that ambition and sometimes the illusion that they’ve cracked through a barrier. Most American dreamers will maintain that the Dream is what allows them to keep slogging on, and makes their lives worthwhile, even if nothing much changes economically.

But some of them (most I would argue), despite the Dream, make no progress. Maybe a farm worker becomes a supervisor over a forty year career, maybe a steel worker becomes a foreman, but you know and I know that isn’t the sort of real wealth that would justify voting for major tax cuts for the super-wealthy.

The worst part is that some of them do even worse—people who break down physically or mentally, and can no longer work even a low-paying job any more. People who see a short cut through poverty by committing crimes, or who find relief in the needle, or people who have the misfortune to grow up in the home of someone who has gone down one of these paths. These people’s lives grow worse, not better, over time, despite what they may dream and aspire to.

To look out for one’s own narrow needs is to create longstanding problems for society as a whole. I oppose funneling free money to lazy deadbeats, as does virtually everyone of every political stripe I can imagine, but there have to be ways that social programs can help people reclaim their lost dreams, and it’s our collective responsibility to find those ways and make them work, instead of rolling up our car windows as we drive on state-built freeways over the slums and letting the lower classes fend for themselves.

You want to reject this social program in favor of that plan? I’ll listen, and maybe I’ll argue with you for a more expensive social policy, and maybe we’ll work out a decent compromise. But if you’re telling me that you oppose on principle the concept of social responsibility, and so you reject every candidate who has ideas that you fear might cost you a few dollars in favor of one who promises (but doesn’t often deliver) a plan that costs you a few less, I’ll call that simple selfishness, which I have very little respect for.

The middle class is distrustful of people who raise their taxes because it always hurts.
Does it? The people Obama is targeting for a tax increase aren’t being “hurt” by the loss of a few extra dollars. I’m well below the class Obama’s proposing a tax increase for, but let’s say my tax bill next year went up by five hundred bucks—would that “hurt”? No, it wouldn’t. It might mean that I could stay only five nights instead of seven nights in a luxury hotel for my vacation, or maybe I’d get a car without a sunroof, which are things I might resent (if I were the resentful type) but they in no way “hurt” me—not for a second, not even a little bit.

The difference is that we’ve gotten used to expressing resentment—the government is taking my money away from me! But it’s not your money—you’re getting something back for having a strong federal government, and it’s not just the armed forces and federal highways. You get to live in a free and open society (at least in theory, it’s free and open) with a functioning economy, and that allows you to earn “your” money. You accept paying federal taxes for programs you approve of, and you’re just whining about those programs who use you can’t feel the direct benefit of, but they do you good anyway.

If you want to discuss specific wasteful programs, I’m with you there. Let’s talk about them—specifically. But let’s don’t walk away from our social responsibilities on principle, because the only principle I see in that is the principle of self-interest.

DirkGntly
09-07-2008, 09:39 AM
Well, here’s where the American Dream suckers people in to voting against their own interests—in a nutshell, this is the way the Republican Party survives.
"..survives,"? More like thrives. 7 of the last 10 presidential elections were won by Republicans...so you believe a democratically-driven country is wrong 70% of the time?

Moriarty
09-07-2008, 09:40 AM
I'm really glad for this thread, because it's one of my biggest pet peeves. I'm not talking about the desire for fiscal responisbility, balanced budgets, and lower taxes - these are things I can get behind. What frustrates me, though, is the perception that the GOP is the defender of this maxim.

Republicans are the party of small government and low taxes? Ha, I say! Poppycock! Deficits are huge under Bush, just as they were under Reagan. And, as for taxes...

This (http://www.ctj.org/pdf/regcg.pdf) PDF, and this (http://www.ntu.org/main/page.php?PageID=19) website both provide information on income tax rates through the 20th century. If popular wisdom was factually accurate, we should expect to see stark contrasts between GOP and Democratic administrations. But we don't.

Admittedly, I do see a sharp increase in the 1930s, under FDR. But that rate didn't drop dramatically when Eisenhower became President for 8 years in the 1950's - instead, the rate went even higher! It came down again in the late 1960s, when a "librul", LBJ, was in the White House. There wasn't another significant drop until the mid-1980's (what happened under Nixon or Ford, hmm?), so Reagan did follow the party line (although there are some (http://mises.org/freemarket_detail.aspx?control=488) who would disagree with that assessment; at the least, spending went dramatically up during his time in office). But over the last two decades, despite minor fluctuations, we don't see a distinct disparity between a Clinton administration and a Bush administration (yes, Bush did lower taxes, but at what cost? He's also spending money at a record clip, and even McCain once opposed (http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/603/) his tax cuts.)

If it was so true that Republicans were "small government tax-cutters" and Democrats were "tax and spenders", I think the data would reflect that. This meme, though, is ancient history, and simply doesn't reflect the reality of the last several decades.

DirkGntly
09-07-2008, 09:51 AM
The only ones who get really hurt by Obama's tax plan are the ludicrously wealthy- those that bring in more than $600,000.
"...ludicrously wealthy,"? $600k/yr isn't ludicrously wealthy, unless you compare it to someone making $20k/yr. For someone like me, $600k/yr is something to aspire to, but not ludicrous. Not only that, but since when does the possession of wealth dictate that others have a right to it? Is it because it is perceived as "unfair" that Joe A makes $600k/yr for his 40-50hrs/wk and Joe B makes $20k/yr for the same amount of labor? If so, that is a misconception, or a downright communist line of thinking. Should a doctor make the same wage as a janitor? Or should a janitor make the same wage as a doctor? If you say "yes" then you have a serious lack of grasp of reality. Additionally, there is "perceived value" at work here. As a technician who could design wireless healthcare networks, I was valuable; as a mentor and trainer who can bring up other technicians to design those networks, and then manage their schedules and projects, I'm perceived as being worth more. Thus, I get paid more now, approximately 40% more, than I did as a technician. I invested my own time, money, and energy to get there, and I'm reaping the rewards. I don't mind a certain percentage of my income being used to pay for infrastructure and necessary services, and possibly some educational opportunities. What I oppose is paying an increased percentage of my income, just because I'm making more now.

DirkGntly
09-07-2008, 09:55 AM
I'm really glad for this thread, because it's one of my biggest pet peeves. I'm not talking about the desire for fiscal responisbility, balanced budgets, and lower taxes - these are things I can get behind. What frustrates me, though, is the perception that the GOP is the defender of this maxim.

Republicans are the party of small government and low taxes? Ha, I say! Poppycock! Deficits are huge under Bush, just as they were under Reagan. And, as for taxes...

This (http://www.ctj.org/pdf/regcg.pdf) PDF, and this (http://www.ntu.org/main/page.php?PageID=19) website both provide information on income tax rates through the 20th century. If popular wisdom was factually accurate, we should expect to see stark contrasts between GOP and Democratic administrations. But we don't.

Admittedly, I do see a sharp increase in the 1930s, under FDR. But that rate didn't drop dramatically when Eisenhower became President for 8 years in the 1950's - instead, the rate went even higher! It came down again in the late 1960s, when a "librul", LBJ, was in the White House. There wasn't another significant drop until the mid-1980's (what happened under Nixon or Ford, hmm?), so Reagan did follow the party line (although there are some (http://mises.org/freemarket_detail.aspx?control=488) who would disagree with that assessment; at the least, spending went dramatically up during his time in office). But over the last two decades, despite minor fluctuations, we don't see a distinct disparity between a Clinton administration and a Bush administration (yes, Bush did lower taxes, but at what cost? He's also spending money at a record clip, and even McCain once opposed (http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/603/) his tax cuts.)

If it was so true that Republicans were "small government tax-cutters" and Democrats were "tax and spenders", I think the data would reflect that. This meme, though, is ancient history, and simply doesn't reflect the reality of the last several decades.

This analysis is useless without studying the makeup of the congress at the time. The president has little, if any, say over taxes. I suspect you'll find the congressional makeup to be the telling factor in these cases.

Moriarty
09-07-2008, 10:02 AM
This analysis is useless without studying the makeup of the congress at the time. The president has little, if any, say over taxes. I suspect you'll find the congressional makeup to be the telling factor in these cases.
So if the party in the White House has "little, if any, say over taxes", then why vote for the President based on the tax issue, which is the subject of this thread? Why not vote for your congressional representative based on taxes, and vote for the President based on his social agenda? That may be how you vote, but it's not the argument being made.

I, for one, don't agree with your premise. The president can veto a spending bill, can submit a budget to congress, and can lobby for the fiscal agenda he wants. To say he has little, if any, say over taxes is to ignore the role of the Executive branch in law making.

Moriarty
09-07-2008, 10:18 AM
This analysis is useless without studying the makeup of the congress at the time. The president has little, if any, say over taxes. I suspect you'll find the congressional makeup to be the telling factor in these cases.
In the interests of being an honest debater, I did find this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidents_and_control_of_congress) website, which shows the degree to which Presidents had political control over congress. Looking at it, I don't really see a correlation with taxes. Reagan never had control over the House (where budgets are originated), but did manage to lower taxes. LBJ had 100% control over both houses of congress, but also lowered taxes in the late 60's despite Democratic dominance. Unless you want to provide a different analysis, I don't really see your point.

pseudotriton ruber ruber
09-07-2008, 10:23 AM
"..survives,"? More like thrives. 7 of the last 10 presidential elections were won by Republicans...so you believe a democratically-driven country is wrong 70% of the time?

In the last ten elections? Yes, they were wrong more than 70% of the time. In fact, I'd argue that the most competent candidate hasn't even gotten the nomination more than four or five times in all of US history.

Does this mean that I don't believe in democratic elections, or something, now? Voters are too easily bamboozled, but we haven't figured out a better system yet.

DirkGntly
09-07-2008, 10:27 AM
In the interests of being an honest debater, I did find this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidents_and_control_of_congress) website, which shows the degree to which Presidents had political control over congress. Looking at it, I don't really see a correlation with taxes. Reagan never had control over the House (where budgets are originated), but did manage to lower taxes. LBJ had 100% control over both houses of congress, but also lowered taxes in the late 60's despite Democratic dominance. Unless you want to provide a different analysis, I don't really see your point.
Interesting analysis there, but it only addresses simple majorities. I've been digging but can't find anything that addresses the actual percentages. I agree that the president has the ability to introduce initiatives and veto legislation, but often the president's hands are tied by the lack of a line-item veto, or because the majority in the House or Senate is insufficient to override the minority's opposition.

Moriarty
09-07-2008, 10:36 AM
Interesting analysis there, but it only addresses simple majorities. I've been digging but can't find anything that addresses the actual percentages. I agree that the president has the ability to introduce initiatives and veto legislation, but often the president's hands are tied by the lack of a line-item veto, or because the majority in the House or Senate is insufficient to override the minority's opposition.
Would you at least agree that (for whatever complicated reason) a Republican president doesn't necessarily mean lowered taxes and smaller government, and a Democratic president doesn't necessarily mean a hudge increase in the tax rate, which was my original point?

DirkGntly
09-07-2008, 10:55 AM
Would you at least agree that (for whatever complicated reason) a Republican president doesn't necessarily mean lowered taxes and smaller government, and a Democratic president doesn't necessarily mean a hudge increase in the tax rate, which was my original point?
Yes - we are making essentially the same contention, but from different perspectives.

jackdavinci
09-07-2008, 11:15 AM
The GoP is currently and has been for the last 8 years been spending trillions on "government programs that I/we think are both useless and morally wrong", just that they've been borrowing it and ruining the economy and the dollar by doing so.

Amen to that! Maybe the Democrats should start finagling a "lower taxes" platform based on paying for social programs through inflation while handing out refund checks. :D

I'm a dirt poor social/civil liberal. As far as economics go, I'm definitely for balancing the budget / getting rid of the deficit / lowering taxes, but I think education is a reasonable thing for the government to spend money on (although it seems a good portion of education comes from local property taxes anyway). Social security came about because the market system wasn't working for retirement. And health care isn't being served by the market either. I can certainly see providing health care to kids - it's not like kids can go out and get careers to pay for their doctor visits, and in general I wouldn't mind paying for social programs that put citizens on a fair starting ground by the time they hit the age of majority. After that, I still think some sort of health care reform is in order. Universal health care might not be needed at this point but something is. And if it takes extra taxes that's fine with me. I'd rather save on stuff like pointless military wars and pork.

But yeah, I think a lot of it boils down to taxes. And even if the Dems significantly change their platform, that "Dems= taxes" meme is an easy and powerful one for the Reps to use and hard for the Dems to defeat whether or not it's true.

If it wasn't taxes though it would just be another thing. "Marriage = man + woman" or "I wave the flag more than you" works in a lot of areas too. It's just easier to throw volleys of whatever is the hot meme than express thoughtful views on the issues.

Which is why I'm tending now to vote less on the issues per se and more on character. Even assuming Bush was on the "right side" of the issues I care about, his character and way of dealing with things scares and frustrates me. Things like appointing people solely for their loyalty and not their qualificiations (Harriet!), putting policy over knowledge (pressuring the EPA to censor scientific findings), using "executive privilege" to do legally questionable things (illegal wiretaps, torture, etc.).

I can't say I agree with Obama on everything, but from his speeches and writing I can tell that he's an intelligent, compassionate, upfront, and sincere man. His speech about the reverend issue was amazing - a politician with a well thought out position who talks to us like adults instead of spinning! I was angry about his FISA vote, as were other Obama supporters, but his explanation of his vote made sense to me and even if I hadn't agreed with his reasons, they were at least well considered.

So yeah, a lot of people just vote either their bottom line, usually money, or fall for whatever spin meme they feel most comfortable with. And of course, the way in which money is raised in campaigns is a big factor too. Both Dems and Reps do this altho from my perspective it seems a little biased towards one side inthe current climate. I'd rather vote for someone who isn't running the government this way. I'm not sure what I can do except chose to vote this way. If every one else did too, I think we'd see better candidates on both sides of the political spectrum.

A shameful cracka...
09-07-2008, 11:27 AM
Taxes are really not that important to me. Both candidates want to cut my taxes (although McCain only wants to cut mine by 0.5% and Obama wants to cut mine by 3.6%), and since I have three children I end up not paying any under either candidate. I'm an Independent who voted for Bush I and would have voted for Bush II in 2000 if he hadn't smeared McCain, and would vote for McCain if he was closer to his 2000 platform and didn't pick a fundie for a running mate.

AHunter3
09-07-2008, 12:23 PM
If the Republican nominee, for some strange reason, espoused a clear policy of raising taxes, while his Democratic opponent vigorously opposed expanding taxation even a nickel, wouldn't most people simply swap political parties? Abortion, foreign policy, book-banning, right to privacy, patriotism--all this stuff would fly put the window, wouldn't it?

If Obama were to suddenly promise "no new taxes" and McCain come forth with a plan to undo all the Bush-era tax cuts, I would still vote for Obama because of the social issues.

I get the feeling this thread wasn't aimed at me though... ?

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
09-07-2008, 01:46 PM
They earned it in a country that gave them an opportunity to it, and since (as you admit) they don't object to paying taxes, I think they should pony up for the infrastructure that underlies such a country, and for the schools that try to educate their workers better, and for universal health care so that their neighbors can afford to see a doctor when they need to, and for federal agencies to try to prevent them from using the environment as an all-purpose toilet bowl and source of free resources. You seem to think that this money should come from anywhere other than from those who wouldn't miss it if they did burn it.


To put it more succinctly, I would say that physical and social infrastructure ideally helps to uphold the value of the very property or income which is being taxed to support it. How much is a piece of real estate worth if it's in a place that is so crime ridden and blighted that nobody wants to live or do business there? What good is it to earn 250K annually if banks are so under-regulated that there's no place to keep your money?

That's not to say that adjustments never need to be made. In 1977 in California, people were being forced to sell houses that they had lived in for decades, even if they owned them free and clear, because they could not afford to pay property tax on the new assessed values in the white-hot real estate market. The resulting Proposition 13 has been a tough pill to swallow, but it was necessary.

Carol Stream
09-07-2008, 01:59 PM
The difference is that we’ve gotten used to expressing resentment—the government is taking my money away from me! But it’s not your money—you’re getting something back for having a strong federal government, and it’s not just the armed forces and federal highways.


Your premise is faulty. Of course it's my money. People don't work for the State, or for the touchy-feely types, the Greater Good of Society. They work for the betterment of themselves and their loved ones. If everyone thought they were working for the State, no one would ever get out of bed again.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
09-07-2008, 02:28 PM
In my opinion the anti-tax mantra is rooted in the property ownership ethos which defines America more than other developed countries. Closely allied and equally defining, for better or worse, is the rootless willing to pack up and move to a new place instead of improving the old. Inner cities have rotted because it has historically been easier to move to the burbs than to address the problems in the city.

Once people have left the city, its concerns become increasingly irrelevant to them, since they may go there only to work; as retail and entertainment opportunities become available in the suburbs, people has even less reason to go downtown. But urban cultural assets such as museums rarely follow the shopping malls, and become the haunt primarily of groups of schoolchildren herded by their teachers from one gallery to another. The life of adults who ignore these cultural assets is the poorer for it. It may be telling that the few exceptional places, decried by arch-conservatives as stomping grounds of the leftist elite, are just those places that still boast a healthy mix of races and classes, and extensive mass transit infrastructures, like San Francisco and, especially, New York City. To a lesser extent, we can say the same of Los Angeles. While it's true we have to drive just about everywhere here, our concept of what is easily accessible reinforces the notion that cultural assets like LACMA or Disney Hall are here and not "down in the city" or "somewhere else". Tellingly, the suburban San Fernando Valley, home to millions of people, still lacks a single major cultural institution, and the local newspaper was opposed to the subway extension that connected the Valley with downtown. City dwellers are more dependent on government services such as mass transit, and are more likely to be renters, which can put them at odds with property owners. A well-off Manhattanite paying $6000 per month to lease a spacious apartment has something in common with someone paying $900 for a single in Queens--they are both renters. The owners of a tiny suburban starter home, of a Bel Air mansion, and of the building I live in also have something in common--they are property owners. I think Republicans, and conservatism generally, is as strong as it is in this country because their advocates strike a chord with small property owners, by convincing them to see themselves in the same light as land barons. Certainly I don't mean to suggest that this is true for everyone, but I do believe it happens enough to be a major factor in the big picture. How else could rent control be either non-existent or feeble in the vast majority of the U.S. when there are obviously so many more renters than landlords?

pseudotriton ruber ruber
09-07-2008, 03:17 PM
Of course it's my money.

Try to earn it in a country filled with armed bandits plotting to take it from you on every street corner, where you need to hack through open countryside to get from one city to another, and where every opportunistic foreign country will try to invade your borders and rape your cattle and steal your women and drink your beer.

Maybe that would be a country where your 2nd Amendment rights would come in especially handy, I'll grant you.

Voyager
09-07-2008, 07:51 PM
Last year the Republicans in the legislature warned that the budget was out of whack. They precisely predicted the mess we're in right now.

Look at this image (http://bp0.blogger.com/_nSTO-vZpSgc/R4lLa3tCUUI/AAAAAAAAB2Q/juXK9KYHWB4/s1600-h/ca-budget-3.png) and tell me if there's a revenue problem or a spending problem.

Revenue flat - revenue problem. The big increase is the proposed budget, which has already been cut.

Thanks to Prop 13, a lot of revenue depends on house sales to reset assessed valuation. This is especially because business property taxes are effectively frozen forever. So the revenue hit is a part of that, but falling housing prices don't mean that schools need any less money.

To be fair, the Republicans have finally released their proposal. It involves cutting financial aid for college, cutting the pay of home health aides back to minimum wage - but it does include more money for prisons. And instead of raising the tax, they plan to borrow the still present shortfall. Now that's fiscal responsibility for you.

Cite (http://www.mercurynews.com/editorials/ci_10366660) - an editorial true, but just pay attention to the factual stuff.

But, to play the role of the average Republican - I'm paying relatively little in real estate taxes, since I've had my home for 12 years, so screw everyone else. Paying my fair share would be so, so Democratic.

It just goes to show that the Republicans don't have the answer either - not having a majority, they can screw the state and remain pure to their no new taxes dogma.

Voyager
09-07-2008, 08:13 PM
"...ludicrously wealthy,"? $600k/yr isn't ludicrously wealthy, unless you compare it to someone making $20k/yr. For someone like me, $600k/yr is something to aspire to, but not ludicrous. Not only that, but since when does the possession of wealth dictate that others have a right to it?

In case you hadn't noticed, we all live under the rule of law. It isn't fair either that I have to be held up by a red light, or not hold a cell phone, or drive somewhere close to 65 mph. Do you think it is any more fair for someone making $50k to pay taxes than someone making $600K? I don't think it is fair at all that my tax money is supporting this law based on a lie (let alone paying Cheney's salary) but that's what the Congress voted.

If you don't like the concept of taxes, you are welcome to move someplace in the wilderness where no one will find you, or arrange to make so little money that you won't have to pay. It is a free country, not counting Gitmo.

Now we've dealt with that, how to allocate taxes? Roughly equal pain seems to be the most reasonable measure. During the bubble I made obscene amounts of money for a few years (not $600K, but pretty darn good) and I assure you I never felt those awful Clinton taxes. Do you think a 20% tax rate hurts someone making a million as much as it hurts someone making $50K. And once you buy progressive taxation, the rest is negotiating.

Warren Buffett is quoted in a letter to the Times Magazine today.

Putting $1,000 in the pockets of 310,000 families with urgent needs is going to provide more stimulus to the economy than putting the same $310 million in my pockets.


How do you expect the economy to grow if the masses of people have no money to buy things? The answer, as we've seen in the past 7 years, is that it doesn't. Not in sustainable ways, anyhow.