Democrats & Liberals Archives

Progressive Patriotism

“Take It Back” is a new book by James Carville and Paul Begala that offers a prescription to Democrats on how to take back the country from the immoral (or phony moral), corrupt, militaristic and selfish Republicans. Theirs is a regressive patriotism that reduces freedoms, restricts choices, hounds dissidents and separates citizen from citizen. Democrats must develop a spine and fight Republicans with a message that demonstrates they are for progressive patriotism: champion freedoms, offer citizen choices, encourage dissident action and work for the common good of all citizens.

The authors do not spare the rod on fellow Democrats. They claim Democratic officeholders do not have a spine:

"Here's what both sides of this false choice [moving to the left or to the middle] get wrong: the problem within the Democratic Party is not ideological, it's anatomical. We lack a backbone. Consider this book as an attempt to a spinal transplant."

I can't argue with that. Democrats are too wishy-washy. They act too often as pseudo-Republicans. It's time to fight back. The authors recommend negative attacks. It's time to fight for what we believe in.

According to the authors, Democrats lost the last presidential election because they did not have a simple message that is easy to understand. We did not have a story. We talked endlessly about issues - all good and wonderful issues - but nobody paid attention because they were not wrapped around a story.

After socking it to them, the authors proceed to show Democrats how to fight back, especially in the major areas where the Republicans won: moral values, national security and taxes.

Moral Values

The Republicans beat us by being against abortion. We should say that we are eager to reduce the number of abortions. We should use Clinton's mantra that they be "safe, legal and rare." Abortions decreased during Clinton's administration by 300,000 per year.

They were also against gay rights. Democrats wanted to allow "gays in the military." We should have and should now dwell on maintaining the civil rights of everyone. We should be in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Civil rights for everyone, including gays, is a moral issue.

Then there is this business about religion. Members of the far right proclaim that God is a Republican. How is it possible to place Republicans and Jesus in the same sentence, when Jesus said:

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

A good Christian helps the poor, not the rich. This is what Democrats do. Helping the poor is a moral value.

The authors point out how hypocritical Republicans are:

"FOX's entertainment division creates highly-profitable sleaze, and FOX's news division creates highly-profitable talk shows on which the hosts decry indecency in the entertainment industry. What a racket."

National Security

Democrats were blasted on national security. They need to reply by being tough on terrorism and by redefining the war on terror. They should call for America to lead the world with

"more focus on intelligence, covert action, stealth, special forces and - yes - allies."

Allies. Allies. Allies. They have helped us tremendously, as this exposition shows:

"It was our allies in Pakistan who arrested Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks; Ramzi Binalshibh, whose help was behind the bombing of the USS Cole; and top al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah. It was our allies in the Philipines and Pakistan who led the arrest of the terrorist Ramzi Yousel. Our allies in France (and yes, they are our allies, despite the claptrap from the Republican right) gave us crucial evidence against the twentieth hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui. Our allies in Germany helped us understand al Qaeda's Hamburg cell, where Mohamed Atta and other terrorists resided. The plain truth is, although America is the most powerful nation in human history, it cannot possibly defeat what some have called 'Islamo fascists who use terror' without the help of allies."

Tax Cuts

Republicans cut taxes and Democrats respond. Democrats should speak of their own approach to taxes. They should make it a moral issue. They should follow the plan of the Center for American Progress (CAP). Among its details 2 points stand out: All forms of income should be taxed the same and Abolish payroll tax. Let's help the poor and not the rich.

Progressive Patriotism

The authors summarize their recommendation under the banner of progressive patriotism. Let's have higher morality by helping the least among us, security by working with allies, taxes favorable to the poor and healthcare for each of us. They point out that 18,000 people die unnecessarily each year because they are uninsured for healthcare.

Under the rubric of progressive patriotism, they ask Democrats to "fumigate" Congress, aggresssively seek campaign finance reform and push for a program for achieving energy independence similar to our moon project.

It appears that Carville and Begala have given us "progressive patriotism" as a terrific name for an overriding story about Democratic goals. We should use "progressive patriotism" and contrast it with the "regressive patriotism" of the Republicans.

Posted by Paul Siegel at January 23, 2006 5:05 PM
Comments
Comment #115926

I saw these attractive guys on meet the press yesterday. Between the two of them, they produce more than a book every year. Most of them are very similar.

They have titles like “Suck it Up”, “Stickin’”, “We’re Right; they’re wrong”, “Had Enough?” and “The Horse You Rode up On”. I am sure you all like the red meat they throw. You are buying all their books. It makes you feel superior. Keep it up. That is what you are good at doing.

Posted by: Jack at January 23, 2006 5:30 PM
Comment #115935

A formula for success? Maybe. If there can be a united effort by all Democrats to get on the bandwagon.

Just a couple of observation from an old libertarian. If you want my vote, here is what I need from you: A pledge to clean up Congress with meaningful ethics reform. Hold both sides accountable for their moral lapses. Stop posturing for the cameras and get to work! Stop pointing fingers and reach out to all segments of society. Stop pandering to interest groups that make the most noise. There is only one aim for government: make the country better and safer. Creating entitlement programs with no limits does neither. Promoting illegal immigration does neither, it only plays into the hands of the other side and hurts the economy.

Stop trying to fix all problems by throwing money at them. Give us a realistic plan for improving education, energy policy, taxes, and removing government from everything that we do.

Show me a plan that will accomplish these purposes and you have a good shot at my vote and the votes of many of us out here who are sick and tired of both parties. I believe the last election went the way it did only because the Republicans gave us a plan. Many of us knew it was not true, but it beat the Democrats crying foul and just saying they were against Republicans.

Return to the Democratic party of Harry Truman. Be willing to stand for something. Let the voters make the choice. If you give us what we need, you have a good chance of winning. If not, they will win again.

Posted by: john Back at January 23, 2006 5:43 PM
Comment #115937

“but nobody paid attention because they were not wrapped around a story”

OR, nobody approved of the liberals message.
Is the answer really to sugar coat your message and hope the people don’t notice? Or is it better to have a message that includes all?

Abortion voters dont change their minds.

Gays in the military is NOT the issue. Gay marriage is.
These amendments passed with ALOT of Dem support. Just saying “Republicans hate gays, vote for us” wont work here.

Tax cuts vary per individual.
Some think govt should take your money tell you how to live and some believe in doing it themselves.
But EVERYBODY loves getting money back.

One thing you did not mention is gun control. IMO, it is a huge mistake if the Dems wish to continue to ignore the 2nd Amendment and these voters. There are millions of votes that deal with this issue alone and having respect for their beliefs could be quite beneficial for the Dems.

If the authors would have also pointed out how hypocritical Democrats are, then I would say this “progressive patriotism” rhetoric may have a chance.

Very interesting article Paul, thanks.
I enjoyed the read.

Posted by: kctim at January 23, 2006 5:47 PM
Comment #115943

OK, I am a Republican, but I have been closely watching this book and such excerpts and interviews as I can. Have not read the entire thing yet, but I have seen enough, I am trying to convince my Party members, this should be required reading.

My point is not to argue any particular position, but some free advice from the other side; this could be the most important book of this election cycle. Positions aside, these are two of the best pros in the business and you ignore them at your peril.

Central to it is the idea that Democrats have to get together and decide to stand FOR something. What the something is is almost less important than being for something. If the Democrat Party sits back and tries to win with little or no platform of issues thinking that the Abramoff revelations will win for you, you will wake up next December asking yourselves “How the heck did this happen?”

It’s easy to get a poll showing voters think Congress is full of rascals and theives, but a curious thing often happens when the focus is narrowed to their district. It seems different when they start thinking about THEIR rascal.

Just one example I heard last week. Nancy Pelosi, speaking at a home district Town Hall meeting; “Next year, we are going to put George Bush up against George Bush. If that doesn’t work, we’ll put him up against Franklin Delano Roosevelt!” (wild applause from the house). Might help to remember, George Bush isn’t running next year, and Franklin is slightly dead.

If the economy is still stable, Iran and Israel avoid going nuclear, and Pelosi’s strategy is what the Party actually runs on, Carville and Begala are right: we’re going to clean your clock again.

Posted by: Jim Ryan at January 23, 2006 5:49 PM
Comment #115953

Republicans and Democrats are two large, evil corporations. Right now one evil corporation is in power over the other, but will not always be such. All i know (and this is backed up daily by the news) is that when you have total control of power (aka a republican everything) there is going to be some gross misuse of power. The same would be true if it were a Democratic house, senate, executive and judiciary. Checks and balances keeps them more “honest” than the current senario. Right now there are no checks, and definately no balance. Its beyond sad.

Republicrooks lie, spin, steal unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes. Honestly, abortion is between the person having one and god (if there is such a thing). The same is true for gay marriage (who really cares if they marry if they love each other? if they are willing to accept an eternal hell for a few years of unequivicol love, who are we to stand it their way? again, this is assuming there is a hell, and that god is not a vindictive prick who preaches forgiveness but doesn’t practice it).

Most liberals are closer to a conservative ideology than conservatives. Protecting the individual from corrupt government, protecting the environment for our children so that huge corporations do not continue to pollute, not allowing the purchase of fully automatic assault rifles, taxing the rich so that the poor aren’t continually given the shit end of the stick. yeah, liberals are really out to make your lifes difficult, aren’t they?

Thank your local liberals, they really are your friends, and if it weren’t for us, this very well could be a monarchy (not the same as a washington monopoly— aka a republican everything) or still under the control of some colonial power.

Posted by: tree hugger at January 23, 2006 6:34 PM
Comment #115971

PoppyCock, Paul. I have yet to see Democrats stand in unison to threaten a filibuster against the bribing of them and theirs by lobbists or special interests, or offer anykind of real corruption reform in Washington DC, even when they were the party in power.

Both parties need a lesson that smarts for decades. That can only come in the form of a dramatic trend in the election polls which unseats incumbents of both parties. Only then, will Congressional politicians carry the mantra forward in their minds: “I work for the voters, I work for the voters, I work for the taxpayers, I work for the taxpayers.”

Lobbyists and special interests aren’t inherently an evil concept to democracy. What is evil, is when politicians count on their money more than on the people’s interests and agenda, and pass legislation that clearly harms the greater public and favors a few wealthy contributors. Can anyone say Medicare Rx Law? How about invading Iraq? Or, can anyone say 8.2 trillion dollars of national debt soon to be over 10 Trillion before Bush leaves office? Where were the “honorable” (choke) Republicans and Democrats when it came to the public’s interest; their lives, their tax dollars, and their retirement years, when these votes in Congress were taken?

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 23, 2006 7:39 PM
Comment #115976

these are interesting comments. I just read Jimmy Carter’s new book about our endangered values and, even though I think he is the best president we have had since Roosevelt, he has something to say for anyone that is worth listening to. He walks his talk, for one thing. And he believes in the separation of church and state and lived that during his presidency. He mentions that he is against abortion—-but who knew?? because it was law, he put aside his personal beliefs and worked hard to make sure healthy birth control and adoption options were clear and understood and available as options. WHO LIKES ABORTIONS?? no one. i worked at a clinic for years and never met one woman who was glad to be there. It is an option—-that is all. a choice among many that women only choose with reluctance and sadness. no one ever wanted or went out happily to have an abortion—-and i think many forget that.
Democrats—-really all of us—-need to start really reflecting upon who we are as a nation and what we stand for and how we want that reflected in our actions and policies.

Do we really value money, control, arrogance, bullying behavior, always getting our way and never working with anyone else over cooperation, a healthy environment, everyone working together, being a beacon for human rights, equality, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, etc? we are the richest nation on earth and just recently i found out that although we go around pledging a lot of money to AIDS, vaccines, etc—-we give less than any other nation on earth.

our country will soon be owned by china and others because of this debt—-where do people think this money that we are borrowing to invade other countries and give more money to the rich and to halliburton and companies who are exacting millions for thier “rebuilding” of Iraq, new orleans, etc is coming from? and WHO IS LOOKING at the bills of these companies??

I realize i am all over the place here, but where are the real leaders of this country? where are the jimmy carters who are not afraid to speak the truth with honesty and humility and not anger and judgement? where are our leaders who send their kids to public school and drive a prius or ride a bike to work?

Posted by: judye at January 23, 2006 7:59 PM
Comment #115978

This is how a liberal might look at taxation.

1. Set a no tax at the poverty level, i.e., if the governemnt establishes that someone lives at or below poverty level at $25,000 per year, no one who earns less would pay any tax, period.

2. No matter how much income a person makes, they would not pay tax on the first $25,000. It makes no difference if earnings are $26,000 or $400,000 the first $25,000 would not be taxed.

3. Earnings from $25,001 to $35,000 would be taxed at 10% of the top $10,000.

4. $35,001 to $45,000 at 10% of the first $10,000 and 20% of the top $10,000.

5. $45.001 to $55,000 at 10% of the first $10.000, 20% of the next $10,000 and 30% of the top $10,000.

6. $55,001 to 65,000 at 10% of the first $10,000, 20% of the next, 30% of the next, and 35% of the top $10,000.

7. Continueing to increase at 5% increments for each income increase of $10,000 to a maximim of 50%, and continueing at 50% from that point up.

8. Allow no fudges or loopholes, no exemptions or deductions. Everyone pays the same at each level.

9. A person having an income of one million dollars ($1,000,000), would pay zero taxes on the first $25,000, 10% on the first $10,000 above that, 20% on the next $10,000, etc., until the 50% maximun was reached and would pay that 50% on the rest of his/her income.

10. No differences would be allowed for types of income, i.e., dividends, interest, realty investment income, inheiritence, wages would all be taxed at the same rates.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 23, 2006 8:01 PM
Comment #115980
Just one example I heard last week. Nancy Pelosi, speaking at a home district Town Hall meeting; “Next year, we are going to put George Bush up against George Bush. If that doesn’t work, we’ll put him up against Franklin Delano Roosevelt!” (wild applause from the house). Might help to remember, George Bush isn’t running next year, and Franklin is slightly dead.

Jim Ryan,

Whenever I hear or see ridiculous rhetoric like this from the Republicans, I go to the source and find out what was actually said and in what context. The Republicans have a habit of taking sound bites of the Democrats out of context and twisting them into something they are not. I rarely ever trust anything said by the right, unless I have reliable knowledge that it’s true. When I think about values in politics, this is what I think of. Can you trust anything that is coming out of this person’s mouth? From my own personal experience, and it is apparent Democrats are no angels, but, I have found that Republicans are far more dishonest than Democrats, far, far more. It doesn’t take too much to figure that out either, if you just go to the source.

I recently posted an article about town hall meetings and I am very familiar with Nancy Pelosi’s. This is a good example of the frustration John Murtha talked about at another town hall meeting. He said, “Every time I make a comment I get rhetoric answers, instead of substantive answers.”

What you quoted was NOT what Pelosi said and it is way out of context, it’s not even close. What she was actually talking about was the heat the Democrats took for not offering a plan on Social Security; you can’t beat something with nothing.

This is what Nancy Pelosi actually said and in it’s real context:

We said yes we can. We can beat George Bush with his own plan, because he wants to privatize social security. In January of last year, 60% of seniors welcomed the President’s new fresh ideas on how to save Social Security. Which was euphonism, of course, for destroy. So Harry Reid and I, working together organized the Democrats, kept them without each of them…we have 250 of them between us, and we would have had 250 plans…and we said we’re going out there and we’re holding George Bush up against himself. And if he wants to be put up against anybody, we’ll put him up against Franklin Delano Roosevelt. (a few claps from the house).

We’ll put him up against Social Security, because his plan can’t compare to Social Security. So look at the results, in that year, going from 60% positive among seniors to 70% negative, at least 70% negative now, and every age group you can measure is against what the President did. If we listened to all the conventional wisdom and secret sauce of people who said you’ve got to have something, we would have been comparing provisions, instead we were just talking about Social Security vs. privatization. Social Security won the day, thanks to the Democrats. (wild applause from the house). We had to go outside of Washington to do it; we had to go outside of Washington to do it. We had 1000 town meetings, and many of you attended some of them here. 1000 town meetings that the press covered and got the visibility, created a drumbeat across America.

Sure we would have liked to have the majority, won the White House and gone in with a positive agenda on jobs and healthcare and education that we could pass. But, we didn’t have the majority, so when they hit, they came after us with their agenda, we defeated it; the primary initiative of the President, privatization of Social Security, thanks to the Democrats in the Congress of the United States.

You can watch it yourself. You can find a link to it in my post “The M-Street Project”.

Nancy makes a good point here. The Republicans are the majority party, and nothing gets out of Congress without their blessing. If they had put forth an alternative plan on Social Security it would have been trashed by the Republicans, with no chance of passing. The best they could do was to kill a bad plan and work on becoming the majority in Congress, were they can then put forth plans that have a chance of passing.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at January 23, 2006 8:08 PM
Comment #115981

Marysdude,

That’s quite in line with what I would have in mind. The exact amounts would vary depending on the level of funding the government really needed (which, if we were to cut out a lot of crap, would be a lot lower than we’re running at now).

Of course, you still have the issue of corporate taxes to consider. When you tax a corporation, the corporation responds by raising prices, lowering wages, and other such things that pass the cost (eventually) on to the citizens. So nobody, even the poor, is really living a tax-free life.

If you remove the corporate taxes, you’ll have to increase the income tax rates to balance things out, but that won’t affect those below poverty (who, in your system, would pay no income tax) except to lower their cost of goods and raise their incomes.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 23, 2006 8:13 PM
Comment #115997

Marysdude: Under your idea, at 70000 a year after 2 years I would be broke or at least hurting enough to curtail my spending to a point where some businesses would notice my loss. multipy that loss by a couple of hundred million and your talking big time recession. Sure the poor would have maby 100 bucks extra but at 25000 a year they dont pay much tax anyway. Your Idea would just take money from the rich and switch it to big government. The poor would not benefit at all. It is common knowledge that the rich create the jobs for the rest of us. Tax them out of existence and you create more poverty then ever, which will put more people on the dole but the government could afford it due to the moneys they would collect from the rich under your tax code. Heck they may even have enough to socialize medicine.

Posted by: commander jc at January 23, 2006 9:18 PM
Comment #116005

commander jc,

So, what do YOU recommend? Do you have an alternative to propose, or have you, like the Democrats, become just another nay-sayer?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 23, 2006 10:07 PM
Comment #116013

Let’s see, at $70,000 per year…

1. You would not pay any tax on the first $25,000

2. You would pay 10% on the first ten above 25,000, or $1,000. Remember that would be $1,000 9n actually the first $35,000 because you did not pay any on the first $25,000.

3. Then you’d pay 20% on the next $10,000. That’s $2,000 added to the other $1,000 for a total of $3,000 on $45,000 of income.

4. Your 30% of the next $10,000 would be $3.000. Now you’ve paid in $6.000 on $55,000 income.

5. At this point it changes to increases of 5% per $10,000. 35% of $10,000 is $3,500. Add that to the $6,000 for a total of $9,500 on $55,000 income.

6. Add another 40% of the last $10,000. Your bill is $13,500 on an income of $65,000. Leaving you $51,500 spendable income.

How would that break you in two years?

7. For those making more than $65,000…they would pay 45% on the next $10,000 taking them to $18,000 out of 75,000 ( $57,000).

8. Max tax is 50% of all income above $85,000.

With no exemptions or deductions, no loopholes or cheatsheets and making no difference what type of income it is. It is simple and fair.

Remember, no matter how smart someone is, no matter how ambitious they are, no matter how hard they work, they are in the position they attain as a matter of luck. Luck at being born. Luck at being born in a given location. Luck at being born to certain parents. Luck at being instilled with certain talents. Luck to be born into a select group, etc. So, if they somehow end up earning more, they should pay more.

That’s one liberal view…

Posted by: Marysdude at January 23, 2006 10:24 PM
Comment #116014

Paul Siegel,

You make some really good points about how the Republicans beat the Democrats.

You only missed one thing.

Generally speaking, there is really no significant difference between Democrats or Republicans.

Not really. They say different things, but they do the same things, for the most part.

BILLs pass all the time that both parties vote for. Not because one party has the majority, but because both parties, for the most part, passed the BILL.

Both parties are irresponsible and unaccountable, both vote on pork-barrel, both get caught with their hands in the cookie jar (and then get a pardon … who says political crime doesn’t pay?), both only pretend to want campaign finance reform, both refuse to tackle tough issues, both are borrowing and spending us into bankruptcy, both refuse to police their own ranks, and both look the other way.

Honestly, I used to participate in the same kind of partisan warfare too, before I removed my partisan blinders. Now, it’s all too clear that both main parties are just takin’ turns gettin’ theirs, peddlin’ influence, fillin’ their pockets, votin’ themselves superior retirement benefits (not part of the mismanaged Social Security and Medicare system the rest of us are relegated to), votin’ them selves raises and cu$hy perks, and using and abusing the tax-payers, all while our troops risk life and limb. Yes, I’m ashamed to admit that I too fell for the circular pattern of distracting partisan warfare, and empowered irresponsible politicians to use and abuse Americans.

But not any more, and I hope that some of tiny bit of the above resonates with you and others, because unless enough of us catch on to the way both main parties are just takin’ turns, the decline and decay of this nation will continue.

It seems quite likely that Republicans have shot themselves in the foot (big-time), and are likely to lose their majority, but I don’t see the rise of the Democratic party as any real improvement. It will simply be more of the status quo, corruption, the national debt, and the government will continue to grow to nightmare proportions (notice that the debt now in 1950 dollars is about quadruple what it was in 1950 (i.e. the debt in 1950 in 2005 dollars is one fourth of what it is now).

Posted by: d.a.n at January 23, 2006 10:28 PM
Comment #116015

By the way…these figures are thrown out there as a suggested starting point. I don’t know what the current poverty level is, but I think the only adjustment to a program like this one would be to each year set the level of no tax to that poverty level.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 23, 2006 10:29 PM
Comment #116020

By the way…these figures are thrown out there as a suggested starting point. I don’t know what the current poverty level is, but I think the only adjustment to a program like this one would be to each year set the level of no tax to that poverty level.

=====

If democrats make that their one campaign stance, that is a guaranteed election in 2008.

Posted by: tree hugger at January 23, 2006 10:44 PM
Comment #116027

Regarding taxes, the biggest problem with any tax system is going to be the funding of Social Security and Medicare, since both systems have already been plundered.

Unfortunately, we can’t suddenly declare Social Security and Medicare bankrupt (even though they are), and tell everyone who has paid into it during the last 55 years to suck it up and forget it.

But, taxes could be reasonable if only government didn’t waste so much. In 2003, the federal government couldn’t account for 24.5 billion in spending. They know it got spent, they just don’t know how or by who. Then, there is all the pork-barrel, graft, and corporate welfare. Tax payers shouldn’t be getting that bill. If the U.S. GDP is about 11.5 trillion, and the U.S. federal tax revenues are about 2.2 trillion (about 19%), and assuming the U.S. federal government can cut spending 9%, the federal government should be able to get by on 1.96 trillion. Thus, a 17% flat income tax rate (with all deductions and loop holes eliminated, and a low-income-level threshhold) could raise the 1.96 trillion needed. Government is much too big, and needs to be trimmed down significantly.

Posted by: d.a.n at January 23, 2006 11:09 PM
Comment #116040

Republicans lower taxes, right? Sure they do, we’ve seen it happen over the last 5 years, even while we are at war. Everyone cheer! The Republicans have bought my vote! Who would vote for one of those immoral Democrats, who only want to raise our taxes?

This is the logic of the average Neo-con, but the truth is, it is Bush and the Republican Party who will be responsible for future tax increases. We all want a tax cut, and it is great when we get one, but simple mathematics dictates that we cannot spend more than we take in indefinitely, without raising revenue. What do you Republicans think? That your Fairy Godmother will fly in with her two right wings and make all things better with with her magic wand? At some point taxes will have to be raised, it is inevitable, and which ever party is in power at that time will be branded, even though the tax increases were necessary because of past irresponsibility.

Now, I know some will say, well Clinton had billions of our money in surplus, and he didn’t want to give it back. True, he wanted to put it in Social Security. You know, that little gov’t program that Bush found WMDs in?

Sorry for the rant, but I get so sick of hearing people say that the Republicans are for lower taxes. That only works if you are also for lower spending.

d.a.n,

I agree, of course, about government waste. The military can’t account for a butt load of money. I have heard the amount unaccounted for is in the trillions, while some in Congress say it is billions. Either way, how do you lose even a million dollars, much less a billion, or a trillion? Most of us would probably be fired if we lost even a few hundred or less. But, if you work for the government, people just keep on letting their money be taken by the crooks, to pocket or lose or use as toilet paper. (Who knows?)

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at January 23, 2006 11:52 PM
Comment #116043

My family was Democrat for generations,but since JFK was assinated I and my Father have seen this country change into something we cannot live with,so we are not Democrats and will not be again unless they go back to upholding the Constitution as it is written and give the States back the rights granted them in the Constitution and limit the Federal role to what the Constitution grants which is maintaining a military to protect us.Civil rights are states rights not Federal rights.Under Democratic control we have Federally controlled schools which are worse now,and a Christians right to pray anywhere he or she wants which is part of practicing that religion is forbidden if you are a government employee.They cannot read or study the Bible on school grounds,but,if they are any other religion they are protected.Under Federal control the Theory of Evolution is taught as fact because it not a religion,but,it is not provable and by definition can not be taught as fact.Since it cannot be proven you have to accept it on FAITH and that makes it a RELIGION,a HUMAN RELIGION,or I should say a GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHED RELIGION,and that is a no no.” Congress shall not legislate to establish a religion or inhibit the free exercise therof”.I don’t believe that the framers idea of free press was printing fiction (false stories) as fact or printing what amounts to sedition.By the way,I’m not a Republican either and they are wrong about many things.I am a American,the kind George Washington advised us to be in his farewell speech warning us not to adopt a two party system because it would divide us.We have more than 2 parties and some have good ideas and some don’t,but,they may be in the majority someday just as the Republicans are now,because they represent the MAJORITY as the Democrats used to,but now DON’T.The Democrats leaders are going in a direction the people don’t want to go.When they represent what the people want,for real,they will again be the MAJORITY.I’m not a Republican,but,right now I’m supporting the Republican President bcause he is representing me.When he stops,so will I.

Posted by: RDAVIDC at January 24, 2006 12:04 AM
Comment #116047

So the Republicans are the ONLY ones that are taking are freedom away? I’ve got news for yaall.
The Democrats are just as guilty if not more so.
1.Gun conrtol
2.Political correctness.
3.Banning any mention of God in schools.
4.Grabing private land so it cann’t be mined.
5.Seatbelt laws.
6.Motorcycle helment laws.
7.Bicycle helment laws.
8.Manditory auto insurance.
9.Affirmitive action.
All these either are supported by or were put into place by Democrats. Everyone of them takes freedoms away from the people. And I’m not claiming that the Republicans are innocent of trying to take our freedom away from us either.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 24, 2006 12:40 AM
Comment #116049

Marysdude
Without resorting to the wornout phrases like “They can afford too” or “They shoulld pay more because they earn more” can you explian why anyone should pay 50% of their income in taxes?

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 24, 2006 12:46 AM
Comment #116052

RDAVIDC,

You talk about going back to upholding the Constitution as it is written and give the States back the rights granted them in the Constitution and limit the Federal role to what the Constitution grants which is maintaining a military to protect us. I agree the states must be given the power back that is given by the Constitution. But I really don’t think a party that defends a President who is usurping power that the Constitution does not grant, has no respect for the 4th amendment, and is trying to write discrimination into it, is the party I want in power to restore the Constitution.

It is also funny, that the Republicans control all branches of government, yet they have done very little to give power back to the states. In fact they are trying to take more away with their marriage inequality amendment.

The Constitution is about more than just the Military. Read the whole thing and the Amendments.

Civil rights are states rights not Federal rights.

You seem to know about as much as the Republican Party when it comes to the Constitution. Civil rights are a Federal right. Article IV, Section. 2:

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

See also, the 13th and 14th Amendments.

Under Democratic control we have Federally controlled schools which are worse now

I’ll give you that the public schools are a disaster today, but I don’t see our Republican controlled government doing much about it.

and a Christians right to pray anywhere he or she wants which is part of practicing that religion is forbidden if you are a government employee. They cannot read or study the Bible on school grounds,but,if they are any other religion they are protected.

Since when? I’ll pray whenever I damn well please, and if the gov’t wants to stop me, then I’ll see them at the SCOTUS. The SCOTUS has ruled that religion cannot be taught, and that religious symbols may not be placed on public property by a government entity, but I have never heard that practicing your religion is forbidden. Can you cite the Case Law?

Under Federal control the Theory of Evolution is taught as fact because it not a religion,but,it is not provable and by definition can not be taught as fact.Since it cannot be proven you have to accept it on FAITH and that makes it a RELIGION,a HUMAN RELIGION,or I should say a GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHED RELIGION,and that is a no no.”

A scientific theory is a religion? Someone call the schools and have them remove theory from the scientific method! Evolution is a testable theory, religion is not. Evolution testing is constantly taking place today. Not because scientists are trying to disprove God, but because knowing how and why thinks work can improve or save our lives. We know that evolution does happen, that has been proven in simpler life forms. If you get a flu shot, you have to get one every year. Why? Because it evolves. You know that avian flu everyone is so worried about? It may evolve to a point that it will pass from one human to another and cause a pandemic. Don’t you think it is important that we know how it does this and how best to stop it? And if people have been saved because we know how evolution works in microorganisms, how many more can we save if we understood the process in higher life forms?

There is an important difference between scientific theory and religious theory. Science seeks out the how, and does not concern itself with the who. Religion seeks out the who, and doesn’t concern itself with the how.

I don’t believe that the framers idea of free press was printing fiction (false stories) as fact or printing what amounts to sedition.

Who decides what is fact and what is fiction? And who decides which may be published where, if at all? What you’re advocating is very dangerous.

I’m supporting the Republican President because he is representing me.When he stops,so will I.

For me this Republican President only represented me for a very short time, and stopped years ago. About the only thing he has really represented me on was his initial reaction to 9/11 and the war against OBL and al-Queda. That stopped when he ended that war and instead pursued the war in Iraq for whatever the latest reason is. This President and this Republican controlled Congress have no interest in upholding the U.S. Constitution.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at January 24, 2006 1:32 AM
Comment #116055

1.Gun conrtol

    The 2nd amendment:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Notice the words ‘well regulated’? Gun control does not infringe on anyones rights to keep and bear arms, but regulates it.

2.Political correctness.

    When did political incorrectness become a crime?

3.Banning any mention of God in schools.
    By the school? Yes. In the school? I think you better call 1-800-Call-Sam!

4.Grabing private land so it cann’t be mined.
    I’m not sure what you’re refering to here. Who took over private land to stop a mine? Was the land stolen, or were the owners given just compensation as the 5th amendment requires?

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at January 24, 2006 2:04 AM
Comment #116072

But no Democrat has any new ideas:

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/10857677/site/newsweek/?rf=snwnewsletter

What fault can anyone find with Biden? He’s sometimes too longwinded? He overstated his involvement in creating “Megan’s Law”?

Joe Biden’s as true blue as you can get. He’s American first and Democrat second. He knows personal loss. He’s a thoughtful man.

No “flip-flop” crap with Biden. In my opinion he could be the Truman of this century.

But, I’m just a crazy Democrat.
KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at January 24, 2006 3:11 AM
Comment #116104

>>can you explian why anyone should pay 50% of their income in taxes?

ron,

Because they could just as easily have been born without the ambition or skills or parents that allowed their accumulation of wealth.

Remember, no matter how smart someone is, no matter how ambitious they are, no matter how hard they work, they are in the position they attain as a matter of luck. Luck at being born. Luck at being born in a given location. Luck at being born to certain parents. Luck at being instilled with certain talents. Luck to be born into a select group, etc. So, if they somehow end up earning more, they should pay more.

And, the reason they should pay more, is because the less fortunate can’t.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 24, 2006 6:05 AM
Comment #116133

Ron Brown,

Without resorting to the wornout phrases like “They can afford too” or “They shoulld pay more because they earn more” can you explian why anyone should pay 50% of their income in taxes?

First, under Marysdude’s program, NOBODY would be paying 50% of their income in taxes. The wealthy would have PART of their income taxed at 50%, and other parts taxed at a lesser rate. The total, even for the wealthiest American, would still be less than 50% (although in some cases trivially so).

Second, and more importantly… Why should ANYONE have to pay ANY taxes? Because the government can’t run without funding. In order to run the government, we have to tax SOMEBODY. Progressive tax logic is simply to place the burden on those who would feel it the least.

What do you, Ron Brown, propose as an alternative to Marysdude’s plan?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 8:02 AM
Comment #116146

“Remember, no matter how smart someone is, no matter how ambitious they are, no matter how hard they work, they are in the position they attain as a matter of luck. Luck at being born. Luck at being born in a given location. Luck at being born to certain parents. Luck at being instilled with certain talents. Luck to be born into a select group, etc. So, if they somehow end up earning more, they should pay more.”
—————————————————————————

Marysdude, you can’t be serious. Do you mean to say that anything any individual does or gains in this world is a matter of sheer probability? In your argument, the work ethic, morals, values, ideology that a person holds in society in order to become a productive citizen and show ambition to not be one of the “poor” and live a comfortable lifestyle is nothing more than a roll of the dice. How can you possibly think that?

Your argument refutes any notion of free choice in society and social standing. So the “poor” parents of a “poor” child don’t really choose for themselves to push their kid to get good grades in school so they can get an education and a good job, it is just dust in the wind that decides this? Or even Bill Gates…it is pure probability that he chose to quit college and start Microsoft, it was not his intuition or his drive to succeed?

I have to argue that we have total control over our talents and our mental capacity to acheive whatever we choose to acheive. After all, I would like to think that I had something to do with determining where i am in life.

Posted by: Greg the Underwriter at January 24, 2006 9:00 AM
Comment #116149

I thought forcing your beliefs and morales onto another was wrong?

Posted by: kctim at January 24, 2006 9:16 AM
Comment #116154

Greg the Underwriter,

I think the truth is somewhere between your stance and Marysdude’s. Yes, our choices do a lot to determine where we end up in life, but consider this: For every millionaire you show me who started life in poverty, I can show you 100 who started life in the upper class. Yes, Bill Gates became the world’s richest man through his own intuition and drive, but he was born into a wealthy family to begin with.

Statistics show that people born into poverty are likely to stay there, and people born into wealth are likely to stay there, too. Class mobility is possible in our society, but not likely for most, and it’s as dependent upon luck and connections as it is on any personal quality you might possess.

People shouldn’t be punished for being successful, but Marysdude’s plan doesn’t do that. Nobody would find an increase in income leading to a decrease in take-home pay. Moving into a new “tax bracket” wouldn’t change the way your old income is taxed — it would just change the taxes for your new income.

As I have asked others, I will now ask you. What do you, Greg the Underwriter, propose as an alternative to Marysdude’s plan?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 9:35 AM
Comment #116158

>>I have to argue that we have total control over our talents and our mental capacity to acheive whatever we choose to acheive.

greg,

And luckily, you may be right.

All seriousness aside, let’s look at this from your point of view…I was born with less thinking capacity than you were. That means that you will succeed in areas that I will likely fail.
Since I was born with less ambition than you, which should lead to your economic success while mine will likely be less successful. What determined your mental capacity and ambition?

I may have the same mental capacity and the same ambition, but less talent or charisma. What determines the difference?

But, enough of that, let’s get to the main points…

1. We need taxes in order to survive.

2. Although we can never trust those in charge of our tax money to always do the right thing, it does not exorcise the requirement.

3. Since I have less brain capacity than you, less ambition than you, less talent than you and am not as charismattic as you, and you become a millionaire while I suffer the indignities of poordom, which of us can afford to sustain our tax needs better, you or I?

It’s the luck of the draw…you are lucky enough to pay the most because you are lucky enough to have these powers. It’s okay though. I’ll still mow your yard, and won’t hold it against you. And, since my mowing is a service to lucky you, you should pay more taxes gladly.

I love nature in balance…

Posted by: Marysdude at January 24, 2006 9:46 AM
Comment #116165

>>People shouldn’t be punished for being successful, but Marysdude’s plan doesn’t do that. Nobody would find an increase in income leading to a decrease in take-home pay. Moving into a new “tax bracket” wouldn’t change the way your old income is taxed — it would just change the taxes for your new income.

rob,

How come you see this while greg the underwriter doesn’t? You’ve both probably had the same chances in life, you both may be evenly intelligent, and both of you can obviously read on a high enough level. Could the difference be preconcieved notions? Or maybe just luck?

I’ll never tell…

Posted by: Marysdude at January 24, 2006 10:01 AM
Comment #116170

Rob,

I’ve heard talk here and there about a strict consumption tax, and that would be my alternative proposal. I have not worked out the numbers or the strict details, but generally this is how it would work:
Abolish the personal progressive income tax as we know it. Basically impose a “sales tax” on discretionary goods and services, and exclude food, clothing, education, basic health care costs and anything else considered “necessary” for basic living expenses. That way, the “poor”(or anyone else for that matter) don’t get whacked with any tax while obtaining the necessities for sustaining life. Anything above and beyond will be taxed at whatever percentage (i am not an expert on this, so i am not sure what the amount would be…but probably no more than 5-6%, maybe less).

Everyone wins. The “poor” hold no tax burden, the “rich” get taxed for all of the toys they buy and the vacations they take and everything else the “rich” spend money on. All of the personal tax loopholes are gone, no deductions or credits to shelter money behind. I would assume that a few percentage points on domestic consumption (excluding food, clothing, etc) will generate more revenue than a tax on income, which would create a surplus, and with the right controls (that do not exist with the idiots in DC now) we could use the surplus to pay down the national debt.

I am sure someone has crunched the numbers for a similar plan, so i can’t attest to the fine details of it. I know i am a dreamer thinking that i will actually see something like this in my lifetime, but its what i would propose.

Marysdude,

“How come you see this while greg the underwriter doesn’t? You’ve both probably had the same chances in life, you both may be evenly intelligent, and both of you can obviously read on a high enough level. Could the difference be preconcieved notions? Or maybe just luck?”
———————————————————————-
The difference is exactly what is debated here on Watchbolg and everywhere else in politics- Ideology. Preconceived notions are a product of ideology, and ideology can be a product of life experience. If you want label each individual’s unique life experience as a product of “luck”, then that is your choice to do so.

Posted by: Greg the Underwriter at January 24, 2006 10:15 AM
Comment #116176

dude
So why should I, somebody unlucky, even work at all?
Its not my fault that I dont want to work. Those who work should take care of me and let me enjoy life with no worries whatsoever.

Posted by: kctim at January 24, 2006 10:25 AM
Comment #116178

Marysdude,

I think there is a problem with preconceived notions on both sides. Democrats assume that someone has to have high taxes, and so assign those to the rich. Republicans assume that taxes don’t have to be high if we cut spending, so try to balance a low tax rate for everyone.

The Republican plan would work, if they could manage to cut spending in the process. Unfortunately, even with all three Houses theirs, they’re still spending like drunken Kennedys.

My thought is that things should go in this order:
(1) balance the budget (by whatever means necessary — raising taxes, cutting programs, etc.);
(2) cut spending where appropriate;
(3) THEN lower taxes as cost savings allow.

Democrats prefer:
(1) balance the budget (by raising taxes);
(2) increase spending;
(3) raise taxes again.

Republicans prefer:
(1) lower taxes;
(2) borrow money from our grandchildren to compensate;
(3) repeat until federal programs go bankrupt.

Of course, this is a critique of the two parties at a National level. Many local-area parties are doing a very good job at fiscal responsibility. Unfortunately, Washington’s forgotten the meaning of the term.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 10:27 AM
Comment #116181

>>Preconceived notions are a product of ideology, and ideology can be a product of life experience.>>Preconceived notions are a product of ideology, and ideology can be a product of life experience.

greg,

And, luckily your preconceived notions were formulated in an atmosphere that allowed or encouraged such an ideology.

Your tax suggestion is as reasonable as mine, and might work better, but it does leave the lower middle class closer to the poverty line. A national sales tax, which your proposal is, has been approached from several angles over the years and has been rejected each time. That does not make it wrong, as rejection can be caused by subjective decision makers, but mine may deserve a day in court as well.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 24, 2006 10:30 AM
Comment #116184

>>So why should I, somebody unlucky, even work at all?
Its not my fault that I dont want to work. Those who work should take care of me and let me enjoy life with no worries whatsoever.

kc,

I don’t know…why should you?

But, I’m not sure that has anything to do with my tax proposal.

If, as untalented as you are, you don’t achieve poverty level, you won’t pay any taxes, and if you wish to live below poverty level, nothing I suggest will change your mind. You were unlucky enough to be born with less education/ambition/talent/charisma, etc., than most.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 24, 2006 10:38 AM
Comment #116186

Greg the Underwriter,

It sounds like you’re describing the Fair Tax system. The only real difference is that, instead of exempting things like food and clothing, the tax is on everything, but there’s a monthly “refund”, to everyone, of the amount of taxes that would be payed by those at the poverty line. So those below the poverty line actually get back more than they pay in their refund, while the wealthy, who get the exact same refund, would barely notice it.

There are a few issues (I won’t necessarily call them “problems”) with this system, though:

(1) Once you get past the poverty line, everyone pays the same tax rate, which increases the burden on the middle class while reducing the burden for the wealthy;

(2) To break even with today’s system, it would require a sales tax of 30% of pre-tax price (or 23% of post-tax price);

(3) A great deal of income that is taxed today isn’t spent right away, if ever. Consider Bill Gates, for example. He’s worth many billons of dollars (over $40 billion, last I checked). Most of that is in stocks and other investments that wouldn’t be taxed as “consumption”. Which means that it would never be taxed in his lifetime (unless he spent himself dry) under a consumption tax system.

There’s one other issue with the Fair Tax system, but one that I think needs to be addressed anyway — Corporate Taxes. The Fair Tax would completely remove all Corporate taxes. While at first this seems like a really bad idea, it grows on you when you think about it. Whenever you tax a corporation, it compensates by increasing the price of its goods, and decreasing the compensation of its workers. (Because you KNOW the execs aren’t going to eat the cost!) So all these taxes hit the end user eventually anyway — even the poor, who still have to pay the elevated cost of goods that these taxes create.

In the long run, it would benefit the poor and middle class to replace corporate taxes with a progressive tax, but it’s a hard sell to those who prefer the illusion of making the evil corporations pay for everything.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 10:49 AM
Comment #116188

According to your tax proposal, I don’t need to work. The govt will take the money from those who do work and give it to me.
I could work 40 hours a week and make 20 grand or so a year OR I could not work, play all day and let the govt pay for my food and rent.

“nothing I suggest will change your mind”

You are wrong.
Tell me the govt wont steal the money I work for and that I am responsible for my own life and I will get a job and contribute to society.

Posted by: kctim at January 24, 2006 10:51 AM
Comment #116191

kctim,

So why should I, somebody unlucky, even work at all? Its not my fault that I dont want to work. Those who work should take care of me and let me enjoy life with no worries whatsoever.

There are going to be people in the country who have this opinion, and choose this route, no matter what system of taxation you use.

My point is that the poor, whether by birth or by choice, cannot be relied upon to shoulder the tax burden. I’m not as apologetic as Marysdude; I’m a bit more realistic. I don’t believe that someone was “unlucky” enough to have been born an asshole, but at the same time I’m not going to bet my future on whether or not that asshole is willing to go to work.

I think you’re confusing taxes with social programs. So far, we haven’t mentioned anything about the rich taking care of the poor. This tax system would make sense no matter how many (or how few) social programs are in place.

Tell me the govt wont steal the money I work for and that I am responsible for my own life and I will get a job and contribute to society.

So are you suggesting we run a government with no taxes?!?! Or do you just want one that won’t tax YOU?

Really, kctim, what tax solution do YOU propose?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 11:02 AM
Comment #116192

“The Republican plan would work, if they could manage to cut spending in the process. Unfortunately, even with all three Houses theirs, they’re still spending like drunken Kennedys.”
—————————————————————————
Rob, you hit it on the head. This is exactly why fiscal conservatives (on the Republican side especially) are pissed off. I can only speak for myself, but show me a candidate that can make good on his/her promise to cut spending, balance the budget and plan to pay down the debt, and i will show that candidate my vote, regardless of party.

Marysdude,

Your proposal is reasonable considering it is a simplified and reformed model of the progressive income tax system we have now. Realistically, your system (or some close variation of it) would be much more likely to come to fruition than a consumption tax.


Posted by: Greg the Underwriter at January 24, 2006 11:03 AM
Comment #116194

Personally, I’m less concerned with high-tax/high-spending vs. low-tax/low-spending as I am with matching the spending to the taxes. Balancing the budget should be the first priority. Then, if you want to increase programs, increase taxes accordingly. If you want to decrease programs, decrease taxes accordingly.

Either party could get my vote if they made Balancing the Budget their #1 financial priority.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 11:09 AM
Comment #116198
One thing you did not mention is gun control.

kctim, gun control is a dead issue with Democrats. Nobody’s talking about gun control any more. The DNC chairman and Senate minority leader are both staunch firearms advocates. To the new crop of Democrats, gun control is hitting what you aim at.

We’re still going to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and insane people, but nobody is going to deprive Americans of their right to own a gun.

The fact that you don’t know that is testament to the difficulty Democrats have in getting their message across to the voters.

I am sure you all like the red meat they throw.

Jack, it’s obvious you’ve never read any of those books. Begala and Carville present Democratic ideals is a common sense and rational manner. There’s no ranting.

I re-read Carville’s “Had Enough” every six months or so because I really like the Democrat’s solutions to American issues.

Excellent article, Paul. I’m going to pick up the book as soon as it arrives on the slow boat to Singapore.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 24, 2006 11:14 AM
Comment #116201

RC
Without socialist programs, the need for taxes would drop, bigtime.
We then could use taxes for their intended purposes.

My tax solution?
Everybody is taxed the exact same percentage and taxes are only used for running the respected govts.

Posted by: kctim at January 24, 2006 11:25 AM
Comment #116203

AP
“The fact that you don’t know that is testament to the difficulty Democrats have in getting their message across to the voters”

That doesn’t sound like a dead issue then. It sounds like its still a problem.
Ignore the issue because its difficult or try harder to get your message out?
MILLIONS of votes AP and most believe as I do.
Convince us and getting elected will be just that much easier.

Posted by: kctim at January 24, 2006 11:34 AM
Comment #116205

>>Everybody is taxed the exact same percentage and taxes are only used for running the respected govts.

kc,

So, if we are at war and taxation requirements are 35%, the guy making 25,000 will be paying 8,750 in taxes, leaving him trying to exist on 16,250. The millionaire will have to make due with a paltry 750,000.

The first guy is at that income level because his IQ is 85, and the millionaire is where he is because papa left it to him…well that’s fair.One guy flies to Paris and the other starves to death. Oh, well! Poor sap, he deserved it.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 24, 2006 11:40 AM
Comment #116206

kctim,

So you don’t mind if the government “steals” the money you work for, as long as they “steal” from everyone equally?

I agree that the need for taxes could be dropped dramatically if we cut spending. I would also recommend returning to the States those things that have not been given to Congress by the Constitution.

However, I don’t agree that a flat tax is the answer. The burden on those already below the poverty line would be too great, and it would effectively move the poverty line UP by whatever amount the tax was. And, since you would pair it with cutting social programs, it would discourage social mobility, keeping poor people poor and rich people rich.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 11:42 AM
Comment #116210

Why not tell it in a fair manner based in reality dude?
The guy making $25,000 will be paying $8750 in taxes.
The guy making $1 million will be paying $250,000 in taxes.

What right do you have to tell another person how to use his money?
Why should he be forced to support what YOU believe is the right thing to do?
I thought forcing ones beliefs onto another was wrong?

Get rid of nanny programs that create dependency and taxation requirements will drop.

Posted by: kctim at January 24, 2006 11:49 AM
Comment #116211

Marysdude,

Unfortunately, kctim’s proposal IS fair. The system you and I are proposing, instead of being a “fair” one, is a merciful one.

You see, I’m a Christian. I believe that Someone who never did anything wrong died for my sins a long time ago. When I consider that He suffered for what I have done, I’m quite thankful that the world is not “fair”, and am willing to work to make it less “fair” every day!

That’s why I support a progressive tax. Because the poor shouldn’t be asked to shoulder their “fair share” of the burden. There are those of us who are stronger who should shoulder that burden for them.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 11:49 AM
Comment #116214

Marysdude,

Unfortunately, kctim’s proposal IS fair. The system you and I are proposing, instead of being a “fair” one, is a merciful one.

You see, I’m a Christian. I believe that Someone who never did anything wrong died for my sins a long time ago. When I consider that He suffered for what I have done, I’m quite thankful that the world is not “fair”, and am willing to work to make it less “fair” every day!

That’s why I support a progressive tax. Because the poor shouldn’t be asked to shoulder their “fair share” of the burden. There are those of us who are stronger who should shoulder that burden for them.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 11:50 AM
Comment #116216

kctim,

What right do you have to tell another person how to use his money?

Then why force people to pay taxes at all? What right do we have to do that?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 11:52 AM
Comment #116223

RC
We are now a dependent people. I know a tax system, “fair to all,” would take time.
I also am aware that some people really do need help.
Cutting “nanny” programs will put more money into the peoples hands and will give the people the choice on how to live their own lives.
Instead of voting for the party who promises me more govt money, I could then vote for the person who does the best job in dealing with govt matters like crime, diplomacy and the budget.

People should be able to control their own lives and the route they take should be left to them alone.

Posted by: kctim at January 24, 2006 12:04 PM
Comment #116233
MILLIONS of votes AP and most believe as I do.

Duh. I’m one of ‘em, kctim. If the Democratic Party was trying to take away my gun, I wouldn’t be a Democrat.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 24, 2006 12:21 PM
Comment #116239

I caught those two on Meet the Press (with Mary in the middle) and wondered what this column would think about Bagala calling Zell Miller his “mentor”. As I recall old Zell had some pretty strong medicine for the party about a year ago.

You can’t moderate progressives; you guys know this. The best thing is to let the Democratic Party complete the transformation from a big tent to the progressive liberal agenda and hope a third party can rally around some charismatic national figure. Hec Perot was a wacko and he got almost 20%!


Posted by: George in SC at January 24, 2006 12:34 PM
Comment #116246

RC
To pay for expenses needed to run govt, not for govt to run “the people.”

Mercy is a personal decision.

EVERY American should gladly accept doing their “fair share.”

AP
Ok, duh, so I’m a dunce.
That still does nothing to convince millions of voters to vote for your party.

Posted by: kctim at January 24, 2006 12:47 PM
Comment #116249

What do you, Ron Brown, propose as an alternative to Marysdude’s plan?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 08:02 AM

Flat rate no deductions. Everybody, even the welfare bums, pays the same rate.
Let’s use 10% just to keep it simple. Someone making $10,000 would pay $1,000. Someone making $100,000 would pay $10,000. While someone making $1,000,000 would pay $100,000.
Any other type of tax scale is punitive and the only reason for having it is to punish sucess.


8. Max tax is 50% of all income above $85,000.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 23, 2006 10:24 PM

Looks to me like Marysdude’s plan calls for a 50% tax Rob.

Marysdude,
Comeon, your trying to say that luck is the only reason someone makes a lot of money? Give me a break. I’ve made a fair share of money over the last 19 years. NONE OF IT WAS LUCK. It took hard work.
Just because someone is willing to work for what they get is no reason to punish them through higher taxes. If fact maybe we ought to punish those that don’t want to work and live on our tax dollars through high taxes. Maybe they’ll get off their lazy asses and get a job.
I’m not against helping those that really need help. But when you have folks living on our tax dollars that are 5th & 6th generation welfare, it’s time to make them get a job.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 24, 2006 12:50 PM
Comment #116284

Ron Brown,

Looks to me like Marysdude’s plan calls for a 50% tax Rob.

Marysdude’s plan calls for a 50% tax of everything over $85,000. So, if you make billions of dollars in one year, you’re still not paying 50% of the part under $85,000, and you’re paying NOTHING on the first $25,000. So your total taxes paid would NEVER be 50% of your total income, no matter how much you made.

You might want to reread Marysdude’s plan again, as you obviously misunderstood it the first time.

Any other type of tax scale is punitive and the only reason for having it is to punish sucess.

So giving to the poor is bad, unless you also give the same amount to the rich? Are churches that feed the hungry “punishing success” by not feeding the millionaires, too?

I don’t get your logic here. Everyone is being treated equally under Marysdude’s plan. Just because your 1st dollar made is taxed differently than your 1 millionth dollar doesn’t mean that you’re being punished in any way.

By your logic, a flat percentage tax is punative as well, as rich people would have to pay more money than poor people. The only “fair” tax, under this logic, would be one that assigned the same dollar amount of taxes to everyone.

I’m not against helping those that really need help. But when you have folks living on our tax dollars that are 5th & 6th generation welfare, it’s time to make them get a job.

Here’s where the Democrats and Republicans seem to differ the most. Democrats assume that all poor people are poor because the Man keeps them down, while Republicans assume that all poor people are poor because they’re lazy bums. The truth is that there is a good mixture of both. The hard part is trying to sort them out systematically.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 1:34 PM
Comment #116285

Ron:

I’m in favor of a flat tax, but I’d modify it slightly at the top and at the bottom. Using your 10% taxation rate, the $1000 coming out of the person making $10,000 has a far greater impact than the $100,000 coming out of the person making $1 million.

I’d do something on the order of not taxing the first portion of anyone’s income (the portion could be between $10-25,000, as I see it). This way, those really making small dollars wouldn’g pay out. Or I’d tax them something, but a smaller percentage.

At the high end of the income scale, I’d hit them a little heavier. So my flat tax would really be a bit like a bell curve, with roughly 80% in the middle, and 10% on each edge getting a different tax. Get rid of the loopholes, the deductions and all that crap, and you’d need fewer people to monitor taxes, which would save money as well.

Of course, accountants, CPA’s and tax attorneys wouldn’t be too thrilled, nor H&R Block or TurboTax. But hey, it would work better, wouldn’t it?

Posted by: joebagodonuts at January 24, 2006 1:40 PM
Comment #116290

joebagodonuts,

So your tax plan differs from Marysdude’s mainly on the level of “flatness” of the plan. Yours just has fewer steps in it. Fair enough.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 2:03 PM
Comment #116291

Ron

“Comeon, your trying to say that luck is the only reason someone makes a lot of money? Give me a break”

Not the only reason, but it is certainly the primary reason that effects every other factor in one’s life. Think about your own situation-I’m sure you’d like to believe that you got where you are exclusively on work ethic alone but Im sure it’s not true. Sure, there will always be lazy people who don’t want to work, but I personally doubt that this is the norm for the majority of the impoverished in this country. The more of their money they can keep, the greater chance for them to improve their situations or at least the more goods and services they could consume.
I know that alot of people-mostly Repubs-would have a problem with the Marysdude tax plan based on her reasoning and that’s fine. It seems to me that “dude” and Rob make no bones about the fact that their ideas are based on compassion rather than “fairness” as a flat tax would propose. Sounds good to me.

Posted by: J.D. at January 24, 2006 2:07 PM
Comment #116292

Another difference Ron.
Reps want the choice to give to the poor, Liberals want the govt to do it for them.

I also would like your input on this:
It is your belief that govt should force people to take care of the poor because YOU believe that is whats right. Why is it ok for the govt to force me to accept and support YOUR beliefs?
I do not expect govt to enforce MY beliefs onto you by asking it to force you to NOT give aid to the poor.
Shouldn’t our beliefs be a personal thing? One that we support by doing what we think is right and hope that others follow? Or do we have govt impose our personal beliefs onto others?

Charity is best left to the individual, not the govt.

Posted by: kctim at January 24, 2006 2:08 PM
Comment #116294

Marysdude
Forgive me for saying so, but your writings sound llike the ravings of a small child: “it’s not fair”. It’s not fair that some people work harder than others; it’s not fair that some people have a vision and the courage to pursue it; it’s not fair,not fair, not fair!
What is not fair is a tax system that penalizes hard work and the accumulation of wealth. What is fair is a tax system that takes an equal percentage of accumulated wealth from everyone after a poverty level has been established. Remove all deductions and exemptions and set the tax rate at a sustainable level. Also remove the Social Security collections from the General Fund and keep them out. Eliminate all Federal programs that are not in line with the Constitutional vision of government.

That would be fair.

Posted by: John Back at January 24, 2006 2:13 PM
Comment #116295

“It seems to me that “dude” and Rob make no bones about the fact that their ideas are based on compassion rather than “fairness” as a flat tax would propose. Sounds good to me”

Its based on what THEY see as compassion and they should be free to support their beliefs in their own personal way.
They should not be free to force me to accept and support their personal beliefs.
Making somebody dependent is not compassionate.
Allowing everybody to be their own person is.

Posted by: kctim at January 24, 2006 2:19 PM
Comment #116296

kctim,

It is your belief that govt should force people to take care of the poor because YOU believe that is whats right. Why is it ok for the govt to force me to accept and support YOUR beliefs?

There are some beliefs that we do, through our government, force on others. Examples include our beliefs in the right to life (thus banning murder), property (thus banning stealing), etc. Every time we (a) prohibit a behavior or (b) force a behaviour, we are imposing our beliefs on someone else. That is a fact of life, kctim.

Now, you might not like the idea of the government being charitable. I can accept that. But you haven’t addressed yet the fact that progressive taxes make fiscal sense. It doesn’t make sense to place the tax burden onto those who can’t or won’t carry it. When given the choice between paying taxes and buying food, most will choose to buy food. And yes, there are the lazy bums who will choose to pay their cable bill instead of paying taxes. In either case, your flat tax has collected nothing from those people.

Put the burden at the high end of income, where people CAN pay it. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting even more money incarcerating half the country’s poor for not paying their taxes.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 2:27 PM
Comment #116297
Either party could get my vote if they made Balancing the Budget their #1 financial priority.

Rob,

Then I guess you will be voting for Democrats. I regularly go to Thomas and read bills of interest to me. I have seen proposals, many times, in Democratic sponsored bills that would re-institute the pay-go system. Unfortunately, these proposals are usually within other bills dealing with other issues, so they are not always easy to find, but they are there. The image problem that Democrats face is that they must introduce their legislation to a Republican congress. Nothing gets out of Congress, without their blessing. Nothing. So, the Dems get branded as having no ideas because all they can hope to accomplish is to rally the nation against bad legislation, such as Bush’s Social Security Reform.

One bill that carried a pay-go proposal was a bill addressing Social Security, introduced by Democrat Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida, H. R. 2472, the Social Security Forever Act of 2005. Of course, it has been locked up in committee, never to escape. It’s unfortunate, if we had a one purpose per bill rule, we may actually know where both sides truly stand on the issues, not to mention pork barrel projects would be much more difficult to pass on their own merits.


From the Democrat’s Budget - FAQ:

“Pay-Go” (pay-as-you-go) is a system that Democrats want to put in place in order to return to fiscal responsibility and keep American priorities in place. Pay-Go means that spending increases, as well as tax cuts, need to be offset by cuts in other areas – like fewer corporate tax breaks. It is the same approach millions of Americans take when they figure out their own personal budgets.

The Pay-Go system is a Democratic system that was used successfully during the 1990’s to balance the federal budget for the first time in a generation, turning budget deficits into budget surpluses. But Republicans now in control of Congress have refused to reinstate Pay-Go rules. Democrats believe Pay-Go rules that apply to both spending and tax cuts would be a first step toward truly reigning in budget deficits.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at January 24, 2006 2:28 PM
Comment #116302

JayJay,

Then I guess you will be voting for Democrats. I regularly go to Thomas and read bills of interest to me. I have seen proposals, many times, in Democratic sponsored bills that would re-institute the pay-go system. Unfortunately, these proposals are usually within other bills dealing with other issues, so they are not always easy to find, but they are there.

I believe you missed it when I said “#1 financial priority”. If they’re sticking Pay-Go on as a rider to other bills, instead of touting it as the single most important change they’re offering our country, then it’s obviously not a priority to them.

This is another case of screwed up priorities on the part of the Democrats. Sure, they may support Pay-Go. But they’re too busy screaming about abortion rights, gay marriage, and Iraq for the rest of us to have faith that they actually give a damn about the budget. Start talking about the issues that most Americans actually care about, and you might win some votes!

I honestly don’t care if you’re a fiscal conservative or a fiscal liberal — show me fiscal responsibility!

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 2:42 PM
Comment #116305

RC
Very interesting, thanks.
So why do so many think it would be wrong for the govt to stop abortions? Are you saying if the majority voted for it, it would be ok to force the pro-life belief onto those who are pro-choice?
The majority don’t think gays should marry, they believe it is only between a man and a woman. Should we just accept their belief and forget about it being a personal choice for those involved?
These too, are facts of life Rob. Why is it ok for some but not others? Why all the noise about “choice” if all we are going to do is pick only the ones we support?

“But you haven’t addressed yet the fact that progressive taxes make fiscal sense”

Yes I did. Taxes should only be used to run govt, not make the people dependent.
They do not make sense because our govt should not be our caretaker. Eliminate the social programs, which do nothing but create dependancy, and the need for such high taxes will plummet.
Progressive taxes do not treat everyone as equal. We are all either equal or we are not.
If I am forced to contribute more than my share, then I will expect to be treated better.

Posted by: kctim at January 24, 2006 3:03 PM
Comment #116309

Rob:

So your tax plan differs from Marysdude’s mainly on the level of “flatness” of the plan.

Well…yeaaahhhh. I guess if you look at it that way, then EVERY tax plan differs on the level of “flatness”.

Seriously, I don’t see much commonality in a tax plan that has a 50% tax rate as soon as you hit 85K and one that has a slight increase for the wealthy. I purposely didn’t include statistics or percentages in my comment because they detract from the idea.

Dan posted that 17% flat tax would cover the budget, I believe. There wouldn’t be any need under my idea to ever take 50% of someone’s earnings for taxes.

Whattaya think?

Posted by: joebagodonuts at January 24, 2006 3:27 PM
Comment #116320

kctim,

So why do so many think it would be wrong for the govt to stop abortions? Are you saying if the majority voted for it, it would be ok to force the pro-life belief onto those who are pro-choice?

Abortion is a sticky issue without an easy answer. It’s a life vs. liberty debate, and not one I look forward to entering again…

…however, if the requisite amount of people made the steps to overturn the law and ban abortion, then yes, they would have the right to do that. At this time, it would require a Constitutional amendment (barring any change in judicial precident) for that to happen.

The majority don’t think gays should marry, they believe it is only between a man and a woman. Should we just accept their belief and forget about it being a personal choice for those involved?

I consider this to be a different issue entirely. In the abortion case, we’re talking about life vs. liberty, both of which are (debatably) Constitutional rights. Pro-choice folks defend the rights of the mother, while pro-life folks defend the rights of the child. But I still don’t know whose rights the anti-gay-marriage crowd is defending. It should be an issue completely unrelated to them, but for some reason it isn’t.

But, again, if they managed to overturn the appropriate laws (amending the Constitution if necessary), then yes, they would have the right to dictate it.

Yes I did. Taxes should only be used to run govt, not make the people dependent. They do not make sense because our govt should not be our caretaker. Eliminate the social programs, which do nothing but create dependancy, and the need for such high taxes will plummet.

Again, I’m not talking about social programs. A progressive tax is not a social program. If you want to debate welfare, then we can do that, but so far I’ve been debating tax law.

High taxes or low, there are those in poverty who simply can’t afford them. There are others in poverty who are too lazy to pay them. So trying to collect from them is a futile endeavor.

Progressive taxes do not treat everyone as equal. We are all either equal or we are not.

By that definition, flat-rate taxes don’t treat everyone as equal either. Rich people pay more than poor people. To treat everyone “equal” would be a headcount tax, where everyone paid the same dollar amount.

The plan presented by Marysdude treats every PERSON as equal, but doesn’t treat every DOLLAR as equal. Everyone pays the same rate on the first $25,000 that they make. They each pay the same rate on the next $10,000, etc. Those that make $1,000,000 all pay the same rate on that one millionth dollar. The fact that some never make enough to reach that rate is irrelevant. All PEOPLE are taxed equally.

A system that changes your OVERALL tax rate as you increase in income WOULD be treating people differently. But that’s not what we’re talking about here.

If I am forced to contribute more than my share, then I will expect to be treated better.

I agree. I just don’t agree on what “my share” is.

The fact is that some people ARE treated better than others. When was the last time you were invited to dinner at the White House? When was the last time a Senator took a personal phone call from you? When was the last time you had a one-on-one chat with your Congressional Representative? When money talks, politicians jump.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 3:50 PM
Comment #116325
But they’re too busy screaming about abortion rights, gay marriage, and Iraq for the rest of us to have faith that they actually give a damn about the budget.

Rob,

Screaming about abortion rights? When? When they are challenged by Neo-Cons. Screaming about gay marriage? I wish! Most avoid the subject for fear of losing votes. Screaming about Iraq. Yes they are, and rightly so. Go over to my post The M-Street Project and watch the videos of town hall meetings held by Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha and see what they are screaming about (you need RealPlayer, if you don’t have it you can download it at the end of my post. Then come back and tell me that what they are screaming about is unreasonable. Then follow the link in my original comment above and read what the Democrats are saying about the budget (there are more links there too concerning the budget.) They have obviously put some thought into the subject. Like it or not, burying initiatives in legislation is how Congress works. Only when we have a one purpose per bill rule, will we truly be able to figure out where our representatives stand on the issues.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at January 24, 2006 4:03 PM
Comment #116328

marysdude,

The problem is not inadequately taxing income, the problem is that most wealth is not income. Looking only at income is the best way to continue our slide of “all wealth to the rich”. If you remember Forbes’ campaign platform of a flat tax was widely ridiculed from all sides, and there are good reasons for it.

My preference is a wealth tax, similar to that which Florida uses as a state tax. In this case, everybody would be taxed at some miniscule rate (on the order of 1-2%) of their net worth, excluding some things such as their home and cars and with some basic deductions to help people with little net worth and income.

Posted by: Dave at January 24, 2006 4:07 PM
Comment #116337

Rob
I only brought gay marriage and abortion because they also deal with personal choice. Didn’t mean to seem like I wanted to debate either of them. Pretty sure we are on about the same page with them anyways.

I know you are not talking about social programs. Progressive taxes are thought to bring more money into the till. I am saying we would not need all this extra money if we got rid of these ridiculous social programs.
With less tax money needed, the poor would have less of a tax burden and would be able to keep their own money. With less taxes being taken from us, collecting taxes would be easier.
Flat tax does treat everyone as equal and gives you a choice.
Punishing success like dude suggests, does nothing but hold people back and give them reason to find loopholes.

“I agree. I just don’t agree on what “my share” is”

That is why I say it is a personal choice and not a govt mandate.
Only you, can fairly determine what your “share” is. It is not any of my business on how you live your life or spend your money.
You shouldnt expect me to support what you think is right and I shouldnt expect you to support what I think is right.
If its a cause we truly believe in, we should lead by example and hope others follow, not force them to.

Posted by: kctim at January 24, 2006 4:19 PM
Comment #116338

joebagodonuts,

Well…yeaaahhhh. I guess if you look at it that way, then EVERY tax plan differs on the level of “flatness”.

Exactly!

Dan posted that 17% flat tax would cover the budget, I believe. There wouldn’t be any need under my idea to ever take 50% of someone’s earnings for taxes.

I think you’re focusing too much on that 50% number. If spending were cut appropriately (as is assumed in dan’s 17% number), then there wouldn’t be a need to take 50% of anything. You drop the lowest end (below the poverty line) to 0%, and increase the highest end (however you wish to define it) by enough to compensate (34%, or whatever it would end up being). Taking what’s left, drop the lower end of it to, say, 8.5%, and raise the higher end to compensate (25.5%?). Leave the middle at 17%.

Don’t focus so much on the specific numbers, as they were all pulled out of my darker orifaces anyway. What you, Marysdude, and I all seem to agree upon (and what kctim vehemently opposes) is:

* The lowest X amount of income is tax-free for everyone.

* Two or more stratas of income exist above that. Income in each strata is taxed the same for everyone, no matter what their total income is. This prevents the old “I made just enough extra to get bumped into a new tax bracket, which lowered my take-home pay” dilemma.

* Remove all the loopholes, deductions, etc. that people use to avoid paying taxes.

When you boil the plans down to their essentials, they’re really not that different. Agreed?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 4:20 PM
Comment #116348

kctim,

I agree entirely that cutting social programs would make the tax burden easier to bear. And, yes, a lower tax burden would be easier for poor people to pay. But, at the same time, a lower tax burden would be easier for rich people to ignore.

When the tax rate is low enough that it doesn’t adversely effect the poor, the rich won’t be complaining about progressive taxes, because it will be such a miniscule portion of their income that they won’t notice.

I’m not sure how much experience you have had with poverty, but I’ve been at points in my life where paying the rent and buying food were mutually exclusive — there wasn’t enough money to do both. There are people in this country who live their entire lives that way. Most of them live in areas of the country where steady work isn’t available (lower Mississippi River flood plains come to mind), so they don’t even know where the next paycheck is coming from. Even if your flat tax rate was 5%, I’m guessing most of them would choose to spend that money on food instead. How would you suggest we enforce such a tax rate on these poorest folks? We can’t reposess their houses, because they don’t own houses. We can’t seize their wages, because they don’t even know where they’ll be coming from.

I don’t see how such a tax system can be enforced.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 4:37 PM
Comment #116366

“I’m not sure how much experience you have had with poverty”

I was born when my parents were 15 and we lived on our own in a town of about 150 along the Mississippi River. Had three kids by the time they were 18.
No indoor plumbing or elec. until I was 8 maybe 10. One meal a day when we could.
They did their best and didn’t expect the govt to do it for them.
I know very well what poverty is.

“How would you suggest we enforce such a tax rate on these poorest folks?”

If they have no wages, there is nothing to tax. It is an extreme situation dealing with a minority of people. With taxes being used only for govt, their contribution would not be missed.

Posted by: kctim at January 24, 2006 5:09 PM
Comment #116387

kctim,

I know very well what poverty is.

Fair enough.

If they have no wages, there is nothing to tax.

I’m not talking about people with no wages. I’m talking about people with very low wages, and no steady income (living odd-job to odd-job).

It is an extreme situation dealing with a minority of people. With taxes being used only for govt, their contribution would not be missed.

Then why even charge them with those taxes to begin with? Why make criminals out of them just because they’re poor?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 5:46 PM
Comment #116393

>>Then why even charge them with those taxes to begin with? Why make criminals out of them just because they’re poor?

rob,

Because kc thinks the only one in America who isn’t a criminal already is Dubbya…

Posted by: Marysdude at January 24, 2006 5:59 PM
Comment #116403
Because kc thinks the only one in America who isn’t a criminal already is Dubbya…

Wow, Marysdude… THAT was uncalled for!

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 6:19 PM
Comment #116424

>>Wow, Marysdude… THAT was uncalled for!

Rob,

You’re right. I apologize…kc, I got carried away.


>>Forgive me for saying so, but your writings sound llike the ravings of a small child: “it’s not fair”. It’s not fair that some people work harder than others; it’s not fair that some people have a vision and the courage to pursue it; it’s not fair,not fair, not fair!

beck,

I apologize to you too, as I meant no harm by sounding like a small child. I’ll try to do better in the future. One thing though…only once in my postings have I used the word fair, and that was in response to a kc posting. My point is that there are ways to tax without doing real harm to anyone.

It does not harm a wealthy person to pay more taxes than their poorer neighbors and the wealthy can do it. To ask the neighbor to contribute more is squeezing blood out of a turnip.

But, I’ll try to limit my whining, so you adults can carry on your adult postings.

Next time YOU come up with a viable solution.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 24, 2006 7:15 PM
Comment #116425

>>Wow, Marysdude… THAT was uncalled for!

Rob, you are right,

kc, I apologize…I got carried away.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 24, 2006 7:17 PM
Comment #116427

We wouldn’t have so many poor people if the schools tested each child, much like they do other cross the nation tests, for aptitudes, and abilities long before high school. Then as the children, regardless of ANY living conditions they come from, rich or poor, clean or dirty, CEO’s homes to farming employees, mature the states can make sure they are educated for the jobs they are capable of. Repeated testing as the child matures will give a pretty good idea of what they, as an adult, could do with a good education. But no, we educate them, hoping they will continue on to college, and SO MANY drop out! They end up on welfare rolls raising children on DHS incomes. Not all, of course, not even a majority end up this way, but by far too many.

Posted by: Shtara at January 24, 2006 7:31 PM
Comment #116508

Here’s where the Democrats and Republicans seem to differ the most. Democrats assume that all poor people are poor because the Man keeps them down, while Republicans assume that all poor people are poor because they’re lazy bums. The truth is that there is a good mixture of both. The hard part is trying to sort them out systematically.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 24, 2006 01:34 PM

I don’t assume that because a person is poor that they’re a bum. I know of servral folks that work hard and are poor. They lack the skills necessary to make better money than they do. I have a lot of respect for these folks. They’re not crying about how they’re put down by the rich and expecting the Government to take care of them.
It’s the 5th & 6th generation welfare bums that I have a hard time with. They don’t want to work and think that the Government owes them a living.
Like a lot of other stores I take food stamps at mine. All you have to do is watch the folks come in with their food stamp cards and you’ll get what I’m talking about. Close to 98% of them are able to work. And most I’ve asked told me they had no intention of working.
Only 4 of my regular customers that use food stamps really need the help. Two are elderly folks that are barely getting by on their SS checks. One is disabled to the point he cann’t work. One is making minimium wage and has 8 kids to feed.
These folks I feel sorry for. The rest I have no use for.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 25, 2006 12:08 AM
Comment #116514

Another difference Ron.
Reps want the choice to give to the poor, Liberals want the govt to do it for them.

I also would like your input on this:
It is your belief that govt should force people to take care of the poor because YOU believe that is whats right. Why is it ok for the govt to force me to accept and support YOUR beliefs?
I do not expect govt to enforce MY beliefs onto you by asking it to force you to NOT give aid to the poor.
Shouldn’t our beliefs be a personal thing? One that we support by doing what we think is right and hope that others follow? Or do we have govt impose our personal beliefs onto others?

Charity is best left to the individual, not the govt.

Posted by: kctim at January 24, 2006 02:08 PM

I don’t expect the Government to force my beliefs on anyone. And I don’t know of any true conservitives that do. How did you get the idea that I beleive that? I know I’ve never said it.
Our belief are personal. I happen to try to help those folks that need it. I believe that it’s the Christian thing to do. The Govt has no business telling anyone to help or not to help anyone. That is a matter of personal choise.
And yes, charity is best left to the individual, not the Government.

Your idea of flat tax might work. I wouldn’t really have any problem with the first say $10,000 to $25,000 of income not being taxed. As far as a higher percentage for those making over a certian amount, I don’t know about. But it would still be better than what we have now.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 25, 2006 12:27 AM
Comment #116516

J.D.
I don’t believe in luck.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 25, 2006 12:32 AM
Comment #116613

RC
Odd job to odd job is primarily paid in cash. I have taken advantage of this many times.
Would this cause more employers to start paying in cash? Maybe, but it should be up to the people to raise the tax rate through a vote.

Rob, I don’t mind not taxing “legit” people living in poverty. I would be all for compromises on taxes and doing whats best for Americans. But it has got to be “fair” and treat everybody as equals.

Dude
“Because kc thinks the only one in America who isn’t a criminal already is Dubbya…”

www.infowars.com

“You’re right. I apologize…kc, I got carried away”

I was a little surprised dude. I felt as if we all were doing a pretty good job of keeping politics out of this.
We all are hard headed about our personal views. Ms. Adrienne :) says its like talking to a brick wall when talking to me. I don’t mind, I feel the same way when talking to you all. But I respect all of your opinions and probably agree more than most would believe.

Thanks for the apology, we all get carried away sometimes.
My turn to apologize is probably right around the corner, lol.

Posted by: kctim at January 25, 2006 9:31 AM
Comment #116626

Paul,
I am not sure, but “progressive patriotism” sounds an awful lot like “nationalism” to me.

As I have mentioned before on this site, the reason the republican’s are so often compared to the Nazis would be along the lines of a nationalistic partriotism. One that does not respect other countries, peoples, cultures or opinions.

It is a belief in the righness of their natione regardless of its actions. Nothing is out of bounds because the ends justifies the means. There is not an understanding of reasonable differences, it is an all or nothing, take no prisioners attitude.

It is the closing of public policy formulation meetings that go unchallenged because the minority is the minority (this no say) and the majority is unbable or unwilling to make their own party be responsible to them.

It is the belief that only criminals have anything to hide so when complaints about the infringement of civil rights is discussed then the person must be a criminal, supporter of terrorists or “anti-American.” Yet, when it comes time for the government to be open with the American people then everything is secret and hidden. I am not talking about national security here, but our energy policy and the tax breaks to the HMOs. Forget about the government being honest about needing to carefully interpret the 4th Amendment because we are in a war with no end!

BENEFITS AND ABUSE
I know of a doctor and his wife who moved to Wisc. because of the state educational benefits their autistic child will receive here in Wisc. They were much better than where they were from. Would they not be on the same moral plane as a welfare cheat?

When it comes time to honestly evaluate the costs… look at the costs of business tax breaks versus jobs created. How much does each of those new jobs cost the state in net loss or gain revenue?

When the Republicans give $22 Billion over the next 10 years to HMOs how many discretionary programs take a hit?

When corruption and illegal behvior continues decade after decade… what is the cost? The bail out of the Savings and Loans? The recent scandals with Enron and Tyco and other?

It seems as if the Republicans are keeping their eyes on the nickle and dime stuff and completely missing the abuse of hard working Americans who invest their money into companies that rip them off.

I wish I saw half the outrage against these companies that they show towards the “welfare” people. But, they just claim that it is a very small amount of “corruption”…

What they don’t concede is that maybe the “abuse” they see of welfare is also very small. People use public assistance for many reasons and they might even still have a car when they do!

Think about it? Do you help them while they still have a car and can look for a job… or do you wait until they lose the car and then have trouble looking for a job because they don’t have reliable transportation? It is more cost effective to help people before the lose everything.

It just doesn’t sit right with a Republican’s sense of what is right.

Posted by: Darren7160 at January 25, 2006 10:14 AM
Comment #116640

kctim, marysdude,

Glad we can keep things civil. I know it’s hard to keep dark emotions out of these debates sometimes. There have been a few times I’ve wanted to reach through the ‘net and wring kctim’s neck, but for the most part this has been one of the more pleasant and informative debates I’ve had here. Thanks!

Now, as I was rereading posts in the thread this morning, I came up with two new perspectives on things:

* Marysdude’s proposal essentially boils down to a flat tax of 50%, but with exceptions for the first $85k of income. It sounds less appealing when worded that way, doesn’t it? :-)

* We’ve talked about paying for everything with an all-encompassing income tax, and we’ve talked about paying for everything with an all-encompassing sales/consumption tax. So what’s left? How about replacing all these taxes with a single Federal Property Tax!?!? We can make it a flat tax per acre, with exemptions for primary residences (X amount of land per person, so apartments aren’t taxed, nor are middle-class homes, but extravagant homes are taxed for the extra acreage). It’s a crazy idea, but it might be just crazy enough to work!

Thoughts?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 25, 2006 10:42 AM
Comment #116641

Darren7160,

As I have mentioned before on this site, the reason the republican’s are so often compared to the Nazis would be along the lines of a nationalistic partriotism. One that does not respect other countries, peoples, cultures or opinions.

Interesting points. I’ve always found it ironic that the best quote I could find to sum up the Nazi philosophy was from an American president, instructing Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” (JFK, for those who don’t know)

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 25, 2006 10:48 AM
Comment #116647
I’ve always found it ironic that the best quote I could find to sum up the Nazi philosophy was from an American president, instructing Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” (JFK, for those who don’t know)

Posted by Rob Cottrell at January 25, 2006 10:48 AM


Are you serious? Are you saying contributing some of yourself to the common good is equivalent to the attempted genocide of all non-aryans and even ‘imperfect’ aryans?

Posted by: Dave at January 25, 2006 11:24 AM
Comment #116650

>>Another difference Ron.
Reps want the choice to give to the poor, Liberals want the govt to do it for them.

kc,

That’s the way it was prior to Welfare, Social Secruity, or Medicare.

And the reason each became part of our American History is too few CHOSE to give. Starvation or lack of medical care seem to be a horrible sentence for the crime of being poor.

Yes there are those who take advantage, but please look at it like this…those who desire the freedom to own guns say, ‘punish those who use the gun criminally, don’t punish those who just want to own guns.’.

And I say punish those who go through ron’s grocery line without need, not those who need the groceries. If you kill welfare, more than scavangers will starve.

Assessing taxes on those who cannot pay them without sacraficing food or medicines, when taxes can be paid by those who can still buy food and medicines, seems kinda like shooting ourselves in the foot.


Posted by: Marysdude at January 25, 2006 11:34 AM
Comment #116659

>>How about replacing all these taxes with a single Federal Property Tax!?!? We can make it a flat tax per acre, with exemptions for primary residences (X amount of land per person, so apartments aren’t taxed, nor are middle-class homes, but extravagant homes are taxed for the extra acreage). It’s a crazy idea, but it might be just crazy enough to work!

Thoughts?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 25, 2006 10:42 AM

Rob,

That would work for someone like Trump or perhaps you, but I own no real estate, and my personal property is pretty limited. Thanks for not having me pay my share. My forty-fifty thou is safer with your plan than mine.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 25, 2006 12:24 PM
Comment #116665

marysdude,

I’m curious. When you proposed your tax how do you expect the budget to be balanced? The wealthy already don’t have most of their wealth accumulation assignable as income and they already own over 95% of this country. So the chance there would be enough revenue is slim.
Also, my guess is Cottrell’s post was facetious. But that would be an element of my wealth tax proposal. If you want to live here, you need to pay your fair share. That share should be based on how much you’ve benefitted for living here. And, that benefit is not short term and adjustable (like income), but long term (like assets).
I appreciate your acknowledgement of “fair share” and I share the sentiment but it seems I should be paying a lot more than you in taxes, and that might not be the case.

Posted by: Dave at January 25, 2006 12:45 PM
Comment #116696

>>I’m curious. When you proposed your tax how do you expect the budget to be balanced?

Dave,

The budget is not balanced by taxes. Taxation did not change drastically under Clinton, but the budget was headed in the right direction. Budgets are balanced by management, and that’s why Dubbya’s are such failures. He fails to manage the spending to income ratios necessary for a balance.

We all need the things taxation brings, i.e., highways, defense, and yes, even welfare, but to demand the tax burden be placed on the poor and near poor is not very practical. They just don’t meet the supply side of the requirement. Only the wealthy meets that, and only they can cough it up. That does not mean the rest of us can just sit back and reap the benefits, it just means that the lower middle class has been trying to carry it too long and now with a shrinking middle class, someone else has to pick it up or the nation goes into a tail spin.

Dropping the poverty poor from the tax paying poles harms no one. Progressively higher demands on the more well to do harms no one. But, if exemptions and deductions are allowed to stay in the mix, the beneficiaries of that are only those who seek loopholes. So, any plan, no matter who proposes it MUST restrict exemptions and deduction to nil.

A by-product of that might be…wealthier tax payers would keep a better eye on pork barreling and foolish spending, and they would have the clout to rein it in.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 25, 2006 3:09 PM
Comment #116701

Dave,

Are you serious? Are you saying contributing some of yourself to the common good is equivalent to the attempted genocide of all non-aryans and even ‘imperfect’ aryans?

That’s not what I’m saying at all, Dave. In America, we believe in a government “by the people” and “for the people”. The Nazis, on the other hand, believed that the People existed to serve the State, not the other way around. They elevated the State to almost a religious level. The idea of expecting a service from your government was almost a sacrilege. Instead, you were supposed to put everything you had into making the State the best it could be. You weren’t supposed to “contribute some of yourself to the common good”… you were supposed to contribute ALL of yourself to the common good. The Individual didn’t matter; the State was everything.

I’m not saying that JFK was advocating Nazism. I’m just saying that, had that quote been made in the 1920s or 1930s, it probably would have found its way into Nazi literature. It matches the mindset of the party from the very beginning.

Also, my guess is Cottrell’s post was facetious.

Only partially so. It’s more of an intellectual exercise than anything else. By taking the time to see what the effects of such a system would be, you can better understand the system we have now, as well as the other systems that marysdude, kctim, joebagodonuts, etc. are suggesting.

Then again, 150 years ago, suggesting a universal income tax would have been considered facetious. 20 years ago, people would have laughed at anyone suggesting a universal sales tax. You never know until you look at the possibilities.

Marysdude,

That would work for someone like Trump or perhaps you, but I own no real estate, and my personal property is pretty limited. Thanks for not having me pay my share. My forty-fifty thou is safer with your plan than mine.

It seems that way on the surface, doesn’t it? The only real estate I own is a 2-bedroom house, so I wouldn’t have to pay anything either — directly, at least.

But consider this — every acre of farmland that grows your food would be taxed. That would cause your food prices to go up. Golf courses and used car lots would be taxed more than jewelry stores and casinos. The more land a business needs, the higher its prices would be.

Trump, to use your example, probably wouldn’t pay much, if any, under this plan. A great deal of his real estate is skyscrapers, most of which have at least some residential space in them. The residential population per acre would be higher than the average suburb, giving him primary-residence exemption on the whole thing!

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 25, 2006 3:24 PM
Comment #116707

Rob,

There’s a trap that most people fall into.

every acre of farmland that grows your food would be taxed. That would cause your food prices to go up.

Perhaps, but it’s also more likely that, unless your in the top 1-10% of the wealth curve, your overall tax burden would decrease in an equitable system.

Posted by: Dave at January 25, 2006 3:30 PM
Comment #116720

Rob Cottrell,

“Interesting points. I’ve always found it ironic that the best quote I could find to sum up the Nazi philosophy was from an American president, instructing Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” (JFK, for those who don’t know)”

Contributing towards the welfare of our nation is not nationalistic. Nice try though.

What, I believe, separates patriotism from nationalism is an understanding that our country stands for something that is worth honoring. It is intellectual and not emotional. When comparing one thing to another it is based on an objective evaluation of each upon their merits.

A patriot is reasoned, proud and rational. A nationalist is emotional, irrational and blindly follows what their country does regardless of its morality or being right.

This can include invading other countries (such as Poland) limiting the input of other parties because they are the “minority” (such as Jews or Democrats) unquestioningly believing that they are the “master race” (or inherently more moral) than the others. That also makes it much easier to shut them up (or kill them) because they are not moral people.

Everyone should try to make their neighborhood a little better. Their nation too! If each does a little more than taking in life it would be much better. Is this socialist teaching? I thought it was Christian teaching the way I was taught.

I still say, when you lose an opposing voice you have lost something vital to a democracy… you have gained a one party state. And folks… no matter how partisan you may be… show me one time when that was a good thing?

Posted by: Darren7160 at January 25, 2006 4:07 PM
Comment #116781

>>Trump, to use your example, probably wouldn’t pay much, if any, under this plan. A great deal of his real estate is skyscrapers, most of which have at least some residential space in them. The residential population per acre would be higher than the average suburb, giving him primary-residence exemption on the whole thing!

Rob,

My bust…I was under the impression that Trump had started buying New Orleans before the wind died down. If that had been so, with hardly anyone living there he’d build up quite a tax bill.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 25, 2006 9:03 PM
Comment #116805

Marysdude,

My bust…I was under the impression that Trump had started buying New Orleans before the wind died down. If that had been so, with hardly anyone living there he’d build up quite a tax bill.

Sorry, I hadn’t heard about that. If that’s the case, then you’re absolutely right. The property tax scheme would hit him pretty hard.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 25, 2006 10:18 PM
Comment #116819

>>I still say, when you lose an opposing voice you have lost something vital to a democracy… you have gained a one party state. And folks… no matter how partisan you may be… show me one time when that was a good thing?

Posted by: Darren7160 at January 25, 2006 04:07 PM

Darren,

I’ve been so fixated on the taxation part of theis blog that I’ve skipped much of the rest. I wish I’d paid more attention. The statement you made, that I’ve referenced is as good as it gets. In other words…wish I’d said that!

Posted by: Marysdude at January 25, 2006 11:26 PM
Comment #116820

>>I still say, when you lose an opposing voice you have lost something vital to a democracy… you have gained a one party state. And folks… no matter how partisan you may be… show me one time when that was a good thing?

Posted by: Darren7160 at January 25, 2006 04:07 PM

Darren,

I’ve been so fixated on the taxation part of theis blog that I’ve skipped much of the rest. I wish I’d paid more attention. The statement you made, that I’ve referenced is as good as it gets. In other words…wish I’d said that!

Posted by: Marysdude at January 25, 2006 11:28 PM
Comment #116830

And I say punish those who go through ron’s grocery line without need, not those who need the groceries. If you kill welfare, more than scavangers will starve.

Assessing taxes on those who cannot pay them without sacraficing food or medicines, when taxes can be paid by those who can still buy food and medicines, seems kinda like shooting ourselves in the foot


Posted by: Marysdude at January 25, 2006 11:34 AM

The problem is we don’t carry a full line of groceries. We’re a convenant store. Most the folks that use their cards at my store aren’t buying groceries with them. They’re buying cokes and candy with them. The ones that do use them to buy groceries are usually only buying one or two items needed at home. They buy there rather than drive 10 miles to town. There’s no sales tax on food stamp purchases. Like I said earlier, most the folks using the food stamps are able to work.
Why shouldn’t the welfare bums pay taxes? They’re sure sucking up enough of them.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 26, 2006 12:09 AM
Comment #116879

Hi Ron,
Possibly a part of my concern about welfare and social nets is that I have had to use them as a child. There was a year there when I was in junior high where we got commodities (free food) because of a financial situation. It was temporary and within the year everything was fine.

While serving in the military I qualified for food stamps also. That showed me that even as a working adult people might be paid such a low wage that they could not make ends meet. My pride kept me from taking the assistance and I regret it to this day. I let my family go hungry at times because I didn’t believe it was right that a person should be serving their country and not earning enough to buy groceries.

I worked in manufacturing and because of jobs transitioned to overseas facilities, or a need to show quick drastic action to Wall St. by closing a plant (1980s this was all the rage) or because a manufacturer overextended themselves with capacity during the internet bubble, I was laid off 3 times.

Things happen. Possibly the democrats are more of a working class who get laid off more… they know that their security is paycheck to paycheck. They don’t make enough to save 3 months worth of earnings in case they are out of a job. They are closer to the welfare office than the Republicans.

This can lead to people wanting to make sure that the protection is there for them if they need it.

No one wants to see the system abused. I have always encouraged people who claim they know of abuse to drop a dime on the people.

The Republicans are not good at clarifying their message of what they want. They asked for accountability and the democrats agreed. As a note, Tommy Tomson was the Governor of WI and they were the pioneers of the welfare to work programs.

It is a fact though that to take a minimum wage job used to mean losing medical benefits which were not covered under minimum wage jobs. Think for a moment… if you are a single parent (like I am) what is your priority? Earning $5.00 and change an hour while losing medical benefits and paying someone to watch your child for about $2.00 of what you are earning?

Just to let you know. I have been unemployed and have used the unemployment benefits that I have paid into and are there for people who get laid off, like I was. I have not used any other assistance.

Some state now have a transition program that helps with child care and continuation of medical coverage. This is a hand up… not a hand out.

As I said, besides deriding the system, I have not heard an objective message about how to maintain the system so it is there to help people.

I believe that it is cheaper in the long run to help people out immediately, while they still have a car, auto insurance and a bit of money in their accounts than to wait until they have lost everything and then give assistance. Just makes sense to me.

Posted by: Darren7160 at January 26, 2006 5:57 AM
Comment #116904

>>Why shouldn’t the welfare bums pay taxes? They’re sure sucking up enough of them.

Ron,

You and I are still not talking about the same things. You speak of Welfare Bums. They are not bums, they are thieves. H and HS folks don’t do a good job of screening. It is not the fault of people who need a helping hand that there are thieves and incompetants in the system. You want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

And, I’ still trying to figure out how welfare keeps creeping into a conversation about tax reform…oh well, maybe I’ll have better luck next time…

Posted by: Marysdude at January 26, 2006 7:09 AM
Comment #117023

Darren
I’m glad the help was there when you needed it. It’s folks like you that I don’t have a problem helping. It’s the 5th & 6th generation welfare class that I have a problem with. These folks for the most part can work. They’re just too lazy too.
Like I said earlier, there are four people that come to my store regularly that I feel really need the help. This is four out of around 25 to 30 who use their food stamp cards on a regular bases in my store.
Two are elderly folks that are on SS and are barely getting by. One is totaly disabled, in fact his mother has to use his card for him. One makes minimum wage and has 8 hungry youngins at home. These four I have no problem with. When they come in it’s only to buy a couple items they need and don’t want to drive 10 miles to the supermarket for. The rest are able to hold a job but won’t. When they come in, they use their cards to buy soda and candy. They get their grocries done at the food locker.

Marysdude
I’m not advocating throwing the baby out with the bath water. I agree that the main problem is within the system. Not enough accountability. That’s the problem when you get Government involved with anything.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 26, 2006 12:23 PM
Comment #117040

Ron,
We have to quit comming to agreements… we will lose our card carrying status.

I do agree with MarysDude about the difference between recepients of assistance and theives. That is why I have always said to people if they have evidence of abuse of the system then they should call someone!

Accountability. I have absolutely no problem with it. I do believe that guidelines should be made. I also believe that no single set of guidelines can ever meet every possible situation so a system of appeal where common sense can come into play should be in place.

For example… a woman who lives in a big house, nice SUV and they are mortaged to the hilt. Something happens and the husband has a long, lingering expensive illness or dies suddenly without sufficient insurance.

Would I object to her having the nice house, an SUV while getting assistance until she is able to get a job or work something else out? Nope. Again, simple mathematics… it is cheaper to help her while she is capable of helping herself than to wait until she lost everything and then help her.

Democrats have worked with Republicans on the state and federal level towards reform. What isn’t clear from the Republican message machine is what they really want to do. They are very good with getting the message out when they want to, but it is used as a decisive issue so the message is vauge and geared towards emotions and believing that one party supports “cheats” and “slackers” when that is not completely true.

I would just love to see the same accountability with the public money when it comes time for tax incentives for companies!

If a company claims they can increase employment if given tax advantages, which reduces state revenue and has to be made up by you and me… then by God… there should be some jobs created. Instead of investing in capital equipment though what I see are job layoffs a few weeks later.

Where is the accountability? Where does the money go? Buying back stock to increase the value of the outstanding stock? That doesn’t create jobs. It does increase the value of executive stock options. It does let executives meet projections on stock price so they can get their bonuses.

I want to see the same seriousness of accountability of companies as there is towards welfare.

Posted by: Darren7160 at January 26, 2006 12:47 PM
Comment #117048

Darren
I think we agree on more than you think. We just disagree on how to get it done. That’s the biggset difference between Liberal and Conseritives. For the most part we see the same problems and agree that something needs to be done. When it comes to the doing is where our views clash.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 26, 2006 1:02 PM
Comment #117071

Yeppers… to bad it is the people with the access to the “message machines” that are interested in divinding the country as a means to attain and hold power that keep real cooperation from happening.

I am not talking about whether or not one topic is liberal, democratic or republican.

It is not communistic to believe that those in power (in both parties) have no real interest in working together for the betterment of all.

I do believe that there should be two parties… there should always be an opposing of differing view to expand the discussion… I would never want to live in a country with only one party… even my party.

Posted by: Darren7160 at January 26, 2006 1:49 PM
Comment #117114

>>I do believe that there should be two parties… there should always be an opposing of differing view to expand the discussion… I would never want to live in a country with only one party… even my party.

Darren,

I was a Republican during my formative political years. I didn’t wise up until I was in my forties, and I agree with you with one little exception…I think we need a strong third party.

Left to their own devices Conservatives and liberals will end up corrupt. They may approach corruption from different directions, but corruption none-the-less. Perhaps a third party, if it were strong enough to be a threat, could hold the other’s feet to the fire and clean up some of the mess that naturallu gravitates toward power???

Posted by: Marysdude at January 26, 2006 3:08 PM
Comment #117235

MarysDude,
I wish I knew if a 3rd party was workable. The recent history of Ross Perot and Nader does not bode well.

If Nader would have made his point and then shown the parties his strength and then asked his voters to support a particular party he might have done much better.

People could have supported him with the knowledge that it would show both parties the determination of the American people to not want to tolerate the behavior of both parties. Ultimately though, Nader should have made it clear that he wasn’t a spoiler… which he didn’t.

My impression, right or wrong, was that he decided to “punish” the democrats by siphoning off their votes and letting the republicans win…. thus teaching them a lesson. It caused the power to shift at the worst possible time in my opinion.

I would love to see a moderate party where you, me and Ron could sit together… disagree on the specifics of the particular path we were taking but agree on the goal. From there, I believe we could find a solution that would not please everyone… but would not favor anyone too much over the others. Something that everyone could live with… or continue to improve.

I am really tired and sad from some of the things that I read here. I cannot help it. I want so much to believe in the America I was taught when I was a child. One of brightness, people working together to attain greatness. Looking around for solutions instead of “points” with which to beat the other person with.

I saw where Rove was unveiling the stategy for the elections. It was, of course, democrat bashing. Not new ideas of how to solve problems or to make this country greater… it was just more emphasis on how the republicans are the anti-terrorist party and the dems are soft on terrorists. My God!

So, with that I shall light some candles, put on some Chopin and lay down with a good book and try to escape this garbage for the night.

I do believe though, from what I have read of your posts, Ron’s and a few others… there are some really great, thoughtfull Americans out there.

I really wish I did know how they could be made into the leading political force.

Posted by: Darren7160 at January 26, 2006 7:20 PM
Comment #117456

Darren,

Yeah, makes you want to just give up. That is, give up, until you realize that that is exactly what ‘they’ want…

Posted by: Marysdude at January 27, 2006 7:29 AM
Comment #117478

Darren7160 and Marysdude,

By itself, a third party isn’t the answer. I mean, when you’re stuck in a mix of horse-crap and bull-crap, is adding dog-crap really going to help?

The problem isn’t just the NUMBER of political parties.. it’s the POWER of those political parties. If you read the Constitution, it never mentions political parties. George Washington himself warned against the power of political parties. Yet we’ve allowed our election laws to be completely rewritten to perpetuate a two-party system.

Look at Paul’s “Fumigating Congress” article here on WatchBlog. All of his campaign reform suggestions involve the “incumbent” vs. the “challenger” — as if there will only be two people running for any office. Our Presidential debates are organized by the two big parties, and specifically shun third parties. It is within neither major party’s best interest to allow third parties a chance to grow.

Unfortunately, the American people seem to want to solve everything at the top — in the Federal Government. But that’s not how new parties grow. New parties grow by gaining support at the LOCAL level first. Then they climb their way into Congressional posts, and finally to the Presidency.

Look at the Libertarians, for example. While they run a candidate for president every 4 years, it’s mostly just a step to get the word out about the party. Their real focus is in state and local elections. They understand that a Libertarian president would be useless against an entirely Democrat & Republican Congress. They need to grow from the bottom up.

But, let me warn you, electing a third-party candidate has dangers of its own. The last time a third-party candidate was elected President in this country was 1860, and the result of that election was the spark that started the Civil War.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 27, 2006 9:03 AM
Comment #117539

Darren
There is a third party that sounds interesting, at least to me. The Constitution Party. But they might be a little to far right for you. The problem is they may not be far enough right for me.
I agree with you on more than one party. If we ever came down to one party then we’d end up with a dictatorship for sure. Besides if there was only one party and no other voice being heard who in the hell would I be able to bicker with and annoy?

Rob
Your on the right track. We could have 100 parties and if they’re all as corrupt as the two we have it won’t do any good. That’s why we need to start holding ALL politicians accountible for what the do in office. And if they act like our current crop in DC then throw them out and keep doing it untill they get the message as to who they really work for. Then and only then will they start addressing the problems and intrest of us, WE THE PEOPLE.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 27, 2006 11:26 AM
Comment #117543

Rob,
I am not sure if Lincoln and the new Republican pary was a casual or causal reson for the Civil War. I do know that it might be seen as the straw that broke the camels back.. but that back was about to break anyhow. If not Lincoln, then something else. I agree, I do believe it had an impact. I am just not sure how much.

Most parlimentary systems have multiple parties. Like Isreal where the minority parties with less than 10% of the population can use their members to form a government and force minority objective as the price for their support. Always coniditional and easily taken away.

Look at Italy and how many governements they had in the past 50 years.

Just as the 3 branches of government provide a system of checks and balances I believe the same is true with two parties. As I have asked people here to think about… how many great one party countries has there ever been?

I would love to see a strong 2 party system where the leadership of both parties were concerned more with advancing America’ issues than the next elections results.

Instead of demanding behavior that is above reproach we allowed people to get away with an atmosphere of corruption. Maybe not direct… but the intent of ethics was split by they hairs of the comma and the wink and the nod.

I am always most upset by the failures of those the are supposed to support my beliefs. If each person held their politicans to this then instead of looking to what people were doing in the other party each party could clean up their own. Then it would be better.

Instead, the leadership of both parties point to the sins of the other and minimize their own.

Politics as usual… we get left out.

Posted by: Darren7160 at January 27, 2006 11:37 AM
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