Democrats & Liberals Archives

Republican Economics

We hear a lot of high-blown rhetoric from Republicans about free enterprise and free markets and free trade. But if you really want to find out what current Republicans stand for, look at economic results. They show that nothing is free except perhaps for the richest among us. The difference in results between members of the middle class and the very rich shows exactly where Republicans stand economically.

Parade Magazine, which is not a liberal publication by any stretch of the imagination, last Sunday presented the results of a study of people in middle class families, which they define as those making between $30,000 and $90,000 per year. Two statistical items stand out:

  • About 2/3 - 66% - say they live from paycheck to paycheck
  • The real median household income declined 3% from 2000 to 2004
Please note that these are not poor people. They make good money. But their financial future seems to be getting worse.

In this environment, Republicans are shouting that what they call the death tax, but is truly an estate tax, must be repealed. Repeal will help the little businessman, they say. Not at all. Repeal is a boon - a huge boon - to the very richest families in the country. Take note of what Think Progress says:

"18 Families Bankroll Estate Tax Repeal Campaign

"The 10-year effort to repeal the estate tax (aka the Paris Hilton Tax) on heirs of the super wealthy has been financed and coordinated by just 18 families, according to a new report by Public Citizen and United for a Fair Economy.

"The families include 'the candy magnate Mars family, Waltons of Wal-Mart fame, Kochs of Koch Industries and Dorrance family of the Campbell’s Soup Co.' Together, they are worth a total of $185.5 billion. The estate tax repeal would 'collectively net them a windfall of $71.6 billion.'”

It will cost us almost 3/4 of a trillion dollars in lost revenue. Do these billionaires need this money? They don't have enough to live on? Yet, Republicans go out of their way to repeal the estate tax.

Who do you suppose will pay the taxes these plutocrats will be relieved of? Those in the middle class that are already suffering from our "prosperous" economy.

Republican economics is simple: Take from hard workers and give to the filthy rich.

Posted by Paul Siegel at April 26, 2006 5:03 PM
Comments
Comment #143329

THe sons and daughters of the ultra wealthy, Paris, Wallymart heirs, bush himself, are the poster children for KEEPING the estate tax.
The false cries about the poor small businessman, or the sons of farmers, are pure hokey. This is one of the best federal taxes in existence as it only taxes trust funds of spoiled brats.

Posted by: Norby at April 26, 2006 5:29 PM
Comment #143331

Why do liberals hate anyone that has more then they do?

Democrat economics is simple:
Take from rich and take from the rich.
(spend it for them, because america is filled with a bunch of idiots)

Posted by: Cliff at April 26, 2006 5:42 PM
Comment #143333

Why do you all care so much about other peoples money and what they do with it?
Are you really that threatened by their success?
Wouldn’t it be more productive to actually support the things you “say” should be done instead of expecting others to do it for you?

Posted by: kctim at April 26, 2006 5:48 PM
Comment #143337

when is the government entitled to money just cause you die. the tax is vile - on general principle alone, and no I am not one of those 18 families. It’s real simple, it was their money to start with, why shouldnt they be entitled to let their heirs have it when they are gone? And what is that saying to 5new immigrants coming over here in search of their own American dream? Work really hard, build something for yourself, be successful, but just remember that the governemt is going to take half when you die???

ARE YOU INSANE?!?!?!?

Posted by: b0mbay at April 26, 2006 5:55 PM
Comment #143340

Lets consider this. What is the purpose of Tax? From the position that the purpose of tax is to support our govenment in all its capacities then a natural quest becomes. Should those who benefit the most from government pay the most? If you consider that a majority of our money goes to Defense, in all its manifestations, then the people who have the most to loose should be the ones footing the bill! We can consider the people who benefit the most from Education, another large expenditure next.

Posted by: 037 at April 26, 2006 6:29 PM
Comment #143344

I suggest cutting tax breaks that benefit the rich and tax breaks for companies that post record profits (oil might be a good place to start) to keep the wealthy from running away with the money in the first place. -but the estate tax should not be reinstated. how many layers of tax should anyone have to pay?

Posted by: Brian at April 26, 2006 6:41 PM
Comment #143346

The estate tax repeal would ‘collectively net them a windfall of $71.6 billion.’”

It will cost us almost 3/4 of a trillion dollars in lost revenue.

Unless I’m bad at math, I think your math is wrong. I see it as 7.1% of a trillion, not 71%. Either way it’s a lot of money for you or me, but our governemt - whoever is in control, repubs or dems - would most likely waste it on some useless study. I guess this issue doesn’t bother me so much as waste that is in our goverment. And I don’t blame a specific party, just the whole system.

Oh yeah, I am defense government contractor so my livelyhood is tied a lot of these wasteful practices.

Posted by: rob at April 26, 2006 6:44 PM
Comment #143350

bombay-
Unless you happen to make millions in your lifetime, you won’t be affected by this tax. Moreover, even if these people see their legacies cut in half, they will still be left with millions.

When you already have millions, it’s not a moral crusade to see the estate tax struck down. It’s greedy self-interest, plain and simple. We would like to think that we can keep each and every dime we earn, but in fact most of the average person’s money typically goes to someone else. Taxes are just another payment among many, a payment for the services rendered to us by the government, which we the people set through our leaders.

Some frame their protest against taxes in terms of limiting government spending, but as the past few years have shown us, especially with this congress, lowered revenues do little to discourage spending. In fact, it seems, the lack of any balanced budget to bust makes it all the easier to just keep on spending.

What is insane, ultimately, is paying for the government through debt financing indefinitely. We can keep on thinking we’re getting free money here, but the fact is, we’re literally paying for these taxes, sooner or later.

I’m for moderate taxes, for cutting waste in government, and trimming unnecessary programs and bullshit from our budget. If we don’t get our priorities straight here, we will pay for our excesses. I’d rather not do that.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 26, 2006 7:02 PM
Comment #143352

People keeping their own money is not a windfall. It’s their money.
And yes, the estate tax does destroy the businesses of people who are not super rich. Many businesses are worth a lot of money on paper but when all the bills are paid the owners are still in the middle class income bracket.
People who favor the estate tax don’t seem to know or care about the hard work and sacrifice it takes to build a business.
The rich will benefit from repeal of the estate tax but small business owners will benefit even more, not “trickle down”, but directly.
The estate tax is the most immoral tax we have and should be opposed on that ground alone, regardless of the practical aspects. Democrat ecomomics is even simpler: take from the hard working business owners who supply most of the jobs and give to the filthy rich politicians.

Posted by: traveller at April 26, 2006 7:10 PM
Comment #143356

oh, poor republicans, why don’t you play me your fiddle? Your cries about “leaving the rich alone, they earned it” is nothing more than selfishness. I suppose the rich didn’t rely on anyone else, didn’t need any cooperation from anybody else in the process of becoming rich, because you know, they don’t use any social services at all, right? Oh, that’s right, the rich DO benefit from all the efforts of this society, so I guess it’s too much to ask that they actually give back….

Posted by: dirk at April 26, 2006 7:42 PM
Comment #143357

Everyone seems to miss one vital point. It takes money for the government to operate. It takes money for any entity to operate. Just as an example lets take my family:

My dad died when I was nine years old. He was a commodities broker but he died while the markets were low and we grew up poor. I hated being poor. I busted my ass so I’d never be poor again. I graduated from high school at the age of seventeen and I worked my way through college.

Until my illness hit about fifty-two months ago I was always the “most well-off financially” within my family. So, who do you turn to when you need money? It was me because I had money. Pretty damn simple isn’t it? I’m certainly not bitter about it.

The government needs money to operate. The money must come from someone. They can’t get it from the poor. Everyone loves to bash the welfare system and I’m sure there is abuse of the system just as there are those who cheat on their taxes.

Bottom line: if you need money you get it from someone that has money. I would also add that the lions share of my farm and ranch assets were protected from, not only taxes, but three divorces through incorporation.

Just for “shits and giggles” the next time you need a loan go ask some homeless guy instead of a bank and then let me know how that works out. Maybe you can trade some homeless veterans blood for the amount of a car payment.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at April 26, 2006 7:42 PM
Comment #143358

Stephen said:

Unless you happen to make millions in your lifetime, you won’t be affected by this tax. Moreover, even if these people see their legacies cut in half, they will still be left with millions.

Really? What about the farmer who’s land is suddenly surrounded by suburbs that weren’t there a generation ago when he took over the family farm? What about the small business man that built a company into an $8 million dollar business that nets him $200,000/ year and would net his heirs the same. Should they be forced to sell the businesses or go into debt to finance continued ownership to pay the taxes?

The reality is that up until now the death tax affected only the super-rich because most American’s were not invested in highly appreciable assets other than their homes. The baby boomers are the first generation with 401(k)’s for retirement and their own portfolios. Thanks to the 90’s and the rapid run up of the market, those that timed it well are now well above the cap. They plan to live on the money for the rest of their lives. However, the reality is that the actuarial tables are going to catch some of them and the estates of the middle and upper middle classes are now going to be affected.

In addition, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number and value of small businesses. Businesses that net an income in the upper middle class range (say between $100 and $200K a year) now have paper valuations that put the owners into play for the death tax. The sadder part for these is that the businesses are not always easily liquified (at least to their full paper values), so the heirs could end up financing their taxes. Additionally, they are not easily broken out so that you can sell pieces to pay the tax burden and still have a semi-functioning whole.

So while we can posture that it only will affect a very few; the reality is that the upper middle class will start to be affected in greater numbers over the next generation. Some argue that redistribution of wealth is a noble goal for govenment to take on, but I can’t really see how it’s any of the government’s business.

Posted by: Rob at April 26, 2006 7:46 PM
Comment #143359

Sorry the last post was by The other Rob, not the defense contractor (just a lowly State Government contractor here).

Posted by: The other Rob at April 26, 2006 7:50 PM
Comment #143361

What I don’t think people grasp is that it (like KansasDem said) take money to run the government. If we were to evenly spread the burden out among everyone - even an equal share of each person’s income, the majority of Americans could not handle their share. When you give tax cuts to the wealthy, or anyone for that matter, the money must come from somewhere else - or not be spent. I know the tendacy is to not spend the money - but as we can see, no matter who is in control, money will be spent.

We can’t hit the poor for it - having homeless, hungery, desparate people on the streets makes for a very ugly, unstable and dangerous society.

We can’t hit the middle income people for it - they can not afford to take the hit without giving up major spending, and the middle class is the engine that makes America an economic super power (or such that it is today.)

We can hit the rich for it because it’s not fair. Now, that’s a lame argument. First, they gain more by living here than the rest of us - so I don’t buy the fair thing. Also, these are the guys who make their profit by cutting pension funds, running off-shore tax shelters and other loop-holes, the ones that give themselves raises while cutting 10% of their staff… If they are heavily invested in corporate America - they are the ones who get immediate gratification (boosting stock prices short term, etc.) while middle America sees their incomes stagnate and their jobs shipped overseas. They will not give you a fair shake when they have the chance, why do you want so badly to give them a “fair” shake.

Besides - didn’t everyone hear that “life isn’t fair.” Some kids are born wealthy, is that fair? The wealthy pay more taxes, is that fair? Some people are born ugly, is that fair? Shoud ugly people pay less or more taxes?

The point is - we have a system that works. I am not about to risk it all for the sole benefit of those who already have more money than they could spend.

Posted by: tony at April 26, 2006 8:04 PM
Comment #143363

Please don’t forget that most of the super-rich that are fighting the inheritance tax actually did not make it on their own. Most inherited from generations back who actually did earn the money and invest it wisely.

Why should they be exempted becausse they great-grandfthers were able to work? Rich or poor?
Just to be fair.

Posted by: Linda H. at April 26, 2006 8:09 PM
Comment #143365

“In addition, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number and value of small businesses. Businesses that net an income in the upper middle class range (say between $100 and $200K a year) now have paper valuations that put the owners into play for the death tax. The sadder part for these is that the businesses are not always easily liquified (at least to their full paper values), so the heirs could end up financing their taxes. Additionally, they are not easily broken out so that you can sell pieces to pay the tax burden and still have a semi-functioning whole.”

OK - now this is my game to a tee. If you own a small business - take $1000 to a lawyer who specializes in small business. With a life insurance policy, a living estate, a good will - you can really start to plan on moving your estate around to thos ewho you want to have it with little or no tax issues. Also, if you have kids, start giving them shares in your company - small gifts throughout the years. They can earn a good bit of “income” without paying taxes, and everything they earn while they are young will not be taxed. Hell, give the shares in your company as part of their allowance.

If you create enough shares - say a million shares in your company… you can make as many as you like… Each partner gets 100,000. You give your wife some stock, your kids stock… and your company takes out a life insurance policy on you. The catch - it names your wife/family as the benficiaries, but apon your death, your company stock is “given” back to the company (this goes in your company by-laws.) So, when you die - your family gets money and they end up owning the company by virtue of owning the sole outstanding shares in the company.

There’s a million ways to play the game. So, the ones who loose their small companies simply failed to play the game correctly.

Posted by: tony at April 26, 2006 8:15 PM
Comment #143366

“and everything they earn while they are young will not be taxed.” shoudl read that it will not be taxed later when they are adults.

Posted by: tony at April 26, 2006 8:17 PM
Comment #143367

dirk,
I don’t have the figures in front of me but I’ve read, from several varied sources, that the rich pay more than their share. The top 5% pay almost 60% of the income tax, the top 20% pay somewhere in the neighborhood of 80-90% and the bottom 25% pay nothing. In fact, some get back more than is withheld.
Yes, most rich people DID earn it. Playgirls like Paris Hilton are the exception, not the rule. The tone of your post is envious.
btw-I’m NOT a Republican.

Posted by: traveller at April 26, 2006 8:19 PM
Comment #143370

The top 10% own 71% of all private wealth.
The top 1% now own more than the bottom 90%.

I’d say the top 5% paying almost 60% of the income tax is a bargain for the rich.

http://www.osjspm.org/101_wealth.htm

Posted by: tony at April 26, 2006 8:28 PM
Comment #143373

The problem of only taxing income, not estates:

If I am born into a rich family - say my Grandfather built a national company. I do not get a paycheck, in fact I have never earned an income - I can live off my estate. I never pay State or Federal income tax.

If I call the cops - do they come? Usually faster than for poor citizens. The fire department? Absolutely. Do I have trash picked up? Do I get to vote? Do I get every single service the government has to offer it’s citizens. Absolutely.

Do I deserve to get all this for free simply because I’m rich and don’t need to WORK for a living?

Posted by: tony at April 26, 2006 8:34 PM
Comment #143375

Or…

If I get an estate of $50 million - and I have to pay $25 million in taxes… bam, it kind of sucks right off the bat. But now I have $25 million to live the rest of my life off of, and I never, ever have to pay taxes on that money again. The tax I pay starts to look a lot like the culmination of the income tax most Americans pay.

Posted by: tony at April 26, 2006 8:44 PM
Comment #143376

traveller:

You do know that the VAST majority of the super-rich are the sons and daughters who have never worked a day, right?

Posted by: Aldous at April 26, 2006 8:45 PM
Comment #143377

Right wing Estate Tax lie #1…

“when is the government entitled to money just cause you die.”

-It is not a tax on the dead person. It’s a tax on assets with unrealized capital gains.

Right wing Estate Tax lie #2, and #3…

“Why do you all care so much about other peoples money and what they do with it?”

-It is not about what they do with their money, it’s about fair tax policy. Those who inherit great wealth are free to do what they wish with it, just pay your tax (see Lie # 1).

“Are you really that threatened by their success?”

-No.

Right wing Estate Tax lie #4…

“Why do liberals hate anyone that has more then they do?”

-We don’t.


To All,

“It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”
—Adam Smith

Posted by: Patrick Howse at April 26, 2006 8:46 PM
Comment #143379

Ah, the resident right wingers get the vapors over other peoples taxes.
If you look at real statistics, the cases of a medium to small business going BK over the estate tax are practically nonexistent.
The idea is that the inheritant (Paris Hilton) is getting a huge INCOME (her inheritance) without having EARNED it.
The estate tax will hardly put a dent in her Gucci thong collection.
There are a million loopholes and shelters that the mega rich already enjoy (Cayman islands P.O.Box?)
Our beloved bushbots on this forum ask why we hate rich people? I’ll ask them: Why do you worship them? It aint your tax. Why the froth?

Posted by: Norby at April 26, 2006 8:54 PM
Comment #143380

Great post, Paul. So glad you’ve taken this up in an article.

(Despite other good replies) The fantastic reply (ies) award goes to… tony!
Way to go, sir! Everyone should go back and re-read everything you’ve written in this thread. It’s nothing but the Plain Truth!

My Dear Fellow Hardworking Americans,
The Super Rich don’t need our sympathy, or tax cuts, or an escape from the estate tax — they need to start paying their fair share for living so high off the g*ddamn hog in our country and taking advantage of everyone else. If you find yourself harboring a naive hope that there is always the chance that you may one day rank yourselves among them (this is the working-class-Republican curse, IMO), well, please try being honest with yourselves, and think again. After you’ve done that, tell yourself that Life, She is Beautiful without ever being a Fat-Cat, and then go a take a look at this article I read just today:
America’s rags-to-riches dream an illusion: study

Posted by: Adrienne at April 26, 2006 8:58 PM
Comment #143381

Wow - thanks, I’m speechless. I try…

Posted by: tony at April 26, 2006 9:02 PM
Comment #143384

People who have millions of dollars don’t have it all in cash lying in a vault like Scrooge McDuck. It’s invested in businesses of varying sizes. To get the liquidity to write the IRS a check means the money has to be taken out of those investments.
All this whining about inheritors having wealth without having to work is nothing but envy. In my job I deal with the owners of industrial construction companies on a daily basis. Some of them are very, very rich. Some of them inherited the business or the money they used to start the business. They work hard and take enormous financial risks. (If you want to see guts, watch someone sign a $20 mil personal completion bond on a high risk project). They also provide a means to make a good living to hundreds of families.
The heirs who are unworthy of their money usually don’t keep it long. I’ve known and worked with formerly rich people who blew through the money and are now just working stiffs.
Worship the rich? No! I respect those who demonstrate that they’re worthy of their wealth. I detest trash like Paris Hilton, but I don’t envy them.
What this all boils down to is I hate injustice and that’s what your envy has bred. This isn’t a question of the rights of the heirs. It’s a matter of the right of people to dispose of their property as they wish. If you diminish the rights of one, you diminish the rights of all. Norby, it isn’t my tax, but it is unjust. That’s why the froth.

Posted by: traveller at April 26, 2006 9:40 PM
Comment #143387

Tony,

You said, “OK - now this is my game to a tee. If you own a small business - take $1000 to a lawyer who specializes in small business. With a life insurance policy, a living estate, a good will - you can really start to plan on moving your estate around to thos ewho you want to have it with little or no tax issues. Also, if you have kids, start giving them shares in your company - small gifts throughout the years. They can earn a good bit of “income” without paying taxes, and everything they earn while they are young will not be taxed. Hell, give the shares in your company as part of their allowance.”

You’re actually very damn close. I’ve been through many ups and downs my entire life. I’ve probably paid as much in legal fees as I have in taxes and I’ve never stopped to cry about either.

Right now my oldest son is having one hell of a time trying to make beef and pork pay off to keep him afloat. That’s the way it goes. The most fair tax is tax on those who can pay the tax. No tax should bankrupt an individual or a business.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at April 26, 2006 9:48 PM
Comment #143388

“All this whining about inheritors having wealth without having to work is nothing but envy.”

Traveller,
Why, when its an opposing viewpoint, is it “whining”? I believe I was stating my opinion, just like you. Are YOU whining?
Also, No, I don’t ‘envy’ Paris Hilton. I think she’s a shallow attention whore with no discernable talent.
I realize that right wingers worship the mega rich with zealous idolatry. I often wonder why.

“What this all boils down to is I hate injustice and that’s what your envy has bred.”

Of all the injustices in the world, the estate tax actually rates high enough to get this much response from the right half of this forum?
What’s so unfair about taxing INCOME, just because it comes from your parents? You didn’t earn it. You’ll have plenty left over. Why this issue?

“If you diminish the rights of one, you diminish the rights of all.”

The rich in America already HAVE extra rights. Just ask OJ.
You get direct access to politicians that none of us could ever hope to have.
You can do almost ANYTHING and not go to jail.
The cops show up to your mansion in 3 minutes when you call. With half the force.
Making money when you have money is 10 times easier than making it in the first place.
You don’t have to fly with, or even stand near riff raff.
Sorry, the rising price of gas has hurt a million times more people, more deeply than the estate tax. Yet most of you guys get frothy defending their right to gouge us too.
Quite often, reading the rights posts, I simply scratch my head and wonder why people think that way.

Posted by: Norby at April 26, 2006 10:00 PM
Comment #143389


The wealthy families in the article that would owe the government 71.6 billion could be given an option. they could give the money to the government in which case it will probably be spent on Iraq or pork. Or, they could give 71600 of our poorest families 1 million each. A few of the families will invest the money and live off the dividends and interest. This would save the gov a bunch in food stamps alone. Many will blow the money in a few short months. This would be a boon to the small buisnesses in their local economy and eventually work it’s way back up the chain to some wealthy family.

Posted by: jlw at April 26, 2006 10:10 PM
Comment #143390

The estate tax serves the purpose of keeping our Country free and our democracy alive. I challange anyone to find a farmer that has suffered because of the estate tax, Its pure fiction. Ask GW, the white house has tried and could not do it.Look up the names Soldano, Boggs,Luntz. Its a scam according to David Cay Johnson author of Perfectly Legal.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 26, 2006 10:13 PM
Comment #143391

There is very little evidence in our country that the economy does better with Democrats in power or Repubicans in power. There is evidence that Socialism (like Europe) hurts the growth rate of the economy. High taxes like in Europe slow economics down.

The difference that Democrats should be pushing is social justice. There is not question in my mind that we no matter what the big numbers are on GDP, (which I maintain are good no matter who is in office if one looks at the long term), the poor suffer in all. With globalization, it is the poor who are going to suffer.

The problem I have with the Democrats is they wont get off their behinds and lead. The only policy I see from the democratic party is that George Bush is always wrong. With Globalization reducing the standard of living for the bottom half and increasing the standard of living for the upper half, I see no leader from the left that right now has the credibility to protect these citizen’s livelihood. You are link a bango with one string.

Just look at this forum. It should be renamed “What we don’t like about Bush today”. Sorry, but that is really a dis service to our country. We need policies and ideas from the left based on social justice and solid economics that will work. WE need the left to fight for healthcare, job retraining, educational funding.

Do you know that corporate profits are at or near 45 year highs? You know where a bunch of that money is coming from? It is coming form profits overseas. Know why they are making so much money overseas? Because of globalization. Wouldn’t social justice indicate that some of the profits from overseas might be a sourse of revenue for retraining displaced workers?

Now after hearing for decades we need higher oil prices to move us away from oil dependency we have that, and democrats are of course blaming Bush. (back to the one string bango). Wouldn’t it be better to fight for a windfall tax for research on non fossil fuels or something?

Is it any wonder that Randy Rhodes numbers on the radio are so far down? Why did the Democratic party of Kennedy, and Rosevelt and Truman become so mean and negative? When did the party of ideas become the pary of the one string bango?

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at April 26, 2006 10:23 PM
Comment #143394

Norby,
No, I’m not whining. I’m not complaining about people having more than me.
No, we don’t “worship the mega rich with zealous idolatry”. Defending a class of people who are being attacked for being members of that class isn’t idol worship. (I expect the irony of that statement in this context is lost on you)
“Of all the injustices in the world, the estate tax actually rates high enough to get this much response from the right half of this forum?” Did you read Paul Siegel’s post that started this thread? Also, it illustrates the left’s callous disregard for the rights and property of others.
“If you diminish the rights of one, you diminish the rights of all” A very wise and profound statement, indeed. The very essence of American liberty and justice. I wish I could take credit for it, but I can’t. It’s much older than me.
The fact that the rich have privileges (not rights) that the rest of us don’t have doesn’t make it any less a principle to live by.
Conversations with lefties make me scratch my head, too, and wonder how they get out of bed without hurting themselves.lol

Posted by: traveller at April 26, 2006 10:34 PM
Comment #143397

Craig,

It’s good to know how the 32% that still support Bush actually think. Just keep voting Republican because they’ve improved everything since ‘94. I’m lovin’ the contract with America. I’d love to see a Bush 3rd term.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at April 26, 2006 11:07 PM
Comment #143399

This is a TRULY interesting discussion. The first thing I noticed as I scrolled down the postings was the almost hysterical and incoherent tone of the first few right-wing messages and the lack of logic or intelligence in those that followed. Nothing changes on that score.

The arguments in favor of a tax policy that controls the concentration of wealth overwhelmingly outnumber those that oppose such controls, and go far back in our history.

The Founding Fathers did not eliminate the English system of primogeniture just because they didn’t have anything else to do that day. They understood how concentrating wealth in the hands of those who had never done anything to earn it led to the inevitable decline of society.

Will Durant referred to the “pathological concentration of wealth” as one of the chief causes of the decline of previous civilizations. Andrew Carnegie, the arch capitalist and defender of such concentration, said it was justified only if the super-wealthy used their wealth - ALL of it - to create institutions that would benefit all of society.

It is only because Carnegie, JP Morgan, John D. Rockefeller and others among the super-wealthy of the past used much of their wealth to create educational, cultural and scientific institutions that benefit all of us that we have forgiven how they got their money in the first place. How many of today’s super wealthy are creating the kinds of institutions that Carnegie, JP Morgan and others left behind?

What is striking about the tax policies favored by the Republican Right - and their supporters in the Religious Right - is that they not only don’t believe in Carnegie’s “Gospel of Wealth” but despise the idea of using wealth for the good of society. It is clear from their statements and writings that they believe this violates God’s obvious sorting of human beings into the worthy wealthy and the unworthy rest.

This is part, I think, of the Southernization of the Republican Right. The social order and tax policy favored by Southern politicians since John C. Calhoun has been, in essence, class warfare waged by the wealthy, and the neo-Calvinistic. The Southern Baptist Convention even turned this into a creed in 2000.

Concentrated wealth in the hands of an amoral privileged class, supported by fanatic believers in a perverse corruption of religion, may have already created a fatal stranglehold on our legislative and judicial institutions, on our military, and on our elections. I hope not for all our sakes.

Posted by: Robert Benjamin at April 26, 2006 11:24 PM
Comment #143400

The reason there should be an estate tax, and a tax on investment income, and closed tax loopholes for corporations, and elimination of tax dodges, tax deferrals and tax forgiveness for big business, the reason that all this should come to pass—is because it horribly pisses off all the right-wingers here at this blog. I can’t think of a nobler cause.

Traveller:
It’s a matter of the right of people to dispose of their property as they wish. If you diminish the rights of one, you diminish the rights of all.

Of all the rights that have been trampled upon, abused, taken away, sneered at, and generally ignored under this Republican government, that property rights have your undivided attention is sooooo typical. Well, here’s another statement to anger my political enemies—FUCK PROPERTY RIGHTS!
We can’t even be sure that our votes count in this fascist state anymore—I’ll be damned if I’m going to shed a tear for property owners.

We’ve got old people trying to decide whether they can afford their catfood or their medications this week. One out of eight children in this country go to bed hungry—EVERY SINGLE NIGHT OF THE WEEK! The top ten percent of wealth in this country have been making out like bandits. And 70 million people are unemployed or underemployed.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again—TAKE YOUR PROPERTY RIGHTS AND SHOVE IT!!!

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 26, 2006 11:31 PM
Comment #143408

Cliff and kctim,

With all due respect, I think you’re both missing the point. No one here is against rich people. I love rich people. They usually pick up the tab.

What we’re against is favoritism. Look again at the statistics Paul gave you:

• About 2/3 - 66% - say they (the middle class) live from paycheck to paycheck.
• The real median household income declined 3% from 2000 to 2004.

When the price of gasoline, heating oil, natural gas, health insurance, et.al. keeps going up but wages don’t, the middle class gets squeezed. They can’t keep up. Which is why nealry 66% percent of them live from paycheck to paycheck.

To be more specific: last night, CNN reported that there are 280 million middle class people in this country. That’s 280 million people who will not benefit from a repeal in the estate tax vs. the approximately 20,000 it will. Can you not see how ridiculously skewed this is?

American Progress (http://www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=860671) reports that:

“Including the interest payments on additional debt, full and permanent repeal of the estate tax would cost nearly $1 trillion over the first ten years of implementation. Many of the supposed “compromises” under discussion would cost more than 90 percent as much. These costs would add to current annual deficits of over $400 billion and the $7.7 trillion national debt. The nation would bear the weight of these enormous costs as a whole, but the benefits would go to a small number of America’s wealthiest heirs.”

And the Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A45305-2005Apr11.html) states:

“With so many other taxes around, it’s hard to understand why this is the one Congress would repeal. It falls, in effect, on the heirs to the wealthiest Americans. Fewer than 1 percent of the people who died in 2004 paid an estate tax In 2004, {an estimated 18,800 estates}, and half the revenue from the tax came from estates valued at $10 million or more.

Yet, because the wealthy have gotten wealthier over the past three decades or so, the estate tax produces a lot of money. Counting both revenue losses and added interest costs, complete repeal of the estate tax would cost the government close to $1 trillion between 2012 and 2021, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.”

This is about favoritism and greed, my friends. Repealing the estate tax will only befit those 20,000 individuals who already drink $400 bottles of wine for dinner, yet will do nothing to help the 280 million people who can barely afford to drive to the grocery store to buy milk. And this is a good idea?

C’mon Cliff and kctim. You can’t be serious.

Posted by: Mister Magoo at April 26, 2006 11:49 PM
Comment #143413

well how about finding a small business family that went bankrupt because of the estate tax in the last quarter century? Any one? its a scam the tax should stay, So far I havent seen a convincing arguement for the tax to go.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 27, 2006 12:19 AM
Comment #143414

Robert Benjamin,
In your first paragraph, change “right wing” to “left wing” and you have my assessment of this thread.
It isn’t surprising that a strident socialist would attribute the decline of civilizations to the concentration of wealth.
I don’t know where you came up with that nonsense about the right despising the use of wealth for the good of society and God sorting human beings. That contradicts everything I’ve ever read or heard preached.
In your last paragraph change “amoral” to “immoral” and you have a right wing view of the left.

Posted by: traveller at April 27, 2006 12:20 AM
Comment #143415

Tim Crow,
Remember that when someone steals from you.

Posted by: traveller at April 27, 2006 12:24 AM
Comment #143418

Traveller:

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!


Your Strident socialist political enemy,

Tim

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 27, 2006 12:35 AM
Comment #143419

Traveller, socialist like Warren Buffett also support the estate tax.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 27, 2006 12:40 AM
Comment #143420

The way I see it is Republicans have spent all our money and passed massive debt onto this nation. We all need to do our part to get ourselves out of this scrape and buy back our country from China. Republicans will tell you the way to do this is to… cut taxes? They live in a fantasy world and show next to no concern for the well-being of this country. Citizens of this country will all have to do their part to pay for this president’s negligence I am afraid.

Posted by: Max at April 27, 2006 12:53 AM
Comment #143424

Can anyone please enumerate for me:
What is the massive debt from the “Republicans?” (or are we not including the nearly three trillion added to the national debt from ‘92 to ‘00)
Are there no Democrats who own oil stocks, take advantage of lower estate taxex, loopholes, etc?
How is the economy so bad?
What is so bad about putting more money in my pocket?
Not having attacks on Americans since the War on Terror is finally being waged is a bad thing?
And who on this thread - having won, say 200 million in the lottery - would be happy to give the government 75% ?
Just curious…

Posted by: LLE at April 27, 2006 1:10 AM
Comment #143426

LLE,

Where do you get $3 trillion added to the debt during the Clinton administration? Now remember, you can’t count 1992 because he didn’t take office until 1993. Here are two sites showing the national debt for each year here, and directly from the CBO here.

I have seen messages of “golly gee you guys…it’s not fair that you bring up Bush and the Republicans adding over $2 trillion to the debt in just 5 1/3 years…remember Clinton let the debt go up on his watch too,” posted by several right wingers in order to justify the bankrupting of America. I really want to put an end to this spin on the Clinton debt increase: YOU CANNOT JUST GO FROM A NEARLY $300 BILLION DEFICIT UNDER THE LAST YEAR OF OLD BUSH TO A SURPLUS IN JUST ONE YEAR WITHOUT HARMING THE ECONOMY. A gradual approach in reducing the yearly deficits was undertaken until we had a surplus by the end of Clinton’s term.

Of course all that work was undone the moment little Bush got his tax breaks. I hope you Republicans will be happy when the dollar becomes worthless and America descends into chaos.

Posted by: bushflipflops at April 27, 2006 1:55 AM
Comment #143427

If you want to read something really scary about our possible future check out this.

Silver and Gold, Silver and Gold, I’m going to move all my investments into Silver and Gold!

Posted by: bushflipflops at April 27, 2006 2:04 AM
Comment #143429

Perhaps a compromise might be to reduce the estate tax by the amount the person invested in capital improvements in a publically held company or gave to charity.

If I win a $10 million dollar lottery and the government takes $6 million of it, who am I to complain, since I never earned the money or added anything to the economy for it, and I have enough left over to live better than the majority of people in the richest country in the world?

How about if the money collected from estate taxes were used only for capital improvements of the public infrastructure, which inevitably adds to economic activity. Perhaps into education, like the lottery money is often used.

Many wealthy people either form foundations to protect their fortunes from estate tax and to make sure their offspring don’t get it all at once and buy the Taj Mahal and go broke in ten years. It is common enough for the inheritors of great estates to do nothing but spend their money overseas on travel and luxury items, so it doesn’t even come back to our economy in that way, much less as capital.

Should people be forced to be productive with their money? No, but as long as everyone else is being taxed for their productive labors (income tax), something the inheritor will never pay, the inheritor should pay out of their inheritance the equivalent of what someone would pay who earned the same amount in income.

Posted by: Qurmudjin at April 27, 2006 2:13 AM
Comment #143431

I’ve said it once, but I keep reading how the estate tax is just a form of envy, or a tax on death, or other such nonsense…

It’s a tax on assets with unrealized capital gains.

end of story.

Posted by: Patrick Howse at April 27, 2006 2:28 AM
Comment #143432

To be fair, few democracies, the US included exibit much internal consistency regarding economic policy. International economic policies tend to be more stable because of treaty commitments and in fact support the free[er] market claims very well. Domestically we have hybridization of progressive taxation, regressive taxation, government subsidies, credit incentives, welfare (even welfare through tax credits in the form of the earned income credit which is insane when you are an economist or a tax lawyer, I happen to be trained as both), etc… So although we can all agree our economy is pretty messed, it should be at least recognized that what we have is NOT a free market, it is a serverly constrained market with many market failures.

Posted by: Xander Jones at April 27, 2006 2:35 AM
Comment #143433

“severely” rather

Posted by: Xander Jones at April 27, 2006 2:36 AM
Comment #143434

There is all the conditions for a perfect economic storm coming. A 9 Trillion dollar national debt, our military locked into a two-front war with no way out, the price tag being 1-2 billion a week, increasing foreign debt to Japan and China, lack-luster job creation, the hemorrhaging of the higher-paying jobs overseas and the hollowing out of American industrial production, the increased indebtedness by the middle class to keep up through sapping liquidity by borrowing on equity and risky second mortgages while the housing boom slowly fissles. When these ARM (adjustable rate mortgages) start kicking in, there is going to be some nasty surprises,(thank goodness the Credit Card industry had the foresight to revamp the bankruptcy laws—they are really set for a windfall!), plus the stunning economic gap between the rich and poor that rivals the Robber Baron days…not to mention the end of cheap oil, a reality of unfathomable economic challange.

The American dream is not sustainable, and hasn’t been for quite awhile.

What’s really amusing is that Democratic partisans believe kicking out the Republicans will start turning this catastrophe around. (The Republicans think everything is hunky-dory as it is, and why shouldn’t they?). The mantra of d.a.n. and Dave and the middle column people is vote out irresponsible incumbents. I’m taking a new tack—the Democrats haven’t a clue (at least the Bidens, and the Liebermans and the Kerrys and the Clintons) how to correct all the things that have been broken, neglected or ignored for the past ten years or so (in fact, several of them have enabled the fiasco), god knows the Republicans have stolen or sold off anything that hasn’t been nailed down—their paen to free enterprise is essentially to privatize the profits and socialize the risks and the costs.

So, this economic storm is going to happen much sooner than later—I believe with the next year to two years. I think all incumbents should be reelected—so when the shit hits the fan, they will be left holding the bag. There is no way any opposition party is going to bail out this country from its 40-year profligacy. So my election theme is this—reelect the bastards: Because They Deserve It!

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 27, 2006 2:40 AM
Comment #143442

If you hit the lottery you pay taxes on the winnings, and i don’t hear any crying about it. “Death Tax” is just a marketing gimmick. The ‘estate’ inherited by others becomes income to the receiver. Why shouldn’t they pay taxes on it?

Posted by: synecdoche at April 27, 2006 5:33 AM
Comment #143444

>>I don’t have the figures in front of me but I’ve read, from several varied sources, that the rich pay more than their share. The top 5% pay almost 60% of the income tax, the top 20% pay somewhere in the neighborhood of 80-90% and the bottom 25% pay nothing. In fact, some get back more than is withheld.
Yes, most rich people DID earn it. Playgirls like Paris Hilton are the exception, not the rule. The tone of your post is envious.
btw-I’m NOT a Republican.

Posted by: traveller at April 26, 2006 08:19 PM

t,

I’ve posted this elsewhere, but think it;s apropo here as well…

In a recent article in Forbes Magazine, it was reported that the world now has 793 billionaires, with more in the United States than in any other country. Furthermore, there was an increase of 102 from the previous year; 44 of those were in the U.S., again more than in any other country. Most of these gains in riches resulted from after-tax gains in the stock and bond markets.
So, how can anyone with a sound mind and a straight face contend that income taxes are too high on capital gains, interest and dividends? Then the question arises as to who among us owns most of these stocks and bonds. Over 50 percent is owned by 1 percent of all taxpayers, and 85 percent is owned by 10 percent of all tax-paying families.
As to the estate tax, in 2003, 2,448,488 Americans died, but only 30,276 left behind enough to owe any estate tax. Please note that the 30,276 taxable estate tax returns represented only 1.24 percent of all people who died in 2003. Of those filing, 520 taxable estates worth over $20 million paid more than a quarter of the estate taxes. Out of the total filings, were 3,494 taxable estates worth more than $5 million, and they paid 62 percent of all federal estate taxes.
Don’t miss the point: In spite of all income and estate taxes, we still had an increase of 44 billionaires in the U.S. during 2003. Taxes are too high on the rich? To say so is pure, unadulterated, Karl Rovian bull shit.


Posted by: Marysdude at April 27, 2006 7:24 AM
Comment #143448

Why should I have sympathy for the rich’s problem. It’s not that I hate them. I plan to be a rich person one of these days. Thing is, I’ve been through real problems, and had to deal with truly unfair circumstances. I don’t have much compassion for a person whose problem is that they’re rich, but not as rich as they’d like. From those who much is given to, much is expected. You cannot have wealth without people expecting you to exercise responsibility with it.

If you don’t want ma and pa to lose the farm or the business, I’m all for writing exemptions to prevent this from happening. Additionally, I’m not sure why people on this site have not considered the role of estate planning with all this, or the fact that if these people wanted to eliminate much of that liability, they could just give their kids the money or the Business before they die! Point is, the estate tax is not some inescapable doom, nor does it have to be.

The Right has done this country a disservice by making taxes themselves the immorality, even in the face of excessive borrowing. It’s become one of their primary issues for getting people elected, and for one simple reason: it’s legalized bribery of the public. Vote for me and I’ll get your money back. Only problem is, we’re not getting our money back. We’re getting somebody else’s money, and we will have to pay that back with interest.

It’s a con game, then, so long as no serious cuts in spending are made. The Republican Party can talk all it wants to about starving the beast, but as long as they’re not willing to take the political risk and start slashing programs and obligations, these tax cuts are a fraud and a deception for which we will end up sacrificing our future prosperity. Better that we limit prosperity for now by paying for what we’re getting, than we destroy our future hopes indulging our instant gratification at this highly inappropriate in our history.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 27, 2006 7:54 AM
Comment #143450

It seems to me the lefties on this blog have forgotten an important fact regarding the estates in question: THEY HAVE BEEN TAXED ALREADY!

It shouldn’t matter who gets the inheritance, the fed has already dipped their fingers into when it was earned and again if there were capital gains. The fed has no right to tax it again.

I also think that wa-wa-wa’ers forget who actually pays the taxes, consumers. Since the rich only amount to 10% of the population, that leaves 90% to foot the bill for the 10%.

Posted by: walkswithwheels at April 27, 2006 9:43 AM
Comment #143453

Why is it that the wealthy, who have so much more say about how our culture is structured and the laws that are passed and enforced, don’t want to pay their share of financing the nation and preserving the freedoms that allowed them to become wealthy in the first place? Under Marxist theory, this is called “ideology,” whereby a nation’s elites fool the general populace into believing that the concerns of the elites are everybody’s concerns. Sadly, we have an overabundance of chumps in this country that believe the lies. Heads up, Gomer, youre Walmart job is never gonna make you eligible to pay the estate tax, but you will be working your ass off to cover the taxes not being paid by the wealthy — who know you to be, and thus are playing you for, a fool.

Posted by: Jim C. at April 27, 2006 9:55 AM
Comment #143459

Magoo
Thanks for taking the higher road with your response.

“When the price of gasoline, heating oil, natural gas, health insurance, et.al. keeps going up but wages don’t, the middle class gets squeezed. They can’t keep up. Which is why nealry 66% percent of them live from paycheck to paycheck”

Actually, keeping up with the Jones’ and credit abuse, are the real culprits.

“To be more specific: last night, CNN reported that there are 280 million middle class people in this country. That’s 280 million people who will not benefit from a repeal in the estate tax vs. the approximately 20,000 it will. Can you not see how ridiculously skewed this is?”

How many people will benefit by allowing gay marriage? How many will not?
Its not about ignoring the rights of the few
because it doesn’t affect the majority. Its about treating everybody as equals.

What is wrong with allowing people the choice on what to do with their own money? Why do you expect everybody else to do what you “say” is the right thing to do?

“Counting both revenue losses and added interest costs, complete repeal of the estate tax would cost the government close to $1 trillion between 2012 and 2021”

As it is an unfair tax that punishes success, repeal is warranted. IF a trillion is lost in that time, then a trillion worth of cuts should occur.

SD
“You cannot have wealth without people expecting you to exercise responsibility with it”

Responsibility as defined by who? To many, ensuring that your family and its future generations are financially secure, is considered being responsible.

Posted by: kctim at April 27, 2006 10:17 AM
Comment #143461

Median incomes have been falling for over 5 years. That is significant.

Also, even more importantly, something worse has been occurring for decades. The lower-to-middle class are getting squeezed. Corporatism, Corpocrisy, capitalism run-amuck, FOR SALE government and bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians, bloated government growing to nightmare proportions, fiscal and moral bankruptcy (all rooted in laziness, greed, and lack of transparency to discourage it) are destroying the future and security of the nation.
The g a p between the top 1% and remaining 99% of the population has never been worse since The Great Depression of 1929:

The problem is really in us all.
Irresponsible government, and lazy voters that ignore it, and tolerate it.
Voters will wake up when the pain grows bad enough.
Unfortunately, it is always too late to avoid unnecessary pain and misery.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 27, 2006 10:21 AM
Comment #143464

I’m really bummed that I missed so much of this particular post because this is one of my truly favorite topics. Bush and the Republicans have managed to scam the country into believing utter and complete nonsense. They’ve lied to the public by yakking about failed farmers and small businesses going under because of this tax when nary a one could be found. When the Democrats knew they didn’t have the votes to stop the estate tax repeal they offered amendments to the legislation: exempt farms, raise the amount at which the tax kicks in to something very high (like $10 million) and the Republicans repeatedly said no. It was all about “unfair” taxes.

You want to talk about “unfair?” Some opponent of the estate tax out there tell my why it is “fair” that a child in this country cannot get immunized against childhood diseases? Just a fraction of the revenue brought in by the estate tax will solve that problem.

I find the attitude of the opponents of the estate tax totally and completely incomprehensible.

Posted by: steve K at April 27, 2006 10:34 AM
Comment #143465

This may seem off-topic, but bear with me and read my comment at the end.

After learning to my surprise that I was a strident socialist (I had always deluded myself that I believed in regulated capitalism), I once again started looking into what kind of mentality produces these kinds of claims. I ran across the following 2003 press release from UC Berkeley about a study that 4 Berkeley researchers had just completed:

*************
Researchers help define what makes a political conservative

By Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations | 22 July 2003 (revised 7/25/03)

BERKELEY – Politically conservative agendas may range from supporting the Vietnam War to upholding traditional moral and religious values to opposing welfare. But are there consistent underlying motivations?

Four researchers who culled through 50 years of research literature about the psychology of conservatism report that at the core of political conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality, and that some of the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism include:

* Fear and aggression

* Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity

* Uncertainty avoidance

* Need for cognitive closure

* Terror management

“From our perspective, these psychological factors are capable of contributing to the adoption of conservative ideological contents, either independently or in combination,” the researchers wrote in an article, “Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition,” recently published in the American Psychological Association’s Psychological Bulletin.

Assistant Professor Jack Glaser of the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and Visiting Professor Frank Sulloway of UC Berkeley joined lead author, Associate Professor John Jost of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, and Professor Arie Kruglanski of the University of Maryland at College Park, to analyze the literature on conservatism.

The psychologists sought patterns among 88 samples, involving 22,818 participants, taken from journal articles, books and conference papers. The material originating from 12 countries included speeches and interviews given by politicians, opinions and verdicts rendered by judges, as well as experimental, field and survey studies.

Ten meta-analytic calculations performed on the material - which included various types of literature and approaches from different countries and groups - yielded consistent, common threads, Glaser said.

The avoidance of uncertainty, for example, as well as the striving for certainty, are particularly tied to one key dimension of conservative thought - the resistance to change or hanging onto the status quo, they said.

The terror management feature of conservatism can be seen in post-Sept. 11 America, where many people appear to shun and even punish outsiders and those who threaten the status of cherished world views, they wrote.

Concerns with fear and threat, likewise, can be linked to a second key dimension of conservatism - an endorsement of inequality, a view reflected in the Indian caste system, South African apartheid and the conservative, segregationist politics of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-South S.C.).

Disparate conservatives share a resistance to change and acceptance of inequality, the authors said. Hitler, Mussolini, and former President Ronald Reagan were individuals, but all were right-wing conservatives because they preached a return to an idealized past and condoned inequality in some form. Talk host Rush Limbaugh can be described the same way, the authors commented in a published reply to the article.

This research marks the first synthesis of a vast amount of information about conservatism, and the result is an “elegant and unifying explanation” for political conservatism under the rubric of motivated social cognition, said Sulloway. That entails the tendency of people’s attitudinal preferences on policy matters to be explained by individual needs based on personality, social interests or existential needs.

The researchers’ analytical methods allowed them to determine the effects for each class of factors and revealed “more pluralistic and nuanced understanding of the source of conservatism,” Sulloway said.

While most people resist change, Glaser said, liberals appear to have a higher tolerance for change than conservatives do.

As for conservatives’ penchant for accepting inequality, he said, one contemporary example is liberals’ general endorsement of extending rights and liberties to disadvantaged minorities such as gays and lesbians, compared to conservatives’ opposing position.

The researchers said that conservative ideologies, like virtually all belief systems, develop in part because they satisfy some psychological needs, but that “does not mean that conservatism is pathological or that conservative beliefs are necessarily false, irrational, or unprincipled.”

They also stressed that their findings are not judgmental.

“In many cases, including mass politics, ‘liberal’ traits may be liabilities, and being intolerant of ambiguity, high on the need for closure, or low in cognitive complexity might be associated with such generally valued characteristics as personal commitment and unwavering loyalty,” the researchers wrote.

This intolerance of ambiguity can lead people to cling to the familiar, to arrive at premature conclusions, and to impose simplistic cliches and stereotypes, the researchers advised.

The latest debate about the possibility that the Bush administration ignored intelligence information that discounted reports of Iraq buying nuclear material from Africa may be linked to the conservative intolerance for ambiguity and or need for closure, said Glaser.

“For a variety of psychological reasons, then, right-wing populism may have more consistent appeal than left-wing populism, especially in times of potential crisis and instability,” he said.

Glaser acknowledged that the team’s exclusive assessment of the psychological motivations of political conservatism might be viewed as a partisan exercise. However, he said, there is a host of information available about conservatism, but not about liberalism.

The researchers conceded cases of left-wing ideologues, such as Stalin, Khrushchev or Castro, who, once in power, steadfastly resisted change, allegedly in the name of egalitarianism.

Yet, they noted that some of these figures might be considered politically conservative in the context of the systems that they defended. The researchers noted that Stalin, for example, was concerned about defending and preserving the existing Soviet system.

Although they concluded that conservatives are less “integratively complex” than others are, Glaser said, “it doesn’t mean that they’re simple-minded.”

Conservatives don’t feel the need to jump through complex, intellectual hoops in order to understand or justify some of their positions, he said. “They are more comfortable seeing and stating things in black and white in ways that would make liberals squirm,” Glaser said.

He pointed as an example to a 2001 trip to Italy, where President George W. Bush was asked to explain himself. The Republican president told assembled world leaders, “I know what I believe and I believe what I believe is right.” And in 2002, Bush told a British reporter, “Look, my job isn’t to nuance.”
**************

Since this was a press release, I assume my posting it is not plagiarism. Anyway, here is the link to the study itself:


http://psychoanalystsopposewar.org/resources_files/ConsevatismAsMotivatedSocialCognition.pdf

How does this relate to the topic at hand? First, this study, combined with others, shows that the right-wing mind is more deferential to the authority of elites than the non-right-wing mind. This explains why, racism aside, so many lower-middle class Southern whites identified positively with wealthy whites who returned the favor by regarding them as “white trash.”

I think the same psychology today explains why so many of those who have suffered from Republican economics admire those who have inflicted it on them.

Posted by: Robert Benjamin at April 27, 2006 10:35 AM
Comment #143467

The “death tax” is an emotional issue tied up with the real culprit of the pain: State Probate Courts. That’s why moving the death tax min from $675k to $3.5m (in 2008) hasn’t made this issue go away for most who are planning for their estate transfer.

Probate courts still capture about 5% of the estate (depending on which State) and can tie up assets for several months leaving heirs to pay bills, mortgages, etc. until everything is cleared up. Not fun when you are grieving. Although a good will, multiple names of deeds, bank accounts, etc. and a lawyer on standby can make Probate a breeze for someone with few assets, the reality of the WWII generation is they have many different accumulated assets and multiple heirs to distribute them to. So they end up spending big buck (sorry Tony but it is much more than $1k) for Probate avoidance. Even if the fed tax was $0 the pain would still be there.

And anyone with over $3.5m in assets has taken into account the fed tax and probate, and has planned accordingly. While I too think that taxing estates is unfair, at least once we get to the $3.5m level anyone facing it has taken it into account and paid the CPA and lawyers to handle the problem (more money for them of course). The $675k was just too low.

Now how about Probate reform?


Posted by: George in SC at April 27, 2006 10:47 AM
Comment #143469

“It seems to me the lefties on this blog have forgotten an important fact regarding the estates in question: THEY HAVE BEEN TAXED ALREADY!”

— Do you understand “unrealized capital gains”? My Father inherited 1/3 of the family farm. It was worth $500,000 when the will was executed. By the time the farm was sold - it sold for $900,000. That’s $400,000 in unrealized capital gains - of which my father received 1/3, so he paid taxes on $133,000.

“It shouldn’t matter who gets the inheritance, the fed has already dipped their fingers into when it was earned and again if there were capital gains. The fed has no right to tax it again.”

— It’s seems like you are assuming that these wealthly people make their riches via salary. It’s mostly in stocks, bonds and real estate. Their kids pay taxes on the difference between the asking price and the selling price. Consider my company. I paid $1 for my stock (my 1/2 ownership.) If I sold that company for $1 million today, I would own taxes on 1/2 of that amount. If my kids sell the company after I am gone, then they own the tax on whatever they can get for the company. This is exactly what Living Estates are for.

“I also think that wa-wa-wa’ers forget who actually pays the taxes, consumers. Since the rich only amount to 10% of the population, that leaves 90% to foot the bill for the 10%.”

— First, no one with means should get their part of the bill paid for, especially the richest among us. Two - and this is getting just plain stupid - why do Republicans (those posting here) feel that they strengthen their arguments by starting them or ending them with insults? Besides, what the hell is a “wa-wa-wa’er”? My 2 yr. old made that sound for a while, but I wouldn’t name her after the sounds she makes…???

Posted by: tony at April 27, 2006 10:48 AM
Comment #143470

One additional comment. This study does not call right-wingers stupid or simple-minded, only different from you and me. In fact, the authors say that the black-and-white nature of right-wing thinking may be more appropriate at times than the nuanced thinking of liberals and moderates.

I think most of us would agree with this. I know very few people who call themselves liberals who do not see child molesters, rapists, serial killers, and terrorists in grey terms. We want them just as dead as do our right-wing counterparts. The difference is in our generally lower scores on the personality attributes of the Right:

* Fear and aggression

* Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity

* Uncertainty avoidance

* Need for cognitive closure

* Terror management

We all have these impulses, but some of us handle them more like adults.

Posted by: Robert Benjamin at April 27, 2006 10:50 AM
Comment #143471

steve K writes:

Some opponent of the estate tax out there tell my why it is “fair” that a child in this country cannot get immunized against childhood diseases?

Do you have data to support this claim? How does the fairness of the estate tax equate to immunizations for children? This is bad logic, your premis is fallacious

Posted by: walkswithwheels at April 27, 2006 10:50 AM
Comment #143476

This whole argument about the inheritance already having been taxed seems fairly empty. Wealth is always taxed on transference, whether from employer to employee or from benefactor to inheritor. You wouldn’t claim that you don’t have to pay tax on your income because your employer already paid tax on it, so why in the case of inheritance? The only substantive difference is that the inheritor did nothing to earn the income other than belonging to the lucky sperm club.

Posted by: Jim C. at April 27, 2006 11:01 AM
Comment #143478

Walkswithwheels

You are wrong when you say… “THEY HAVE BEEN TAXED ALREADY!”.

That is untrue… As I have pointed out, the Estate tax is a tax on UNREALIZED capital gains.

That means untaxed GAINS. As in a parent invests 10 million into stock. After many happy years, their life ends. The stock is now valued at over 60 million. You want that untaxed 50 million going to their heirs tax free?

Posted by: Patrick Howse at April 27, 2006 11:08 AM
Comment #143483

“Do you have data to support this claim? How does the fairness of the estate tax equate to immunizations for children? This is bad logic, your premis is fallacious”

I thought it was pretty straight forward. It shows the need for a solid tax base, an already strained tax base, and the need to avoid giving rich people a free ride.

Posted by: tony at April 27, 2006 11:23 AM
Comment #143484

Robert Benjamin,
The hard core leftists who came up with that conservatism as mental illness dodge have been debunked. The peer review of their methodology wasn’t positive.
You weren’t called a strident socialist, you quoted one.

Posted by: traveller at April 27, 2006 11:24 AM
Comment #143487

Robert,

I disagree with your assessment that the study in question concludes Right-Wing think “may be more appropriate at times.”

I only read that “…right-wing populism may have more consistent appeal.”

The study never mentions if it’s EVER appropriate.

Posted by: Patrick Howse at April 27, 2006 11:28 AM
Comment #143488

Patrick,

If an investment is subject to Capital Gains, then yes the tax should be paid. The tax should occur when the gain has been amoritized, not because an individual has inherited it.

Continue along the lines of your post. What if the 60 million in stock tanks and levels off back at the original 10 million. Can they claim a tax exeption because they paid 30 million in estate taxes and now have 5 million?

I’m okay with redenifing Capital Gains, I don’t think anybody should pay taxes for doing nothing.

Posted by: walkswithwheels at April 27, 2006 11:30 AM
Comment #143500

Robert,

More off topic about study’s…

I think this one is funny

How to spot a baby conservative

Here is the actual study

Posted by: Patrick Howse at April 27, 2006 11:54 AM
Comment #143502

Patrick and Tony-

The top Capital Gains tax is 28%. The estate tax is 46%.

Posted by: George in SC at April 27, 2006 12:02 PM
Comment #143509

“If an investment is subject to Capital Gains, then yes the tax should be paid. The tax should occur when the gain has been amoritized, not because an individual has inherited it.”

??? When else do you tax people except when ownership is tranferred? Why should rich people gain benefit common people never have? If I invest in a Simple IRA, then I pay taxed when I recieve the money - not when I cash out. If I invest in property or if I’m given a piece of property, then I pay taxes on it when it becomes mine.

I think you’re obsessing on the tax being collected at the time of someone’s death. It’s a simple redistribution of wealth - you can’t take it with you, so it needs to go to someone else. The tax is not from the estate (dead guy) it’s on the person receiving the wealth. When someone gains financially (even on paper) they pax taxes on it.

Even if you see it as already been taxed, could you then also say that the benefits associated with that tax has been rendered. So - pay not taxes, get no government services. No armed military to protect them, no poline, no fire department, no water, no sewer, no roads… The benefits associated (and costs) with being an American citizen do not ever stop, so why should the expectation of paying for those services ever stop?

If I make $100 million and can support the next 10 generations of offspring with that, none of these generations ever have to pay for the cost of running America because I paid taxes? If that is the case, then we need to raise the taxes we charge now, because we could be supporting the top 10%’s future generations.

(This is solely for the argument that the inherited wealth has been taxed once already… but we all know that this is not true.)

Posted by: tony at April 27, 2006 12:10 PM
Comment #143512

Patrick,

I’m confused with your capital gains theory.

1) Aren’t the gains in your example still unrealized when they are inheirited? Extending your example, parents leave $60million in stock, it’s still unrealized until the heirs sell. If they live off the divedends they pay the appropriate income tax, but the gains are still unrealized. They didn’t become realized simply because the stock changed hands did they?

2) What if there are no untaxed capital gains? Should the estate tax be waived? Extending your example, couple invests $10 million into stock which appreciates to $60 million. They decide to take less risk so the divest of the stock and place the money into tax-free bonds. They pay the capital gains leaving them with $40 million. Should the heirs still pay the estate tax?

Posted by: Rob at April 27, 2006 12:13 PM
Comment #143516

“The top Capital Gains tax is 28%. The estate tax is 46%.”

Yes, but even the top Caital gains is charged on all gains… estate tax is not. (ie - minimum estate value for requirement to pay estate tax.)

Posted by: tony at April 27, 2006 12:18 PM
Comment #143518

“You want to talk about “unfair?” Some opponent of the estate tax out there tell my why it is “fair” that a child in this country cannot get immunized against childhood diseases?”

I’m an opponent of ALL un-Constitutional taxes.
Every American has “access” to immunizations, whether they get them or not is up to the parents.
Now, if your talking only about the few who are so poor that they cannot afford it and don’t know how to get it free from the govt, then you make a somewhat valid point.
But I have to ask, do you really care about those who cannot get them or do you just “say” you care, as most do?
Rather than having the latest and greatest, do you instead go out, find these people and give them the money you would have spent? Or do you expect others to believe as you and to do it for you?
If liberals truly believed in all that they “say” they do, then there would not be one single rich liberal. They would be leading by example and taking care of those who they believe are less fortunate, instead of expecting others to do it for them.

“Just a fraction of the revenue brought in by the estate tax will solve that problem.”

IF just a fraction of elite liberals or celebrities, who “say” they care, would actually do something about it themselves, the problem and many others, would be solved and us working stiffs wouldn’t be getting raped and robbed every payday to support feel-good programs that others believe in.

Posted by: kctim at April 27, 2006 12:23 PM
Comment #143523

If I have earned 100 million (I haven’t) to support my children and following generations, then the fed has no right to half of it because I choose to take care of my legacy.

Where the taxes should be collected is on the use of the estate.

If the estate tax is “fair”, then why not apply to everybody. Everybody is subjected to the same capital gains, why shouldn’t everybody pay the same estate tax regardless of how much. Fair is Fair, right?

Estate tax is another way to take the have and give to the have nots.

Posted by: walkswithwheels at April 27, 2006 12:29 PM
Comment #143525

“Rather than having the latest and greatest, do you instead go out, find these people and give them the money you would have spent? Or do you expect others to believe as you and to do it for you?”

I gave 15% of my income to non-profits last year… that’s way more than the average person donates. the problem - I am not a registered nurse or doctor - I am not legally allowed to give injections to strangers. Also, I have no idea where the poor people are and how to make sure their parents know about immunization.

There’s a reason the federal government is involved… the problem is far too large for any smaller entity to handle. Of course, I live in a wealthy area of the country, so the poor here have more access to basic services, but what about those who live too remotely to be taken care of? Do we accept a certain loss of life simply because some people do not have enough money or financial intelligence to live? How many homeless people - who can more easily spread disease without immunizations - do we allow to live on our streets? How many kids can we acceptable loose because their parents make bad decisions?

How many rich people get to buy a new car this year based on the accepted number of dead poor kids?

This is not a simple as charging everyone the same admission to a movie… there are the good seats and the cheap seats, and everyone pays according to where they sit. I hardly thinks it a good decision to prevent 1000s of poor from seeing the movie because we want to charge the people is the good seats a little less money.

Posted by: tony at April 27, 2006 12:35 PM
Comment #143530

Rob,

The problem as I see it, waiting until the heirs sell their properties to collect tax (stocks real estate, etc.) is the unfair nature of allowing the aristocracy get a free ride. The heirs can continue to gain wealth for generations and generations before the government, who provides the environment for those investments, will see no return. Instead, I prefer the heirs pay their tax within nine months of that transfer.

On your second point, that 40 million is still a transfer to someone else. That someone else should pay tax on that. The heir did not have that capital before did they? Nor did the heir invest or lose that.

walkswithwheels

“Can they claim a tax exeption”. You almost got me :-) No the dead can’t claim a tax exception. Neither can the heir claim an exception because the heir did not lose anything. The heir GAINED.

Posted by: Patrick Howse at April 27, 2006 12:41 PM
Comment #143531

“Where the taxes should be collected is on the use of the estate.”

This is called a living estate - a fairly simple legal arrangement, and one that I’m sure every wealthy person had covered. Rich people are not stupid - but you seem to think that they have no loop-holes ot legal advice. I’m on the bottom of the scale for small business owners, and my estate is puny compared to the top 10% we are discussing… and I even have most of my ducks in a row (estate wise…)

“Estate tax is another way to take the have and give to the have nots.”

How do you come up with this “logic”? Each citizen should support the costs of being an American - right? You don’t seem to have an issue with attempting to keep the poor from getting a free ride from the system, but not issue at all with rich people getting a free ride? I don’t get it…

Posted by: tony at April 27, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #143533

Patrick,

You are absolutely right and I stand corrected. I read more into the authors’ comments on the appeal of right-wing populism than is there. Having said that, when I re-read the the entire study, it seemed much more critical of right-wing thought processes than at first reading.

Traveller,

Will Durant was a strident socialist? You might think that if you misconstrue his statement that obscene wealth in the hands of a very few causes unrest (and eventually revolution) among the obscenely poor.

But Durant was a true conservative who understood the lessons of history (hence the title of the book “The Lessons of History” in which he says the above.) He follows that thought with the equally sound idea that, if industry and talent are not rewarded, culture stagnates.

I share Durant’s belief that we should redistribute wealth only to prevent aristocracies based on obscene and unearned wealth from corrupting society from within. I also share his belief that once government periodically corrects the most corrupting imbalances, such as we have now, it should do nothing to prevent people from legitimately earning as much as their talents will allow.

Posted by: Robert Benjamin at April 27, 2006 12:45 PM
Comment #143538

“I gave 15% of my income to non-profits last year… that’s way more than the average person donates.”

It doesn’t matter what percentage a person gives. If a person truly believes as a liberal, then they would live a very modest life and give every spare penny to support what they “say” they believe in. But that is hardly the case.
Rather than doing all that they can, they expect others to do it for them.

“Also, I have no idea where the poor people are and how to make sure their parents know about immunization”

A non-govt org could be created and the info would be available in a matter of weeks.
We could do that with every social program that violates the Constitution and everybody would be free to donate whatever they wanted to the things not covered by the Constitution.

“There’s a reason the federal government is involved… the problem is far too large for any smaller entity to handle.”

50+ million people voted for kerry. They “say” they care about the poor. Its time they starting proving it.
70+ percent of the US “say” they are Christians. Its time they started proving it.
There would be plenty of money, it just takes people actually doing it, rather than expecting others to do it for them.

“How many rich people get to buy a new car this year based on the accepted number of dead poor kids?”

Probably just as many that will “say” they care about those poor kids, but will still buy that new car and then complain nobody is doing anything.

Posted by: kctim at April 27, 2006 1:03 PM
Comment #143548
How does the fairness of the estate tax equate to immunizations for children? This is bad logic, your premis is fallacious

If your definition of “fair” refers to letting the very wealthy keep their money, but it is “unfair” to make those very wealthy pay for the health of children, then I prefer to live in an “unfair” country.

Posted by: Steve K at April 27, 2006 1:21 PM
Comment #143550

“But that is hardly the case.
Rather than doing all that they can, they expect others to do it for them.”

You’re making some pretty big assumptions here. It is “exactly the case” in my situation. I can’t speak for others.

As for the rest of your post - the reason we have social programs is because they work, and the majority of Americans see the need for them. This also get’s back to other posts here - it’s about having a stable, secure society. Have you ever seen images from Ecuador or other coutries without these safety nets. I think even the rich would quickly agree to the taxes they pay to prevent the angry lynch mobs from showing up on their front lawns.

Also - as far as the rich go - I don’t see many of the them complaining about the current tax structure. Sure, they’d take the extra windfall if you manage to give it to them, but they seem to understand the balancing act between controlled wealth vs anrgy mobs and rampant disease.

Posted by: tony at April 27, 2006 1:22 PM
Comment #143558
Every American has ‘access’ to immunizations, whether they get them or not is up to the parents.

This is the typical conservative default defense whenever the topic of compassion in public policy is raised. (BTW, immunization is just one of hundreds of problems I could raise.) It’s “up to the parents” or, more typically, “choice.” Saying what you said above is the same as saying “I don’t care about the problem.” Trying to deflect this point (as I’m sure someone else will do) by talking about “how much I already give to charity” is a canard because the charities obviously aren’t enough to solve the problem. So I say: use taxes to solve the problem. That to me is minimally what is “fair.”

But I have to ask, do you really care about those who cannot get them or do you just ‘say’ you care, as most do? … do you go out, find these people and give them the money you would have spent? Or do you expect others to believe as you and to do it for you? … If just a fraction of elite liberals or celebrities, who ‘say’ they care, would actually do something about it themselves, the problem and many others, would be solved and us working stiffs wouldn’t be getting raped and robbed every payday to support feel-good programs that others believe in.

So, you are trying to turn the tables on me and say that, because I (and the ‘rich eleite liberals’) don’t devote all the time, effort and money at our disposal to solving the problems of the world, then we must not really care?

This argument is bull, because we have the resources in this country to SOLVE these problems AND enjoy life at the same time. You’re just so caught up in the addiction of money that you refuse to even consider the possibility that some people can part with even a fraction of what they have to simultaneously solve these problems and still have enough money to enjoy life.

And tell me what you mean by “feel-good programs?” To me, they will only “feel good” when I learn that the United States has no poverty, zero infant mortality, no more crime, no pollution, etc. Impossible? Perhaps, but I am willing to work towards that and only the government can get us there.

Posted by: Steve K at April 27, 2006 1:49 PM
Comment #143564

Tony
“You’re making some pretty big assumptions here”

Not at all. The vast majority of people will complain that enough isn’t being done for the poor, but then they will go out to eat, buy a CD, smoke up, etc…
IF they really cared, they would forgo all of that and actually try to do something to help out themselves.

“It is “exactly the case” in my situation”

Which is why I tried my damnedest to make sure you did not feel as if I was targeting you. I am not aware of your situation, so I used words like “they” or “them.”

“the reason we have social programs is because they work, and the majority of Americans see the need for them”

“I think even the rich would quickly agree to the taxes they pay to prevent the angry lynch mobs from showing up on their front lawns”

If these are the case, then why are all who “say” they support them, scared of making their support a choice which is left up to the individual?

Posted by: kctim at April 27, 2006 2:19 PM
Comment #143565

I stand corrected. $71.6 billion is not 3/4 of a trillion. Big mistake, but still a lot of money.

I’m extremely happy with the commentary. Except for a few comments about socialism and lefties and envy, most of you argued about the issue.

Please remember a point I made in the original article: If the super-rich do not pay taxes, the poor and middle class will pay. Is this good policy?

Posted by: Paul Siegel at April 27, 2006 2:24 PM
Comment #143572

“This is the typical conservative default defense whenever the topic of compassion in public policy is raised.”

So why is your type of compassion more justified than mine? Why do you get to define what “real” compassion means?

“(BTW, immunization is just one of hundreds of problems I could raise.)”

Yeah, me too.

“Saying what you said above is the same as saying “I don’t care about the problem.””

Why should you care about what I believe are “the problems?”
If I feel a problem needs my attention, I do and give everything that I can to help. I do not sit back, complain and expect others to be forced to support what I think is right.

“Trying to deflect this point (as I’m sure someone else will do) by talking about “how much I already give to charity” is a canard because the charities obviously aren’t enough to solve the problem.”

What a person does for charity, should be of no concern to another. It only when somebody will complain about a problem but do nothing themselves to help, does to little help come into play.

“So I say: use taxes to solve the problem. That to me is minimally what is “fair.””

Would that be ALL problems or just the ones you agree with?

“This argument is bull, because we have the resources in this country to SOLVE these problems AND enjoy life at the same time.”

So why does the govt need to be involved?

“You’re just so caught up in the addiction of money that you refuse to even consider the possibility that some people can part with even a fraction of what they have to simultaneously solve these problems and still have enough money to enjoy life.”

Well, I wish I had money to be addicted to, to be honest. But I don’t.
So what right do you or the govt have, to tell somebody how they should enjoy life?

“And tell me what you mean by “feel-good programs?””

All social programs that impose on individual rights are “feel-good” programs.

“To me, they will only “feel good” when I learn that the United States has no poverty, zero infant mortality, no more crime, no pollution, etc. Impossible? Perhaps, but I am willing to work towards that and only the government can get us there.”

Uh, wrong. The things you mention will always be and the govt is not the answer to help against them. It is up to us as individuals to do as much as we can.
Govt is only the answer when its people have become dependent on it for their own survival.

So tell me guys, why do you wish to force me to support your beliefs when I do not wish to force my beliefs onto you?

Posted by: kctim at April 27, 2006 2:46 PM
Comment #143573

“If the super-rich do not pay taxes, the poor and middle class will pay. Is this good policy?”

1. The rich DO pay taxes.
2. If I loose 70 from my budget, I don’t force my neighbors to make up for it. I cut back on spending.

Posted by: kctim at April 27, 2006 2:49 PM
Comment #143574

Norby,

“What’s so unfair about taxing INCOME, just because it comes from your parents? You didn’t earn it. You’ll have plenty left over. Why this issue? “

Am I mistaken, but wasnt this money taxed before - ie wealth accumulated through work/investments? If it was, then I don’t think it is fair to retax it. If the money had not been taxed, then yes, I think that an applicable tax should be applied.

That’s fair isnt it?

Posted by: b0mbay at April 27, 2006 2:50 PM
Comment #143586

kctim,

It’s hard to know where to begin with your bizarre response.

“Actually, keeping up with the Jones’ and credit abuse, are the real culprits”

—So by your logic, all 280 million middle class individuals can’t make ends meet because of material greed and running up credit card debt they can’t manage. Cetrainly some individuals may fall into either or both of these camps, but to blame an entire group of people for these transgressions is ludicrous. You should know better.

“How many people will benefit by allowing gay marriage? How many will not? Its not about ignoring the rights of the few
because it doesn’t affect the majority. Its about treating everybody as equals.”

—Sorry, but the gay marriage analogy is a new kind of stupid. Your last sentence, however, seems to agree with my original post. Thank you.

“What is wrong with allowing people the choice on what to do with their own money? Why do you expect everybody else to do what you “say” is the right thing to do?”

—There is nothing wrong with letting people do what they want with their money. But repealing the estate tax only lets about 20,000 people do just that — the rest of us get screwed. And I don’t expect everyone else to do what I believe is right. But I’d wager I have 280 million people who do agree with me, even if you’re not one of them.

“IF a trillion is lost in that time, then a trillion worth of cuts should occur.”

—More stellar BushCo economic logic. Let’s sink this nation further into debt by showing favoritism to 20,000 people while continuing to drive 280 million people into near or real poverty. Way to go, Ghandi.


Posted by: Mister Magoo at April 27, 2006 3:11 PM
Comment #143602

quoting kctim:

So why is your type of compassion more justified than mine? Why do you get to define what ‘real’ compassion means?

I don’t. But I have my definition, and it includes making sure every kid in America gets immunized against childhood illnesses (one of many possible parts of my definition). Is that part of your definition of ‘compassion?’ I haven’t read your definition anywhere. You’re welcome to give me your definition, but please tell me where immunization fits in it.


Why should you care about what I believe are ‘the problems?’ If I feel a problem needs my attention, I do and give everything that I can to help.

I believe ALL problems need EVERYONE’s attention. That’s why we have representative government and elections. And I only ‘force’ you to support them through the democratic process and respect for government institutions (like taxes). I don’t necessarily expect us to agree, but I expect us to reasonably look at a public concern (again, children going without immunizations is one example) and deal with it in a responsible way.


So why does the govt need to be involved?

Because neither private industry, nor charity, can fix the problem. That’s why we have taxes and government.


So what right do you or the govt have, to tell somebody how they should enjoy life?

The government has no right to tell you how to enjoy life. I didn’t say that. But, getting back to the question of whether eliminating the estate tax or, e.g., immunizing all children is “fair,” I maintain that “enjoying life” is not diminished by keeping the estate tax and using the money from it to immunizing all children. But you seem to think that the country as a whole will enjoy life more if those kids go without immunizations and the wealthy have more money.

So tell me guys, why do you wish to force me to support your beliefs when I do not wish to force my beliefs onto you?

By that reasoning, we should abolish all taxes, and all government programs, including national security, because it is not part of some citizens’ beliefs. Assuming you don’t agree with my logical conclusion to your statement, I await your answer as to why not. Like all discussions I have with libertarians about this, you’re willing to draw a line somewhere where you accept government. Unfortunately, I’ve never heard a rationale as to why you draw the line where you do.

Posted by: Steve K at April 27, 2006 3:33 PM
Comment #143606

I’m not sure how much further we can go on this issue. I think we’ve covered all the basis and are now left arguing about what “fair” is.

WHO CARES ABOUT FAIR!?!?!?!

America is not based on fair - no where in the Constitution is fair mentioned. Why is it part of this conversation?

This is all about what is required from each citizen to make this country work. Yes, there are people in this country who can not pay their way - a large % of them military vets. Children and single mothers makes up most of the rest. If you want a stable country, you set a bar for the minimum human existence and allow no one to drop below that. That way you avoid civil unrest (mobs in the street) and rampant spread of disease (which does not care what level of taxes you pay.)

There is a group of people at the top and bottom end of the financial spectrum that do not/can not work for their living. That’s the reality we have to work with. Wishing that they would all just out and get jobs is strange waste of time. it’s not going to happen. (I have a vision of utopia where I am sending my money to the poor families and KCTIM is sending his to the rich.)

We all use money to live here - and so that money is taxed to support the common good provided by our government. It does not matter if your funding comes in the form of a paycheck, an estate check or divides/distribution of profits - part of that money is paid in taxes. You can pick apart any specific part of our tax system, but when you step back and look at it, it kind of hits right in the middle. The rich have loop-holes, off shore accounts, estate planning and other options to keep a large portion of their money out of the tax loop, and the poor don’t have enough to bother with collecting.

Really, it looks very much like a bell curve graph, which is pretty much what you would expect. Dig down into any minutiae, and nothing is fair. Take an overall look at America - and you will see that we all pretty much live way (WAY) above the world average life-style… so I’d say it all seems to be working out pretty well.

Posted by: tony at April 27, 2006 3:41 PM
Comment #143609

Magoo
“—So by your logic, all 280 million middle class individuals can’t make ends meet because of material greed and running up credit card debt they can’t manage. Cetrainly some individuals may fall into either or both of these camps, but to blame an entire group of people for these transgressions is ludicrous. You should know better.”

Anybody earning 30-90 thousand a year can live a comfortable life IF they choose to live a modest life.

“—Sorry, but the gay marriage analogy is a new kind of stupid.”

Sorry you took the low road on this one with your statement.
The analogy is just. You want to penalize the few in order to appease the majority for one issue, but do not favor it for another.
Both instances deny individuals the freedom of personal choice.

“—There is nothing wrong with letting people do what they want with their money.”

Then we should let people have the choice on what to do with their money.

“But repealing the estate tax only lets about 20,000 people do just that — the rest of us get screwed.”

Thats where we differ, I don’t believe its right to screw the minority for the majority’s benefit and I don’t believe we should screw the majority for the minority’s benefit.

“And I don’t expect everyone else to do what I believe is right.”

IF you believe forcing people to support what you think is right, then you are forcing them to believe as you.

“But I’d wager I have 280 million people who do agree with me, even if you’re not one of them.”

IF that is the case, then what harm would come from making it a choice? You 280 million could do what you think is right and the rest wouldn’t have their rights trampled.

“—More stellar BushCo economic logic. Let’s sink this nation further into debt by showing favoritism to 20,000 people while continuing to drive 280 million people into near or real poverty.”

If you don’t spend what you do not have, then how do you get into debt?

“Way to go, Ghandi.”

Why resort to this? Differing opinions and respecting others helped make this country what it once was, great.

Posted by: kctim at April 27, 2006 3:51 PM
Comment #143612

“If you don’t spend what you do not have, then how do you get into debt?”

I think the biggest issue by far is the current administration. I’m assuming that you are not in favor of the Iraqi war…? Or the pork barrel spending? Or the recent wave of tax cuts? (This is not about giving money back to the people - it costs a certain amount of money to run this country, and these cuts hace “cut” below that level. It’s very much like spending your money at the bar and paying for your rent with the credit card.)

Posted by: tony at April 27, 2006 3:58 PM
Comment #143619

Take from hard workers and give to the filthy rich. Posted by Paul Siegel at April 26, 2006 05:03 PM

It bugs me that many Democrats here crossed over to vote in the Rpcln primary for a person who advocates their usual tax policies, and opposes minimum wage increases, to get a slightly more liberal Rpblcn running. Why not just leave them alone, and let them run a conservative who will be guaranteed to lose.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 27, 2006 4:20 PM
Comment #143622

“You’re welcome to give me your definition, but please tell me where immunization fits in it.”

Compassion is an individual response, not a governmental one.
Where do immunizations fit in with compassion?
By making them available.

“I believe ALL problems need EVERYONE’s attention.”

All problems? A woman being stalked is a problem. Should “everyone” be required to pay for her self-defense classes and her gun permits?

“I don’t necessarily expect us to agree, but I expect us to reasonably look at a public concern (again, children going without immunizations is one example) and deal with it in a responsible way.”

Many do not believe it is a public concern and handling it in a “responsible way” differs per individual. That is why govt has no business in dictating what individuals believe in.

“Because neither private industry, nor charity, can fix the problem. That’s why we have taxes and government.”

The reasons we have taxes and govt are clearly outlined in the Constitution. Perverting it only leads to the mess we are now in.

“The government has no right to tell you how to enjoy life. I didn’t say that. But, getting back to the question of whether eliminating the estate tax or, e.g., immunizing all children is “fair,” I maintain that “enjoying life” is not diminished by keeping the estate tax and using the money from it to immunizing all children.”

And I maintain that how another “enjoys life” is not up to you or govt to decide.

“But you seem to think that the country as a whole will enjoy life more if those kids go without immunizations and the wealthy have more money.”

No, I believe the country as a whole would enjoy life more if they were free to choose.
And I don’t care one bit how much money the wealthy have.

“By that reasoning, we should abolish all taxes, and all government programs, including national security, because it is not part of some citizens’ beliefs.”

Almost right. National security is covered by the Constitution so “beliefs” are not required for it to be supported.

“Like all discussions I have with libertarians about this, you’re willing to draw a line somewhere where you accept government.”

I accept govt in all instances covered by the Constitution.

“Unfortunately, I’ve never heard a rationale as to why you draw the line where you do.”

You’ve never asked. I’m guessing that you took me for just another conservative that you disagree with.
And my rationale is simple…I still believe the US Constitution is the greatest document ever created and should be honored as such.

Posted by: kctim at April 27, 2006 4:24 PM
Comment #143624
Tim Crow wrote: So, this economic storm is going to happen much sooner than later—I believe with the next year to two years. I think all incumbents should be reelected—so when the shit hits the fan, they will be left holding the bag. There is no way any opposition party is going to bail out this country from its 40-year profligacy. So my election theme is this—reelect the bastards: Because They Deserve It!

LOL ! : )
Tim Crow,
You may be right.
I’m trying to be optimistic and believe this entire mess can be fixed, but the more I study it, the fiscal problems, the psychological and education problems, the worse the prognosis becomes.

The only thing I think your off a little about is the time frame and final outcome.

It will probably take another 5 to 10 years before the $#!+ hits the fan. And, bought-and-paid-for, FOR-SALE, irresponsible incumbents have already got theirs and they all have golden parachutes, so they’ll all be fine. It is the average American the will suffer mostly.
And, perhaps that is best, so that they will eventually, maybe a thousand years from now, learn from their mistakes. After all, it is voters that have allowed irresponsible incumbent politicians to sell them out. We are merely watching the transfer of assets at the moment.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 27, 2006 4:28 PM
Comment #143626

Tony
“I’m assuming that you are not in favor of the Iraqi war…? Or the pork barrel spending? Or the recent wave of tax cuts?”

No, I was not in favor of this war.
As most do, I hate pork spending.
The tax cuts have only been cut below what is required because govt does more than it was designed to do.
IF govt did only what it was intended to do, taxes wouldn’t be an issue.

And I really appreciate your civility Tony.
Thank you.

Posted by: kctim at April 27, 2006 4:29 PM
Comment #143629

I can understand your interest in a minimal government. I hope you understand my interest in a balanced society.

As far as civility goes - if the politicians encourage us all to start “slinging mud” then the only winners will be them. I’ve never thought it a good thing to follow a politicians lead.

Posted by: tony at April 27, 2006 4:34 PM
Comment #143638
Compassion is an individual response, not a governmental one. Where do immunizations fit in with compassion? By making them available.

As usual for a libertarian like you, it’s enough that immunizations are “there.” But, typically for libertarians, you don’t care to look at the inconvenient facts that many people don’t have the money for them, or enough information about where and when to take their children to get them, or even the knowledge that they exist. It’s just a dog-eat-dog libertarianism and you’re happy with that.

Unlike you, I recognize that the government and the citizens of the United States are made up of individuals who collectively can act compassionately towards other individuals and society as a whole. Unlike you, I don’t build this wall around the government that says it’s a horrible entity. Libertarianism has brought us pollution. Government has brought up clean air and water. Libertarianism has brought us poverty. Government has brought people out of poverty. I don’t pretend that government has worked perfectly or solved every problem, but it’s done far better for improving people’s lives than the anarchy you advocate.


The reasons we have taxes and govt are clearly outlined in the Constitution. … National security is covered by the Constitution so ‘beliefs’ are not required for it to be supported.

But there’s nothing in the Constitution that requires national security any more than promoting the general welfare. So why not object to that intrustion on someone’s beliefs?


No, I believe the country as a whole would enjoy life more if they were free to choose.

But tough shit of you don’t have any money, is basically what you say.

Posted by: Steve K at April 27, 2006 4:55 PM
Comment #143652

“As usual for a libertarian like you,”

Cool, I’m back to being called a libertarian again instead of a neo-con.
But both are wrong.

“it’s enough that immunizations are “there.””

Yes.

“But, typically for libertarians, you don’t care to look at the inconvenient facts that many people don’t have the money for them, or enough information about where and when to take their children to get them, or even the knowledge that they exist.”

Oh, I’ve looked at those facts and they don’t seem all that inconvenient to me really. I just don’t care. But if I did, I wouldn’t expect you to feel the same way or expect govt to force you to feel the same way.

“It’s just a dog-eat-dog libertarianism and you’re happy with that.”

Dog-eat-dog, personal responsibility, whatever. Call it what you want.

“Unlike you, I recognize that the government and the citizens of the United States are made up of individuals who collectively can act compassionately towards other individuals and society as a whole.”

I recognize that too. But its not govt’s job to feel one way or the other.
And IF individuals are truly compassionate, they do not sit back and expect govt to do it for them.

“Unlike you, I don’t build this wall around the government that says it’s a horrible entity.”

Thats too bad. Govt has become a horrible entity and it is only getting worse.

“Libertarianism has brought us pollution. Government has brought up clean air and water.”

Yeah, those damn libertarians and their 3mile Island.

“Libertarianism has brought us poverty. Government has brought people out of poverty.”

Really? Creating a culture of dependency has worked? Then why do people get govt money for doing nothing?
Poverty is all to real, I’ve been there. But if people really cared, they would do something about it.
Its not a lack of funds that hurts poor people, its those who abuse the system that do.

“I don’t pretend that government has worked perfectly or solved every problem, but it’s done far better for improving people’s lives than the anarchy you advocate.”

Yeah, how dare people live their lives as they see fit. How dare they take responsibility for their actions. How dare they work rather than rely on the govt. How dare they want the right to do with their money as they choose.
What a gross form of anarchy that would be.

“But there’s nothing in the Constitution that requires national security any more than promoting the general welfare. So why not object to that intrustion on someone’s beliefs?”

Really?
I can point out where it says to “raise and support” an army.
Can you point out where it says to “raise and support” the people?

“But tough shit of you don’t have any money, is basically what you say.”

Tough shit? Naw.
I say, go out and earn some money, IF that is what it would take to make you happy.


Posted by: kctim at April 27, 2006 5:28 PM
Comment #143653

Patrick, you said,

The problem as I see it, waiting until the heirs sell their properties to collect tax (stocks real estate, etc.) is the unfair nature of allowing the aristocracy get a free ride. The heirs can continue to gain wealth for generations and generations before the government, who provides the environment for those investments, will see no return. Instead, I prefer the heirs pay their tax within nine months of that transfer.

On your second point, that 40 million is still a transfer to someone else. That someone else should pay tax on that. The heir did not have that capital before did they? Nor did the heir invest or lose that.

So by that reasoning why put a floor on the tax, why not start at the first dollar for the inheirtance tax?

Posted by: Rob at April 27, 2006 5:29 PM
Comment #143715

I supposed it’s a question of relative equality. Those who live below the floor are deemed to live by their merit. Those above the floor are deemed to live off capital (or something close to it). These two revenue streams are not taxed equally.

I will agree that the floor can be adjusted form time to time, but not removed. I guess I’m just a capitalist at heart…

“It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”
—Adam Smith

Posted by: Patrick Howse at April 27, 2006 9:52 PM
Comment #143719

Well another day has passed and not one person in favor of eliminating the estate tax could give one example of a farmer or small business person whose heirs bellied up due to the estate tax. The estate tax promotes meritocracy not aristocrcy which is the reason to have the tax and to set it at certain level in lieu of every penny of the estate.

Posted by: j2t2 at April 27, 2006 10:03 PM
Comment #143731

d.a.n.:

My timing may be off on the economic meltdown—but I definitely don’t see it being more than five years down the road.

I do not mean to belittle your efforts to make incumbents pay the price of their incompetence and chicanery—and I honor your energy and perserverence. I guess I am not as optimistic about constructive non-vindictive change within this system. I fear it is too corrupted and hijacked by the powers that be, and irretrievably polarized to effect the change most of us are looking for.

But strange and wonderous things happen. If we’re still talking like this in three years, perhaps we will not have taken the nuclear road with Iran, and good things may still be possible.

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 27, 2006 10:30 PM
Comment #143741

Tim Crow,
No offense taken at all, nor believed you were belittling in any way whatsoever. Not at all.

I actually agree with everything you said, and that is why holding out hope is difficult. The only reason I hope is because hopelessness and doing nothing won’t change anything.

Tim Crow,
You could be right of course.
It could happen any time.
However, it looks like the Generational Storm will have a lot to do with it, as 77 million baby boomers start trying to draw benefits from systems that are already in trouble, and the National Debt exceeds 100% of GDP.

It might begin with a recession in 2008 and another in 2013 that turns into a depression.
Recessions have been occurring every 2 to 11 years for 46 years. The last recession was 2001 to 2002. That means the next one would be about 2013.

No one knows, but you might be right.
There’s also this interesting cycle …

The only thing we can hope for now is that voters respond sooner than later.
The longer slumbering voters ignore the problem, the harder it will be later.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 27, 2006 11:10 PM
Comment #143743

Tim Crow,
I was laughing earlier (LOL) because of what you said:

I think all incumbents should be reelected—so when the shit hits the fan, they will be left holding the bag.

I wish irresponsible incumbents would be held accountable.
Actually, it would be great if voters would march on D.C., drag all of the irresponsible incumbent politicians out into the street, and beat the corruption out of them.

But, that ain’t gonna happen.
When things go bad, those incumbents will all be OK … they all got golden parachutes, bought-and-paid for by yours truly, the tax payers.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 27, 2006 11:16 PM
Comment #143761

Not to discredit D.A.N.’s cycle approach (I enjoy people proposing, or endorsing science, as I am myself am economist). But, such economic upturns/downturns are not really dependant on time tables such as that, they are responses to over/under production, transparency, dispute settlement mechanisms, etc… Also, global factors are the major influence these days. The 90’s downturn as the result of asian contagion, the 70’s tequila recession, etc.

-Xander Jones

Posted by: Xander Jones at April 28, 2006 1:44 AM
Comment #143764

YOU CANNOT JUST GO FROM A NEARLY $300 BILLION DEFICIT UNDER THE LAST YEAR OF OLD BUSH TO A SURPLUS IN JUST ONE YEAR WITHOUT HARMING THE ECONOMY. A gradual approach in reducing the yearly deficits was undertaken until we had a surplus by the end of Clinton’s term.

Not quite sure what this means. bushflipsflops, but even your own charts don’t show a surplus. And you still didn’t answer the questions.
And it seems that it is the Democrat party that won’t be happy until they completely destroy this President, even at the expense of this country. Since the other questions cannot be answered, answer this: give me one positive thing your hero accomplished (and you cannot use the false surplus argument)

Posted by: LLE at April 28, 2006 2:12 AM
Comment #143768
Not quite sure what this means. bushflipsflops, but even your own charts don’t show a surplus.
Then you should read them again, LLE. I took a look and they show a surplus from 1998 to 2001.
Posted by: Charles Wager at April 28, 2006 2:46 AM
Comment #143794
Xander Jones wrote: Not to discredit D.A.N.’s cycle approach (I enjoy people proposing, or endorsing science, as I am myself am economist). But, such economic upturns/downturns are not really dependant on time tables such as that, they are responses to over/under production, transparency, dispute settlement mechanisms, etc… Also, global factors are the major influence these days.

You may be correct.
I find the coincidence (80 year cycle) interesting, but there’s really no way to prove it is anything but a coincidence. Also, it excludes our involvement in World War I and II as though external events do not count?

That 80 Year Cycle is actually roughly based on a theory in the last book by Economist Harry S. Dent (The Next Great Bubble Boom: How to Profit from the Greatest Boom in History, 2005-2009). He spoke of an 80 year cycle.

But, I agree sort of.
While there are cycles, they are a result of many factors, and it may be purely coincidental that it falls around the 80 year mark.
Also, recessions, for the last 46 years have been occurring every 2 to 11 years. Our last recession was in 2001 to 2002.

One thing is for certain.
Big problems start with small problems.
Our list of problems is growing in number and severity because our do-nothing, FOR SALE, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians keep creating more problems than they solve (if any).

And voters allow it.
So, we’re all culpable.
However, the monkey is now on the voters back, because irresponsible, corrupt incumbent politicians will not pass reforms voluntarily. The longer voters wait, the more painful it will be later.

It may be purely coincidental, but the following five things, a result of 3+ decades of fiscal and moral bankruptcy, something we are all responsible for (through and through), have the real potential to bring about an economic downturn within the next 5 to 10 years.

There are dozens of factors , but the biggest five factors will be the following:

  • [1] FISCAL and MORAL BANKRUPTCY: $8.4 National Debt and $54 total nation-wide debt, decreasing options, lost opportunities, falling dollar (not backed up by real value), printing too much money, inflation (rising now), trade deficits, and the failure to stop the debt from growing ever larger. Debt to GDP percentage (now 68%, up from 33% in 1980) has never been higher since WWII. The size of government has never been larger, and continues to grow to nightmare proporations (grew by 140,000 employees from 2000 to 2005). Trade deficits have never been higher. Corporatism and Corpocrisy grow as our FOR SALE government grows increasingly corrupt. The wealth distribution (i.e. wealth belonging to 1% of the population) has never been higher since the Great Depression of 1929.

  • [2] GENERATIONAL STORM: 77 million aging baby boomers (that all vote), making less, spending less, pay less tax, expecting to draw from already troubled Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, & welfare.
  • [3] ENTITLEMENT

  • SHORTFALLS: The looming Social Security shortfalls are hard to ignore, but Medicare, Medicaid, & welfare deficits and short falls are already here. And in time, the decreasing number of tax-payers per entitlement recipient will only get worse. We can not grow, tax, spend, or immigrate enough to change that. Dependency on the government has never been worse.
    [4] LIMITED GROWTH & INCREASING FOREIGN COMPETITION: The limited capacity for growth due to declining quality of education, a generally less educated population failing to develop new technologies, coupled with a steady increase of foreign competition.
  • [5] ENERGY VULNERABILITY: Of all the responsible, insightful things government could have done, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians failed miserably to research and foster alternate energy sources, more energy efficient homes, automobiles, etc.

We always have problems, but now we have problems that are ignored, and being allowed to grow in number and severity, because irresponsible, do-nothing incumbent politicians have no incentive to solve problems, and do not have the courage to risk making difficult decisions, and avoid making tough decisions for fear of angering their big-money-donor-puppeteers and risking re-election.

Xander Jones wrote: … But, such economic upturns/downturns are not really dependant on time tables such as that, they are responses to over/under production, Transparency, dispute settlement mechanisms, etc… Also, global factors are the major influence these days.

Transparency is a one of the most fundamental factors.
Large things consist of smaller things.

A lack of Transparency is a result of a lack of Education and understanding of the human factor and why Transparency is so important.
Transparency is vital to the degree of health of any government, organization, or society.

Responsibility = Power + Education + Transparency + Accountability

Corruption = Power - Education - Transparency - Accountability

Posted by: d.a.n at April 28, 2006 9:37 AM
Comment #143958

d.a.n.:

Interesting chart—not quite sure what to make of it.

Of all the irresponsible and illegal acts this government has perpetrated on the country, I guess the one that really has me stunned is this:

For the first time in the history of the Republic, there have been massive tax cuts while the nation is engaged in major military operations. That has never happened before—think about it.

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 28, 2006 6:11 PM
Comment #144010

“For the first time in the history of the Republic, there have been massive tax cuts while the nation is engaged in major military operations. That has never happened before—think about it.”

Kind of burning the candle at both ends… I think the people charge do not care what will happen to our country in the long run - it looks like they are all making their golden parachutes…

They’re feeding at the troffs, and we’re more than welcome to pick up the bill.

Posted by: tony at April 28, 2006 9:20 PM
Comment #144061
Tony wrote: Kind of burning the candle at both ends… I think the people in charge do not care what will happen to our country in the long run - it looks like they are all making their golden parachutes…

Tony, You are sadly correct. The average Americans are the ones that will suffer most.

Tim Crow wrote: d.a.n.: … . Of all the irresponsible and illegal acts this government has perpetrated on the country, I guess the one that really has me stunned is this: For the first time in the history of the Republic, there have been massive tax cuts while the nation is engaged in major military operations.

Tim Crow,
There’s actually something even worse.
The tax cuts went to the rich, which is why the richest 1% of the U.S. population grows, while the remaining 99% of the population grows poorer, and median incomes have been falling since year 2000.

The low-to-middle class income groups are getting squeezed. Look at the left side of the graph and where we are now. The situation has not been this bad since the Great Depression of 1929.

And, what makes it all the more irresponsible is how do-nothing, bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians continue to ignore our many pressing problems, decade after decade.

If I didn’t know better, I’d think congress is trying to bring on a depression.

Posted by: d.a.n at April 29, 2006 1:42 AM
Comment #144212

d.a.n.:

Excellent points as always especially your last telling comment:

If I didn’t know better, I’d think Congress is trying to bring on a depression.

Not to mention Greenspan and the Fed. A somewhat tangential article, but an interesting one, nonetheless.

http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0429-26.htm

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 29, 2006 6:28 PM
Comment #144238
Quite often, reading the Right’s posts, I simply scratch my head and wonder why people think that way.

It’s simple, really: Conservatism is a bankrupt philosophy which is driven by the Evil and embraced by the Ignorant. It has been designed that way, with the Carrot being Attaining The American Dream - (You too can be Bill Gates! / ummm… no, you can’t, as detailed Above) - and the Stick being Fear-Fear-Fear-Fear-Fear!!!: of the Unknown, of Gay Rights, of Dissenters, of Foreigners and their Foreign Ways and - Jaysus, Help Us Please! - of Socialism

And, by underfunding Public Education - through the Schools, through PBS, through the NEA - the Evil Empire creates a pliable consumer monkeymass of Marching Morons who, drooling over their soon-to-be-earned Mansions in Gated Communities (which they will never, ever see), and Scared Witless about The Enemy®*, continue to vote them into office and support their Spencerian Social Darwinism.

And that’s why they “think” That Way.


Kudos to Paul, Tony, Adrienne, KansaDem, MarysDude, Norby, Aldous, jlm (whose Idea I particularly like :oD ), Robert Benjamin, Mister Magoo (who sees far more clearly than the BushCo. shills) - and everyone else on the Moral side of this important issue. You give me Hope for the future and Pride in the True American Patriots of the present.


[*The Enemy® is a product of BushCo., Inc. - a wholly-owned subsidiary of Halliburton Industries. The Enemy® may not be used to create panic, fear, paranoia, xenophobia, jingoism, nationalism or hatred without prior express permission of Halliburton Industries and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NAMBLA).]

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 29, 2006 9:38 PM
Comment #144326

Tim Crow,
Thanks!
It’s amazing how much abuse our huge economy can take, and how many decades it can go on without consequences.
But, it’s getting harder and harder to see how the path we’re on now, if we stay on it any longer, can end any way but badly.
At the very least, the path we are on now is not going to make the next recession / depression easier to recover from. How bad will it be? What will be the last straw ?

Betty Burke,
What ? : (
I did not make it into the clique ?

Betty Burke wrote: It’s simple, really: Conservatism is a bankrupt philosophy which is driven by the Evil and embraced by the Ignorant.

Extreme conservatism, maybe.
Extreme anything, for that matter is not good.

But, perhaps you should draw a distinction between moderate conservatives ?

I’m slightly left and libertarian (centrist), so there’s no incentive for me to defend conservatives.

It just seems to me that labeling all conservatives is hurting your argument more that it helps.

The real problem is corruption and irresponsibility in all parties.

Centrists seem like the most reasonable people.
Fortunately, there are more centrists than extremists.

But, why not draw a distinction between extremists and centrist conservatives, and centrist liberals ?

There is a difference.
A much larger difference than that between a centrist conservative or conservative liberal.

But, also, there are those that are simply corrupt (in all parties). What is their political compass, since they have no moral compass ?

A moral compass is important too.

The biggest problem we face is not centrist conservatives or centrist liberal.
It is the extremists and cheaters.
Extremists are often simply demented.
Cheaters are often calculating and preoccupied with self-gain.

Betty,
I’m curious. Have you ever taken the test at politicalcompass.org ?


Posted by: d.a.n at April 30, 2006 2:09 PM
Comment #144453

d.a.n.:

What ? : ( I did not make it into the clique ?

Definition of “Libertarian”: a Conservative under indictment.


But, why not draw a distinction between extremists and centrist conservatives, and centrist liberals ?

Because it’s like trying to draw a Distinction between Hostess Twinkies and Hostess HoHos and Hostess Snowballs: they are all Crap.


A much larger difference than that between a centrist conservative or conservative liberal.

A “conservative liberal” - ?! Do even you know what you are talking about, d.a.n.?! Because I sure as hell don’t!


It just seems to me that labeling all conservatives is hurting your argument more that it helps.

It helps me Sight In on them… Besides, I’m not the one who Broke WatchBlog (scroll down near the Bottom)

:op`’`’


I’m curious. Have you ever taken the test at politicalcompass.org ?

No. It hurts my eyes.

Posted by: Betty Burke at May 1, 2006 2:47 AM
Comment #144486
Betty Burke wrote:
A much larger difference than that between a centrist conservative or conservative liberal.

A “conservative liberal” - ?! Do even you know what you are talking about, d.a.n.?! Because I sure as hell don’t!

Betty, I meant “centrist liberal”.
Of course, “conservative liberal” makes no sense.
My bad.

Let me restate that

d.a.n wrote:
But, why not draw a distinction between:
(1)extremists and ,
(2)centrist conservatives and centrist liberals ?
.
There is a difference.
A much larger difference [i.e. between extremists and centrists] than that between a centrist conservative or conservative [centrist] liberal.

—— hopefully, that strike-through doesn’t break WatchBlog on this thread too ——

Betty, You are upset with conservatives as much as I am with irresponsible bought-and-paid-for incumbent politicians (which is most (if not all) federal politicians), and voters allow all of it, because voters have the right to vote, voters have a simple, peaceful, responsible mechanism right there under their very noses to remove those irresponsible incumbents, but voters, for some reason, keep re-electing the very same incumbents that use and abuse them. What that means is that the problem is really most of us. There is a simple solution, but no will to implement it.

I agree that extremist conservatism (or extremist anything) is bad, but centrists with a little liberal or conservative leaning are not the problem.

Betty Burke,
If you ever take that test, I’d be very curious to see the results? : )

Posted by: d.a.n at May 1, 2006 9:37 AM
Comment #208483

We are the considered the wealthiest Nation in the world and also to have all sorts of services and gifts given to us seemingly by a wave of the hand and for some of these people that say they are making between $30,000 and $90,000 to cry indicates to me they may be living beyond their means. Did you know that ten percent of our population pay a tad more than %70 percent of our taxes? Did you know that we live in a Society where our Give Away Programs (Socialisistivc System) are greater than a large percent of Worlds smaller Countries GNP? Did you know that probably %20 of our Country doesn’t pay a dime in income tax. Did you know that if you are paying $30,000 property taxes then chances are your property is worth more than fellow that is paying $2,000 in property taxes. Lets stop blaming Republicans and Bush for things as simple as Water flowing down hill and face reality. We live in a Nation where everything is exaggerated and by that I mean our exaggerated self importance, Folks ninety percent of us have very little to say or have any effect economically because of the fact we live in a system that works on supply and demand…buy cheap and sell high and that’s why Wal Mart is so popular but we still complain about them buying from China or some other foreign Country. Let’s face it, the wealthy rule our Country, therefore they should pay more taxes which they do. Little folks like the ones bitching and moaning in these complaints might as well be barking at the Moom as far as their helping matters. lf you really want to get wheels rolling relative to taxes and give away programs the next time our Government offers or says they have X dollars in Grants for your area just call your Senator and tell him,”no thank you, we will make out on our own”. Money doesn’t grow on trees and there is no little machine that makes hundred dollar bills with out some sort of back up . Lets elect to our Government people who vow to not pay for any more Governmental subsidies or freebies such as child care, free education for the poor, free food for the poor, free housing for poor or cut back on the giving of minies to those who live a life style beyond their means. We all want something free knowing all along some one has to pay for it and you know who that some one is, you and I! A republic works that way and if you want another system I suggest you go to another Country such as France or England or maybe even China or better still Iraq where if you complain they cut your head off and put it on a stick and parade it around to advertise you have no individual rights. WAKE UP! The following is example of how our system works…….

An easy way to understand our tax system.
>
>Taxing the People
>
>Sometimes politicians, journalists and the liberal left exclaim; “It’s just a tax cut for the rich!” and it is just accepted to be fact.
>
>But what does that really mean?
>
>Just in case you are not completely clear on this issue, I hope the following will help. Please read it carefully.
>
>Let’s put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand.
>
>Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
>
>o The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
>
>o The fifth would pay $1
>
>o The sixth would pay $3
>
>o The seventh would pay $7
>
>o The eighth would pay $12
>
>o The ninth would pay $18
>
>o The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59
>
>So, that’s what they decided to do.
>
>The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.
>
>”Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20.” Dinner for the ten now cost just $80.
>
>The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his “fair share?”
>
>They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to eat their meal.
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>So, the restaurant owner suggested:
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>o The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings)
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>o The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings)
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>o The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings)
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>o The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings)
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>o The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings)
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>o The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings… the least proportionate savings)
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>Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings:
>
>”I only got a dollar out of the $20,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,” but he got $10!”
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>”Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than me!”
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>”That’s true!!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!”
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>”Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison. “We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!”
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>The first nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
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>The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
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>And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start eating overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.
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>
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Posted by: Bill at February 16, 2007 8:00 PM
Comment #263302

The top billionaires aren’t republicans they are democrats…..Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. It’s amazing that they have america thinking the rich are republicans. They do this to get the votes and policies they are looking for. Wake up america. Reps are no longer the richest its been dems for quite some time now.

Posted by: jim at September 18, 2008 9:52 AM
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