3 Jan

It’s Time for the Wealthy to Pay their Fair Share of Taxes [Reader Post]

                                       

My local news paper, the Falls Church News Press (FCNP) had two interesting articles its December 13th edition. While they seem unrelated on the surface the two actually help to make an interesting point. First off, the FCNP is run by a proud leftist, and his newspaper as a whole and particularly his main editorial pages reflect that. They include four weekly columns, generally including himself, Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, and for balance the Republican hating Republican David Brooks. Brooks’ December 10 syndicated column was a series of miscellaneous observations that included this bit of controversy:

Organic foods may make you less generous. In a study published in Social Psychology and Personality Science, Kendall J. Eskine had people look at organic foods, comfort foods or a group of control foods. Those who viewed organic foods subsequently volunteered less time to help a needy stranger and they judged moral transgressions more harshly.

This is exactly the kind of junk science where I point out that correlation does not mean causality. But there is more to this “study” if you look deeper, and I’ll circle back to it in a bit.

The second article that caught my eye was not in the editorials, but one of the front page stories. First let me give some background on Falls Church. It proudly calls itself “The Little City”, with its population of just under 13,000. It’s what I would call an upper middle class suburb of Washington DC, being one of the inside the beltway beneficiaries of the growth of our federal government (Full disclosure: I work as for a contracting company that supports federal contracts). For being located so close to one of the busiest cities in the country, Falls Church does have a nice small town feel to it, and is part of why Sister Babe and I decided to live so close to its downtown area. But everything is not perfect is suburbia. Falls Church, along with a few other localities are going to have trouble funding their share of the retirement plan for Virginia’s public employees (emphasis that follows is mine). From the Falls Church New Press:

F.C. Council, School Board Call on Richmond to Fund Retirement Plan

The state budget process will begin with a “state of the state” address by Gov. McDonnell on Monday, and local lawmakers say they’re not optimistic that Richmond (Virginia’s state capitol – ed) will have much to offer Falls Church or other localities this round.

Asked by Councilman Ira Kaylin about chances that Richmond will accept a greater burden for funding the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) , Saslaw said that Richmond will not give, but “will ask for meaningful amounts for everything.”

Echoing Kaylin’s concern for the VRS balloon payment coming in the next couple of years was Lilla Wise, speaking to the F.C. School Board Tuesday night. Wise, who represents the school boards of Falls Church, Alexandria and Arlington as their legislative liaison in Richmond , confirmed that, without a legislative change, a 20 percent jump is coming in a couple of years in terms of what localities will be required to pay to maintain the solvency of the VRS.

Tentatively adopting its legislative agenda Tuesday night, the School Board noted about the VRS issue, “By continuing to pass employer contribution increase to municipalities for Commonwealth has put at risk the financial sustainability of many communities and, consequently, the VRS itself.” The complete School Board statement reflected almost verbatim the paragraph included in the City Council’s legislative agenda document. It reads as follows:

“We recognize that increases in VRS rates are required to retain the soundness of the system and recommend a long-term plan that would minimize the fluctuations that occur from year to year. We request that a plan be implemented to ensure the sustainability of VRS and its benefit for public employees. The Commonwealth should be responsible for paying some fixed portion of the VRS Trustee determined employer share and localities should not be asked to bear an increased share of VRS costs now or in the future due to the Commonwealth’s unwillingness to properly fund the VRS. By continuing to pass employer contribution increases to municipalities the Commonwealth has put at risk the financial sustainability of many communities and, consequently, the VRS itself.”

I honestly could not believe what I was reading. My first problem with what I read is these municipalities asking “Richmond” for more money. Exactly who do these local leaders think that this Richmond person is? I react the same way when I hear about poorly managed, financially struggling states ask the federal government for money to bail them out. What do these states think makes up our federal government, and where does it get its money from? Do they not realize that the Unites States government is nothing more than the sum of its 50 states and the citizens and employers of those states? And why should the residents of states that have elected competent leadership be forced to pay for decades of bad choices made by states that have mismanaged themselves into the ground? The same principle applies to counties and towns in any state, which brings me to my second point of contention with this article. Let me provide some more background info – note in the second paragraph of the article the three localities asking for financial help that I cited in bold – Falls Church, Arlington, and Alexandria. According to Wikipedia,

“There are 95 counties and 39 independent cities located in Virginia , ten of which are in the top 100 richest counties in the country .” Guess which ones are the top three in terms of per capita income:

  1. City of Falls Church $41,052
  2. Arlington County $37,706
  3. City of Alexandria $37,645

The state of Virginia itself has a per capita income of $33,671. Yes, you read correctly. The three wealthiest municipalities in the state are saying that the poorer residents should shoulder more of the bill to keep the state retirement system afloat. The question that should be getting asked is how we can reform this defined benefit plan to retain at least part of the commitment to our public sector employees without crippling the state budget for future generations. What should not be happening is the wealthy asking to sustain their generous lifestyles on the backs of the middle class. Why am I now throwing out this populist rhetoric here?

Here is how each of the big three voted in the last presidential election:

Arlington County:   Obama; 69%  Romney: 29%
Alexandria City:     Obama; 71%  Romney: 28%
Falls Church City:  Obama; 69%  Romney: 30%

In other words, the same people who voted for candidates who ran on platitudes like “Economic Patriotism”, “Social Justice” and “Fair Share” suddenly drop their pretense when they’re actually asked to… pay what they would call their fair share. In a related story (H/T The Iowahawk @DavidBurge), the citizens of the ever so blue state of New York (62% for Obama) are seeing the consequences of what they voted for, and they are not too happy about having to pay for it. Which brings me back to the David Brooks piece from the top of this post.

Organic food does not make you less likely to help someone in need directly. It’s being the kind of person who favors organic food that makes you less likely. In general, the people who favor organic food are more likely to be on the left. As a number of studies have shown conservatives give more of their time and money to charities than their lefty counterparts. It’s not that the left cares less about those in need, but it’s the philosophical difference between the two ideologies. In a nutshell, it comes down to if you see someone in need, who you believe should help that person. This is a generalization, but if you look across the issues their philosophies on how to help others they can mostly be summed up as:

Conservative: “I should do something to help”
Leftist: “Someone else should be forced to do something to help”

This last presidential election saw these two philosophies go head to head. One side felt that compassion for the less fortunate would be to remove layers of red tape and taxation that would enable them to start/expand their business or get hired by someone doing so. The other side felt that compassion was shown by regulating and taxing people out of business and then “saving” them with unemployment, food stamps, and welfare. We all know which side won the day.

Another favorite example of the difference in the two sides was seen in how they treat public property. Most of you reading this have seen the images comparing what the National Mall looked like after President Obama’s 2009 inauguration versus the Tea Party rally. This leads to a quick look at what the Occupy Wall Street did the public places that they took over. In Washington DC, their main protest camp was at McPherson Square, where they cost taxpayers $7,000 to fix the damage they did to that park. Over the course of a few months a beautiful, green space in the middle of a busy city was transformed into a crime and disease ridden cesspool, leaving a mess that needed to be cleaned up by crews in HAZMAT suits in their wake. You can see some images of the damage that they did and some of the cleanup here. It’s interesting that the people who preach against pollution, protecting the environment, war on women (how many rape free zones were needed at Tea Party rallies?), and sustainability would leave this trail of destruction in their wake, nor would they see the irony of how they live clashes with what they preach.

In a phrase, leftism is not sustainable. This is why a few weeks ago I argued that us going off of the Fiscal Cliff, while painful in the here and now, would be good for us in the long run.

Because until this country comes around to the fact that it’s not somebody else’s problem, things are only going to get worse.

Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog

This entry was posted in Class Warfare, Economy, Obamanomics, Taxes and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Thursday, January 3rd, 2013 at 5:00 am
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45 Responses to It’s Time for the Wealthy to Pay their Fair Share of Taxes [Reader Post]

  1. bwax says: 1

    Brother Bob,

    They should have let us go over the fiscal cliff. Only when everyone is allowed to suffer the consequenses of our overspending habits will people come to their senses. It’s really easy to spend someone else’s money. It is much more difficult to spend what you yourself earn.

    Besides, why is fair to have a progressive tax in the first place? I vote for a flat tax with no deductions for anyone or any organization. Let’s get the government out of picking winners and losers with the tax code. Let the free market loose. Besides, we could cut the IRS significantly, eliminate lobbyists, CPA’s and tax lawyers.

    Happy New Year!

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  2. liberal1(objectivity) says: 2

    …leftism is not sustainable.

    Sounds like a statement of real junk science to me. It’s because of liberalism that most people only have to work 40 hours per week. It’s because of liberalism (the ‘hippy’ influence) that people can pretty much dress like they want. It’s because of liberalism that people can marry inter-racially. It’s because of liberalism that women have the right to vote. It’s because of liberalism that black people have the right to serve in the military along side white people. Etc., etc., etc.

    Definitional note: Liberal is contrasted with Conservative, which means ‘maintaining the status quo, or going back to a previous political, economic or social environment (reactionary).

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  3. johngalt says: 3

    @liberal1(objectivity):

    You are conflating the ‘classical’ liberal with the current definition of what liberalism means. Taking credit for what one generation has accomplished, co-opting their label, and then using it to suggest that it’s logical to require the citizens, or subjects, to live under tyranny in order for them to remain free.

    That is why I define the current left as “progressive”, as well as liberal. Because you and your kind are nothing like the liberals of yesteryear, Lib1, no matter how loud you proclaim yourselves to be just that.

    You decry the use of government force in making our choices for us, and then turn right around and suggest that government force is necessary. You rail against the taking away of “rights” and then turn right around and suggest that rights we believe in are outdated, or unneeded, and that we should be separated from them.

    Your whole entire political being is full of contradictions, and runs counter to logic itself.

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  4. Brother Bob says: 4

    @Liberal1(objectivity): Liberalism is why we now see 12 year old girls and their 50 year old moms are dressing like hookers. I support the freedom to do so, but liberalism bought on the death of the parenting that would have stopped this in both mother & daughter. It’s because of liberalism that marriage rates are dropping and more children are growing up in single parent households as the state supplants the roles of husbands and fathers. It’s because of liberalism that forcing someone else to pay for women’s sexual choices are now seen as a right, ignoring the rights of the person being forced to pay for or provide them. It’s because of liberalism that out of wedlock births and unemployemnt in the black community are so high and continuing to increase, Etc, etc, etc.

    It’s also because of liberalism that you’re able to ignore these realities, while it’s because of conservatism that you have the freedom to do so.

    @Johngalt: Only because I was responding to the comment did I refer to the group as liberals. In my posts you’ll notice I always refer to them as leftists, since their behavior is anything but liberal. Although Progressive may be OK now, as long as we all realize it’s how they want to move society over a cliff.
    “Forward!”

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  5. johngalt says: 5

    Brother Bob, the two opposing philosophies can be simplified down to that old adage, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime”.

    Conservatives wish to teach the man to fish, but also to remove the obstructions preventing him from acquiring, or owning a boat, and/or a net, and enable that man to profit from his labors by selling his excess to people who don’t fish but do other worthwhile, wealth creating labors. Conservatives also wish to allow that man who obtains his boat, net, fishing lines, etc., to be able to own it all and pass it down to his children upon his death, without the ability of others to take pieces of that property upon his death away from his children.

    Liberal/progressives wish to give a man a fish. Then give him another the next day. And the next. And so on, and so on, and so on. They do this by taking away from those who can fish, or who are willing to, leaving those people with less in which to either feed their family or to sell to those who would pay for parts of their catch. And in order to do that, they place their own “ownership” label on the fisherman’s boat, his net, his lines, his berth in port, etc., demanding their “share” of his catch because of their ownership label on the man. Then, when the man dies, they demand a portion of the property in question, or something of equal value, before releasing the property to the man’s children. And they accomplish this by use of force, to which they continually deny access to any comparable force by the man, or his family. And the first man? He lives so long being dependent upon the liberal/progressive in giving him a fish, he never learns to catch one himself, or any other labor he might trade to pay for that fish on his own. And why should he? He can sit back all day, enjoying the sun, knowing that the fish will be given to him that day, without any effort on his part other than to request it.

    That is the essence of the two opposing philosophies.

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  6. Aqua says: 6

    @johngalt:
    #5 simply outstanding!

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  7. Nan G says: 7

    CA is, as an entire state, more Leftist than VA.
    Huntington Beach is a very Leftist voting city.
    A few years back Huntington Beach’s very Leftist policies caught up with them.
    HB’s very generous retirement package for city employees caught up with them.
    They have (had?) a department for Lifeguards.
    But the entire budget for that department had to be spent on the retirement pay for their ex-lifeguards.
    They had NO MONEY for lifeguards who were working….not retired.
    So, they brought in temps (who were high school age) for short hours…..and NO BENEs!

    The whole state of CA is heading in that direction.
    Jerry Brown is so in the pocket of the unions that he’s overseeing this happen.
    Californians are noticing that their high taxes aren’t gaining them ANY actual services.
    Smug state retirees think their gravy train will go on forever.
    But with foot-deep potholes everywhere, only those whose cars are expendable can afford to drive our streets.
    And those cars belong to the poor.

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  8. Tom says: 8

    @johngalt:

    I like your comment, John, but I suspect you’ve slightly simplified things. There will always be people, conservative and liberal, who require no help from anyone (“fishers”). And there will always be those who, at one time or another, will require a helping hand, and many of them happen to be conservative, by the way. To add a layer of complexity, within the pool of people who require assistance, there will always be hard working, employable people temporarily down on their luck, or sick people, or elderly people without a means of support, or children, “good” people, we can all agree. And there will always be people who try and job the system – these people seem to loom very large in conservative mythology, disproportional to reality, I’d add (let’s all recall Ronald Reagan’s very successful cartoonish and arguably racist demonization of the “welfare queen”). When you draw a line on federal assistance, you’re always going to be dealing with a balance between helping as many good people as possible at the expense of people jobbing the system, or conversely, leaving good people out in the cold to keep the jobbers from accessing aid. If it were a simple question of all people who receive aid are lazy “bad” people, it would be a simple solution. But every time federal programs are cut, such as unemployment, or food stamps, you’re hurting good people too. That’s something that conservatives seem to find easy to forget.

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  9. Babydoc says: 9

    Liberal, put your ridiculous carnards to pasture please. You are defining the difference between Jeffersonian ‘liberalism’ (which is good) versus the current marxist use of the term to hide what you leftists really want which is totalitarian control over every aspect of our lives. This was an EXCELLENT opinion piece that clearly demonstrates the difference between the cowardly “I feel guilty that somebody may have less than I do and think everyone should be forced to make that person get money from a government hack who steals from people who earn what they have” progressive mindset – versus the conservative “I will choose to be personally charitable to those who I feel are in need without the government middle man taking a portion of what I wish to donate” philosophy.

    Need I remind you that it was REPUBLICANS that were pushing for blacks to be able to vote and DEMOCRATS who were riding around in sheets having started the KKK specifically to oppress blacks? Need I remind you that the KKK Kleagle (recruiter) Robert Byrd was a DEMOCRAT? Who nominated the first black secretary of state? Oh yeah…a REPUBLICAN did that. And who named the first Black Woman to the post of secretary of state? Oh yeah…a REPUBLICAN did that. Need I remind you that DEMOCRAT Bill Clinton cared so much for women that he sexually harassed Paula Jones (and settled out of court in her civil case), cheated on his wife with Monica Lewinski (and was disbarred for lying about said affair under oath), and reportedly beat and raped that nurse from Arkansas back when he was governor? (Sorry, cannot remember her name atm). Need I remind you that DEMOCRAT Anthony Weiner respected women soooo much that despite being married he was caught sending pictures of his genitals to college age women? Need I remind you of DEMOCRAT former VP candidate John Edwards who got his mistress a bogus video editing job on his campaign so he could cheat on his cancer-stricken wife and ended up fathering a child out of wedlock with her? Yes, please tell me again how liberals are so much more respectful of women…..

    Yeah, spare me the ridiculous sanctimony about how democrats/liberals really CARE about blacks and women. The only thing democrats/liberals/marxists care about is fooling minorities and women into believing that democrats are their saviors against the “evil” conservatives who supposedly only care about white men.

    It was Judeo-Christian CONSERVATIVE principles that let to the end of slavery in the US. It was a REPUBLICAN who fought to bring the enslavement of blacks to an end, against bitter opposition from DEMOCRATS who wanted to just let the south keep on with slaves.

    Orwell’s depiction of the manipulative pigs in his “Animal Farm” novel is absolutely on target as the portrayal of today’s leftists. Which is why the leftist academics don’t want our kids to read it…

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  10. Nan G says: 10

    @Tom:

    Tom, all of what you said was true before Obama took office.
    But have you forgotten that Obama ran an ad campaign with bill boards and TV/radio spots to get MORE people on welfare?
    It is now an astonishing one of every seven Americans on SNAP (food stamps).
    Obama’s paper-pushers have been ordered not to look deeply into anyone’s qualifying statement, either.
    So, many more are gaming the system than used to.
    For instance a whole bunch of fully employed teachers were caught taking SNAP because they bragged about it in the presence of the wrong person.
    No one can say 1-out of-7 Americans are needy.
    But Obama is making 1-out of-7 Americans dependent.

    And that fishing boat example gets worse.
    Under Obama fishing has been made harder to make a living doing.
    The catch must be smaller, the season shorter and the tax higher.
    A lot of fishing boat businesses back east have gone under because of Obama’s heavy new rules.

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  11. johngalt says: 11

    @Tom:

    but I suspect you’ve slightly simplified things.

    I have, and purposely too. Complex descriptions and examples that are hard to follow get nowhere, as people tend not to read them, or even fully understand them. So yes, I am guilty of simplification. But I wouldn’t change what I said.

    Also, I didn’t really demonize the man who simply accepted the fish from the liberal/progressive, day after day after day. It’s more of a condemnation of the system set up by the liberal/progressive upon which a man doesn’t really have to engage in any industrial enterprise on his own, in order to live. The man may be down on his luck. He may be handicapped in some way. He may be old. It doesn’t matter, though, as the liberal/progressive “solution” is to continue giving that man a fish, every day, until the man himself changes how he lives. And since the liberal/progressive is only giving the man a fish, that seems highly unlikely now, doesn’t it?

    I’m not advocating for the end of all assistance to those in need. I’m simply stating that continuing to give a man a fish, instead of helping him in other ways, such as removing obstacles preventing him from learning to fish on his own, is counterproductive, if one’s goal is to create a productive society.

    It’s not an either/or proposition, Tom. It’s not “help the needy”, or don’t help them. It’s a question of the kind of help being provided to them. And I’d say that direct help, as the sole means of helping someone, is counterproductive, especially as more and more people are identified as “needing help”, and the pool of those who have the ability to help shrinks and shrinks.

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  12. Babydoc says: 12

    Tom,

    There are welfare queens….and kings of all races (my very white ex-wife being one of them)…so stop throwing out your false disparaging smears against a truly great man like Reagan just because you don’t like how successful his conservative policies were in spite of all the opposition from the democrat controlled congress.

    Look at the EBT cards passed out after Hurricaine Katrina that were proven to have been used at strip clubs. Look at the woman who was just arrested for assault when she tried to buy iPads with her food stamp EBT card. John was spot on in his comment. Leftists play on the misplaced guilt of people to seeing other people in poverty for the sole purpose of expanding government. The purpose of the expansion of government is not to take care of the downtrodden, but to get the poor addicted – just like drug pushers want their customers addicted. That way the poor will easily be manipulated into believing that they can’t make it without the government drug pusher…so the poor keep voting for more and more leftist policies that serve only to further enslave them.

    It is the combination of unholy hypocrisy of leftist political overlords with the breathtaking gullibility and stupidity of leftist voters that is destroying what was once the greatest nation on earth. The despicable Obama, Reid, Feinstein, Schumer, Biden, Clinton, Pelosi, and the rest of their cabal are very likely to be surprised when they see what happens as they run out of things to placate the mobocracy they have built up. Eventually there will be no more “rich” people to steal money from, but the mobocracy will still want their “free stuff”.

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  13. Tom says: 13

    @Babydoc:

    Look at the EBT cards passed out after Hurricaine Katrina that were proven to have been used at strip clubs. Look at the woman who was just arrested for assault when she tried to buy iPads with her food stamp EBT card.

    You’re just proving my point by providing a classic example of cherry picking a few bad apples while ignoring any positive benefits to good people derived from these programs. In almost any endeavor of this magnitude, finding one example of something going wrong is never very difficult, but proves nothing, and provides nothing of substance to the debate.

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  14. Richard Wheeler says: 14

    Tom #8 Excellent post. J.G tends to see things black and white, right and wrong.It works for him.
    J.G. What brings you back in force with so many great college football games still to be played?
    Oregon-8 KSU
    Aggies-3.5 Oklahoma
    Bama-10 N.D.
    Any thoughts.
    Happy N.Y. to two of F.A.’s premiere posters.

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  15. Aqua says: 15

    @Tom:

    In almost any endeavor of this magnitude, finding one example of something going wrong is never very difficult, but proves nothing, and provides nothing of substance to the debate.

    By itself, maybe not. But every time a conservative tries to put any checks and balances in the system, they are derided as uncaring and/or racist.

    The governor left in place the Legislature’s proposal banning tattoo parlors, gun shops, casinos, cruise ships, strip clubs and adult entertainment stores, spas, and bars from accepting EBT cards but rejected the Legislature’s inclusion of jewelry stores and nail salons.
    Patrick rejected bans on the use of EBT cards for the purchase of guns, ammunition, pornography, jewelry, body piercing, vacation services and gambling and for payment of court-ordered bail and fines. He kept EBT bans for the purchase of alcohol, lottery tickets and tobacco.

    ~emphasis added mine
    Seriously? Vacation services? When my budget is tight I have the ole Staycation. But someone with an EBT can plan on Disney World? This is the kind of stuff that needs to stop.

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  16. Mully says: 16

    @Tom:

    It’s not just a few bad apples. It the way the system is set up. Fraud is not uncommon with EBT cards. Some are sold off for cash. Why not put a photo ID or other form of ID associated with each one so they can’t be swapped out for cash. Those on the left would never go for this.

    One other thing it was Henry Ford that instituted the 40 hour work week. Not due to some politician or union push.

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  17. johngalt says: 17

    @Richard Wheeler:

    Tom’s post was good, Rich, but I believe you missed the point I was making, hence your focus on “black and white”.

    I don’t deny that there are legitimate “people in need”. Probably a large portion of those that are receiving some kind of assistance. But it’s not those people that I’m concentrating on, Rich. It’s the liberal/progressives, whose idea that giving and giving and giving leads to prosperity that I’m concerned with.

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  18. Richard Wheeler says: 18

    J.G I believe the Conservative meme—Caught On Tape—that 47% of the voters are takers cost Mitt the election.
    The incredible Primary bashing he took from Perry,Gingrich and Santorum certainly didn’t help.

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  19. Brother Bob says: 19

    @ Richard Wheeler: Didn’t the left commit the same crime of overgeneralizing in its fetish over Romney’s 47% remark?

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  20. Skook says: 20

    Bob: During the 80′s and 90′s, I often drove through Falls Church after flying into Dulles or BWI, on my way to the horse ranches/farms around Upperville and Middleberg; nice areas, but I was clearly out of my element. I marveled at the people, they seemed to have a strong reliance on the staten (federal) and considered it to be an omnipotent force (perhaps it is from being in close proximity to DC), but I was a bit of an anomaly for many of them as well. During this period, I was apolitical, but conservative by nature. Naturally, the conversations after work were lively. I met a few retired military men who were conservative in their philosophies and a few retired cops from DC with stories that were wilder and stranger than fiction. It was a great learning experience for me.

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  21. Tom says: 21

    @Aqua:

    Seriously? Vacation services? When my budget is tight I have the ole Staycation. But someone with an EBT can plan on Disney World? This is the kind of stuff that needs to stop.

    You will not get an argument from me. I am sincerely all for doing whatever is possible to stop fraud. I am also all for moving good people off of aid responsibly (job training, tuition grants, etc.). The problem I have on this topic is this troubling tendency on the Right to stigmatize people who receive aid in this moralistic fashion. First of all it’s not close to accurate that a large percentage of those who receive aid fit this profile of frauds jobbing the system. Secondly, this stereotype actually hurts good people more than bad, because it impacts their ability to get off aid, and their own self-worth. If an employer buys into this stereotype, are they going to want to hire a “lazy” person on government assistance? This type of stereotype actually works to keep people in the very state it claims to deplore.

    Let me also point out that aid seems to be looked at in a vacuum all too often. People seem to think that the only effect of cutting all aid will be a bunch of leaches will have to go out and get jobs. That’s absolutely not the case. You will see an increase in crime, an increase in homelessness, an increase in people dying on the streets, and increase in societal misery, which impacts everyone. Do we really want to live in a country that’s more unsafe, stepping over suffering people on the way to our cars, so that our tax rates go down a bit? (Edit, I should have written “so that the tax rates of the top 1% don’t go up a bit.)

    There are people who are just never going to live up to this high standard, who are never play by the rules. That’s a problem we’re going to always struggle with how to best handle. But you take away a hard working unemployed person’s access to aid when he’s desperate, and even that person can be driven to extremes. Rhetorical question, what won’t a man do to feed his family? I personally don’t want to find out.

    Going father astray, I don’t understand why when we talk about our national budget, we always talk about keeping or eliminating programs, instead of implementing efficiencies. All this all-or-nothing approach serves to do put people onto two sides. Both parties have very skillfully played us into camps where the last thing we seem to do is ask them to be more efficient, cut the fat out.

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  22. Tom says: 22

    @Brother Bob:

    @ Richard Wheeler: Didn’t the left commit the same crime of overgeneralizing in its fetish over Romney’s 47% remark?

    Not really. He was pretty specific in his description of, and his indictment of, the moral failings of 47%. I’m curious where you think the quote was taken out of context?

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  23. Brother Bob says: 23

    @Tom: Romney mentioned that there is an issue with too many people living off the state. Are we not now living the consequence? As I pointed out back in my post your philosophy simply is not sustainable

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  24. Tom says: 24

    @Brother Bob:

    It’s not my intention to side track your discussion, but (as has been discussed ad nauseum) I believe you and Mitt Romney are both incorrect that 47% of American’s are “living off the state” (your words) or “dependent on government” (his). The strange thing is I think Romney really believed it. There’s no doubt he’s a man who has accomplished a lot in his life, but he’s also completely blind to the fact he’s been dealt a royal flush. I’m not just talking about the political connections of his father, growing up rich, going to the best schools. He was also born good looking and smart, with wonderful hair, the full package. I don’t expect a guy like that to not be proud, but have some humility and some thanks for your amazing luck. He apparently went in the opposite direction and has decided to believe that the rest of America could have been in his shoes with his work ethic and his strong moral character, and their failure t0 do so deserves the full share of his contempt. Anyone that out of touch with reality has no business running this country.

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  25. retire05 says: 25

    @Tom:

    You will see an increase in crime, an increase in homelessness, and increase in people dying on the streets, and increase in sociatal misery, which impacts everyone. Do we really want to live in a country that’s more unsafe, stepping over suffering people on the way to our cars, so that our tax rates go down a bit?

    Now, that’s hyperbole, boys and girls.

    Tom, during the worst depressing this nation has ever seen, compounded by the Dust Bowl, we never experience the scene you are describing. And there was no “safety net” system, and at best, people got food from soup lines. There was no mass human dead lying in the streets that people had to “step over”.

    But what we did have was a nation that was charitable toward others without coercion. The churches (Luthern, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, et al) created charity hospitals. Those same entites ran orphanages, old folks homes, clinics. They took care of the least of us. Well, that is until FDR decided that the government could do a better job, and let the churches off the hook for the purpose they were designed for. Look at the good that the wealthy did, back then, without having the IRS hold a gun to their head. The Smithsonian, the National Gallery of Art, many colleges and universities, as well as hospitals, were all funded with private funds. Carnegie built Carnegie Hall, a vast number of public libraries and a number of universities. All with his own money. How do you explain that in the darkest days of this nation’s financial history, the crime rate was lower, the number of children born without a father was lower, the number of fractured familes was lower? And I am not talking about numbers, I am talking about percentages.

    When you take the earnings of one man to give to another, that is not charity, it is stealing, no matter what you call it. And the person receiving the largess has no responsibility to repay society in kind, or even make the theft he has been the recipient of, pay off. Our current system of welfare does nothing good. Remember how LBJ’s Great Society was going to end poverty? What have we now? Fractured families that produce nothing except more fractured families. People who are third generation welfare recipients. People who would scream to the mountain top if any of their possessions were stolen, yet have no problem living on the stolen property of others, taken by the IRS.

    Mans greatest instinct is to survive. If you take away that free fish, given daily, that man will learn to fish. He will not be very good at it at first, but eventually, he will learn the techniques required to catch enough fish not only to feed himself, but others. Those techniques are never learned as long as fish is constantly provided to him.

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  26. Nan G says: 26

    How’s this for ”the wealthy paying their fair share?”

    Workers making $30,000 will take a bigger hit on their pay than those earning $500,000 under new fiscal deal

    80 percent of households will pay more money to the federal government as a result of the fiscal cliff deal.

    Not just the top 1 or2%.

    But Obama said it prevented ‘a middle class take hike that could have sent the economy back into recession’ and have a ‘severe impact’ on American families.

    ‘Under this law, more than 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses will not see their income taxes go up,’ he said.
    Obama LIED.
    70 percent of Americans will see their income taxes rise as a result of the deal.

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  27. Aqua says: 27

    @Tom:

    The problem I have on this topic is this troubling tendency on the Right to stigmatize people who receive aid in this moralistic fashion.

    This is something that is being taken way out of context, mostly by the media. I don’t know of anyone in my circle of conservative friends that look down on people needing assistance. What I do see is conservatives complaining about people abusing the system. When you are standing in the grocery line paying for hamburger meat and pork chops, and someone in front of you is paying for steaks with an EBT card, it tends to irritate you. And this happens a lot. I see something like this almost every single time I go to the store. So it is entirely reasonable for people that witness this to start blaming the system that allows it to happen. There was a lady that was arrested the other day for trying to buy iPads with her EBT card. She wasn’t arrest for trying to use the EBT card, but for assaulting the store clerk that refused to accept the card.
    http://gillreport.com/2013/01/video-woman-arrested-trying-to-buy-ipads-with-her-ebt-card/

    Going father astray, I don’t understand why when we talk about our national budget, we always talk about keeping or eliminating programs, instead of implementing efficiencies. All this all-or-nothing approach serves to do put people onto two sides. Both parties have very skillfully played us into camps where the last thing we seem to do is ask them to be more efficient, cut the fat out.

    I could not agree more. I am absolutely amazed when I see the reports on TV about entitlement reform, defense spending cuts, and cuts across the board. How is this going to help? There has not been a budget in over 1200 days. How can we possibly know where to cut spending when we have no idea where the spending is coming from? There is a CBO report that shows we are spending up to $200 billion a year on duplicate programs and agencies. That’s $2 Trillion in 10 years. That makes the money found in the tax increases look like chump change.
    http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/politics/2011/March/Govt-Spends-200-Billion-on-Duplicate-Programs/
    I think the left and the right (the people, not the idiots on Capitol Hill) should come together and have these morons pass a budget. There should be hearings on the duplicate programs and agencies and they should be eliminated. And base-line budgeting should be thrown out entirely. Every year is a new year. This would stop democrats and republicans blaming each other for spending cuts when what is actually occurring is a decrease in the increase of spending.

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  28. Richard Wheeler says: 28

    Aqua Concur————Go Irish. Was Snyder going on 4th and one from 18 late 2nd or attempting to pull Oregon offside? Game changer. Happy New Year to a voice of reason.

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  29. johngalt says: 29

    @Aqua:

    And base-line budgeting should be thrown out entirely.

    That is the real culprit in the overspending mess, Aqua. And no one really seems to want to discuss this.

    Every time a new spending initiative gets passed, some, or all, of it goes into the permanent “baseline” budget, where it is subject, arbitrarily, to a 4-7% increase in spending, every year, and the only thing that ends that particular spending is the removal of the spending program, which most Democrats, and some Republicans, seem want to do. The Stimulus, for example, added hundreds of Billions to the “baseline budget”, from which we’ve sat here, for nearly 3 years, adding 4-7% spending to those initiatives, and will keep doing so until the particular program is stricken from the books, which won’t happen given the makeup of the current Congress and the WH.

    All of the liberals will tell you that our current overspending problem is due to Bush’s tax cuts, and the two wars(sometimes they add “unfunded” to their descriptions). I’ve dealt with the mischaracterizations of the Bush tax cuts, which in all actuality, add a greater amount of revenue to the federal coffers, per percent growth in GDP, than the Clinton tax rates did. Meaning, that the Bush tax cuts paid for themselves, and a whole lot more besides. As for the wars, currently they sit, both of them, at around $1.4 Trillion in total amount spent.

    Now, given that the total deficit, from the start of Bush’s terms to present, is upwards of $10 Trillion, if you subtract that amount spent on the wars, you get $8.6 Trillion.

    That is $8.6 Trillion in overspending on various government programs and agencies, many of whom, as you point out, are duplicate programs that inherently lead to overall inefficiency within the government. Many more spending items are things the federal government really has no business being involved with, and still more are used politically to give advantage to the friends of the various political bigwigs in DC.

    And why is all of this spending happening? Because much of it is entrenched within the budgets, subjected to the arbitrary increases by a method of accounting that adds to the inefficiency of government, and will not ever be stricken, or cut, because it is some pol’s pet project, or other pols’ ticket to the gravy.

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  30. Babydoc says: 30

    Tom,

    This is why it is usually futile to try to debate with leftists. Facts NEVER matter to leftists. Saying that the multiple examples I mentioned of fraud and abuse in government wealth redistribution programs like EBT, welfare, social security, etc are irrelevant as just “a few bad apples” shows you are completely unwilling to look at the problem. Subsidizing laziness and dependence only breeds MORE laziness and dependence, and eventually there will not be enough people to support all the lazy.

    And don’t give me the standard “you got all the breaks in life” garbage. I had to enlist in the military and bust my tail to earn my way through life. I never once relied on government assistance except 2 student loans that I repaid without going into default.

    I see all the 18-25 year olds getting pregnant and being completely unashamed about getting food stamps, medicaid, and actually becoming upset when they are told they need to pay for anything at all in the hospital. They can’t get health insurance, they can’t go buy their own breast pumps, but they have the latest, most advanced cell phones. They are wearing $150 name brand tennis shoes. They all have iPads. But expecting them to buy their own baby formula when they take their babies home is apparently unfair and cruel, and I am supposedly an evil curmudgeon because I believe it is unreasonable to have 40% and more of my income stolen from me so some government bureaucrat can buy the votes of these irresponsible and lazy people with their leftist “free” government aid?

    Shovel your “the right doesn’t care about poor people” garbage someplace else. The left doesn’t care – that is why the left insists on getting more people addicted to government handouts and manipulating the poor into believing they can’t make it without leftist wealth redistribution. What is so evil about the left is how stridently they profess their good intentions while deliberately imposing their political slavery on the very people they falsely claim they wish to help.

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  31. johngalt says: 31

    @Babydoc:

    The left has invaded many within the GOP as well. Those establishment types, who simply exchange welfare for the people, in favor of welfare for the corporation, are just as much to blame for the society we live in today.

    And the relatively few true conservatives in Congress do not hold enough power to push back on the welfare mentalities of the left and the establishment right. They are vilified as “Tea Baggers” by the left. Vilified as too “extreme” by both the left and the establishment right. And shunned in DC for saying what they believe.

    In my own microcosm of a world, I have a sister-in-law who is a single mother. She readily accepts “help” from the government for her “needs”, yet shuns any actual help I, or my wife, would readily give her, since their would be stipulations on that “help”. She wants the “free” ride, without doing anything for it in return. That’s why she voted for Obama, twice, and is happy as a clam about Obamacare. I don’t owe her a damn thing, and yet, I would help her if she asked me too. I am angry as hell that she supports the governmental use of force to take from me, and give to her, for nothing in return on her part.

    Anecdotal? Sure. But it’s also truth in too many cases across the country. Sure she really needs the help at this point in her life. I don’t dispute that. It’s the culture that created the belief she holds that she shouldn’t have to do anything in return for that help that I despise.

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  32. Tom says: 32

    @Babydoc:

    This is why it is usually futile to try to debate with leftists. Facts NEVER matter to leftists. Saying that the multiple examples I mentioned of fraud and abuse in government wealth redistribution programs like EBT, welfare, social security, etc are irrelevant as just “a few bad apples” shows you are completely unwilling to look at the problem. Subsidizing laziness and dependence only breeds MORE laziness and dependence, and eventually there will not be enough people to support all the lazy.

    First off, your anecdotes don’t constitute facts that can be debated on. I’m sure you’re telling the truth, but your experiences, which may furnish you with reason to hold opinions, don’t furnish us with systematic data to draw reasonable conclusions. If you want to show us some facts relating to benefits that back up your anecdotes, please provide them.

    Second, I don’t like to see waste anymore than the next person. But making poor spending decisions isn’t a monopoly of the disadvantaged. I know plenty of people earning paychecks who make irresponsible decisions, who eat steak when they’re taking home ground chuck pay. Now if you’re suggesting that these people you witness are using welfare to buy frivolous items because they don’t really need welfare, that’s a different thing. That’s fraud. So are you suggesting we eliminate benefits across the board as a way to remedy fraud? Before you do that, you might want to know who you’re taking them away from. Are you willing to take away entitlements from millions of disabled and elderly because you don’t like the spending decisions made by some people in your neighborhood grocery store? I also have to wonder if you reserve even a tenth of the anger you hold for some poor slob in your neighborhood with an EBT card for those benefiting in Corporate Welfare. That comes right out of your pocket too. So if some guy buying lottery tickets with an EBT gets you this upset, how do you feel about billions of dollars in breaks to oil companies who already are reaping astronomical profits?

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  33. retire05 says: 33

    @Tom:

    I noticed that you parroted the normal progressive meme about how the [rich] oil companies are getting benefits from the government, which are no more than the actual tax breaks allowed to any industry, while you do not mention the actual money that our government gives to the ethanol industry. There is a major difference in not collecting money that goes into the federal coffers than actually giving an industry money.

    Now, I personally believe that anyone who gets an EBT card, which is primarily for food, should be limited to what they purchase. There also is a big difference between people making bad purchasing decisions with their own money and doing that with someone else’s money; a difference you can’t seem to recognize.

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  34. johngalt says: 34

    @Tom:

    So if some guy buying lottery tickets with an EBT gets you this upset, how do you feel about billions of dollars in breaks to oil companies who already are reaping astronomical profits?

    They are both part of the overall problem, Tom. Welfare, whether corporate, or individual, breeds dependence upon the entity supplying the welfare. In this case, government. GM, for example, was the recipient of huge amounts of corporate welfare, and they did nothing to actually address the real problems plaguing them. In the near future, they will be requesting additional welfare to address their “needs”.

    This is why a serious overhaul of the taxation system in the country needs to be addressed. As well as addressing the duplicate government programs, the inefficiency in the government in general, and the handouts the government seems to give freely away, in exchange for nothing.

    Fix the taxation, fix the spending, and the government will be free to better serve the citizens in their legitimate needs.

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  35. Tom says: 35

    @Aqua:
    @johngalt:

    Really interesting posts. I need to take a closer look this weekend when I have the time to give them their full due, but I think you both raise some excellent points.

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  36. Still Free in Texas says: 36

    @Tom:

    Tom, Charity instead of welfare is better for all in the long run. The government can not maintain a reasonable safety net. The politicians can’t resist giving something that benefits themselves and costs them nothing.

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  37. Brother Bob says: 37

    @Tom #24: Let’s take your assertion on Romney but change a few words in to sum up another famous political figure showing his contempt for people who “didn’t build that”

    There’s no doubt he’s a man who has accomplished a lot in his life, but he’s also completely blind to the fact he’s been dealt a royal flush. I’m not just talking about the political connections of his Chicago Machine, growing up surrounded by anti-Americans, going to the best schools, and being gently lifted above his capabilities by diversity initiatives, corrupt politicians, and a fawning media. He was also born good looking and smart, with wonderful hair, the full package. I don’t expect a guy like that to not be proud, but have some humility and some thanks for your amazing luck. He apparently went in the opposite direction and has decided to believe that the rest of America could have been in his shoes with luck and his lack of understanding of the private sector that funded his good fortune, and their failure t0 do so deserves the full share of his contempt. Anyone that out of touch with reality has no business running this country.

    One of the two has had real jobs in his life, has been in leadership roles and has successes in his past that weren’t giftfed to him by others. Which one would make a better president?

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  38. dbschmidt says: 38

    Lib1,

    Jan 5th of 1914 – The Ford Motor Company announces an eight-hour workday and a minimum wage of $5 for a day’s labor. The government (nor Progressives) didn’t do this, FORD did this…

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  39. Babydoc says: 39

    Tom,

    For the record, I do not support corporate welfare at all, anymore than I support EBT cards. I do not support the federal government being involed in ANY welfare at all, whether it be medicare/medicaid, SS, food stamps, corporate loans, farming subsidies or anything other than national defense and keeping internal order.

    Anecdotes are where we must start in developing a basis to further investigate our suppositions. With regard to your “steak on ground chuck budget” comment, I don’t particularly care if someone is doing that with HIS own money. That would be HIS choice. But I am incensed when someone goes out buying steak for themselves while reaching into MY wallet to buy diapers and formula for his children.

    And please don’t imagine me to be a greedy SOB. I am very happy to be charitable to all kinds of people and organizations…but again that is MY choice on to whom I help out. I have every right to be pissed at some despicable politician manipulating the ignorant and the lazy for votes so the government can steal from me.

    And I realize this is a dead thread….but we have beena tad busy in the NICU the last couple of days and this is the first chance I had to respond.

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  40. Tom says: 40

    @Babydoc:

    And please don’t imagine me to be a greedy SOB. I am very happy to be charitable to all kinds of people and organizations…but again that is MY choice on to whom I help out. I have every right to be pissed at some despicable politician manipulating the ignorant and the lazy for votes so the government can steal from me.

    I don’t assume you are a greedy SOB. I assume we have an honest divergence in opinion, while both hoping for the best result. What I’m zeroing in on this thread (not aimed at you) is something I see a lot with broad calls to cut spending: there are rarely considerations given, or at least voiced, to the obvious effects. I honestly think more than 50% of people who want less taxes actually believe the only effect of less taxes is less taxes. It would help if when people called for changes, they followed the thought through to the logical conclusion, listing their thoughts on both cause and effect. “I think we should eliminate food stamps, and when people have no money for food I think ______”.

    And I realize this is a dead thread….but we have beena tad busy in the NICU the last couple of days and this is the first chance I had to respond.

    I tip my hat to you. Doc. You are doing the good work.

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  41. Tom says: 41

    @Brother Bob:

    gently lifted above his capabilities by diversity initiatives, corrupt politicians, and a fawning media.

    Gently lifted? Where is this mechanism, I wonder, and why haven’t the Republicans bought one for themselves?

    I love that description. I could talk about it all day. Where else does one find such casual dismissal of dominance, in this case political dominance. I’m trying to imagine an athletic analogue: ” He beat me twice in a row in the championship game, and he totally sucks, but I’m totally… good”

    Maybe after 30 years of pushing the same mediocrity, different versions of the same white, male, wealthy scion of political prominence, a self-made man (or woman) might not be such a bad idea for the Republican party. Just hope your guy/gal gets a gentle lift.

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  42. Brother Bob says: 42

    @Tom:
    #40: Nice straw man about eliminating programs. Please pay attention to what the actual arguments are, not what you think you’re hearing. I’ve actually been arguing the opposite – instead of cutting anything let’s start tasting how much what we want actually costs.

    #41: I didn’t realize you were a member of the media – which outlet do you work for? I am impressed with how you and your brethren have managed to ignore the president’s questionable past or near failure as president! In terms of personal achievement where are the grades that got him into any of his prestigious schools? Where were his publications from his time at his various teaching positions? How about his lack of electoral accomplishments on the way up, the dirty tricks needing to hand him several elections, or near failure of a presidency? The mainstream press’ style of covering the president, generally referred to as “fellatio” helped to support your main’s successful “Divide and Hate” campaign. So bravo on your support of a man who has never been handed so much while accomplishing so little.

    But please, start taking responsibility for our economy – you voted for it.

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  43. retire05 says: 43

    @Tom:

    I think we should eliminate food stamps, and when people have no money for food I think

    How about allowing the entity that gets the biggest bang for their charitable buck handle the poor, like the did before the government decided it could do it better? If someone is down on their luck, and have no money for food, let them volunteer a day at a church food bank (they are all over the nation). Give them $80.00 worth of food for a day’s labor. They can stock shelves, help others, take inventory. But the left will say “What about their transportation? Who would take care of their kids?” Simple. Every church has a van. A church volunteer can pick them up, along with their kids and have someone, who will also receive $80.00 worth of food, take care of the children in a day care atmosphere.

    That accomplishes two things; first, the person with no money for food, will get food and second, it gives the person earning the food a sense of worth, not being a drain on others. There are many other ways to handle getting food to the poor beside stealing it from someone else via the IRS.

    Maybe after 30 years of pushing the same mediocracy, different versions of the same white, male, wealthy scion of political prominence, a self-made man (or woman) might not be such a bad idea for the Republican party.

    Recently, Congressman Tim Scott, a self man man, was appointed to the U.S. Senate. He is not white, or a wealthy scion of political prominence, but he is male and he is a self-made man. And how was his appointment to the U.S. Senate received by Ben Jealous, the head of the NAACP? Senator Scott was called every thing in the book, including a racist for not supporting affirmative action and an Uncle Tom because he chose to wander off the Democrat Party plantation. Or maybe you should read My Grandfather’s Son by Justice Thomas. Certainly not white, wealthy but definately a self-made man who credits his black grandfather for his success. Then there is Senator Ted Cruz who definately understands what it is like to come from poverty roots. You can look for the Democrats to do everything in their power to smear him, just as they smear any minority who has the audacity to wander off Democrat Party plantation. Name me one minority that has ever made prominence in the Republican Party that the Democrats didn’t do everything they could to smear their reputation. It’s what your party does, Tom. The Democrats are not interested in equality, they are interested in keeping minorities locked in as votes.

    You indicate that Obama is a self-made man. Tell me, who paid for his education at Occidental, or Columbia, or Harvard? What did he acheive other than having David Axelrod smear his opponents in his Illinois elections so that he ran unopposed? Obama’s not self-made. He is a creation of David Axelrod and is nothing more than a fairy tale created in the Axelrod lab. He is self-made just like Al Capone was self-made.

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  44. Tom says: 44

    @Brother Bob:

    In terms of personal achievement where are the grades that got him into any of his prestigious schools?

    Perhaps point me to that part in the Constitution about grades. Did GWB see it? Is there a part about doing rails of coke at Yale while earning C minuses? Please elaborate.

    How about his lack of electoral accomplishments on the way up, the dirty tricks needing to hand him several elections, or near failure of a presidency?

    Again, I don’t really see the relevance. Are you saying he didn’t pass some arbitrary test that you’ve conceived for Presidents? What is that test? Did every President but Obama pass it? Are you having a hard time with the reelection, perchance?

    So bravo on your support of a man who has never been handed so much while accomplishing so little.

    Being elected President of the United States – twice – is “accomplishing so little”? You obviously have a high bar.

    But please, start taking responsibility for our economy – you voted for it.

    Are you referring to the economy that continues to improve despite obvious Republican attempts at obstructionism for four years now? The one that was destroyed by Republicans the year before Obama took office? What is it you’re asking me to take responsibility for exactly?

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  45. Brother Bob says: 45

    @Tom: Not sure how Bush comes into this conversation, as nobody on the right ever had delusions that he was their Lord and Savior. I’m not going to go over each inane point, but that coke habit of Bush’s is nothing more than an unsubstantiated leftist delusion, unlike a certain president who brags about his old drug habits. Being elected wasn’t an accomplishment for Obama – the press carried him both times.

    As for the economy, if you think that high unemployment, low economic growth, spiraling deficits and rising health insurance costs are a strong economy you might want to extract your head from the president’s colon. You won’t not like the view from the outside but it’s a lot more in line with reality.

    ReplyReply

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