"30% say Democrats favor rich, 30% say favor poor, and 36% say favor middle class." http://t.co/kxZjZgK5R5 Cant get more centrist than that
— billmon (@billmon1) February 5, 2014
66% agree 'government should work 2 substantially reduce income gap between rich & poor,' 42% agree strongly." No wonder Luntz is depressed
— billmon (@billmon1) February 5, 2014
From Friend-of-the-Blog Laura Clawson:
Americans want less income inequality and they want the government to make it happen
Americans want the government to take steps to reduce income inequality—and they definitely don’t see Republicans doing that. According to a new CNN/ORC International poll, 66 percent of registered voters agree with the statement “The government should work to substantially reduce the income gap between the rich and the poor,” with 42 percent saying they agree strongly.
“That sentiment may put Republicans in a difficult position, because nearly seven in 10 of those surveyed believe GOP policies favor the rich compared to the 30% of respondents who said Democratic policies benefit the wealthy,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
… The problem, as we see election after election, is that polling on the issues isn’t necessarily reflected in voting in predictable ways. Republicans are not paying enough of a price for being out of step with Americans on this issue. But Democrats should take it to heart. Third Way is not going to show the way on issues of economic inequality. Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren are.
Another six or eight inches of snow to shovel here, and it hasn’t stopped coming down. Apart from that, what’s on the agenda tonight?
James E. Powell
And what percent say “Democrats want to raise our taxes and give all the money to the [insert racist epitheht]”?
I’d put my money on 27%
Those numbers remind me of the numbers for national healthcare after the ’92 election. You know what that did. We saw similar numbers for healthcare after every election including 2008 and you see how that turned out – a gooper win in 2010. Lets not get excited by the fact that people have finally pulled their heads out of their asses in some small way. We need to fight harder & win more just to stay even
It’s not nazi to eat the rich. Just sayin….
PS: Where IS Laurie Central? Here in Western MA, the snowfall (stopped after about 4:30P ET, thankfully) seems to have topped out at about 10-12″ – light stuff, too. Of course, this is The Scenic Berkshires ™ where Winter Wonderlands are considered standard (though rare enough in the last 6-7 years)…
Love this. My own mother was the first person in my family to go to college. I was the second. I’ve shared this one with all my younger fam and friends who are able to or who are thinking about going to college.
First Lady Michelle Obama ‘I’m First’ Video
Of course the voting doesn’t reflect people’s views on these issues. This is precisely why, since the Civil Rights Act, the GOP has heavily engaged in the culture wars. And the nice thing about framing things in war rhetoric is it helps their base prioritize between punching down and defending themselves from punches coming from above.
Chicken Marsala in a few minutes. Been online ordering some fancy Italian cured meats and some cheeses. Saw a video of spaghetti carbonara that has me jonesing for a pasta fix.
Ask my trainer. I never know what is up for torture Wednesday.
Polls don’t mean shit.
I look forward to the full flowering of the Five Stages of Conservative Policy Denial w/r/t income inequality.
Stage 1: Deny the problem exists.
“There is no such thing as structural income inequality. Poor people are just lazy.”
Stage 2: Accept that the problem exists, but deny that anything can be done about it.
“Structural inequality is a natural byproduct of economics. Want a more favorable GINI coefficient? You might as well ask for the sun to start rising in the West.”
Stage 3: Accept that something can be done about it, but deny that the Federal government can do anything about it.
“This is a state issue. The Federal government has no Constitutional means to regulate income distribution, even indirectly. The Commerce Clause doesn’t count. BECAUSE I SAID SO.”
Stage 4: Accept that the Federal government can do something about it, but insist that doing so destroy freedom and/or the Laws of God.
“Look, structural inequality is just the price we have to pay for a free society. Haven’t you read Hayek? Modest transfer policies inexorably lead to Nazism, just like it did in post-war Britain after they implemented in the NHS, social insurance, and old age pensions. Plus Jesus said something about talents.”
Stage 5: Insist that the problem was the fault of the Democrats since the beginning, and re-purpose boilerplate Republican policy as a totally ineffectual alternative in the hopes that people will stop caring about the problem.
“All this inequality started because Obama kept Bernanke in charge of the Fed and then replaced him with Yellin, and shoved job-killing ObamaCare down our throats. The real solution is to cut top marginal tax rates and eliminate the estate tax.”
@Baud: Except the one on election day.
Davis X. Machina
What’s predictable is the revealed preference the American electorate has for spite and bile.
The day started at minus 6 and got up to 1, so die, die, die garden bugs! It was 55 at this time last week, so it keeps them on their many toes. The day is ending with an inversion layer of Denver’s smog looking obvious against the western foothills.
Sprints on the bike trainer in the basement tonight, since I’m obviously not going to be riding outside today; tonight is supposed to be even colder. I’m glad I don’t have to venture out to my job again until Friday.
And where will all those favoring redistribution policies be this November? Sitting at home on their ass, that’s where.
Except the Pesky Pole. Truck day is Saturday.
Another political poll was taken today. 700,000 Seattlites vote for this.
I heart SJP. Funny, SJP did what countless “liberal” pundits wouldn’t do to Mika et Joe.
Sarah Jessica Parker: Chris Christie should regret ‘tone’
What this says to me is that the Democrats need to make this the central issue in the campaign. A big reason people don’t vote their pocketbook is because the Republicans try to make the election about everything else and the voters get distracted. The Democrats need to put inequality squarely at the center of their campaigns, including an actual program to do something about it.
@Bob: yep. “The Dems are going to give your money to Mexican illegals and Muslim ground zero mosque builders and that’s why taxes are high and your wages are stagnant” worked wonders at stemming the redistributive impulse in 2010. I’m hoping to be proved wrong about mid term voters this fall.
Obama Not Offended If Asked to Stay Away
You missed a couple
Stage 6: The GOP works to weaken the efforts to pass laws necessary to accomplish the goal
Stage 7: Claim that the efforts are a failure and we need more tax cuts and fewer regulations to get back on track
@Sly: ha, sounds about right.
Say, remember those Russian dissidents who were the subject of a post here the other day? Well, somebody’s left them a little present.
Part of the reason we know that the issue is getting some traction is that the GOP is muddling all of those steps together right now.
None other than Tailgunner Ted Cruz has taken a stab at #5, saying that Obamacare (of course) is the biggest reason for income inequality. But there are still plenty of head-in-sand GOPers who are at #1 and are saying it’s all a big librul plot to confiscate the job creators’ hard earned wealth and take their guns. Some of them soften the hard edges of this and sound more like #2 than #1.
The Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver has at least implicitly conceded that the government can take steps to alleviate poverty in the short run, but in the same breath says that doing so would sap them of their will to work, which keeps them poor in the longer run. That dovetails with #4.
I think Ryan’s (and the GOP’s) desire to block grant the entire safety net and outsource it to the states fills #3 pretty nicely, too.
They need to lose a couple more elections before they’ll get to these stages, I think.
They still think their ticket to the promsied land rests on all-out resistance to Obama and all-out push for the Atlas Shrugged agenda. They can’t give up on it just yet (though the fact that they look ready to fold on the debt limit without throwing a hissy fit is a sign that there are cracks in the wall).
Lost my voice. Bad chest cold. Thank FSM for typing skills to keep in touch.
Stage 6: Claim credit for the Democrats’ success once it’s popular
been at war with Eastasiabeen in favor of more even income distribution, and achieving it by raising the capital gains tax was our idea.
Beat me to it, lamh. So, I wonder what Snowden and Greenwald have to say about this?
@Roger Moore: We’ve always been
at war with Eastasiabeen in favor of more even income distribution, and achieving it by raising the capital gains tax was our idea.
“…and now that our good idea has fixed equality we have to lower capitals gains taxes to relieve the hideous pressure of the viciously discriminated against rich people.”
[‘It’s a machine designed to produce more money for rich people.’]
I has two posts up on my blog, winter whine, plus the review of the latest Downton episode.
ETA: Warning: Review is spoilerific.
Fighting LA traffic to go see “Book of Mormon” after work. Super excited.
I hope he deleted the pr0n before he went.
Could someone please tell MSNBC that 9 minutes coverage of the Chris Christie scandals on prime time (3 minutes per show) would be plenty; and that 160 minutes per night may be a bit excessive. How many months they gonna beat this drum? There is no other news? Could Maddow mix an “I told you so” cocktail for a change of pace? It’s unwatchable.
All you need to know about the GOP’s electoral strategy is this: the last time a Republican candidate openly ran on “the issues,” it was Barry Goldwater in 1964. He lost by twenty percentage points, and apart from his home state, the only ones he won were the ones who joined him as a protest vote on culture war issues.
The next fifty years stem from that.
@Baud: Because he’d have to pay for the repeat downloads?
Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant)
@Sly: Can I borrow this for a post on my blog? It’s perfect.
As long as their ratings continue to remain high, they’ll continue covering the Outlaw Jersey Whale.
Yeah, that horse done expired. It is piling on.
Although: it’s fun to watch them watching the journalists track down the story. Am guessing the (mis)distribution of Hurricane Sandy funds will be the real problem.
Chris Christie seems to be MSNBC’s “Benghazi!” Except with substance.
Yeah. Unless he had one of those all-you-can-eat plans.
Amen. As example, 90% of Americans are in favor of background checks, yet everybody knows that the Republicans will once again win the House and possibly even the Senate.
Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant)
@Schlemizel: and yours as well?
I am getting sick of the blow by blow coverage. I agree that 3 minutes per show would be plenty. Generally, one of my complaints about cable news is that all the shows discuss the exact same things. I would really like more international news. They have 24 hours to broadcast news but we see the same 20 minutes worth of content played in a loop all day.
WHAT middle class?
We also had 10 inches of snow, with a layer of ice sandwiched in the middle. I was out chipping and shoveling when the world’s best neighbor came to help. I love that family. I’m never moving unless they do. They are the sweetest people I’ve ever met.
My view as well.
@lamh36: I’m beginning to think the President should dissolve Congress, the courts, and the states and start ruling as the all powerful father in Washington. It’s not like the other branches are pulling their weight and it would better match how everyone already assumes the presidency works.
@Turgidson: Indeed they are.
I’d really like to see a modest (.25%) transaction tax on stock, bond, etc trades, as well as for capital gains taxes to run at least as high as income taxes.
In particular, it does not make a whole lot of sense to me that each dollar I earn by working my butt off is taxed at roughly 40%, while each dollar I earn by sitting on my a55 for several years is taxed at 15%. The simplest would be to treat “capital gains” as ordinary income, with a deflator based on how long the asset was held (since, after all, if I bought XYZ inc in 1975 and sold it in 2015, inflation alone would have turned $1000 into $10000—the money I “make” on the deal is the $1000 I get when I sell it for $11000, not the $10000 I get if you subtract the original $1000 from $11000).
(Since inflation is currently running darn near zero, the deflator does not make that much difference at the moment.)
@mdblanche: I’m beginning to think the President should dissolve Congress, the courts, and the states and start ruling as the all powerful father in Washington. It’s not like the other branches are pulling their weight and it would better match how everyone already assumes the presidency works.
About 10 minutes later there would be a palace coup, likely lead by the conservatives running the security agencies.
[‘Assuming Obama didn’t get dead in advance of any announcement.’]
@MomSense: I suspect we will get international news in addition to CC scandals, but only for the next two weeks. It will 100% be focused on Sochi to abide by the Mothership. (Hope to FSM the Chechens don’t blow anything up, or that will be all we hear about for two months.)
I’d start with a 150% rate for any asset held less than one minute.
PS: instead of taxing income (at all), we could have a “wealth” tax. Now there’s something the rich can really scream about. :-)
Easy things to fight for:
New high-income tax brackets, at $1 million, $2 million, and $5 million (55% at 5 million sounds about right)
Capital gains applies to those high income brackets.
And just plain old abolish the estate tax – an inheritance = income, if it’s above $1 million.
That can pay for a lot of decent things for the ‘small folk’ – and it sends an easy message.
The successful need to start paying their dues.
Rich keep getting richer? Raise all those brackets.
Democrats need to show the voters what they will have if elected and stop reacting to any and all of the distractions. Focus on income.
Income $$ is better than any distraction.
All this safety net stuff is due to flat wages for years.
Personal increase in $$ trumps any distraction message.
I hope the journalists who went to Sochi took surge protectors. I fried my laptop power brick in Moscow last year. I suspect the wiring in those half-finished hotels is worse than in the Stalin-era apartment I stayed in.
Those of you suffering in the winter storms take a look at the effects of an ice storm in Slovenia. The Balkans were hit by a really bad one; about a quarter of the homes in Slovenia lost power for days.
Desperate wingnut makes racy comments to garner attention….
No sewers are off limits to these scumbags.
In case you missed it Clay Aiken is running for Congress in NC. Nice opening vid here.
The pundits reckon he has no chance but I respect him for trying.
I also hope to FSM that there is no terrorist attack at Sochi. If previous Olympic coverage is what we can expect, it will be 3 minutes of host banter followed by 20 minutes of human interest story about an American athlete and then maybe 5 minutes of the favorite American athlete competing in their event. And at the top of every hour they will do a whirlwind tour of all the events at about 3 seconds per item and then the medal tally by country. If only there were an Olympic-span so we could have three channels of just sports and maybe an occasional Q & A.
@Elizabelle: awww, rest up and deploy the garlic lemon tea!
It’s all about testing the shooting rig for my photo booking. And shipping back my ballet slippers. I’m dressing like an 18th century Italian Harliquinade. The ladies have been trying to dress me up, but, corsets are very out of the question. Can’t shoot in a corset and I am not balancing a camera on my boobages.
This makes sense. There is a sales tax on just about everything in most states (including food), so why is there not a sales tax on stocks?
@Mandalay: Isn’t Sotomayor Puerto Rican, so she is not an immigrant is she?
Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.)
Something that pisses me off even more than the greedy Koch brothers and other proud members of the Hoarder Class are the White Trash Rugged Individualists. The guys (and most of them seem to be guys) who barely scrape by, but are soooooo offended by the thought of any kind of redistributionary taxation. You know these guys. The guys who write shit like this:
That’s some tool who wrote that in answer to this video that everybody should watch. These guys are getting fucked sideways by the Hoarders, and they’re the ones out marching in solidarity with the poor, beleaguered plutocrats, chanting, “Free the Koch Two!”
Three minutes per show is not nearly enough. However, one or two segments per show, ON DIFFERENT ASPECTS of the scandal would be just fine. I want my all the Christie news, I just don’t want the same news over four different programs.
Putin GOOD. Obama BAD.
@lamh36: Isn’t she wonderful? :D
…and gee, now that I think of it, I was the first in my family too!
Davis X. Machina
Not if you’ve changed just having a job into a positional good.
The job doesn’t have to be good per se, but it becomes good because you’re constantly comparing it to the alternative, no job at all.
One of the ways to make this work is not to give you more, but simply to make the other guy visibly take less.
Redistribution from bottom to top does that. And it makes two of the three players happy. The guy at the very bottom probably doesn’t vote, either.
Related — saw a study today that people who had a prolonged (6 mo. plus) spell of unemployment were making 32% less than a control group ten years later.
The question is, does Ingraham know that Puerto Rico is a US territory or does she care?
@schrodinger’s cat: Yes, Sotomayor is every bit as much a RealAmerican as blondie Ingraham. She is also from New York, not California, but I guess all blue states are the same to wingnuts.
I think that, because Puerto Rico is a US territory, she’s an immigrant, but is also a native-born US citizen. It’s a weird situation.
ETA: I think we have a new commenter who lives in the US Virgin Islands, which is a similar situation — maybe s/he knows. Let’s just say, Sotomayor is just as much of an immigrant as US Virgin Islands-born Kelsey Grammer.
@Mandalay: My family came here from Scotland in 1876. I live in a town where I have to say my last name is Young with a Y. Not Jung. So many Germans immigrants here. I don’t mind I am an immigrant. Just not something I forget.
@Mnemosyne: I thought she grew up in the Bronx.
I finally saw the Coke ad, it was so innocuous, what was the wingnut rage exactly about?
Wikipedia to the rescue:
So, yes, she is EXACTLY as American as Laura Ingraham, and Ingraham needs to shut her fucking mouth.
ETA: And, because her parents were natives of Puerto Rico, she’s the child of two US citizens, as well. Suck on that, birthers!
Davis X. Machina
@schrodinger’s cat: Their idea of a perfect Coke ad is one in which a filibuster-exhausted Strom Thurmond, slowly walking down a corridor away from the Senate floor, throws a sweaty white hood to a kid in exchange for a bottle of Coke.
“Wow! Thanks, Strom!”
@schrodinger’s cat: No cat? Shocked.
@MikeJ: I like the cut of your jib
@Francis: Plenty on the blog, just none today. I is trying to attract non kitteh pplz to the blog also.
Fear and hatred of The Other is a hell of a drug.
@Chris T.: I think the government can’t just confiscate wealth without “due process of law”; that’s in the Fifth Amendment.
So our taxes tend to be on transactions of some sort, when money goes from one pocket to another: income, sales, gifts and inheritance. Though I guess state and local property taxes on land and material possessions are also allowed.
The gift and inheritance taxes are probably the closest thing to a pure wealth tax. You can hang onto your money, but you can’t take it with you when you die, and there’s a tax if you let your heirs have it. But the inheritance tax has been absolutely gutted in recent years. For a little while it didn’t exist at all.
@schrodinger’s cat: The wingnut rage was about what it’s always about – undirected bile builds up in the wingnut system, then some small stimulus causes the bile to erupt.
I don’t follow football at all, so until very recently I was unaware of Richard Sherman – but between his “stop being jerks to Peyton” and this response to an obnoxious troll, I am liking him more and more.
ETA: And his thoughtful answer to that strip club question, too. Plus it seems he is pretty good at playing sportsball.
@Matt McIrvin: True, but IF an assets based tax did pass, that would itself constitute due process. That IF should be 20 or 30 points larger.
@Mnemosyne: According to Wikipedia — and my memory — Sotomayor was born in the Bronx. So she’s at least as “all-American” as, for instance, Michelle Malkin — whose parents emigrated from the Philippines not long before her birth. Or my maternal grandmother, who never let her eight older siblings forget that, unlike them, she was a native-born American (albeit one conceived in Ireland).
Her parents were from Puerto Rico, but she was born in the Bronx and is thus not an immigrant by any reasonable definition. If the child of US citizens born in New York is an immigrant, who counts as a native born American?
I’m thinking compassionately of your great-grandmother. Imagine crossing the Atlantic while pregnant with your ninth child!
@Roger Moore: Ted Cruz.
I think a lot of that is a convenience issue. Transactions have a money value associated with them and money is already changing hands, so it’s easy for the government to step in and add an additional cost based on the value of the transaction without adding a lot of extra effort. Taxing assets has all kinds of problems with tracking the assets down, assigning them good values, and forcing people to pay money for something that’s just sitting there.
@Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):
I read people like this every now and then and I have an idea, if only an idea, of how black people must feel when watching Herman Cain meekly apologize for taking offense at the word “Ni[CLANG]head” in Rick Perry’s ranch… or women watching Ann Coulter say that women are too stupid and emotional and liberal to be allowed to vote.
Bad enough how they treat everyone else, but the absence of self-respect you must need to lie down and avidly lick the shoes of the people who’re ruining you is just breathtaking. Born serfs all of them. If only they didn’t insist on dragging all the rest of us down with them.
As a sidenote… it occurred to me that this isn’t the first time I’ve read some right-wing brainiac on the Internet go for the meme that wealth is literally “created” “from nothing” by people with the right entrepreneurial minds. It’s so childish you wouldn’t think any of them could possibly be that stupid… but they have to believe it. They have to believe that wealth is something rich people create from nothing just by being awesome; any other explanation means they aren’t the gods the right wing says they are, they aren’t entitled to the reverent worship they want us to show them, and – gasp! – they’re not really the ones creating wealth and jobs in society. Amazing the kind of absurdity people can make themselves believe rather than reevaluate what they “know.”
homeless person about to win Olympic Gold
@Matt McIrvin: Actually making a wealth tax work would be nontrivial; it’s much easier to tinker with the edges of the existing system. But the threat could help. :-) The RWNJs yank on the Overton Window by yelling about how terribly sockalist Obama is, etc.; others could stand to agitate for some actual soc-i-al-ist items, to set up a negotiating position if nothing else.
(And yes, I know about the estate tax. It really could stand to be tweaked a bit. The “exclusion level” was infinite in 2010 but is now back to $5.25 million, with a top rate of 40% on inherited amounts above that level. As an executor, I had to pay some attention to this recently. Not that the estate came anywhere near the limits, but I did have to check just in case…. It’s true that, these days, $5m is “not that much”, but in a fairer world we’d either have had a whole lot of inflation/debt-devaluation post-crash, and a minimum wage of $100/hr now, or a lower “exclusion level”.)
(Research suggests that the top income tax bracket should probably be around 70%, as I recall. And here again, inheritance could just be treated as income, like everything else.)
this was just funny:
Benedict Cumberbatch Does Alan Rickman Impressions with Jimmy Fallon
Posted in Videos » Celebs 14 Oct 2013
no one wins by themselves
While law school is more than 20 years ago, I was told that federal wealth taxes were direct taxes and thus needed to be apportioned among the states according to their population. (US Constitution, Art. I, sec. 2, clause 3.) This makes this tax useless for the purpose of generating revenue for the federal government. The only reason we have a federal income tax is the 16th amendment.
A quick google suggests that some people believe a wealth tax could be constructed as an indirect tax and thus avoid the Article I restriction. Something tells me that without a constitutional amendment, the only opinion that matters is 5 votes on the Sup. Ct.
@Chris T.: Making the “death tax” an item of outrage among people whose families would never in a million years be affected by it was a remarkable rhetorical success for the American right. It was one of the things that convinced me that the mindset is really not a selfish one, per se: these folks have very real, selfless feelings of altruism, but primarily toward people with more power and money than themselves.
I stand corrected on the nature of legal impediments to a wealth tax.
…Also, of course, there are all sorts of ways to avoid the inheritance tax, but in the days when it was high, that was really the point: it was designed to create an incentive for super-rich folks to spread their wealth around charitably while they were alive, instead of just keeping it in the family. You could argue that the results included a lot of monuments to vanity, but we got cool stuff out of it too, all those things with Carnegie or Mellon or Rockefeller written on them.
Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.)
I never really thought of it as “altruism” but I guess it is. It’s a weird kind of “altruism” though. It’s the kind of altruism a bully’s hanger-on show to the bully. Yeah, maybe some of it is no more than a way to buy off the bully, to keep on his good side; but bully groupies really are weird. I think they do feel a weird kind of loyalty to their overlord, but it’s easier to understand when we’re talking about an actual schoolyard. It’s all so immediate. This long distance bully ass kissing, sucking up to some assholes who would never be caught dead within 10 miles of these idiots, that I find utterly befuddling.
@Roger Moore: I don’t think any Puerto Ricans can be called immigrants. They are US citizens, and all residents of the 50 states and residents of PR and free to travel, work, and live between PR and the island freely without passports, visas, or work authorizations. As a mainland resident, I admit I’ve not been too tempted by the idea of working there but I’m damn tempted by the idea of living there someday.
@lamh36: Anyone who thinks America is post-racist needs to read the comments on that video.
There you go again – bringing logic into the discussion.
If I was ever dumb enough to think that, the Obama presidency cured me.