Nothing’s ever certain except race and taxes.


Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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75 Responses

  1. Avatar Ryan says:

    The only problem for your analysis here is that reality seems to contradict it. As Larry Bartels has pretty ably demonstrated, Democrats appear to be far better economic stewards than Republicans. Or, at the very least, he has shown that the fact that the economy seems to perform better under Democratic presidents than Republican ones is almost certainly not statistical noise.

    There are many things that conservatives, libertarians, and Econ 101 students tend to believe about the world, but a lot of them – see especially Laffer Curve, The – turn out to be totally and completely false.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Ryan says:

      Actually I think Clinton’s economic success was largely founded on much more conservative economic principles. George W. Bush was far too interested in playing cowboy and doing the whole war thing to even bother with good governance.Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Ryan says:

      So, over the long run, you will have more tax revenue if you tax at a 100% rate than you will at a 99% rate? The Laffer Curve isn’t wrong – it’s frankly something of a tautology. What is wrong is some of the more extreme claims about it and/or the notion that we can know where on the curve we are at any given moment of time.

      As for Bartels’ overreading of the partisan business cycle theory, which has been around for years…his interpretation of things leaves a lot to be desired, to say the least. For instance, most people would say that Bill Clinton’s economic policy was closer to the conservative ideal than, for example, either George Bush’s. And of course Jimmy Carter was the first President to implement widespread deregulation. Conversely, it’s difficult to think of a President whose economic policy was more statist than Richard “wage and price controls” Nixon.Report

      • Avatar Ryan in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        I am not convinced that there is a ton of actual evidence that a 100% tax rate will lead to lower revenue than 99%. Like I indicated above, it’s a nice theory with a lot of Econ 101 logic supporting it, but reality has a way of confounding that kind of logic all the time.

        As for Clinton, I think a lot of conservatives apparently didn’t have the same President as the rest of us in the 90s. Sure Clinton’s economic policies were somewhat more conservative than the so-called “liberal ideal” – as were Carter’s, which maybe indicates that conservatives who try to talk about what liberals “really want” are as full of it on that issue as they are on literally every single other issue there is to discuss – but I don’t think Glenn Beck will be inviting him to the club any time soon. Let’s not forget that this was a President who made an attempt at a set of health care reforms that were a whole lot more liberal than the current generation of Dems are looking at. Not to mention that the welfare reform conservatives love to celebrate was exactly that: reform. Bill Clinton, so-called conservative President, didn’t waste even a single second yammering about actually ending the program.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Ryan says:

          “I am not convinced that there is a ton of actual evidence that a 100% tax rate will lead to lower revenue than 99%.”

          Where has this been tested?

          Also, let’s say that I say “heck with this, I’d rather move to Canada” and move to Canada.

          How long do you think it would be before the US looks like Detroit under Coleman Young?Report

          • Avatar Ryan in reply to Jaybird says:

            “Where has this been tested?”

            Nowhere, of course, which is the point. You don’t know the answer any better than I do, but I have to listen to conservatives harp on about it all the time as if they have discovered immutable laws of nature. But, given that empirical evidence for the Laffer Curve is generally pretty thin on the ground, I see no reason to take your word on the 99-100 issue.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Ryan says:

              Could we look at countries that had very big tax rates and whether they used a threat of force to get people to work?

              I mean, like, Ancient Rome maybe? Perhaps a command economy from the last 100 years or so?Report

              • Avatar Ryan in reply to Jaybird says:

                Did they use a threat of force to get literally everybody to work? Was that necessary? I mean, the Soviet Union had a tax base and a GDP, right? Again, this is all nice Econ 101 logic, but it isn’t evidence. Show me the econometrics, friend.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Ryan says:

                If memory serves, a big part of the reason why the Soviet Union collapsed was that it was rather lacking on revenue. It also seemed to have just a few black markets (psst! government can’t collect revenue from black markets!).Report

              • Avatar Ryan in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                But would it have had more or less revenue at 99%? These things are deeply important!!Report

              • Well sure they can. If they’re on the take, of course.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Ryan says:

                Would it be possible to compare, say, Cambodia in 1953-1957 (I picked 1953 because that was the year it declared independence) to Cambodia in 1976-1979?

                Could we look at the productivity levels of the Ukraine in 1910-1915 to 1930-1935?

                Or are we going to say that since we can’t discuss the difference between 99 and 100 that the difference between 50 and 80 (or whatever) isn’t relevant to the theory?Report

              • Avatar Ryan in reply to Jaybird says:

                Go ahead. Get some data, put together some meaningful controls, and test the hypothesis. Let me know what kind of results your model gets.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Ryan says:

                “Meaningful controls”

                I see what you did there.Report

              • Avatar Ryan in reply to Ryan says:

                Okay, well, feel free to use meaningless ones too, if you like.

                I’m not saying you aren’t going to be able to show me that the Laffer Curve might possibly exist. I’m just saying there has been very little success so far, and estimates of the peak point have ranged everywhere from 35% to 70% to “there is no peak”. For being something that conservatives seem to think is so deadly obvious, it’s kind of weird that economists have had so little success in demonstrating its existence.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Ryan says:

                I tend to think that the laffer curve works more like this:

                10% of 4% growth after 25 years will be bigger than 12% of 3.0% growth after 25 years.

                By having lower tax rates, this allows the economy to grow faster and the smaller (proportional) piece of the (bigger) pie is actually bigger than the bigger (proportional) piece of the (smaller) pie.Report

              • Avatar Ryan in reply to Ryan says:

                I think the claim that low taxes lead to high growth is also going to require some evidence. And I’d like to know where the optimal point is. Maybe a full set of potential optimal points given different kinds of tax structures. Presumably we can set a higher rate with a consumption tax since that’s less distortionary, right?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Ryan says:

                If only we had some sort of curve to depict that thing you’re describing…Report

              • Avatar Ryan in reply to Ryan says:

                We don’t. That’s the point.Report

              • Avatar Cascadian in reply to Ryan says:

                As long as everything else is equal, Jay may be right. However, I’d rather have a roast that was cooked at 350 for two hours than one that was cooked at 400 for an hour and a half. I’m not sure that faster growth is necessarily the holy grail.Report

            • Avatar cfpete in reply to Ryan says:

              “Nor should the argument seem strange that taxation may be so high as to defeat its object, and that, given sufficient time to gather the fruits, a reduction of taxation will run a better chance than an increase of balancing the budget. For to take the opposite view today is to resemble a manufacturer who, running at a loss, decides to raise his price, and when his declining sales increase the loss, wrapping himself in the rectitude of plain arithmetic, decides that prudence requires him to raise the price still more–and who, when at last his account is balanced with nought on both sides, is still found righteously declaring that it would have been the act of a gambler to reduce the price when you were already making a loss.'” (John Maynard Keynes, The Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes; London: Macmillan, Cambridge University Press, 1972)Report

    • Avatar Kyle in reply to Ryan says:

      “Or, at the very least, he has shown that the fact that the economy seems to perform better under Democratic presidents than Republican ones is almost certainly not statistical noise.”

      Cum hoc, ergo propter hoc.

      I’d want more proof of causation before accepting that, lest we assume that Democratic presidents are also warmongers who get us into foreign wars given the correlation between Democratic administrations and conflict abroad.Report

  2. Avatar sidereal says:

    Let me take a moment to give a shout out to my fellow idiosyncratic white males in Washington State. I know I enjoy spending time in Oregon. This evidence suggests I might also enjoy some time in Vermont.Report

  3. Avatar Mark says:

    ED, what do you make of the amount of Federal support/assistance going to the most conservative regions of the country? I read somewhere that the old South, and some of the more conservative Western states have such high levels of Federal money that they’re actually net debtors to the US economy. You’re right that conservatives are strongly against Federal aid to minorities and such-like, but are they really against aid per se?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mark says:

      It’s possible to flip that around, though.

      “Democrats claim to support the idea of welfare but the second they find that money is being redistributed from blue states to red states they start sounding like Ronald Reagan talking about Caddilacs.”Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Mark says:

      Mark a huge amount of the money you’re referring to in transfers to Southern or western states is not in the form of aid per say but rather in the form of government jobs primarily ones related to defense. Defense, of course, is sacrosanct to movement conservatives.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian in reply to North says:

        It’s not exactly like Washington and California don’t have military Bases and yet still take a twenty percent hit on Federal taxes.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Cascadian says:

          Yes Cas, but Kansas and Georgia’s economies would fit into Silicon Valley (and they’d probably rattle). Remember that when we’re talking about the disparities here there are two factors; what the states get and what the states pay. The red states pay a lot less tax because their economies are smaller (much much smaller).

          But ultimately it’s simple enough, red states get more out of the union than they put in, at least in monetary terms.Report

          • Avatar Cascadian in reply to North says:

            What other terms would you like to use? Pro sports? It’s pure socialism… sucking of the teet while crying socialism.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Cascadian says:

              I have no objection to any terminology Cascadian my pretty trout. The point of my original response is that a lot of the socialism that the red states receive is in the form of military jobs and bases and the like which of course conservatives love and thump their hairy chests about. Rather than programs that they sneer at as aid or welfare or handout programs. So conservatives sidestep the contradiction by labeling it defense instead of socialism (though it is actually both).Report

              • Avatar Cascadian in reply to North says:

                I got a good chuckle out of the “pretty trout”. There’s also roads and other infrastructure spending. In Washington there’s a handful of good size military bases: Bangor, Whidbey Island, Bremerton, Everett, and Fort Lewis. These are just the big ones. Washington still gets short changed on the money. Ah, I could rant for hours on this. We spend our money on their programs, house their troublesome thugs and the resulting law enforcement and social problems and then get shafted for wanting to take care of our own. Blow me. (none of this is directed at you)Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Cascadian says:

                Yes my native born Newfie comes out occasionally when I’m chatting online. No worries, my skin is thick.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to North says:

                The red states still get plenty of aid, though. Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security – all the big ones.Report

  4. Avatar Ian M. says:

    You conservatives keep talking about relative taxes. Minorities think conservatives are racist and no amount of yipping about taxes will change that. My view of the Republican Party is they are interested in cutting taxes and murdering people with dark skin whether at home (hello racist, uneven application of the death penalty) or abroad. This is based on a life time of observing the Republican Party vilify the African American community for the temerity of being poor. Yes, yes this is an unfair characterization. I also realize not all conservatives are Republicans, but perception is not fair – e.g. progressives answer to everything is to spend more. Um, no.
    This progressive would like to curtail spending on foreign adventures in dark skinned murder, roll back our ridiculous incarceration rate, remove our absurd unsupportable farm subsidies, and decriminalize a number of thought crimes (prostitution, drug use) which consume valuable resources. See that wasn’t so hard to share. Perhaps a conservative will step forward to say what they would increase spending on or where they would hike taxes and we will hug. Oh, but that’s gay and Republicans don’t like that…never mind.
    Finally, Reagan’s presidency was a complete failure of conservative economic principles (lowered taxes, had to raise taxes, couldn’t balance the budget) except for his successful destruction of labor unions.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Ian M. says:

      Ian – leaving aside your many gross generalizations, let me just say that portions of the Right (American Conservative types) are about equally aligned with the anti-war Left in terms of wanting to scale back overseas wars. Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich are on similar footing there. Pat Buchanan for all his flaws makes a good deal of sense when he talks about unnecessary entanglements abroad.Report

      • Avatar Reason60 in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        E.D.- you are correct, except you left out the fact that the deficit hawks were defeated by the defense hawks in 1981. It doesn’t appear that this will change anytime soon, unfortunately. Buchanan and Ron Paul are exiles from the GOP and conservative movement.Report

  5. Avatar Kyle says:

    “I think a lot of minority voters aren’t so much “progressive” as they are in favor of more direct government assistance, something Democrats have promised to do better than Republicans.”


    See Also, misreading coalition politics and the myth of the presidential mandate.Report

  6. Avatar Kyle says:

    “If only we had some sort of curve to depict that thing you’re describing…”


  7. Avatar Reason60 says:

    There was a saying going around during Reagan’s term that he wanted to spend as much on defense as possible so as to make it impossible for any new Great Society spending programs.
    While of course that underestimated the tolerance for deficit spending by both parties, what is ironic, is that perhaps the deficit has reached the point where both parties will be forced by fear of economic meltdown to curtail spending.
    Of course, there is no way to do this without cutting defense; nearly 1/3 of all spending- entitlements included- is defense.
    So both parties are locked in a debate they really don’t want to have- balancing the budget means cutting defense, which means curtailing foreign adventurism, which means a wholesale re-evaluation of our foreign policy.
    Not to mention the fact that spending cuts alone won’t be enough; at some point there will need to be a tax increase, regardless of how one feels about supply side economics.
    Given these painful realities, no wonder both parties prefer to talk about death panels and Nobel prizes.Report

  8. Avatar Katherine says:

    I don’t find the colour-coding system of the maps at all useful; there’s no consistent correlation between “shade of colour” and “percent of vote”. Most of the northern states that voted for Obama have 45% or more of white men voting for him, which (as they’re the least Democratic voting group) is pretty good. The divide in Georgia, though, is very striking, and I don’t imagine it would change much if you removed gender from the equation.
    Democrats have effectively captured this narrative.

    They promise to help the downtrodden and protect labor interests, whether or not there is much evidence that their policies are actually good for the country as a whole or for minorities in particular.
    Well, the economy does better and the poverty rate goes down when they’re in office, so offhand I’d say their policies are generally good for the working class.

    Also, it’s not just about social welfare spending. Minority voters don’t support Republicans because they don’t want to associate with a party that takes every opportunity to indicate it thinks they’re scum.Report

  9. Avatar zilifant says:

    I shall believe that the GOP (or “conservatives”) are serious about deficits when I see them propose cuts to defense spending as well as honest defense procurement programs. Until then, nice smoke, but no cigar. As for the economic record of the GOP in the last 30 years, it has been lamentable.Report

  10. Avatar Roque Nuevo says:

    You’re conflating “progressivism” with voting for Obama. How does that work?

    If progressivism means “being in favor of more direct government assistance,” like you say, then what’s so “progressive” about that?

    This is just more of the same propaganda whereby the Left seizes upon a slogan—in this case “progressive”—in order to paint the opposition as being retrograde. Neither are true. The Left isn’t “progressive” in any real sense of the word and the Right is not retrograde.

    You should be ashamed of yourself for being an echo-box for such blatant Leftist propaganda.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Roque Nuevo says:

      Eesh, Roque, that’s harsh. The right had their chance. Eight goddamn years of it. The left gets a swing now and why is that? Answer: because the right ran the goddamn country into the ground so badly that even the great masses of the people could see it. I can understand the venom though, for the right it must be enraging to have their destiny completely out of their hands. If Obama can get a few liberal goals nailed down and then ratchet the finances of the country into some semblance of order (wind down a war or two, slash some redundant defense spending, fail at enacting cap and trade and let the Bush taxes croak and he’d be a long way towards doing that) he’ll go down in history as not only a black president but a great black president. Oh and he’ll put the left in power for a decade or two. It’s really not up to the right, they just get to sit on the bleachers, fling bromides and names and hope he screws up.Report

      • Avatar Cascadian in reply to North says:

        This is the problem with these simple left/right dichotomies. It seems to me (and please correct me if I’m wrong) that Obama is socially conservative and fiscally liberal. Given that most of the “left”, and certainly more of the center, is exactly the opposite… fiscally conservative and socially liberal, I don’t see how this ends well.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Cascadian says:

          Well maybe he’ll be a left wing W though I grow faint at the very possability. I have hope that he’ll prove to have lots of good sides once he gets over playing coy and ambigous. I will admit impatience sometimes but then I remember he hasn’t even gotten the seat warmed up yet. I’ll give him some time yet before rendering judgement.Report

        • Avatar Kyle in reply to Cascadian says:

          I’m pretty sure President Obama is considered socially liberal, unless I pulled a Rip Van Winkle and now a 100% pro-choice voting record and a desire to repeal DADT and DOMA is socially conservative? I know support for gay marriage is a new goalpost but really?Report

      • Avatar Roque Nuevo in reply to North says:

        I know that the left won last year. I know that the right screwed it up and they deserved to lose. But this is about so-called progressivism. If the Iglesias quote read

        I would say that another message is that leftist politics is badly disadvantaged by a situation in which the overwhelming majorities of political leaders and prominent media figures are white men. There are plenty of white men with leftist views, but in general the majority of white men are not leftist and the majority of leftists are not white men.

        Aside from the fact that white men invented leftism/progressivism in the first place, which (among other things) makes the Iglesias quote impossibly parochial and ignorant, I’d have no problem with the gist of it. I do have a problem with co-opting a word like “progress” for political sloganeering and propaganda. What may be even more “enraging” to White Men than “losing control over their destiny” is the insufferable fact that a lot of leftists believe their own propaganda and see themselves to be on the side of “progress” and the right to be on the side of reaction. This is why a better label for leftism is “holier-than-thou-ism.”

        You say you understand that for “the right it must be enraging to have their destiny completely out of their hands.” I don’t feel like looking up the latest demographic data, but if those (above) maps are valid, then it’s not just the right who are “enraged.” It’s the majority of white males, which means the majority of all males in this country. I can’t agree with applying such tendentious labels such vast swaths of the public. White men will be as diverse a group as anyone insofar as political ideology.

        What’s more, I can’t believe that it’s only white males who are “enraged” at the Obamoid power play, which you aptly call “having their destiny taken out of their hands.”

        Your scenario for the future of leftism, with all its “nailing down” and “ratcheting up” is too rosy-colored to be believable.

        I think I’ll just sit in the bleachers, call people names, and fling bromides for the duration. It’s better than being “enraged.” For example I’ll start calling myself “progressive” and others “reactionary,” like Iglesias. How’s that for bromideflinging?Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Roque Nuevo says:

          I think that’s just fine. Please note that when referring to the rosy colored future’s for leftism I started the sentence with a very important word: IF. If Obama does this or that then we’ll probably see a long era of dominance of the more left wing elements of the party politically. I’d like to think I don’t have any illusions here, as cascadian pointed out rather aptly Obama seems to be soft where he should be hard (finances) and hard where he should be soft (social policy) by my metric at least. So he could be an utter disaster. Then again it’s been what, ten months? I don’t know if we can render many judgements yet on his performance. The debris from the previous administration is still raining down (in Iraq and Afghanistan quite literally raining down) so I don’t know how much freedom the new President has to be himself. Really a lot depends on healthcare oddly enough. If he gets something through the senate and signed we should get a really good idea of his priorities by seeing what he reaches for next. Will he try and wrap up one of the war fronts? Will he try and wind in some of the countries finances? Will he go after cap and trade (God help us)?

          So it’s not hopeless for conservatives. If the right wing could just stop throwing poo all over the place, find a deep mineshaft in Alaska to hide Palin in and start making libertarian noises like they did in the early 90’s they will get another chance if Obama overreaches and the pendulum swings back.Report

          • Avatar Roque Nuevo in reply to North says:

            “If the right wing could just stop throwing poo all over the place…”

            This is what I’m talking about when I say that leftism is “holier-than-thou-ism.” Or doesn’t the Left ever play dirty?

            Your talk about all the “debris” left over from the Bush years is an undignified cop-out. Eight years ago Bush could have been whining about all the bad problems he “inherited” and the past policies that tied his hands. Plus, people were very happy to blame him for anything and everything from the getgo. They still do, as your post shows. Any president in history could have carried on like this. Obama likes to compare himself to Lincoln. Well, imagine Lincoln assuming office in 1861 and whining about fourscore and ten years of failed compromises with the South’s slave economy. The only one to harp on this “inheritance” BS at all that I can remember is Obama. The others must have had too much respect for their responsibilities to do it. What’s he expect, after all? That he be handed a perfect situation, so that he can fu*k it up?Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Roque Nuevo says:

              The left does play dirty no doubt. Such is politics. What I intended with that statement was an observation that the current behavior on the right is alienating them from everyone but their base. If you would peruse current party identification you’d notice this.

              I’m sorry but when Bush moved into the Whitehouse he had an economy in surplus, general peace and allegedly his computers were missing the w keys (and I recall them whimpering mightily about that last one). When Obama moved in the economy was plunging, wars (both foreign and culture) were raging and the country’s finances are in ruin. That’s without going into the joke that the previous administration made of our reputation abroad both for competence and humanity. Considering the wreck he got handed it’s a wonder Obama complains as little as he does.Report

              • Avatar Roque Nuevo in reply to North says:

                I’m sorry but the “general peace” you mention was an illusion. Jihadists had attacked the nation many times and had declared war in 1996 and again in 1998. Considering that the failures of the previous eight years led to 9/11, it shows Bush’s basic decency and integrity that he never breathed a word of blame for Clinton. If Clinton hadn’t failed to deal with the jihadist threat, then why did Sandy Berger stuff national archives documents down his pants and destroy them? What was he hiding?

                The economy is not the responsibility of the president. It’s still mainly private in the US. The government does have the power to destroy it, which is what it did with the Fannie/Freddie mess that eventually detonated a crisis. Bush “inherited” this mess from the Democrats and tried to remedy it but was stymied by the Democratic Congress. He never cast blame once the sh*t hit the fan, either.

                The Legend of the Squandered Sympathy is just that: a legend concocted by leftists and other anti Americans to have yet another stick to beat Bush with. However, whatever damage Bush did to our reputation has been equaled and raised in just ten short months by Obama.

                The point is that things are always slipping out of control and always have been. It’s called “entropy.” Everyone “inherits” it from everyone. It’s a fact of life. To complain about it shows a narrow mind and spirit, which is what Obama has. If you believe that he’s justified in such carryings-on, then it’s only because you’re protecting your emotional investment and won’t recognize his failures. Considering how in-over-his-head Obama is right now, it is a wonder he doesn’t complain more. It’s his only resource.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Roque Nuevo says:

                Heh, well you have your narrative and I have mine. I’m no Obama booster, mind you, I wanted another Clinton term.

                I’m glad that you feel that the right and Bush did well during their eight year stint. Maybe history will prove that they were noble and unfairly maligned all along. I wouldn’t give good odds though.Report

              • Avatar Roque Nuevo in reply to North says:

                I hope your remark about diverging “narratives” is tongue-in-cheek. If not, then poor you. History does not consist of “narratives,” even if they are pretty much the only way to write it. Are we confusing means and ends here? An instance of fetichization, even?

                In that vein, I take your bet. People who parrot poststructuralist drivel about “narratives” are rarely correct. And I’ll give you even money. Hell, I’ll take 2:1 against me for the chance to take your money. My only proviso: I’m not betting on any of your “nobility.” “Unfairly maligned” is a sure thing.

                PS: I would have voted for Clinton myself. Reluctantly. It’s just a damn shame that she not running foreign policy for the country right now. I can’t see how she would have put us in the embarassing situations we find ourselves in today–to close with a point against your “squandered sympathy” narrative.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Roque Nuevo says:

      If progressivism means “being in favor of more direct government assistance,” like you say, then what’s so “progressive” about that?

      Roque – are you talking to me? Can you show where I say this. Pretty sure I say exactly the opposite. Might want to re-read before commenting.Report

      • Avatar Roque Nuevo in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        Didn’t you write, “I think a lot of minority voters aren’t so much “progressive” as they are in favor of more direct government assistance?” This shows that “progressivism means “being in favor of more direct government assistance.”

        Maybe your sentence is ambiguous and you only meant that “a lot of minority voters” are not aware of the “true essence” of progressivism and are therefore distorting it to become a handout-ideology. In any case, it’s true that for a lot of minority voters, according to you, progressivism does mean being “in favor of more direct government assistance.” Maybe their idea of progressivism is wrong, according to you, but still… it’s a common idea that I’m glad you expressed so pithily.

        So, again, what’s so “progressive” about progressivism?Report

        • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Roque Nuevo says:

          Didn’t you write, “I think a lot of minority voters aren’t so much “progressive” as they are in favor of more direct government assistance?” This shows that “progressivism means “being in favor of more direct government assistance.”

          Uhm. Yes. Did you read where I said “minority voters aren’t so much “progressive” as they are in favor of more direct government assistance.” ???

          Am I not saying that progressivism is not simply being in favor of more direct government assistance? That it’s more than that, or not equal to that? That minority voters may indeed be very conservative in many ways but still want that piece of the progressive pie?

          I’m really baffled how you could read the absolute opposite of what I wrote into that.Report

          • Avatar Roque Nuevo in reply to E.D. Kain says:

            So, “a lot of minority voters” are not true progressives, even if they vote the progressive ticket? Do they have a distorted perception of progressivism? Isn’t it true that to “a lot of minority voters” progressivism means more government handouts? Isn’t that what you’re saying? What is progressivism, anyway, if it isn’t an ideology of more state control and/or assistance, even if true progressives, in contrast to “a lot of minority voters” think it’s “more than that?”Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Roque Nuevo says:


              If he had said that a lot of Republican voters were not true Conservatives, would you see that he could well have a point worth exploring in there?Report

              • Avatar Roque Nuevo in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yes I would. And I think he’s got a point even more worth exploring that progressivism means more government assistance. It has very little to do with “progress.”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Roque Nuevo says:

                Dude. He didn’t say that. He went on to point out that he didn’t say that.

                Now I am pointing out that he didn’t say that.

                I feel like I’ve taken a train to Crazytown.Report

              • “I feel like I’m on a train to crazy town.” LOL. Wadda sense of humor!

                OK. I realize he didn’t mean that progressivism means more government assistance, although I say it does. Why is this so crazy? What do you say it means?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Roque Nuevo says:

                What difference does it make?

                Anything I say will be twisted into meaning something else entirely despite any protestations or clarifications on my part.

                I have no reason to believe that you will respond to what I wrote but believe that you will, instead, respond to what you wish I wrote.

                I’ve gotta say, you don’t act like someone who believes that people respond to incentives.Report

  11. Avatar Chris Dierkes says:

    As a somewhat “true/slantish” (hehe) look on this one, I have to say that we really need more differentiated tax brackets above 373,000 dollars and up. Presumably the numbers could go down across the board if you had systems for 1 million, 2 million, ….. Bill Gates instead of dude who makes 380,000 and George Soros/Warren Buffet paying the same rate.Report

    • Avatar Bo in reply to Chris Dierkes says:

      Bill Gates and Warren Buffett actually pay tax at about half the rate of a guy at the 380k bracket. You can watch Buffett complain about this here. This is because the capital gains rate is much lower than the income tax rate.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Bo says:

        In fairness Bo, we should note that capital gains are technically taxed twice; once at the corporate income tax rate when a company earns income and then again a second time when it’s paid out to share holders in the form of dividends or capital gains (or to creditors as interest).Report

        • Avatar Bo in reply to North says:

          Dividends, yes; Capital gains, definitely not. This is because only dividends are paid out of corporate income; capital gains income is paid by whoever is buying the stock (or the house or the Picasso), which has no (direct) effect on the corporation’s finances.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Bo says:

            Economics say that a corporate share price is a combination of the value of the corporation’s assets now and the present value of its predictable revenue stream into the foreseeable future. In as much as taxes diminish that revenue stream then there is a double taxation on capital gains on corporate stock at least. But I’ll be the first to admit that there’s plenty of speculation getting churned into those final numbers too so I’m not going to argue too forcefully on this point.Report

    • I’m all for a more-tiered system. Makes tons of sense to me.Report