In Which I Posit the Theory that Fiscal Conservatives Should Vote for a Democrat POTUS – (and government spending advocates should vote GOP)

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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229 Responses

  1. Patrick Cahalan says:

    Data?  To make a point?  Pshaw with that, dear sir.Report

  2. Snarky McSnarksnark says:

    I’d be interested in seeing a similar chart that tracks increases to the federal deficit.Report

    • Obama has increased the deficit a great deal. That’s less telling than it would initially appear, however, because a big reason for that is lost revenue. Obama does have some control over that (he extended the tax cuts and never sought to do anything else with the bulk of them, as well as the payroll tax cut), but significantly less control than he has over spending (which, even then, is not exactly all-powerful).


      • Snarky McSnarksnark in reply to Will Truman says:

        I don’t know that that it is really fair to say that “Obama has increased the deficit a great deal.”   The recession has.    Tax revenues are more than 20% lower than they would have been in a normal economy, and outlays for unemployment, food stamps, etc. are higher–without any particular governmental action.     The Health Care act was structured so as to be deficit neutral.    So the deficit under Obama is still roughly what it was under the last year of Bush (a little lower, actually).

        Which leaves the stimulus.    I believe that it was an appropriate thing to do in the circumstances under which we found ourselves:  potentially at the precipice of another Great Depression.   There’s no way of demonstrating a counterfactual, but it is my understanding that economists are generally in concurrence that it made a significant dent in the unemployment rate (two to two-and-a-half points), and that it may have stemmed a cascade of bad effects that could have tipped us into a way worse economic situation.    I do wish that the stimulus would have been structured much more towards infrastructure building, but I think Obama did as much as he could with the political and economic moment he inherited.

        The biggest driver of long term deficits is health care spending, and the Health Care act has significant measures to address those:   through market means (increased competition and transparency), and regulatory changes (changes to reimbursement policies and incentives).    I don’t know how successful they will be in lowering the medical inflation rate, but they were clearly at the outer edges of what the political system could accommodate.

        So, dislike Obama if you must, but blaming him for the current deficit is, I think, unfair.   He is blocked in all directions from addressing the short-term deficit–a reflexive and intractable opposition, a weak and precarious recovery, broad and painful unemployment, and a necessity for credit deleveraging that will be necessarily slow and painful.     Obama has repeatedly signaled his willingness to address the long-term deficit, including willingness to tackle long-term entitlement limits, but he has no one to negotiate with.


        • I don’t know that that it is really fair to say that “Obama has increased the deficit a great deal.” The recession has.

          Poor wording on my part. The lost revenues I refer to come in large part due to the recession and what you say was at least partially what I was getting at by saying “the numbers are less telling than they appear.” That’s what I was trying to get at. He owns a good part of the low and lowered tax rates, but that’s secondary to the economy.Report

          • Snarky McSnarksnark in reply to Will Truman says:

            Yeah, I’m sorry — I did read your disclaimer.   I was really responding to the trope (which I hear a lot, since I live in Orange County, CA) that Obama has exploded the deficit.Report

  3. Snarky McSnarksnark says:

    The parties respond quite precisely to what motivates voters.

    Conservatives believe since they are obsessed with reducing federal spending (well, taxes, at least), and that liberals are their opposition, that liberals want to increase spending.     I don’t know of any liberals that think that way.   Many might believe that there are societal or governmental problems to be resolved, and not be adverse to a partly or wholly governmental solution, but liberals do not have any particular interest in increasing the size of government.

    Instead, I think that the inexorable increase in government spending has more to do with the desire to be re-elected.   Delivering goodies to constituencies is the most surefire path to re-election, and it’s pretty easy to do.    Conservatives are against government solutions in the abstract, but tend to vote for them when they are in power (they are, however, principled small government idealogues whenever a Democrat is in power, though).Report

  4. joey jo jo says:

    there are a lot of purported fiscal conservatives who are really smaller gov’t conservatives.Report

    • Like Paul Ryan and the rest of the Bush-era GOP, who voted for Medicare Part D, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the USA PATRIOT Act, No Child Left Behind, and had no problem with warrantless wiretapping, the executive’s right to detain US citizens indefinitely without charge, and to engage in torture?

      I don’t think there are any small-government conservatives in the Republican Party.

      There are a lot of Southern Strategy conservatives, though. They favor the government if it’s targeting out groups like foreigners, folks suspected of lawbreaking, and the poor, and hate the government if it’s perceived to be assisting out groups.Report

  5. Kyle Cupp says:

    The two major political parties are not really in the business of pursuing political ideologies. They are in the business of gathering power, and the wealth and influence that such power brings.

    I tend to look at the political game this way as well, but I doubt it’s this simple.  Motivations can be varied and complex.  Unless politicians have no moral center, then more than the will to power informs their actions.Report

  6. Rufus F. says:

    I’ve often thought that, if you were a profligate President who was going to spend a fortune it would be better to be a Republican because we all know they really hate spending, so you’d be remembered otherwise; and if you were a warmongering President who was going to get the US mired in a conflict somewhere, it would be better to be a Democrat because we all know they really hate war, so you’d be remembered otherwise. Also, it helps if you get assassinated, apparently.Report

  7. Liberty60 says:

    If I were to hazard a quick guess as to what gives, I would say that Republic presidents are more beholden to their military hawks, while the deficit hawks are comparitively weak.

    Democrat presidents can get by with only token miiltary spending increases to stave off a rightwing challenge, while increasing social welfare spending.

    Military spending is vastly more expensive than social welfare spending. So Republic presidents spend more.

    But this is a quick response. There could be other factors.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to Liberty60 says:

      I admit I thought about this, and it might be right.  But I don’t recall Clinton or Obama going different paths military-wise than their predecessors had.  Perhaps I’m wrong?Report

      • Snarky McSnarksnark in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        No, Democrats are afeard on Defense, so they don’t  propose substantial cuts.

        The cold war military buildup has completely distorted American priorities and values, and led us to this current political environment where American “exceptionalism” somehow gives us the right to intervene around the world.     Perhaps we should have listened to that radical, Eisenhower.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Clinton, yes, Obama, no. Remember the Peace Dividend? Under Clinton, military spending declined in nominal terms from $298 billion in 1989 to $265 billion in 1996. It didn’t exceed its 1989 peak of $304 billion until 2001. And remember, that’s in nominal terms.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Liberty60 says:

      Military spending is vastly more expensive than social welfare spending.

      This is probably true for a definition of “social welfare spending” tailored to create the illusion that government spends vastly more on the military than on social welfare spending. Military spending is roughly equal to the combined total of Medicare and Medicaid alone. Throw in all the other Federal and state welfare programs, and social welfare spending exceeds military spending by a considerable margin.Report

      • Liberty60 in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        You are not  totally wrong; Just somewhat;

        We spend about a trillion per year on Defense and Homeland Security combined; about 600 B on Medicare;

        If you want to add state and local social spending, why not add state and local police/ security spending? Makes about as much sense.

        But lets accept that we spend about as much on guns as butter; Why do we hear constant calls (from certain quarters) about “reforming” the butter spending, but none whatsoever about “reforming” the guns spending?

        Why does hiring a 1000 engineers to design a armament system that the military says it doesn’t want count as “making”, but paying those same 1000 engineers cash to stay home is considered “taking”?

        Oh, by the way- I am wildly enthusiastic abouut the notion of calling Medicare recipients “welfare recipients”. O God I want to be there when some Tea Partier in a hoverround holding a Gasden flag gets called a welfare recipient.


        • Brandon Berg in reply to Liberty60 says:

          That guy who said “Keep your government hands off my Medicare?” Total welfare queen.

          Non-means-tested programs are tricky to assess. Some people really are paying their fair shares. Someone at the 90th percentile of the lifetime income distribution for his age cohort would likely have been able to save all the money he paid in Medicare taxes and use that to pay for private medical insurance, if we didn’t have Medicare. So in that sense, it’s not really welfare. But someone at the tenth percentile, who paid in a fraction of what the other guy paid but gets the same benefits, is definitely getting a huge subsidy.

          The reason conservatives want to cut butter but not guns is that the people who support gun spending think that it’s necessary. It’s not something that they support as a jobs program (well, some politicians probably do, but not the true believers).

          Also, we don’t spend about as much on guns as on butter. Military spending is about 1/6 of total government spending (including state). Police and prisons just don’t add that much–5% of total government spending, tops. So we’re looking at well under 25% of govenment spending going to guns. Most to almost all of the rest is butter, depending on whether you include things like civilian infrastructure and education.Report

          • Kimmi in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            ain’t medicare, like social security, means-tested on the input end? $100K is the end of where you gotta pay in, from what I remember.Report

            • Neo in reply to Kimmi says:

              No, Medicare tax is applied to all wage income.

              It’s social security that the wealthy get a break on (the limit is $110100 this year).  And anyway, that’s exactly the opposite of means testing.

              Means testing would be if the wealthy paid in like everyone else but didn’t receive as much in social security benefits if they were too rich when they retired.  The $110K limit is more like means-pandering: those with great means (over $110K/year income) pay a smaller percentage of their income toward social security than everyone else does.Report

  8. John Howard Griffin says:

    Add in the fact that red states tend to get much more federal money back than they pay in taxes (and blue states tend to get much less federal money back than they pay in taxes), and it really is a puzzle.

    It’s almost like the blue states are the 53% and the red states are just lazy moochers.

    But, both sides do it are guilty of being politicians, so let’s not think too much about this. It spoils the ideology.Report

    • Add in the fact that red states tend to get much more federal money back than they pay in taxes (and blue states tend to get much less federal money back than they pay in taxes),

      Yes, because Yellowstone National Park, military bases, tribal reservations, the government paying a fraction of the property taxes and a portion of the money it raises from mineral exploration on its lands is nothing but a bunch of welfare for rednecks who vote the wrong way. When we look at that map, we see all we need to see. Ungrateful bums who simply haven’t learned their place.Report

      • greginak in reply to Will Truman says:

        Military bases bring a lot of benefits. My red state loves our bases and all the jobs they bring. They may bring in less taxes but they are a great Keynesian kind of stimulus that benefits the towns around them. Hell some towns wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for the bases. Yeah the moochers stuff is either snark or overboard, but the West in general gets a lot of benefits from the Fed’s they are loathe to admit. And just to be clear some of the problems you mention are real, i’m not dismissing them. The South, however, does well by the Fed’s but don’t have the problems you note the West has.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to greginak says:

          A soldier gets benefits from serving in the military. So does the spouse, the children, and so on. It doesn’t make them moochers. The west does benefit from being in the USA. And if they ever got the right to secession, they’d be stupid to take it. But the nation as a whole benefits from its foothold on the west.

          Yeah, the south does have its problems (you’ll almost never see me sticking up for Alabama). Even there, though, you get a lot of retirees who paid significantly into the system while living in another state. You get a lot of educated people that get exported to other states. And to be blunt about it, you have a lot of direct beneficiaries that, ahem, don’t vote Republican.

          And, even leaving all that aside, it’s people who pride themselves on their compassion for the less fortunate that look at beneficiary states and say “Woah, not *those* less fortunate. They need to STFU.” (Idaho, for example, gets less per-capita in government money than do most states. It just so happens that they can’t afford to pitch in as much. But they are white and socially conservative, so no compassion there. Bums.)Report

          • Kimmi in reply to Will Truman says:


            So the military mama on Food Stamps ain’t a moocher? How about me, when I was serving this fine country of ours, and was told that part of my paycheck was Food Stamps? Can you even quantify how much butter money goes to “not moochers”??

            Anyone sufficiently rural is a BIG mother of a moocher, in terms of tax dollars. Rural electricity does not pay for itself! Let alone our Mail, etc.

            I’m NOT saying we shouldn’t pay out to WV. It pays what it can, it works hard. I can’t cite tax rates in Idaho (okay, i looked them up, they’re reasonable)… But I only tend to bitch about South Carolina and their beggar thy neighbor (and thy poor) strategy.Report

      • Liberty60 in reply to Will Truman says:

        Well military bases and pork barrel projects ARE a form of welfare for a lot of communities. I would include big chunks of California in that estimation by the way.

        And it is completely fair to accuse red state governors and mayors of welfarism, if only because they make the cynical calculation that state and local based safety nets can safely be shredded, as long as the feds are there to fill in the gap.

        Texas didn’t pay for all those Tea Party hoverrrounds, it was coastal elites sending in tax money to the Obama Administration to dole out in Medicare.

        And a bit of schadenfruede of hurling the “welfare bum” epithet at redstatenecks is excusable, since it is not at all uncommon to hear comments from conservatives that start with “Yeah, Ace, I am totally with you. My wife/mom/granny lives off her Medicare checks and gets free shuttle van assistance, but she worked real hard all her life really needs it not like those dirty slutty hippies who are always looking for free stuff.”

        In fact, the Great Society was sold to America with images of starving Okies and Appalachian coal miners. Who, now that they are fattened up and content, are all too happy to pull up the drawbridge to shut out those other people.

        You know. THOSE people. With their droopy trousers and hippity hop music.Report

        • greginak in reply to Liberty60 says:

          Schadenfruede, like many things, can be hard to resist. But it doesn’t lead to good conversations just more name calling and poo flinging. Like to much fast food, it isn’t healthy even if we enjoy a guilty pleasure ever now and then.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to Liberty60 says:

          Texas is a donor state. Not to the extent that California is, but a donor state all the same.

          As mentioned above, military does benefit a community. Just as someone who works for NASA presumably believes that NASA is a better job opportunity than the others that are available to him. That doesn’t make his salary the equivalent of welfare. Nor the cascading benefits to his family.

          That a person is being an ass does not justify being an ass to (him and) everybody around him. It’s being an ass.Report

          • John Howard Griffin in reply to Will Truman says:

            I feel so much safer knowing that you are here to tell us who is being an ass and who is not, Mr. Truman. And, to only condemn the right kind of ass. You seem to have much experience with this, so I will bow to your obvious and superlative talents.Report

        • Snarky McSnarksnark in reply to Liberty60 says:

          I spend a lot of time talking with conservatives, and they seem almost obsessed with the notion of the “deserving” and the “undeserving.”    For example, they’d be for public assistance for people who worked hard all their lives, but not for illegal immigrants and “bums.”    That Obamacare would be okay if you could keep the “moochers” from exploiting it.   Stuff like that.

          Liberals, when they design programs, should pay a little more attention to feelings like this.   The feelings are widespread, and are central to whether their programs are widely seen as “fair.”    If assistance were made more contingent upon pro-social behavior, and had hightly visible mechanisms for preventing abuse, I think the Democrats could capture back a good chunk of middle America that otherwise migrates towards the Republicans.

          I know three people that are living off disability, but who are completely capable of earning a living on their own.   It’s just that given the choice, they would rather have the “free money.”     And, the irony is, the disability is not really assisting them:  it’s distorting their life.   They are committed to their sense of entitlement, and their own inability to get by on their own.   So the assistance has made them less independent, and less able.   I don’t buy into conservative notions of “makers” and “takers,” but there are portions of the conservative critique of the entitlement mentality that seem true and reflect a deeper understanding of human nature that liberals evidence.   And if these critiques could be addressed without the rancor or contempt for the poor that the right often has, it is my bet that a major chunk could be taken from their coalition.Report

          • greginak in reply to Snarky McSnarksnark says:

            I’ve heard plenty about the “makers and takers” crap. That completely rubs me the wrong way: The judgmentmentalness, the shallow self-righteous superiority, the cluelessness that almost everybody gets some bene from the gov.

            I think it would be great to eliminate everybody who doesn’t “deserve” some sort of gov benefit from the roles. That. Would. Be. Great. Has anybody every argued against that? The problem is there will always be someone who will game the system. How many “deserving” people do we do nothing for so we can say we didn’t let that one guy get away with something. FWIW i used to work with severely mentally ill folks who were all on disability. Almost none of them could work at all. But to get on SS Disability there was always a year or two or more of rejections all in the name of keeping the moochers away. Yeah so some of the MI guys were homeless for a year until they could get SSD, even when their problems were documented out the wazoo, but the system could say they were trying to keep people from mooching.

            My feeling is the “makers and takers” is a narrative that is more about in group and out group. I’m not sure there is much that can be done to change that. If we want to go down the road of studies and charts and evidence and pragmatic solutions to people who shouldn’t be on the system then i’m fine with that. Just don’t expect people who revel in in-group/out-group views to change their minds.Report

            • Will Truman in reply to greginak says:

              Delineating people between “makers and takers” is indeed problematic, as it is with states and groups. There are some makers. There are some takers. But it’s not always easy to sort out which is which. That being said, “we all benefit” is also problematic, from my view, because not everybody benefits to the same degree and in the same way. If some guy uses public roads to get to work, that doesn’t make him like Snarky’s acquaintances on disability. Unless they’re arguing for anarchy and no public roads, it doesn’t counter their argument much.Report

              • Snarky McSnarksnark in reply to Will Truman says:

                The “makers” and “takers” thing is, from my perspective a Randian trope, and completely toxic,.    But if liberals designed their programs to at least make notions towards reducing fraud and exploitation, many programs intended to aid the poor or infirm would have broader public acceptance.    I know what I’m advocating sounds like pure theater–and to an extent that’s exactly what it is.

                So, for example, if people on long-term unemployment assistance were required to perform 16 or 20 hours a week of work;  and food stamps could not be used to purchase candy, junk food, energy drinks, etc, the public support for (and therefore legitimacy of) these programs would be reinforced.    (Please note that I am in no way advocating for public shaming or degradation of aid recipients).Report

              • ktward in reply to Snarky McSnarksnark says:

                But if liberals designed their programs to at least make notions towards reducing fraud and exploitation, many programs intended to aid the poor or infirm would have broader public acceptance.    I know what I’m advocating sounds like pure theater–and to an extent that’s exactly what it is.

                Is the Obama admin’s crackdown on Medicare fraud just theater? I don’t think it is. But is there much talk about this on the airwaves of every day folks? I don’t think there is. My parents, both on Medicare and annoyingly constant CNN watchers, knew nothing about it.

                is the problem necessarily inaction? Perhaps inadequate messaging is more to blame when it comes to finding broader public acceptance for liberal programs.


              • Will H. in reply to ktward says:

                Were his administration not so aggressive against whistleblowers, I might find that persuasive.
                As it stands, the qui tam actions under sections 3729, et seq., of title 31 are the manner of action that is typically employed at the federal level to deal with fraud against the government.
                The article linked mentions this as the False Claims Act.
                But that really needs reformed as well.
                It’s practically impossible to find an attorney to represent a plaintiff in a qui tam action where less than $10 million is at issue.
                The rules for the seal provision in particular are troubling.

                Though, granted, any action from the federal authorities is welcome.

                A step in the right direction, but not persuasive.Report

              • ktward in reply to Will H. says:

                I’m not arguing that reform isn’t necessary on some level for any given law or statute. I’m a progressive: by definition, I believe in the necessity for responsible reform of any law or regulation that fails to meet contemporary societal challenges. Of course, whatever said reform looks like can be debated six ways to Sunday.

                The point that I was addressing specifically was Snarky’s suggestion–and he might be right, I’m simply not convinced he is–that broader public acceptance of liberal programs is hindered by crappy design on the part of Dems. Myself, I wonder if broader public acceptance doesn’t hinge more on effective messaging.

                After all, it seems to me that when we poll on social trends and program-specific issues (vs. political positions and self-identified leanings) we get a picture of a public that should mostly like liberal programs.

                Then again, maybe it has more to do with delegitimizing the decades-old GOP messaging that Government not only Can’t Do Anything Right, it’s Evil.Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Snarky McSnarksnark says:

                Nah, I’d rather people who were unemployed not be free labor for the government. I paid into unemployment insurance and so did you.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Snarky McSnarksnark says:

                I used to work maintenance in a section 8 housing complex back in the early 90’s.
                That experience colored my view, definitely.
                There are people who need it (notably the elderly residents) and those that use the housing subsidy as a free ticket to be disruptive without consequence.
                I would prefer to see the program modified.
                But if it came down to an extreme position, leave it as it is or do away with it entirely, I would rather see everyone get their walking papers and leave them to make peace and negotiate with family members or whoever.Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Will H. says:

                So, you saw some assholes, so everybody should be punished. That makes perfect sense.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Actually, my preference would be to reassess the level of self-determination which might stand as appropriate.
                And I say that as someone who has previously cared for an elderly parent.
                And a word of caution to anyone considering doing that– it’s no walk in the park. I didn’t really consider the matter in depth because I was too concerned about “the right thing to do;” when the right thing to do would be to frankly assess my own available resources and proceed accordingly.
                By far, the majority of the residents came from the women’s shelter, victims of abusive relationships.
                But you talk to them a bit about the abuse, and half of it runs along the lines of, “My old man kicked my ass after I smoked up all the crack while he was gone to the liquor store to get another pint.”
                That’s actually what we’re subsidizing.
                Because the behaviors haven’t changed that led to that in the first place.
                There are some really sad stories there, and a number of people that are underserved.
                I would rather see a parallel system of communal housing in addition to section 8 housing.
                Yes, I know. I’m talking about scaling back one program by initiating another.
                That’s the liberal in me coming through.Report

              • By far, the majority of the residents came from the women’s shelter, victims of abusive relationships.
                But you talk to them a bit about the abuse, and half of it runs along the lines of, “My old man kicked my ass after I smoked up all the crack while he was gone to the liquor store to get another pint.”

                Damn, WillH.  That sounds too real not to be made up.


              • Will H. in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                I’m not into making up stuff.

                Of course, any lie, tenaciously adhered to, will eventually take on a sinister character. It has to. There is no other way. This is a denial of the self. It can only serve to twist and warp the liar as a matter of sustaining that denial. It is a thing that becomes more unhealthy as time progresses. Again, it has to; a simple matter of kinetic energy required to sustain that unwholesome lie, that basic denial of self.

                That’s the Indian in me talking. If you knew much about Pueblo culture, you might recognize it. It’s given in Western terms.
                Being truthful protects one’s spirit from becoming warped in a particular and telling way.

                One of the most famous of the Baha’i scriptures is:
                Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues. Without truthfulness progress and success, in all the worlds of God, are impossible for any soul. When this holy attribute is established in man, all the divine qualities will also be acquired.
                The Advent of Divine Justice

                There are several important points regarding each phrase of this scripture, and these are discussed regularly in study groups.

                I struggle not to speak so much regarding my faith for fear of offending someone unknowingly.
                I made an exception for you, personally, as a gesture of goodwill and camaraderie.
                Personally, I am suffering a crisis of faith at the present time.Report

              • WillH, would you lie to save my life?  Would you mind if I lied to save yours?

                Another discussion from another thread here @ LoOG, a very serious one.  Am interested in your Pueblo Indian or whatever sensibility on this one.  Thank you in advance for yr reply.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Yes I would, and then I would feel terrible about it after you were in the clear.
                Whatever harm might befall me for undertaking such an action has an opportunity to be redressed at some later point.
                If you were dead, that’s not going to heal very well.

                If you were to lie to save my life, I would hope you did so convincingly the first pass.
                And when I was in the clear, I would feel a bit confrontational toward the party necessarily deceived for such a purpose.

                But that’s where I stand.
                Honest Injun.

                And to be clear, I’m not an Indian.
                My mother was, and I typically refer to them as “my mother’s people.”
                I’m something different, not one of them; a tribe of one.
                But they have definitely shaped my views.
                And it’s kind of odd, but it’s in a way that’s too difficult to shake.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Delightful, sir.  Thx again for yr heartfelt reply.Report

              • Koz in reply to Snarky McSnarksnark says:

                “The “makers” and “takers” thing is, from my perspective a Randian trope, and completely toxic,.”

                From one point of view, it’d be nice if we could just have Americans without having to sweat too hard exactly who are the makers and who are the takers. But there’s a reason we can’t do that, and that’s because the libs fkked up our public fisc, and we can’t afford some public services that maybe we’d really like to provide, and as a consequence we’ll have to make decisions that we’d rather not. And in the course of making these decisions we come up with things like makers and takers.

                In all circumstances, it’s important to emphasize the ignorance, bad faith and policy of the libs because once we avoid that we’re a good way towards being out of our current problems.Report

              • Jeff in reply to Snarky McSnarksnark says:

                But if liberals designed their programs to at least make notions towards reducing fraud and exploitation, many programs intended to aid the poor or infirm would have broader public acceptance.

                EBT is designed to just that. But rthe responce from the right is to make EBT cards flourescent orange with a flashing neon strip, some everyone can stare at the dirty moocher.Report

            • Murali in reply to greginak says:

              I think it would be great to eliminate everybody who doesn’t “deserve” some sort of gov benefit from the roles. That. Would. Be. Great. Has anybody every argued against that?

              Yes, people have. Just not in this thread. I’ll try to lay out one kind of argument and you try to see if it doesnt look familiar. I’m willing to bet that many lurkers, at least one front pager and two regular commenters will agree with the argument.

              The hardworking poor are no more deserving of welfare than the lazy and indolent. The reason some people are hardworking and other aren’t is because some people have the right genes and environment. Many people we call lazy have lower metabolic rates and are really incapable of working at such high levels of activity for any extended period of time. Also, some people are blessed with dispositions that allow them to find the work they do tolerable. People who we call lazy often just find the work that they would have to do to stay alive (if they didnt receive welfare) to be so intolerable that to require that they do such work in order to receive the basic necessities of life is downright coercive. Also, people dont really choose to be hardworking. Rather, they are hardworking because of their familial environment, the friends and teachers they had etc. Also some dispositions are just in-grained. What this means is that no one deserves their good character. Therefore people of good character (i.e. hardworking people or people who dont mind the work that they do) are no more deserving of welfare than those who are “lazy” or find all available work intolerably unpleasant.

              Or try this one on for size

               Such systems are intolerant in that they demean and coerce anyone who does not wish to join capitalistic modes of production. People who choose withdraw from capitalistic production are called lazy and are threatened with denial of the basic necessities of living like food, water and shelter: i.e. things which they have a basic right to. Their choices are deliberately constrained and their basic human dignity is denied: Their daily choices are closely scrutinised and criticised unless they adhere to austere puritanical standards.


              • Will H. in reply to Murali says:

                Hearing that sort of thing was what turned me off to the Democrats.
                Really, the first stage of the break was a group of people arguing that equitable representation for minorities was disposable.
                I questioned them about it further, and they really honestly felt that disenfranchising minority groups was acceptable to further their own pet project.
                I find that inexcusable.

                I know that I’m one of a handful of conservatives around here.
                And I’ve stated before that I’m really a blue dog that got dragged to the door of the Democratic Party and kicked in the ass until I fell out on the other side.
                But still, not many conservatives you would find, I expect, that would refer to Eugene Debs as “brother,” or (rightfully) claim to be the heir of MLK.

                You could say that I understand the contemporary progressive left well enough to be abhorred by it.
                That’s pretty much what makes me a conservative.Report

              • Murali in reply to Will H. says:

                I’m not saying all democrats or even most of them believe the above. Nor am I saying that the above arguments are necssarily wrong. Although the second one has more bite. I think a large portion of the guys here wouldnt mind a universal minimum income or a negative income tax to replace the current social safety net. That doesnt seem too bad a deal to me too. But the whole deal about people not really deserving anything more than anyone else? No one on the right would ever say something like that.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Murali says:

                The moment there comes a universal minimum income, I’m sending in to the hall for an honorable withdrawal, and I’ve worked the last day of my life.
                Getting up early is too much of a hassle.
                Some of us are simply predisposed to sleeping in a bit.Report

              • Murali in reply to Will H. says:

                Depends on how big the minimum is right? If it allowed you just enough to afford an apartment in the poor side of town and just the bare minimum for food etc, that would be enough to support you at bare susbistence level. You might not be able to afford the additional internet or cable tv bill. A universal minimum income need not be so high that people can live comfortably without working. It only needs to be high enough that people wont starve. Also, if structured right, people will still have an incentive to take up any job so that they can earn more than the minimum income.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Will H. says:

                You better pay up, buddy.
                I need more of a minimum than that.Report

              • Murali in reply to Will H. says:

                Go find a job you slackerReport

              • Kimmi in reply to Will H. says:

                You smell like a liberal to me. Also a mite bit of a progressive — and a big heaping tablespoon of “conservatism” (the way Democrats be conservative, not the way Republicans are)Report

            • Brandon Berg in reply to greginak says:

              Makers and takers is a real thing. There are people who get more in private government benefits than they pay in taxes, and there are people who get less in private government benefits than they pay in taxes.

              The alleged proof by contradiction, wherein anyone who gets anything from the government ever must be a taker, and therefore everyone is a taker, and therefore the whole concept is just plain stupid, is a strawman. It’s about net contributions or receipts, not about any one particular transaction.Report

              • Liberty60 in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                So lets stipulate those definitions; nearly everyone shifts over time, from taker to maker to taker again.

                I didn’t pay my way though elementary, middle or high school; did you? I got Pell grants and family help  to get through college; I was a “taker”

                But now I am gainfully employed in my field; last year alone, I paid more in Federal taxes than I ever recieved in Pell grants; So its safe to say I am now a “maker”.

                in about a decade or so my health will begin a long slow decline; there will come a time at which my savings and insurance can no longer sustain my medical needs; I will rely on my family and Medicare and be once again a “taker”.

                Unless you are planning on inventing the next Google, this will be your story as well.

                The concept of liberalism is the concept of the extended family; The healthy adults care for the elders, and invest in children who become adults who care for the elders.

                Labeling people as  “takers” and “makers” is a game for callow children riding on their parent’s shoulders.Report

              • Brandon Berg in reply to Liberty60 says:

                Sorry–I meant over the course of a lifetime. Everybody is a taker in childhood. If not from the government, then from their parents. And that’s not a problem. Being a taker is okay when you’re too young or old to work. As long as you put in enough in between to make up for it.Report

              • I’m all for anything that turns a taker into a maker.  Tony Blair called this social spending “investments.”  I watched Question Time often on C-SPAN, and that was his euphemism of choice.  We have to invest in this and that, education, more health spending, subsidized rail service to Swindon.

                Hey, if you cannot be or cannot become a maker—disabled or elderly [are there any other exceptions?] I’m all for everything we can afford.  But it is social charity.  It’s not an “investment.”  Let’s just all be straight-up about it and use language that tells the difference.

                Everybody else on the dole is not the truly needy but the truly greedy, the lazy and the crazy, the “entitlement” mentality.  These need to be sorted out.  I’m not paying for your degree in Medieval French Poetry.  Enough is enough.  Cut my lawn and I’ll help you pay for it your owndamnself.

                Medieval French Poetry will keep until you can pay for your degree in it.  It’s waited centuries for you to apply your brilliance to it, it can wait a little longer.

                Student loan debt in the US now at $1 trillion?


                Forget killing the lawyers.  Kill your professors!  You got fucked, dudes & dudesses.  Forget Da Man.  Your professors and their edu-industrial complex got their hooks into you first, you poor SOB.

                [Me, I went to the least shitty college that gave me a scholarship.  Scratch that—one shitty college gave me a full boat and I took it because my folks didn’t have a penny to spare.  But I walked away clean.  I had my freedom, no indentured servant I.]Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:


                well, sure I agree we ought to do ANYTHING ot turn takers into makers. But I doubt you’ve got the chutzpah to hold to that position. I can think of plenty of ways to turn Koch, Pandit, et alia into makers… Still with me?

                Didn’t think so.


              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Kimmi, I’m of the Golden Goose persuasion: take all the eggs you can, but pâté de foie gras is out.Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                That’a a great line, TVD.Report

              • Will H. in reply to Liberty60 says:

                The concept of liberalism is the concept of the extended family.

                I would disagree with that statement, unless this is “liberalism” in the Rawlsian sense.
                For the Left, the concept of liberalism is about replacing the functions of the family (as well as practically any other manner of social institution) with the function of government.
                Or, if only the government were more pervasive, you wouldn’t need a family after all.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Will H. says:

                oh, come off it!

                When was the last time you saw liberals agitating for communal living quarters for children? All children?

                Liberals != Kibbutzniks, for gawds sake!

                Liberals just watn the guvmint as a safety net,f or pretty much everything that can go REALLY wrong. Like families can.Report

          • Liberty60 in reply to Snarky McSnarksnark says:

            I could get with this, of being sensitive to the concept of how unfair it is to tax working people while giving benefits to the lazy and indolent.

            That sense of fairness is actually what drives much of liberalism, in fact.

            However contemporary conservatism has honed that sense of unfairness to a fever pitch of rage at the Undeserving.

            But not all Undeserving, you see, but only a special select class of Undeserving.

            For instance, hundreds of billions of waste and outright fraud by the Pentagon is shrugged off as a trifle, but a 100 dollar food stamp card that might possibly be used for beer is cause for shrieking.

            Recent bills that call for benefit recipients to only shop at use dclothing stores for example, or to submit to drug testing, are not sensible measures aimed at saving money; they are intended to humiliate the poor.

            All the while, the wealthy and powerful are given obscene amounts of tax revenue and rentseeking.

            This is the Undeserving that fuels the rage of  liberals; not the gulf between working people and nonworking people; but the gulf between working people and the 1%, who steal more in a day than an army of welfare queens could in a lifetime.Report

            • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Liberty60 says:

              Pretty much. A mother shifting assets around so she gets fifty bucks more in food stamps is history’s greatest monster as companies roll in tax loopholes and straight up subsidies as they send American jobs overseas to gain a quarter point on their stock price.Report

      • John Howard Griffin in reply to Will Truman says:

        My apologies for offending you, Mr. Truman.

        I was attempting humor (or irony, to be more precise). I was using the words that the 53% used. I even left out the “Suck it up you whiners” part because I thought that was a little much.

        This is funny to me on several levels: the irony, the “hoist on one’s own petard”, the expected denial that red states take more than they give, and that when I was offended by the 53%, no one much cared to apologize for offending me.Report

        • The 53% figure isn’t based on who takes out more than they put it. It was based on the (very, very flawed) supposition that people weren’t putting in at all. You won’t find me ever citing that statistic approvingly, as it is flawed in a number of respects. But, oh crap, I come from a red state and a beneficiary state. Forgive me, I forgot my status as a moocher.Report

          • John Howard Griffin in reply to Will Truman says:

            Exactly like my (very, very flawed) supposition that red states are takers and blue states are makers.

            You won’t ever find me seriously making these arguments (I’ll make them in jest quite often!).

            But, I’ll bet dollars to donuts that if the above chart showed the opposite effect (D’s spending more than R’s), and there were stats showing blue states taking more federal dollars than they paid…well, I think you know what would happen. And it would be loud. Very loud. In fact, it’s really loud right now even without any of these stats. Much, much louder than my microscopic comment. (Not loud from you, but from The Machine(tm), though you do offer your voice in the chorus).

            That’s funny to me. And ridiculous. And asinine. Wait, I don’t think that’s the word you called me, but it’s close.Report

        • For what it’s worth, I suspect that, if you do break it down, you will – for a wide variety of reasons – find that blue states tend towards donorship and red states tend towards benefit in terms of percentage of taxes paid and the types of government payments that they would disapprove of. The numbers on that map, though, make no distinctions between kinds of spending. It just assumes that a dollar spent is a dollar spent. And a person living in Twin Falls should be considered a recipient of money that goes to the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. And a person that receives $x for taking up the uniform and fighting for their country is just as deserving, or undeserving, than the person getting $y in food stamps. (Or, for that matter, someone who is working getting food stamps versus someone who could be working but isn’t getting food stamps versus someone who can’t find work getting food stamps.)

          One of the reasons I find myself talking more to liberals than conservatives is because liberals are, in general, better at understanding the complexities involved and it makes for more interesting conversation. Except when it comes to that map. That’s when it’s clear-cut simple. We good. They bad.

          That’s why I get uncharacteristically excitable when this subject comes up.Report

          • “But as we know, states do not vote, individuals do…60-80% of welfare recipients are Democrats…You have similar results in this recent NPR-Poll. Among the Long Term Unemployed, 72% of the two-party support goes to Democrats…”

            It appears that once more common sense is right and the impression left by the New York Times wrong. Indeed, people who live off the government disproportionally support Democrats. 

            Given that Krugman is aware of the Gellman-Paradox, he should have reported the individual level data first instead of wasting everyone’s time with state-level aggregation that we already know is wrong. Instead he acknowledged that state level data is probably wrong (to get cover), then goes ahead and relies on the wrong method anyway, since it produces the results he wants. The false impression that Republicans use more welfare is already spread around the internet by liberals who still trust Krugman. 

            I’m not going to fisk this, but it seems possible.  If the number of “takers” is fairly constant from state to state, the disparity is that the “rich” of the Red states don’t make as much as those in the Blue to offset them.  Respectfully submitted.  If true, the issue works against the Krugmanites, not for them, that the “takers” do indeed vote Democrat.



            But as we know, states do not vote, individuals do. There is only a paradox if Republican voters receive welfare at above average rates while voting against it. From the Gellman-paradox we know that the low-income voters who drag down the Red States average tend to vote disproportionally for Democrats. Republican voters earn significantly more than Democrats, even though Red state earn less than Blue states.

            Krugman reports no individual level data, so let me. The Maxwell Pollhas detailed information about welfare use. The data is from 2004-2007. During this period in these polls a plurality of voters supported Democrats. I will graph the two-party vote, more data is at the end.

            Hardly surprising, we see that in a two-party split, 60-80% of welfare recipients are Democrats, while full time Workers are evenly divided between parties.

            You have similar results in this recent NPR-Poll. Among the Long Term Unemployed, 72% of the two-party support goes to Democrats.

            It appears that once more common sense is right and the impression left by the New York Times wrong. Indeed, people who live off the government disproportionally support Democrats.


            • John Howard Griffin in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

              But wouldn’t this also mean that Dagny Taggert the biggest “makers” also vote Democrat?

              Remember the old adage: It’s useless to argue, and to wonder about people who would neither refute an argument nor accept it.Report

              • Not necessarily, Mr. Griffin.  The Blue states could have more rich Republicans to offset the “takers” who vote Democrat.  But even if it’s true that the Blue States have more rich Democrats than Red states have rich Republicans, we still have the proposition [unchallenged so far] that welfare recipients [“takers”] overwhelmingly vote Democrat.

                “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”—GBS

                That is what we’re talking about, yes?  I’m sure it’s not your intention to obscure or bury the argument, but even if there are more Democrat Bill Gates-types than Republican, it doesn’t change the equation, unless you award more merit to those who pay more taxes, which I’d think seems silly to both of us, small “d” democrats as we both are.


              • Liberty60 in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                So which one are you- Peter or Paul?

                I bet money you- and nearly everyone on this blog-  have been both, at various times in your life.Report

              • John Howard Griffin in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                I’m sorry. I really can’t take this argument seriously. It is much more complex than this.

                Maybe the red states have more of….something. And that something has inherent advantages in our complex modern capitalist society/

                Maybe the blue states have more of…something else, that don’t have those advantages.

                It could even be that the somethings might be more prone to move to the red states, and the something elses to move to the blue states.

                Maybe this argument isn’t as clear as Krugman or You make it out to be. Maybe this is just a means for political or moral posturing.

                But, the really important question is: would it be moral for a tax collector to withhold information from the something elses that might cause them to move to a blue state?Report

              • Snarky McSnarksnark in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

                Well, the usual Political Science explanation is that the Red States, having lower populations, have a greater “density” of congresspersons per capita.    And since congresspersons “bring home the bacon” to their states/districts, the Red States have a greater concentration of goodies–but perfectly in proportion to their political representation.Report

              • Snarky, there is some truth to that, especially when it comes to earmarks, but it leaves quite a bit to be desired. Idaho, for example, gets less per-capita than the nation as a whole. So does Delaware. Wyoming gets more, but only because of the NMLA (take that out, they get less). Utah gets substantially less (less than California). Vermont gets more, but not much more (and less than New York). There is a correlation, but one with a lot of exceptions.Report

              • I’m sorry y’all don’t like the possibility that the “takers” overwhelmingly vote Democrat.  I wouldn’t like it if I were you either.  But negating it or avoiding it is not to disprove it.

                I don’t even know if the guy has his facts right, because investing the time in double-checking it is clearly a waste of time, because some folks simply won’t hear it anyway.


                Vote Democrat if you receive

                Public Housing-  81%

                Medicaid               74%

                Food Stamps       67%

                Welfare                  63%


                But if true, the Red State/Blue State riff is completely ridiculous, and should be put out of our misery.


              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:


                If the “takers” overwhelming vote Democratic, I’m kinda hard pressed to understand how it is that the GOP ever wins an election, if the “takers” represent the N% for any significant N < 90.

                Unless, of course, most people don’t vote anyway, which throws a big monkey wrench into the works.Report

              • greginak in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Shorter TVD: In group is better then out group. Oh and numbers are fun.Report

              • If you don’t like what the link says, disprove it.  Leave me out of it.  What’s wrong with you guys today?  I respectfully submitted it for you to make of it what you will, not to shout it down.

                “But as we know, states do not vote, individuals do…60-80% of welfare recipients are Democrats…You have similar results in this recent NPR-Poll. Among the Long Term Unemployed, 72% of the two-party support goes to Democrats…”Report

              • Yes, Pat, I wonder how the GOP ever wins an election too, mostly because I can see that even among the very well-read folks here, the GOP side of the story is seldom heard.

                But we are approaching a 50-50 split between the Peters and Pauls, givers and takers.  And Europe may have already crossed that Rubicon.Report

              • John Howard Griffin in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                If you can’t see the flaws and missing pieces in this, then I’m not the one to educate you, for I have absolutely no interest in doing so.

                Apparently, everyone in the country has an equal chance at success, so anyone receiving Public Housing assistance, Medicaid, Food Stamps, or Welfare is a “taker”?

                Your grotesque self-deception is truly a thing to behold.Report

              • Amazing, Mr. Griffin.  You can’t refute the argument, so you attack me on a personal level.

                Well, not amazing, really.  Par for the course.  You are excused.Report

              • BSK in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Pot, kettle. Kettle, pot.Report

              • North in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                It’s odd Tom, your chart seems to be conspicously missing all the categories of “takers” who overwhelmingly vote Republican: medicare recipients, the elderly in general, employees of the military and military related industry workers to name but a few.Report

              • John Howard Griffin in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                My apologies. I was wrong. It is your condescension and patronizing tone that are truly things to behold. I realize now that you are unaware of your grotesque self-deception, but very aware of these other skills.

                I appreciate the reminder, and the dismissal. Does that make you feel powerful? Strong? I hope so. I really do.Report

              • BSK in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                More to the point, I’m glad that “takers” are smart enough to vote the people into office who are more likely to take care of them. Well done, takers!Report

              • Apology accepted, Mr. Griffin.  Go forth and sin no more.Report

              • BSK in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                You’re a dick. There. I said it.

                Line crossed. Gentlemanly code broken. Whatever. Ban me if you must. I’m just tired of this shit going on and on and on…Report

              • Mr. North, the elderly vote splits fairly evenly, and to call our military “takers” is something I’m not prepared to litigate with you.



              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                How about the people who got low-interest student loans? How about people who file for the child tax credit? Or get better home loans through FHA? Are those makers or takers? Of course, if you make “welfare” only things that are given to very poor people, it’s not surprising that most of those people are going to vote for politicians who aren’t treating them like scum of the earth for existing.Report

              • You’re a dick. There. I said it.

                Line crossed. Gentlemanly code broken. Whatever. Ban me if you must. I’m just tired of this shit going on and on and on…

                No one @ LooG holds you to adult standards, BSK.  No banning, no admonishment.  Rock on, man.  You are free.Report

              • Koz in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                “If the “takers” overwhelming vote Democratic, I’m kinda hard pressed to understand how it is that the GOP ever wins an election, if the “takers” represent the N% for any significant N < 90."

                Really, why is this difficult to come to grips with? America, almost uniquely among the major industrial democracies, has a strong tradition of anti-folk Marxism. Ie, there’s a lot of Americans who don’t want bailouts and want the chance to win or lose at life on its own terms. Then there are the countries dominated by folk Marxism. Those countries are living under the last gasps of the welfare state, as we can see from a pretty quick glance at the recent financial section of the newspaper.Report

              • North in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Tom, the elderly voted for the GOP last election by a 21 point margin. Not exactly an even split in my books.

                Also while I applaud your elegant attempt to drap the flag of heroic soldiers over the entire edifice of military spending I’d like to remind you that I was asking about Military employees and people who work for military industries. Not soldiers. So there’s no need to litigate the question as to whether soldiers are “takers”.Report

              • Scott Fields in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Mr. Van Dyke –

                “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”—GBS

                That is what we’re talking about, yes?

                Yes. GBS is no fool, but I don’t buy that welfare recipients represent Paul in this adage, at least as far as the US is concerned.  Welfare spending represents just 13% of federal spending and a good hunk of that (> a fourth) is unemployment compensation which isn’t available to moochers exactly, as eligibility hinges on people who have worked prior to receiving it  and who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.  Peter’s money is going to a whole lot of people who’s “taking” does not comport with the narrative you are pushing here.


              • Even if so, that’s 1/4 of the revenue, Mr. Fields.  Not bad, but you didn’t disprove the “narrative,” which is a much better explanation than the Krugman Red State/Blue State one: “states” don’t vote, individuals do.

                I’m not “pushing” the narrative, but at this point it’s far more plausible than the attempts here to bury it.Report

              • North in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                I have to question your math here Tom. 1/4 of 14% is roughly 3.5% or so. So your chart is projecting off the recipients of 3.5% of total federal spending? Unless my quick back of the napkin results are in error here I’d say that’s some mighty weak tea.Report

              • Scott Fields in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                North –

                Sorry if my post was confusing, but UEC was 1/4 of total Welfare spending, so the balance would be 3/4 of 13%.  That’s closer to 10% of total federal spending for welfare recipients. Doesn’t make the tea any stronger, but there it is.Report

              • Scott Fields in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                I don’t give two shakes about the red state/blue state angle, as I agree it’s just a partisan pissing match that adds nothing to the debate. Rather, I’m talking about the point you are trying to make by pulling out the Shaw quote.

                Peter’s the maker being robbed by the government for Paul the taker.  Paul supports that action.  Fine.  But then you go on to say the we are approaching a 50-50 split between Peters and Pauls, where Peter pays federal taxes while Paul does not.  Is this not a fair interpretation of your point?

                Now I am saying that those people who are not paying taxes are not the same people who are reaping the windfall, if you look the budget outlays. Peter gains from having a military, an interstate system, an air traffic control system, etc.  I’d argue Peter gets more out of these things than Paul does, since Paul’s likely not driving across country or flying on business trips. Paul’s more likely serving in the military, as a way out of being Paul.  Paul’s kicking in for Medicare and Social Security, the other heavy-hitters of the budget, with his payroll taxes.

                In the US, if Peter’s being robbed, the benefits are going to some other Peter for the most part through subsidies, regulatory advantage and such like.   The “other Peters” are supporting the government’s actions, too.  And they’re not all voting Dem.Report

              • Mr. Fields, I was more thinking of the UK with half on the dole.  We’re not that bad yet.  Also, I’m not so much about the welfare money, but the number of votes it buys.  Mostly, I was presenting an alternate and better explanation for the Krugman nonsense, that the 1% in the Blue states are richer than the 1% in the Red states, and that accounts for the imbalance.

                Why some people have to blow a fuse on the simplest of facts, I do not know, but I’m getting used to it.

                I’m familiar with your argument that rich people benefit more than the poor from the military, roads, civil court system, and a number of other gov’t expenditures.  I don’t have a big problem with that.  I’m not into “fairness” arguments one way or the other, either wealth inequality or the undeserving parasites.  I’m fine with a graduated income tax; I’m not a flat tax type, although i think either system is just.  I’m for what works.

                There is a problem when those on the dole have zero interest in fiscal sanity and vote accordingly, however.  When the people can vote themselves a raise from the public treasury, all is lost, and that’s what’s happening in Greece, the rest of Europe, and things aren’t so great here either.  That’s where I’m coming from with Peter & Paul.Report

              • Liberty60 in reply to Scott Fields says:

                If we narrowly define “takers” to be limited to food stamps, welfare, public housing and Medicaid, then your poit is valid;

                If we define “takers” as people like Rick Santorum who got the taxpayers to pay for his children’s home-based madrassa, then the picture is very different.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Liberty60 says:

                Yes, the argument is valid, Lib60, thank you, far more than Krugman’s at least.  Unless we have data on homeschooling being more common in Red States, and representing a significant amount of federal dollars, I’m afraid we’re changing the subject with this “madrasa” thing.

                The whole reason for floating this was simply to give an alternative theory to Krugman’s, which is stupid.  I do think it’s a problem to have a permanent underclass on the dole, and it seems several liberals have said the same today here @ LoOG.  But that’s another discussion, a more intelligent one than the grenade toss we seem to be having.

                Did you know that Bruce Frigging Conscience of the Working Man Springsteen is a “gentleman farmer” in New Jersey?


                I just heard that one.  Now, there are all sorts of subsidies for the middle class and rich to be picked through, but let’s just say that there are many votes to be got from the welfare poor more bang for the buck, whereas Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Quincy Jones and Ted Turner only get one vote each.

                [Although I imagine they’re all Democrats, i certainly would expect the GOPers hit the trough just as hard.  They just not as famous, is all.]Report

              • Liberty60 in reply to Liberty60 says:

                So what idea are you floating?

                That Democrats are all undeserving moochers while Republicans are hard working Galts?

                Or is it that only the Fox-News-Approved splinters of welfarism are to be criticized while we ignore the logs of rentseeking?

                Or that Democrats vote out of self-interest while Republicans vote out of a love of the commonweal?

                I just want to make clear what the argument is, before it gets buried under ridicule.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Liberty60 says:


                homeschooling’s one thing. Santorum’s a thief who steals from ghetto schoolkids — to get his kids schooled in DC. Speaking of ghettos, there was another shooting in Penn Hills today (taht’s santorums claimed town)Report

              • Brandon Berg in reply to Scott Fields says:

                What do you mean by “welfare?” Medicare and Medicaid alone are nearly 30% of the federal budget. And yes, Medicare is welfare, because the benefits are invariant with respect to taxes paid, which means that the poor end up paying a nominal tax for the same benefits the rich pay through the nose for.Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                Most conservatives when they describe welfare are only talking about direct cash payments or Food Stamps since the things you say are welfare, well, the recepients of those things don’t like being reminded of that fact. I’m guessing that’s what the posts above were talking about.

                But, I’ll happily say Medicaid and Medicare is welfare. So is Social Security, low-interest student loans, the EITC, and so on and so forth.


              • North in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                Don’t forget federal road funding as well. Those sprawling red States consume massively more money to maintain their infrastructure than they contribute in the taxes that are purported to pay for them.Report

          • Will H. in reply to Will Truman says:

            That’s the great downfall of statistics:

          • Kimmi in reply to Will Truman says:

            Note: the person getting food stamps may actually be costing the country LESS than a worker bee out in rural Montana. (and this is even assuming they aren’t working in the underground economy!)

            Yeah, it’s we good, they bad. But the value of THEY is the scofflaws — the places with zero income tax, a high sales tax, who pull tons of money out of the federal government rather than tax their residents. there ARE states that are free riders, and they deserve to be punished. Most rural states aren’t those, however — even WV, a king of “pork” pays its own way as best as it’s able. If your taxes are higher than mine, and you still can’t make ends meet? have some cash, you must need it!Report

    • States that get more in benefits than they pay in taxes should have to submit to drug testing.Report

    • To be serious about the states that give more money to the feds vs. the states that get more federal money… what is the intuition that I should walk away with?

      That the blue states should be able to keep more of their own money?

      Perhaps that the red states should spend the money a little more wisely than they are? (Less money on entertainment stuff, more money on infrastructure?)

      Maybe the red states should just be more grateful to the blue states?

      What should I walk away with, here?Report

      • John Howard Griffin in reply to Jaybird says:

        I’d be happy if conservatives, and some libertarians, didn’t spend all their time convinced that liberals are the spendthrifts (and vocal about it), and look at how maybe it goes both ways, and maybe sometimes it’s the opposite of what they want to believe. You see, liberals already do this – it’s why we’re weak, and in disarray all the time, and unable to govern properly. We keep changing our minds about what’s the right thing to do.

        In my comments, I used the rhetoric of the right (and even stuff from the bible of the Right) in an attempt at humorously pointing this out, and several people got pissed, while many fell into old partisan patterns.

        I think that says something interesting.

        The most important thing it says to me is that (by and large) really meaningful conversations don’t happen in a comment thread on the Internet. The frogs are peeping and it’s warm outside and it’s March. A useful reminder.Report

        • In my comments, I used the rhetoric of the right (and even stuff from the bible of the Right) in an attempt at humorously pointing this out, and several people got pissed, while many fell into old partisan patterns.

          So I assume that you’re pleased that the blue states are well off enough to help the red states out and you wish, if anything, that the blue states could give more? I mean, look at those red states! They sure don’t have the ability to help themselves…Report

          • John Howard Griffin in reply to Jaybird says:

            So I assume that you’re pleased that the blue states are well off enough to help the red states out and you wish, if anything, that the blue states could give more? I mean, look at those red states! They sure don’t have the ability to help themselves…

            Well, sure I wish we could give more. Lots more. I think of the poor little red staters as my children, my sheep that I tend, just like Jesus.

            After all, we’re the hard working 53% that subsidizes all those lazy government moochers in the red states. We’re the real “makers”. Without us, the red states would live in squalor.

            And they should also be punished and ridiculed for thinking they have so much personal responsibility and rugged individualism, when they are really just on the government dole and are supported by the kindness of the blue states. They talk a lot about others not being able to take care of themselves, but they’re guilty of the same thing. I say we bring back branding, so it’s easy to spot these types.


            The funny thing is that the above snarky argument has been made in this comment thread, and thousands of times elsewhere, by conservatives and libertarians about blue states and liberals.

            Somehow that is considered an acceptable argument.

            I pray for the asteroid/gamma ray burst to end this farce called the human race.Report

            • JHG, for what it’s worth, I see the *EXACT* same dynamic that you see.

              There *IS* a comparison to be made between the response that “conservatives” have to people who take in more benefits from the state than they provide in taxes and to the response that “progressives” have to states that take more federal funds than they provide to the federal government.

              They’re downright mirror images of each other.

              It’s a dynamic that I see as very much worth exploring.Report

              • John Howard Griffin in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well, the Reason article I linked to below attempts some analysis and explanation of the differences in the dynamic. There are other analyses that consider similar explanations.

                My quibble with the article is that it attempts a “both sides do it” faux balance, that does not connect the dots in regards to blue states being ok with taxes that help others. That’s part of the basis of the blue-ness. This isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.

                Libs don’t complain about red states (potentially) getting more, because that’s what we want to do – redistribute to those that need help the most, even if they are in red states or are conservative.

                I won’t speak for the other side. They are loud enough on their own.

                But, a full analysis of the dynamic should also include other ideologies, I think, and how they frame this dynamic. What do libertarians think about this (of the various flavors)? What I hear is many of them saying the same things as the conservatives, though there are probably some that say something different, but almost all of them rail about taxes and infringing on liberty by taking away some of the wealth of their labors.

                I have no stomach for such a discussion, but, please, have at it, if you wish.Report

              • Libs don’t complain about red states (potentially) getting more, because that’s what we want to do – redistribute to those that need help the most, even if they are in red states or are conservative.

                This is one place where my experiences apparently differ from yours. I *HAVE* argued with folks who argued that because Blue States do X, Red States should Y.

                I saw it as indicative of the emphasis between the inclination to see individuals/small groups of people vs the inclination to see cultures/large groups of people.Report

              • John Howard Griffin in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well, those people aren’t really from Scotland. They just talk with a convincing Scottish brogue.Report

              • He isnt arguing no true scotsman would do it. He is saying that according to the sample space he has interacted with few have.Report

              • John Howard Griffin in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

                Certainly, that is true, and is the way I read it. But, thanks for pointing it out, anyway. Clarity is important.

                I was humorously [sic] responding to JB by saying those who had the above arguments with him were no true scotsman, based on my belief in this:

                In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.

                – Mark Twain


              • Kimmi in reply to Jaybird says:


                Yeah, I just ask that rural states ask their rich to pay some of the burden. dat’s all. if they can’t handle everything, that’s fine.Report

      • Murali in reply to Jaybird says:

        That the blue states should be able to keep more of their own money?

        Perhaps that the red states should spend the money a little more wisely than they are? (Less money on entertainment stuff, more money on infrastructure?)

        Maybe the red states should just be more grateful to the blue states?

        Actually all those three look cool.Report

    • Vladimir Wallachian in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

      On top of the land and military thing, everybody realizes the main reason why  the blue states tend to be net payers of taxes over red states is because of trends in median income combined with progressive taxation, right?Report

    • John Howard Griffin in reply to John Howard Griffin says:

      I know that no one here reads or likes Reason, but here’s something to chew on anyway.

      Why would voters in red states elect lawmakers who promise them small government when they benefit disproportionately from federal handouts? Why would voters in blue states elect lawmakers who support policies that redistribute their income to red states?

      One possible explanation is that the voters are misinformed. According to this theory, the people who benefit the most from federal spending simply don’t understand how much money they receive; they assume their tax dollars are subsidizing others when in fact they are the ones being subsidized. People in rural states might be convinced that liberal urban Northeastern jurisdictions get large subsidies for entitlements, welfare, and industry bailouts, while failing to understand how much their own states benefit from agricultural and welfare spending. They may mistakenly equate life in a low-density environment with self-sufficiency. Subsidies and welfare from the federal government help maintain this illusion, enticing them to vote for advocates of smaller government. By contrast, voters in highly urban areas may assume they are the ones who get the most subsidies. In turn, they vote for big-government politicians, thinking that welfare spending will ease social frictions in big cities. Ultimately, everyone is wrong.

      Another explanation holds that voters are simply irrational. In the words of the George Mason economist Bryan Caplan, “Voters often see themselves as they want to be, not as they really are. People in red states tend to think that ‘government is the problem,’ so they tell themselves that big government is mostly a problem in blue states. People in blue states tend to think that ‘government is the solution,’ so they tell themselves that their government takes care of people.”


      Simply put: Income plays a greater role in determining voter preference in red states than in blue ones. So while voters in red states are more motivated by their financial interests (or perceived financial interests), issues outside of income are more powerful motivators for blue voters. This pattern could help explain why some states vote Democratic despite their wealth and some states vote Republican despite their poverty.

      The second theory, which is consistent with the first, holds that Republican voters want to reduce federal spending only if it means cutting other people’s handouts. That would explain why elected Republicans in red states, such as Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), don’t let their limited-government rhetoric get in the way of voting for farm subsidies.

      In the end, the red/blue paradox may be a product of our tendency to look for ideological consistency in politics when there isn’t any.


  9. Scott Fields says:

    Tod –

    The two major political parties are not really in the business of pursuing political ideologies. They are in the business of gathering power, and the wealth and influence that such power brings.

    Isn’t this a chicken/egg sort of thing you’ve got going here?  You can’t pursue your ideology without the influence brought by power and you can’t attain power without wealth (at least in our system you can’t).


    • Tod Kelly in reply to Scott Fields says:

      This is  a fair point.  But my off the cuff counter would be that if it was just politics to get into power so that you do could do what you were ideologically driven to do, why does the spending go up so dramatically with the GOP POTUSs, despite the fact that their main ideological push was for reducing government spending and influence?

      As I siad in the OP, I am thinking out loud with my response, but it seems there needs to be a good explanation for this if I’m going to take seriously the argument that a GOP prez will reduce spending and a Dem will increase.Report

      • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Let’s see a chart as to who controlled Congress.  Congress matters.  Tip O’Neill spent; Gingrich balanced the budget [or nearso].  Bush43’s “compassionate conservatism” was a Democrat lite, and the GOP paid the price for it in 2006 and 2008.  [The prescription drug benefit was a certainty regardless of whetehr it was Bush or Gore.  It was an idea whose time had come.]

        Obama, well, he’s Obama, and losing the House in 2010 needs factoring in.

        As to what Talking Points Memo used to make their rather brutal graph, that’s another question as well.  back in the real world of 2012, what happened to the trillion we gave BHO to spread around and stimulate with?  Where is the Democrat analogue to the Ryan budget?  What really happened during last year’s debt ceiling circus?

        • Tod Kelly in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

          The control of Congress is a decent point, and if anything might argue that having a Repub legislature and a Dem POTUS is best.

          However, the whole The GOP Is Fiscally Conservative Except When They Were Being Just LIke  Democrats argument is kind of lame.Report

          • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            However, the whole The GOP Is Fiscally Conservative Except When They Were Being Just LIke  Democrats argument is kind of lame.

            Easy there, Tod.  The Bush43 years were the only time the GOP had undivided government since Eisenhower, and admittedly they blew it.  Trying to create a rule out of a 6-year anomaly is what’s lame.  What’s lame is the TPM chart.

            I have some sympathy for the Dem prez/GOP congress being the most promising, but it helps if the president is Bill Clinton, who was a deficit hawk even before Gingrich seized Congress in 1994.  Clinton’s Democratic Leadership Council is now out of business, as is any trace of fiscal hawkery in the Democratic Party.  In 2012, there are no Dem analogues to Bill Clinton, let alone Paul Ryan.  The math just isn’t there to get back to fiscal sanity simply by eating the rich and cutting defense, but that’s all that’s on offer from the Dems.

            Well, I take that back—actually, John Boehner speaks well of Harry Reid, that they could and did cut a responsible deal.  Then a funny thing happened…


            • Snarky McSnarksnark in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

              You are seriously offering an editorial to back up your point?Report

            • North in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

              Tom the DLC being out of business line is kindof lame. The main reason that the DLC is out of business is that they moved pretty much the entire Dem party to their general position on economics and the space between the DLC positions on foreign policy and the Democratic Party’s foreign policy has very little blue water either. The DLC didn’t so much go out of business as accomplish so much they had little more to offer.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to North says:

                Show me a deficit hawk like Bill Clinton or a business-friendly Democrat of the DLC stripe, and we’ll talk, Mr. North.

                Evan Bayh is a guy I like[d].  Harold Ford.  Their like is gone.  Hell, I even liked Dick Gephardt, union guy that he was.  Believe it or not, I’m a moderate.  I voted for Dukakis, I’d have gone for Bill Clinton if I didn’t know he gave his paramour Gennifer Flowers a state job, which was corrupt.  [Yes, I puzzled that out all on my own in the 1992 election, even as the press buried it for him.]

                And I’ve supported Romney from the first.  I don’t want war.  I’m sick of war and I’m sick of President Obama dividing us out of one side of his mouth [“clinging to guns and religion”] and making like he’s unifying us out of the other.

                Because unlike y’all on the other side of the aisle, I hear both sides of his mouth.

                Mitt is a panderer, but so was Bill Clinton—my candidate for 1992, the late Paul Tsongas, rightfully called Clinton the “pander bear.”

                Back in the day, pandering was appreciated as a political art, with a nod and a wink.  There are worse things.  Like divisiveness.  Mitt is not divisive: even his critics must concede that.  it’s just not how he’s wired.Report

              • North in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                The fact remains, Tom, that the DLC has been so internalized by its party that it essentially succeeded itself out of a job. If the DLC hadn’t, for example, the banks would probably have been nationalized in 2008.

                I mean heck, let’s go down the list: The DLC supported welfare reform, such as the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (the Dems haven’t tried to roll this back or remove it); President Clinton’s expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (Dem supported) and the creation of AmeriCorps (strongly Dem supported). The DLC supports expanded health insurance via tax credits for the uninsured and opposes plans for single-payer universal health care (PPACA in a nutshell). The DLC supports universal access to preschool, charter schools, and measures to allow a greater degree of choice in schooling (though not school vouchers) (All Dem supported), and supports the No Child Left Behind Act (generally Dem supported though supplemented now with Obama’s race to the top). The DLC supports both the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) (which the Dems have made no move to remove).

                The Obama administration is so packed with DLC people that it’s a mantra on the outraged far left. By every measure, Tom, the DLC has essentially become the Democratic Party.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to North says:

                Mr. North, can you honestly say Obama’s Dem party would support Clinton-type welfare reform?  I cannot imagine it.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Tom, Bill Clinton never stood for anything.   He was a weathervane.   Obama’s not much different.Report

              • Jeff in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                The “welfare reformers” have won.  The fact that Obama is not trying to roll back mess these “reformers” have made says that he DOES support the “reforms”.Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                No, Jeff, we’re not supposed to point out the only reason “welfare reform” worked was that we were in the middle of a massive economic boom.Report

              • North in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Tom, I don’t need to say it but I’ll say it without even batting an eye. Obama’s Dem party does support precisely Clinton-type welfare reform. The proof is in the pudding. Obama and the Dems had a completely unrestricted ability to undo every jot and tittle of Clinton’s welfare reform. Not only did they not do so; they never even tried. Heck, they never even talked about it. They didn’t campaign about it they didn’t promise to do it. Obama and his party are, by virtue of lack of any effort to undo it or any public indication that they wished to undo it, supporters of Clinton’s welfare reform.Report

              • Tom Van Dyke in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Mr. North, how could they possibly repeal something that worked and keep their heads?  That’s crazy.  You honestly believe Pelosi’s Dems would have passed Clinton’s welfare reform.  I’m stunned.Report

              • North in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Why would they pass it Tom? It’s already the law of the land. They’re supporters because they support it. Everything else is just sophistry. A Democratic party that had not internalized the principles of the DLC would have torn out Clintons welfare reform root and branch and likely would have gone after both the banks and NAFTA as well in 2008. All of the datapoints seems to point pretty conclusively that the DLC moved their party very close to the DLC’s own policy positions.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:


                you stay AWAY from Mr. Corporate Whore Harold Ford! (If you took my advice, you’d stay AWAY from That Wisconsin Guvnor too…)

                Seriously, likin’ that type of person is the way to tarnish your rep.

                I like how you pretend Pratt’s gonna do anything his backers don’t want him to do.Report

              • b-psycho in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                And I’ve supported Romney from the first. I don’t want war.

                Do you mean war in some other sense than usual? Because otherwise, pretty much everyone running for president wants war.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                Mitt is not divisive:

                Strewth.  People from both sides of the aisle despise him.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

              Trying to create a rule out of a 6-year anomaly is what’s lame.

              What *I* found interesting about the Bush years is not what the Republicans in power did, but what the Republicans on the ‘tubes did. At least at Redstate, the argument was that fiscal conservatives should have been happy. Rush Limbaugh carried water (and, interestingly, said that he was pleased that he didn’t have to carry water anymore following the 2006 elections).Report

              • Will H. in reply to Jaybird says:

                The Republicans have been due a management turnover for some time.Report

              • Kimmi in reply to Will H. says:

                Will, yeah, but they JUST GOT ONE. Teaparty Koch.

                Now they need someone smarter at the helm.Report

              • Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’m not sure I see what’s so interesting about that comment, Jay.  The point is they were in power, so he (felt like he) had to (or more to the point, on balance still wanted to) carry water for what they actually did in power (however much he didn’t like it – because he is an Elephant first, but still a very serious and ‘extreme’ conservative as well), and for the figures who led them, like the pantywaist doctor, Bill Frist.  It doesn’t demonstrate that his conservatism isn’t real and earnest; indeed it demonstrates he is a serious party actor on the right flank who is almost if not indeed more happy trying to move the party to the right in out-of-power ideological struggles than he is defending the party when it actually exercises power (which he nevertheless wants to do when they are, barely [unless real conservatives really are wielding that power, to truly conservative ends]).  This is the most sincere kind of expression from a serious party-committed ideological advocate (i.e. a person who doesn’t just want Rightward governance, but who wants extremely Rightward governance exercised by a particular party to whom he is loyal).  It’s what people like Adam Green would say (or at least think) if they actually did carry their party’s water while they held power, after period in power when their party had not done what they wanted it to do.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew says:

                Michael, I find it interesting because of what it seems to really communicate about underlying principles.

                Dig these two sentences:

                1) I am a Republican because I am Conservative

                2) I am a Conservative because I am a Republican

                The first sentence makes sense to me. It makes a lot of sense to me. The second is incoherent… but it seems that Rush is the second and not the first.

                “Republican” should not be *PRIOR*.Report

              • Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird says:

                Karl Rove makes a shit-ton of sense if you realize he’s very much a 2.

                But you don’t have to be either 1 or 2, i.e. it can just not be causal.  You can just be both.  For Rush I get the sense that it’s, “I’m a conservative but I’m a Republican,” but it might be, “I’m a Republican but I’m a conservative.”  Subtle difference there; genuinely not sure which.  But I don’t think either is conditional for Rush.  He’s affirmatively both, independent of each other.Report

            • LauraNo in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

              Whatever happened to PAYGO and when did it go away?Report

  10. Plinko says:

    A while ago Yglesias had a nice line on this subject – essentially that we’re not going to get anywhere on deficits as long as Republicans refuse to cut spending and Democrats refuse to raise taxes. The point being, politicians, once in power, seem to be very determined to not fulfill the doomsaying of their opponents, the natural result being a chart much like the above.Report

  11. MFarmer says:

    How cute. We can play games, or we can be adults and face the coming crisis which is going to cause great harm to a lot of people, especially the poor. There are real causes of the current economic stagnation, and if the fundamental problems which prolong the stagnation aren’t addressed, we’re in for a long period of decline and pain. Some of us have our life’s work on the line. This partisan silliness and obscurantism reveal a lack of serious that’s nauseating.Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to MFarmer says:

      sigh….    OK, I’ll bite.

      Out of curiosity, which part of the post did you find the most partisan?  Was it the part where I was critical of the Obama administration on HRC or its costly international policies?  Or was it where I pointed out that that the tacks to the right by Dem presidents against their ideology were pluses- or was it when I noted positive accomplishments that GOP POTUSs presided over that Dems could not have?  Or was it just the part where I admitted I was thinking out loud and that I thought it likely that I could be persuaded otherwise?  Knowing which of theses things is partisan hackery will help me avoid it in the future!

      Also, I agree with you your general assessment about a financial crisis, so am a little saddened that you did not bother providing another/better explanation for the data.  May I ask you to do so now?  (Bonus points if you can answer without using the word “statist.”)Report

      • Koz in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Tod, there’s a number of libs here who are merely partisan hacks but you are not one of them.

        That said, Mike is essentially right. The way you framed the issue in the OP is to be essentially a matter of political gamesmanship. (It’s an especially disappointing frame in light of other things you have written, “Oh woe is me that it’s so hard to figure out what the Republicans really want.”)Those issues are important, but it’s not the most relevant frame. The basic reliabilty of public finance is a much more important consideration, especially now where there are real concerns about that.

        And from this point of view, the situation is not very complicated. Everything we have seen since President Obama has been in office lets us know who’s where on issues of size of government and stable government finance. And let’s also note that a substantial amount of energy among the lib base is a reactionary circle-the-wagons maneuver to defend every excess of the modern welfare state in order to preserve their political viability. Cut spending, vote Republican, punish libs.Report

        • Michael Drew in reply to Koz says:

          You know how you can tell a partisan hack?  If their writing features issue strings of two-word second-person-command-tense clauses that combine a feel-good simplified policy slogan (“cut spending”), an other-defining attack on the political opposition, (“punish libs”), and a party-specific voting instruction (“vote Republican”).  That’s how it’s done, folks.  Being a hack: you’re doing it right.Report

          • Koz in reply to Michael Drew says:

            No Michael, the point of that is to emphasize the essential simplicity of the current political-cultural environment. We shouldn’t be seduced by complexity for its own sake when the underlying reality is in fact very simple as it is here.Report

            • Michael Drew in reply to Koz says:

              Oh, okay, well if it is “essentially” that simple, then indeed I suppose we must all vote Republican.Report

              • Koz in reply to Michael Drew says:

                I understand you’re being facetious here so let me just say that what you’ve written for comic effect is actually where we are.

                In particular I am amazed as I look around the world and see how many smart people there are in the world doing interesting, difficult, important things. This is in stark contrast to our political culture which seems to insist on trapping itself in trivialities. We can participate in that if we choose. We don’t have to.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Koz says:

                For fish sake, koz, a Republican Congress and a Republican president in the early 2000s increased non-defense discretionary spending by something like 300% while cutting taxes, thus dramatically increasing our deficit, and you say the simple solution to our fiscal problems is to vote Republican?

                That’s what’s so destructive about ideology–it blinds a person to all evidence, and everything they see or hear–and probably everything they taste, touch, and smell, too–is subject to an all-pervasive and all-persuasive confirmation bias.Report

              • Koz in reply to James Hanley says:

                “[Y]ou say the simple solution to our fiscal problems is to vote Republican?”

                Absolutely. The point is, we need to get clarity on which battles we are contending in and the actions we take in those battles. Like I am trying to explain to Tod, the intent to vote Republican is a powerful agent for positive change whose effects start long before anybody walks into a voting booth.

                In more concrete terms, if we give up trying to game a GOP Congress and Demo POTUS or vice versa, we can make immediate changes to the path of government expenditures, substantial parts of which will persevere no matter who is in Congress or the White House.Report

              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz says:

                Koz, let’s embrace a theoretical for a moment.

                Let’s say the GOP wins the House, the Senate, and the Presidency in 2012.

                In relative or absolute dollars (your pick), how much of a drop are you predicting in government expenditures?  How much of a difference will we see in the deficit?

                What will these numbers look like in 2013?  2014?  2015?

                How much are you willing to bet that you’re incorrect?Report

              • Koz in reply to Koz says:

                Relative to the Obama FY 11 budget, a GOP controlled House, Senate, and White House will lower expenditures at least $1T over the 1st POTUS term and $4T over two terms.Report

              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz says:

                Okay, I will make you three separate and distinct wagers.  Here is the 2011 Financial Statement as issued by the GAO.  I assume that this is an acceptable measurement.  Total government revenue for the year was $2.4 trillion.  The net cost of operations was $3.7 trillion.

                I will wager you $5 that the GAO report for 2013 (should the GOP control the House, Senate, and Presidency) will show that the net cost of operations is greater than or equal to $3 trillion dollars.  I’m giving you 300 billion (but I’m going with absolute instead of relative dollars)

                I will further wager you $5 that the GAO report shows the net cost of operations in 2013 is greater than $3.7 trillion dollars.

                Finally, I will offer a further wager of $5 contingent on the acceptance of the first two: if, in the beginning of 2014 (which is when the report comes out, of course) you have won $10 from me… in the election of 2014 the GOP will lose both the House and the Senate.Report

              • Koz in reply to Koz says:

                Without looking too closely into the proposed terms of wager, no.


                In fact, this train of thought is illustrative of yet another historical failure of the libs. Like the link above, the reason why we have the problems we have is the libs won important procedural battles that give them the chance to win policy battles later. Roughly (though not exactly) during the early Clinton era, people figured out that the idea of the current services baseline was basically a recipe for an ever-growing government ratchet. And we could use a constant dollar baseline instead to highlight which programs’ funding are being increased and which are being cut. Hopefully this would affect more than GAO or OMB numbers but also the way apolitical Americans view government expenditures in the abstract. And create a natural tendency toward fiscal conservatism simply by holding the line on funding increases. But of course, the libs won and the fiscal conservatives lost and almost nobody uses a constant dollar baseline.Report

              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz says:

                Can you offer a suitable counter-wager using some form of canonical measurements?  Or amended values to the ones offered herein?Report

              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Koz says:

                say, factoring in for a rate of inflation of… what?  3%?Report

              • Koz in reply to Koz says:

                Sure, we can look at the overall federal government expenditures relative to the Obama Administration’s FY12 budget request released about a year ago February.Report

              • Michael Drew in reply to Koz says:

                Koz, I’ll give you this much.  The current crop of GOP congresscritters displayed a degree of spending-cutting seriousness this summer.  But beyond that, as James says, there is literally nothing to go on as far as judging what will actually happen with regard to spending if Republicans get power.  Certainly there’s no way of knowing what Etch Romney will do once in office.  The case for simplicity characterizing the relation between the “political-cultural environment” (i.e what candidates say to gain office, or what lawmakers say they favor independent of a legislative environment where it might actually happen) and what actually us done is… weak.Report

              • Koz in reply to Michael Drew says:

                “Koz, I’ll give you this much. The current crop of GOP congresscritters displayed a degree of spending-cutting seriousness this summer.”

                It goes way before last summer through the entirety of the Obama Administration (and really even before that to TARP).

                But again that’s mostly a secondary point. We can make dramatic change now, before the Republicans return to power (if in fact they do), by undermining and defeating the reactionary Demo resistance to expenditure cuts.Report

              • Michael Drew in reply to Koz says:

                My point was really just that it’s pretty rich to talk about people around here being partisan hacks and then write the unironical sentence, “Cut spending, vote Republican, punish libs.”  Not, “To CS, VR & PL”; just do it.  That’s hackish, dude, in a partisan way.  And, maybe you hadn’t noticed, but whatever else we call each other around here, practically nobody calls people hacks (at least in my recollection), because it’s a basic attack on the presumption of earnestness and good-faith dialogue, which, if you think about it, is really all this place has to run on if it is going to continue be a left-right-center meetingplace of any value at all.  So how about not engaging in that particular political gambit, huh.  People make partisan appeals all the time here – it’s clear enough on its face when they do; it’s part of the culture now however much we might wish we kept up a more nonpartisan facade; and there’s nothing wrong with it per se.  So why do we need to lower the social capital level such that we start labeling unnamed people as having essentially no independent intellectual integrity with regard to substance, which is what it is to be a partisan hack.  A lot of people here let their party affiliation affect their substantive views, sure, but that is not what it is to be a hack.  To be a hack is to have that completely swallow one’s critical faculties, such that no substantive view is formed by reference to anything other than party advantage.  I wouldn’t call a single regular commenter or writer here that I can think of a hack, including you, above advocacy aside, though if I felt I needed to, i would damn well say who it is I was saying it about.  I’d ask you not to do it either, unless you’ve thought it over and think you really mean it, and are willing to tell us who you think it is.Report

              • Koz in reply to Koz says:

                Mike, this is a really great comment, and I hope we get the chance to unpack everything you’ve written here. Here are a first few notes.

                1. First of all, as I mentioned in the comment you took exception to, Tod isn’t a hack. Even though he is the true Platonic epicenter of SWPL here at the League, he actually reads and tries to comprehend what people write to him, to his great credit. And as libs go, you’re one of the better ones in that respect yourself.

                2. Hackery is only one form of one form of illegitimate advocacy, of which there are several others.

                3. Liberalism isn’t by its nature a matter of illegitimate advocacy but the overwhelming percentage of liberal advocacy we tend to encounter in contemporary discourse is illegitimate.

                4. That’s why, between libs and conservatives, earnestness and good-faith dialog aren’t a matter of presumption but instead have to be explicitly spelled out. In particular, we both have critical faculties, just like you said. We also have intelligence, intuition, private resources and some portion of a collective claim to public resources. Good faith advocacy happens when we speak to each other freely giving due allowance for where the other party is situated.

                5. Just like you said, good faith advocacy is the foundation of (private) social capital, a very valuable collective resource.

                Therefore it is very valuable for libs to practice good faith advocacy at the expense of what they usually do even though it may come at the expense of policy wins. But, (this is also important) it may not. Our team might win anyway. It would really suck to sell out your intellectual integrity on some political gambit and then end up losing anyway.Report

              • Tod Kelly in reply to Koz says:

                Koz – Thanks for the compliment, but also and especially for this:

                [Tod] is the true Platonic epicenter of SWPL here at the League

                This tickled me more than I can say, so in your honor I have changed my gravatar for a while.Report

              • Koz in reply to Koz says:

                You’re welcome. And before I forget, I meant to get this link (just came out today) into my last comment, like a perfect retrospective Harvard B-school use case of bad faith lib advocacy.


              • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

                So Koz,

                If I have you right, not only do some unknown number of unnamed liberals remain hacks here at the League, but beyond that some significant if unspecified part of their advocacy is additionally illegitimate for unspecified reasons that you don’t care to name in the same place as you care to make the assertion.  I guess, no, I’m not really interested in unpacking that with you.  I’m happy to let our various comments here stand as they do at the moment.Report

              • Koz in reply to Michael Drew says:

                Actually, I wouldn’t call them hacks necessarily, though some of them are. But lib advocacy is in practice overwhelmingly illegitimate. There’s a subtle but important difference between saying “I think we should X” and “We should X” and basically libs rarely if ever make any effort to understand the amount of responsibility they assume to legitimately argue the latter. Here’s a good link:


                This gives some idea of my gripe with lib advocacy though for the most part I don’t have much beef with voting. Among other mitigating factors, voting is a pretty low-energy course of action, and our votes are solicited as well.Report

              • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

                “Tod, there’s a number of libs here who are merely partisan hacks but you are not one of them.”

                “Actually, I wouldn’t call them hacks necessarily, though some of them are.”

                So, what you’re saying is that the number of liberals at the League who are hacks is not greater than the number of liberals at the League who are actually hacks.  Thanks for the clarification.Report

              • Koz in reply to Michael Drew says:

                You keep using that word, but it doesn’t mean what you think it means.

                There may be only a few lib hacks here, but the overwhelming number of libs are illegitimate advocates of liberalism. That’s to say, they have a good handle on what they want or what they think “society” should do, but no real understanding or even attempt to consider the best interest of our common polity.Report

              • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

                Actually, I keep mentioning the word, by way of discussing how you are using it. I did use it once, to suggest that something you wrote is something that typcally marks out a hack, only to show that by your standard, it is pretty easy to be thought a hack.  I don’t even hold you to be a hack.  i do not keep using the word; you do: you just called Bruce Bartlett a hack below.  You’re on a roll, man.

                Rock out with your hack out, Koz.Report

              • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

                I do realize you’d like for me to bite on your illegitimacy claim.  I pointed out that you intially made it with basically no explanation.  Now you have offered some; let us all take a moment to recognize your meeting a minimum standard for discourse.  Though it is a bit shifting a this point, (first it’s, ‘They don’t say the words “I think” before saying what they think should be done; now it’s a claim that they don’t even attempt to consider the best interest of the polity in offering policy proposals), it’s still better than none. Nevertheless, I’m not particularly interested in taking you up on your charge.  Perhaps it’s true! I’m content to leave it hanging out there.  What I am concerned with is us calling each other hacks, and trying to ensure that when we do it, we do it very deliberately, specifically, intentionally, and correctly.

                By the way, yes, people can call me Mike if they want to, even though it makes absolutely no sense to do so whatsoever, what with a regular who signs in as a Mike.  It is what people call me (at least whoever wants to) in most RW settings.Report

              • Koz in reply to Michael Drew says:

                Forgive me MichAEL DREW for not addressing you by your full name. That said, your last comments seem to me to be out to lunch every which way. I’m not getting your point about hacks. Whatever it is, it seems to be undercut by the fact that I’ve been more judicious in using that label than you.

                As far as my “shifting” on good-faith advocacy goes, those are supposed to be the same thing, that’s the point. Participants in our political culture are in general free to want anything, but we can’t legitimately advocate for some particular course of policy without considering in some way the point of view or interest of the polity as a whole. For some people it’s not something they dwell on often, but upon reflection I think it’s pretty obvious. The alternative is ridiculous.

                The description of Bruce Bartlett as a hack was deliberate of course. He wants to subsume American fiscal policy into particulars of his own career drama. If you’d rather use a different word for that circumstance I’d probably be ok with that.

                Finally, you have some kind of problem with my imperative phraseology: cut spending, vote Republican, punish libs. These ideas could expressed a different way I suppose, but the intent was to avoid unnecessary distraction when the underlying reality is in fact very simple. How would you say it?Report

              • Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

                I bollocks things up all the time.  This is pretty clearly such a case.

                I’m saying a simple thing: As a rule, let’s not call each other hacks here at the League, with possible exceptions for good reason.

                Whether that’s a message worth considering or perhaps even heeding, and whether I contradicted with my own behavior in the course of communicating it, or I’ve bollocksed up the communication of the message in some other way; and then whether, even if it might have been a suggestion worth considering, the fact that Michael Drew bollocksed up the communication of it renders the suggestion unworthy of consideration, I simply leave to the devoted readership and commenting community of the League.Report

        • Tod Kelly in reply to Koz says:

          Koz –

          I agree with your take on the overall problem.  My question in this post, however, is not “does a financial problem exist or doesn’t it,” (because in my mind it clearly does), but rather “why does the party that is more likely to campaign on reducing spending if they get the POTUS appear to be the one more likely to increase spending?”

          This is not a disregarding of the existence of the overall financial problem.  But it is still one that I find a). interesting enough to ask for feedback on, and b). important to ask if our job, as a nation, is to vet candidates in the future.

          You and Mike think me unserious for asking such a question, and that’s all fine and well.  But for my part, I can’t understand why asking the question “Why do those that promise to cut spending increase it?” is unserious and undeserving of examination.Report

          • Koz in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            “I agree with your take on the overall problem. My question in this post, however, is not “does a financial problem exist or doesn’t it,” (because in my mind it clearly does), but rather “why does the party that is more likely to campaign on reducing spending if they get the POTUS appear to be the one more likely to increase spending?””

            Got it. That’s another framing mistake, slightly different than the one in the OP. The idea being that government policy is the product of the political class. Therefore to influence government policy, we have to make intelligent maneuvers among the players in it. That’s true but incomplete. Sometimes I call this the inside game fallacy.

            In reality there is an inside game and outside game that go on at the same time. We can move policy and political discourse through outside game activism as well. That’s to say we can support the Ryan plan, Simpson-Bowles or some of the other plans for expenditure cuts and it may or may not change who occupies political office. But it can have a dramatic effect on current policy and the direction of future policy as well.Report

      • MFarmer in reply to Tod Kelly says:

         (Bonus points if you can answer without using the word “statist.”)

        This is what I mean regarding a lack of seriousness. You aren’t a serious thinker, and I’m not inclined to explain anything to someone who is more concerned with word-twisting and clever propaganda than facing and dealing with real problems. I find many here lack the type of seriousness our present situation calls for. It reminds me of the Leftist/Communist movement in America in the 60s — compared to South America, Africa and Asia, the young Leftists in America were silly pretenders, very un-serious people.

        As a nation, we’re facing a State completely out of control with power, and it doesn’t matter if you’re Left or Right, dealing with and opposing the statist over-reach is critical unless we want to face complete financial collapse.Report

    • Liberty60 in reply to MFarmer says:

       Some of us have our life’s work on the line.

      Only some of us?

      Lets see a show of hands.

      Everyone who has no stake in the American economy, raise your hands!Report

  12. karl says:

    Is it at all conceivable that your charted differences might, somehow, be possibly attributed to…. Democrats pushing more generally responsible fiscal policy? Maybe?Report

  13. BlaiseP says:

    Great work, Tod.   Did anyone else find this as humorous as I did?Report

    • Will H. in reply to BlaiseP says:

      I didn’t find it humorous.
      I’ve heard polsci profs say much the same thing; that once power is attained, the objective then becomes retaining it.
      All pols watch the polls to some degree.
      And they have a pretty good idea of what’s being said about them on the internet as well.
      I’ve seen the software they use to do that.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Will H. says:

        Someone once confronted James Madison on the issue of how he’d engineered the Congress.   Everyone knows that bit about angels governing men, but here it is in context.

        But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.Report

  14. Nob Akimoto says:

    There’s always this whole false equivalence thing going on. I don’t have a single acquaintance of leftward leaning angle that likes spending for the sake of spending. Meanwhile there’s lots of rightward leaning gents who like cutting for the sake of cutting. There’s a very different dynamic that goes into play with these policy decisions.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      Yeah, the false equivalence is pretty annoying. The thing that bugs me is self-identified Above The Fray people who base their political analyses around a central premise: partisan tribal identification is the best account of why people vote and act as they do. And Both Sides Do It!!!

      From my pov, ATF person who does this – who self-identifies as a non-partisan and analyzes politics as nothing more than tribal grunts and shouts – is doing exactly what they accuse others of: using tribal signifiers to express team membership. And they get the facts just as wrong – often even wronger – than lots of people they accuse of being blindly partisan.Report

  15. Jesse Ewiak says:

    Is there where I point out that there’d be a lot more “makers” than “takers” if not for things like the Earned Income Tax Credit, heavily championed by that hater of success, Ronald Reagan?Report

  16. Koz says:

    I have followed the comments on this yet, but there’s a lot to quibble about in the OP. If I had to mention just one thing, it’s the idea that it treats as hypothetical some problems which for now aren’t hypothetical at all, and that it takes as fixed things which really are or ought to be hypothetical.

    That’s to say, the one-way ratchet nature of the modern welfare state is taken as a given. From there, we consider based on this or that whether it’s the Republicans or the Demos who are more responsible for its growth. And if we slice and dice the data this particular way, we can at least make an argument that it’s the GOP who is mostly responsible for government spending.

    But we’re assuming away the essential part of the problem to think that the ratchet is inviolable, especially in the current political environment where the existence of the ratchet is the key issue in our contemporary political culture. And we don’t have to guess based on reading tea leaves who is where. It is the Republicans who are fighting for limited government as we speak. If we ourselves are in favor of limited government we support the government. If we are handout/bailout artists, I’m sure the Demos will be happy to have us.Report

    • Bad-ass Motherfisher in reply to Koz says:

      Yes, yes, yes.

      But what is the white people angle on this?Report

    • Kimmi in reply to Koz says:

      not so. we’re trimming down teh postal service. ya? but that means unfairly hurting redstaters, which is why we gotta trim costs when there ain’t any costs to trim, just in the service of equality.Report

  17. Will H. says:

    I’m not quite finished with the comments yet, but I will put my own observations on the OP here.
    Too much stuff upthread to get sidetracked on.

    I’ve heard this argument before, and there are several fallacies at play.
    It shows nothing more than Krugman is either disingenuous or a moron.
    Figures don’t lie, but liars can figure.

    If you look at the Red States and Blue States county by county, you see a lot of red in the blue and a lot of blue in the red. It’s really not a valid indicator. You would probably have to go below the county level to various neighborhoods to get a view even close to accurate. I’ve seen the same done with zip codes, but some of those cover very divergent enclaves.
    The terms are undefined. Does having a military base really count as welfare? What other powers of Congress count as welfare? Do tax subsidies count as welfare? I really see it as a stretch that anyone could count wages of military personnel as welfare. What about public employees? Are FBI agents welfare recipients for accepting a check from the federal government? Get real.
    It’s Congress that holds the power of the purse. The president submits a budget that they look at then throw away. The president’s role in the budget process is limited. Maybe it would be a bit more accurate to look at the budget that the president submitted as compared to the budget which was actually adopted from various years.Report

  18. You Left Something Out says:

    When you show that infographic about deficit spending you leave out that much of George Dumbya Shrub’s debt was heaped into Obama’s budgets, because Obama refused to play the accounting tricks the Republicans had been playing to hide the costs of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • Kolohe in reply to You Left Something Out says:

      Obama promised that the war spending would be rolled back into the main budget, but has kept up the supplementals to pay for actual wars (like Libya) for the last two FY.   Granted the overall value is a lot lower because Iraq est finis.

      The doc fix thing has also happened every year since 2009.

      And the final budget deficit for FY 2009 turned out to be 1.4 trillion, not 1.7 trillion, so what do you think is more likely  1) the economy got better in the rest of ’09 to get more revenue and/or Obama cut some spending 2) the Obama admin did some tricks of their own to get their ‘entering argument’ deficit that happened on the other guy’s watch as high as possibleReport

  19. Jeff says:

    I can’t believe that normally intelligent people STILL seem to find the idea of a GOP Congress anything other than horrifying.

    DADT will be back — worse than before.

    Whatever women’s rights they can gut, they will (is there a Defense of Rape to follow Defense of Marriage?)

    The “Patriot” Act will be amped up on steroids.

    Education will be put into the hands of “Faith-Based Charities” (ie Evangeical Christians).

    You, yes you, MR GOP-voter, will be called a traitor if you say “boo” about any decisions made for you.

    Pardon me if I forget to cheer.Report

  20. North says:

    Bartlette has rolled out his initial impressions of the Ryan budget. I’d say this plays awfully well into your theme Tod.

    The problem with current GOP plans is that rather than proposing to eliminate the deficit by this means or that they instead propose to massively and radically reshape government in general and assert that deficit reduction will be a helpful side effect of those ambitious goals. Of course it’s pretty much fantasy.


    • Koz in reply to North says:

      Following my brief correspondence with Mike, Bartlett actually is a hack. First he bitches and moans the GOP just talks a big game about cutting spending, then he bitches when they actually try to do it.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Koz says:

        Say what you mean, Koz: Bartlett is a hack because he criticizes Republicans.Report

        • North in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          It does kindof come off sounding like that Mike, yes.Report

          • Will Truman in reply to North says:

            I’m actually with Koz on this one, at least as far as Barlett is concerned. Bartlett was a hack before (when he was the loyal Republican soldier, one week arguing that illegal immigration is bad because it pushes wages down and then the next week arguing that the minimum wage is bad because it artificially keeps wages up and makes things cost more), and he’s a hack now (as the concerned Republican who opposes everything the Republicans do). The only difference is that he’s playing to a different audience.

            (I say this as someone who agrees with a number of his criticisms of the GOP.)Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Koz says:

        Would that the Ryan plan actually proposed to do anything.   Nobody can quite work out where the trail head to this Path to Prosperity even starts.   Let’s ask some meaningful questions here, just to see if there’s anything which might encompass this Actually Trying to Do anything.

        Can Ryan fill in the tax loopholes?   Open question.  He hasn’t laid out which loopholes ought to be closed.  Coy maiden, that Ryan.  But we corporation owners know which loopholes he’s talking about:  capital gains and recognition of dividends.   Probably interest income, too.

        Ryan’s a coy maiden, all right.   There he is, wants us to think he’s butt naked on the stage, with only those big ol’ swan wings a-wagglin’, gonna give us a show, everything’s on the line, everything’s on the table.  Oh, he says he’s surrus about tax cuts but he’s not serious about writing a budget.   Ryan knows these tax loopholes won’t get filled.   See, really, he’s not really naked up there.   He’s wearing the standard issue GOP granny panties.   There’s no show.   He’s not going to get those loopholes filled and everyone knows it.

        Do you really think the pimps who fund the GOP are going to allow him to shut down the cap gains and deferred interest loopholes?   Of course they’re not.   Then Coy Maiden Ryan will try to close up mortgage interest deductions and medical insurance deductibility.   The last time he tried that sort of stunt, he ended up looking like Wile E Coyote when the bomb went off in his paws.Report