Social Question

kevbo's avatar

Is the Republican edifice against gay marriage cracking significantly?

Asked by kevbo (25621points) September 1st, 2010 from iPhone

Obviously, the coming out of former RNC chair (2005–07) Ken Mehlman in the past few weeks is a ripple in the pond, but now he and other big money Republicans are starting to fundraise to support same-sex marriage. Naturally, this doesn’t bring the entire Republican Party along, but does it signify a shift toward a majority coalition among Dems, Reps and others regarding this single issue.

It would be quite an amazing shift given that it’s been used so explicitly as a wedge issue to unify the Republican base in the past. Perhaps with the party split over Tea Party concerns, party members are less willing to entertain the prevailing dogma on this issue.

An oblique link

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46 Answers

syz's avatar

In all honesty, the Tea Party hysteria has predisposed me to consider the entire Republican party as extremist, ignorant, and just plain scary, which I realize is probably unfair. It would be nice to see the moderate components of the party get some air time. Is it a real change in philosophy? I doubt it. I don’t see how pro-gay rights members will keep from being marginalized.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

This poll shows how the issue has changed. Attitudes among Republicans have changed drastically just in the last 2 years. In June, 2008, 50% of Republicans stated that there should be no legal recognition of any kind for same-sex marriage/union. That number is now only 37%. That’s a sizable decline.

Your link to Tea Partiers show what a problem the Republican party has with them. They do not represent the average American or even the average Republican any more. The Republican party hopes to ride the wave of their discontent into majorities in Congress, but they will find, I believe, that it’s a Pyrhhic victory.

Blackberry's avatar

Yes; it is a good thing, progress FTW.

Ron_C's avatar

The only reason republicans came out so strongly against gays and abortion is that is what their base expected. Now that they are losing their base of fundamentalist Christians, they need another group to denigrate. Unfortunately, they have chosen the President and progressives. Americans are just dumb enough to give the republicans what they really want, power.

The propaganda is such that some people want more of what Bush provided, unequaled access to the government for the rich and powerful, a non-christian enemy, and powerless groups to scapegoat. All the while making the middle class pay for the wars and tax breaks to the richest of us. They want and are getting a true banana republic.

ETpro's avatar

I wish I could take more heart in the recent moves in that direction, but sea-change? rather doubt it. Several Republican heavy hitters have recently switched sides or have found the courage of their convictions and made their support of equal rights known, but notice that none of them are running for any sort of elected office. They have no fear of the primary challenge such a stance would certainly bring any elected Republican to embrace equal treatment for GLBT people.

Jaxk's avatar

The whole issue has been marginalized by the economy. It is hard to get worked up one way or the other with such pressing problems. I doubt this will be a wedge issue or even a get much play in the coming elections. When you’re out of work, broke and the government can think of nothing but raising taxes, it’s hard to get worked up about anything else.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk I see you’ve fallen for the Republican lie that the Government can think of nothing but raising taxes. It is not true.

Ron_C's avatar

@Jaxk and @ETpro I have little doubt that if it was not for the republican obstruction, we would be much further along our recovery.

The whole state goal for the party is to ruin and discredit the Obama administration and you see and hear their acts again and again.

Right now, I wouldn’t vote for a republican if my shirt was on fire and he was holding the fire extinguisher.

Jaxk's avatar

Ron and Etoro
If someone could tell me how to link to your comments it would help. Nonetheless, the current administration has no clue how to spur business. More regulation and more taxes will not do it. Everything Obama has wanted to pass, he has gotten and the economy is slipping back into recession. The last budget from Bush was $2.9 Trillion. The first budget from Obama was $3.8 Trillion. We could haggle about TARP, but the rest has just been a ridiculus and unsuccessful waste of money. The financial reform he passed has resulted in increasing interest rates for eveyone to the highest level we’ve ever seen at a time when interest rates should be the lowest. Now to pay for all his excesses (Omnibus, cash for clunkers, home adjustments, etc.) he is looking to kick in higher taxes. I have no doubt either of you would never vote Republican but be honest in that it’s not anything they’ve done but rather that you like the enormous tax and spend philosophy we’ve fallen into. Punish business and reward non contributors. A formula for depression.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

More regulation and more taxes will not do it

I think this is a little absolutist. More taxes generally do not work to spur economic growth, but it always depends on the nature and focus of the regulations and the taxes.

iamthemob's avatar

Everything Obama has wanted to pass, he has gotten and the economy is slipping back into recession

I’m willing to accept this, but I feel like I need some pretty strong analytical support to show a causal link between any enactment and the backslide…

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk If you type an @ symbol into the comment box with nothing typed after it, the system will display a drop-down list of IDs having commented above. It’s in order from the nearest to furthest comment. Just click the user ID you mean to respond to.

More regulation was definitely needed. Have yo so quickly forgotten what got us into this mess? It was wild speculation of a fully deregulated Wall Street that allowed Banks, Commercial Banking, Investment Banking and Mortgage Insurers to be rolled into one institution that could pump up real estate prices artifically and take on willdly leveraged risks in the Derivatives they could then create from the risky mortgages. They were too big to fail but determined to gamble anyway, keep all the winnings, and let taxpayers keep the loses.

Also, Obama cut taxes for 95% of working Americans and included significant tax cuts for small businesses in the stimulus. The increase taxes stuff is just another of the growing list of Republican lies.

Finally, there are over 300 bills stalled in the Senate either by Republican procedural maneuvers or by filibuster, which they have used at unheard of levels during his time in office. Also, what has passed has often been watered down to clear obstructionism. So the statement that he has gotten everything he wanted is just plain false, laughably false.
http://thehill.com/homenews/house/83059-senate-sitting-on-290-house-bills
http://www.creditloan.com/blog/2010/08/17/small-business-loans-bill-stalled-in-senate/

iamthemob's avatar

@ETpro

Thanks for that nearest to furthest explanation! I’ve been doing wrong…I think…

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro
Thanks for the procedual issue. I was going crazy trying to figure it out.

A couple of points here. The tax cut was so ridiculously small I’m surprised the Dems are even still using that talking point. The Cigarette tax consumed more than that for smokers (about 25% of the population. For the rest, states like California have raised every tax they can think of to gain revenue. California raised sales tax which consumed more than the tax cut. It was a nit that did nothing to help and actually lost money on the economy.

As for regulation, there is and was no shortage of regulation. Most of it is either bad regulation or not enforced. To fix that problem we seem to think we need more regulation from agencies that can’t enforce what they have or create even more agencies to create even more bad regulation. We seem to think that regulation is free. It doesn’t cost us anything so we continue to pile it on. There is a report for California that assessed the cost of regulation (both state and federal). The burden on the economy of California is $490 Billion per year. Or about one third of California’s entire Gross Product.

http://www.sba.ca.gov/Cost%20of%20Regulation%20Study%20-%20Final.pdf

Now I understand we don’t want to get rid of all regulation but at the same time this idea that we are under regulated is fantasy. If we want to go through the causes of this recession we could but that’s for another thread.

I find it amusing that Democrats are pointing at this small business legislation as though it would solve the rpoblem. $3 trillion didn’t solve it but another $40 billion would. Laughable. We gave money to the banks to free up capital, it didn’t work. Now we want to do it again, hoping for a different result. Please! The capital gains reduction won’t buy us anything either. Capital gains will only affect those investors that sell their investment. Is that what we want, for everyone to go into a selling frenzy to lock intheir capital gains?

The bottom line is, Obama does not want Republican support. He believes he can ram through what ever he wants. That’s why the first thing he did when coming back from yet another vacation, was to try and denigrate Republicans. If he wanted support he would not continually pick fights with them. Same with the Tea Parties. He has decided he must denigrate them at all costs. He’s way too invested in this strategy to change now and it will hurt him.

Ron_C's avatar

@Jaxk I think it is very strange that you suggest that the way out of this recession is to reinstate and widen the deregulation and tax policy that created it. What we need to do is reign in the Wall street on line casino buy intuiting a transaction fee for very short term stock purchase. We need to reinstate progressive taxation and allow the Bush tax cuts for the top two percent to die a peaceful death.

We need to rethink NAFTA, and all “free trade” treaties to bring economic balance to trade and stop the race to the bottom on wages and the transfer of job out of the country.

We need to stop using Social Security as a budget piggy bank and we need to recall our army from the pursuit of unjust wars.

We need to stop protecting companies that claim that properly trained professionals are not available in the U.S. so they can bring in professionals from third world countries under contracts that make them virtual slaves to the corporations.

We need to prosecute companies that stop union organization and re-institute labor standards on job safety, fair work place rules, and fair pay for American labor. Any company that refuses to offer decent wages deserves to die.

We need to put corporations back in their place. Corporations are not people and do not deserve a vote or to use its resources to influence politicians or the voters. Severe penalties need to be re instituted to punish political and corporate leaders that violate this prohibition.

That is just a small list of what this country needs and that should be Obama’s job to get things started. What we specifically do not need is to bring the neoconservatives back into power. They need to stay as far from normal decent people as possible.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk Glad to be of help on procedure. But I won’t be so accommodating on the right-wing talking points. I know that’s what many a Web site says. But the facts are Cigarette taxes went up $0.62 a pack in Feburary, 2009.

Meanwhile, Citizens for Tax Justice, a non-partisan organization, reported that: “The 2009 economic stimulus bill actually reduced federal income taxes for tax year 2009 for 98 percent of all working families and individuals.” This total includes the 95 percent of working families that will or have received tax credits in the range of $400 to $800.

The health care bill passed by the administration, meanwhile, includes a tax credit that could cover up to 35 percent of the premiums a small business pays to insure its workers. The Recovery Act, meanwhile, included such tax breaks as a $1,500 credit for home energy improvements, and an $8,000 credit for first-time home buyers.

So somebody has to choose to smoke a great deal to puff away all those savings at $0.62 a pack. A pack a day smoker’s costs went up bu $226.30.

I had serious misgivings about NAFTA back when it was enacted, and agree with you it’s been a net loss till now. Undoing treaties isn’t simple, though. And ultimately I do feel we have to be competitive in a global market without protectionism. I think we can do that, but there is no question rethinking is required to reach that objective. Up to now, it’s been a plan to make a few multinational corporations far richer and export American jobs.

Agreed on the immigration preferences too. If properly trained Americans aren’t available and we’ve got 10 million people unemployed, then damnit, train Americans. I think we are on the same page in worrying about sliding toward corporatocracy, and I see the money pushing for that corrupting both parties.

iamthemob's avatar

@Ron_C

I am TOTALLY with you on the unintended expansion of the concept of “legal personality” that the corporation has enjoyed.

If you haven’t seen it already, I would go to hulu and view “The Corporation.” Regardless of whether you agree with it all…it’s a hoot.

Jaxk's avatar

@Ron_C
@ETpro

Wow, you guys really hate corporations. It’s a pity since they drive our economy and our way of life. We seem to be drifting from the Gay Marriage issue but I think it’s pertinent since these are the issues that are overwhelming the Gay Marriage debate.

First it was neither deregulation nor tax cuts that created this recession. But regulation played a part. Repealing the guts of Glass Steagall (1999) allowed banks to use their incredible asset base to leverage trading in derivatives. Sarbanes-Oxley was intended to fix the Enron problem but has had little effect in doing so (remember Madoff) but costs on average $1 million to comply. Mark-to-Market had the effect of artificially raising asset values for the banks when the market was climbing but also artificially lowering them when we experienced a drop. None of this has been fixed. It is not a lack of regulation but rather bad regulation that caused the recession. And bad regulation is apparently the only kind Congress knows how to enact.

“We need to reinstate progressive taxation”

I can’t help but wonder what you must be looking at to come to this conclusion. When the top 2% pay half the taxes and the lower 45% pay no taxes, we have a progressive tax structure. I realize you would like the top 2% to pay all the taxes but we all need to participate.

A decent wage is very relative. If you expect working at McDonald’s to pay $60—$80K/yr, it’s not going to happen. Nor should it. Their are low paying jobs for a reason. Currently state and federal jobs pay twice what their private sector counter parts pay. That is primarily a union problem which drives up salaries and benefits to the point that we can’t afford them. Public officials agree to this because it’s not their money. And unions use much more dirty underhanded tactics than their corporate counter parts. If anyone violates the collective bargaining rights, the unions sue and have much more legal staff and money than most corporations. Bleeding for the poor unions is very misplaced.

As for the cigarette tax, it was actually more like 70 cents in California since we have 10% sales tax (yes we tax the tax, who would’ve guessed).

As for NAFTA, free trade only works where the economies are similar. Works well in Europe but not so much where one country is poor and their partner is rich. All the goods flow from the poor to the rich country and not much goes the other way.

Basically you need to let go of this assumption that corporations are ‘evil’. When jobs move overseas it is not because the corporations just want to cause trouble. It’s not because they are ‘evil’. It’s because we have created an environment that makes it difficult to compete with other countries. Enormous costs for regulation, much higher wages, and a tort system that makes operating here a costly nightmare. If we want to be competitive, we need to make doing business in the US a little easier. Wages are never going to be competitive with third world countries but with regulation costing us a third of our GDP the costs are astronomical. And that’s not even getting to the tax advantages of moving overseas. It’s always easier to look at others and call them names or assume they’re just ‘evil’. That’s not the case, they’re just doing what the government incents them to do.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

Just a note on the corporate personality issue. We have a congress that is not knowledgeable on every industry (hell most of them are not knowledgeable on any industry). Yet they are expected to regulate on processes they don’t understand. When they call in an ‘expert’ to testify, it is usually an expert that agrees with their position. Consequently, they tend to implement regulations that are more costly and less efficient than would otherwise be required.

For instance the 5mph bumpers that were mandated in the 70s. The auto industry told them that the most effective solution would be to require all bumpers meet (ie be the same height). Apparently congress could not agree on this standard so they mandated a much more costly and heavy solution. Cars became more expensive and weighed more, reducing performance and mileage. This is just one example that sticks in my mind.

Industry needs a voice in regulations that burden their industry. The people doing the job typically can find a better solution to any given problem. Taking away their voice in these regulations makes us all worse off.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

That doesn’t have to do with corporate legal personality. The issue with corporate legal personality is that it gives them certain constitutional rights that have gotten whoa out of control. It also comes under issue where there is suit against the corporation when really it should be against directors or officers, who have to act in the best interest of the corp. Therefore, these can’t be brought unless there’s a derivative shareholder suit…and that’s guarded by business judgment assessment which is highly protective of the directors and officers.

So, third parties concerned with actions taken by a corporation that causes harm to them based on business practices are often out of luck suing the corporation as a person.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk You make a common logical error in assuming that if I am opposed to one thing about a topic, I am “obviously” opposed to everything to do with it and in fact “hate” it. I am a sole proprietor now, and before that I owned a corporation. I most certainly do not hate corporations. I’d have to hate myself to do that. I am much more likely to be accused of egotism than self loathing.

I am concerned about the Supreme Court’s recent “corporate person-hood” decision and the effect it will have on individual liberty. I am concerned about a rising corporatocracy. But I absolutely want America’s corporations to exist, to prosper, and to provide millions more much needed jobs.

While I defend capitalism and am myself a capitalist, I recognize that without adequate controls, capitalism can become every bit as evil as any authoritarian system such as Fascism or recent attempts at Communism. Very large, publicly traded corporations under the capitalist system place great pressure on their CEOs and senior management to constantly boost quarterly profits. That is what investors want to see, and what they reward. A CEO who refuses to do that for any reason will be removed and replaced by one who will And Enron, Madhoff, BP and others show that if moral restraint appears to be the factor limiting profits, there are plenty of amoral CEOs ready to ignore morality in preference of profit.

Letting corporations spend unlimited funds to influence elections is like handing them the keys to write laws that legalize everything that stands in the way of greater quarterly returns. Let’s see, safety laws and liability for their shirking come to mind. Unions. Let’s ban them. And anti-trust laws are a huge limiter. Exxon-Mobil is the world’s largest and most profitable publicly traded company. It can’t do a lot to boost profits unless it can acquire all the smaller oil companies and then fix prices.

The Supreme Court decision threw out 100 years of case law and previous SCOTUS decisions. It was rampant legislation from the bench. The decision is just what is needed to turn America into the next Fascist Corporatocracy, where a handful of mega multinational companies own all means of production, distribution of wealth and government, and use them to reap ever greater profits. The Founding Fathers were trying to escape the evils of the British East India Company, not establish that evil as our form of government.

As to tax rates, the top 2% do pay a great deal of the total tax revenues. They also earn a large percentage of the income. We had huge debt in 1945 after spending our way out of the Great Depression and then fighting WWII. Debt hit 120% of GDP. It is not near that yet. Taxes were set as high as 90% on income over ~$400,000/year (it varied by year) in adjusted gross income. Of course, nearly half a million dollars was serious money in the 1940s. Even just keeping that plus 10% of earnings over it, one could live like a king. Kennedy proposed and Johnson signed a cut to 70%.

What did they call those years from 1945 to 1960 when taxes were that high for the rich? Was it the destruction of the Corporation? The age of no jobs? The doom of the rich? None of the above. It was The Post War Boom. We created more jobs and better pay than at any other time in US history. We became the world’s greatest exporter and the world’s largest lender nation. We created what we now recognize as a strong middle class. One had not existed before the Depression. And we paid down that crushing debt of 1945.

When Reagan slashed taxes for the rich from 70% to 28%, we got a jolt to the economy, sure. But it was short lived and it sent the National Debt skyrocketing. In fact, if you look at that debt graph in the link, the only time our debt turned back down a bit was under Bill Clinton when we raised the top income tax rate to 39.6%. We should do that again. Corporations and billionaires will do just fine, just as they did in the boom of the Clinton years..

My concern with deregulation was aimed at gutting Glass-Steagall. You are quite right that too much regulation is as destructive as too little.

ETpro's avatar

@iamthemob Ego engaged, Great Answer!

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

I don’t think we are miles apart on some of this but you seriously misread the post war boom. By the end of the war the entire industrialized world was destroyed. Except for us. During the fifties we produced fully half of the world’s GDP. Our production capacity soared and that is what brought us out of the depression. That didn’t happen because of tax rates, it was in spite of it. The top tax rate didn’t hurt the upper class because most of their income was sheltered. That was the era that coined the phrase, Tax Loopholes. When Reagan lowered the taxes, he also changed the tax code to eliminate many of the old deductions. And if you look at the tax revenues, they soared. You need to look at more than just the debt number and more than just the income tax. In the fifties we didn’t have state sales tax, state income tax, hell city income tax. Property tax was minimal, when did we get excise taxes, now we want carbon taxes. Just looking at the top income tax rate is very short sighted.

In the post war era we prospered from our manufacturing capacity and we were the only country left that had it. Autos, machinery, farm equipment, raw materials, and yes oil. We had it all. Now we don’t. Manufacturing is the most heavily regulated industry and it moving overseas. Is there a connection? The service industry is all that we have left and it won’t sustain the growth we need. So the solution is what, more regulation?

The recent SC decision won’t destroy the country. If you look at the campaign contributions from corporate America, they are fairly evenly distributed between the parties. Generally the larger portion goes to which ever is in power. The lopsided contributions come from the major unions and environmental groups and they are huge and always to the Democrats. Even this year the Democrats are bragging that they out raised the Republicans by almost 2 to 1. If you want to look at who’s buying the elections, look at the Democrats. And I find it amusing that you would point to Enron and Madoff as examples where CEOs run wild with impunity. They were caught and convicted personally. If jail is not a deterrent what do you suggest, the death penalty? Most corporations strive to be good citizens. Nobody, not stock holders or corporate officers, want either law suits or bad press. It hurts business. And as far as turning America into a fascist corporatocracy, fascism is where the government controls industry for the good of the country. Look to what Obama is doing if you want to see strides towards fascism.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

n the post war era we prospered from our manufacturing capacity and we were the only country left that had it. Autos, machinery, farm equipment, raw materials, and yes oil. We had it all. Now we don’t. Manufacturing is the most heavily regulated industry and it moving overseas. Is there a connection? The service industry is all that we have left and it won’t sustain the growth we need. So the solution is what, more regulation?

I’m a little wary of your strategies here…stating the problem, a rhetorical question that contains the reason you think it is, and letting that stand, suggesting it’s the only reason…it ignores the alternative and compounding issues.

I’ll direct at the auto industry. Unfortunately, the automobile lobby, concerned that it might lose part of it’s market share and therefore be held accountable by it’s shareholders (of course, there are some auto cos that are private), among other reasons, was a major force in making sure that the U.S. auto market was protected from foreign manufacturers. So, for years, they paid no attention to the consumer, assuming that because big cars had been successful, they always would be. Then, import/export policies changed so that the market opened to foreign autos, and we got crushed because they were innovating and we never had to. This is an instance where a corporation is enabled in a manner where it can be protected from competition so that it can sell a sub-standard product to the consumer. Then, with a declining share, the auto industry feels the impact of it’s legacy costs associated with labor benefits and pensions, and there’s more of a crunch.

So, so many factors there…the regulation cannot be blamed. It should be examined, but regulation per se is not the issue. Anything that stops us from innovating needs a good, thorough revision.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk Actually, the GDP recovered to its previous track in the spring of 1941. Pearl Harbor was bombed December 2, 1941

Agreed though, the Post War Boom happened because external conditions favored it, not because of high taxes. What did happen because of the highly progressive tax rates is the middle class blossomed. It is now under serious threat.

In the past 30 years, the bottom 60% of households in income have lost ground in terms of real, inflation adjusted dollars. They earn less in buying power today than they did 30 years ago. The next 30% have gained almost nothing. For all intents and purposes, they are no better off than they were in 1980. Only the top 10% have gained substantially in real earnings, and the top 1% fabulously. The top 1/10th of 1% have outpaced all others.

The wealthiest 1% of Americans now own over ⅓rd of everything in America. The top 10% own nearly ⅔rds of the nation’s wealth. The other 90% gets to divvy up the remaining thiurd, and their share is shrinking so the wealthiest can have more. The economic disparity between the top 1% and all others has not been this high since 1928. And you now what happened them

We cannot sustain a great, vibrant nation and stay on this course. We will end up a banana republic.

Jaxk's avatar

@iamthemob

I don’t disagree with a lot of what you’ve said but you likewise miss a lot of the compounding issues. During the 60s American cars were average at best but they made up for it with raw horsepower. In the 70s quality went down and even the horse power couldn’t compensate for the slowing quality. A bad period for American cars. The oil embargo changed everything a lot and the government regulations opened the door for foriegn takeover.

The Unions (bless their hearts) had been driving wages up for years. College grads and even masters and doctorates could work on the assembly line at better wages and benefits than they could get elsewhere. When the embargo hit it began driving the public to smaller more efficient cars. Not all but enough. The government also instituted ‘Cafe Standards’ to drive up the mileage. Foreign manufacturers saw their opening with cheap labor and little concern for the cafe standards. Cafe standards mandated that the mileage for the entire fleet from a manufacturer meet the standard (averaged across the fleet). Since the foriegn makers didn’t make large cars there was no problem making the limits. Also the labor cost on a small car is a bigger percentage of the total cost so their labor costs allowed them to undercut US makers with ease. Many other regulations came into play that drove up the price of cars (5mph bumpers, seat belts, unleaded paint) that didn’t necessarily make the difference in price wider but made it more prominent.

The ‘Cafe Standards’ and the labor costs have hung on the neck of American auto makers like an anchor and remain to this day. Quality has improved so that today American cars are at least comparable if not better. It has been difficult to match the foreign competitors with the inherent higher costs American manufacturers had to deal with. Quite simply, Congress legislated an advantage to foriegn manufacturers, unions exploited them and the foriegn competitors took advantage. Who could blame them.

iamthemob's avatar

@Jaxk

I’m not missing any of those issues. I’m saying that they all interact, and you seemed to be simplifying it to the regulations rather than other actions, market conditions, etc. that played into it. I didn’t miss them per se, and don’t disagree with your further analysis. My problem was only that you suggested that there was a single cause with your initial post, and I wanted to present additional (although never intended as exclusive, as I hope I did and now think I do make clear) causes for the loss of our industry.

These responses, on the other hand, take into account my concerns. Thank you – I appreciate that.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro
I could dispute some of your numbers but the basic point would remain. The real question is why and what do we do to insure people are able to amass wealth but still pay their fair share. Currently almost 50% of the population pays no income tax. you can’t cut it any lower than that. There is an argument I’ve heard from liberals that George Soros’ secretary pays more tax than he does. Yet the solution from liberals is to raise the top tax bracket. Think it through, that means his secretary would pay even more tax but he wouldn’t. They’re going after it the wrong way. They’re penalizing the wrong people.

I suspect you numbers are based on wealth not income. Yet your solution is based on income not wealth. It is attacking the wrong problem.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk The fact is that 50% of working stiffs don’t send the IRS a check at the end of the year. It’s political spin to say that means they pay no income tax. It’s withheld throughput the year in greater amounts required, so they will get a refund check at the end of the year and “think” Uncle Sam is donating money to them.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro
I have no idea how you figure that. Whether you pay at the end or during the year has no bearing on your tax burden. And whether you owe more at tax time or get a refund is irrelevant. About 47% of the population pay no income tax. No spin.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Nearly-half-of-US-households-apf-1105567323.html?x=0

ETpro's avatar

The source quoted in the article is a right-wing think tank paid to develop reasonably believable spin. 47% is not true. The truth is 38% of US households make so little that they have no Federal Income Tax liability after deductions or credits, but they do pay numerous other forms of taxes. And you do not want to be in the bottom 38% just to escape taxes. I would far rather pay the top rate, myself, even if it goes back up to Clinton era levels when the Republican’s susset clause on Bush’s tax cut kicks in.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro
You may want to go back and look at your numbers. If you link to the source of the numbers (the tax Center), you get a chart. At the top of the chart it says “these numbers have been up dated’. If you click that updated you get a new chart with a higher percentage. It also says the numbers have been updated. Do it again and you get the final update which shows 46.9% pay no taxes. If you want to get to the real number, you need to look at the updates. They are from your own reference. I stand by the 47% number (ever so slightly rounded).

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro
I find it interesting that your source and mine use the same background data. However Fact Check didn’t bother to get the updates. I wonder who’s spinning.

Ron_C's avatar

@Jaxk “Most corporations strive to be good citizens. Nobody, not stock holders or corporate officers, want either law suits or bad press. It hurts business. And as far as turning America into a fascist corporatocracy, fascism is where the government controls industry for the good of the country. Look to what Obama is doing if you want to see strides towards fascism.”

You live in a strange world. Most, especially international, corporations do what is expedient to improve the bottom line and are total amoral. Major oil company routinely bribe war lords, tribal leaders, and politicians, regardless of how they rule. Hitler’s major supporters, here and in his own country were large corporations. Prescott Bush was Hitler’s official money launderer. Ford used Nazi provide slave labor in Germany.

In this country major corporations run the prison industry, arms industry, and even provide mercenaries that follow no law. The main difference is that they hire public relations experts to cover up or re brand their atrocities.

You are correct in you description if you mean local and small national companies. Once corporations reach some tipping point, morality is no longer a factor in the bottom line, the sole goal is profit and it doesn’t matter how many lives of dead bodies they step over to get it.

Jaxk's avatar

@Ron_C

“Major oil company routinely bribe war lords, tribal leaders, and politicians”

Of course they do. If you want to operate in a foriegn land, you follow the local customs. If you don’t pay off the warlords, they attack and kill you. That’s they way they work. If you live (or work) in a strange land, you abide by their rules.

As far as industry, yes they provide all those things. You want to call security, Mercenaries, I’m sure that’s just your cute way of saying you don’t like big business. But they tend to provide those things with better quality at less cost than government. That’s why they have been privatized.

I think you’re confusing Nazism with Fascism. They’re not the same.

Ron_C's avatar

@Jaxk large corporations, like I said are completely amoral and just because you can do something, it doesn’t mean that you should. If you want to stop warlords, you need to dry up their resources, just like drug dealers, no money, no cartel.

You are right, I don’t like big business, it gets too powerful and too dictatorial. When you have a strong central government you have Fascism, the Nazis were Fascists, so was the Italian government of Mussolini. Mussolini may have killed millions but the trains ran on schedule, it’s good business.

Of course a big corporation with slave labor is cheaper than a government but there are certain things that are part of the commons, like roads, parks, health care, prisons, armies, law enforcement that can only be morally operated by the people, i.e. the government. Profit should have no part of it.

Jaxk's avatar

One of the key differences (at least for my point) between Nazi and fascist ideology, is that Nazis owned industry, while fascist merely controlled industry. Fascists controlled industry for the good of the state. They set the wages, prices timetables etc. but left the industry privately own. Thus my connection to what is happening today.

You may not like big business but look realistically at what has happened in the world where business has flourished. Japan made junk for a lot of years. Labor was cheap and as business flourished, labor became more expensive but the economy boomed. Living standards escalated beyond anything they had known. Consequently business moved to S.Korea, once again cheap labor. The economy boomed and living conditions improved. So they move to Viet Nam, samo samo. Even though you don’t like big business and it’s not always what you would consider fair and moral, it leaves prosperity in it’s wake.

What ‘Free Enterprise’ brings to the table is effiency and innovation. I don’t see an industry where those are not a valuable commodities. Your moral argument not withstanding.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk The links you noted to the update take us to the 2009 calendar year when the recession was peaking. The study footnotes indicate that households with no income were included. Interestingly, 9% of the total with no tax liability had incomes in excess of $100,000 a year. 1.5% of those earning over a million a year paid no taxes.

I don;t wish to quibble about the percent who ended up paying no income tax. If they work they do still pay FICA. If they buy things, they pay sales and gasoline taxes. If they live in a home of their own, they pay real estate taxes. If they rent, they pay the real estate taxes for the property owner as a part of their rent.

What concerns me is the conclusion you seem to want to reach based on the tax statistic, that our billionaires are a threatened species needing government help, and that a bunch of poor people are getting a free ride and need higher tax burdens so we can ease up on the really rich. The fact is the the bottom 80—% of income earners have seen their real, inflation adjusted income remain flat for the last 30 years. the bottom 60% have lost ground. The top 10% have seen the real increases, and the top 1% earn 400% more than they did 30 years ago.

Due to the more regressive tax policies Ronald Reagan introduced, wealth disparity has grown even more rapidly. The wealthiest 1% of Americans now earn 18% of all income and own over ⅓rd of all the wealth in the Nation. And Republicans have added $9 trillion to the current National Debt to give their tax breaks to the rich. The Great Recession that deregulation and income disparity created has added nearly over $1 trillion more.

So if your point with your figures is that we need to give tax relief to our poor, embattled billionaires then I think that is greed gone mad.

Also, there is nothing anti business about expecting a level playing field for small and large corporations. I own a business. I’m not big enough to be a multinational and hide profits in off-shore tax havens. I can’t afford to off-shore all my jobs and pocket the extra profits for myself. Exxon-Mobil was the world’s most profitable corporation in 2009 and it paid no US corporate taxes. Big multinational corporations have been rapidly moving jobs to areas where labor is incredibly cheap and standards for worker treatment and safety are nearly nonexistent. And small businesses, the ones that had been the economic engine driving job growth, are now at such a disadvantage we can hardly hang on, much less rapidly expand our workforce. It’s time to redesign the system so it works for everybody, not just the multinational elites who can pull up stake and leave the banana republic of America after they get done extracting whatever wealth is left here.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

First of all, I’ve worked with statistics most of my life. You can pretty much prove any point you want by using the right numbers. The real trick is to add a little reality to them bring the picture into focus. For instance the million bracket you seem to despise, is not static. Oh sure, Soros and Walton are always there, Gates and Kennedy, but about 30% of those are different each year. People that sold their farm or their business, maybe had an inheritance windfall. Basically a one time hit that they use for retirement or to start another business.

Many of those that had high income with little or no tax were small businesses. People that invested heavily in their business (either buying one or upgrading one) and have the investment as depreciation write off. I suppose we could take that away but then why would anyone start a business? Maybe they had considerable losses the past few years and are finally making them back. None of these are rare occurrences but allow those of you that want to complain to do so. The truth is we want those businesses, we want that investment, we want those jobs.

Nobody has said they want taxes for the lower income to rise. In fact those of us that want to retain the Bush tax cuts want them to remain low. Last year a tax cut would have made sense, it would have helped the economy. But now after all this incredible spending, stability is more important. The last thing we need is a tax hike. And that means all taxes, not just income.

Your tax cuts for the rich is a talking point with no basis in fact. The Bush tax cuts helped everyone and especially the lower income brackets. Do a little research and stay away from the Huffington Post.

Our biggest problem with moving jobs overseas is regulation. Labor costs play a part but regulation is not free. I also own a small business and the continuous regulation burden is killing me. For all the investment I am required by new regulations, not one cent goes to a better product. Your statement about deregulation is so misinformed it is unbelievable.

There was a study done in California on the cost of regulation, both state and federal. Business spends $490 Billion per year on regulation compliance. That is more than the discretionary budget of California, about one third of their total budget. And that is just California. Multiply that across the 50 states and a mere 5% cut in the cost of regulation would create a budget surplus.

You’re right about one thing. It’s time to redesign the system. We need to make America a more friendly place for business. That’s the only way we will ever get back the jobs we’ve lost and the growing economy we need. Look a little deeper and let go of this class warfare, it’s not working to anybody’s best interest.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro

Sorry, I meant to attache the study I was referencing. I also think it’s pertinent to recognise that manufacturing is the most heavily regulated segment. Raw materials and finished goods. Surprisingly, that is also where we’ve lost the most jobs to overseas. Coincidence?

http://www.sba.ca.gov/Cost%20of%20Regulation%20Study%20-%20Final.pdf

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk This has gotten completely off topic. the question was “Is the Republican edifice against gay marriage cracking significantly?” and economic issues deeserves a sepaarate thread. Why not compose a separate question that gets to the heart of what you believe needs to be discussed about US Tax policy and who pays? I’ll add you to my Fluther so I am sure to see it, and will be happy to discuss it in more detail there where it is the central topic.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro
Good point, we have wandered pretty far afield. I’ll fade back into the background until a more appropriate forum materializes.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk Why not ask the appropriate question to spur that debate. You are clearly well informed on tax issues and could write a question that would be thought provoking and generate an interesting debate. Looking around the world at what policies are in place here and there, and what sort of economic climate they create, it is clear that finding the right tax policy is vital to a nation’s interests.

Jaxk's avatar

@ETpro
To have a good discussion would require covering all the same ground we’ve already covered. I guess like Patten, I don’t like fighting for the same land twice. It’s not as interesting. I’ll bide my time, I’m sure this will come up again. When it does, it will be fresh and interesting.

ETpro's avatar

@Jaxk Suit yourself. But I was right. :-)

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