Givers vs. Takers

Some Republicans want to demean those who receive federal aid by labeling them “takers,” as if they didn’t work and struggle, but just snatched hard earned wealth from the “givers” — those middle class and wealthy people who supposedly deserve every cent the market will allow them to take.    There are many fallacies with such an argument, but what gets interesting is if you look at states.

In terms of federal funds, the following states are givers – states that pay more to the federal government than they receive in aid.   They are the ones that Republicans should be trying to defend:  NH, MA, NJ, DE, NY, MI, WI, IL, MN, CO, TX, CA, CO, NV, OR, and WA.

Note an interesting fact about these “giver” states?   Only one, Texas, is a so-called red state.   All the rest are blue states which pretty consistently vote Democratic.

The so called taker states include six “blue” states, 21 “red” states and seven “swing” states.  This should give pause to those on the right who mutter about “succession” if Obama gets re-elected.   They have more to lose than to gain by breaking with the largesse, er, “shackles” of the federal government.

But, red state Republicans might protest, this is too crude an analysis.   You can’t just label states “takers” without looking at the reasons, the nature of the programs, and whether or not that money is both needed and yields good results.   There are contextual factors in play which make a crude “giver vs. taker” label misguided in such a measure.

Exactly.

That’s true at the state level and at the individual level.   “Takers” include farmers receiving agricultural subsidies, so called “corporate welfare,” and individuals for a variety of reasons.     The class warfare rhetoric of ‘givers vs. takers’ breaks down when you actually look at where money goes.  Do they really want to demonize the retired WWII vet who receives VA health care in his waning years?

Are the elderly couples who paid social security taxes and now live month to month on their meager social security checks really easily dismissed as “takers?”   Perhaps raising a family they couldn’t put away investment money; worse, perhaps they thought they had a retirement nest egg but Wall Street shenanigans led to the dissolution of investments they were told were safe and AAA rated.

To be sure, the left’s caricature of Republicans is often just as demeaning – both sides may believe it, but most Americans have more in common than not

But the Wall Street financiers that sold them those products are the vaunted “job creators” with wealth, while the elderly couple now are “takers.”  Caveat empor.   They should have known that the experts in suits at the prestigious bank who explained how Moody’s ranks investments weren’t to be trusted.   Never mind that most of the banking industry and government experts didn’t realize what was going on, the small time investor should have known better.

That doesn’t mean social welfare programs can’t be criticized.   Just as extremely low tax rates on the super wealthy and corporate welfare can be seen as counter productive to the health of the country, social welfare programs that promote dependency ahead of opportunity should be criticized and reformed.   There can be real substantive discussions about taxes and spending.   There need to be – the world we’re entering is different from the world that we’ve left.   The crisis of 2008 was like an temporal exit, we’re in a new era.

So let’s ditch the class warfare rhetoric of “givers vs. takers.”  Cut out silly euphemisms like “job creators.”    For all the complaints about ‘class war’ the harshest rhetoric has come from the right.   When nearly half the country doesn’t make enough money to owe federal income taxes, they’re derided as being ‘takers.’   As they – most of them working class, many unemployed and desperately seeking work – struggle, some Republicans say that the lower middle class doesn’t have “skin in the game.”   Taxes should be raised on them, rather than the wealthy.   Some have suggested that if you don’t pay taxes you shouldn’t vote.

Such claims are obscene, yet they are out there.   I don’t think they are always motivated from a kind of malicious McScrooge Duck/Montgomery Burns thinking many on the left imagine it to be.   I think fear of the changes taking place in our culture and country cause many to be too easily pulled in by rhetoric that makes it seem like some group – liberals, “takers” etc. – are changing what it means to be American.   I believe many people got caught up in the attempt to connect free market economics and low taxes with freedom.   That connection was shown false with the 2008 economic breakdown, but ideologies are hard to let go of, even when the world changes.

Finally, none of this says that the Democrats are right and the Republicans wrong.   Rather, our conversation about the issues has gotten polarized in unhelpful rhetoric and mutual misunderstanding.   That won’t go away until after the election, too much money, too many attack ads on all sides, and too much emotion are in play.

I am the 1%. Smithers, release the hounds

But we have a debt to GDP ratio of 100%, created by both parties working together.   We have problems moving forward in developing a sustainable budget.   We have big issues concerning energy, global warming, security, and the environment.   In that we’re not givers vs. takers, we’re Americans who get something from being part of this country and give something back with our work and actions.

Don’t demonize the rich, don’t demonize the poor.  The rich aren’t all greedy jerks who don’t care about the plight of others, the poor are often hard working folk caught up in circumstances that make life rough.   The rich often give generously to charity and believe opportunity should be expanded, the poor aren’t all simply sitting at home having babies and getting checks.

The biggest gain we made as a country – as a civilization – is to move more people towards the middle class and starting to work against the historic gap between a small elite with wealth and a very large underclass who does most of the work and gets very little reward.  I think both sides can agree that a strong middle class is something to maintain, or perhaps regain.

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  1. #1 by List of X on August 6, 2012 - 3:55 am

    I think the rich should pay more in taxes, and not because I think they are all greedy and evil. It’s because they can afford it. It’s also because they take advantage of the current tax system that favors living off stock investments but punishes working.
    I am not close to 1% but I personally would not be so averse to paying more taxes if the rates rise. Of course, I would not be happy, but I would think of it as a necessary sacrifice.

  2. #2 by Lee on August 6, 2012 - 10:07 am

    What a great post! I agree that the demonizing that goes on with both parties, means that we don’t really look at the struggles of the middle class and the need to somehow make that larger and healthier. On the social welfare front, I work in a field that sees the need and the abuses. The needs and responsible uses far out wiegh the abuses. To me it is like saying all investment bankers are like Madoff –most are responsible and are not stealing from their clients. Most people in the social welfare network don’t want to stay there forever, and don’t abuse the system.

  3. #3 by lbwoodgate on August 6, 2012 - 12:05 pm

    “As they – most of them working class, many unemployed and desperately seeking work – struggle, some Republicans say that the lower middle class doesn’t have “skin in the game.””

    This is a straw man argument because everyone who has a job pays income tax. It get’s deducted from each of their paycheck each payday. Because many make less than a livable wage they wound up getting some of that revenue back when they file their taxes at the end of the year, but most of it stays with the U.S. treasury. Not only this but they still pay sales taxes and other service fees at their bank and for their utilities and phone services, thus reducing their income that much more.

    People who make 3-4 times more above what are considered poverty-level wages for a family of four will probably wound up paying more taxes after they file, but clearly they haven’t the advantage of the wealthy 1% who have helped establish tax loop holes with the aid of their cronies in Congress who will in most cases not pay anymore taxes when they file at the end of the year but, like their low income counterparts, the ones they refer to as “takers”, will get money back. In some cases more money back than a lot of people make in a year with their wages.

    “Finally, none of this says that the Democrats are right and the Republicans wrong. Rather, our conversation about the issues has gotten polarized in unhelpful rhetoric and mutual misunderstanding. That won’t go away until after the election, too much money, too many attack ads on all sides, and too much emotion are in play.”

    I just started reading Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein’s, “It’s Even Worse Than it Looks: …”and found this revealing bit about Newt Gingrich after he was first elected to Congress in 1978. It seems to explain why we have the partisanship and grid lock that exists in Congress today.

    “What was Gingrich’s strategy? He was both passionate about his goals and coldly analytical in his means. The core strategy was to destroy the institution to save it, to so intensify public hatred of Congress that voters would buy into the notion of the need for sweeping change and throw the majority bums out. His method? To unite his Republicans in refusing to cooperate with Democrats in committee and on the floor, while publicly attacking them as a permanent majority presiding over and benefitting from a thoroughly corrupt institution. (p.33)

    After Ronald reagan was elected president in 1980, the ranks of Gingrich’s insurgents were reinforced. opening the door for him to form the Conservative Opportunity Society (COS), an informal group of frustrated minority lawmakers. … In a proto-insurgency movement, COS and its supporters used politically motivated amendments and overheated, hyperbolic rhetoric to poke an agitate Democratic leaders. (p. 34)

    It had taken Gingrich sixteen years to realize his objective of a House Republican majority (1994), but his original strategy to gain power by attacking the Congress left a lasting mark on American politics.

    The seventy three freshman in the class of 1994, nearly a third of the Republican majority, were strong Gingrich loyalists who not only shared the disdain for Congress as an institution [generated by Gingrich] but believed it more deeply than he did, and who added their own conservative populist distrust of leaders and leadership.” (p.40)

  4. #4 by AnotherClioBeliever on August 6, 2012 - 2:29 pm

    You do get that the red or blue description of a state doesn’t describe each individual in that state, correct?

    How do you know that the big payers in the blue states aren’t red individuals?

    How do you know that the welfare recipients in the red states aren’t blue individuals?

    It seems sort of bizarre to argue that the twenty-million or so registered Republicans in California, for instance, is somehow unrelated to the money sent out to the Federal government because California happens to have a half-dozen percentage point disparity with Democrats.

    Secondly, even though we’re talking about ‘net’ I don’t agree that some of these states are ‘givers’ except according to a standard of political expediency. California still recieves a bit less than 70,000,000,000 dollars from the U.S. government according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s last figures. Sure, it still gives back more I think it’s a creative leap of faith to consider that ‘giving back’ in any sense of the word when the amount it recieves is still the size of about the size of the money the rest of the states recieve combined minus Flordia and New York (which itself recieves a bit over 60,000,000,000 but it still called a ‘giver?’).

    • #5 by Scott Erb on August 6, 2012 - 3:45 pm

      You gotta go by net amounts – if a very large state gives more than it gets, then it’s a net giver. California has a very large, prosperous economy. I don’t see individuals as red or blue, that kind of partisan lens blinds people from actually getting away from ideological jihad and thinking practically.

      A few other facts: the US is average in income distribution before taxes and transfers. It has the largest gap between rich and poor after taxes and transfers. (This is in comparison to other OECD countries). That means that we have overall the LEAST progressive tax system. Moreover, our top 10% are the wealthiest in the world, while our lower percentiles are in the middle of the OECD (meaning that most Americans are not better off than most Europeans – though the Europeans at least get health care while Americans often face medical cost bankruptcy). Finally, the best performing countries now are places like Germany and Sweden which have high tax rates and strong economic performance. That doesn’t mean we should model ourselves like them, it does mean that simple ideological arguments fail. More see:

      http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/the-failure-of-the-free-market-experiment/

      • #6 by pino on August 7, 2012 - 2:47 am

        Finally, the best performing countries now are places like Germany and Sweden which have high tax rates and strong economic performance.

        Can you define “best performing?”

  5. #7 by pino on August 6, 2012 - 6:05 pm

    Some Republicans want to demean those who receive federal aid by labeling them “takers,” as if they didn’t work and struggle, but just snatched hard earned wealth from the “givers” — those middle class and wealthy people who supposedly deserve every cent the market will allow them to take.

    Even some Libertarians.

    And yes, individuals “deserve” everything they earn.

    All the rest are blue states which pretty consistently vote Democratic.

    It is my contention that democrats feel taxing is a form of charity. That when they contribute to the government for the same of the less fortunate, they have done noble and good charitable work.

    Do they really want to demonize the retired WWII vet who receives VA health care in his waning years?

    The vet receiving VA benefits, and the soldier taking advantage of the GI Bill, are being compensated for services rendered. That is entirely different than the unemployed individual waiting for work in week 98.

    Are the elderly couples who paid social security taxes and now live month to month on their meager social security checks really easily dismissed as “takers?”

    SS is NOT meant to be a retirement program. Its meant to supplement existing retirement vehicles.

    That doesn’t mean social welfare programs can’t be criticized. Just as extremely low tax rates on the super wealthy and corporate welfare can be seen as counter productive to the health of the country, social welfare programs that promote dependency ahead of opportunity should be criticized and reformed.

    This I agree with you on ;-)

    For all the complaints about ‘class war’ the harshest rhetoric has come from the right.

    I disagree. From the left you hear “millionaires and billionaires” and “paying their fair share.” And all the social guilt that goes with it.

    Taxes should be raised on them, rather than the wealthy.

    This goes back to my question. Is asking someone who gets money from the federal government to get less or even get none, raising taxes on them? I kinda don’t think so.

    Some have suggested that if you don’t pay taxes you shouldn’t vote.

    Why don’t we let 16 year old kids vote?

    That connection was shown false with the 2008 economic breakdown, but ideologies are hard to let go of, even when the world changes.

    Not even close to true. The bubble of 2008 was government constructed. It was MORE government, not less, that caused the housing crash of 2008.

    If we were sitting around a table “inventing a country” there is no way that we’d create a system where we simply took property from one man only to literally give it to another.

    • #8 by Scott Erb on August 6, 2012 - 7:02 pm

      No, taxation is not seen as charity, it’s seen as providing for the defense, general welfare, and stability of the country. It’s to pay for the government that gives us the stability and legal structures that make it possible for markets to operate effectively. It’s also to pay to try to assure a stronger union by working for true equal opportunity, to make sure that the initial losers don’t end up creating a lower class that lacks opportunity (we’ve got more work to do on that one).

      Saying someone should “pay their fair share” is not class warfare. Denigrating the poor as “takers” and making it seem as if they are somehow less valuable as humans than the wealthy IS. That kind of thinking harkens back to old aristocratic values.

      There is no possible way to blame government for the 2008 bubble. None. Government regulation should have prevented it, but it was an unregulated free market. What happened was big banks started to turn mortgages into bonds that they sold with AAA ratings. Those made them so much money they started buying ANY mortgage that was offered to them, pressuring mortgage brokers to disregard lending standards, creating a rise in prices or a bubble. This wasn’t Freddie or Fannie — indeed, they were seen as too restrictive! This was a free market bubble, built on de-regulation and insiders using their information to skim billions off the top – and let investors take the loses. It’s an example of the excesses of unregulated capitalism gone wild. Read: “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis, or “All the Devils are Here” by Nocera and McLean, or “The End of Wall Street” by Lowenstein. For a look inside one firm, and how de-regulation changed it, check out “House of Cards” by William Cohan (about Bear Stearns). The crisis was built on bad monetary and fiscal policies in the 80s that created an illusion of prosperity (the 80s ‘prosperity’ was built on debt) and then even worse monetary and fiscal policies from 2001 to 2007. De-regulation was the heart of these.

      States that followed the US in this deregulatory path, like Iceland and Ireland, were heralded as success stories. Spain as well took that path to some extent. But now we see that the stronger states are ones that didn’t let the free market go out of control. The proof is in this crisis.

      • #9 by pino on August 6, 2012 - 8:06 pm

        No, taxation is not seen as charity,

        Many on the left see this as their way of “giving back.” It’s why liberals are much less charitable in life; they feel they’ve already done their share via the government.

        Saying someone should “pay their fair share” is not class warfare.

        Of course it is. When someone says that “they” have to pay “their fair share” while another group of people literally gets checks from the government, it’s classic class warfare.

        Denigrating the poor as “takers” and making it seem as if they are somehow less valuable as humans than the wealthy IS.

        When a class of people votes in politicians to “take” money from someone else to give to themselves, that’s literally taking.

        There is no possible way to blame government for the 2008 bubble.

        It’s the only plausible explanation. When government forces banks to make bad loans and then buys those loans; THAT’S government.

  6. #10 by Norbrook on August 6, 2012 - 11:47 pm

    Excellent as always, Scott. What my observation has been is that there’s a strong perceptual barrier that many on the right use to keep from associating “taxes” with “services,” particularly those they themselves receive or depend on. One of my examples is Colorado Springs, which is home to a number of right-wing groups. Yet, if you look at the city and its history, it’s clear that the reason it’s a city today, with a fairly stable economy is due to large-scale government spending. Otherwise, it’d be a sleepy little resort town at the base of the Rockies. But reading the rhetoric of the groups based there, you’d think that it was all due to a free market economy. On an individual basis, I’ve found that there’s a different sort of entitlement mentality – that they “earned” it, or “paid for it,” so they “deserve it.” Even though the value of services received outweigh what they might have paid. Until that perception is broken, it’s going to be a continuing issue in our political discourse.

  7. #11 by Scott Erb on August 7, 2012 - 12:59 am

    Pino, the bubble was NOT caused by banks being ordered by the government to make bad loans. That is patently, demonstrably false. Read the books I cited above for the full story. But the bad loans came because big banks like Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, etc., were making profits hand over fist by bundling mortgages into bonds. They needed and demanded more mortgages in order to keep making profits. To get that, they bought ANYTHING that mortgage brokers offered to them, pushing the brokers to lower standards and commit massive fraud. IF government regulation had been in place that wouldn’t have happened de-regulation made this possible. The government did not order any of this!

    The bubble was caused by derivative trade pushed by big banks who thought they were passing risk on to investors, creating systemic risk. To try to blame the government is simply 100% wrong. Inaccurate. Completely off base. It was the opposite, too little government involvement that caused this problem. This was a classic example of why free markets fail without solid regulation.

    • #12 by pino on August 7, 2012 - 3:04 am

      Pino, the bubble was NOT caused by banks being ordered by the government to make bad loans.

      http://www.aei.org/outlook/economics/financial-services/housing-finance/free-fall-how-government-policies-brought-down-the-housing-market/

      Other government policies were designed to increase homeownership, primarily by reducing mortgage underwriting standards. The most important of these policies were the AH goals enacted in Title XIII of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 (the “GSE Act”).[4] The GSE Act, and its subsequent enforcement by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), set in motion a series of adverse changes in the structure of the US mortgage market and more particularly the gradual degrading of traditional mortgage underwriting standards.

      The AH goals required Fannie and Freddie to meet certain quotas when acquiring mortgages. The GSE Act had initially specified a quota of 30 percent; that is, 30 percent of the GSEs’ mortgage purchases had to be loans that were made to low- and moderate-income (LMI) borrowers, defined as borrowers at or below the median income in their communities. During the Clinton administration, HUD increased this quota to 42 percent in 1995 and 50 percent in 2000. HUD’s tightening continued in the George W. Bush administration so that by 2008 the main LMI goal was 56 percent, and a special affordable (SA) subgoal had been added requiring that 27 percent of the loans GSEs acquired be made to borrowers who were at or below 80 percent (and, in some cases, 60 percent) of the median income in their communities.

      The initial 30 percent quota was not burdensome for the GSEs. In 1993, for example, Freddie Mac was able to meet the 30 percent quota by acquiring the prime loans that it traditionally purchased from originators. In the same year, 7 percent of its purchases met the SA subgoal. But the GSE Act required HUD to promulgate a new set of goals beginning in 1996, and HUD’s tightening of the AH requirements beginning in that year and continuing through 2008 forced the GSEs to seek loans of less than prime quality. For example, when HUD’s new AH goals for 1996 were released in late 1994, Fannie and Freddie reduced their down payment requirements to 3 percent, and by 2000—after HUD announced plans in 1999 to raise the AH goals to 50 percent—they were acquiring loans with no down payments at all.

      HUD made no secret of its intentions, then or since, to reduce underwriting standards and elide the differences between prime and nonprime mortgages.[5] As HUD observed when raising the AH goals to 50 percent in 2000:

      Because the GSEs have a funding advantage over other market participants, they have the ability to under price their competitors and increase their market share. This advantage, as has been the case in the prime market, could allow the GSEs to eventually play a significant role in the subprime market. As the GSEs become more comfortable with subprime lending, the line between what today is considered a subprime loan versus a prime loan will likely deteriorate, making expansion by the GSEs look more like an increase in the prime market.[6]

      In terms of their later effects, the AH goals were clearly the most consequential of the government’s housing policies. HUD succeeded in moving the GSEs away from their policy of acquiring only prime loans. As the agency well knew, it was difficult to find prime loans when at least half of all loans the GSEs acquired had to be made to borrowers at or below the median income in their communities. Borrowers in this category seldom had significant down payments; they also had low credit scores, high debt, and uncertain employment prospects. Large numbers of nonprime loans would increase homeownership but risk major losses in the future.

      Nevertheless, by 2008, before the financial crisis, Fannie and Freddie—in complying with the AH goals—either held or had guaranteed 13.4 million subprime or other nonprime mortgages; the government as a whole—including the FHA and other institutions controlled or regulated by the government—held or had insured over 20 million similar nonprime mortgages. This amounted to 74 percent of the 28 million nonprime mortgages present in the US financial system before the financial crisis.[7] When these loans began to default in unprecedented numbers in 2007 and 2008—an effect later called the “mortgage meltdown”—they weakened the financial institutions that held them as investments and brought on the financial crisis.

      It’s not even close. No one who wants to make money loans money to people who have no hope of paying it back. Consider, would YOU loan money to people based on the fact that they “claim” they make 100k?

  8. #13 by Scott Erb on August 7, 2012 - 1:05 am

    How can saying someone should pay their fare share be tax warfare? The real tax warfare is when people who earn a lot rig the system to make sure they pay less. Moreover, no rich person would be near as wealthy as they are if not for government and what it provides. The system, however, as you note, ends up being stratified. If you’re born poor, you’re likely to stay poor. The answer is to try to promote equal opportunity by assuring that adequate nutrition and health care can be enjoyed by rich and poor alike.

    You want class war? If the rich sneer at the poor and say “you takers, you don’t get the education, health care, and nutrition we get because you’re poor. If you want any help, you’re a lowly ‘taker'” That kind of “let them eat cake” attitude will get class war – and it won’t be pretty. If a multi-millionaire really thinks their work has earned them all that, while a hard working lower middle class laborer who makes only $33,000, struggles to get by, and can’t afford health care just as much deserves exactly what he gets, that multi-millionaire is deluded. Markets have to be managed; on their own they self-destruct and collapse. They do not dispense just results, they do not reflect human values. History has proven that over and over.

    • #14 by pino on August 7, 2012 - 3:08 am

      How can saying someone should pay their fare share be tax warfare?

      1. You make no effort to identify what “fair share” really is. It’s always just more.

      2. The rich pay more than their fair share already.

      Moreover, no rich person would be near as wealthy as they are if not for government and what it provides.

      If you mean enforcement of property rights, yes, you are correct.

      If the rich sneer at the poor and say “you takers, you don’t get the education, health care, and nutrition we get because you’re poor. If you want any help, you’re a lowly ‘taker’”

      Except no one says that. What they say is, “Go work hard and get rich too!”

      But the poor don’t wanna work to get rich. They don’t wanna work more than 40. They want to have kids at 18 and a house at 22. They want new cars, iPhones and flat screen TVs. They don’t wanna work hard in college at a HARD science and develop a marketable skill.

      They just…want.

      • #15 by Norbrook on August 7, 2012 - 3:21 pm

        My goodness, you’re definitely got the far-right wing talking points down pat. Got news for you, you have no idea of what the hell you’re talking about. You think you work hard? Try working a convenience store as a clerk for 40 hours. You’d be dragging your butt after just a day. Actually, you could try my job. Speaking of “hard science” college, I have multiple degrees, a patent, and scientific papers to my credit. Oh, and I also have run a business, where I had to have quite a bit of training. I’ve never had a job where “40 hours” was the norm. Using your statements, I should be rolling in money right now. That’s most definitely not the case, but then again, I’m not a privileged idiot who thinks the way you do. That’s because I have a lot more experience than you do.

  9. #16 by pino on August 7, 2012 - 6:34 pm

    Got news for you, you have no idea of what the hell you’re talking about.

    I have a feeling that this is gonna be fun.

    You think you work hard?

    I do.

    Try working a convenience store as a clerk for 40 hours.

    I did that; when I was 16. I worked at the store during my summer breaks.

    Using your statements, I should be rolling in money right now. That’s most definitely not the case, but then again, I’m not a privileged idiot who thinks the way you do.

    Perhaps it’s due to your IQ? Studies show that success in careers and earnings are related to IQ.

    That’s because I have a lot more experience than you do.

    No. I suspect that what YOU have is 1 year of experience 20 or so times. Which is different than what I have.

    I was wrong, that wasn’t as fun as I thought.

    • #17 by Norbrook on August 7, 2012 - 9:36 pm

      Oh, really? I do have advanced degrees. Matter of fact, I’ve worked with Nobel Laureates. So spare me your arrogant little attitude. Any success you have is also due to a matter of luck, being in the right place at the right time. That can all be taken away from you in a heartbeat. Ask anyone who used to be “one of the smartest people in the room” at a little company called … Enron. Matter of fact, ask all the people during the tech boom who thought that the gravy train they were on was due to their brilliance, until it all fell apart on them.

  10. #18 by La on August 8, 2012 - 1:43 am

    “Some have suggested that if you don’t pay taxes you shouldn’t vote.” Where on earth did this suggestion come from? I heard it at work yesterday and couldn’t believe anyone would think it a good idea!! Not wanting to pick a fight I just said I would NEVER deny an American citizen the right to vote. I find such suggestions very dangerous and frankly unAmerican. My grandmother who couldn’t vote until age mid 20’s drilled that I should always vote!!

    • #19 by pino on August 8, 2012 - 2:01 am

      Not wanting to pick a fight I just said I would NEVER deny an American citizen the right to vote.

      Sure you would.

      A 16 year old and a felon are but two examples.

      • #20 by Scott Erb on August 8, 2012 - 2:55 am

        Well, Pino, I think you know La is talking about adult citizens granted equal rights to vote by the Constitution. States have different rules on allowing convicted felons to vote. My personal view is that committing crimes gives a citizen an obligation to the judicial system and does not take away that citizen’s right to vote. It’s a slippery slope, if crimes against the state can lead to the state depriving citizens of basic rights.

      • #21 by pino on August 8, 2012 - 3:03 am

        Well, Pino, I think you know La is talking about adult citizens granted equal rights to vote by the Constitution.

        My point is that we DO restrict the right to vote. Now, we restrict the right to vote by age. The idea being that an individual at age 17 is unable to sift through the complicated implications of what they are voting for. I think age is a very blunt method for identifying that intellectual ability. Is being a net taker an indicator of being unable to noodle your way through those implications? Maybe, maybe not. However, once you acknowledge that we DO restrict the right to vote we are no longer discussing IF but only WHY.

        citizens granted equal rights to vote by the Constitution. </i

        I don't think the Constitution grants the right to vote.

    • #22 by Scott Erb on August 8, 2012 - 2:52 am

      Believe it or not I’ve run into a number of people who have made that argument, and some right wing talk radio jocks like Neil Boortz has suggesting tying the number of votes you get to the taxes you pay (pay more taxes, you get more votes). Serious? It won’t get anywhere, but the fact some are making these arguments is something I find troubling.

      • #23 by pino on August 8, 2012 - 3:04 am

        right wing talk radio jocks like Neil Boortz

        I love me some Boortz!

  11. #24 by Scott Erb on August 8, 2012 - 3:30 am

    Pino, to restrict the right to vote by socio-economic status would not only be un-American (even anti-American) but it would likely cause a revolt. To claim not allowing minors to vote somehow opens the floodgates of being able to pick and choose issues to allow one to vote on or not is very dangerous — it’s the kind of thing authoritarian regimes resort to.

    The constitution does talk about the right to vote, Amendment 26: “The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.” Amendment 19: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

    Luckily such restrictions on the right to vote would require a constitutional amendment, which is very, very hard to produce! It’s never going to happen.

    • #25 by pino on August 8, 2012 - 3:43 am

      Pino, to restrict the right to vote by socio-economic status would not only be un-American (even anti-American) but it would likely cause a revolt.

      Think of it though! Romney unable to vote for himself ;-)

    • #26 by SShiell on August 28, 2012 - 5:16 am

      “. . . to restrict the right to vote by socio-economic status would not only be un-American (even anti-American) but it would likely cause a revolt.”

      And yet that was exactly the way the constitution was first realized. Until approximatley 1850 voting was resticted to white male land owners – less than 16% of the population. The founding fathers felt the person holding the right to vote had to have some “skin” in the game or else his vote could be bought.

      How revolting!!!

      • #27 by Scott Erb on August 28, 2012 - 12:22 pm

        Yup, and we had slaves, blacks were 3/5 of a person, and a lot of things that now are considered contrary to American values. The founders got a lot wrong, and were products of an era with considerable ignorance. Luckily, we’ve had progress. But hey, if you want to make the argument that only white male land owners can vote, go ahead — let’s see where that gets you.

  12. #28 by Titfortat on August 8, 2012 - 2:45 pm

    Just curious, do you guys think that maybe your government(or a lot of it) is actually in cahoots with the banks?

    “Birds of a feather, flock together”

  13. #29 by Bobloblaw on November 28, 2012 - 12:24 am

    I’d line to know what year the data is from. 2010 data shows only 13 net givers. Some of the states you have listed such as CA, MI, WI, OR, WA, NV and NH are net takers. NE is now a net giver while LA and NY are breakeven

  14. #30 by Ziad K Abdelnour on July 16, 2014 - 4:50 am

    In my humble opinion, there are few problems in the world that economic prosperity cannot help solve. Yet the engines of that prosperity are under fierce attack. The forces that seek power over others have gained the upper hand against those that seek freedom. By harming wealth creation, they cause even more strain on society. Historically, this is nothing new. State domination over its subjects has roots that connect statism, totalitarianism
    , communism, and socialism to more modern-day variants of liberalism and progressivism. It is a constant fight and we must win.

    Ziad K Abdelnour

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