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Medicaid Rejection and the Politics of Resentment

obama-presidential-seal

A week and a half ago, I had a brief Twitter exchange with Josh Barro where he pointed out that he expects all states to eventually accept the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. I pointed out that Arizona didn’t accept the original Medicaid until the the mid-1980s. He said this:

Now, I’m not going to get in to a policy debate with him, but I think he is missing something. My home state of Mississippi is contemplating nullification of Obamacare. This is a term that I haven’t heard since the defense of Jim Crow (I’m not old enough to remember Jim Crow, but I’m aware of its history). I think it is entirely possible that Mississippi and other states will reject Obamacare out of bullheadedness and spite.

It’s embarrassing and I’m somewhat embarrassed that I come from a state that bases its politics on resentment and the idea that other people think they’re better than us. Yet, that’s where we are. I’m not optimistic on this. I think Mississippi and other southern states will deny health care to its poorest citizens out of spite. We’ve learned nothing since Jim Crow and still base our politics on resentment.

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About Robert Prather
Robert Prather formerly blogged at the now defunct Insults Unpunished and, unlike his co-blogger Dodd, can not kill a mime using only his thumb. Follow him on Twitter.

Comments

  1. socraticsilence says:

    That white Mississippi would rather see large portions of its own populace suffer than help one black citizen is not all that surprising– except I suppose to John Roberts and the other morons on the USSC.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  2. @socraticsilence: The more disturbing part is that Mississippi has a large black population and they are the ones most in need of Medicaid.

    As for John Roberts, I’m not sure you’re giving him a fair shake. If you had mentioned Scalia, I’d be with you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  3. michael reynolds says:

    Was there a time when Mississippi’s politics wasn’t about resentment?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  4. Trumwill Mobile says:

    Seems that those complaining about the “red state ripoff” ought to be applauding these moves. I mean, if they take the money, that’s just further proof that red states are a bunch of welfare queens. Right?

    (They should take the money, just pointing out where certain logic leads us.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  5. @Trumwill Mobile:

    “if they take the money, that’s just further proof that red states are a bunch of welfare queens. Right?”

    Hmmm, not sure I follow the logic there. I always thought the main thrust behind the “red state ripoff” was reminding these red states that “more for me, none for thee” is not a very principled position. I think you’re confusing the Republican complaint (these welfare people are living like queens!) with the Democratic complaint of “Who you callin’ a mooch, mooch?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  6. Aglockintime says:

    Read Obamacare. The 90-100 percent pay out to the states by the government is through 2020. After 2020, Obamacare doesn’t say who what or how much of Medicaid will be paid by the fedes. The DC elite could shift more of the burden to the states or use it as political ammo, depending who is in power, to make states bow to the feds.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. jukeboxgrad says:

    I think Mississippi and other southern states will deny health care to its poorest citizens out of spite.

    It’s something like that. I’m not sure the word “spite” captures the power and intensity of the feeling behind this.

    Money is a positional good. Our experience of wealth and poverty is not about absolute amounts, it’s about status relative to others. As primates, caring about status in the pack is a deep part of our nature.

    No matter how poor we are, we feel a little bit better about ourselves if we know or believe that there’s someone else who is even poorer. We are highly motivated to avoid the feeling that no one is poorer than we are. This is quite natural when you think about evolution and competing for mates. There is some interesting social science that supports these statements.

    If I’m a poor white guy in Alabama, it’s important for me to know that the black folks on the other side of town are even poorer. When I picture government money falling into that neighborhood, I imagine a reversal in status, and I picture a world where I am able to look down on no one. This is a bad, bad, feeling, and the reasons for it are deep.

    a state that bases its politics on resentment and the idea that other people think they’re better than us

    Yes, and the feelings I described are even more intense when I imagine that the folks sending the checks are people who look down on me. They already look down on me, and they’re trying to create a world where my black neighbors also look down on me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  8. Trumwill says:

    @James Pearce (Formerly Known as Herb): I’m afraid that I have threadjacked Rob’s post, so I’ll keep it short.

    Hmmm, not sure I follow the logic there. I always thought the main thrust behind the “red state ripoff” was reminding these red states that “more for me, none for thee” is not a very principled position. – See more at: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/medicaid-rejection-and-the-politics-of-resentment/#comments

    The “red state ripoff” has multiple manifestations. What it ultimately comes down to is that this is a case when they are not saying “more for me” and, by the logic of interstate transfer morality, it’s a win. Unless we want them to take the money, in which case it seems problematic to criticize them when they take it (which, when we use the interstate transfer map, is exactly what we’re doing).

    (I say “we” even though I am a red state resident. But I figure that since we actually pay a lot of taxes, we maybe get a pass on being a “mooch.” Truthfully, though, I am not sure whether I have a right to have an opinion on government spending (due to taxes paid) or not (due to state residency) by the accounting used.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  9. al-Ameda says:

    My home state of Mississippi is contemplating nullification of Obamacare. This is a term that I haven’t heard since the defense of Jim Crow (I’m not old enough to remember Jim Crow, but I’m aware of its history). I think it is entirely possible that Mississippi and other states will reject Obamacare out of bullheadedness and spite.

    Well, who can be surprised? I still contend that Lincoln could have saved lives and 150 years of divisive national politics if he had just let The South leave the Union.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  10. @Trumwill:

    “Unless we want them to take the money, in which case it seems problematic to criticize them when they take it.”

    They don’t get criticized when they take it. They get criticized when they pretend they didn’t and then get all righteous over the larger, more productive states who get some too.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  11. An Interested Party says:

    We’ve learned nothing since Jim Crow the Civil War and still base our politics on resentment.

    Happy to be of help…

    If I’m a poor white guy in Alabama, it’s important for me to know that the black folks on the other side of town are even poorer.

    A resentment that many southern whites have probably fed off of for over 200 years…

    Unless we want them to take the money, in which case it seems problematic to criticize them when they take it (which, when we use the interstate transfer map, is exactly what we’re doing).

    Once again, it isn’t so much about criticizing them for taking the money, but rather, criticizing their incredibly hypocritical Republican representatives who scream bloody murder about high taxes and welfare for deadbeats while feeding at the trough themselves…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  12. Trumwill Mobile says:

    @An Interested Party: So in other words, declinung this money rewards them with greater standing to oppose government spending.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  13. Trumwill Mobile says:

    @James Pearce (Formerly Known as Herb): By penalizing them for taking the money (arguing that this means they can’t complain about spending) you’r encouraging tthem not to take it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  14. john personna says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    We can trick our primate selves though, that a well-lived life brings as much or more status than material goods. Many people already do this to the betterment of themselves and their communities.

    @Trumwill Mobile:

    I think you might have your “thems” confused. It’s not like the ruling class anywhere is also the underclass. It’s just that ruling classes in the states have different relationships with their underclasses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  15. @Trumwill Mobile:

    “By penalizing them for taking the money”

    Penalizing them how? Making them feel bad?

    If they want to complain about government spending while cashing their government checks, I have no problem with that. But I’m gonna have to balk if they want us to take those complaints seriously.

    I do see your point, though, that by hurting their feelings “penalizing” them, we may be dissuading them from taking the money. But that leaves me asking….if they believe in the principle so strongly, why do they need to be goaded into living by it?

    declinung this money rewards them with greater standing to oppose government spending.

    You’re a little warmer here. Yes, I do think that this is the thinking behind the refusal to accept federal money.

    It’s very principled…..unless they need the money. Then it’s just dumb.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  16. Trumwill says:

    @James Pearce (Formerly Known as Herb): You’re penalizing them by attaching a “STFU penalty” to accepting federal money. or you are seeking to penalize them. It is, essentially, advocating dismissing them from the conversation unless they decline the money. Which here they did. Yay?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  17. @Trumwill: You haven’t threadjacked anything. Your comments are very much on point. Thanks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. @James Pearce (Formerly Known as Herb):

    It’s very principled…..unless they need the money. Then it’s just dumb.

    Precisely.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  19. @michael reynolds:

    Was there a time when Mississippi’s politics wasn’t about resentment?

    Regrettably, no.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  20. @Trumwill:

    “It is, essentially, advocating dismissing them from the conversation unless they decline the money.”

    Not necessarily. It may seem like that if the prism is held a certain way, but it’s not like that at all.

    If they thought they could rail against the system even as they take advantage of it, then I don’t see why they thought they’d have a voice in the conversation in the first place.

    Are they being dismissed? Or are they proving themselves unsuitable for such a conversation?

    Yay?

    Nay. One doesn’t get points for living by their principles if their principles are stupid.

    High five to the Unabomber? (At least he lived by his principles.) Kudos to Warren Jeffs? (Refused to give up even a single wife!) No way, man.

    Again the decision to accept federal money shouldn’t be based on some flimsy principle but rather it should be based on need.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  21. Trumwill says:

    @James Pearce (Formerly Known as Herb):

    *shrug* By making an issue out of the money they have accepted (which is what you are doing here, by arguing that it disqualifies them from conversations on spending), you got precisely the behavior you encouraged here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  22. @Trumwill:

    “you got precisely the behavior you encouraged here.”

    If the moochers in the south can be so easily influenced, then I would encourage them to grow up and get their heads on straight rather than take (or reject) the money.

    As it is, I think they’re responsible for their own views…and the behaviors that are inspired by them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  23. Tony W says:

    @Trumwill:

    By making an issue out of the money they have accepted (which is what you are doing here, by arguing that it disqualifies them from conversations on spending)

    I don’t think anybody says they are disqualified from conversations on spending, but rather they become morally disqualified to criticize that spending.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  24. Trumwill Mobile says:

    @Tony W: If you are only allowed to have a specific opinion, then you’re not actually allowed an opinion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  25. @Trumwill Mobile:

    If you are only allowed to have a specific opinion, then you’re not actually allowed an opinion.

    While that’s a good point, I think you inadvertently cut to the chase there.

    Should we elevate opinions over good governance? Or should opinions take a back seat to nobler motives, like improving the lives of one’s constituents?

    If MS rejects Obamacare as a symbolic protest and/or to comport with their previously stated opinions, is that a good reason? I say no. They’d need a better reason.

    Symbolic protest and consistency are fine and they have their place, but they should not be the be all, end all of politics. As Mitch Hedberg would say, there’s more to it than that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  26. Trumwill says:

    @James Pearce (Formerly Known as Herb):

    My view is pretty straightforward:

    If you oppose some federal government spending, speak out against it, vote against it, do what you can to minimize it. Once the law has been passed, however, you accept the money if it is in your state’s best interest to do so.

    Which is why I am not going to criticize those politicians that accept the money and advocate a STFU clause when they do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  27. An Interested Party says:

    The bottom line with all of this is that these (primarily) Republican politicians who scream and bitch about deficits, the budget, and the “takers” have no standing to be taken seriously and should be laughed at and ridiculed for advocating belt-tightening whilst feeding at the trough themselves…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  28. Trumwill says:

    @An Interested Party: Which is what they are doing here: turning down federal money. Is that better?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  29. @michael reynolds: Regrettably no. I’m hopeful, though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. Tsar Nicholas says:

    This is a loopy blog post even by Internet standards.

    Separate but related topic:

    20.8%: ages 18-19
    14.2%: ages 20-24
    7.7%: ages 25-34

    Those are unemployment rates. And they’re not coincidental. It takes a while to overcome being dumbed down.

    In any event, of all the major problems with Obamacare — of which there are dozens — probably the most ironic one is the vast expansion of Medicaid. Actually it consists of several layers of irony.

    States can’t afford it. The Feds will pay their share with money they don’t have and further by impoverishing our kids and their kids with more national debt. In any case it’s a crappy program. Various needed treatments aren’t covered. Lots of docs won’t accept it. To a large extent people are impoverished enough to need it because of leftism as national policy. Speaking of which, has there ever been a more intractable quagmire than LBJ’s never ending “war on poverty?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  31. Tony W says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    In any case it’s a crappy program

    But way less crappy than the alternative it fixed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  32. @Tsar Nicholas: Loopy? Obamacare has nothing to do with current unemployment rates because it hasn’t been enacted yet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @An Interested Party:

    The bottom line with all of this is that these (primarily) Republican politicians who scream and bitch about deficits, the budget, and the “takers” have no standing to be taken seriously and should be laughed at and ridiculed for advocating belt-tightening whilst feeding at the trough themselves…

    @Trumwill:

    Which is what they are doing here: turning down federal money. Is that better?

    Are you kidding me? These (probably well off) GOP state legislators are “tightening their belts”??? In what world? The only belts I see being tightened are the ones the poor wear around their necks. Which is the whole idea behind conservative politics:

    Punish the poor for being poor by making them poorer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Those are unemployment rates. And they’re not coincidental. It takes a while to overcome being dumbed down.

    Glad to see Tsar, that you have finally seen the disaster of the Bush II reign for what it was. Took 4 years down but you got there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  35. Anderson says:

    Rob, I didn’t realize you too were from Mississippi. Are you still here, or are you more fortunate than that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  36. bk says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    To a large extent people are impoverished enough to need it because of leftism as national policy

    Pardon the ad hominem, but you really are an idiot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  37. wr says:

    @Trumwill Mobile: “If you are only allowed to have a specific opinion, then you’re not actually allowed an opinion.”

    Well if you have an opinion that is specifically contradicted by your actions, I don’t see why anyone should bother listening to you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  38. anjin-san says:

    @ OzarkHillbilly

    The only belts I see being tightened are the ones the poor wear around their necks.

    Over the last year, I have been spending some time around people who are honest to goodness poor several times a week. It’s a real eye opener if you have spent your life living in good neighborhoods. You think you know, but you really don’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  39. Trumwill Mobile says:

    @wr: Then I suppose the red state governments are right to decline the Medicaid expansion, then. It would have hurt their credibility and be used against them later if they’d taken it. Maybe next they can pass laws forbidding state residents from accepting food stamps, western states can block funding to Indian Health Service, and prevent people from cashing their social security checks. That way, they’d have a right to an opposing opinion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  40. swbarnes2 says:

    @Trumwill Mobile:

    Are you really arguing that given a choice between helping its people, and being able to make non-hypocritical arguments against others, it’s good and right for a government to pick the latter? That we ought to be praising states who value rhetorical purity over providing needed services to its people?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  41. Trumwill Mobile says:

    @swbarnes2: No, that is not what I am actually arguing. I am, with futility, trying to point out that this is the alternative when people criticize red statesfor taking federal mmoney . if we want them to take the money, it strikes me as problematic to use the amount of money they take as a basis of criticism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  42. Tony W says:

    @Trumwill Mobile: The problem is that the foundation of your argument is that the red-state opinions are unchangeable, regardless of whatever facts may present themselves. This is indeed the Republican way, but that doesn’t make it logical or sane.

    Instead, those red state ‘takers’ should look at the situation a bit more objectively, realize that spending for the common good will sometimes benefit them and sometimes benefit others – and that that’s okay. They would then alter their opinions based on these ‘new’ facts. Having done so, of course, they would then likely vote with the liberals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  43. MattT says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Lincoln could have saved lives and 150 years of divisive national politics if he had just let The South leave the Union.

    I used to say something similar now and then, half-kiddingly, most recently when folks in Texas and elsewhere started rumbling about secession in reaction to Obamacare. Then a friend gently pointed out that Lincoln would have thus abandoned millions of native-born Americans to slavery, and it wasn’t really that funny.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  44. MattT says:

    Re: MMP… An electoral system that helps Germany deal with the absorption of the former GDR might be a good model for a system that could help the US finally come to political terms with the former Confederacy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  45. al-Ameda says:

    @MattT:

    Then a friend gently pointed out that Lincoln would have thus abandoned millions of native-born Americans to slavery, and it wasn’t really that funny.

    Yeah, I understand all that – yet, the reality is once the South got the feds out of their and Reconstruction was ended, we lapsed into 100 years of segregation, apartheid and Jim Crow laws anyway. It could hardly have been worse. There probably would have been a rebellion by Blacks in the “Independent” South a century later.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  46. Trumwill Mobile says:

    @Tony W: As a sales tool, I think it’s largely unpersuasive by inoffensive. That’s not really what I am objecting to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  47. Pharoah Narim says:

    I’ve lived in Mississippi for several years. It’s hands down the most backwards place I’ve ever been. Even more than Alabama if that’s believable. The people are super nice though and blacks and whites get along good on a personal level. It’s only when you start having minority leadership of something that heads start exploding. They have a hard time accepting a non-white person being in charge of anything. As equals or superiors these folks will give you the shirt off their back. I think the real key to the culture and politics of the deep south lies in the brand of Christianity preached down there. It’s paternal, uncompromising, allows no room for nuance, and is loaded with appeals to fear and ignorance. That’s the real reason Republicans are still appealing down there. They’re tailored their message to have a similar “look and feel” which makes it more apt to be accepted. Words like compromise are anathema…not because it’s a bad idea necessarily but because in a place where everything is filtered through the lens of religiosity… compromise and Christian don’t belong in the same sentence. All I can say is its hard to understand unless you’ve spent lots of time there. If anything the appropriate reaction to many of the baffling public attitudes in the deep south is probably pity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  48. Rob in CT says:

    @al-Ameda:

    I really think you’re wrong about this. As bad as “Jim Crow” was, slavery was significantly worse. And the Civil Rights movement drew significant support from the North. The fantasy of “letting them go” relies rather heavily on assuming some end of slavery in the South, absent war. You can’t just hand-wave away the nature and extent of slavery in 1860 and blithely assume emancipation (whether peaceful or as a result of a bloody uprising).

    That’s w/o even considering the many opportunities the USA and CSA would’ve had for warfare, even if they hadn’t fought the civil war.

    So no, Lincoln did not make a mistake. Lincoln was right.

    [And this is the core of Trumwill's argument about the problem with the "blue states subsidize red states" argument]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  49. wr says:

    @Trumwill Mobile: “if we want them to take the money, it strikes me as problematic to use the amount of money they take as a basis of criticism. ”

    It’s not the taking of money I criticize them for, it’s the whining about spending on other people while they’re taking the money. I don’t say the answer is for them to stop helping their citizens; I say the answer is for them to shut up and stop lying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  50. Trumwill Mobile says:

    @wr: Or they can decline the money and have a right to their opinion. The problem is that you want them to take the money and you want the money to make them subservient (to deprive them a right to their point of view) . That’s what bugs me here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  51. Rob Prather says:

    @Anderson: I live in NOLA, but get back home fairly frequently.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  52. wr says:

    @Trumwill Mobile: Yeah, I want them to stop letting their citizens suffer needlessly and I want them to stop fighitng for policies that damage our nation in pursuit of an ideology they don’t even believe in. Sorry that bugs you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  53. Trumwill says:

    @wr: Which is fine, as an ideological argument, but has absolutely nothing to do with whether they are a donor state or a beneficiary one. Pretending that it does is the problem, because one way for that not to be the case anymore is to let the people of his or her state go without federal funds.

    If Butch Otter supports bad policies, call him on it. Criticizing him for running a state (Idaho) that takes more out of the federal till than what he puts in while advocating the policies he does, though, is criticizing for both having an opinion and taking more money than his state is allegedly due.

    (Pretending, for a moment, that we actually think states should only receive the same amount of spending that they send to Washington.)

    (And pretending that we give Otter the power and authority to actually prevent the spending from Idaho from occurring, which we don’t.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  54. David M says:

    @Trumwill:

    If Butch Otter supports bad policies, call him on it. Criticizing him for running a state (Idaho) that takes more out of the federal till than what he puts in while advocating the policies he does, though, is criticizing for both having an opinion and taking more money than his state is allegedly due.

    For the nth time, it’s not criticizing him for taking federal money or for taking more federal money than his state contributes in taxes.

    It’s criticizing him for 1) implying his (red) state isn’t taking the money and 2) using his (red) state as an example of how the money isn’t necessary (compared to blue states).

    There’s absolutely no reason to respect the actual things we are criticizing, so I’m not sure why you keep repeatedly bringing up the first (straw man) view.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  55. Trumwill says:

    @David M: If you are arguing that the fact that these states receive money negates what they say about government spending, you are using the fact that they take money against them. That’s not a strawman. That’s what you’re doing, just as surely as I am expressing disdain for people who don’t pay taxes if I argue that they should be excluded from conversations about taxes.

    We’re going beyond “We’re only saying that they shouldn’t deny that they accept government money” into actually saying the fact that they take the money means they need to STFU (if they disagree with you).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  56. Trumwill says:

    @Trumwill:

    In other words, if Butch Otter says “Idaho doesn’t take federal money” then by all means, that needs to be corrected.

    If Butch Otter says “Idaho pays more in taxes than it receives” then that, too, needs to be corrected.

    If Butch Otter says “The federal government spends too much money” then responding that more money is spent in Idaho than is retrieved from there and so he should STFU, then a part of that criticism is the tax dollars that Idaho receives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  57. David M says:

    @Trumwill:

    At this point it seems like you’re being deliberately obtuse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  58. Trumwill Mobile says:

    @David M: So if I say “People who do not pay income taxes should STFU about tax policy, you don’t think I am being critical of the fact that they don’t pay taxes?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  59. swbarnes2 says:

    @Trumwill Mobile:

    So if I say “People who do not pay income taxes should STFU about tax policy, you don’t think I am being critical of the fact that they don’t pay taxes?

    No. You would be critical of hypocrisy.

    And honestly, being critical of poor people is not the same thing as being critical of the powerful who drive policy. I know that conservative like James Joyner argue otherwise, but they are still wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  60. Trumwill Mobile says:

    @swbarnes2: Alleged hypocrisy derived from the fact that they don’t pay taxes. Alleged hypocrisy that would cease to be hypocrisy if only they paid taxes. If I am suggesting that they should be denied a voice because they don’t pay taxes, it seems absurd for me to argue that I am not saying something negative about not paying taxes.

    That Butch Otter is wealthy (and thus likely pays a lot in taxes) does not bolster your case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  61. David M says:

    @Trumwill Mobile:

    I think you’re ignoring the fact that the GOP constantly talks about general spending cuts without identifying specific ones. I think you’re unwisely assuming good faith on the part of the GOP that when they talk about needing to cut government spending, that they are acknowledging they benefit from the spending they want to cut. All in all, you appear to not be familiar with today’s Republican Party.

    The point has never been that red states that take more federal dollars than they pay in taxes should get less or not have a say in federal spending. It’s that they can STFU about how self-sufficient they are.

    The income tax is actually a good example, as while some people may not pay income taxes, they pay a lot of other taxes. So the people that should STFU about tax policy are the ones who equate paying no income taxes with paying no taxes at all. In other words the uninformed or the deceitful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  62. swbarnes2 says:

    If I am suggesting that they should be denied a voice because they don’t pay taxes,

    Telling someone that they have no moral standing on a point is not denying anyone their voice.

    Criticism =/= denial. Have you been studying rhetoric from fundamentalist Christians? That’s an argument they make a lot too.

    No one forced politicians to be politicians, and no one forced politicians to be hypocrites. Why can’t the powerful be held responsible for their choices? Why is that the greater evil here?

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  63. Trumwill says:

    @David M: In the last two elections (2010 and 2012), I have voted for eight Democrats, three Republicans, and one Libertarian (protest vote). I could write volumes and volumes about the problems I have with the GOP. That does not, however, render every criticism of them valid.

    This is one of those that simply isn’t.

    I don’t care if I am in a donor state or a beneficiary state. I have a right to demand more spending or less spending. My representatives and leadership have a right to demand more spending or less spending. Suggesting that our residence or our constituency means that we should be excluded from the conversation (unless we are saying the “correct” things) to be rather offensive. That’s one reason why I am up and arms about this. The other reason is that this very line of attack is one that I don’t like when the Republicans use it.

    I refer back to my “deliberately obtuse” comment about Butch Otter above. If he is in fact saying that Idaho is self-sufficient or that they do not take federal money, he ought to be corrected. This isn’t that, though. This is tying his legitimacy to his decision not to accept the Medicaid expansion, which I consider to be wrong in a number of ways.

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  64. Trumwill says:

    @swbarnes2:

    Criticism =/= denial. Have you been studying rhetoric from fundamentalist Christians? That’s an argument they make a lot too.

    Suggesting that their point of view (unless it’s one you agree with) be dismissed because they accept government funding in excess of how much taxes they pay goes beyond “criticism.” It attaches the acceptance of government money with a loss of moral agency. Conservatives argue this. Liberals shouldn’t. Not if they want me to support government programs. It essentially validates arguments that conservatives make that I generally consider to be silly.

    No one forced politicians to be politicians, and no one forced politicians to be hypocrites. Why can’t the powerful be held responsible for their choices? Why is that the greater evil here?

    First, it’s not just about the powerful. It’s also about the people they represent. Idahoans have a right to support less government, if they so desire. They have a right to vote for candidates that support less government. You can argue that it will hurt them because they are the beneficiaries, but you are arguing that they, and their representatives, lack a moral right to their view.

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  65. Trumwill Mobile says:

    Err, references to “demanding” more or less spending above should be “advocate for”. Obviously, “demand” is not something anyone has a right to do in a democracy.

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  66. David M says:

    @Trumwill:

    I don’t care if I am in a donor state or a beneficiary state. I have a right to demand more spending or less spending. My representatives and leadership have a right to demand more spending or less spending. Suggesting that our residence or our constituency means that we should be excluded from the conversation (unless we are saying the “correct” things) to be rather offensive.

    But people shouldn’t be able to decry excessive government spending by everyone else and not have it pointed out how they benefit as well. Again, this is pushback against a lie that is central to the modern GOP belief that government spending benefits “other people” not the wholesome Republican-Americans.

    The GOP can call for all the spending cuts they want, but they don’t get free rein to pretend that the spending is going to everyone else but them.

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  67. Trumwill says:

    @David M: Pointing out how spending cuts or smaller government would hurt them? Fair play. Conducive to worthwhile discussion, even! Using this spending as a reason to declare their advocacy invalid or suggest that they don’t have standing to even make the argument? That’s where I have a problem.

    It’s entirely possible that the spending cuts are something that the states, and their leadership, would actually be okay doing without in order to reduce the deficit or cut taxes. Or maybe not. There are a lot of reasons to believe that advocates of “small government” are not very sincere. I have my doubts. But arguing that they can’t be sincere, or shouldn’t be taken seriously, on the basis of an inflow/outflow map and chart is a pretty blinkered way of looking at it.

    It brings us back to the notion that one’s ability to have standing in the discussion is dependent on whether or not we spend money there and how much they pay in taxes. Which I rather fervently reject.

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  68. Spartacus says:

    @Trumwill:

    But arguing that they can’t be sincere, or shouldn’t be taken seriously, on the basis of an inflow/outflow map and chart is a pretty blinkered way of looking at it.

    We criticize them for being insincere about spending because they oppose it only when it goes to beneficiaries they dislike (i.e. minorities and poor people). When the beneficiaries are wealthy or powerful whites, they have no problem at all with government spending, nor do they believe it creates dependency.

    We criticize them for also using government spending on poor people as a pretext for concern about the deficit, which they have shown themselves to be interested in only when a Democrat is in office.

    If they were rejecting disaster relief for their states or calling for an end to farm subsidies or hadn’t spared their base from the medicare cuts in the Ryan plan, then we might have less reason for criticizing them. Until then, I don’t think we need to pretend their concerns about government spending are legitimate just because they do.

    People will probably continue criticizing them for the inflow/outflow imbalance until they stop embracing policies that cause them to be net consumers of government spending while rejecting the very spending that could reverse that.

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  69. Trumwill Mobile says:

    @Spartacus: There are individual discrepancies of support for spending that are worthy of note, but inflow/outflow doesn’t tell you what they are. By rejecting Medicaid, they are helping their i/o numbers. IHS also affects these numbers in western states. Pockets of black poverty affect the souths numbers. Other states like Idaho and Utah receive less money per capita than the nation as a whole (they’re beneficiary states solely because of the taxation side). Fact is, a whole lot of these states are beneficiaries due to policies supported by liberals and questioned by conservatives: progressive income taxes, social security, welfare, and so on. (Aside from all that, blue states are donor states precisely because that’s where the rich and powerful live, red states are typically recipients in part because rich people don’t live there, which to me makes it harder to argue that the donor/beneficiary maps are a product of conservative pro – rich policy preferences.)

    The GOP’s behavior on Medicare (especially as it pertains to their crying bloody murder at Obamacare’s cuts) is a solid argument against their sincerity. Farm subsidy support is indicative of… something… and also a part of a decent argument. Basic inflow/outflow really isn’t. It’s largely the result of policies supported by liberals and going back to FDR.

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  70. Spartacus says:

    @Trumwill Mobile:

    By rejecting Medicaid, they are helping their i/o numbers.

    Yes, but they do this only because they dislike the beneficiaries – not because they are opposed to spending.

    Pockets of black poverty affect the souths numbers.

    If you do a google search on this you’ll see that there’s absolutely no discernible connection between a state’s black population and how much of a “maker vs. taker” that state is. Alaska, Kentucky, West Virginia and North Dakota are all major takers without having significant numbers of blacks. Illinois, New York and Georgia are all major contributors even though they all have substantial numbers of blacks. More importantly, all states have poor people. The issue is whether a state embraces policies and spending that decrease the number of poor people, which would increase its tax outflows. Red states clearly do not.
    http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/08/americas-fiscal-union

    Other states like Idaho and Utah receive less money per capita than the nation as a whole (they’re beneficiary states solely because of the taxation side).

    This is like saying we have a deficit only because we spend too much or only because we tax too little. It’s a math equation and the gap can be closed by decreasing spending, increasing taxes or doing a combination of both. All states are either makers or takers because their taxes are either more or less than their take of fed spending.

    Fact is, a whole lot of these states are beneficiaries due to policies supported by liberals and questioned by conservatives:

    Actually, they’re beneficiaries because they’ve adopted policies that keep wages down while still embracing policies that give benefits to their preferred beneficiaries. They reject only those spending policies that benefit disfavored people. That’s why Romney is still complaining about “gifts to minorities” while saying nothing about carried interest, farm subsidies, oil subsidies or medicare benefits for anyone over 55.

    It’s largely the result of policies supported by liberals and going back to FDR.

    There is absolutely no evidence that Republicans desire less spending than Democrats. In fact, the data show that the exact opposite is true at the national level so I don’t understand why you’re saying these policies are supported only by liberals.

    Again, one of the main reasons for liberals’ criticism is that Red states embrace policies that can only result in them being takers at the same time they hypocritically complain about policies that enable their “taking.”

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  71. Tony W says:

    Is this horse dead yet?

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  72. Trumwill Mobile says:

    Taking a cue from Tony, I’m going to wrap this up. Just a couple notes.

    I didn’t say “because of the blackso. ” I said “because of black poverty” which I meant to be distinct from simply having black people. Black poverty in the south is uniquely horrid and results in unique challenges that result in the need for federal money spent. (Not withstanding Mississippans disagreement). The reasons and circumstances of red states beneficiary status very a great deal from state to state (Alaska you have isolation and disbursement, North Dakota farm spending, Utah revenues, West Virginia hillbillies.) though with some commonalities as well (rural ism, lower median incomes, etc.).

    I don’t believe that Louisiana would become New Jersey if only it had liberal policies. That is not the way I believe the causation runs. I believe rather that affluence creates support for liberal policies (see California).

    If you’ll notice, I am not really defending the notion that Republicans genuinely support less government. I am arguing that inflow/outflow is a poor metric to use to make that case.

    The FDR reference was with regards to i/o, not who supports big government, but rather which side supports the policies that are driving the interstate transfers. Even if you’re right about why red states are poorer, that doesn’t change that dynamic.

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  73. Spartacus says:

    @Trumwill Mobile:

    The FDR reference was with regards to i/o, not who supports big government, but rather which side supports the policies that are driving the interstate transfers.

    The interstate transfers are a function of low wages, big defense spending, SS/medicare/medicaid and farm subsidies. The GOP supports all of these things except when they believe their disfavored groups will benefit. But againn, the criticism is for taking money while rejecting policies that could reduce the taking.

    @Trumwill Mobile: I don’t believe that Louisiana would become New Jersey if only it had liberal policies. That is not the way I believe the causation runs. I believe rather that affluence creates support for liberal policies (see California).

    Louisiana would still oppose abortion and gay marriage, but it would have a higher minimum wage, better school system and healthier populace. Those things would go a long wage to turning it from a taker into a maker.

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  74. Trumwill Mobile says:

    @Spartacus: And the progressive income tax, the safety net, public works projects, federal education spending, reservations, public land holdings, and a host of other things. I think it’s a tough argument to blame the disparity on Republican spending priorities. Especially when even the things you list, there is similar or stronger support on the left (excluding defense, though even that has complications).

    Still disagree on the second paragraph. But I argued that two weeks ago and won’t really go into it again.

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  75. Unsympathetic says:

    @Trumwill Mobile:

    However, Republicans don’t actually believe in smaller government – they don’t, or they wouldn’t have increased both debt and deficit more than Democrats when they have the ability to define the budget. They do, however, believe in causing as much pain as possible to blacks and hispanics.. and, because they actually think they “should” be telling Those People how to live, they’re shocked that the messaging just isn’t working.
    If you want to argue the concept of small government, there would have to be an example of Republicans actually shrinking government.. but there isn’t. Remember: Privatization isn’t “shrinking government,” it’s just switching the name on the paycheck to the person performing the service.. and giving away billions of taxpayer dollars to the CEO of that company to perform the same job.

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