Tax Protestors Ignorant on Taxes

Conservative apostate Bruce Bartlett takes to Forbes to argue that the Tea Party movement, largely motivated by opposition to high taxes and out of control federal spending, is actually not particularly informed on these issues.

Tea Partyers were asked how much the federal government gets in taxes as a percentage of the gross domestic product. According to Congressional Budget Office data, acceptable answers would be 6.4%, which is the percentage for federal income taxes; 12.7%, which would be for both income taxes and Social Security payroll taxes; or 14.8%, which would represent all federal taxes as a share of GDP in 2009.

Not everyone follows these numbers closely, and Tea Partyers may have been thinking of figures from a few years ago, before the recession when taxes were higher. According to the CBO, the highest figure for all federal taxes since 1970 came in the year 2000, when they reached 20.6% of GDP. As we know, after that George W. Bush and Republicans in Congress cut federal taxes; they fell to 18.5% of GDP in 2007, before the recession hit, and 17.5% in 2008.

Tuesday’s Tea Party crowd, however, thought that federal taxes were almost three times as high as they actually are. The average response was 42% of GDP and the median 40%. The highest figure recorded in all of American history was half those figures: 20.9% at the peak of World War II in 1944.

This is actually a ridiculously unfair question.  Nobody thinks of taxes in terms of GDP; it’s a meaningless number to most of us.

To follow up, Tea Partyers were asked how much they think a typical family making $50,000 per year pays in federal income taxes. The average response was $12,710, the median $10,000. In percentage terms this means a tax burden of between 20% and 25% of income.

Of course, it’s hard to know what any particular individual or family pays in taxes, but according to IRS tax tables, a single person with $50,000 in taxable income last year would owe $8,694 in federal income taxes, and a married couple filing jointly would owe $6,669.

But these numbers are high because to have a taxable income of $50,000, one’s gross income would be higher by at least the personal exemption, which is $3,650, and the standard deduction, which is $5,700 for single people and $11,400 for married couples. Owning a home or having children would reduce one’s tax burden further.

According to calculations by the Joint Committee on Taxation, a congressional committee, tax filers with adjusted gross incomes between $40,000 and $50,000 have an average federal income tax burden of just 1.7%. Those with adjusted gross incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 have an average burden of 4.2%.

This is a more fair question but only by comparison.  At $50,000 income, the marginal tax rate is 25%.  That makes the average guess of $12,710 almost exactly right.  Bartlett is right, of course, that few people actually pay the full marginal rate because of various deductions and credits.  But, again, people tend to think of these things based on the published rates and the amount withheld from their paychecks.   And, of course, they also think of FICA, Medicare, and other federal withholdings as part of their federal tax burden.

Tea Partyers also seem to have a very distorted view of the direction of federal taxes. They were asked whether they are higher, lower or the same as when Barack Obama was inaugurated last year. More than two-thirds thought that taxes are higher today, and only 4% thought they were lower; the rest said they are the same.

As noted earlier, federal taxes are very considerably lower by every measure since Obama became president. And given the economic circumstances, it’s hard to imagine that a tax increase would have been enacted last year. In fact, 40% of Obama’s stimulus package involved tax cuts. These include the Making Work Pay Credit, which reduces federal taxes for all taxpayers with incomes below $75,000 by between $400 and $800.

The problem with this is that people are likely confused on this matter because they quite reasonably believe that the effect of Obama policy proposals, most notably health care reform and the massive debt incurred for the stimulus package, will mean higher taxes. (Bartlett acknowledges this later in the piece, calling it “Ricardian Equivalence.”) People tend to conflate things that the president proposes with actual reality.

Probably the simplest motivation the Tea Partyers have is the one that Howard Beale (actor Peter Finch) gave in the 1976 movie Network. “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it any more!” he said to cheering crowds. In other words, tea parties just represent unfocused anger at current economic conditions. Those who feel this way have latched on to the Tea Party movement not because they really believe that their taxes are too high, that taxes are rising or that taxes are at the root of our economic problem. Rather, they have joined because it’s the only game in town; the only organized force with at least the potential of bringing about change that might make things better.

In this sense, the tea parties are simply the latest manifestation of populism, which has arisen periodically throughout American history. In the 19th century populist anger was based in rural America and directed at the banks and railroads as well as government. Populists thought that free coinage of silver, an inflationary policy that would have raised prices for farm commodities, was the solution to their problems in the same way that today’s Tea Party crowd thinks that the Federal Reserve, bailouts to big businesses and a looming government takeover of the health industry are at the root of our economic malaise. Tax cuts are like free silver–a one-size-fits-all policy response.

Here, Bartlett is almost surely right.   Large swaths of the public at large, and most of the Tea Partiers, are scared about their economic future and distrustful of government.  Some of their fears are rational; others, not so much.

But it’s unfair to single out the Tea Party movement for ridicule.   Those of us who follow public policy very closely have a better idea of economic statistics than average citizens but even most of us only have ballpark estimates of some of the figures that were surveyed here.   It’s just unfair to expect otherwise.

To the extent that large numbers of citizens are angry at their government because they’re grossly uninformed, the blame lies with their leaders, not them.   It’s the job of the president and elected representatives to persuade the citizens that their proposed policies are beneficial.   If they’re failing to do that, they’re not doing their jobs.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. kth says:

    This is a more fair question but only by comparison. At $50,000 income, the marginal tax rate is 25%. That makes the average guess of $12,710 almost exactly right.

    Um, I don’t understand. The marginal tax rate is the rate paid on the last/next (marginal) dollar earned. It isn’t the average rate paid on that taxpayer’s entire income, even their AGI. They pay 8% on the first $8000, 15% on the next $26000, and only pay 25% on the income above $34000 (higher yet if they make over $82000). So the average guess is actually massively wrong even if we are leaving out a standard deduction that nearly everyone is entitled to.

  2. Michael Reynolds says:

    Wow, I didn’t know you could tap dance, James.

    There’s nothing unfair in these questions. Tea Partyers have made taxes their central issue. And despite this they know essentially nothing about it.

    Would you try quite this hard to excuse ignorance in any other interest group? If you discovered that most anti-war activists were unaware of the basic elements of World War 2, or that abortion activists believed 90% of abortions are carried out in the last trimester, or that people who want gun control believed guns were killing a half million people a year, would you dismiss that? I wouldn’t.

    People who take on an issue — and take it on with such fervor that shouting down any opposing point of view is a key tactic — should know what the hell they are talking about.

    In fact what this shows is a level of ignorance so profound that without this level of ignorance it is fair to assume that the Tea Party movement would be far smaller than it is.

    If of course the Tea Party movement was really about taxes.

  3. Dave says:

    Even ignoring deductions and credits, how is the $12,701 figure for $50,000 of income “almost exactly right”? It’s only right if you’re completely ignorant of the meaning of marginal tax rates.

  4. mantis says:

    A lot of those questions would be answered incorrectly by most people. I wouldn’t know, off the top of my head, the exact percentage of GDP going to taxes, nor would I be able to accurately say what percentage of my income goes to Federal income tax vs. all federal taxes vs. taxes altogether (I know the last one, but that’s it).

    That being said, I don’t believe that my taxes have gone up when they clearly haven’t. So on that point, this poll certainly shows the tea partiers aren’t exactly living in reality.

  5. Dave says:

    kth – I’m beginning to suspect tea party ignorance on taxes may extend to Mr. Joyner.

  6. kth says:

    The problem with this is that people are likely confused on this matter because they quite reasonably believe that the effect of Obama policy proposals, most notably health care reform and the massive debt incurred for the stimulus package, will mean higher taxes.

    Sorry, but this argument is ludicrous, too; otherwise, you would have seen an outpouring of anti-tax protests during the Bush administration, when, far more egregiously in fiscal terms, record deficits were run during the expansion phase of the business cycle. Nor would it explain the universal appeal among the tea set (thanks, I’ll be here all week) for tax cuts that aren’t accompanied by spending decreases.

    If they are reacting, not to their actual tax burden, but to the expected one and to the size of government, it makes no sense for these protestors to have become militant now and not then.

  7. TangoMan says:

    There’s nothing unfair in these questions. Tea Partyers have made taxes their central issue. And despite this they know essentially nothing about it.

    Tis true, all is fair in love and war. However, TEA Party misperceptions on an issue they’re rallying around is no different than what we see with Liberals and scores of their central issues:

    -Education;
    -Income disparity;
    -Race;
    -Crime;
    -Discrimination;
    -Mulitculturalism.

    While the TEA Party folks are in error on the metric of scale, they at least have the direction right, while Liberals are wrong both in scale and direction. In the end, liberals living in their own little bubble of reality doesn’t seem to diminish their enthusiasm for their misguided quests.

    Liberals complaining about TEA Party misperceptions =

    And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

  8. sashal says:

    also to add to the excellent rebuttal from other commenters.
    You blame the President :

    It’s the job of the president and elected representatives to persuade the citizens that their proposed policies are beneficial.

    those tea party people have their own propaganda network which “informs ” them.
    FOX and talk shows.
    The result was described in Forbes magazine

  9. Michael Reynolds says:

    I love that TangoMan has once again leapt like a yarn-crazed kitty onto the topic of race. Let’s by all means stop talking about the fact that Tea Partiers are entirely clueless on their core issue. Let’s talk instead about TangoMan’s burning desire to explain (yet again and ad nauseum) his problem with der untermenschen. I think he has to rack up a certain number of race-baiting points each week in order to keep his membership in the scientific racist club.

  10. Steve Plunk says:

    Income tax, FICA tax, state tax, local tax, property tax, personal property tax, gas tax, weight mile tax, sales tax, excise tax, vehicle tax, inheritance tax, gift tax. It’s no wonder citizens don’t know the precise tax burden. The system is so complex we spend billions just to do our income tax return. I guess professor Bartlett should take a moment and realize the rest of us are a little too busy trying to make a living to study this in depth like he has.

    We are also facing talk of growing government spending far beyond previous levels so it seems a very appropriate time to mobilize and voice our discontent. Anyone who would argue things aren’t getting out of control is ignoring the reality.

  11. TangoMan says:

    Let’s by all means stop talking about the fact that Tea Partiers are entirely clueless on their core issue.

    By all means, don’t veer off the topic, just keep in mind that when liberals criticize TEA Party folks for their minor faults, that they’re criticizing from a position where most everything they hold to be true is demonstrably false.

  12. Dave says:

    When liberals criticize TEA Party folks for their minor faults, that they’re criticizing from a position where most everything they hold to be true is demonstrably false.

    This might be demonstrably true. Unfortunately, all tea partiers are provable members of a genocidal alien master race hell bent on consuming American brains.

  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    TangoMan:

    So your theory is that because liberals don’t share your race-hatred and theories of Aryan superiority the ignorance of Tea Partyers is justified.

    Always instructive to get a glimpse into the snake pit between your ears, Brimelow.

  14. Drew says:

    I’m not sure what Bartlett’s point was other than to take a cheap shot. Further, by focusing solely on income taxes his observations are distorted and downright deceiving. And I see that certain commenters have jumped right on the dishonesty bandwagon.

    Although I’m not a “Tea Partyer” its obviously a reaction not only to taxes, but to the nexus of taxes, spending, deficits and the looming social spending surge.

    Let’s look at some facts (There are various websites that now compile this data. I used usgovernmentrevenue.com) From the perspective of a 60 year old “Tea Partyer” in his or her lifetime (1950 – today):

    Total government expenditures have doubled from about 22% of GDP to 45%. Fed, state and local. Thats a 100% increase.

    Total taxes have increased from 22% to 35%. That’s about a 60% increase. Fed, state and local.

    So traditional focus on federal budgets or income taxes only is quite deceptive. In reality government spending and taxing has exploded. And people, or government critics, do not react only to narrow measures. Its the entire package.

    You add to this the looming SS and Medicare problem, which people understand will dramatically increase tax (or debt) burdens, and you get anger. Just wait until means testing starts getting bandied and everyone realizes it was all a great bait and switch.

    Bernie Madoff would blush.

  15. TangoMan says:

    Reynolds,

    Try to control yourself and quit derailing this thread. My point is that that you liberals shouldn’t get all holier than thou on this issue because almost everything you believe to be true is in variance with demonstrable reality. Socialist economics – bzzt, failure, yet still loved by liberals. Theories on education, bzzt, always a failure, yet there is always a new flavor of the month that liberals embrace, ad infinitum.

  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    Brimelow:

    You should be better at this by now. Here’s the list you initially provided:

    -Education;
    -Income disparity;
    -Race;
    -Crime;
    -Discrimination;
    -Mulitculturalism.

    Which to a scientific racist like you translates to:

    -Race
    -Race
    -Race
    -Race
    -Race
    -Race

    Now, you want to talk about “socialist economics” and “education theory.”

    Dude, we know who you are. We know what you’re about. So why don’t you just snap a quick zieg heil and let the grown-ups talk.

  17. kth says:

    Drew, the 2008-9 figures are uncharacteristically large due to the one-offs of TARP and stimulus package spending, as well as the reduction in baseline GDP that those 2 measures were in reaction to. A better measure of the permanent size of government would be the average percent of GDP spent over the last business cycle, or the last decade (which amounts to nearly the same thing). It’s probably still in the mid 30s, and nothing to sneeze at, but most likely nowhere near 45%.

  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    Drew:

    So the government grew rapidly under Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Bush the Elder, Clinton and Bush the Younger.

    And the Tea Party slumbered. Only to snap to sudden alertness and ferocity now.

    Coincidentally . . . coincidentally, I say . . . we had an explosion of people denying the citizenship of the president. And . . . again by coincidence . . . the Tea Partiers are the same people as the birthers?

    Huh.

    What do you figure happened in there? Take a look at the magic moment between Bush the Younger and Obama. What suddenly changed?

    Obviously it was not that medicare and SS suddenly became a problem. Nor was it that taxes jumped (they didn’t.) Nor was it the first time we realized we had a debt.

    So to what exactly do you attribute the sudden rise of very concerned, borderline hysterical (and sometimes not so borderline) and yet amazingly ignorant voters who denounce the president as a communist, fascist, racist, Muslim, Stalinist, Hitlerite, grandma-killing, terrorist-loving, anti-American, un-American, Indonesian, Manchurian Candidate who is weak, arrogant and downright uppity?

    You think maybe there’s something else going on?

  19. Steve Plunk says:

    Michael, I have to agree with the assessment you’re derailing the conversation. Regardless of what TangoMan might or might not have said elsewhere or before let’s discuss the topic.

  20. Michael Reynolds says:

    Steve:

    A racist jumps into the room yelling, “It’s the N—–!”

    But he’s not derailing the conversation. I am by objecting.

  21. TangoMan says:

    Reynolds,

    Get some help. You have a problem, I mean besides the obvious, you need help with reading comprehension. My point is clear – liberals believe things that are in contradiction to reality. Instead of addressing what I wrote you’re fantasizing all sorts of crazy things, thus it’s obvious you need help on a few fronts, but I’d work on the reading comprehension first.

    Some may find discussion of the meta-phenomenon to be interesting – how is it that people can believe things that aren’t completely supported by evidence. At least with the TEA Party folks, as Drew points out, they’ve got the basic gist right, they’re just falling short of the high standards that Bartlett is judging by. What’s the excuse for liberals?

  22. PD Shaw says:

    I’ve always assumed that a good chunk of tea-party protesters are self-employed, and as such, their social security and medicare taxes are paid through the income tax. Having to pay these taxes in large chunks, instead of hidden in the payroll stubs and through disbursements made on their behalf by an employer, gives them greater awareness of how income is taxed. And social security and medicare are taxes on income.

  23. TangoMan says:

    And the Tea Party slumbered. Only to snap to sudden alertness and ferocity now.

    There is nothing particularly odd about this. All sorts of phenomena expand without crisis until they reach a breaking point. You see it in the physical world, the biological world and the social world.

    Look at weight gain in people – plenty of people gain weight and do damage to their heart but they don’t do anything about their obesity until after they have a heart attack.

    Look at deferred maintenance of road infrastructure, things deteriorate until a bridge collapses and then people get focused on repairing all bridges.

    Look at the rise of Hitler – he was building up an army and becoming a menace and no country declared war on Germany in the early stages of his rise.

    There were plenty of grumblings about the expanding state during previous administrations, there was a lot of anger directed at big spending Republicans who’d lost their way on the issue of fiscal conservatism, one of the planks of conservative politics.

    Obama is embarking on a massive program to increase the scope and size of the government in the economy. He’s taken things beyond the breaking point and while he was part of a trend he has to take responsibility for rapidly accelerating that trend.

    There is something about the nature of government which leads to it continually expanding, some call it mission creep, so eventually this phenomenon needs to be cut off at the knees and all of the wrongs need to be righted.

    If Obama wanted to avoid a people’s uprising against a Leviathan government, then he should have instituted policies to reduce the size and scope of government, presto-chango, the simmering anger against expansionist government would not have boiled over into fury. Obama made his choices, now he, and his democrat enablers, have to face the consequences of their ill thought out choices.

  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    Brimelow:

    Southern Poverty Law Center keeps a file on you. It’s not because of your trenchant commentary on liberalism. So spare me the “what me?” act.

    Here’s a bit of that:

    And then there was Peter Brimelow. Some might have expected the well-heeled financial commentator, book author and influential nativist intellectual to feel somewhat out of his element at this gathering of the very far right.

    But these were very much Brimelow’s people.

    They call themselves paleoconservatives — but a more accurate term, and one that is actually used by many of those who attended the New Orleans meeting of the Rockford Institute’s John Randolph Club, might be racial nationalists.

    The club used to include libertarians and others with a variety of political views but, as chronicled in an important article by James Lubinskas, that has changed. The club has shrunk, become more politically isolated, and focused in on issues related to race.

    Peter Brimelow exemplifies that change. In 1995, he published the bestselling Alien Nation, a book that argued that America is historically white-dominated and should stay that way — but that was also written in a genial style and was careful to treat black Americans as part of the polity.

    By 1997, he was warning that by 2008 the GOP would no longer be able to compete in presidential elections because the racial makeup of the electorate would be changed by non-white immigration.

    Today, the former senior editor at Forbes magazine edits an anti-immigration Web page that carries an array of frankly white supremacist and anti-Semitic essays.

    Much as I tend not to take the child-raising theories of pedophiles seriously, I tend to suspect the competence of racist critics of liberalism.

    But it’s oh so very interesting that you hasten to defend the Tea Party. Surely that’s not because they and you are the same kind of folks.

  25. Drew says:

    kth –

    I was trying to be fair in considering more modern times – post WWII – and not petty like you in getting too granular. Fine, move the years a notch or two back. I’ll see your adjustment and note that by 2012 spending, and most assuredly taxing, will blow away your numbers. The point stands, your weak argument aside.

    Now, if we REALLY want to understand the explosion in government……look at the numbers in this century. Truley amazing.

  26. Mercer says:

    “there was a lot of anger directed at big spending Republicans who’d lost their way on the issue of fiscal conservatism, one of the planks of conservative politics.”

    Bartlett wrote a book denouncing Bush for his big spending after the Medicare drug bill passed in 2003. Most of the right did not care and enthusiastically supported Bush’s re-election.

  27. Michael Reynolds says:

    Drew:

    The Tea Party movement is somewhat old and very white. Which would make them the very group that has steadily built up the role of government.

    After all, it’s not the Millenials — they’ve barely begun to vote.

    And there’s nothing to suggest that Gen X was responsible, the bulk of the growth predates them.

    So it’s down to the Boomers and the Greatest Generation. Who now are the angry denouncers of all things (however poorly-understood) that they themselves wrought.

    Seen in generational terms what we have here is the very same entitled Greatests and the very same self-indulgent Boomers, now whining about a system they themselves created.

    If this was about legitimate tax protest we’d be hearing most from the young since they’re the innocent injured party. Instead we’re hearing from the guilty. Old white people on Social Security and Medicare screaming at their Congressman the same way they’d scream if any of their own benefits were ever in danger of being cut.

    The Tea Party is and has been from the start, a fraud.

  28. Steve Plunk says:

    Mercer, The Bush drug benefit plan was smaller than the plan proposed by the Dems and represented a compromise. I know it’s a favorite for the Left to bring up but it isn’t what you think it is.

    Michael, You’ve veered of topic again. You’re making accusations against TangoMan without basis. Get back on track.

    Many of our liberal friends like to complain the complaints about spending have only began since President Obama was elected. It’s far from true but we have also seen the deficits grow immensely since his election and more government programs are being introduced. It was possible to ignore spending at one time but not anymore. It’s gotten too far out of control. Rather than a straw breaking the camel’s back it’s like a bale of hay broke it’s back.

  29. Drew says:

    Michael –

    “So the government grew rapidly under Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Bush the Elder, Clinton and Bush the Younger.”

    There comes a breaking point, and rallying point events. You may have just awoken, Rip, but we have a confluence of events now, government bailouts and ownership of big business, a takeover of health care, parlimentary manuevers on perhaps the most important piece of legislation in my lifetime (at least adult lifetime), transfer payment programs going broke, discussion of debt default, looming tax increases ….etc.

    And you want to tell me its all about birthers and racists? You seem to be spending alot of time on race in this thread.

    I’m neither a birther nor a racist, but I share all the Big Government concerns of this movement. The right has its crazies. The left has its crazies. But to focus on them would be to say that Code Pink represents liberals in general. Its dumb.

    For the most part Big Government concerns are borne of serious concerns and analysis. To cheapen it with bogus pop quizzes, as Bartlett did, relying on narrow measures of government influence is just transparently piss poor analysis. Defending it is mindless.

    “What do you figure happened in there? Take a look at the magic moment between Bush the Younger and Obama. What suddenly changed? Obviously it was not that medicare and SS suddenly became a problem. Nor was it that taxes jumped (they didn’t.) Nor was it the first time we realized we had a debt.”

    See paragraph 2.

    Michael, if you don’t see or acknowledge the dramatic changes underway I really don’t know what to say to you. The people who are up in arms have no use for spendthrift Republicans either.

    “So to what exactly do you attribute the sudden rise of very concerned, borderline hysterical (and sometimes not so borderline) and yet amazingly ignorant voters who denounce the president as a communist, fascist, racist, Muslim, Stalinist, Hitlerite, grandma-killing, terrorist-loving, anti-American, un-American, Indonesian, Manchurian Candidate who is weak, arrogant and downright uppity? ”

    Quite a diatribe, Michael. Taking a small minority and projecting it large. You were saying something about hysterical??

  30. Michael Reynolds says:

    Steve:

    I’m sure Peter appreciates you acting as his wing man. Did you catch his speech at the Mencken Club by the way? Good stuff.

    Many of our liberal friends like to complain the complaints about spending have only began since President Obama was elected. It’s far from true but we have also seen the deficits grow immensely since his election and more government programs are being introduced. It was possible to ignore spending at one time but not anymore. It’s gotten too far out of control. Rather than a straw breaking the camel’s back it’s like a bale of hay broke it’s back.

    Except that as noted above the Tea Partiers don’t even have the faintest idea what the tax burden is. So even if what you were saying was true — and it’s not — it wouldn’t matter because the Tea Set don’t know it. They “know” something completely different.

  31. Pete says:

    Reynolds, if you think Tangomans’ comments were based on race, I think you are as big a fraud as you believe the Tea Party movement to be. People who see racism in every critique of liberalism are arrogant and intellectually dishonest. Your emotional immaturity has trumped your credibility.

  32. Mercer says:

    “Mercer, The Bush drug benefit plan was smaller than the plan proposed by the Dems and represented a compromise. I know it’s a favorite for the Left to bring up but it isn’t what you think it is.”

    The republicans were in total control of the government in 2003. They did not have to pass any drug bill to “compromise” with the democrats.

    Starting a huge new entitlement and passing a big tax cut when the government was already running a deficit was extremely irresponsible. Anyone who believes in fiscal conservatism should have been appalled like Bartlett. Most of the right did not care.

  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    Drew:

    I know the GOP needs to pretend it doesn’t have a race problem. But they do. The Tea Party movement in particular.

    So you can go on shutting your ears and squeezing your eyes tight but it’s there. Which may be why the GOP gets no black votes, and fewer and fewer Hispanic votes, and few Jewish votes despite the endless pandering on Israel.

    It’s not an accident that the GOP is all white, old, rural, Christian and southern.

    It’s not a coincidence that the “breaking point” came when the old, white, rural, Christian, southerners suddenly confronted a black president.

    The difference between our crazies and yours is that ours are on the fringe, yours are your party. See, neither I now any of the other liberals here rush to defend our crazies. I have zero problem saying that Al Sharpton is a race hustler, or that “Truthers” are contemptible nutcases. Because those people are our fringe and we don’t like them. We’d like them to go away and we say so.

    But the GOP needs the Tea Partiers. So Joyner has to write an uncharacteristicaly illogical post, and other conservatives have to strain to defend the Tea Partiers’ manifest ignorance, and Brimelow has to rush to defend his brothers and sisters in whiteness, and then others have to try to protect poor Peter from big, mean Michael.

    All because why? Because it’s more important to the GOP to hold onto votes and support than it is for them to admit the truth. It’s been that way since 1968.

  34. PD Shaw says:

    Tea Partyers were asked how much the federal government gets in taxes as a percentage of the gross domestic product.

    Nope. They weren’t. The question didn’t mention GDP. It asked how much was the federal government “taking out” of the U.S. economy?

    Me: First reaction: What the hell does that mean?

    Second reaction: Bartlett lied to make it look like the question was more “scientific” than it actually was.

  35. TangoMan says:

    The Tea Party movement is somewhat old and very white. Which would make them the very group that has steadily built up the role of government.

    What a load of illogical mush. I wish commenting could include Venn Diagrams!

    Take the groups “somewhat old” and “white” and “TEA Party” and summing up the area of the first two and comparing it to the intersection which is represented by “TEA Party” it would be clear that there are plenty of “somewhat old” and “White” people who vote Democratic.

    To see the intersection “TEA Party” and conclude that they are responsible for the behavior of the two larger groups is asinine.

    Further, the Venn universe you’ve conjured up excludes minorities and people who are younger than “somewhat old” who both comprise components of the TEA Party.

    Seen in generational terms what we have here is the very same entitled Greatests and the very same self-indulgent Boomers, now whining about a system they themselves created.

    You seem to imply that to hold one belief and then to change that belief given new circumstances or new awareness automatically invalidates the newly adopted belief. That too is an asinine position to advance. Combining this argument with the illogical premise of group identity and group culpability just compounds the idiocy.

    If this was about legitimate tax protest we’d be hearing most from the young since they’re the innocent injured party.

    This argument is simply a conjunction of two logical fallacies, the first is definitional in that you’re attempting to define what is legitimate and illegitimate based on your own peculiar preferences, and the second fallacy takes the form of Appeal to Belief, in that you believe that the young are the most innocent injured party.

    Legitimacy is earned, it is not granted, by the likes of you. Time will tell whether the TEA Party message will resonate with the public, whether their actions and endorsements will influence elections, and whether the consequences of said efforts will be well received by a portion of the public. It is this process which confers legitimacy, rather than what you lay out, which is no more than a group tickling your biases.

    You’re entitled to advance any delusional position you chose to hold, that however doesn’t make it true or legitimate. You just further erode any remaining credibility you have with people when you advance “arguments” that are divorced from reasonable standards of logic and evidence.

  36. Pete says:

    Bartlett wrote an intellectually dishonest critique of the Fair Tax and was exposed as a “putz” by rebuttal. Smart guy, but poorly informed on that issue. Now Michael Reynolds is also smart, we presume, but full of bias and poorly informed on the Tea Party.

  37. Wayne says:

    Considering many people on both side of the issue don’t understand what GDP is, I am not surprise. Also is unlikely that liberals know any of those answers as well.

    As mantis said there is much more to taxes then Federal income tax.

    Also there are ways to tax people more without actually raising tax rates Ruining the economy with more destructive regulations, costlier energy, inflation, and government business takeover that ruin efficiency can cause you to work harder with lesser returns.

    What wrong with protesting that Obama plans to let Bush’s tax cuts to expire? Of I forgot, a person can’t protest or make a judgment about behavior until after it happens. At least for something a liberal wants to do.

  38. TangoMan says:

    Going back to Reynolds’ gold mine of illogic, a gift which keeps on giving, we see a few other gems pop up.

    First, he concedes that government has been growing over the years, then he concedes that there is injury that results from this process, he just quibbles on which group can claim to be most injured, and then presumes that only the most injured group can legitimately protest while protests from the less injured groups are illegitimate.

    It seems that the unstated premise in this line of argument is that groups that suffer “less” “harm” than others, with harm and severity both being defined solely by Reynolds, should ignore the harm that they are suffering and that other groups are suffering from an overreaching, out of control, government and acquiesce to the government continuing on its current disastrous path because they’re not the groups that suffer, or will suffer, the most. How this makes sense to anyone but Reynolds’ is a mystery to me.

    I know that it’s difficult to defend the indefensible, ie liberalism, but come on, is this logical mush really the end result of defending liberalism?

  39. Michael Reynolds says:

    TangoMan/Peter Brimelow:

    I was hoping you’d write back. Usually when I out you you scurry.

    Let’s examine your grasp of logic:

    While most political analysts say that John McCain lost the presidential election because of the sorry state of the economy and the unpopularity of President Bush, Peter Brimelow sees a different villain: Immigration.

    “The fact is that white voters — what 50 years ago would have been called Americans because 50 years ago this country was 90 percent white — they went for McCain 55-45,” Brimelow told the inaugural meeting of the H.L. Mencken Club at a Baltimore hotel last Friday night. “It wasn’t overwhelming, but it was a sizeable victory. It’s not clear to me that the American people really supported Obama.” The president-elect only got a majority of white votes among 18-to-30-year-olds, according to Brimelow. “What this election shows is that whites vote one way and everybody else votes the other way.”
    ….
    Brimelow, 61 — who was introduced by Gottfried as “a real, as opposed to a John McCain, maverick” — said that’s not necessary. “The way to win is to get white votes. If [Republicans] did that, even without actually cutting off immigration, they could continue to win national elections for quite a long time.”

    Look at Alabama, suggested Brimelow, British born, but now a U.S. citizen. With whites only comprising 65 percent of the electorate, “they’re in worse shape than American whites generally.” Yet McCain easily won that state, in large part because of support from 88 percent of white voters, he said.

    “It seems like an implicit thing that everybody in the South understands how things are and they all vote Republican. Not that Republicans deserve this, but that’s how it works.” McCain, he added, should have said that Obama was the affirmative action candidate. “It would have been so easy. All he had to do is get up and say it.”

    A big concern at the conference was perceived overbearing and unnecessary limits on hate speech. Brimelow said one of the first things he believes Obama will do as president is push through a federal hate speech law that will include “hate facts — the things everybody knows are true but can’t be said.”

    Several of those attending the weekend conference sounded gloomy about the future for what they see as true conservatives. Brimelow professed to be more optimistic. He predicted that Obama will do something “that will start to shock people right away. I think that whites — that is to say Americans — will organize … I think immigration will become an issue and it will become an important part of that organization process.”

    My bolds.

  40. wr says:

    I’d find it a lot easier to buy this “breaking point” theory of protests against government spending if the far right fringes hadn’t freaked out in almost identical ways the second Clinton was elected president.

    True, they weren’t complaining as loudly about taxation then. But the rest of it was the same — the government take-overs, the complete loss of liberty, the one-world government, the president who was a traitor who hated America.

    The only difference was that the militia nuts hadn’t yet taken over the entire Republican party, so they didn’t get the same kind of press. But just as now, they screamed about the necessity for violent revolution in the name of democracy.

    Because, it seems to me, to the tea partiers the only real democracy is one in which their guy is in charge. Anyone else is illegitimate, and therefore all his taxes are a crime.

  41. TangoMan says:

    I’d find it a lot easier to buy this “breaking point” theory of protests against government spending if the far right fringes hadn’t freaked out in almost identical ways the second Clinton was elected president.

    What was a huge undercurrent in the ’92 election? I seem to recall some guy with big ears and a penchant for graphs and charts playing a role in that election and throwing it to Clinton by splitting the vote.

    Come on, you and Reynolds need to get your stories straight. Reynolds is telling us that Obama being black is the primary cause of anger against big government, but now wr is arguing that the anger against big government was also present with Clinton.

    But just as now, they screamed about the necessity for violent revolution in the name of democracy.

    Really? Show me evidence that the Perot followers and Bush supporters in ’92 and the TEA Party members in 2010 were and are screaming for violent revolution.

    Because, it seems to me, to the tea partiers the only real democracy is one in which their guy is in charge.

    You see, this is the wonderful thing about liberty – you can believe whatever you want, no matter how asinine it is. The problem for dudes like you and Reynolds is that you can’t enforce your worldview on others, and luckily for those of us on this thread, you’re doing a piss-poor job of convincing anyone of the merit of your ideas.

  42. Well, of course you would expect a left-wing ideologue like Bruce Bartlett to distort the views of Tea Party Patriots… oh wait…

  43. Davod says:

    Is it a little hot for some posters. Maybe the thought of a three trillion dollar health care reform deformity bill is scaring even the most liberal of you.

    Or maybe it is the letter Caterpillarsent to the Congress saying this Health Care reform deformity will cost Caterpillar $100 million this year.

    Alternatively, the addition of another 15,600 IRS agents may be causing heartburn.

    Surely, this can be the only reason some of you crawled into the gutter and spewed forth the race card so quickly.

  44. Drew says:

    I’ve learned something new about you I had not previously known, Michael, and its not good.

    “It’s not an accident that the GOP is all white, old, rural, Christian and southern.”

    I’m white, not old, not rural, not Christian, and not southern. Otherwise, yer doin’ great….. That’s just awful, Michael. Just awful. Do you wake up every day thinking about stereotypes…………..and race?

    “It’s not a coincidence that the “breaking point” came when the old, white, rural, Christian, southerners suddenly confronted a black president.”

    Wow. I, for one, have never ever considered that Obama’s issues have to do with his ethnicity. His policies are crazy. His skin? I don’t give a shit.

    “The difference between our crazies and yours is that ours are on the fringe, yours are your party.”

    I thought you smarter and more rational than that. A disappointment.

    “But the GOP needs the Tea Partiers. So Joyner has to write an uncharacteristicaly illogical post, and other conservatives have to strain to defend the Tea Partiers’ manifest ignorance, and Brimelow has to rush to defend his brothers and sisters in whiteness, and then others have to try to protect poor Peter from big, mean Michael.”

    For all you Monty Python fans: Can you spot, the Looney?

    Micheal, have you been drinking?

  45. Drew says:

    “Well, of course you would expect a left-wing ideologue like Bruce Bartlett to distort the views of Tea Party Patriots… oh wait…”

    Perhaps some of us view the world through the prism of the strength of argument and merit of ideas…….and others the petty gymnastics of partisanship………yeah

  46. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Some of you people are so full of sh** you stink. You know who you are. Obama and his far far left Alinsky allies have increased the national debt 220 billion dollars per month. We have gotten little for the indebtedness these communists have put us in. You can BS all you want on the blogs, but the people are ready to march on Washington.

  47. sam says:

    @Drew

    Now, if we REALLY want to understand the explosion in government……look at the numbers in this [ed. and the last] century. Truly amazing.

    But the architects and maintainers of the Pax Americana learned, from the getgo, that if the US was to be the guarantor of the freedom of the free world, they could not sell that program, and its attendant megamilitary budgets, without also underwriting a megarobust set of social programs. To try and do so would have been a political nonstarter. Where we are is the result of that historical process.

  48. Michael Reynolds has become little more than a feces flinger. I especially loathe his accusations that so many who disagree with him are racists because, well, because he says so, thereby giving him the high ground from which to fling his feces.

    Not sure why anyone thinks they can have an intelligent interaction with him any longer.

  49. As for Bartlett, calling people ignorant because they don’t know as much as he does about his professional subject matter is some first rate silliness. Especially, when he goes to three significant digits on his statistics. But I’m sure it gets him into the best parties.

  50. Michael Reynolds says:

    Charles:

    I’ve called Brimelow a racist. Because that’s what he is. Read his words above. He’s a racist.

    He’s a racist who is here defending the Tea Party movement.

    And him being a racist doesn’t bother you.

    Nor does his warm embrace of the Tea Party movement.

    No, what bothers you is me quoting his own words to demonstrate beyond even a shadow of a doubt that he is what I said he is.

  51. Michael Reynolds says:

    Drew:

    That’s some fine tsk tsking and name-calling, but rather misses the point.

    We have here a man — Brimelow — who is the intellectual peer of a Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard. No daylight between their racial theories and beliefs.

    And I’m the problem because I call him on it.

    What is so comic about this is that Brimelow has exactly the opinion I have of the Tea Party. That’s why he’s here defending them. Because he’s a smart boy and he knows a recruiting ground when he sees one.

    This is the GOP in microcosm: some honest conservatives like you and Joyner — and then an evil man who hates by race. A man convicted not by me but by his own words.

    And because good and decent men like you and Joyner want to win at all costs, you insist on ignoring the fact that the guy standing next to you is a creep.

    You guys are like the Pope trying to pretend there is no problem with pedophiles in the church. Oh, sure, one or two, but not really a problem.

    Redemption begins with confession not denial.

    Get rid of these people. Stop defending racists and stop defending your use of them. Brimelow laughs at guys like you.

  52. TangoMan says:

    Reynolds,

    You’re off your rocker. If I pulled Al Sharpton’s writings off the net and interjected them into this comment thread and then alleged that you were Sharpton in disguise, I’d be getting the same reaction that you’re getting.

    The fact that you can’t see how insane you are is scary.

  53. Steve Plunk says:

    Mercer, So the party in power should ignore the minority and legislate without compromise? Oh, yeah, that’s what Democrats do.

    Michael, I sure wish you would just quote whatever it is you believe racists. Implication by innuendo is tiring.

  54. Michael Reynolds says:

    Steve:

    Inuendo? I have huge long direct quotes above.

  55. Michael Reynolds says:

    Brimelow:

    You know, if you were a better liar you’d understand that once you start responding to comments addressed to “Brimelow” and when you repeatedly avoid denying that’s who you are, you’ve confirmed it.

    Having admitted who you are, you no longer have a valid reason not to distance yourself from the comments I quoted. Unless of course you agree with the comments I attribute to you.

    I grant you some of these people are stupid enough not to put two and two together, but the better class — the ones you wish you could openly associate with — they know now.

    So let’s take it as demonstrated that you are Brimelow, that you said what you said, and that you’re a racist. Wouldn’t that be better all the way around? Don’t you get tired of pretending?

  56. wr says:

    Tangoman — I’ve never met Michael Reynolds, and I don’t coordinate my messages with him. I’m sure there are a lot of racist thugs in the tea party movement, but there are a lot of people who aren’t racist, just angry, stupid and easily manipulated by the likes of Rupert Murdoch.

    What I’m saying is a certain segment of the far right freaks out whenever a Democrat is in the White House and begins to believe the nation is at peril. Some turn to violence, whether it’s blowing up Federal buildings or flying planes into IRS offices.

    And if you haven’t heard the calls for violent revolution — or for murdering Obama, Reid and Pelosi — then you clearly don’t read the comments on other right wing blogs. Or this one, for that matter, where there have been mutterings about such things. Today in the comments section tied to an op-ed in the Washington Times urging Obama’s impeachment there were many, many messages begging for the military to save our democracy by overthrowing our democratically elected leadership.

  57. Michael Reynolds says:

    Brimelow on his own blog:

    Was the summer surge “racist”? I’m sure that New York Times house-broken “conservative” columnist David Brooks was absolutely right to say he detected no signs of “racism”, in the sense of visceral personal animosity, as he jogged through the 9/12 rally in Washington. (No, It’s Not About Race, New York Times, September 17, 2009.) This got Brooks denounced by Ed Kilgore, a New Republic blogger, as a “Yankee” (!!!—apparently because Southerners regularly mingle with blacks, but everyone knows they’re racist). You have to wonder what the 9/12 crowds would have had to do to satisfy these people.

    But it’s still “about race”. It is no coincidence, comrades, that the backlash is overwhelming white. Whites in America voted heavily against Obama. White Protestants (“let’s face it, they are America”—Phillip Roth, American Pastoral, p. 311) still make up nearly half (42%) the electorate and they voted 2-1 for McCain. But are even 4% of Obama’s appointments white Protestants?

    The plain fact is that the Obama Administration has very shallow roots in historic America. It is, to put it brutally, a minority occupation government. Government and governed have little real contact or mutual understanding. It’s a recipe for continuous clashes.

    You gotta love it when you can quote a racist back to a racist that directly.

    Now, everyone tell me again how wrong I am.

  58. Drew says:

    Slammin’ Sammy –

    That was an odd comment. How does it follow that if the US is to be a military leader in the world we have to feed a portion of the electorate goodies? That’s absurd on its face.

    In particular, when you look at the pct of our resources (GDP) devoted to the military over the past 50 years (declining from half in WWII to plus or minus 4ish% today) vs the wild growth and current level in entitlement spending how do you come to the conclusion that the “megamilitary” expenditure is to blame, and there is some “payoff” notion. That’s absurd.

    Where you com’n from, dude?

  59. Drew says:

    Michael –

    What you and Brimelow do in the privacy of your own bedroom is between you two.

    You are the one who has missed the point. Whether Brimelow or Tango has this or that trait is irrelevant to me. You have imputed racist notions to a broad sweep of people, without any evidence whatsoever.

    You have invented it in your own mind.

    Its not a tsk, tsk, Michael. You need to look in the mirror. You are coming off like a nut, the very type of person at which you are hurling your invective.

  60. steve says:

    A) Thank God for folks like Bartlett who look at the actual numbers, not just ideology.

    B) He is correct that the ignorance of the population and the Tea Party people is stunning.

    C) Sorry, I dont buy the breaking point theory. One looks at not only the debt run up by Republicans, but also their refusal to pay for bills they passed, and there is no credibility on the issue. Add in Medicare D, a blatant vote buying effort, and it gets worse. Next, take reconciliation. The first party to ever use reconciliation to increase the debt? Republicans. Who got rid of Paygo? Republicans. The only time we saw debt go down as a percentage of GDP? Under CLinton. At some point here, it becomes obvious that Republicans either do not care or are incompetent at addressing the issue.

    Steve

  61. TangoMan says:

    Reynolds,

    when you repeatedly avoid denying that’s who you are, you’ve confirmed it.

    When you repeatedly deny still beating your wife, you’ll have confirmed that you do.

    Is that how it works?

    rolleyes:

    Your contributions to this thread are like a masterclass in logical fallacies. Attacking the person, rather than the argument, definitional fallacies, fallacies of appealing to belief, circular logic and appeals to no logic.

    Keep howling at the moon.

  62. TangoMan says:

    At some point here, it becomes obvious that Republicans either do not care or are incompetent at addressing the issue.

    Have you missed the ire that TEA Party folks have been directing at Republicans? I can’t imagine that TEA Party supporters would take much issue with your indictment of Republican behavior.

  63. Davod says:

    “The only time we saw debt go down as a percentage of GDP? Under CLinton.”

    Which would not have happened with a Democratic Congress.

  64. Davod says:

    “So, after racking up higher deficit spending in two years than President Bush (or any other president) did in two terms, President Obama would leave his successor a 12-figure deficit related to Obamacare alone — for the period from 2017 to 2019 alone. That’s according to the CBO.

    And what would we get for all of this? The CBO says that health insurance premiums would rise by 10 to 13 percent in the individual market, in relation to current law. The Medicare Chief Actuary says that the percentage of the gross domestic product spent on health care would also rise in relation to current law, increasing from 17 percent today to 21 percent in 2019. And, as the CBO reports in its latest scoring, as of 2019 there would still be 23 million people in America lacking health insurance.”

    And you worry about the economic ignorance of Tea Partiers.

  65. steve says:

    Davod- Let us be complete. What would they do absent reform? Also, the rise in individual rates assumes people are buying a better plan. Additionally, you do realize the budget for the first year was mostly inherited? That when you look at spending initiated by Obama, it makes up a small percentage of that debt? Look at the numbers, not that hard to do.

    Steve

  66. Matt says:

    Which would not have happened with a Democratic Congress.

    So that’s why the debt went down so fast when Republicans controlled it all… right?

  67. Michael Reynolds says:

    Drew:

    What you and Brimelow do in the privacy of your own bedroom is between you two.

    The cynical snark of every good man who turns a blind eye to evil.

  68. sam says:

    @Drew

    Slammin’ Sammy –

    That was an odd comment. How does it follow that if the US is to be a military leader in the world we have to feed a portion of the electorate goodies? That’s absurd on its face.

    Drew, well, absurd it may be, but it’s the absurdity of our politics. My observation could have been less pompously presented by my saying simply that beginning with the end of WWII, that the US government could get guns without also providing butter was a political nonstarter. There was no way large military budgets were going to get through the Congress without large domestic budgets. Ronald Reagan found that out:

    [T]he [Reagan] budget cuts, while receiving huge media attention, were from the start peripheral as they targeted only a small percentage of federal spending, mainly Great Society-era programs designed to widen the nation’s social welfare net. Reagan was simultaneously proposing massive increases in defense spending. He also followed the advice of David Stockman, his director of the Office of Management and Budget, to avoid reforming entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare that were the largest components of the budget. The budgets of these politically entrenched programs were determined by complex formulas written into the laws creating them. Trying to cutback these programs presented an enormous political challenge, as Reagan learned when the Senate unanimously rebuffed an early attempt to change the Social Security rules. In truth, Reagan had little interest in overturning such popular programs. As he made clear in his diaries, released nearly two decades after his presidency, Reagan’s aim was to whittle away at Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society while leaving Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal largely intact.

    Reagan’s tax and budget proposals were nonetheless controversial. Cutting programs designed to help the poor, liberals argued, placed those Americans at even greater risk. Critics from across the political spectrum warned that the combination of large tax cuts, minimal budget cuts, and increased defense spending was a recipe for an unbalanced federal budget and a larger national debt. Reagan’s advisers, believers in supply-side economics, responded that the economic recovery engendered by Reagan’s tax and budget cuts would expand the tax base and eventually achieve a balanced budget. But this outcome assumed that Congress would make the spending cuts that Reagan had proposed. Instead, Congress enacted most of the tax cuts but made a “Christmas tree” out of the budget bill. It came as a surprise to Reagan that Republican members of Congress loaded up the budget bill with pet spending projects as readily as Democrats did. [My emphasis] The budget would have been out of balance even if the cuts proposed by Reagan had been enacted. As it turned out, the combination of lost tax revenues and higher spending sent the deficit ballooning. [Source]

  69. john personna says:

    I’m late to this discussion, and I tried to read all the comments (until they got repetitive).

    For me the stinker in the original article was this paragraph:

    But it’s unfair to single out the Tea Party movement for ridicule. Those of us who follow public policy very closely have a better idea of economic statistics than average citizens but even most of us only have ballpark estimates of some of the figures that were surveyed here. It’s just unfair to expect otherwise.

    As others have touched on, these are policy activists. Uninformed activists are a little more disruptive than uninformed potatoes slumbering on their sofas.

    Yeah, I’d hope that if you are rallying to change things that you try to understand the problems. (I assume these oldster’s aren’t just there to meet chicks.)

  70. anjin-san says:

    Look at deferred maintenance of road infrastructure, things deteriorate until a bridge collapses

    Hmmm. A bit like our country under Bush. Now the right is in perpetual whine mode because we are crawling from the wreckage…

  71. john personna says:

    Catching up a bit, re. sam and Reagan, I think the key difference between Reagan’s budget and Bush’s is that Reagan genuinely tried. I think his frustration at congressional spending was real.

    On the other hand, we have Cheney’s translation of that same era:

    O’Neill said he tried to warn Vice President Dick Cheney that growing budget deficits-expected to top $500 billion this fiscal year alone-posed a threat to the economy. Cheney cut him off. “You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don’t matter,” he said, according to excerpts. Cheney continued: “We won the midterms (congressional elections). This is our due.” A month later, Cheney told the Treasury secretary he was fired.

    How many Tea Partiers can actually build that Cheney quote into their worldview? How many need to close it off as a dark thought from a bad dream?

  72. How many on the left can actually build the fact that most Tea Partiers would not support that statement by Dick Cheney into their worldview?

    The generalization that goes on by those on the left towards those who challenge their assumptions and assertions is childlike, but I guess that’s what happens when your opponents are stupid and evil by definition.

  73. john personna says:

    I am a measured centrist charles, and that does color my outlook. When I look left I dysfunction as well (a strange combination of liberalism and Wall Street cronyism).

  74. john personna says:

    I am a measured centrist charles, and that does color my outlook. When I look left I dysfunction as well (a strange combination of liberalism and Wall Street cronyism).

    It’s been a while since I took that test, so I took the time for a recheck:

    Economic Left/Right: -0.25
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.95

  75. anjin-san says:

    To the extent that large numbers of citizens are angry at their government because they’re grossly uninformed, the blame lies with their leaders, not them.

    Ah, so. It is the responsibility of the nanny state to make sure citizens are informed, not the responsibility of individual citizens, almost all of whom now have pretty much unlimited access to information via the internets? I see.

    It’s the job of the president and elected representatives to persuade the citizens that their proposed policies are beneficial. If they’re failing to do that, they’re not doing their jobs.

    And they are supposed to “persuade” everyone? Reagan & Clinton both had real gifts in this area, and about half of the people in the country thought either on of them was full of it. Did you forget your thinking cap this morning?

  76. Stan says:

    charles austin, the Bush administration spent money like a drunken sailor, and the only protests I heard from prominent commentators on the right side of the political spectrum were from people like Bruce Bartlett. There were no Tea Party protests, no defections by well known Republican politicians, and no tolerance on the right for deficit hawks like Bartlett, who lost his job at a conservative think tank for daring to criticize Bush. So, I’m not at all convinced that Tea Partiers object to deficits per se. I think what they object to is spending on people they think are unworthy. If the Obama administration had passed a 750 billion dollar tax cut instead of its stimulus plan, there wouldn’t have been a peep out of the Tea Party crowd. In fact, there wouldn’t be a Tea Party.

  77. Stan, then I guess you weren’t reading me, not that I claim to be prominent. But so what? If Bush and the previous did spend like drunken sailors, what descriptive moniker do you give Obama and this Congress for running up deficits 500-1000% faster?

    The characterization of the Tea Party people as being motivated primarily by taxes being too high isn’t quite correct. It is driven more by runaway spending and power grabs, not by any sudden increase in taxes or a lack of sufficient taxation to cover that spending.

    john persona, my comment wasn’t directed straight at you per se, but it is interesting that you chose to take it that way.

  78. anjin-san says:

    It is driven more by runaway spending and power grabs

    The Bush admin vastly expanded the power of the federal government and of the President. What we heard from the right was mostly applause.

  79. john personna says:

    LOL, you quoted a full line from my text, but it you are surprised when I think you are talking to me … what a jerk.

  80. Stan says:

    charles, I think you should judge spending by the Obama administration in the context of the economic climate he inherited. Changes in the economy, either a boom or a bust, bring with them positive feedbacks. A boom, unless dampened by monetary and fiscal restraint by the government, leads to runaway inflation, and a recession, in the absence of low interest rates and fiscal stimulus, leads to a depression. Every economist realizes this. Even Martin Feldstein and Gregory Mankiw, chief economic advisors to Ronald Reagon and George Bush, respectively, favored a large stimulus package. They wanted it to consist almost entirely of tax cuts, but they didn’t object to budget deficits. The same is true of Richard Posner, the highly conservative judge in Chicago, who also backed deficit spending because of the recession. So I have to disagree with your criticism of the Obama administration. Their economic plan is a proper response to the times, and a McCain administration would have run deficits just as big.

  81. TangoMan says:

    Stan,

    I think what they object to is spending on people they think are unworthy. If the Obama administration had passed a 750 billion dollar tax cut instead of its stimulus plan, there wouldn’t have been a peep out of the Tea Party crowd. In fact, there wouldn’t be a Tea Party.

    That’s an interesting thought experiment. Whatever the outcome of such a thought experiment it doesn’t diminish the legitimacy of the TEA Party people.

    1.) It’s entirely legitimate to protest redistributionist spending on people who you think are unworthy of your money. Nothing wrong with that. This goes hand in hand with the quest to drive diversity up to insane levels – greater diversity leads to greater social fragmentation.

    2.) TEA Party folks quite probably think differently than liberals on the issue of whose money is being distributed. TEA Party folks, I would assume, are more likely to think that tax cuts enable them to keep their own money and not view it as a “Gift” from the Feds, whereas liberals are more inclined to view tax cuts as a “gift” that the politicians are giving to favored groups as though the money in question doesn’t actually belong to the people who’ve earned it.

    There were no Tea Party protests, no defections by well known Republican politicians, and no tolerance on the right for deficit hawks like Bartlett, who lost his job at a conservative think tank for daring to criticize Bush.

    All very true, but you’re engaging in a definitional fallacy by equating Republican politics with TEA Party politics. They’re not the same beast even though there are similarities. Prior to the rise of the TEA Party fiscal conservatives, as a power base within the Republican Party, were quite marginalized. Fiscal Conservatives are the core of the TEA Party. The Republicans, over the last number of years, really played up on appealing to social conservatives. The TEA Party just recently seriously downgraded social issues in its platform. Further there are constant reports of Republican movers and shakers being uncomfortable with the rise of the TEA Party.

    In light of these factors I think that going back to your analysis it reads as though you’re condemning TEA Party folks for not being in charge in the Republican Party and for not coalescing together sooner. If this is indeed the undercurrent in your argument, then I can’t see any merit in such an argument.

  82. TangoMan says:

    Their economic plan is a proper response to the times, and a McCain administration would have run deficits just as big.

    The devil is in the details. As Rahm noted, Democrats should never let a good crisis go to waste, and they didn’t, which is why the stimulus spending was a huge pork fest that paid off ACORN and scores of other Democrat constituencies but didn’t do the job that it was supposed to do, that is, stimulate the economy.

    As a number of signatory economists noted in a declaration back before the election, the multiplier effects of tax cuts are more significant than spending programs.

    So, ad arguendo, if McCain’s stimulus was the same in size as Obama’s, the results would be different in that, Obama didn’t direct spending for the purpose of encouraging economic growth but instead directed it to pay-off favored groups. However, it was more likely that McCain would have directed the stimulus package to favor tax cuts and this would have had a far more beneficial effect on the economy and employment than the dud that Obama launched.

    So, as I noted, the devil is in the details, and the details of Obama’s corrupt plan warrant condemnation and a rejection of the claim that the turd that Obama laid was the “proper response” in light of the situation on the ground.

  83. steve says:

    ” but didn’t do the job that it was supposed to do, that is, stimulate the economy.”

    Every major macro forecasting firm says it did. These are the same firms that were quoted by the right claiming that their tax cuts worked to increase jobs.

    Steve

  84. Michael Reynolds says:

    Wow, I guess I’d better apologize for suggesting there was a racist element behind the Tea Party:

    As police held demonstrators back to clear areas for lawmakers outside the Capitol Obama’s speech, some protesters jeered and chanted at the officers, “You work for us.”

    Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., told a reporter that as he left the Cannon House Office Building with Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., a leader of the civil rights era, some among the crowd chanted “the N-word, the N-word, 15 times.” Both Carson and Lewis are black, and Lewis spokeswoman Brenda Jones also said that it occurred.

    “It was like going into the time machine with John Lewis,” said Carson, a large former police officer who said he wasn’t frightened but worried about the 70-year-old Lewis, who is twice his age. “He said it reminded him of another time.”

    Kristie Greco, spokeswoman for Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., said a protester spit on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., who is black.

    Clyburn, who led fellow black students in integrating South Carolina’s public facilities a half century ago, called the behavior “absolutely shocking.”

    “I heard people saying things today that I have not heard since March 15, 1960, when I was marching to try to get off the back of the bus,” Clyburn told reporters.

    Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who is gay, said protesters shouted “abusive things” to him as he walked from the Longworth building to the Rayburn building. “It’s a mob mentality that doesn’t work politically,” he said.

    Yes, I was clearly wrong. I feel just terrible.

    There are none so blind as those who see political advantage in blindness.

  85. TangoMan says:

    <I.Every major macro forecasting firm says it did.

    I call bullshit on this claim. As of March 16, 2010, only 34.11% of the budgeted monies had been spent. Keep in mind that much of this “stimulus” spending is going to programs like Head Start and NASA Climate Change research, programs not known as economic or job stimulus machines:

    Another reason that some analysts frown on the stimulus is the social spending it includes on things such as the Head Start program for disadvantaged children and aid to NASA for climate-change research. Both may be worthy efforts, but they aren’t aimed at delivering short-term boosts to economic activity.

    I’d better apologize for suggesting there was a racist element behind the Tea Party

    You probably should. This latest report likely has as much veracity as the claim made during the election that people were threatening Obama’s life at Palin’s rallies.

    Keep in mind that more racists voted for Obama than voted for McCain. I find it odd that the Democratic Party, infused through and through with racist politics, is so quick to see racism in their opponents when it isn’t there in any institutional sense, and even when alleged to be present, as during the Palin events, it is quickly disproven.

  86. Michael Reynolds, logic isn’t your strong suit, is it? Somewhere there’s a racist to the right of you therefore everyone to the right of you is a racist.

    You are either stupid and can’t avoid invalid generalizations or you can avoid them but don’t which would make you evil. Of course you could be both, which puts you in good company with everyone to the right of you, right?

  87. Stan, have you looked at any of the projection for the next ten years? The idea that Obama is just doing what Bush did is utter BS.

  88. Stan, also as Tangoman noted, there’s a huge difference in tax cuts which allow people to build or create wealth and government spending which merely redistributes it. In fact, they are 180 degrees opposite each other. Imagining they are the same thing is just silly.

  89. Joe says:

    I don’t know about anyone else, but whenever I look at my pay stub and see how much of my hard-earned money went to taxes, I kind of always think it’s too much.

  90. Davod says:

    “The Bush admin vastly expanded the power of the federal government and of the President. What we heard from the right was mostly applause.”

    Examples?

  91. Davod says:

    “I call bullshit on this claim. As of March 16, 2010, only 34.11% of the budgeted monies had been spent.”

    I am surprised that some of the long term unemployed have not caught on to the fact that they are pawns in the Democrats election campaign. Imagine having to wait 18 months before the money finally gets spent, hopefully on real job creation in the private marketplace.

  92. Philanthropist says:

    Insulting the Tea Party protesters is pure fun for the old liberal media because Tea Party protests are really nothing to worry about. The government will carry on until it goes bankrupt. That’s when worrisome protests will start, when the government stops handing over the cash to millions of people whose only occupation is to receive government money.

  93. An Interested Party says:

    This latest report likely has as much veracity as the claim made during the election that people were threatening Obama’s life at Palin’s rallies.

    Really? So you’re calling Cleaver a liar? Does he have to get a DNA test from the spittle to prove his claim?

    That’s when worrisome protests will start, when the government stops handing over the cash to millions of people whose only occupation is to receive government money.

    Who, exactly, are these “millions of people” and what, specifically, is their “occupation”? Do tell…

  94. anjin-san says:

    Examples?

    Guessed you missed the patriot act. Signing statements. The unitary executive. Warrentless wiretaps. Torture. Gulags. And on. And on. Were you in a coma between 2000 – 2008?

  95. Herb says:

    The worst thing about the Tea Party protesters isn’t their ignorance, or their racism, or their bad manners when it comes to people with Parkinson’s disease.

    It’s their annoying sense of self-importance. No, you’re not going to start a new revolution. No, you’re not going to remake American politics in your own image. No, you’re not going to bring the Republicans to heel or scare the Democrats.

    This is what you will do, however:

    You will vote Republican. Nope, a third party insurgency is not in the cards, and even if it were, the Republicans are going to do so much pandering for the Tea Party vote that they’ll probably get it.

    I’m looking at you, Mitt Romney.

    You will, also, continue to marginalize yourselves with your hysterical rhetoric and incoherent flailing. Bet on it: In a couple years, you’ll be back to calling yourself a regular old Republican, and you may look back on your brief flirtation with the Tea Parties as a little embarrassing.

    The Tea Parties are a fad that will fade, not the bedrock of a new grass roots political power. The sooner you admit it, the better off we’ll all be.

  96. TangoMan says:

    Really? So you’re calling Cleaver a liar? Does he have to get a DNA test from the spittle to prove his claim?

    Considering video of the events show no spitting, and no racial or sexual epithets, the window of time for these to occur and not be captured on camera would have to be very small. Possible, but unlikely. As Carson notes the protesters were chanting “Kill the Bill” and the videotape confirms this, but we don’t hear anyone yelling any derogatory remarks.

    Secondly, Cleaver has a history of playing the race card when he finds it convenient.

    Thirdly, that newspaper report is based on the press releases of Cleaver and Carson and doesn’t include a statement from the Capital Police.

    Fourthly, people can get arrested based on false accusations.

    So yes, I do want to see the spittle residue before I’ll believe a man like Cleaver, and men like Frank, Lewis and Carson. The Left has a sordid history of pulling the race card under false pretenses, so I find it too convenient that on the eve of the vote that such an event occurred.

  97. TangoMan says:

    It’s their annoying sense of self-importance. No, you’re not going to start a new revolution. No, you’re not going to remake American politics in your own image. No, you’re not going to bring the Republicans to heel or scare the Democrats.

    So says Herb, so say we all.

    Thanks for setting everyone straight, Herb. Your pronouncements are like wisdom carved into stone tablets.

  98. Herb says:

    Your pronouncements are like wisdom carved into stone tablets.

    Pronouncement? No, it’s a prediction. If the Tea Party movement survives Barack Obama’s presidency, I’ll be surprised.

    If they’re still around the next time the GOP is in the majority, I’ll be really surprised.

    They say the number one threat to the drug gangs of Central and South America is legalization. In the same vein, the biggest threat to the Tea Parties is a successful Republican party.

  99. Stan says:

    charles austin, I think your economic reasoning is unbalanced. Yes, investment is necessary, so taxes can’t be confiscatory, but it’s also true that our economy can’t continue to grow if the middle and working classes don’t have enough discretionary income to keep consumer spending at a healthy level. Due to a combination of factors, both economic and political, middle class incomes have been stagnant for roughly thirty years, despite significant gains in productivity. Families still kept on spending during most of this period because wives and girlfriends went to work and because people became comfortable with carrying large amounts of short term debt. We can’t rely on this in the future, and I don’t think the problem will cure itself. There has to be some redistribution. If there isn’t, we’re in for a rough ride. Protectionism and trade wars are a sure thing, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a rise in anti-immigrant violence and other forms of political extremism.

    As I said in an earlier post, conservatives who could think ahead, Bismark and Disraeli in the 19th century, Churchill and de Gaulle in the 20th, could see that the economic problems of the laboring classes had to be addressed by government. Our current crop of conservatives can’t. All they think about is diverting more money to the wealthy. I think it’s a short-sighted policy, and it won’t end well.

  100. Got it Stan, we don’t want equality of opportunity for everyone, we just want to divert money to the wealthy — even if we aren’t rich ourselves. Thanks for helping me to understand.

    You want to give the middle class more dicretionary income? Cut taxes and stop sepnding so damn much money. Oh sorry, I forgot that’s an unbalanced solution.

  101. Herb says:

    Cut taxes and stop sepnding so damn much money.

    Obama already cut your taxes. So…check.

    As for the spending… The right lacks all credibility on this issue. Here are some of the things right-wingers have no problem spending money on:

    Border fences
    Faith-based organizations
    Government contractors

    Things they don’t like spending money on:
    Poor people
    Scientific or artistic organizations
    Government workers (especially the ones in unions)

    Bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan? Priceless. Giving health insurance to millions of Americans? “Too much spending!”

    The truth is, we both like to spend money, us liberals and you conservatives, just on different things, that’s all.

  102. anjin-san says:

    stop sepnding so damn much money.

    In the Bay Area, I finally see some money being spent on our long neglected infrastructure. Where were the tea partiers were spending countless billions on Iraq, a nation that sits atop an ocean of oil? Or when billions of taxpayer dollars were being flown into Iraq in cash, where they simply vanished?

  103. TangoMan says:

    Due to a combination of factors, both economic and political, middle class incomes have been stagnant for roughly thirty years, despite significant gains in productivity.

    US Census reports:

    Real median income rose for native-born households for the second year, up 1.0 percent from 2006, to $50,946. For foreign-born households whose householder was not a U.S. citizen, income dropped by 7.3 percent to $37,637. For households maintained by a naturalized U.S. citizen, median income remained statistically unchanged at $52,092.

    Income inequality decreased between 2006 and 2007, as measured by shares of aggregate household income by quintiles and the Gini index. The share of aggregate income received by households in the top fifth of the income distribution declined, while the shares for the third and fourth quintiles increased. Meanwhile, the Gini index declined from 0.470 to 0.463, moving closer to 0, which represents perfect income equality (1 represents perfect inequality).

    In 2007, the family poverty rate and the number of families in poverty were 9.8 percent and 7.6 million, respectively, both statistically unchanged from 2006. Furthermore, the poverty rate and the number in poverty showed no statistical change between 2006 and 2007 for the different types of families. Married-couple families had a poverty rate of 4.9 percent (2.8 million), compared with 28.3 percent (4.1 million) for female-householder, no-husband-present families and 13.6 percent (696,000) for those with a male householder and no wife present.

    For Hispanics, 21.5 percent were in poverty in 2007, up from 20.6 percent in 2006. Poverty rates remained statistically unchanged for non-Hispanic whites (8.2 percent), blacks (24.5 percent) and Asians (10.2 percent) in 2007.

    Among the native-born population, 11.9 percent, or 31.1 million, were in poverty in 2007. Both the poverty rate and number in poverty were statistically unchanged from 2006.

    Among the foreign-born population, the poverty rate and the number in poverty increased to 16.5 percent and 6.2 million, respectively, in 2007, from 15.2 percent and 5.7 million, respectively, in 2006. An increase in poverty for U.S. noncitizens (from 19.0 percent in 2006 to 21.3 percent in 2007) accounted for the rise in poverty for the foreign-born population overall.

    We’re presented with a bit of a conundrum here. As I noted in my first comment, Liberals believe all sorts of fairy tales to be reality. Believing that income has been stagnant over the last thirty years is one such fairy tale. The actual data shows that income for American born citizens has been increasing, while the income for immigrants shows decrease.

    Secondly, poverty rates, if we kept the divorce rate and single-parenthood rate constant over the last 30 years would be remarkably lower. Note that only 4.9 percent of married couples fall below the poverty line while compared to 28.3 percent of female householders. As liberals work to destroy social bonds and institutions and replace them with an ever more expansive, or as they might say, inclusive, set of alternative lifestyles, we see the consequences that arise from a loosening of social mores and institutions. The point here is that it is not the economic system which is producing increased poverty in this one aspect, it is social behavior, so if blame must be directed somewhere it should certainly not be directed at economic policies.

    The Census data also breaks down poverty by race and ethnicity. The racial and ethnic make-up of the US 30 years ago is quite drastically different than it is today. Look at the poverty rate of Hispanics, 21.5 percent, compared to the 8.2 percent of whites who are in poverty. If you want to make a valid and useful comparison one of the principal rules of analysis is to compare the same factor across time. Compare white poverty 30 years ago to white poverty today and you’ll have a more useful comparison than simply referring to population. To beat this point to death, what liberals are doing is like taking a bucket of paint, noting how yellow it is, then checking the vividness of the yellow across time as they’re slowly dripping in green paint, and concluding that aging paint changes color. The composition of the paint changes from the start to the end of the comparison.

    As immigrants grow to a larger proportion of our population, our overall poverty rate increases, for we see that native-born Americans have a poverty rate of 11.9 percent compared to a 21.3 percent poverty rate for non-citizens.

    A simple solution begs to be implemented – stop importing poverty, flooding the low skill labor market with excess supply, and increase the rate of family formation and family cohesion in the middle to lower classes, and you’ll very quickly arrest household income stagnation.

  104. An Interested Party says:

    As liberals work to destroy social bonds and institutions and replace them with an ever more expansive, or as they might say, inclusive, set of alternative lifestyles, we see the consequences that arise from a loosening of social mores and institutions.

    Hmm…

    …Liberals believe all sorts of fairy tales to be reality.

    Apparently, so do conservatives…

  105. TangoMan says:

    AIP,

    Apparently, so do conservatives…,

    Explain to me the fantasy you see embedded within my comment. Keep in mind that I didn’t make a normative judgment on the phenomenon, I just referenced the principle of actions having consequences. When liberals seek to weaken social institutions they do so in the cause of individual liberty, letting people follow their hearts, to remove stigma from those who violate social convention, etc, but that doesn’t mean that the results are not without consequence, in the data above we see the disparate impact of poverty on female headed households. If you either legitimize or destigmatize out-of-wedlock birth, then society will see greater incidence of out-of-wedlock birth, and quite frequently we see single mothers living in poverty. Is this really controversial to you?

    Now, divorced people or parents who’ve never married, etc might be quite happy with their lifestyle choice but often the cost of that lifestyle choice brings negative consequences. We can measure economic costs with statistical data gathering and analysis, but it’s much harder to gauge life happiness on some metric.

    There are consequences to choices. You’re being naive if you believe otherwise.

  106. anjin-san says:

    When liberals seek to weaken social institutions they do so in the cause of individual liberty, letting people follow their hearts

    Individual liberty?? The founding fathers would be shocked, shocked I say. We all know how much they hated individual liberty.

    And why should we allow people to follow their hearts when we can say, use the coercive power of government to dictate to gays and lesbians how to live their lives?

  107. An Interested Party says:

    I interpreted your comments to mean that you think that gay marriage will somehow weaken/hurt marriage. Please tell me if I’m wrong. By the way, how, exactly, have liberals legitimized and/or destigmatized out-of-wedlock birth? Also, is there data to prove that families where parents aren’t married are somehow inferior to families where parents are married? Finally, as far as divorce is concerned, should we outlaw it or restrict it? Will that somehow stop the “deterioration” of society, by forcing people to stay in loveless marriages?

  108. anjin-san says:

    AIP… Don’t you wish we poor liberals had moral stalwarts like Ted Haggard to set our course for us? Guess “Do as I say, not as I do”, is the real moral compass they follow…

  109. TangoMan says:

    Homosexual marriage is simply the latest iteration of this dynamic. Liberals are gravitationally attracted to underdogs and outsiders. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with this – it’s not my cup of tea but I don’t condemn it as wrongheaded. The point is, the constant effort to upend society and to reform it results in consequences. Liberals seem to focus exclusively on the intended consequences and, it appears to me, pay no heed to the notion that there can exist unintended negative consequences which arise from their efforts to destroy traditional practices.

    When you make divorce easier to attain, you most certainly free people trapped in bad marriages (good) but you also increase the incidence of divorce and the resultant poverty that usually falls on women and children (bad.)

    I interpreted your comments to mean that you think that gay marriage will somehow weaken/hurt marriage.

    This goes without saying, but probably not in the way that you imagine. If law and custom that pertains to marriage has been developed in response to the relationship of men and women, when you include the dynamics of man-man and woman-woman couplings, and try to write law and develop custom that uniformly treats all couplings by the same rules, then you will degrade the specific laws and customs that worked for the peculiarities of only one form of marriage. For instance, if over time we see that male-male couplings which lead to divorce have heavily contested proceedings on the issue of spousal support, because both men in the relationship are more likely to maintain careers than is the case in a male-female marriage, the law of marriage (a law which applies to all forms of couples) will have to accommodate the new reality and thus reduce provisions for spousal support in all relationships, for to do otherwise would be discriminatory.

    It’s plain as day that when the unique dynamics of male-male and female-female relationships have to stand equally next to the male-female dynamics, that the unique laws and customs for traditional marriage will have to change, a change that is a move away from the optimum.

    By the way, how, exactly, have liberals legitimized and/or destigmatized out-of-wedlock birth?

    Back in the day, welfare used to be reserved for widows and orphans, not for single mothers. When bleeding hearts extended qualification provisions they a.) subsidized out-of-wedlock births, b.) legitimized them, and c.) at the margin made them more attractive to some women. As the margin expands further away from the original starting point to get to where we are today, we see many young women choosing to have babies with men who they don’t think are good enough to marry.

    Also, is there data to prove that families where parents aren’t married are somehow inferior to families where parents are married?

    I didn’t make any statement on inferiority. I stated that women-led family households have a greater incidence of poverty. The data is right there in the US Census link I provided.

    Finally, as far as divorce is concerned, should we outlaw it or restrict it

    I don’t care. I’m not making a normative argument here. I’m making a data-driven argument. Higher levels of family dissolution lead to higher levels of poverty. Society has changed over the last 50 years and social behavior is, in my opinion, a larger driver of poverty than are federal tax codes.

    If you value freedom to divorce more than lessening poverty, great, support liberal divorce laws. If you value reduction in poverty more than freedom to escape a marginal or loveless or less than expected marriage, then great, support tightening divorce laws. I’m not invested one way or the other, I just want more honest argument, where consequences are acknowledged.

  110. The Q says:

    Tangoman,

    Please explain to me based on your “diversity” theories (which you post ad nauseum on every thread here no matter how obliquely relevant they are) how in 1862-1865,in a completely “homogeneous” American society, it was possible for White guys to kill fellow white guys?

    I will patiently await either:

    A. A non answer.

    or

    B. A bullshit answer enveloped in your tedious, ennui evoking prose.

  111. The Q says:

    Tangoman will answer my question by blaming it on the “Negroes” in 5…4….3….2….1

  112. TangoMan says:

    how in 1862-1865,in a completely “homogeneous” American society, it was possible for White guys to kill fellow white guys?

    The Q, Reynolds, and Herb are demonstrating the true nature of leftism and for political independents they serve as the best advertisement against it. They’re all about moral preening and disavowing intellectual substance. At least Herb tries to engage on substance, but Reynolds and The Q simply litter these comment threads with gibberish.

    Look Q, if a nation engages in civil war, it by definition, can’t be homogeneous, for the factors that lead to war imply serious differences between groups. Homogeneity rides on many vectors, race being only one. Culture is an amalgam of many vectors that serves to unite a people. When culture is eroded so that common ground between people diminishes, which is the GOAL of diversity, you know, the celebration of DIFFERENCES, then fractures develop.

    When one group in society believes it is right to own other human beings and treat them poorly and another group believes that all humans are masters of themselves and that slavery is evil, you have a diversity, or heterogeneity, of thought on a very fundamental issue and the inability to resolve the DIFFERENCE leads to a fracturing of society and, in this particular case, to a civil war.