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State Shifts the Tax Burden

By Alan Jilka
Opinion | November 26, 2011

SALINA, Kan. - As he campaigned for governor around Kansas last year Sam Brownback felt little need to lay out any specifics on what he wanted to do once in office. With Republicans having succeeded in nationalizing state and local elections he offered little more than cliches on the need to grow our economy.

A year later his true agenda has come into focus. Brownback's main goal appears to be to shift of the state's tax burden from the wealthy to the middle and lower classes. Two items that will fit into his push during the next legislative session are the revamping of the state's Medicaid program and a push to eliminate the state income tax.

Brownback's ideological push to shrink the size of state government resulted in a six percent cut in the state's current-year budget over last year, with most of the reductions coming in deep cuts to education. Medicaid now offers a tempting target because it will not be defended by a fierce and well-funded lobby.

Public healthcare expenditures in Kansas can be roughly divided into three categories - general health, which includes nursing home care and services for those with disabilities, mental health, and substance abuse treatment. The Administration proposes to combine all into one and accept bids for companies to manage the state program. Their goal is to end up with only three entities managing services. They claim that such a managed-care type system will result in program savings. Critics question the wisdom of having for-profit insurance companies overseeing managed care in an at-risk environment.

The Brownback team showed it ideological colors by rejecting a $31.5 million dollar federal grant to assist in the set-up of a state health insurance exchange required by the federal Affordable Care Act. Such an action gives credence to the idea that their desire to shrink the Medicaid program overrides their desire to take care of those in need.

A move to eliminate the state income tax is actually simply a push to shift the tax burden elsewhere. A task force has been meeting secretly to plot strategy, and when the proposal is made public it will be no doubt be cheered and championed by the billionaire Koch Brothers and other well-heeled political allies of the governor. No one was surprised to learn recently that another billionaire, Missouri resident Rex Sinquefield, is helping to bankroll the group Kansas for No Income Tax.

Last year the Milwaukee Sentinental-Journal published a study of the the percentages of tax revenues that state and local governments utilize to fund services to citizens. The vast majority of expenditures in almost all the states are funded by a combination of sales, property and income taxes. Seven states have no individual income tax - Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington, Wyoming and Texas. Two others tax only dividends and interest - New Hampshire and Tennessee.

States without an income tax tend to have some special feature of their economy that allows them to raise alternative revenues. Alaska and Texas have oil, for example, and Nevada has casinos. But despite that most of these, with the exception of Alaska, have generally higher (regressive) sales taxes and property taxes.

Kansas has only three tax brackets, and the lowest pays 3.5% on their income while the top bracket (everyone earning over $30,000) pays 6.45%. By comparison, Hawaii and Oregon have the highest tax rates of 11%, with top brackets at $200,000 and $250,000 respectively.

By digging into the numbers we see that Kansas is not a heavily-taxed state in terms of state government, only one currently overrun by ideologues. Hopefully the Kansas Senate will see Governor Brownback's true agenda during the upcoming legislative session and prevent he and his Legislative allies in the House from doing further damage to our state.


It would be interesting to see some statistical FACTS on tax collections.

Compare the percentage of taxable income those in the 30K and under bracket spend on items subject to sales tax with those in the 100K and up brackets. The difference will more than make up for the difference between 3.5% and 6.45% income tax.

If they are going to call FICA contributions a tax (which they shouldn't) the 30K and under are paying a much higher % tax on income than the 100K and up.

Nearly all the proposed tax reforms, proposed by the Republicans, favor the wealthy over the lower middle income and under. All governmental functions are financed through some sort of taxation. The more property you own and the more net worth you have the more important government protection becomes.

The 1% have much more need of government protection than the 99%. If someone steals all my property, they won't get much. Eliminate all the welfare subsidies and put a minimum tax on the poor folks and you haven't changed the deficit figures in any significant amount. But, what you have done is moved us closer to rebellion against a government and system that ignores basic human welfare and caters to the wealthy.

You mention "the wealthy" but I really dont see Kansas as a state where millionaries go to live in comparison to say California or Florida. Sure we have the Koch brothers but I dont know of many others.

As for no income tax I know sometimes it can have the effect of more of the elderly deciding to move here when they retire.

Brad, the Koch brothers are "billionaires" and among the top of that category. As to Kansas millionaires, they're decidedly not as rare as you seem to believe. The information below is a bit dated, but probably not so far off:

"Kansas had 43,205 millionaires in 2008, or 3.98 percent of its overall population, according to a national study. That’s a 16 percent drop from 2007 — though laid-off workers in Wichita and elsewhere are unlikely to feel much sympathy. Kansas ranks 30th in the nation in its percentage of millionaires."

Read more: http://blogs.kansas.com/weblog/2009/07/times-tough-on-kansas-millionaires-too/#ixzz1f8uJRers

Best regards, Bob Hooper

Note: Run, Alan, run. Huelskamp is making me ill. (I have your poster from 2009 already stapled to my fence. BH)

"Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone." - John Maynard Keynes

Keynes was a controversial English economist, but I agree with him more than I disagree.

Back on the subject. Brad, how do you define a millionaire? Do they have to net over a million annual net income? Or, net a million gross? Or. control a million in assets? Or, any one or more of the above?

ken, How do I define a millionaire?

Well obviously anyone who has assets valuing over $1m. A category I hope to be in someday.

But thing is thats not a totally accurate picture of someones wealth. For example many Kansas farmers are millionaires on paper (when one adds in the value of their land, equipment, and livestock) but still barely get by. It could be that that money is in investments for a persons retirement.

For example I read that if one desires to have $60k a year income in retirement they must have around $1.5 million in investments. So looking at it that way a million dollars isnt as much as it sounds.

As Bob points out by classification Kansas is around 4% millionaires. I live around many of them in Johnson County. But they didnt get their by stealing or oppressing others like most on the left seem to think. Most started out with modest backgrounds and a combination of education, hard work, and maybe a little luck got to be where they are at today.

Also Bob, I'd like to find out about the drop in the number of Kansas millionaires. Are they moving their assets to states with lower tax rates?

I'm retired, as is my husband. We hardly pay any state taxes, but our income is close to the poverty level. Don't get me wrong. We get by just fine because the house and cars are paid off and our needs are few. I get Medicare and a supplement that I pay for and my husband is able to use the VA for his health care needs. If I didn't live in Kansas already, not having to pay income tax would not motivate me to move here.

I have never minded paying income taxes. As a public school teacher and community college instructor, I know the value of a good education system. And, yes, money does make a difference in the quality of education a community has to offer despite all the propaganda to the contrary. My grandkids are still in public schools in Kansas and I want them to get the best possible education they can. They all live in school districts in which people support public education.

If Brownback's no-tax policy were to be implemented, we would all see a degradation of the quality of life in this state. Studies have shown that quality of life issues are more important to people than not having to pay taxes.

Since Brownback is bought and paid for by the Kochs, however, he doesn't care about the quality of life issues of the rest of us. That's quite obvious in the other actions he's taken during his administration.

Let's take a closer look at Brad's remarks.

(1) He first says he doesn't know many Kansas millionaires (confusing that by using the billionaire Koch brothers as an example. (2) Then says he DOES know many of them in the KC area. However, the issue here is not accumulated wealth/property but TAXABLE income. That is, whether a slightly higher percentage of tax for those who make one million or more in reported, taxable income. That is a significantly different issue. Many in the high income bracket enjoy many tax breaks, which many in lower brackets do not enjoy. So..we're asking whether those people in the million dollar income bracket (actually the figure that's tossed about is $250,00 in TAXABLE income, not gross or net, but TAXABLE.) should at least pay as high a percentage as working people, especially those whose income comes on W-2 forms which expose every dollar. Most of those people have no way to hide their income (not uncommon for the rich who can hire "good" tax consultants), and no significant tax breaks.

Now as to millionaires relocating, no doubt some will be looking for the sweetest deal they can get, tax-wise. I haven't seen any study, however, which indicates that applies to a significant number. Even then, the move to sweeter deals would merely exemplify the problem. It's not wealth, per se, that's the central problem--but fairness. And when the accumulation of wealth and income is increasingly by the upper l percent of the population, and when so many of the 99 see both their wealth AND income diminish--there's an obvious question: are the 99 percent just lazy, or are they being snookered by those not only with wealth, but the political power which wealth delivers these days. And the obvious answer to the obvious question is, as an honest Sara Palin might put it, "You betcha! ".

In Kansas, property tax can be significant, but that is levied by the local governments, cities-counties-schools. And those areas are predominantly Republican and would declare themselves overwhelmingly "conservative."

Of interest is the polls which show that millionaires, as I've defined them, think they SHOULD pay somewhat higher taxes, because the honest ones know and will own up that (as Elizabeth Warren has eloquently said) NOBODY makes it all on their own. And many of those who don't make it, wealth or income-wise, are not personally to blame. There are a variety of reasons why that is true, including genetics and health. And, as well, there are millions of people who contribute to our society whose ambition is NOT to become wealthy but to leave the planet a little better by their life and efforts.

I do want to thank Brad for presenting his view, but would ask him to consider those who've been instrumental in his own life for the level of success he's enjoyed.

Bob, Maybe I should clarify my remark about Kansas millionaires. Maybe a better classification would be multimillionaires who can afford the condos on the beach, the private boats, and own 20,000 square foot mansions.

I've talked to people from California who make a great deal of money but that is countered by the fact the cost of living is so darn high out there. They almost fall over when they find out what my house costs compared to a similar home in California.

Here in Johnson County a couple who make $200k or more a year can easily accumulate over $1m in assets if they invest and save well. Yet they might not feel rich.

I guess it comes down to seeing people who are doing better than you are.

As for taxes I favor a simplified tax code where most people pay between 10-20% on income with fewer deductions for people in upper income brackets. I do like it though when those wealthy people contribute big time to charities. I've been a part of a charity event where we had people handing over checks for $10,000.

Again, Brad. The issue is NOT about $1,000,000 in assets but about one million in TAXABLE income, a very different situation. THOSE people are precisely the ones who ARE multi-millionaires and add a million or more in TAXABLE income every year. Please think about that.

It's not about envy, Brad. It's about fairness. And abuse of political power through money and wealth.

Now, consider the following--

"It turns out, however, that it's not just Obama and the "mobs" at Occupy Wall Street protests who think the richest Americans should pay their fair share. According to a new poll by the Spectrem Group, nearly 70 percent of millionaires believe millionaires should pay higher taxes. The Wall Street Journal reports:

'Warren Buffett isn't the only rich guy who wants to higher taxes on the rich.

'A new survey from Spectrem Group found that 68% of millionaires (those with investments of $1 million or more) support raising taxes on those with $1 million or more in income. [NOTE: "in income"] Fully 61% of those with net worths of $5 million or more support the tax on million-plus earners." [NOTE: "million plus EARNERS"]

Your observation that its cheaper to live in Kansas than California is probably correct, and weakens your argument that higher taxes on those who make a million in taxable income would leave the state, doesn't it?

"It's about fairness." No sir, it's more about what is right and what is wrong. The fair-unfair thing is way too subjective and open to emotional opinions, especially when it come to drafting tax policy and other legislation. It's always a big red flag when liberals mix the words "fairness" and "taxation" in the same paragraph. To prove my point, what do you thing is fair - 50, 60, or maybe 70%? What is rich - $250,000, $500,000, $1,000,000 per year?

Curious, r u insinuating that individuals in the million dollar income tax bracket are not working people? You might want to clear that up a bit so that there's no confusion as to whether or not you're engaging in a little bit of petty class envy. Also, you're aware of the CBO statistic that the top 1% of wage earners in this country pay 39% of the tax burden, right, along with the other relative statistics? (Who is paying all the taxes?)

Liberals also really need to knock it off with the Warren Buffett thing - its lame.

The 1% is paying 39% of what taxes? If you consider FICA as taxes and then add in all the local property tax, sales tax, licensing fees, etc., I'll guarantee you the top 1% are not paying 39% of all taxes.

Even if they are, is that so unfair? They control well over 39% of the total wealth in the nation and they dictate more than 39% of the job opportunity and wages of the working classes. They also pay lobbiests to influence legislation instead of having to demonstrate in the streets.

Petty class envy? I don't envy anyone with so much money they don't know what the rest of the world has to do without. I don't envy anyone who begrudges a govenrment expenditure to relieve the misery of some poor hapless soul. I don't envy any business that has to ignore long term polution so they can turn an easy profit. I don't envy you or your lifestyle. In fact, I don't envy anyone.

The same CBO statistical tax breakdown also shows (and I’m sure you know this) that 47% of wage earners don’t pay any income tax. To use the language of a liberal, what is so “fair” about that? These CBO stats paint a wrong, unbalanced, upside down picture. What is right, what is sound, and if you insist, what is “fair,” is that ALL wage earners pay the same income (flat) tax rate – whether you earn $15k per year or $15 million per year. No more progressive, punitive tax rate tables. No more loop holes, no more convoluted tax write-offs (except for, any this is important, charitable contributions), no 2000 page IRS tax code, and no more IRS as we know it.

You better believe conservatives begrudge government expenditures that are bankrupting us – like Greece. Is that what you want? Do you want our federal government deeply entrenched in the business of charitable hand-outs and entitlements? Do you want to keep pursuing that socialist utopia that is going to cause our financial collapse? Do you want to continue labeling the successful as the “class of greed”? Do you want to continue with the Bob Beckel economic model of “just print the money and get it out there to the people who need it – the national debt is no big deal – it’s just money that we owe to ourselves”? Of course you do, you’re liberals.

Our Constitution makes the reference of “the general welfare” of civil society. That doesn’t mean, like progressives like to read into it, as “monetary” welfare – that’s not what our Framers were referring to. Read my comment on Peter Herbert’s Everyday Citizen post dated last August 27th referencing a president, Grover Cleveland, who knew how to put his foot down when it came to government hand-outs. I love that guy, and you know what, he was a Democrat – a tough, hard-nosed Democrat.

Those at the bottom who don't pay income taxes, don't pay income taxes because they're essentially broke through no fault of their own. They DO pay a HIGHER PERCENTAGE, generally, of their over-all income in other taxes: sales taxes, fuel taxes, vehicle taxes, and very likely some property and school district taxes, for example.

The fundamental fact is that the disparity between the rich and poor has grown steadily since the 1970's and is at the widest gap since the Great Depression. Face it: the rich essentially own government through corporate bribery and do all they can to enrich themselves at every opportunity. And no, multi-millionaires are not "working people" in the common parlance. Some do work, but very few sweat, except on the golf course, and then only when they get out of the shaded carts for five minutes. They can cool their throats back at the exclusive clubhouse. Often, however, they do organize and scheme. Give us a break.

Not just Warren Buffet but a significant majority of multi-millionaires (those who are honest) AGREE they should be paying more. It's called FAIRNESS.

The theoretical tax rate on the upper bracket is 35 pct. thanks to the Bush "job creation" bullsh*t. The word "theoretical" is appropriate because the actual tax rate is far less. The Wall Street Jounal, hardly a hotbox of liberalism, gives Bush "credit" for the worst job creation record since such records were kept.

Any working stiff, male or female, owes himself or herself, to read -- Thomas Frank's "The Wrecking Crew" and Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States." (I recommend removing Fox News from your yearly schedule. Okay to watch on New Years Eve, if your liquor cabinet has some cheap gin)

Now, if I lived in Bakersfield and flew a jet for corporate fatcats and wanted to endear myself to them, I'd probably kiss butt and write something friendlier they would orgass over.

Keynes was/is absolutely correct. Certainly, government should be held accountable for efficiency and appropriateness of programs. But today, the biggest problem we face is joblessness and consumers who cannot afford to consume except by going in debt. This is NOT a time to cut expenditures indiscriminately but a time to invest: infrastructure and education comes to mind.

The wealthy (including corporations)are sitting on trillions, and the conservative theory seems to be if we just give them more and more money, they'll create good jobs with decent benefits and wages. That is so bizarre a claim it should only draw sad laughter. Our own history and the history of other countries proves otherwise. Things get better only when working people demand it and are willing to sacrifice time and energy to accomplish it. The mufti-millionaires, billionaires, and corporate giants will continue to fund clever think tanks to spread their propaganda, do all they can to smear movements like *Occupy--and if that fails, pull out the pepper spray and clubs. Ain't nothing new, folks. It's happening.

Read Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" and Thomas Frank's "The Wrecking Crew."

Bob, why do you democrats keep blaming all the countries problems on Bush? It's YOUR man who's in the white house and before Bush we had 8 years of another democrat plus many of the years Bush was in office the democrats controlled congress so that "Blame Bush" game rings hallow.

Brad, in the narrow sense, you're correct. The Bush administration itself (not Bush himself, though he's sure to go down in history with a dismal rating) was a disaster. The Bush tax cuts alone are more responsible for the current deficit than ALL of Obama's policies calculated through 2017 by the CBO. Two ill-advised wars including the illegal one in Iraq, ALSO by themselves account for more deficit than all of the Obama years extended. Obama's stimulus spending AND his stimulus tax cuts add up to just over $1.4 trillion, far less than Bush's tax cuts for the rich--which were responsible for the worst job creation in recorded history. That added to the moronic deregulation of the fiscal sector are primarily responsible for the mess. And, again that is not GW Bush singularly to the anti-regulatory conservative Republican love affair with deregulation (the repeal of Glass-Steagall) which allowed all banks to speculate with hokey derivatives and default swaps, etc. And all too often the rating agencies like S&P gave them AAA ratings--either not smart, or sold out, take your choice.
In 1999 when the mostly Republican authored and supported repeal of Glass-Steagall was passed, here was the verdict of the smart people of the time (quote courtesy of the New York Times) :

"... consumer groups and civil rights advocates criticized the legislation for being a sop to the nation's biggest financial institutions. They say that it fails to protect the privacy interests of consumers and community lending standards for the disadvantaged and that it will create more problems than it solves.

"The opponents of the measure gloomily predicted that by unshackling banks and enabling them to move more freely into new kinds of financial activities, the new law could lead to an economic crisis down the road when the marketplace is no longer growing briskly."

But greed won, and we all, particularly working people, are still paying the price--not the CEO's and the really rich, who came out okay and in many cases, came out much richer. NOTE: In 1999 BOTH houses of Congress were controlled by the Republicans.

These days, everything is far from hunkey-dorey, but the main blame does to the failure of Republicans to act in the public interest rather than their own: their goal being to keep the economy as dismal as possible with the intent of corporate interests controlling EVEN MORE of what should be a government of, for, and by the people. Again, read "The Wrecking Crew."

When you speak of the other Democrat in power for 8 years, you have to mean Bill Clinton. Whatever his personal flaws, he achieved a budget surplus and his credited with creating 22 million jobs (compared to GWB's 3 milion--which is actually a loss, since 125,00 jobs are needed each month to keep up with new entries)

As to control of Congress during the GW Bush years: "The Republican Party kept control of both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate until 2007. The Democratic Party wrested control of both houses of the 110th Congress, although by a very slim margin, especially in the Senate."

So basically, for the Bush years the Democrats held a slim majority for only two years, not enough to pass veto-free legislation--and by that time most of the anti-regulatory damage had been done. Because of the present administration policies it's better than it might have been--but we have more to do--and the Republicans can only think in terms of cuts which cost even more jobs.

Brad, you have much to learn. The question is whether you're willing to try.

Jonathan, you seem to indicate you are a whiz bang on economics and statistics. How about considering the following?

If 1% pays 39% of all taxes and 47% pay no taxes, where does the balance come from? My calculations say that 52% of the tax payers are paying 61% of the taxes. Those 52% are the middle income folks, somewhere between $30,000 and $1,000,000. The majority of those are closer to 30K than 1M. Once again, who pays the most of their income out in sales tax, personal property tax, license fees, etc.? Those folks in the 47% that you say pay no taxes to support government are spending the majority of their income on goods that are subject to sales tax. Their modest homes are on the property tax roles and they pay the same % as the millionaires on assessed property values. Most all of their income is subject to FICA.

The simple fact is: Those folks in the 0 to $106,000 are paying FICA on most all of their income. They pay 7.65% on all their income (except for now, that is temporarily cut back a couple %) Those in the $200,000 category are paying half that amount in % of income. Continue on up to the $1,000,000 cats and they are paying 0.00765%. Is it fair to exempt the wealthy from FICA taxes and then use those trust funds to fund the general budget, so the wealthy don’t have to pay more income tax?

If you think flat tax will eliminate all the loopholes and paperwork, you are dreaming. The biggest discrepancy in taxable income is all the allowable deductions to get to gross taxable income. What about capital gains, depreciation, and stock options in lieu of salary? Some types of income are exempt, some are deferrable, etc. The lower income folks can’t hire accountants and tax lawyers to finagle all the loopholes.

“ . . . because they’re essentially broke through no fault of their own.” Now how in the world would you know that? Face it: you don’t. There’s a lot of nonsensical crap here - let’s look at the most glaring – Slick Willie’s record. The total of Clinton’s “claimed surpluses” (thanks in great part to then Speaker Newt Gingrich) was $431 billion from 1998 to 2001. Yet our total national debt rose every single year that Clinton was in office – September 30, 1993 . . . $4.3 trillion, and September 30, 2000 . . . $5.6 trillion. Clinton got Americans to focus only on the “public debt” while conveniently ignoring the “intra-governmental debt” when making boisterous statements (public + intra-governmental = total national debt). Bottom line – the Clinton surpluses were all about nothing.

Yes, absolutely, NOBODY makes it all on their own. That’s why on a regular basis I thank the Lord our God for giving our Founding Fathers the wisdom and the foresight, when drafting our founding documents, which put in place a republic governed by a representative democracy and fueled by free market capitalism. Yes, we ALL have an equal opportunity, if one really wants to work hard, to acquire wealth in this great country.

(Brad, at first he’s going to try and make you feel one-inch tall by telling you that you have a lot to learn here. But when he starts asking you for your last name and address, you can be confident that you’re now winning the argument.)

I've always said that if Bush was sooo bad... why didnt the democrats put up someone decent to beat him in 2004?

Instead, they had this zoo of a primary system where goofball Al Sharpton was allowed to dominate, and they elected John Kerry the wealthiest member of the senate and one least likely to inspire the democratic base. Shoot, a trained monkey should have been able to beat Bush but the democrats spent a billion bucks and couldnt do it.

As for the Bush wars remember 9/11 started all of that and its very likely that even if Gore was in office that the wars would have happened anyways.

Its very hard to be a moderate on this forum. Write a counter to a democrat and your labeled a right winger.

I'm a Democrat and I agree with you that John Kerry wasn't the strongest candidate we could pick. But, that does not excuse the Bush Administration from accountability for the haphazard launching of a war based on false information and lack of military preparation.

Bush's next 4 years were more of the same. Irresponsible oversight of the military interogations, failure to monitor private contractors, bull headed relations with allies, abuse of privacy in the name of National Security, and the list could go on and on.

The talking heads for the Republicans seem to think Obama should have been able to clear all the mess up, without any help from an uncompromizing House and a minority in the Senate.

And, incidentally, moderates are not very popular on either side of the issues. That is quite unfortunate. Extremeism is not good.

John Maynard Keynes – quite possibly the most dangerous economist in history. Put simply, Keynes believed that savings was akin to hoarding and greed. He believed that balancing budgets by paying down debts was both unnecessary and counterproductive, and he mocked what he saw as the “cult of savings.” It’s difficult to capture his twisted, backward logic – except to make an occasionally parody like this one – “the more you spend the more you have, and the more you eat your cake, the more cake you have to eat” (economist Henry Hazlitt).

Of course, like any good progressive, Keynes himself never actually practiced what he preached. As his investment portfolio and sizable savings later revealed, Keynes was a pretty lousy Keynesian! He had no children but he accumulated great wealth that he lived off of and used for further investments (as the old saying goes, “do as I say-not as I do).

Is it possible that people like FDR, Barack Obama, and Paul Krugman could endorse the views and economic theories of a man who believed that capitalism was a failure without themselves believing that? Wouldn’t that be akin to someone who endorses the views of a KKK member saying that it doesn’t mean they dislike African-Americans?

Keynes’s theory was seductive because it allowed politicians to link their personal ambitions. Thanks to the economics of Lord Keynes, the Democrats could buy their votes with an absolutely clear conscience, in the genuine belief that deficits were good for the economy. This allowed them to, in effect, promise the people something-for-nothing. They could have all the new government programs they wanted and it would not cost a dime, because they were paid for with deficits rather than taxes.

"Yes, absolutely, NOBODY makes it all on their own. That’s why on a regular basis I thank the Lord our God for giving our Founding Fathers the wisdom and the foresight, when drafting our founding documents, which put in place a republic governed by a representative democracy and fueled by free market capitalism. "

What a regressive attitude that overlooks all the social problems we have had in this country. This completely overlooks the work of various other groups which have greatly impacted our country. The constitution is great and capitalism can be better than a government planned economy, but even a religious figure like Pope John Paul has criticized free market capitalism, even saying once,

"The Church's social doctrine adopts a critical attitude towards both liberal capitalism and Marxist collectivism"

Seriously, lets not kid ourselves, some people get left out of the benefits of the free market capitalist system. For one to say he owes his success to exclusively God, Constitution and Free Market Capitalism and that there has not been any additional social advantages is a joke.

Hard work can go a long way, but to say that those who haven't been able to be more successful are just too lazy or accomplish so is just plain ignorant. Nobody, is proposing a Soviet style economy, but myself like many people what a country where the voice and concerns of one person is just as valuable as another.

To be fair concerns regarding government waste and fraud by conservatives is fair and I think the Democrats need to be more willing to listening to reform regarding such issues and be willing to look for compromise.

"To be fair concerns regarding government waste and fraud by conservatives is fair and I think the Democrats need to be more willing to listening to reform regarding such issues and be willing to look for compromise."

What does compromise mean? Is it like the old gentleman said, "Me and my wife have never had serious dissagreements? I just compromise with myself and do it her way."

The Republicans have done very little compromizing on most issues. They refuse to budge and the Democrats, finally, compromise with themselves and cave in to the Repubs demands. The Democrats don't have a stellar reputation for compromising, but they have seldom been as obstinate as the present cadre of Republcans.

Brad commented about 'moderates'. In truth we are, basically, dependent upon moderates, from both parties, to form coalitions that attempt to find middle ground on spending cuts, tax reform, immigration issues, religious and moral issues, etc.

We have a surplus of partisan polititians and a shortage of diplomats. We also have a shortage of educators who understand political history and its application in today's environment.

About Keynes: First, he was a firm believer in capitalism AND fiscal responsibility. BUT, he also understood that free market capitalism was cyclical, and led predictably to periods of recession and even depression. In what we might call "up" times fiscal austerity made sense. In "down" times, it did not. In down times, given the fact that consumerism drives the economy more than any other single factor, government spending was in order. Austerity was not.

In "down" times, many people had little or nothing to spend, and many of those who had money were scared to spend it. Consequently, the government had to prime the pump, not cut indiscriminately. For all things, there is a season.
Today mindless austerity is NOT the answer.

Keynes tried to tell Roosevelt that, but Roosevelt didn't listen at first. Then he did. We got the WPA and the CCC, and government investments. Then came massive government expenditures in World War II, following the war an entitlement program called the G.I. Bill helped to make a middle class. The rise of trade unions brought more money into working people's pockets, as well. And things improved...until the 1970's when corporate greed and power bought enough of government to begin a slow and steady decline in the middle class.

Very few progressives (including this one)are in favor of government waste, but neither are progressives (including this one) ready to quietly countenance rapacity by the corporatocracy/plutocracy too much in power today. We're working for a government of, by, and FOR the people. We know about The Gilded Age (read your history), and we see too much of the same atmosphere and mentality today (as exemplified by the "Jonathans" and we are going to F.I.G.H.T. and make some changes.

And one more thing: The right wing always does it best to paint their opposition as those who favor or excuse welfare cheats who work the system. Let's set the record straight. Yes, there are who draw welfare and shouldn't. Relatively speaking, they are few compared to those who need compassion and government assistance (often for a limited period of time), but yes there are cheats. BUT...

Let's imagine raking up the benefits stolen by what we might call lower class welfare cheats, figured as cash, into a pile. Significant pile, eh? (Well, it does make an emotional argument the right likes)

NOW...let's consider the wealthy and powerful who also work the system to their own advantage, fiscal and political: the CEO's,the bankster-fraudsters, the lobbyist payoffs and junkets, the tax loopholes, the environmental and health damage, and the theft of benefits for wage-earners shoved onto the public-- and rake that into a pile. Compare piles.

The ripoff by the underclasses is a molehill. That ripped off by the privileged few is a MOUNTAIN!! That has to change. And will! We're no longer buying the right wing bull bleep.

Aha. I thought so. It was a little too "smooth."

"Jonathan" plagiarizes. (See his reply to Ken Poland earlier today) Of course, maybe "Jonathan" is really Glenn Beck or Kelvin Balfe, one or the other or both. In which case I take it all back, but then we would know who Jonathan really is, and where he lives--which seems to make him very nervous to disclose.

There's a lot verbatim but without attribution from Beck's book "Broke" (page 65, and perhaps elsewhere) published a year ago, October 2010.

It should help now to know where Jonathan gets his "stuff." Beck hasn't a clue about Keynesian economic theory, which explains why Jonathan hasn't a clue either.

Bob--Thanks for the explanation of Jonathan's formulaic, never-varying posts. In his world, all things are black and white. When I read comments from you, Ken, or Brad, those of you who comment most often, I don't always agree with you, but I do find a reasoned, thought-provoking addition to the discussion. I've decided not to respond to Jonathan's comments any longer. There's no point in it. He already knows it all.

I've used food stamps. It happened after I divorced my first husband and had to work two or three part-time jobs to support the kids because their dad quit sending child support. My dad, a retired truck driver, told me to get food stamps because he had paid enough taxes that we should take advantage of them. I didn't use them for too long, but they sure did make a difference when it came to feeding three hungry, growing boys. I would never begrudge anyone help paid for by taxpayers because I know how much it's needed.

As for plagiarizing from Glenn Beck, that's hilarious. Beck was too nutty even for FAUX News. That's pretty darned nutty.

Well, I thought maybe you guys were a little too easy on me with the plagiarism thing. My copy/paste/Google snooping revealed that Ms. Wahto is guilty of plagiarizing material from a website named “Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice” for an Everyday Citizen blog dated 11/20/11, and if I snooped around some more, I could probably find others here doing the same thing. Not that it matters to a rat’s behind, but some individuals here should be a little more careful with the finger pointing. (Diane, you’ve said in the past that you’re not going to respond to me anymore, but it seems like you just can’t ignore me.)

I will admit out of all the authors here, you are the savviest, but do you honestly believe a heavyweight like Glenn Beck is going to waste his time posting on a small website like this one? Use of the copy/paste tool is a little like reading from a text book in front of the class – a classroom full of liberals lost in the “fog” of progressivism that needs to be spoon fed the truth.

Why is it that some prolific writers on the Left, especially the self aggrandizing ones, never get published on a grand scale? I think I know why. Snarky liberalism just does not sell. It’s a bore. It’s no surprise why some authors like Beck are in the big cities raking in the big yucks for what they have to say, while others are stuck in the middle of nowhere (flyover country) with backward, upside down points of view that are destined to go – well, nowhere.

NOT responding to you-know-who, but I must point out to the rest of those who comment on this site that I always give credit to sources when I use information from others to support my point of view. That's one of the basic principles of research: Always cite your sources. In fact, I usually inclule a URL for people to follow when I cite a source.

I taught research writing in English Composition II for more than twenty years and one of the things I hammered home to my students is that in order to avoid plagiarism, they must cite the sources they use in their research essays. Most of them got it. The few who didn't got a stern hallway lecture from me. One man was almost in tears when I told him he was getting a F on his plagiarized essay. Plagiarism is stealing. Citing sources is good research.

So, rest assured, those of you who follow my posts. I never use information not original with me without citing the source.

Well, Jonathan, "There you go again." More relevant--to use a cliche'--you've been caught with your trousers down. You plagiarized.

Whether out of ignorance or design is up for grabs, but at a minimum it's dishonest. Anyone who does honest research knows that. A common sophomoric defense mechanism is to grow lamely defensive, say, "Well, ever'body else was a'doing it." Now then, one has to wonder--since "self-aggrandizing, snarky liberalism" (would that be ad hominem?)is so boring and unprofitable, why you are so concerned

Is it that at heart you're still the high school kid who has an attention deficit? Perhaps it's because your favorite (and own "snarky") biases are challenged and that makes you uncomfortable. Maybe a little of both.

Without granting that philosophies like your own ARE as popular as you seem to believe, what sells to mass audiences has, ipso facto, little to do with relevance or truth. Sometimes the relevance and truth is popular, sometimes it isn't. Sometimes what's popular with the masses is not just untrue, but dangerously so. Not uncommonly, in fact, the truth hurts and is decidedly UNpopular. Ergo: your position here is logically full of holes.

Few with any credible academic standing take Glenn Beck seriously. Let's get to the crux: his interpretation of Keynesian economic theory is self-serving and wildly off the mark, but you swallowed it whole. I understand, however, why you would be attracted to is ideology since it mirrors your own. I get why you might be reluctant to expose him as your source. I understand, too, why you've had nothing more to say about your claim some time back that in the 1970's scientists were predicting another Ice Age, when in fact some 60 pct. even then were predicting global warming. Perhaps you were listening to Glenn Beck?

Few will respond to your posts now, but you truly have served a purpose of sorts (for us "self-aggrandizing, snarky liberals") by exposing dutifully and relentlessly your own snarky, self-aggrandizing,imitative Glenn Beck mentality. Thank you.

Well, sorry Ms. Wahto, but even after a second opinion from this end (my substitute school teacher better half), we've decided that you missed one. But that’s ok; we’re not going to hold that against you. You’re not alone.

I really want to thank you, Mr. Hooper, for putting me in the same company with a superstar like Glenn Beck. That truly is a great compliment. Again, thank you.

Also, thanks for opening my eyes to how rampant the “p” thing is in the blogosphere. Not only is it common with older Everyday Citizen blogs as I have discovered last night, but it’s commonplace with Democratic Underground and Daily Kos as well (among others I’m sure). Maybe this would be a good topic for someone to take up on the front page in the future.

The bottom line: you’re correct – plagiarism, even the benign form, is unethical and wrong. And laziness, or “I was just too busy,” is no excuse. But I think you need to keep something in perspective. I’m not a credentialed author here or anywhere, nor do I want to be. I’m not turning in a fraudulent term paper to my professor for a grade. I’m not looking for monetary return from someone else’s written work. I’m just a nobody really – a conservative loud mouth who is just trying to pass along the facts in a dinky little comment section of a quiet website. (Bob, you’re a dynamic individual. Believe it or not, we’d love to meet you someday-as long as we keep politics to a minimum!)

I just want to say something about taxes. I just bought a new car and went in to pay the salestax on it. Well low and behold you pay salestax not only on the price of the car, but the extended warranty.

Darn, when is the government going to run out of things to tax?

Brad, the answer is, when you run out of anything to tax.

Who do you suppose will run out first, the rich, middle class, or poor? The rich are pretty much in charge, so you can bet they will protect themselves.

Whether we agree with their methods or not, the OWS movement is attempting to bring the inequities of opportunity and wealth to our attention. But, will they succeed before more violent protest and revolution erupts?

The pure capitalistic system is saying, "Be damned the environmental or social damages of our progress, profit is the deciding factor for all our endeavors." And, they don't cotton to letting taxes slow their progress. So, you pay your taxes like a good little boy, and quit complaining. Just be thankfull you can still buy a new car.

Sales tax is a regressive tax that doesn't tax the wealthy as much as it does the middle and lower income segments of society.

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