Why Does Anyone Vote Republican Any More?

A graph of US national debt vs. President since World War II—click for a larger view.

In the final few days before the US Presidential election, I thought it might be prudent to ask the question: why does anyone vote Republican? After all, from an outsider’s point of view, the crimes against humanity, the US constitution and the economy by the Bush administration are just so outrageous, it is hard for any sane person to imagine why Americans would even consider voting Republican! So I thought I should take a look at the common answers to this important question.

One thing people keep saying is that Obama’s tax changes will bankrupt the US economy. It’s as if he has some kind of radical tax plan, the likes of which America has never seen before. But really, all he’s actually proposing is to restore the same kind of tax distribution we had under the previous Democrat (Clinton) administration. But hang on! We all know that Republicans are far more fiscally responsible than Democrats, right? So we can’t go back to the tax system we had under Clinton, right? In that case, I suggest you take a very good, long hard look at the image above—a graph of US national debt vs. President. And what better way to judge a government’s fiscal responsibility?

Wait a minute! That graph must be the wrong way around, right? Actually no, it isn’t. In spite of their claims of being “fiscally conservative”, since World War II, Republicans have out borrowed and out spent Democrats by an average ratio of three to one! Even immediately after the war, Republicans were already out borrowing and outspending Democrats, but in fairness the difference wasn’t really significant. Until the first neo-conservative (Reagan) administration, that is. Reagan was elected on a platform of adding a balanced budget amendment to the US constitution, yet he actually increased debt to levels never seen before (needless to say, he never made good on his election promise!). The raw statistics of the Reagan administration’s borrowing and spending are absolutely stunning—the debt accumulated during Reagan’s two terms in office was larger than all the debt accumulated by all the previous Presidents of the United States combined! It went from just under one trillion dollars when he came into office, to over 2.6 trillion dollars when he left—an increase of over 260%! Republicans try to make the excuse that this debt increase was actually the fault of a “big spending” Democratically controlled congress, but this goes against the facts: the Republicans controlled the senate for the first six of Reagan’s eight years in office. And even worse, when the Democrats really did control congress during his last two years in office, the increase in debt actually slowed down!

So where did all that money go? That’s the most tragic part of all. It wasn’t used to fund investment, infrastructure or anything else that might have benefited the nation as a whole (indeed, he actually cut back on many government programs, such as Medicaid, Food Stamps and education). Reagan didn’t even have to finance a war. Most of that money went to tax cuts, the vast bulk of which going to the rich. And he didn’t compensate for the loss of tax revenue with reduced spending, so he had to run up that 2.6 trillion dollar debt to make up for it. Before Reagan, the gap between the rich and poor was narrowing, and people were working less and less hours on average. But with the election of the Reagan administration (along with the similarly inclined Thatcher administration in Britain), this trend was completely reversed: the gap between the rich and the poor has been widening ever since, and low to middle class people are now working longer and longer hours. The conservatives blatantly and unapologetically implemented policies that gave advantage to the rich over the poor and middle class, and yet, Reagan is one of the most highly ranked former Presidents in popular opinion polls!

George Bush Sr. actually ended up co-operating with the Democrats to try and bring the debt down, but it was too little too late. Yet even though Clinton inherited this massive (and still growing) debt—and had to deal with a very hostile Republican congress for the last six of his eight years in office—he still was actually able to bring the growth in debt down to almost zero (0.32%) by the time he left office. He also oversaw what is now widely regarded as the greatest period of economic prosperity in America’s history—and all this while the Republicans were trying to impeach him for a blow job! Had the Democrats been returned for another term, we very likely would have seen the first reduction in US national debt since 1961. But of course they weren’t returned—instead we got George Bush Jr.

Almost as soon as he got into office, Bush gave a massive tax cut to the rich, which immediately turned all of Clinton’s progress around—in his last year in office, Clinton borrowed 18 billion dollars, while in his first year, Bush had to borrow 133 billion! Two years later, he brought in another huge tax cut, while at the same time he not only didn’t reduce spending, but actually increased it, largely to pay for the folly of his senseless and illegal war in Iraq. As a result, he has been increasing the national debt by an average of half a trillion dollars every year since! One tenth of the US budget is now dedicated to servicing the national debt! What happens if interest rates go up significantly, as they surely will eventually? It is outrageous that Republicans suggest that Obama’s tax policies will bankrupt the economy, when he’s largely advocating a return to the proven policies of the Clinton administration. Even worse, the current tax policies of the neo-cons (along with the Iraq war) are already being shown to potentially bankrupt the economy. And McCain wants to continue them!

The most outrageous thing of all though is this: how can the party that has consistently given tax cuts to the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class claim to represent “Joe Sixpack”? He was far better off under Clinton, like just about everybody else except the very wealthy. So why the hell does he keep voting Republican? I really don’t get this; it just doesn’t make any sense at all! In short, the Republicans are not the fiscally responsible party, they are the fiscally irresponsible party. And a party that keeps giving tax cuts to the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class does not represent the average American! So unless you are very wealthy, why would you vote for them? (If you vote Republican for religious reasons, please read my article here before you cast your vote.)

For a more detailed and technical discussion of the issues I cover here, I highly recommend reading this article (it was the source of the image above).

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In the USA, the average personal debt is about $8,000.00 Its the American culture to spend more than they make. Living paycheck to paycheck. I have three sales rep that make over $100,000.00 a year. If I asked them each to loan me $5.00, two of them can’t. One is about to lose thier house to foreclosure. Don’t tell him but I am about to buy his house and give it back to him as a bonus.

15 years ago I bought a home. 13 years ago I got a job doing widget type of work. “The feel good era. 11 years ago, I was working day by day. 10 years ago I lost everything. I had a plan. 8 Years ago I got a small business loan. 6 years ago I hired some people to help me. 4 years ago I hired my 20th employee. 2 years ago I was in the top 5 of the type of business in my state. Last year I hired 20 more employees. This year was the best year ever for my company and myself.

The tax breaks I received since 2000 allowed me more opportunity and for all my family. Thats includes my employees.

The next four years. Not so sure. I guess I’ll have to go back to life as it was under Clinton, Under Carter, Under Johnson. God help my employees…….

  
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Unfortunately, Mr. Obama has choosen not to substantiate his qualifications to be either a U.S. president (natural born: Kenya vs. Hawaii) or U.S. senator (citizenship: schooled in Indonesia where Indonesian citizenship is a requirement).

Check out Obamacrimes.com or
thenewamerican.com

  
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1. I believe abortion should only be allowed in case of rape, incest or the mother’s health is in danger.

2. I want to keep money I earn, not have it redistributed to someone thru welfare.

3. Socialism has always failed, look at Europe.

4. This country would not be safe with a President Obama.

5. I believe people like “Joe the Plumber”.

6. Mr. Obama would destroy the US Constitution.

I could go on but I know your mind is made up. Try living somewhere before you try to destroy it with your criticism.

Sincerely,
Joe

PS: I still think you are quite attractive.

  
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GregInVancouver

GregInVancouver

Voting Republican these days has nothing to do with economy, what the party stands for, or at least, used to stand for.

Here is the reason a lot of people are voting Republican:

Republicans at PA McCain Rally

Very scary and very depressing.

  
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I ditto what Greg says. A lot of the old-school fiscal Republicans vote Libertarian, which also tends to jive with their preference for individual rights and smaller government. I’m a fan of that as well. As a lot of them and they hate that the Republican party has been “hijacked” by fundamentalist Christians and neo-cons; quite a few of that number blame Goldwater for the start of the neo-conservative movement.

Edited to add:

@Sachiko: “The most outrageous thing of all though is this: how can the party that has consistently given tax cuts to the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class claim to represent “Joe Sixpack”? He was far better off under Clinton, like just about everybody else except the very wealthy. So why the hell does he keep voting republican? I really don’t get this – it just doesn’t make any sense at all!”

Aye, there be the rub, ma chere. The following is my opinion based on observation. The Joe Six-Packs (hereafter abbreviated JSP) of the GOP can be divided as such: 1) the ones who hope to be one of the ridiculously wealthy soon and so want those cushy tax breaks to be in place when they ‘hit the jackpot’; and 2) the ones who are virulently racist/sexist/homophobic and every other negative you can think of.

See, JSP #2 kinda goes along with a relatively more progressive platform…but then here comes the Republicans with their “wedge issues”: abortion, (specifically) Mexican illegal immigration, gay marriage, the role of the Church in the state. And so JSP, who just lost his family’s health insurance thanks to GOP machinations to make it easier for his employer to do so or who may lose said job soon anyway to outsourcing, goes over to the Republicans. Who keep him “safe” from all those strange people, thoughts and ways of life.

JSP #1 types are usually young. They’re under 35 and still hold out the hope that they will get ahead in life and have that nice six-figure salary. Rise above their lot in life. They may hold some prejudices, they may not, but either way it is inconsequential to their future career plans. However, when this JSP hits 40 and his life didn’t go as planned, he MAY lash out at those marginalized groups as the reason why he didn’t “get his”. He becomes JSP #2.

Like I said, just my opinion based on observations. I’m sure someone here will virulently disagree with me.

  
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I agree with you, Aspasia. All the Republicans do is lie, divide and conquer at all cost.

  
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Originally Posted By Justa Guy
The next four years. Not so sure. I guess I’ll have to go back to life as it was under Clinton, Under Carter, Under Johnson. God help my employees…….

According to every imaginable economic indicator, your employees were far better off under Clinton.

  
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Originally Posted By Quinn
Unfortunately, Mr. Obama has choosen not to substantiate his qualifications to be either a U.S. president (natural born: Kenya vs. Hawaii) or U.S. senator (citizenship: schooled in Indonesia where Indonesian citizenship is a requirement).

Check out Obamacrimes.com or
thenewamerican.com

Why should anyone care about this? It doesn’t make any difference to his ability to do the job at all.

  
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Originally Posted By Joe
1. I believe abortion should only be allowed in case of rape, incest or the mother’s health is in danger.

I believe in a woman’s right to choice, as would anyone whose “morals” aren’t determined by religion.

2. I want to keep money I earn, not have it redistributed to someone thru welfare.

In that case you must support zero taxes, hence no government. Is that what you want? If you don’t want anarchy, then you have to pay taxes, and that means your income will be redistributed. The only question is how best to redistribute it, not whether or not it should be redistributed at all!

3. Socialism has always failed, look at Europe.

Who is advocating socialism? Unless you are talking about the “socialist democracies” of northern Europe (Scandinavia), which are all far healthier than the US by just about any socio-economic measure: health, happiness, crime rate, working conditions, living standards on a per capita basis etc.

4. This country would not be safe with a President Obama.

On what basis do you draw this totally unfounded conclusion?

5. I believe people like “Joe the Plumber”.

Is that why your name is Joe? ;-)

6. Mr. Obama would destroy the US Constitution.

Where the hell do you get that idea? Bush has done more to destroy the US consitution than any president in living memory, with such attrocities as the “Patriot Act”.

I could go on but I know your mind is made up. Try living somewhere before you try to destroy it with your criticism.

Actually, I did live in the US for a few years! Besides, I am not trying to “destroy” anything with my criticism – where on earth do you get that idea? I am exercising my democratic right to express my opinion on the US government, as do you and anyone else in a free country. But I guess like many republicans, you only want freedom of speech for those who agree with you.

  
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Originally Posted By GregInVancouver
Here is the reason a lot of people are voting Republican:

Republicans at PA McCain Rally

Very scary and very depressing.

Indeed – I am deeply concerned that Obama will quickly be assassinated if he takes office actually.

  
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Originally Posted By Aspasia
Aye, there be the rub, ma chere. The following is my opinion based on observation. The Joe Six-Packs (hereafter abbreviated JSP) of the GOP can be divided as such: 1) the ones who hope to be one of the ridiculously wealthy soon and so want those cushy tax breaks to be in place when they ‘hit the jackpot’; and 2) the ones who are virulently racist/sexist/homophobic and every other negative you can think of.

See, JSP #2 kinda goes along with a relatively more progressive platform…but then here comes the Republicans with their “wedge issues”: abortion, (specifically) Mexican illegal immigration, gay marriage, the role of the Church in the state. And so JSP, who just lost his family’s health insurance thanks to GOP machinations to make it easier for his employer to do so or who may lose said job soon anyway to outsourcing, goes over to the Republicans. Who keep him “safe” from all those strange people, thoughts and ways of life.

JSP #1 types are usually young. They’re under 35 and still hold out the hope that they will get ahead in life and have that nice six-figure salary. Rise above their lot in life. They may hold some prejudices, they may not, but either way it is inconsequential to their future career plans. However, when this JSP hits 40 and his life didn’t go as planned, he MAY lash out at those marginalized groups as the reason why he didn’t “get his”. He becomes JSP #2.

Thanks for your insigthful observations Aspasia! I’ve always suspected pretty much the same thing, but I am very interested to hear other people’s opinions on this highly vexing question!

  
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As it is. at this juncture, I despise both parties, and this election in particular; the VP choices are odious, both sides have lied their arses off, and the campaign has been below-the-belt all around. The Constitution isn’t safe under either regime; the Patriot Act has already been cited, and Obama and Biden are sworn enemies of the 2nd Amendment. If I vote for McCain and Palin, I have to watch the environmental and ecological gains of the last 20 years go down the drain; if I vote for Obama-Biden, I risk losing my right to own a gun and defend myself (Obama has actually advocated prosecuting people who have used a gun in self-defence in the home. and lied in Virginia when he said he wouldn’t take away people’s guns — his record says otherwise.)
As to the parties themselves, the Republicans are owned by the religious Right, and the Democrats by the socialist-internationalist left. There is no middle ground, and no real concern for average Americans.

  
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I am not going to attack any of the ridiculous points made by Joe. It is ignorance such as that portrayed by him that gives conservative Americans a bad name. I actually believe in a woman’s right to choose. I don’t agree with abortion, and if it were my choice, I’d say no. The basis for my decision goes beyond religion. It is simply that a fetus is capable of recognizing its environment after a certain time, and once that time is breached, it’s akin to killing a newborn.

My issue is with the chart, itself. That chart does not account for inflationary policy nor real dollars relative to GDP. Additionally, it does not account for the fact that Presidential policy affects up to 6 quarters into the next Presidential cycle. I have never liked people comparing the national debt to Presidents, as the only times that it actually came as a result of Presidential decree were FDR, Reagan and Clinton. Even in those cases, it was heavily dependent upon the Congress that held seats at the time. Even looking at the chart, I would assume Bush did nothing, rather than assuming that he caused huge spending. After all, momentum started under Clinton’s era. The following page shows more of what I mean by charts relative to constant dollars and GDP.

http://www.marktaw.com/culture_and_media/TheNationalDebt.html

As you’ll see, Presidents (excepting FDR) have done almost nothing extraordinarily different than other Presidents… and then there’s Bush. OMG, Bush…

  
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It appears Dane beat me to the punch this time on the charts.

As for the rest of the comments, there are bits of truth throughout this thread. Yes, most old-school fiscal Republicans now vote libertarian ( I myself hung on to the party, although the party did not hang on to me.) Most of us despise the pandering to the Christian conservatives that Reagan & everyone since then has courted. (Fortunately, with the nomination of McCain over Huckabee, even in the evangelical south, it looks like those days are coming to an end).

Many of us despise the racist/sexist/homophobic bigots that the media just loves to parade as representative of the party. You find them on equal numbers in BOTH parties – - here’s a link:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26803840/

I guess it makes sense, when you have people who think of blacks as ‘lazy’ then you need a government program to help them get educations and jobs.

Most of us simply want a smaller government with fewer wasteful programs, and a tax structure that encourages entrepreneurship and wealth production. Unfortunately, neither party has really done that since WWII. The closest has been during the Clinton years when the president was able to work in concert w/ the congress (Yes, before Lewinskygate, Clinton worked with the Republican controlled congress on fiscal policy to cut spending). Except much of the economic growth from his presidency was merely due to private investment in IT, due to fears of Y2K, & not as much due to cutting government spending.

  
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Getting back on track, as it appears that Obama will win this election, I can only hope that this really does signal real positive change in the direction of the US. I have my doubts, however, due to Obama’s positions on gun control, censorship, and his waffling on Iraq/foreign policy decisions. I’m not as fearful about the economy as I was, so long as he listens to his advisors, & what a dream team they are! Former Fed Chair Paul Volcker, Clinton treasury secretaries Rob Rubin & Larry Summers, Warren Buffet, & Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, just to name a few. All we can do is wait and hope.

  
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Originally Posted By Dane
I am not going to attack any of the ridiculous points made by Joe. It is ignorance such as that portrayed by him that gives conservative Americans a bad name. I actually believe in a woman’s right to choose. I don’t agree with abortion, and if it were my choice, I’d say no. The basis for my decision goes beyond religion. It is simply that a fetus is capable of recognizing its environment after a certain time, and once that time is breached, it’s akin to killing a newborn.

Hi Dane,

You are certainly free to personally disagree with abortion (for religious reasons or not), but you still respect other people’s right to make that choice for themsleves, which is really the key point I think.

Even looking at the chart, I would assume Bush did nothing, rather than assuming that he caused huge spending. After all, momentum started under Clinton’s era.

Actually, this isn’t true at all – the image I uploaded originally was misregistered to make it look this way! I have now replaced it with a correctly registered image, which shows that the debt increase did indeed start wholly within Bush’s term. Also, here is a good graph of the national debt vs. GDP.

  
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Originally Posted By Sagredo
Yes, most old-school fiscal Republicans now vote libertarian ( I myself hung on to the party, although the party did not hang on to me.) Most of us despise the pandering to the Christian conservatives that Reagan & everyone since then has courted. (Fortunately, with the nomination of McCain over Huckabee, even in the evangelical south, it looks like those days are coming to an end).

Many of us despise the racist/sexist/homophobic bigots that the media just loves to parade as representative of the party. You find them on equal numbers in BOTH parties

You are exactly the type of old-school Republican that I became acquainted with about six years ago. This person was very angry with how the GOP was these days and explained some important facts with me. Opened up my mind. And you are 100% correct: those bigots are on both sides of the aisle but the Democratic ones are definitely wolves in sheep’s clothing.

I have to disagree with you on one point unfortunately. I do not think those days of courting the evangelicals are exactly behind us. I think FOR NOW it is quelled but they are a tenacious crowd.

  
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Hi Aspasia,

You might want to try using my blog’s “Quote” feature – it’s easier for you, and clearer for readers! We’ve taken the liberty of editing your comment with it.

  
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Originally Posted By Sachiko

Originally Posted By Justa Guy
The next four years. Not so sure. I guess I’ll have to go back to life as it was under Clinton, Under Carter, Under Johnson. God help my employees…….

According to every imaginable economic indicator, your employees were far better off under Clinton.

I was only of those employees and I lost everything.

  
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Overhead at breakfast by a local CEO / Owner of a small business…

As a business owner who employs several people, I have resigned myself to the fact that Barack Obama will be our next president, and that my taxes and fees will go up in a BIG way.

To compensate for these increases, I figure that the Customer will have to see an increase in my fees to them of about 8-10%. I will also have to lay off four to ten of my employees. This really bothered me as I believe we are family here and didn’t know how to choose who will have to go. So, this is what I did. I strolled thru the parking lot and found eight Obama bumper stickers on my employees cars. I have decided these folks will be the first to be laid off.

I can’t think of another fair way to approach this problem. If you have a better idea, let me know.

  
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In response to Sachiko’s “why Republican?” query, I would tend to go along with Aspasia’s thoughts on JSP#1 and JSP#2, although I would probably have to assign more different name-tags than that, to cover all my personal experiences.

There are some JSPs that have a quasi-religious party loyalty, that seems to go far back into their family histories, that no amount of logical discourse can impact. Even the very same graph displayed above, presented to one of these JSPs, gets a far, far different interpretation from them, than the powerful and eloquent one that Sachiko has set forth. I quite literally presented the exact same data to one JSP friend (male) of mine a few years ago, and got the OPPOSITE explanation from him: (1) the trend toward relative prosperity during the Clinton period was the result of the HUGE CUMULATIVE EFFORTS OF THE PRIOR REPUBLICAN governments, and took place IN SPITE of the presumed decadence and incompetence of the current Democrats, and (2) the resumption of “deficit problems” after Clinton was caused by the Clinton government, and that poor, heroic George W. Bush was then burdened with the onerous task of working again to “fix America” and “restore things” to Republican “standards” once again. There was no arguing — just some hearty, sporty laughter at different “crazy” opinions in the tavern twilight.

Another Bush-supporting friend (female) was entirely different. This lady was a Chinese-American business owner that seemed to be instinctively speaking to “keep order in the house” — part of her special expertise. The emotional aura she exuded in telling her view was totally enchanting (she has always been one of my favorite poeple). Thusly prompted, I opened my I Ching book at home that night, afterwards, and found a certain footnote to one of the dialogues of Confucius. That particular passage, when researched, revealed the Master’s answer to the query, “what is the worst thing that can happen to a nation?” The answer was “that they should lose confidence in their leaders”.

  
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Originally Posted By alcove6409
Another Bush-supporting friend (female) was entirely different. This lady was a Chinese-American business owner that seemed to be instinctively speaking to “keep order in the house” — part of her special expertise. The emotional aura she exuded in telling her view was totally enchanting (she has always been one of my favorite poeple). Thusly prompted, I opened my I Ching book at home that night, afterwards, and found a certain footnote to one of the dialogues of Confucius. That particular passage, when researched, revealed the Master’s answer to the query, “what is the worst thing that can happen to a nation?” The answer was “that they should lose confidence in their leaders”.

This is something I have been fighting against the whole time Bush (as well as John Howard here in Australia) has been in office: the truth about them is just so terrible, that few people were willing to face the fact that they voted for such a person. But of course, such self delusion can only go so far (with the singular and notable exception of religion).

  
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Originally Posted By Justa Guy
Overhead at breakfast by a local CEO / Owner of a small business…

As a business owner who employs several people, I have resigned myself to the fact that Barack Obama will be our next president, and that my taxes and fees will go up in a BIG way.

To compensate for these increases, I figure that the Customer will have to see an increase in my fees to them of about 8-10%. I will also have to lay off four to ten of my employees. This really bothered me as I believe we are family here and didn’t know how to choose who will have to go. So, this is what I did. I strolled thru the parking lot and found eight Obama bumper stickers on my employees cars. I have decided these folks will be the first to be laid off.

I can’t think of another fair way to approach this problem. If you have a better idea, let me know.

Hi Joel,

I received your nice email – thanks! However, apart from the fact that what’s being suggested here is illegal (or at least it would be here in Australia – I know the US doesn’t have much protection for working people), I have a very hard time believing your stories on this issue.

You speak as if businesses – and your business in particular – are charities that simply want to employ as many people as possible. But this just doesn’t reflect the reality. Businesses will always determine their staffing levels on the basis of demand. If they need more staff to meet demand, they will hire them. But if they need less, they’ll fire them as well. Businesses always strive to have only the staff they need, and nothing more. If the boss is paying less tax but doesn’t need more staff, he’ll simply pocket the extra money. Unless he actually needs more staff, in which case he’ll hire them anyway, regardless of tax breaks. The only thing that really makes a difference to staffing levels is demand, and that depends on a healthy economy, and consumers who are willing to spend money. And as the majority of consumers are middle class, tax breaks for them will stimulate more demand, and allow all businesses to make more money. The boss might pay more tax, but the extra income will more than make up for it. And that’s why the sort of tax structure that the US had under Clinton created such a strong economy, with much less debt.

  
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Originally Posted By Sachiko
But of course, such self delusion can only go so far (with the singular and notable exception of religion).

I do not defend religious ignorance, but I would be careful to isolate it as the sole source of such blind self delusion. Any ideology can generate these feelings in a populace, whether it be religious, political, ethnic, racial, or social in nature. I’ve known grown men willing to kill each other over the belief that the brand of beer they drank was better than anyone else’s, so it doesn’t take much. The more fragile the psyche, the more desperately it will attempt to cling to anything that will give it a black & white, us vs. them simplified mentality of the world.

  
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Originally Posted By Sachiko
However, apart from the fact that what’s being suggested here is illegal (or at least it would be here in Australia – I know the US doesn’t have much protection for working people)

Au contraire, mon chere, the US has incredible protections for the working man, or is at least supposed to. There are oodles of laws for keeping workplaces safe, for making them accessible, as well as laws requiring facilities to abide by both affirmative action and americans with disabilities act hiring policies, plus the unions are at least, in theory, supposed to be negotiating hiring, wages, & benefits for employees.

The problem is, the laws are either unenforced, uneffective, or they have just the opposite effect than was intended. I’ll give you an example:

I taught at a community college part time just out of grad school. I wanted a full time gig, but unfortunately, the colleges in the area only have a skeleton crew of full time profs, and over 75% of their classes are taught by a vast sea of part timers. Why is this? The unions have strongarmed the colleges to only hire union members as full timers, but the union demands benefits that make it impossible to hire more than a few full timers.

The real kicker is, because my job is a unionized job, I still paid dues to the union, without getting any representation. If I joined the union, sure I could be represented then, but I wouldn’t even get hired part time then, because the union stipulates that the colleges need to give union members benefits even if they work part time, and there are plenty of people willing to do the work for less.

You might think that I’m a rare exception, but you’d be surprised at the large number of workers handicapped in job hunts because of unions, or laws intended to help low-wage or other marginalized employees.

  
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Originally Posted By Sagredo
I do not defend religious ignorance, but I would be careful to isolate it as the sole source of such blind self delusion. Any ideology can generate these feelings in a populace, whether it be religious, political, ethnic, racial, or social in nature. I’ve known grown men willing to kill each other over the belief that the brand of beer they drank was better than anyone else’s, so it doesn’t take much. The more fragile the psyche, the more desperately it will attempt to cling to anything that will give it a black & white, us vs. them simplified mentality of the world.

Actually Sagredo, I think you are missing my point somewhat – what I mean is, people can get very self-deluded over many different things in the short term, but nothing else has the staying power of religion. Most (but of course not all) people wake up to other things, but religion is very tenacious!

As for worker protection, what I mean of course is worker protection that actually works in practice.

  
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I’m not missing the point at all. Aspasia’s post clearly demonstrates that for me. Confucianism dates five whole centuries before Christ, and still pervades Chinese thought to this day. This is why Chinese, even expats who have free, unrestricted access to the internet, will still blindly support their government, either by denying or justifying its atrocities.

Confucianism is an ideology, & hardly could be considered a religion. You may debate me and say that Chinese governments have changed since Confucius’ time, but that’s merely the face of the beast. The underlying zealotry that most people have for their emperor/president/chairman is what I’m talking about. After all, religion has many faces, (God, Allah, Krishna, Buddha) but the underlying unquestioning devotion is what is the problem.

Japanese bushido is another example, and dictates a lot of Japanese politics & society. This has hampered a lot of modern Japan’s attempts to improve its relations w/ China and Korea, as Bushido doesn’t allow it to come to proper terms with its militaristic & colonial past. (In that sense, most western countries have their own form of ‘Bushido’).

What I’m trying to get at is that the masses can be deluded and until people at large learn to embrace the new, they will continue to be deluded. That is universal, but the reasons are endemic to particular cultures, and whether they be religious or other, they are enduring. Religious reasons just happen to be much more vocal.

  
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Actually, Confuscianism normally is considered to be a religion, although personally I agree with you that it is more of an ideology. Still, I think you are getting off the track of my original comment! Political ideologies are ways of looking at the world, and not self-delusion as such like religion is. They may be wrong, but they aren’t delusional – just a set of ideas and attitudes. However, these may lead to self-delusion, which is the kind of thing I was talking about (not the ideology itself).

  
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Why does anyone vote for the Republicans? This is a valid question to ask, and as a life long conservative, in view of the recent election, one that we should ask ourselves a bit more often. I can only say that the national Republican party strayed away from many of the core values that created loyalty to the Republican party in the past. You make some valid points above when you point out that Republicans have presided over a very large increase in the size of the government. Believe me, this was not done with the agreement, nor with the approval of the rank and file Republicans. It would appears as if the voters may not be too happy with this process either.

In the end, a conservative does not believe that values or rights are granted by the government; these things PRECEDE the government, and come from a HIGHER SOURCE. We don’t worship at the altar of government nor do we bow down to any new orthodoxy trying to replace what is true and right (ie the lie of global warming ang the sham of humanism). We know that governments have a nasty habit of wanting to seize more and more power and control; they do this thru regulation and thru taxation forcing us into a less free place as each year goes by. Conservatives chafe at this, as should any free people who resent having their freedom impinged.

However, there are people out there who will trade their freedom for the mirage of what they think is security; but they do not realize that no government can guarantee them security. These people are sheep, and they complain about taxes cuts for the rich. Well, the rich are just about the only peole who pay taxes, so of course they are going to be the ones who get the tax cuts. And by the way, how much of another person’s wealth an d production do you think you are entitled to anyway, missy? From where I come from when you take what is not yours, we call that stealing. I understand that we have to pay for the government, but it has become insane in this country when almsot 50% of the peole pay no income tax, which means they are not paying anything for the government.

This means they are leeches. They are bloodsuckers. These people are free riders, willing to force other people to pay for the cost of what they are benefiting from while they pay nothing. How entirely useless are such people. Very useless. They expect services and goods from the governmentm but don’t pay anything for it, and complain when those who do pay, get some, some, of their money back in a tax refund.

And Obama has the gall to call one of his welfare give away a tax credit. BS! He plans to give money to people who never paid any taxes. Again, we call that being on the dole. We call that being on welfare. We call people like that shiftless, and bums because they take handouts and won’t work and earn a living.

This is what Democrats do. Take away (can you say steal) from hard working productive Americans and give it to shiftless bums, so that they will vote for the DEMS in the next election. They divide them up into all of these little grousp and thne find some grievance they have, and get them angry about something, instead of focusing on what they have and how lucky they are to live in this great country they make them angry because someone else who worked harder and was more successful who paid a lot of taxes is getting some of their money back.

And I won’t even start in on the death machine mills that the Democrats run and support. The Democrats have been just about as successful, if not more so, than Hitler ever was, at his “FINAL SOLUTION”. Democrats run death camps spread across the country called Planned Parenthood Centers which are nothing more than thinly disguised murder factories where selfish women can go to slaughter their inborn children; and liberals pretend that they care more about people! This is so beyond the pale it is just sickening to the stomach the slaughter that this organization continues to inflict uon America; all with the 100% approval of the Democratic Party….the party of DEATH

  
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Now this is classic conservative propaganda if ever I saw it! As the financial crisis, Enron and many other things in recent years have shown, it is the rich who are more often than not the real thieves. They reach their position by ruthlessly taking advantage of other people, then use their money to pay for expensive lawyers to find ways of getting out of paying their fair share of tax. And under the republicans, they don’t even need to bother doing that! No less a business man than Warren Buffet has spoken about how unfair it is that he pays less tax as a percentage of his huge income then his secretary does – that’s why he supported Obama in this election. She is a hardworking American, like many others in the middle and lower classes. Indeed, they often work a lot harder than many of the wealthy (especially those who came into their money from birth, such as George W.), as they often have to hold down multiple jobs simply in order to survive. (One thing the US really has to do to support poor Americans is to increase minimum wages and enforce them.) These hard working people deserve a tax system that gives them the opportunity to become wealthy themselves (such as they had under Clinton), instead of a system that keeps the rich rich and the poor poor. And as the Clinton years have clearly shown, such a system benefits the whole economy and all Americans.

As for your outrageous comments about Planned Parenthood Centres, I can’t even begin to describe the hypocrisy of conservatives like you who think nothing of sending thousands of innocent, living Americans to their deaths (and God knows how many Iraqis etc.) in a sensless, illegal war, while you call the abortion of an unborn foetus worse then Hitler! The outrageous hypocrisy, selfishness and narrow mindedness of people like you astounds me beyond anything I am able to express in words.

  
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You spout typical leftist cant. It is easy for the richest man in the world to support tax increases; not so easy for an upper middles clss person to pay them.

You are happy to slaughter innocent babies…I wonder how they would vote, given a chance? I’ll bet most of them would be pro-life! Perhaps we should subject YOU to the same choice you give them……off to the death chamber when it is decided that you are inconvenient, or a burden, or that you will wreck a ifestyle. There is simply no comparison to soldiers who signed up for military service, who knew that they might have to fight and die in a war, and innocent blood that is shed when a baby is aborted. Everyone knows deep down that abortion is murder. You argument about the mimimun wage is also laughable; educate yourself at least a little bot about income mobility in this country and realize that the percentage of households that have of households depending upon ANYONE earning the minimum wage is very, very small. Your ignornance of basic economic data is showing. Buy a subscription to the Wall Strret Journal and read it for a year, and then come back and talk to me. Until then, you are just a dumb cunt.

  
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First of all, the sort of language you use at the end of your comment is totally unacceptable – I am only letting it stand so that people can see just what kind of a person you really are. Secondly, the reason there are so few people on the minimum wage in America is because its so outrgeously low – if it was decent (like it is in Australia), you can be sure there would be a lot more people on it. And thirdly, abortion is not the slaughter of innocent babies; it is the abortion of unborn foetuses, which is a very different matter. The only question is, where does it cross the line from foetus to baby? In its early stages, a human foetus is indistinguishable from other more “prmitive” life forms, so it is absurd to say it constitutes a human life at that stage, and that is when most abortions are done.

Given your extreme conservatism, absolutism, ignorance, closed mindedness, narrow mindedness, hypocrisy and selfishness, let me guess your religion: you’re a fundamentalist Christian, right?

  
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Where do you think human beings come from? Frogs?

  
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Language offends you? Killing innocent children offend me in ways you cannot begin to imagine. You should watch some of the videos prepare by the pro life camp so you can start to really understand the death practices to so blithely defend. They are gruesome and inhumane.

Selfishness? That is the absolute definition of the abortion industry, and those people that decide to become customers of it’s ghastly practices.

  
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O LORD, You have searched me and known {me.}
Psa 139:2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.
Psa 139:3 You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Psa 139:4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.
Psa 139:5 You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me.
Psa 139:6 {Such} knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is {too} high, I cannot attain to it.
Psa 139:7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
Psa 139:8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
Psa 139:9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Psa 139:10 Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
Psa 139:11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,”
Psa 139:12 Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike {to You.}
Psa 139:13 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.
Psa 139:14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
Psa 139:15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, {And} skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Psa 139:16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained {for me,} When as yet there was not one of them.
Psa 139:17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Psa 139:18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.
Psa 139:19 O that You would slay the wicked, O God; Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.
Psa 139:20 For they speak against You wickedly, And Your enemies take {Your name} in vain.
Psa 139:21 Do I not hate those who hate You, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
Psa 139:22 I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies.
Psa 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
Psa 139:24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

  
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Originally Posted By John Galt
Where do you think human beings come from? Frogs?

No, but like all other lifeforms on earth, we do have a common ancestor. I see my guess about your religion was right on the money – only a true religious fundamentalist could have such an absolutist, simplistic view on abortion, while at the same time of thinking nothing of sending so many soldiers to die in a senseless, illegal war, and not even considering the countless innocent civiliains who are killed as “collateral damage”. One unborn foetus means more to you than countless innocent, living, breathing people. Once again, only religion could make people so ignorant, hypocritical and illogical.

  
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Originally Posted By John Galt
O LORD, You have searched me and known {me.} blah blah blah…

You can quote the Bible as much as you want, but it won’t make any difference to anything in reality.

  
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There is nothing MORE real than the Bible. I hope that your day the scale will be removed from your eyes and you will come to understand this essential truth, as your very etenral life depends upon the decision you have to make here on this earht to accept or reject Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. I understand that it can be difficult with idiots like me as ambassadors. I used shick value to spin your head around in a prior message, and I did it for a reason, but there is nver casue to insult a person to the level that I did, and for that I apologive. My conduct was simply not acceptable, and cetainly not indicative of the phrase you may have heard of before that goes something liek…what would Jesus do. So we are are all imperfect sinners, incapable of obtaining through our own work and effort any relationship with God, as HE requires perfection and no matter how hard we try we just can’t get there. That was the purpose of the LAW; to show that we could not live up to it, and that we need another way which is the CHRIST, Jesus, who dies for our sins while we were yet sinners. This is the perfect plan of our salvation, and all you have to do is to accept it and to turn. I will tell you that you will confess the name of Jesus as the name above every other name whether you want to or not and your knee will bow; whether you do it in this life or the next is up to you. If not in this life, then you are in for a very bitter and desolate eternity, as your name will not be in the Book of Life. Tis will be a sad day for you as you will be Juidged, and you will not have the covering protection of Jesus, and you will be cast out. Don’t allow this fate to befall you as it is eternal desolation. I pray that you will search out for a way to let Jesus into your heart and into your mind. He is for everyone and for all time. Again, I apologiize for such a cruel response earlier. I can agree to not see things your way, though I will pray for your salvation, even though this may not be something you beleive in, I will pray for you anyway.

  
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I accept your apology, but I can’t say I accept anything else you say – or the Bible for that matter!

Also, I suspect praying for me will have exactly the same effect as any other prayer: nothing at all.

  
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I’m pretty moderate and I don’t believe in completely dismissing either party. If you do that then you’re no better than Hannity or Olbermann and you’re putting partisan blinders on everything and putting ideology before facts. Because in truth, societies and economies are so complex that you can spin any period of recession or prosperity and blame it on either party. The aforementioned pundits have made careers out of doing that.

  
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Hi John,

You make a good point, but isn’t it interesting how these sorts of pundits are always right wingers?

  
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Sachiko,

Seeing as how Air America went bankrupt I would agree that the successful media pundits tend to be predominantly rightwingers. However there are Democrats who are just as partisan and just as selective in their facts and reason as Hannity and Rush and so forth. I’ve met them in person and online.

  
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