Thursday, December 11, 2008

Questions for My Liberal Friends

Are there any intelligent, rational liberals in the world? If so, I'd like to ask a few questions:
  • Liberals asked Americans to hand the keys of government over to the Democrats in order to end the "Culture of Corruption." In light of the recent antics of Rod Blagojevich, William "Cold Cash" Jefferson, Charlie Rangel and other luminaries, what are liberals saying about the culture of corruption now?
  • Liberals do not seem to be bothered by Obama's associations with the likes of Tony Rezko, Rod Bagojevich, William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, and Rhashid Khalidi.  Why not?
  • What do you think about gun control in India as it relates to recent events in Mumbai?
  • As part of their strategy to deal with international Islamist terrorism, liberals want to address the grievances of the terrorists.  Are you familiar with the concept of operant conditioning?
  • Most Americans (70% of Republicans, 62% of independents and 55% of Democrats) oppose the auto industry bailout plan, yet Democrats in Congress are poised to pass a bailout bill anyway. Why?
  • How high will the price of energy have to go before you are willing to support drilling in ANWR or expanding the use of nuclear energy and coal?
  • What kind of economy would be best for America?  
                A.  Socialist.
                B.  Communist.
                C.  Fascist.
                D.  Capitalist.
  • Obama has stated that he is in favor of tax increases (for reasons of "fairness") even when they result in DECREASES in revenue for the government.  Do you support Obama's thinking on this issue?  What do you know about the Laffer Curve?
  • Do you still believe that Obama will increase the tax burden only for individuals making $250,000  or more per year?  Are you going to hold him to that promise?
  • Liberals support progressive taxation for redistribution of wealth.  With which other Marxist principles do you agree? With which Marxist principles do you disagree?
  • Obama has outlined a intentionally vague health care agenda.  His health care czar, Tom Daschle wants to push a bare-bones health care bill through congress as soon as possible after Obama is elected.  A Federal Health Board would be charged with establishing the system's framework and filling in most of the details. This independent board would be insulated from political pressure.  Does this in any way strike you as undemocratic?
  • Liberals have consistently opposed voter identification laws aimed at reducing voter fraud.  Why?
  • Many Americans (particularly minorities) say that their children are trapped in failing schools.  Nationwide, 52 percent of parents, and 59 percent of public school parents, support school choice.  87 percent of black parents aged 26-35 and 66.4 percent of blacks aged 18-25 support vouchers.  Liberals consistently oppose school choice.  Why?
  • Obama was asked, "At what point does a baby get human rights?" His response: "...answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade." Based on his leadership in opposition to the Illinois Born Alive Infants Protection Act, Obama has demonstrated that he believes that a baby gets human rights at an unspecified time AFTER he or she is born.  My question to liberals: is infanticide acceptable?
  • Is there anything Obama could do to lose your support?  If so, what?

More

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1st Vietnamese-American elected to US Congress.

Voters Oust Indicted Congressman in Louisiana.


Barack Obama campaign raised nearly $1 billion, shattering records.

Barack Obama plans to reach out to Muslim world.

Is school choice popular?

Six in 10 oppose auto bailout, poll shows.


29 comments:

Conservative Black Woman said...

These are great questions, however I wonder if any rational liberal minds can be found who would answer them without hurling insults and deflecting.

Biased Girl said...

CBW I'm with you. Liberals would immediately go into their "debate" tactics of name calling and foot stomping.

robert verdi said...

well, it comes down freedom. To the left freedom is found in the government, to us in ourselves, that's that.

4simpsons said...

Excellent questions!

Agreed on the name calling / foot stomping. It seems like logical fallacies are all they've got these days.

Dan Trabue said...

Are there any intelligent, rational liberals in the world? If so, I'd like to ask a few questions

If that is a sincere question, I'd be glad to answer a few questions (as someone who is called "liberal" quite often, although I would not exactly define myself that way).

In light of the recent antics of Rod Blagojevich, William "Cold Cash" Jefferson, Charlie Rangel and other luminaries, what are liberals saying about the culture of corruption now?

We're asking Blagojevich to step down. We are disgusted by his behavior.

As to Jefferson and Rangel, you'd have to supply some specifics. I am aware of the charges against Jefferson and, if he is found guilty, he should step down, as well. I'm not entirely sure that he is guilty, I'm willing to let the judicial process happen. In the case of Blagojevich, it seems pretty clear that he is guilty of all manner of things, including blatant crudeness.

Liberals do not seem to be bothered by Obama's associations with the likes of Tony Rezko, Rod Bagojevich, William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, and Rhashid Khalidi. Why not?

There is no sin and knowing sinners. The question is: Does Obama ENDORSE (in the case of Rezko, Bagojevich or Ayers) corruption or terroristic violence? Clearly, Obama has come out against those ideals.

Now I have a question that I'd like answered: McCain was endorsed by Oliver North and G Gordon Liddy - both men who endorsed and promoted terroristic violence on a scale MUCH larger than Ayers. AND YET, McCain and the "conservatives" NEVER rejected those endorsements or repudiated those men.

Do you see the difference between Obama and McCain? Obama knew - but did not endorse - Ayers' terrorism lite. Liberals have no problem with that. McCain on the other hand, knew and received endorsements from Liddy and North - and NEVER rejected their embrace of terrorism. Why do "conservatives" not bothered by that?

As to Wright, he was Obama's pastor and he said some objectionable things over the course of twenty years of Godly service to the poor. Obama and "liberals" reject the worst of his statements, but do not reject him entirely because from all appearances, he is a good servant of God. Not a perfect one, or else he would not make some of the sweeping and sometimes ugly statements he made. But none of us are perfect and so, at least speaking for myself, I don't have that large a problem with Wright.

What do you think about gun control in India as it relates to recent events in Mumbai?

I have no opinion, why do you ask?

As part of their strategy to deal with international Islamist terrorism, liberals want to address the grievances of the terrorists. Are you familiar with the concept of operant conditioning?

No.

Most Americans (70% of Republicans, 62% of independents and 55% of Democrats) oppose the auto industry bailout plan, yet Democrats in Congress are poised to pass a bailout bill anyway. Why?

I don't know. I'm amongst the many who are opposed to the bailout that many in on both sides of the aisle of Congress and the Republican president are considering.

How high will the price of energy have to go before you are willing to support drilling in ANWR or expanding the use of nuclear energy and coal?

The price of energy ought to rise to something approximating its actual cost. Right now, we are subsidizing energy costs, making it LOWER than it actually costs, providing welfare to motorists, auto and oil companies. I believe we ought to push for policies that help energy costs reflect ACTUAL costs so that the market can work as it should.

I'm not at all clear how drilling in ANWR or increasing nuclear or coal use would help us live responsibly, sustainably and within our means. Bottom line: We need to consume less energy.

What kind of economy would be best for America?

A regulated capitalist democratic republic. No one - NO ONE - is supportive of a fascist gov't. Very few liberals are socialists or communists, certainly not Obama. For my part, I'm not afraid of the economic systems of socialism or communism, I just think they are not as effective in living responsibly in a free nation.

I know good Christian folk who support socialist democratic gov't as has been used in places like Sweden, France, Nicaragua, and other places. I'm not convinced that it works very well - it has more drawbacks than a regulated capitalistic democracy. These folk are not fascists and do not want to overthrow democracy, they just have a difference of opinion about how best to manage the economy in a democracy, and that's okay.

I do know that no one - NO ONE - wants the tyranny of a wholly unregulated capitalism, that would be much worse than a socialist democracy, in my opinion. I think the best answer is a regulated capitalist democracy, but I recognize that no economic system is going to be entirely just or good.

There are some answers.

Dan Trabue said...

I find it interesting that all four of your supposedly "conservative" commenters so far have suggested that "rational" liberal minds won't be found, that they prefer to rely upon name-calling and foot-stomping.

My experience has been that this is the behavior of those on the Right moreso, but perhaps it all depends on which angle you're starting from.

As to my answers, there was no name-calling or foot-stomping. They were simply my reasoned, rational answers from my perspective.

Dan Trabue said...

Now, to attempt to answer most of the rest of your questions:

Do you still believe that Obama will increase the tax burden only for individuals making $250,000 or more per year? Are you going to hold him to that promise?

Obama will only increase the tax burden only for the wealthiest - that may be as low as those making $100-150k/year or it may be as he suggested $250k. He has inherited a struggling economy, an aging infrastructure and communities in distress and he will need some $ to work with. I, like I suspect most Americans, believe in a progressive tax system - that taxing the wealthiest at a greater rate is the most just, righteous way of paying for our needs in our commonwealth. We're like Thomas Jefferson, in that regard - who stated repeatedly that he supported a progressive taxation scheme.

"The collection of taxes... has been as yet only by duties on consumption. As these fall principally on the rich, it is a general desire to make them contribute the whole money we want, if possible..."

"The rich alone use imported articles, and on these alone the whole taxes of the General Government are levied. ... Our revenues liberated by the discharge of the public debt, and its surplus applied to canals, roads, schools, etc., the farmer will see his government supported, his children educated, and the face of his country made a paradise by the contributions of the rich alone, without his being called on to spend a cent from his earnings."


~Thomas Jefferson


Liberals support progressive taxation for redistribution of wealth. With which other Marxist principles do you agree? With which Marxist principles to you disagree?

I'd suggest that Liberals and the majority of Americans in general support progressive taxation, as did Thomas Jefferson as noted above. It has nothing to do with Marxism and instead, is about justice, logic and pragmatism.

If I were in a system in which I benefited the most, I would expect to pay the most. Twould only be just.

Obama has outlined a intentionally vague health care agenda.

I have no opinion yet on Obama's health care agenda, I'd have to see some more specifics.

Liberals have consistently opposed voter identification laws aimed at reducing voter fraud. Why?

We support enfranchisement. The more we can encourage and assist people in getting out to vote in a democracy, the stronger the democracy. I am not opposed to efforts to reduce fraud as long as they don't also serve to repress the vote.

Many Americans (particularly minorities) say that their children are trapped in failing schools. Nationwide, 52 percent of parents, and 59 percent of public school parents, support school choice. 87 percent of black parents aged 26-35 and 66.4 percent of blacks aged 18-25 support vouchers. Liberals consistently oppose school choice. Why?

Again, like Jefferson, we believe in public schooling (I can provide the quotes, if you want). If we start giving gov't money to prop up private schools - schools which can pick and choose their students - it undermines the concept of public schools.

Having said that, I don't have strong opinions on this, it would depend upon the specifics, again.

My question to liberals: is infanticide acceptable?

No.

Is there anything Obama could do to lose your support? If so, what?

Easily. For instance, he could...

1. Fail to end the war in Iraq.
2. Have a heavy-handed, questionably legal foreign policy in which he has the US invade countries and conduct attacks that result in killing innocent people or breaking US and int'l law.
3. In general, act as if the US is above the law
4. Continue to prop up the auto and oil industries, and in general provide welfare to corporations
5. Fail to begin to wean US over-dependence on fossil fuels.

For starters...

RightKlik said...

Thanks for your answers, Dan. You're a reasonable guy. More discussion to follow.

PorkyRay said...

Dan,
A few things for you to consider:
Thomas Jefferson was talking about a consumption/tariff based tax system, not an income tax based one. In Jefferson's tax system, the rate of taxation remained constant; it did not increase with additional consumption (spending). In a modern-day progressive income tax system, the amount of taxation is increased by both additional income and the rate of taxation upon that income. This type of progressive income tax system punishes increased success and productivity, which I cannot believe Thomas Jefferson would have supported.

A good explanation of a Constitutional tax system and the problems with our current one can be found here.

Anonymous said...

A Liberal Responds
#1. Ending the Culture of Corruption was about the Senate. But let's go with this anyway and assume Pelosi meant State Governors and members of the House as well. That's three examples you gave. THREE. Who are the other luminaries? (Let me repeat: THREE. That's one and one and one.) You might not get that this pales in comparison to that other party, but your readers might.
#2. Tony Rezko - we were
Rod Bagojevich - No connection*
William Ayers - No connection*
Jeremiah Wright - we don't care**
Rhashid Khalidi - He gave a glowing speech once, and then, when he got elected, nominated Rahm Emmanuel to his Cabinet. Again, this is one you probably won't get, but your readers might.
* As documented in the press ad nauseum; Bagojevich comes from the same state (Ah! a connection!) but hated Obama, as revealed in wiretap transcripts) and as for Ayers, please pay a modicum of attention. It's December. This has been laid bare.
** We Liberals know that we didn't elect a pastor. It wasn't Hagee versus Wright. It was McCain versus Obama. Your readers likely know who Hagee is. We listened to what McCain had to say, not the pastor. You should have done the same.
#3. Gun control? I don't know of many Liberals left who espouse gun control any more. It's 2008. Just as your party irrevocably changed, so did ours. As Howard Dean noted, different laws work in different places. If India doesn't want an armed citizenry, they'll suffer. We don't stand for that and exercise our Second Amendment right.
#4. Operant Conditioning?! Yeah, I took Psy101. When we say we need to deal with their grievances, we mean things like understanding the difference between Tim McVeigh and Osama Bin Laden. Knowing the differences helps us fight terrorism. If you know what a group is demanding, it's easier to infiltrate them. As a Liberal I consider the KKK (for example) to be a domestic terror organization. Is it really smart to deal with Al Qaeda and the KKK the same way?
#5. Because the $ was already earmarked for them. It was simply a repurposing of the funds.
#6. You have funny ideas about Liberals. It's like me asking "how many pedophiles must be caught before Conservatives stop tolerating what their fellow conservatives keep getting caught doing?" You'd refute that, right? A LOT of Liberals believe that Alaska has self-determination; that they should drill if they wish to drill. I mean, come on! There is a pipeline there ALREADY! Do you think that we don't know that? A lot of level headed Liberals support drilling. The "10 year" argument doesn't hold sway with us. Just because you heard Pelosi say it doesn't mean we believe it. You don't believe everything John Boehner says, do you?
#7. D. Again, you have some funny ideas about Liberals. While most of us elitists have taken Economics and know that Capitalism works best, we are students of history and know about FDR.
#8. Begging the question, literally. You are assuming true a key element of the discussion that hasn't been proven true. Tax increases = lower revenue? And don't even... Oh Hell. You did. Ok, here you go: not only have I heard of it, I studied it, and you're incorrectly assuming that we're on the right side of the curve rather than the left side. We have quite a ways to move to the right on that curve. But you asked about agreeing with Obama. Ok, here you go: I disagree with raising taxes because he thinks it's more or less "fair." If we're talking about capital gains taxes, though, then yes, I support a higher rate of taxation above the first million. Why? Because people like Bill Gates gets paid $1 and owns a million shares of Microsoft, for example. That $1 doesn't get taxed. Those shares get taxed at 15%. You and I pay 33% in income taxes. Never mind fair. Should you be discriminated against because you get a paycheck and don't get your income in the form of shares?
#9. Yes, and yes. And if he doesn't, a lot of people will bitch. Now I agree some Liberals (not me) seem to want to overpay their taxes. But don't for one minute think that most of us won't raise unholy hell.
#10. A profoundly idiotic statement. Progressive taxation is Marxist? You know less than nothing about Marxism. Redistribution does not go hand in hand with progressive taxation. Conservatives support enforcing immigration law to rid this country of Mexicans. With what other racist principles do they agree? See how silly that is? You can't link one with another when they don't match up at all. Redistribution of wealth does appear in Marxist economic models and many Socialist ones as well. But blaming Progressive taxation?! I want a scanned transcript showing you took Economics before we go any further on this because I am not at all clear that what I would type would be at all understood.
#11. No more so than any other government intrusion into our lives. Undemocratic? Wow, we have a LOT of agency law to repeal. FWIW I don't support vague plans at all, never mind that it's healthcare. Whatever it is, if he had no details in his 68 (IIRC) page Plan for America, I saw no candidate strength there. Hell I can't stand Daschle. You probably have a solid critique of Liberals on this one.
#12. Because we worry too much about people who don't have ID. It's an overblown concern and Democratic babbling about it pretty much died out in September. Expect opposition to this kind of thing to go away as things like the HAVA are actually proven to be -good- ideas.
#13. No idea, don't know about this issue.
#14. His opposition is outlined in a Senate floor speech, talking about Equal Protection for newborns in relation to the Constitutional question. Given that Conservatives on the court have ruled that SCHOOL-AGED children do not have Constitutional rights... do you think maybe he had a point as far as opposition on grounds of what a federal Court would find? Is infanticide acceptable? George Bush lowered the acceptable concentrations for Arsenic in drinking water shortly after he entered office (true!). Is mass poisoning of the citizenry acceptable? Again -- do you get how your questions are absurd? Infanticide isn't acceptable. Some hardcore feminists, which is not the same thing as "Liberal" (just like white supremecists are not the same as "Conservative") do think that infanticide should be legal. Liberals tend to favor abortion up to the third trimester, and some go further to arguing for late term. The % of Liberal support for late term abortions is around 12%.
#15. Vote for Telecom immunity. (Oh no, he DID!) Seriously, when he caved... I considered voting third party, but realistically, who? I have come to realize that Obama is Just Another Politician who promises little more than a few words. I have little faith in him -already- based on that vote and his lack of respect for the 4th Amendment.

Dan Trabue said...

PorkyRay said:

A few things for you to consider:
Thomas Jefferson was talking about a consumption/tariff based tax system, not an income tax based one. In Jefferson's tax system, the rate of taxation remained constant


Absolutely correct. They had a sales tax that raised their tax dollars. AND, they had a different system in place wherein the main stuff that would be purchased would only be stuff the rich would buy.

Nonetheless, it is still clear from these quotes and others that Jefferson was fully in support of a progressive tax scheme. He didn't want to see the poor pay hardly anything.

PorkyRay said...

Actually, as indicated in the HISTORY OF THE U.S. TAX SYSTEM, published by the U.S. Treasury, they taxed things like tobacco, beer, and chewing gum, not exactly stuff that just the rich would buy. It goes on to say, The nation was becoming increasingly aware that high tariffs and excise taxes were not sound economic policy and often fell disproportionately on the less affluent.

It also says, Though social policies sometimes governed the course of tax policy even in the early days of the Republic, the nature of these policies did not extend either to the collection of taxes so as to equalize incomes and wealth, or for the purpose of redistributing income or wealth. As Thomas Jefferson once wrote regarding the "general Welfare" clause:

To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his father has acquired too much, in order to spare to others who (or whose fathers) have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, "to guarantee to everyone a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it."

RightKlik said...

Dan and Anonymous:
Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I'm very interested in the liberal point of view, and I'm glad that liberals are apparently, on occasion, visiting my site.

My point on Obama's associations (Rezko, Wright, Ayers, etc.) has been this: One unsavory friend? So What! Two unsavory friends? Whatever. A cluster of unsavory, influential friends? That's important. I don't hold anyone accountable for their endorsements. As Ronald Reagan said, they endorse me, I don't endorse them. What about McCain's friends? I won't defend McCain's friends. I don't support McCain, I don't like McCain, and if you examine my blog you will have a very difficult time finding any positive comments about McCain.

Dan:

I applaud your opposition to the auto industry bailout.

On the economy..."regulated capitalist democratic republic" Excellent, I agree. Especially of the regulation is for VERY good reasons (not just to make politicians more powerful--liberal or conservative ones)

On progressive taxes...you'll notice that I object to progressive taxation for the purpose of redistributing wealth. Thomas Jefferson and Adam Smith weren't right about everything, but I think their positions on taxes were reasonable. They never supported tax schemes for the redistribution of wealth. Let's also keep it in mind that poor people in the time of Jefferson and Smith really were POOR. They didn't have luxury items like color TVs and they weren't fat, they barely had enough food to survive. Yes there are still are SOME poor people, but not like in those days.

On health care...you haven't heard details because the details will not be provided. As I mentioned, the plan will remain vague. Obama's health care czar freely admits this. It's a key feature of his plan. I discuss this in my Dec. 6 post. Follow the links in that post for helpful info. http://rightklik.blogspot.com/2008/12/my-christmas-gift-for-obama.html

Anonymous:

On the culture of corruption...Other examples of Democrat scandals and corruption? Happy to oblige: Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards, Jim McGreevey, Sharpe James, Kwame Kilpatrick, Alcee Hastings, Christine Callaghan Quinn... Bottom line: I don't like political scandals and with the shift in power in Washington that started in 2006, Democrats don't seem to be making things any better.

On operant conditioning... we're pretty much on the same page.

On the bailout...repurposing? Only in Congress...anywhere else, they might call it larceny.

On the economy...fair enough, but it's time to hold Peloci and friends accountable on this one.

On capitalism...think FDR was good for the economy? Would you believe a study from the UCLA that showed that FDR prolonged the Great Depression by 7 years? Here's the link:
http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/FDR-s-Policies-Prolonged-Depression-5409.aspx?RelNum=5409
(or check out my Nov. 14 post.)

On capital gains taxes...I just don't understand how increasing capital gains taxes to stick it to Bill Gates, even if that means decreased revenue and a more sluggish economy, is worth it. Sounds like it's more about envy than anything else.

On Obama's tax promises...Good and Good.

On Marxism and progressive taxation: see my response to Dan.

On infanticide: I don't support infanticide whether it's by medical proceedure or by arsenic poisoning.


Again...thanks to everyone for the intelligent and honest discussion.

RightKlik said...

correction:
Anon: on ENERGY...time to hold PELOSI and friends accountable.

RightKlik said...

PorkyRay:
To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his father has acquired too much, in order to spare to others who (or whose fathers) have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, "to guarantee to everyone a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it."

Excellent quote, thanks.

Dan Trabue said...

PR quoted folk, saying:

the nature of these policies did not extend either to the collection of taxes so as to equalize incomes and wealth, or for the purpose of redistributing income or wealth. As Thomas Jefferson once wrote regarding the "general Welfare" clause:

To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his father has acquired too much...


And I am not talking about redistribution of wealth. I'm saying that Jefferson CLEARLY supported the notion that the majority of taxes ought to be paid by the wealthy. The purpose is not redistribution of wealth but paying for the needs of the economy. Schooling, roads, military, police, etc. These things, Jefferson said and I agree ought to be paid using a progressive taxation system. I won't go as far as Jefferson and suggest that the rich should pay ALL the taxes, but it should be progressive, the rich paying more.

Why? Well, I think most people recognize the fundamental fairness and efficacy of doing so. As Jesus said, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be required."

It goes to the basic understanding of morality and justice, at least, I suspect, for most people.

Dan Trabue said...

oops, where I said:

"The purpose is not redistribution of wealth but paying for the needs of the economy." I meant "Paying for the needs of the commonwealth."

Slightly different meaning.

Dan Trabue said...

RightK said:

I don't hold anyone accountable for their endorsements. As Ronald Reagan said, they endorse me, I don't endorse them.

My point is that that there has been a double standard. Obama merely KNOWS a few people that some find unsavory and many on the Right (including you here in your post) have attempted to smear Obama merely because he knows these people. EVEN WHEN Obama has spoke out against, for instance, Blagojevich's corruption and Ayers' terrorism.

On the other hand, McCain not only knows some violent people - people who have supported some serious terrorism that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousand of people - McCain not only knows them, but he has been endorsed by them and McCain NEVER rejected their embrace of terrorism and violence.

That's a HUGE difference. We don't condemn a person because they know unsavory people. We ought to be suspicious of a man, though, who will refuse to repudiate the worst of offenses by those who endorse him.

This point seems to have been lost by those on the Right.

Dan Trabue said...

And thank you for the invitation.

PorkyRay said...

"...Jefferson said and I agree ought to be paid using a progressive taxation system."

As far as I know, Jefferson never promoted a progressive tax system, certainly not in the terms it's meant, today.

"...but it should be progressive, the rich paying more."

The rich should and do pay more, they just shouldn't have to do so at higher rates. If the tax rate is 25%, it should be 25% for everyone. That way, everyone is treated equal and you are not punished for being successful. This is what I believe Jefferson meant by the rich paying more, not that they should also do so at higher rates. I challenge you to show me where he or Jesus said that those with more should pay at higher rates. At the same rates that everyone else is charged, they naturally pay more, which is the way it should be.

Your views on this remind me of an old story that I just reposted to my blog, Beat up the rich at your own peril.

Dan Trabue said...

I respectfully disagree that the tax rate should be the same for all. It is a wrong assumption to make that 25% of the poor man's $10,000 paycheck is morally equivalent to 25% of the rich man's $100,000.

Again, it is about morality, fairness and justice. Those who promote a constant tax rate are promoting equality, not fairness or justice. Equality is not the same as fairness.

Equality would say we treat everyone exactly the same, regardless of circumstances. But circumstances matter.

For instance, equality would dictate that the blind student taking a class be provided the same textbook as the sighted student. But the same textbook would be meaningless to the blind student, being blind. So, in that case, clearly justice demands being treated differently.

As to Jefferson, read his writings. He consistently supported gov't funds coming from primarily the wealthy. He WAS in fact, in favor of progressive taxation - a system in which the poor did not pay taxes and the wealthy paid most taxes. I don't see how an honest reading of his writings could bring anyone to any other conclusion.

I suppose, on this matter, we simply disagree. In the end, I believe that popular support is in favor of a progressive tax scheme so I think you'll have to provide a stronger case than a mere call for equal treatment in taxation.

I believe most of us find such a flat tax rate scheme to be morally offensive.

Dan Trabue said...

For a few more Jefferson quotes, you can read here.

And to be clear, I am not beating up on rich people in the slightest by being in favor of a progressive tax scheme. It is simply a matter of justice.

For instance, I make more than the poorest in the US. I absolutely want to be taxed at a higher rate than those who make $10,000/year. I make more than they do, I am benefiting from the American system more than they are (or at least one can look at it that way), therefore, it is only logical, moral and just that I would pay a higher rate back to continue supporting this great country.

Besides which, a nation that is working well for all people - education is being received, police and others are keeping folk safe, infrastructure is in place, etc - THAT is going to be of great benefit to everyone, especially the richest folk. As they have the most to lose (monetarily, anyway) if they can't find healthy educated employees, if the streets aren't safe, etc.

So, even when Jefferson says things like:

Those seeking profits, were they given total freedom, would not be the ones to trust to keep government pure and our rights secure. Indeed, it has always been those seeking wealth who were the source of corruption in government.

Or when Jesus says things like:

But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

But woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry.


or James the Apostle says:

Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries... You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous one; he offers you no resistance. [owch!]

When you hear folk like this say things like that, it is not out of hatred that such warnings are uttered (surely you don't think that Jefferson, Jesus or James hated the rich?), but out of an understanding of the limitations of wealth and a desire for justice.

Strong words do not always equal hatred or "beating up."

RightKlik said...

Dan: By the living standards of Biblical days, I would say that about 99% of Americans would qualify as rich. Probably more than that. I would also say that the Bible does not promote redistribution of wealth by the government. There is no discussion of progressive tax scemes in the Bible. Furthermore, consider the following: "God loveth a cheerful giver." This strongly implies that sharing is supposed to be on a voluntary basis.

You also mention Justice and fairness. I think those issues get to the heart of the disagreements between those on the left and those on the right. They have fundamentally different ideas about what fairness is, and how it fits into their moral framework.

I recommend the following article:
http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/haidt08/haidt08_index.html.

I certainly don't agree with everything in it, and you won't either, but you will find it very interesting and informative.

Dan Trabue said...

They [left and right] have fundamentally different ideas about what fairness is, and how it fits into their moral framework.

Often true, not always, but often. Or, at least how it is played out.

For instance, we both STRONGLY agree that killing innocents or taking actions that will result in hurting innocents is a horrible injustice.

And yet, many on the Right would think that nuking innocents in Hiroshima was a moral good, while many on the Left think that aborting fetuses can be a moral good. And we're both quite concerned about the morality and justice involved in these issues - albeit often from near-opposite stances.

Go figure.

As to this:

I would also say that the Bible does not promote redistribution of wealth by the government. There is no discussion of progressive tax scemes in the Bible.

You will note that I did not say that the Bible called for "redistribution of wealth by the gov't," nor have I called for that. I have called for a progressive tax scheme as the most morally just way to manage our commonwealth. Hear me again, because I think that people often don't hear what the "other" side is actually saying: I AM NOT CALLING FOR REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH.

I will note that while the Bible does not call for progressive taxation, neither does it oppose it. And, in fact, in a democratic society where the majority of folk are Christians, it would seem that those people could quite logically embrace taking Jesus' "to whom much is given, much is expected" to the gov't level. There's nothing in the bible at all suggesting that it would be wrong to do so. And, in a society with decent people who aren't Christian or followers of ANY faith, they could still think that wise and just, too. Again, I would suggest that we have the progressive tax system that we have because most of us DO think that the wisest and most just solution.

Dan Trabue said...

I will note that while the Bible does not call for progressive taxation, neither does it oppose it.

I will further note that the OT teachings of Sabbath laws and Jubilee laws (look 'em up if you're not familiar with them) look very much like a progressive tax scheme. Or at least a tax scheme in which the poorest are aided by the largess of the landed.

Dan Trabue said...

For the record, I will note that I started out conservative - grew up in a traditional Southern Baptist setting, voted for Reagan, saved at age ten, at church 4-7 times a week, only read the Bible and some conservative writers, physically sickened by the notion of homosexuality, didn't drink alcohol, etc, etc. I was a conservative's conservative.

I changed over the years - becoming increasingly more progressive in many ways - because of reading the Bible and because of the negative actions of so-called conservatives. Reagan's behavior in Latin America and his approach towards dealing with the least of these made me increasingly sickened with at least that sort of conservatism (which I don't think of as very conservative in the classical sense).

For what it's worth.

RightKlik said...

Dan:
I was raised by Democrats. But one day I heard the story of the grasshopper and the ant.

Dan Trabue said...

Really? One little fable changed your world view?

Which version of the fable did you hear?

RightKlik said...

Actually, it was Aesop's original version that won me over.