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November 3rd, 2010

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02:02 am - Election Musings and Bafflements
Mostly, the results were as expected. With the possible exception of governor (which I'm betting goes to Kitzhaber, and not his idiotic Republican opponent, but I could easily be wrong), and a single House seat in Eastern Oregon (home to a very few deeply scary people), Oregon, like the entire West Coast voted almost exclusively Democrat. However, much of the nation didn't. I'm at least pleased that the Democrats held onto the Senate and that two of the three craziest Senate candidates (Sharron Angle, and Christine O'Donnell) lost, but Rand Paul will soon be a Senator, and he's exactly as bad and mad as the other two.

I am again left not understanding US politics. Dissatisfaction with the economy turned into a mixture of a national white power rally, and a profound desire by much of the white middle and working classes to economically shoot themselves in the foot. I completely fail to understand how anyone in the US can think that any federal level elected Republican cares one whit about the lives and economic well-being of the middle and working classes or will in any way be an improvement over a Democrat in the same office. That fact that the entire "Tea Party" is funded by Rupert Murdoch and a pair of billionaire brothers who belong to the John Birch Society helps make this collective foolishness only slightly more comprehensible.

I was also sad to see that California Measure 19 (the one legalizing pot) failed, but it looks to have failed by less than 10% of the vote, so perhaps some other year. However, what completely baffled me most was a ballot measure in Washington that I just learned about today. Measure 1098 was a ballot measure to reduce property taxes by 20%, reduce business taxes, and increase state revenue by around $2 billion dollars/year. All that it required to do this was an income tax on the top 2% of wage earners. - $200,000 for individuals and $400,000 for couples filing jointly. IOW, an income tax that would only affect the very rich. However, this incredibly obvious measure failed by a literal 2 to 1 vote, despite Washington being a fairly solid blue state.

I completely fail to see why anyone whose income was significantly below the taxable level wouldn't be vastly in favor of this bill – reduce your tax burden by making the people who can and should be able to pay more taxes do so. Both with the tea-baggers and with Measure 1098, greedy rich people convinced the middle class that voting for the interests of greedy rich people, against their own interests, was the best sensible course of action. Once again, I find myself not just as odds with most voters in the US, but completely baffled by them.
Current Mood: indescribableindescribable

(15 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2010 10:18 am (UTC)
I blame the Democrats for not tooting their own horn enough on the health care law. That was brilliant and amazing. Instead of running a ton of ads reminding people what the health care law is doing for them, the Democrats spent way too much time trying to make nice with the recalcitrant Republicans who did nothing but filibuster and yell "NO!" like so many two-year-olds.

Of course, if the economy continues to suck as badly as it does now (I hope not) or the Democrats actually grow a spine and start actually fighting back, the country may be pushed left. The Tea Party did it this time. We can do it if we get our own version of it on the left.
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
They could also have touted their tax cuts; the difficulty is that they were implemented as a subtle type that encourages spending (and hence more economic stimulus) rather than cutting people an explicit check that people might choose to sock away in savings. It’s the sort of thing you could put on a W-2, but it might have been too difficult to change W-2 forms that quickly...
Date:November 3rd, 2010 12:30 pm (UTC)

I completely fail to see why anyone whose income was significantly below the taxable level wouldn't be vastly in favor of this bill – reduce your tax burden by making the people who can and should be able to pay more taxes do so.

Huckleberry Hound once said, "There's just something about that word [taxes] that just gets folks all riled up."
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2010 01:35 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I can't say I'm surprised. If anything I'm pleasantly surprised that the Dems kept the Senate. The thing is that the party that gets the Oval Office tends to loose one or both parties in the midterm elections. This was why they pushed for getting health care done. They knew the chances that they'd keep both houses post midterm were pretty slim.

However, it does really, really suck that prop 19 didn't pass.
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2010 02:24 pm (UTC)
My most charitable guesses generally have to do with the broken stimulus-response feedback loop of voting. People are not sufficiently aware of the actual consequences of their votes, especially when they conceive of voting as something one does on even-numbered years, instead of something that is ongoing. Our actions, speech, and purchases are all votes, too. I believe, in a perfect example of misplaced liberal optimism, that were people properly aware of the consequences of their many votes, they would vote differently. Unfortunately there seems to be no proper way to instill this awareness except by long study, compassion springing from who-knows-where, or a cattle prod, and though that last one is very tempting, its side effects mean that we cannot recommend it.
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2010 04:29 pm (UTC)
My take is here, of course.

As to the failure of the Washington State personal income tax, I'm not surprised. It's a state self-image thing. Being one of the states with no personal income tax is a big deal to Washingtonians -- it's what makes them so special. It's a little bit like Oregonians and the ban on self-serve gasoline.
[User Picture]
Date:November 4th, 2010 11:54 am (UTC)

Fixed Link

Should be: here.
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2010 04:32 pm (UTC)
Maybe this explanation will un-baffle you a little? It's what I think too, but it's typed out and explained pretty well there already, so.
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I blame a lack of leadership in the Democratic Party, Green Party, union organizations, and civic organizations as much as anything.

In Arkansas, my home state, they just re-elected a Democrat for governor, and they sent healthcare reform betrayer Blanche Lincoln packing. Go Hawgs! I don't know if the liberal primary candidate could have won, either, but everyone (except Bill Clinton, apparently) knew Lincoln was going to lose.

People don't understand what Rand Paul is because we don't get too many of those in national office. This will be a learning experience for some people.
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2010 05:40 pm (UTC)
I actually voted in favor of additional taxes this year, and retaining some taxes that were on the ballot.

Government ain't gonna run itself, people.
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2010 06:38 pm (UTC)
with personal income tax in WA, mostly they feel if the foot is in the door, the next time around, it will be personal income tax for all.

Same in OR, which is why a specific sales tax gets voted down every time, once that genie is out of the bottle, they will use that precedent to tax everything.
[User Picture]
Date:November 3rd, 2010 08:54 pm (UTC)
Every time I heard 1098 brought up, it was with the "issue" that in two years, it could change to affect everybody. You know, if we all vote for it to do so two years from now.
[User Picture]
Date:November 4th, 2010 01:15 am (UTC)
I think a big part of it is a sort of economic neo-feudalism. An extension of the "The Business of America is Business" attitude. That is, people have a limited view of the economy, in that they regard large corporations as the place they get jobs from, and so anything that harms those corporations, such as higher taxes indirectly harms them. Fortunately they are willing to bypass this attitude for things like health and safety, at least to an extent. Finally some firms, mainly "Wall Street" businesses, aren't seen as properly "American Businesses", so it's OK for them to get screwed over.

Or at least that's the best I can see it as.
[User Picture]
Date:November 4th, 2010 01:40 am (UTC)

Tax 'em 50's style!!

I think that there are two main delusions/reasons that so many Americans oppose raising taxes for the wealthy:

#1 Despite all evidence to the contrary, they still believe that maybe, just maybe, they too will be rich someday.

#2 If the rich keep their money, they will create jobs that they may need if they don't become wealthy.
The following is from tax reporter David Cay Johnston:

"The number of Americans earning more than $50 million fell from 131 in 2008 to 74 in 2009, however those that remained at the top increased their income from an average of $91.2 million in 2008 to almost $519 million.

The wealth is astounding, says Johnston. "That's nearly $10 million
in weekly pay!... These 74 people made as much as the 19 million
lowest-paid people in America, who constitute one in every eight

I know that you find this interesting. It is a table of the highest tax rates from the beginning of FICA to now (that 35% has remained the same since 2003).

91% during the 50s!


[User Picture]
Date:November 5th, 2010 07:47 am (UTC)
It's the myth of the "job creator." Demand is the job creator; skilled persons are the job doers; CEOs... are the job lay-offers.

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