Bush's Tax Cuts = Bad? THINK AGAIN!

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Discus: College Confidential Café: 2004 Archive: Bush's Tax Cuts = Bad? THINK AGAIN!
By Goodchocolate (Goodchocolate) on Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 10:45 pm: Edit


By Massdad (Massdad) on Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 11:12 pm: Edit

I don't know where to begin in critiquing this article. Suffice to say a lot of detail is buried and obfuscated by the way the data is presented - by using percentile cuts. That data presentation obscures the fact that the higher percentiles, the top 20%, have seen their share of national income skyrocket in the past few years.

So yea, their share of the tax burden goes up - their income level went up even faster. Duh.

This article, as well as much of the discussion surrounding the cuts, conveniently ignores the fact that income is only ONE form of tax most people pay. Even the lowest paid worker pays 15+ percent of his/her income in payroll tax.

So anyone who claims the GWB tax cuts more progressive is living in a different reality from mine.

By Thinkingoutloud (Thinkingoutloud) on Sunday, August 29, 2004 - 11:38 pm: Edit

It is time to face reality. What the Congressional Budget Office table shows is that out of 100 people, one person is paying the income tax share of 32 people. What the table also shows is that 40 people out of 100 do not pay any federal income taxes. That's right, all of the services of the Federal government are free to 40 percent of American workers. Not a bad deal. The "tax cut for the rich" crowd is not living in reality.

As for payroll tax -- you are comparing apples (income taxes) and oranges (social security taxes). Social Security taxes are supposed to be an advance payment on a benefit that the worker will receive in the future. If you cut a worker's social security, (in theory) you would be cutting his future benefit. The reality is that low-income workers who start receiving social security benefits today will receive between 5 and 9 times more than they put into the system with interest (depending on many factors).

The bottom line, is that we live in the most generous country in the World. We ought to be proud of that fact, instead of being jealous that someone else has more money.

By Paulhomework (Paulhomework) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 12:55 am: Edit

"The bottom line, is that we live in the most generous country in the World. We ought to be proud of that fact, instead of being jealous that someone else has more money. " Thinkingoutloud

I agreed with you post up until that paragraph. Actually, countries like Sweden and Norway provide far more benefits to their citizens through taxes. These include free higher education, free health care, free housing, etc. US is not a very good place compared to other industrialized nations for lazy bums who wanna live off the government. It's a place where you work for your money.

By Massdad (Massdad) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 09:57 am: Edit

"Social Security taxes are supposed to be an advance payment on a benefit that the worker will receive in the future."

You should be ashamed of yourself for perpuating such a fiction, especially when, two sentences later, you contradict what you just said.

So, let's take another look at the REAL report the CBO put out. Here's a link:

Let's compare part of Tables 2 and 3, the part that discusses share of total federal tax liabilities under 2000 tax law, Table 3, and current law, Table 2. Specifically, compare share for 2004 income under each law:

2000 tax lawCurrent tax lawdifference
lowest quintile1.31.1-0.2
second quintile5.45.2-0.2
middle quintile10.410.50.1
fourth quintile18.819.50.7
highest quintile6463.5-0.5
top 10 percent48.747.6-1.1
top 5 percent37.435.9-1.5
top 1 percent21.920.1-1.8

Note two things:
- middle class (middle and fourth quintiles) get the shaft.
- as you move up in income, your SHARE drops. In the face of a growing share of the income, this drop is nothing short of amazing.

By Fundingfather (Fundingfather) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 10:24 am: Edit

MassDad says:

"That data presentation obscures the fact that the higher percentiles, the top 20%, have seen their share of national income skyrocket in the past few years."

Sorry to burst your ballon with facts, but the actual data does not support your DNC talking points. Here is the actual information from the census bureau http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/p60-226.pdf

percent of total income represented by top 20%:
2000: 49.8%
2003: 49.8%

gini index for income distribution:
2000: .462
2003: .464

Looks pretty consistent over the "evil" Bush years doesn't it? How about durign those glorious and egalitarian Clinton years:

percent of total income represented by top 20%:
2000: 49.8%
1992: 46.9%

gini index for income distribution:
2000: .462
1992: .434

Care to reconsider your comment?

By Massdad (Massdad) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 11:30 am: Edit

Yes, I'll reconsider.

The highest quintile contains a huge number of pretty middle class folks. Heck, the bottom of that quintile has a family income of only $87,000 per year. The middle of that quintile only $118,000. Of course, from there it skyrockets to some real numbers.

What I should have pointed out is that the top few percent had their share of national income skyrocket. Care to refute that?

By Fundingfather (Fundingfather) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 11:57 am: Edit

Refute what? Once again, you have given a talking point with no data to support it. How about if I say that the share of the top few percent has dropped significantly? Now refute that. Or are you using the "logic" that you were trying to promote regarding the swift boat controversy that the first person to make a claim should be assumed to be correct unless the second person can find overwhelming evidence to refute it. If that's the case then I state the following:

Kerry has had three affairs with other rich widows.

Bush has saved the lives of 6 people on different occassions. one of which involved pulling the victim from a burning car.

Kerry has a secret deal with Chiraq to merge with France.

Kerry plans to socialize the US medical system.

There are many others that I could state, but this should give you quite a bit to do in order to refute these statements. Until you do, I guess these should stand as accepted truth. Right?

By Massdad (Massdad) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 12:21 pm: Edit


Ramble on. I have better things to do than waste time in flights of rhetoric with folks like you firmly in residence in an alternate reality.


By Simba (Simba) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 01:27 pm: Edit

Fundingfather don't lay the *logic* on Massdad. It was one of your Gem.

and about your other stuff. Where do you guys dream up stuff like that ... 3 affairs with rich widows? secret deal with Chirac?

By Fundingfather (Fundingfather) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 01:36 pm: Edit

Yup, it gets frustrating when your allegations are met with fact and then you are challenged to support your follow-up allegation. Too bad you can't just cite the DNC web site as your source of information.

By Fundingfather (Fundingfather) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 03:11 pm: Edit

Simba: "Where do you guys dream up stuff like that"

I don't know. Ask Michael Moore ... it doesn't take that much more creativity to dream up a secret deal with Chiraq as it does to dream up some of the F-9/11 drivel.

By Socalnick (Socalnick) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 03:50 pm: Edit

the top 1% does not pay only 20 percent and the highest quintile does not pay 64%. the highest quintile probably pays 37% federal taxes. The top 5% probably dosnt go over 45%. NOONE pays 64% in federal taxes, dont forget you also pay state taxes which would proabay put the tax burden to more then 75%. It seems that too many people are concerned with what the top 1% are paying. They defently pick up their fare share of the tax burden, and dont forget many of them donate money too which can be tax deductible. Yes the tax cuts do affect the higher quintile but they also pick up most of the national taxes themseilvs. Some of you may be thinking ah ha their helping the rich, but the type of people who would be in the upper 20% would be business men or engineers, people who work hard for their money. What many people are appauled is the 100,000 or so people who make 1000000+ a year. Their work output does not match how much money they make, but they probably have 350000+ in federal taxes. thats more taxes then 1000 people in the lowest quintile. Tax reductions go to the people who have taxs to reduce. theres no reason to reduce taxes for the poor, because they pay almost no taxes already.

By Goodchocolate (Goodchocolate) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 04:01 pm: Edit

"theres no reason to reduce taxes for the poor"

"Reducing taxes" for the poor is essentially the same as saying increasing welfare $$ for them, and that's what happened.

By Noodleman (Noodleman) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 08:04 pm: Edit

Foopy fappy fipple! Wibbie wibbie pooka!

I like toast!

By Riflesforwatie (Riflesforwatie) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 08:55 pm: Edit

"and about your other stuff. Where do you guys dream up stuff like that ... 3 affairs with rich widows? secret deal with Chirac?"

From the same place they got Timothy McVeigh's story about the U.N.'s black helicopters chasing him from Area 51....

and the theory that Hillary Clinton murdered Vince Foster and Ron Brown....

and the "truth" that Bill Clinton covered up al-Qaeda's and/or Saddam Hussein's (guess we gotta find SOME reason for the war) role in the OKC Bombing so that Newt Gingrich's revolution would fail by tying the far right to wackos....

or that Rush Limbaugh is not addicted to drugs at all, but is being framed by a relative of Democratic Senate candidate Betty Castor....

or that Watergate never happened and Richard Nixon was in reality a great and totally honest man....

or that Joseph McCarthy was a good guy and that the only reason people look down on him is revionist historians that have infiltrated our schools and destroyed Goldwater, Nixon, Agnew, etc...

forgot all the other people Clinton killed, including Bunch, Casolaro, Coleman, Dickson, Friday, Heard, Lawhon, Martin, McDougal, Meissner, Muggins, Parks, and Seal...

and the scary part is that some people actually ADMIRE "The Turner Diaries"....

Those are some of the more wacky conspiracy theories advanced by the right.

By Simba (Simba) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 09:11 pm: Edit

Thanks for the expose.

By Thinkingoutloud (Thinkingoutloud) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 10:57 pm: Edit

Paulhomework. I should have said we live in one of the most generous countries in the World. I stand corrected.

By Noodleman (Noodleman) on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 02:55 pm: Edit

It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?...

It's a neighborly day in this beauty wood,
A neighborly day for a beauty.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?...

I've always wanted to have a neighbor just like you.
I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.

So, let's make the most of this beautiful day.
Since we're together we might as well say:
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?
Won't you please,
Won't you please?
Please won't you be my neighbor?

By Kluge (Kluge) on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 04:49 pm: Edit

Thank you, Noodleman.

And for the rest of you, consider this:

In 1986, the top 1% of taxpayers earned 11% of all reported taxable income.
In 2001, the top 1% of taxpayers earned 17.5% of all taxable income.

In 1986 the bottom 50% of all taxpayers earned 17% of all taxable income.
In 2001 the bottom 50% of all taxpayers earned 14% of all taxable income.

From 1986 to 2001 the inflation-adjusted income of taxpayers at the 99th percentile increased by over 50%. In that same time period the income of the taxpayer at the 50th percentile increased by 2%. The inflation adjusted income of those below the 50th percentile declined.

Those figures (from an IRS site you can reach from a link at the bottom of rushlimbaugh.com) are the most recent, fairly raw data I've found. The figues fluctuate some from year to year, and are (obviously) affected over the short range by economic conditions independent of government policy. But over the longer term, they clearly are the product of a national philosophy translated into policy.

The question is, how much longer will this trend continue? And what are the consequences of its continuing? Many of the policies discussed on this website (minimum wage, taxes, etc.) work synergisticaly to aggravate the trend. For example, cutting taxes (which, in a world devoid of free lunches means cutting funding for services such as schools, parks, childrens nutrition programs, counselling, etc.) raises costs for the poor and middle class (e.g. tuition hikes at State U. and the local JC) while putting the largest number of dollars in the bank accounts of the wealthy. That is, it makes the rich richer, makes the middle class pay more to stay in the same place, and it makes it harder for the poor to get less poor.

Plus, the massive debt incurred by the policies of cutting taxes (down 17% for the top 1% from 1986 to 2001) will make maintaining social security at its current level impossible - a minor issue for the wealthy, a matter of dire consequence for the poor, and serious concern for the middle class. (And considering that SS taxes are only imposed on earned income, and only up to the level of about the 85th percentile of income, a double whammy.)

So, Thinkingoutloud, this may be a relatively "generous" country, but its become a lot less generous in just the past 20 years.

Do you think that's a good thing?

And if so, how much less generous do you think we should get?

By Appliedmath (Appliedmath) on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 09:04 pm: Edit

This tax cut debate sends me back to 8th grade when I wrote a written report on the benefits during the 2002 era, gosh I remember arguing with a 56 year old man at the time about this issue. His family was easily in the 2nd quintile and mine was in the top %5 so he assumed I wrote the paper to diss on him...good ol days.

By Thinkingoutloud (Thinkingoutloud) on Tuesday, August 31, 2004 - 10:41 pm: Edit

Kluge, Your analysis is interesting and your approach of looking at trends over time lends perspective and context. But, percentages do not tell all of the story. Any gap between the rich and poor is irrelevant. I do not worry that my neighbor makes more money than I do or has more expensive toys than I do as long as I am better off from 1986 to 2001. I and the vast majority of those lower-income workers were better off in 2001 than in 1986. Pres. Bush's tax cuts lowered taxes for everyone including those at the lower end of the scale. I did not see many workers complain when they got their checks for $300 to $600 from Pres. Bush. I don't see many lower income workers complain that the rich are getting richer if allowing rich people to create wealth and jobs benefits lower income workers as well. We should be doing everything possible to have as many rich people as possible because they pay the most taxes and provide all of those wonderful services you reference. Taxing rich people to death discourages them from working harder and creating businesses.

By 3togo (3togo) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 10:09 am: Edit

> Any gap between the rich and poor is irrelevant

hmm ... I don't agree with that idea.

Even if I accept the idea that going into deficit spending to spur the economy is a good move (and I don't really accept this idea in most cases) I have one HUGE problem with the tax cuts the Republications have pushed and implemented over the last 20 years. The tax cuts could be designed in many ways ... and amazingly the tax cuts are designed so the richest people in the US receive a disproportionate share of the benefit.

The Rebuplicans could easily design a tax cut that would get tons of support from Democrats (and voters) ... design a tax cut where the benefit goes to the poorest working Americans ... cut the same amount of dollars just change the distribution. The argument made for the tax cut is to spur the ecomomy so any form of tax cut will achieve this goal ... in addtion I argue that given a tax cut to a lower wage earner helps drive the economy more as they will immediately spend that money in the local economy in local buiness ... when we give tax breaks to higher earners more money makes it way into tax shelters and to off-shore investments. Being a cynic desiging their tax cuts in a way that helps their donors while not maximizing the stated goal (spur the economy) is a too much for me.

By Scubasteve (Scubasteve) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 10:18 am: Edit

"Or are you using the "logic" that you were trying to promote regarding the swift boat controversy that the first person to make a claim should be assumed to be correct unless the second person can find overwhelming evidence to refute it"

That is the most cockeyed logic I have ever seen. You are mixing up words here. The SBVT did not make a claim... they made an accusation. When you accuse someone of something, the burden of proof is on you to prove it. That is how democracy works, that is how america works, that is how our courts work.

If you can't understand that... well then I don't know what to say.....

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 10:40 am: Edit

I couldn't agree with Kluge more. What people are not factoring in is that a large part of the top 5% of wage earners are actually small businesses that file taxes through individuals. The key economic issue in the Country is job creation. High taxes and a higher minimum wage are sure fire ways to stop such businesses from growing. And of course in any tax cut the top will benefit more in terms of absolute dollars. The top 5% pays over 35% of taxes!

There is a growing gap between the rich and the middle class, the middle class and the poor. The answer is job creation. We have lost solid middle class jobs to the global economy. Taxing the wealthy more is a drop in the bucket in terms of addressing the true underlying problem.

By 3togo (3togo) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 01:45 pm: Edit


I wasn't very clear. I agree that the goal of the tax cut is to spur the economy and grow jobs.

Given a tax cut level ... say 1 billion dollars ... I believe returning $1,000,000 each to the thousand richest families will do less to create jobs than returning $1000 each to one million low-income families. The low income families will spent virtually ever penny of that billion in local businesses driving growth and jobs. The thousand richest families may well invest a lot of the money offshore or invest in a derivative fund or some other financial vehicle that has much less of a direct impact on the economy.

I'm not sure I buy the argument about family business on two fronts. First, the current tax cuts are favorable to tax filers with very high incomes ... like $250,000+. If this income really represents a family business this tax would be on their profit (not revenue) so if their profit is $250,000/year that is some pretty serious bucks. Second, while I'm far from an expert I believe if the profit level of a businsss is $250,000/year it is a huge tax advantage to incorporate the busines and pay business taxes where the effecttive rates are much lower than personal income taxes.

By 3togo (3togo) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 03:18 pm: Edit

Hi Mom101

> The top 5% of wage earners pay 35% of the taxes.
(I think that is 35% of income taxes ... not all taxes including social security and medicare)

This is a very interesting topic. The next question I would raise and what percentage of the taxable income do those 5% make ... and I believe it is more than 35%.

Besides differences on economic policy there are fundamental differences of what a "fair" tax policy should be ...
* everyone pays the same amount (no one seems to advocate this)
* everyone pays the same rate (Steve Forbes)
* the tax rates should be progressive with the the tax rates increasing as income goes up (on one side "thay can afford it" ... on the other "this will stiffle investment") ... basic liberal position
* the tax cut should go directly to those that drive economic growth (one side "drive the economy" ... on the other "the rich get the biggest tax break") ... the basic conservative position

Personally I think Steve Forbes was on the right track with the trick being what to consider as income (both earned and investment income?) and what to consider in the tax rate (just income tax or also payroll taxes). If we included all income and all taxes I think it would be a position both the democrats and republicans could live with but both sides are too strident in their current position to come to such a compromise.

Fun stuff to discuss since there is no correct answer from all viewpoints.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 03:26 pm: Edit

I think a flat tax rate is the most fair system And it can be on money earned in any way. Why is it fair to pay a higher percentage because you make more money? Isn't that a pure socialist concept?

By Simba (Simba) on Wednesday, September 01, 2004 - 03:55 pm: Edit

Why is it fair to pay a higher percentage because you make more money?

Because we are compassionate, we want to increase standard of living of all - not just few privillaged.

And to be objective...it is the more privillaged that benefit more from the government spending.

By Hayden (Hayden) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 12:40 am: Edit

I've asked this question before and never gotten an answer, so I'm still wondering. When people discuss the percentages of their income that people pay, are they referring to taxable income, or to gross income?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 01:42 am: Edit

You pay taxes on gross income.

Simba, come again...how do the privileged benefit more by gov't spending? Most of the wealthy I know do not avail themselves of public education, welfare or most government programs. Their kids don't get subsidized school loans. They drive the same roads and enjoy the same infrastructure as everyone else.

And why do you find it compassionate to pay a higher percentage of income? The wealthy are contributing way more in sheer dollars. The top 5% pay over 35% of income taxes. When will it ever be enough? Do you believe in welfare states or do you recognize that free markets create jobs and prosperity?

By Lizschup (Lizschup) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 08:03 am: Edit

The top 5% do not pay 35% in Federal Income taxes. It is around 27% and many of them have ways to legally avoid paying that high of a tax.

Letting the rich elite keep their money does not create jobs - The Reagan trickle down economics is not a valid economic theory and has been shown to be false. And where are those jobs? OH, we have to give this "visionary" president four more years before we'll see the effects of this tax cut-let him cut taxes even more and run the deficit up.

And to the person that mentioned "talking points." The Republican Party actually has a widely watched news source that repeats its talking points-giving those talking points a validity that is impervious to truth or facts. I blame that particular news source along with the soft corporate media and the Republican noise machine yelling that all other media besides Fox is the "liberal media" for this unprecedented polarization of discussion in this country. I have met few Republicans who can actually discuss facts. As soon as they are backed in to a corner they start to attack their opponent on some other point-usually personal. I know, I'm related to a few staunch Republicans and I see the same tactics on this forum. In a different era without Fox news and Rush Limbaugh I think many Republicans would have looked at this President with a more critical eye. It seems most Republicans are worried more about their own taxes being cut than they are the fact that these deficits are unhealthy for the security and well being of this country as a whole. In another era, Republicans would have been outraged at this fiscally irresponsible president.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 09:36 am: Edit

"I have met few republicans that can actually discuss facts."

Your credibility is completely lost in that statement. Get a grip.

By Socalnick (Socalnick) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 01:44 pm: Edit

no the top 5% pay around 35% and the ways of legaly avoiding them is often makeing tax deductable donations.

By Kluge (Kluge) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 02:07 pm: Edit

Well, how about some perspective. On the one hand, the conservatives seem to think that the liberals want to tax the rich 100%; the liberals seem to think the conservatives want it to be 0%. I think we can all agree that either extreme is unworkable, the answer has to lie somewhere in the middle.

In 1986, the top 1% had taxable income starting at $290,000 and going up from there (2001 dollars); the 50th percentile started at $28,000 (2001 dollars). The top 1% paid an average of 33% income tax. The top 50% paid an average 16.32%. As of 2001, the average tax rate paid by the top 1% had declined to 27.5%, despite the fact that the average (inflation adjusted) income for that group had increased by over 50%. The average tax rate of the "top 50%" only declined to 15.85%, while the average income of that group had only increased by 2%.

Of course, the "top 50%" includes the top 1%. Taking that into consideration, it is clear that over that time period what happened was that all of the increase in income, and all of the decrease in tax rates, went to those at the top of the economic pyramid.

And Mom101, taxes are not paid on "gross income". In fact, the wealthier you are, the smaller the portion of your periodic increase in wealth is actually considered taxable income.

And income tax is almost the only "progressive" tax - where the wealthy pay a higher portion of their "taxable income" in taxes. Sales taxes, use taxes, and social security are all expressly regressive - taking a higher portion of the poor and middle classes' income than that of the wealthy. (And don't try that "social security isn't a tax" nonsense here, buster - this is a website for smart people!)

In short, we're not talking about "soaking the rich." It would take a substantial shift in the current tax structure to just return the balance of tax burden to its historical norm - and that shift would have to be to more taxes directed at the wealthy and less at the poor and middle class. I find it to be a triumph of the right wing spin machine that a return to normal is characterized as a radical - indeed "socialistic" idea.

By Noodleman (Noodleman) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 03:30 pm: Edit

Nice post.

By Lizschup (Lizschup) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 03:40 pm: Edit

Mom 101 I do have a grip! I actually have seen research that says that Republicans who watch certain Networks actually don't have the correct facts. PBS has the highest percentage of viewers who got their facts correct. But Republicans who watched PBS had a higher percentage of misinformation than Democrats. You can draw your own conclusions. I believe it's because they hear what they want. I am not a lifelong Democrat and considered myself independent until Bush 2. My annecdotal evidence from talking to people I know and watching Fox news supports the study. I've heard more misinformation coming from Republicans since the evolution of Fox and talkradio than at any other time since I've been voting. In another era Bill O'Reilly would never have survived, even among Republican.

Republicans used to have a strong policy of being fiscally conservative - I believe it was there strongest suit. But they no longer can claim that for their own. Many Democrats including John Kerry believe in balancing the budget and not running up deficits. Even more so than Bush.

Another thing to consider is that there is something about taxing the wealthy more heavily than the rest of the income levels. Some of the early politicians wanted that in order to keep from having a concentration of money and power at the top. They did not want to repeat the mistakes of the mother country- England. It's not a socialistic idea as I've heard over and over lately. Maybe Bush should apply some of his Christian principles to that as well- too whom much is given, much is expected.

It's a crime that the people who benefitted most from Bush's tax cuts are all for this damned war. A vote for Bush is an approval of this war. Kerry would have never gotten us into this - neither would have John McCain -but look what the Bush smear machine did to him and will probably do to Kerry. In this culture the best man does not win.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 08:08 pm: Edit

Lizchup, that is one fascinating piece of research! Can you point me to the source?

By Lizschup (Lizschup) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 08:34 pm: Edit

http://www.pipa.org/ Go here and scroll down to Misperceptions about Iraq War.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 08:58 pm: Edit

Lizchup. a quick look at your research shows it concerns only the war. Not at all when you consider the clear partisanship we've been talking about. Republicans are supporting their president. It was interesting to see who had the most pisperceptions based on their key source. Again, no surprise. They show a corrolation to education, readers of news versus TV viewers and NPR/PBS "users", i.e. people who really want a lot of news and are more analytical.

However, how you get that "few Republicans can discuss facts" from this research, remains a mystery.

By Simba (Simba) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 09:09 pm: Edit

Well I came away with the notion that for most republicans the information comes from FOX and talk radio - the mouth pieces of the administration. If they don't believe in the facts about the war, they won't believe in other facts that contradicts their new source.

So it is true that few republicans can discuss facts. If republicans believed in facts they would have long time ago jumped on swift boat people (like McCain). There are still (majority) who trust in them - even day after day some one presents facts. Some one even denies even signing the affdavit that appears in their book.

What do you think of Swiftboat smear machine?

By Hayden (Hayden) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 09:22 pm: Edit

Kluge - thank you! That's exactly where I was going with the question of the gross income versus adjusted gross income. It has always seemed to me that the tax burden of the top income earners (and I happen to be one, so this isn't an "us v them" scenario) are discussed in terms of the tax rate against only their adjusted income, which ignores thousands or even millions of dollars (this last category does not, alas, apply to me) that are derived from tax exempt sources.

By Kluge (Kluge) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 10:16 pm: Edit

... and don't forget unrealized capital gain. I "earn" about $50,000 per year just in the added value of my home, which I can tap via home equity loans for "income" that is not taxed now, and probably never will be under current tax law. The more you own, the more capital gain you acquire over the years. Capital gain frequently goes untaxed by virtue of various tax strategies.
Poor people don't get any of that.
And, of course, tax free bonds, various tax advantaged investment strategies, etc. Yes, the numbers I have been quoting from Limbaugh's website do understate the nature of the imbalance between income and tax trends.
And yes, I'm one of "us", too. My concern is that if the trend continues, it's going to be really ugly for my kids (and their kids.)

I couldn't disagree more with the Thinkinoutloud's assertion that "Any gap between the rich and poor is irrelevant." There will always be rich and poor, but we can control how big the difference is, and the general distribution along the wealth curve of the country. Our nation has never been stronger, morally and economically, than when it has had a strong middle class. Every society which has a severe gap between the haves and the have-nots eventually encounters major social and economic problems. And I fear that's where we're heading.

By Lizschup (Lizschup) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 11:31 pm: Edit

Mom 101 It breaks down the Republican Democratic information as well. You have to keep reading. Even Republicans who get their news from PBS were still misinformed.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 11:32 pm: Edit

Going to be ugly? It's already ugly. Just read these threads. The issue is, will raxing the wealthy change much? Or will growing solid middle class jobs and creating overall propsperity be necessary to truly change the great divide?

And what is wealthy? To some it's anyone who makes 6 figures. Kerry only wants to up taxes for those earning more than $200K. In many places in CA an income of $200K doesn't buy a modest home in a decent school district. In one post, Jauq called his family upper middle class but said they got the $600 tax rebate. The upper middle class did not get this rebate. So what is upper middle class to most and who should be taxed more?

By Lizschup (Lizschup) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 11:48 pm: Edit

Actually mOm 101 the study did delineate between Republicans and Bush supporters. I made the assumption that Republican and Bush supporters were synonymous. I don't know too many Republicans who don't support him.

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 12:00 am: Edit

What do you folks think of Walter Williams' novel approach that everyone should pay the same amount of taxation? I pay $100.00, you pay $100.00. You don't pay more than me, and I don't pay more than you. It sounds like perfect social justice.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 12:30 am: Edit

You are in such trouble Browninfall! People here think that the only "compassionate" taxation is soak the rich taxation. The American definition of "fair" seems to have become going back to the 60's 70% taxation rate on the wealthy.

By Simba (Simba) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 07:05 am: Edit

mom101:What do you think of Swiftboat smear machine?

This will confirm Liz's original assertion that it is hard to have an intelligent discussion with most republicans.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 09:00 am: Edit

Well Simba, I really can't claim to be anything more than just another dumb Republican. I have been exposed!

As for the Swiftboat people, I believe them for one reason. Kerry's high school classmates such many, many similar things. He went to a small, tight knit NE prep school where blind loyalty to fellow alum is the norm. He was intensely disliked for being a glory seeking phoney. His classmates reacted in ways never before or since seen among alum who dearly love this school and their brethren. They raised money for his opponents in his early elections. Where there's smoke....There's just too much smoke here to believe there is not a fire.

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 09:16 am: Edit


Whoa! Hold it! The Swift Boat veterans are not accusing Kerry of being arrogant or even unlikable, are they? Being arrogant does not mean that one is not capable of heroism and worthy of earning medals.

Please read up on the SBVT, including their connections to the Bush campaign. It makes for interesting reading.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 09:19 am: Edit

The swift boat veterans claim Kerry sought glory he didn't deserve. His high school classmates claim he did the same on the playing field. They say he does not garner the respect of his peers and is not acceptable as a leader. This is what his HS classmates say as well.

By Simba (Simba) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 09:19 am: Edit

can't claim to be anything more than just another dumb Republican

Studies after studies have proven that.

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 09:47 am: Edit


Do you believe the SBVT? Have you read their exact claims and what media researchers have said about those claims and about members of the SBVT themselves? Did you know that the so-called letter denouncing Kerry contains names of people without their permission?
Please. One may disagree with Kerry. One may dislike him for his perceive arrogance. But please do not use the SBVT as a measure of truth, or equate perceived teenage arrogance with treason.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 10:08 am: Edit

Like everything else in this election, there is a mix of truth and BS in the swiftboat rhetoric. I have read parts of the book, several articles and seen the book's author and others on various news shows. I do believe there is truth in what they say about Kerry's lack of leadership skills. I also believe he is not a wholly honest person. I can say the same for Bush.

I don't think the teenager in question is arrogant or commiting treason. I think he is frighteningly misinformed and too young to be so entrenched in BS.

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 10:27 am: Edit

The only thing in the SWBT accusations that media investigators have found to have some validity concerns Kerry's claim to have been in Cambodia in Dec. 1968.

The rest is disinformation, pure and simple.
As for Bush's economic plan, read Andrew Sullivan's take on it. The GOP as the party of BIG, INSOLVENT GOVERNMENT vs. The Democrats as the party of BIG, SOLVENT GOVERNMENT. 'Nuff said.

By Simba (Simba) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 11:00 am: Edit

There really are two Americas. One that has put all its marbles on Fox and propaganda machine, lost all its independent reasoning skills and have become ditto heads. It seems like the machines have been sucessful in creating a cult. The other America is one that can think for itself.

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 11:31 am: Edit

If you were a Vietnam war veteran, how do you think you would feel if someone (i.e. John Kerry) called you a war criminal? How do you think you would feel if you were in a Vietnam prison camp and those who were torturing you were playing for you a tape of John Kerry speaking on Capitol Hill about your supposed war crimes?

Aw, come on, just get over it - youthful indiscretion and all that. Sorry, not going to fly. The Swift Boat vets aren't going away. Get used to them. You'll be hearing plenty about Kerry equating his fellow soldiers with Ghengis Khan - all of it IN HIS OWN WORDS. You haven't heard anything yet.

By Scubasteve (Scubasteve) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 11:45 am: Edit

John Kerry did not call every Vietnam war vetaran a war criminal. Atrocities were committed by some, that is all he said.

And do you honestly beleive no war crimes were committed in Vietnam? I mean is Kerry really that wrong? I believe there are war crimes in every war. Look at the Iraq prison scandle for example. We did not have the digital cameras in Iraq back then in Vietnam... perhaps if we did your whole persepective would be changed?

The Swift Boats misquote Kerry regualry. They cut out parts of what he says to make it seem much worse than it is, as they did in their last commercial.

As a new rule of thumb, I will not engange in any conversation with someone low enough to carry on the SBVT issue. Your own party has not done so. It is time you stop.

By Simba (Simba) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 11:50 am: Edit

As a rule of DUMB, nothing BF says has any validity. He lives parallel reality

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 11:59 am: Edit

Emily and Steve: They're not going away. Kerry brought it on himself when he used his Vietnam service as the way to get to the White House. He's toast.

By Scubasteve (Scubasteve) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 12:07 pm: Edit

Or so you hope...

No one believes the ads. The media will no longer devote as much attention to them and if they do, only to discredit them.

(I guess you came to the realization that your candidate has no chance at beating kerry without a SBVT gangbang to assist?)

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 01:49 pm: Edit

Steve: Wishful thinking. Even the Kerry campaign admitted yesterday that they didn't anticipate the impact that the ads were going to have. The new ads use Kerry's own words. They're devastating.

The American soldiers in Abu Ghraib didn't do what Kerry said his fellow soldiers were doing in Vietnam. Kerry said that his fellow soldiers "had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam."

Kerry's never been able to back up what he said, nor has he ever led any sort of a campaign to bring to justice those who supposedly committed those crimes. It's not going away.

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 01:55 pm: Edit


Read back the post of Morgantruce on his experience in Vietnam. Read the issue of Life magazine on My Lai.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 01:57 pm: Edit

"No one believes the ads"

It's widely acknowledged that poll numbers change where these ads go. Try to stay credible.

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 02:23 pm: Edit

My Lai happened and people were brought to justice for it. Kerry testified that the inexcusable behavior of those at My Lai was standard operating procedure in Vietnam. That doesn't sit well with those who fought alongside him or who were subjected to his words while being tortured in Viet Cong prison camps.

The American soldiers who fought in Vietnam were spit on and called "babykillers" when they returned to the U.S. after their tour of duty had ended. Unfortunately for Kerry, a significant majority of those veterans blame Kerry and his behavior here in the U.S. after he returned from Vietnam for the despicable behavior that they received.

Many other Americans also find his behavior after he arrived back from Vietnam revolting. That's why the ads are working and why this story isn't going to disappear.

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 02:43 pm: Edit

"Unfortunately" is right. Because Kerry is not responsible for returning vets being spit on or called baby killers. That, and the revelations about My Lai, began to happen well before he testified before congress. My Lai is not the only atrocity committed in Vietnam. Again, read Morgantruce's post. Read oral histories by Vietnam vets.

By Kluge (Kluge) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 05:12 pm: Edit

"You are in such trouble Browninfall! People here think that the only "compassionate" taxation is soak the rich taxation. The American definition of "fair" seems to have become going back to the 60's 70% taxation rate on the wealthy."

Mom101, this kind of comment is what makes some people think that Republicans combine the now documented general lack of awareness of facts with an equal lack of desire to debate honestly. "Soak the rich"? I've posted statistics of the average income tax rate paid by those with annual incomes above $300,000 (including those with tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars in annual income) and suggested that the decline in those rates from 33% to 27% over fifteen years was unwarranted (in light of the fact that the overall taxes paid by everyone else went up) and you are characterizing that as "soak the rich."
Your tactics are reminiscent of the Swiftvets - ignore conflicting evidence, no matter how strong, mischaracterize the position of those you disagree with, and accuse them of having politically incorrect motives such as "compassion."

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 05:33 pm: Edit


You didn't address economist Walter Williams point of view that Mom101 was referencing. How is it just for one person to pay a greater amount than someone else? Why should Steven Spielberg or Teresa Heinz Kerry pay more in taxes than I do? Because their income is greater than mine? How is that fair or moral?

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 05:45 pm: Edit

I'm not ignoring your evidence Kluge, I simply disagree with your perspective. That progressive taxation is fair eludes me. A flat tax rate would be fair. Why punish people who get the education, have the work ethic and everything else needed to create wealth?

By Massdad (Massdad) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 06:10 pm: Edit

"Why punish people who get the education, have the work ethic and everything else needed to create wealth?"

Or are handed it by others and by taxpayers? (Texas Rangers...)

For those opposed to progressive taxes, are you also opposed to regressive taxes? Should the wage tax be extended to all income levels?

What about income from investments? Should that also be subject to the flat tax? Should investment income (rents to an economist) be treated differently than wage income?

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 07:56 pm: Edit

Why should anyone have to pay more than someone else? How is it just to treat people differently when it comes to paying taxes?

By Lizschup (Lizschup) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 07:58 pm: Edit

Mom 101, Your comment about there being truth to the Swift Boat Liars is exactly why negative ads like this are done. There is no truth in advertising when it comes to political ads-they are unfortunately under a different set of rules than all other advertising. I'm not going to argue with you about the details. It has been well documented from MANY sources that they O'Neill and his gang are not telling the truth.

Here's a question for you though and I hope you'll apply the same logic that you did in Kerry's case. Remember John McCain and what the Bush Team pulled on him in South Carolina. They did a smear campaign on him as well- they employed what is called a push poll where they asked people if they would vote for John McCain if they knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child. He lost that primary and pulled out of the race. Do you think there was one iota of truth to that. There is not always fire where there is smoke.

And to the person who said Kerry brought it on himself by highlighting his service.. That's like saying someone deserves to be raped. ( I really think some journalist should analyze the pyschology of the Bush Team because it reminds me very much of the profile of people who abuse power and how they abuse and manipulate their victims.)

I for one think Kerry's service is an asset and believe that those who have fought in war have a much better perspective than those who have not.

I also wonder if any of you Repubs have seriously thought about the cost of this war, in terms of the incredible debt we are incurring as well as the loss of human life. Seriously, are you so wrapped up in your comfortable lives that you don't ever question the necessity of this war? How do you justify voting for someone who made such a GRAVE mistake?

By Hayden (Hayden) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 09:41 pm: Edit

browninfall said: "How do you think you would feel if you were in a Vietnam prison camp and those who were torturing you were playing for you a tape of John Kerry speaking on Capitol Hill about your supposed war crimes?" (Sorry, I've never figured out italics on this board.)

John McCain says that he never heard tapes like that played when he was a prisoner, and never heard anyone else say that they heard any such tapes, from Kerry or anyone else. Not saying it didn't happen; but I'll trust McCain on this one.

Second, it just doesn't logically follow to say that 1) Kerry's prep school classmates didn't like him, and therefore 2) the swift boat vets are telling the truth. That's a bit too much of a leap for me. (Not to mention the fact that I'm not prepared to start taking the judgment of a bunch of 15 to 18 year olds for my choice of presidential candidate. If number of childhood friends is a strong argument for president, Clinton should have gotten 100% of the vote - one thing Clinton was famous for was the number of grade school and high school friends he made and kept throughout his life.)

If you disagree with Kerry, or just plain don't like him for whatever reason, that's valid, justifiable, and no problem at all. But I think we've reached a point where the swift boat people and their testimony just don't add up. They have been discredited by the navy, by the correlating documents (even people who say he wrote up his own reports, can't possibly say he wrote up every single report for every decoration given, and all reports coincided), and by several people who do not support Kerry now, but felt they had to report the facts.

As one of the other posters said, the same pattern was followed regarding McCain.

The larger question here - bigger than this particular election - is the growing power of negative ads. If successful ads like this, even when demonstrably false, have such an impact on an election, what does that say about our process? The "daisy" ad in the Johnson/Goldwater election raised the same concern. Does anyone else remember a book called "The Selling of the President" a few decades ago? Pretty prescient. (And I hope I spelled that right.) And I do apologize to you 15 - 18 year olds for not taking your judgments for president.

By Browninfall (Browninfall) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 10:11 pm: Edit

What are you talking about "the growing power of negative ads"? The "daisy" ad is 40 years old. The Swift Boat Vets believe that their ads are accurate just as Bill Moyers thought his "daisy" ad was accurate 40 years ago. Who's going to determine when an ad is "demonstrably false"? We don't like your negative ads, just as you guys hate it when you see one of ours. It's the American way. Get used to it. Maybe you're ready to ban free speech, but we're not quite there yet.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 06:20 am: Edit

Get used to it is right. Many say Bush had no choice but to go on the attack as Kerry spent $70 million in ad dollars to make this the anything but Bush campaign. And hey, as Chris Matthews pointed out, although everyone acts offended, it works! For both sides!!

By Hayden (Hayden) on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 11:28 am: Edit

Negative opinions are certainly acceptable. Ads that focus on drawing negative comparisons are within bounds. But false ads are a problem. And by "demonstrably", I mean that the swift boat ads simply have no validity anymore when all documentary evidence disputes them, eyewitnesses dispute them, the navy disputes them, and the past testimony of the swift boat vets themselves dispute their own current statements.

With regard to the swift boats ads Mom101 said "Bush had no choice but to go on the attack" - no problem. But it's not Bush I'm talking about. After all, he's not actually behind the ads, is he? Wouldn't that be illegal?

Doesn't truth mean anything in our political discourse? One thing I believe is that we can argue positions, and opinions, and interpretations. We can stress the importance of certain facts over others. But don't we have a moral responsibility to be careful with facts?

I think it's pretty sad when Mom101 implies we have to get used to it. I have a little more respect for our political system than that. Democracy only works when we have an informed electorate. If you don't believe that, take it up with Mr. Jefferson.

By Mom101 (Mom101) on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 12:03 pm: Edit

No Hayden, truth doesn't mean anything in politics today. Nor do facts seem to. Americans vote on sound bites and perceptions.

My get used to it comment came from hearing all the pundits following the election who assure us that politicals ads and speeches like the ones we've seen from both sides in this election are hear to stay because they work.

By Fundingfather (Fundingfather) on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 12:37 pm: Edit

And by "demonstrably", I mean that the swift boat ads simply have no validity anymore when all documentary evidence disputes them, eyewitnesses dispute them, the navy disputes them, and the past testimony of the swift boat vets themselves dispute their own current statements

You obviously get your information from the pro-Kerry media. Most inconsistencies have come from the Kerry story:

1) not really in Cambodia on Christmas

2) not really under attack for his first purple heart (even those who are part of the "band of brothers" don't recall enemy fire; a retired admiral and former head of the Navy's legal organization says he was on the mission and there was no enemy fire; Kerry's own journal states that he had not been under enemy fire yet - 9 days after this incident.)

3)Kerry and Rassman can't even get their story straight about which boat Rassman was on (Kerry said he was on a different boat; Rassman said that he was on Kerry's boat)

4)Kerry has had to retract the "no man left behind" fairytale that he promoted as recently as the DNC. He now admits that his boat did actually flee the scene and then returned, while the other boats stayed to offer assistance to the damaged boat and crew - just as the SWBT claimed

5)No physical evidence to support Kerry's story (no bullet holes in his boat to support ther "whithering fire" claim; no explanation as to how a mine could explode under his boat resulting in shrapnel to his butt when there was no hole in his hull for the shrapnel to pass through; ignores the fact that his own record says that he received the butt injury earlier in the day when he and Rassman blew up rice supplies with hand grenades

6) Why are there three different accounts/citations around his Slver Star

7) The navy said that in its entire history, it has never issued a Silver Star with a combat V - yet Kerry claims this on his web site. When the head of the Navy was under fire for falsely claiming a "V" for his medals he committed suicide; at the time Kerry said that for someone to falsely claim a medal that was not warranted was sufficient grounds to question their ability to lead.

8) Kerry admitted in his 1971 Senate testimony that reports were routinely altered and that he himself had done it

9) There is a documented case where Kerry's filed report shows that they had attacked a sampan and killed a number of VC; his own journal and the witness of his own gunner, however show that there were no VC - just a Vietnamese family, including a small child that was killed.

Finally, if the accounts of the SWBT are so full of lies, WHY DOESN'T KERRY SIGN THE FORM TO RELEASE ALL HIS RECORDS? As Shakespeare would say, "There's something rotten in Denmark" He also lied about the availability of his journal for public perusal. He claimed that it was given to Brinkley under a proprietary agreement whereby Brinkley controlled the rights to it. This was denied by Brinkley.

Those who automatically smear the Swifties as liars without looking carefully at their claims are clearly biased - and this includes the majority of the media.

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