Leaving the Left

  • #51
russ_watters
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SOS2008 said:
Getting back to the topic of this thread...though this article addressing Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter With Kansas?" is not completely of a serious nature:
http://slate.msn.com/id/2118237/#ContinueArticle [Broken]
The working class's refusal to synchronize its politics with its economic interests is one of the enduring puzzles of the present age. Between 1989 and 1997, middle-income families (defined in this instance as the middle 20 percent) saw their share of the nation's wealth fall from 4.8 percent to 4.4 percent. ...As the GOP drifts further to the right, and becomes more starkly the party of the wealthy, it is gaining support among the working class....

I have never seen a wholly satisfactory explanation for this trend, which now spans two generations....
The explanation is simple: that 4.8 to 4.4% drop is an irrelevancy. What matters is the fact that the middle class's income has increased in that time. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/h03ar.html [Broken]

This is a key to understanding why the Democrats are losing people: the American Dream is not an us-vs-them proposition. If I'm getting richer, I don't care that someone else is getting richer faster. The Democratic party is trying to play up the us-vs-them card and it isn't working because people can't reconcile it with what they really care about (their own situation).

Think about it: what did Clinton ask the votors in 1992? Did he ask them "Are you better off today than you were 4 years ago?" or did he ask "Are you more better off today than your neighbor was 4 years ago?"
 
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  • #52
SOS2008
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russ_watters said:
The explanation is simple: that 4.8 to 4.4% drop is an irrelevancy. What matters is the fact that the middle class's income has increased in that time.
It increased in keeping with cost of living. A percentage drop means the increase is at a slower rate than it was in the past.

But forget the battle of the charts and graphs. Step away from the comfortable background, peers with degrees, management, etc. because this is more like the top 10% of wealth. How do you think the true middle class, an administrative assistant, the FedEx carrier, etc. feel about their lives and futures?
russ_watters said:
This is a key to understanding why the Democrats are losing people: the American Dream is not an us-vs-them proposition. If I'm getting richer, I don't care that someone else is getting richer faster. The Democratic party is trying to play up the us-vs-them card and it isn't working because people can't reconcile it with what they really care about (their own situation).
Enabling Americans to pursue the American Dream is something the Republicans seem disconnected from. Your opinion about the Dems having an us-vs-them strategy is based on what?
russ_watters said:
Think about it: what did Clinton ask the votors in 1992? Did he ask them "Are you better off today than you were 4 years ago?"
Imagine if Bush asked this.
russ_watters said:
...or did he ask "Are you more better off today than your neighbor was 4 years ago?"
Since their neighbor was unemployed, well yeh they were better off.
 
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  • #53
russ_watters
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SOS2008 said:
It increased in keeping with cost of living. A percentage drop means the increase is at a slower rate than it was in the past.
No, it has increased faster than the cost of living. Jeez, how many times do I have to post this data before this myth is dispelled? Look at the data I posted. The second table is adjusted for inflation. Except in the very short-term recession years, all income groups are gaining ground.

See, that's my point: you are buying into the Democrats' mantra that "the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer" (conclusion: we must level the field by taxing the hell out of them). The Democrats are making you believe something that isn't true. Doesn't that anger you?

I alluded to this in another thread, but this is one of the few remaining Marxist myths that people still believe, and they only still believe it because they are being tricked by those who they choose as leaders. The vast majority of people have outgrown the unrealistic/idealistic Marxist utopia vision, but they still cling to a few Marxist prinicples. This one in particular, namely, the myth that the rich get rich by standing on the backs of the workers. Naa, maybe that's unfair - in Marx's time it may not have been a myth. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. In the time of sweatshops and child labor, maybe it was true. But as the data clearly shows, it is not true today.

Further, history has shown the corollary as well: forced equality doesn't bring everyone up, it brings everyone down (see: every attempt at communism, ever) - except, of course, the richest 1% who still exist in every attempt at Communism (though they are a different richest 1% - they don't get there by their own efforts in Communism).
But forget the battle of the charts and graphs. Step away from the comfortable background, peers with degrees, management, etc. because this is more like the top 10% of wealth. How do you think the true middle class, an administrative assistant, the FedEx carrier, etc. feel about their lives and futures?
Pretty dang good. Regardless though - you just inadvertently agreed with me - you asked about their futures, not their neighbors' futures.
Your opinion about the Dems having an us-vs-them strategy is based on what?
The Democratic get-the-rich campaign strategy. Specifically, Bill Clinton's speech at the DNC. Democratic candidates try to gain support by saying 'we will take money from the rich and give it to you'. Americans know that isn't the American way.
Imagine if Bush asked this.Since their neighbor was unemployed, well yeh they were better off.
Huh? You really believe people think that way? Do you think that way? If they are unemployed and their neighbor is unemployed, does that make it ok? C'mon - you know how it really works. People people may complain about inequality, but they only worry about their own house and their own job.

And yes, I know - people are, to some extent, driven by envy, but it isn't the overriding factor. The fact that the Democratic party has to trick you is evidence of that. But the real proof can be demonstrated by a simple thought experiment:

Choose between A and B:
A. I give you $10 and I give the person next to you $20.
B. I give you $100 and I give the person next to you $1,000.

Now, Americans do nothing better than they complain, but while they complain, they'll still choose B. The Democratic party misinterprets the complaining as evidence people would rather choose A. Or maybe they don't - maybe they really do believe the Marxist myth from above. But believing something directly contradictory to the evidence is worse even than religion - its delusion.

[tidbit] A quick google shows that the "Are you better off...?" question was used first by Reagan, to stunning success in his campaign against Carter. HERE are the results of that poll for several Presidents.
 
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  • #54
russ_watters
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Cited above, http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/072804Z.shtml [Broken] is Bill Clinton's speech to the DNC from last year. Some excerpts:
We think the role of government is to give people the tools and conditions to make the most of their lives.
Do you? To Clinton's credit, he vastly reduced the welfare rolls, but that's counter to the usual democratic position. Regardless, Democrats typically favor social programs and social programs, like welfare, don't allow equality of opportunity, they grant equality of outcome (as noted by the link in the OP): steal from the rich and give to the poor.
They think the role of government is to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of those who embrace their political, economic, and social views, leaving ordinary citizens to fend for themselves on matters like health care and retirement security.
This implies the myth noted above (the rich are getting richer while "we" are getting poorer). How to fix it? Steal from the rich and give to the poor.
Since most Americans are not that far to the right, they have to portray us Democrats as unacceptable, lacking in strength and values. In other words, they need a divided America. But Americans long to be united.
Ironic sentiment, seeing as how the previous statement - indeed the entire point of the speech - is to divide the nation. Or perhaps it is just to unify the 99% and divide them from the 1%? Us vs them, again.
When I was in office, the Republicans were pretty mean to me. When I left and made money, I became part of the most important group in the world to them. At first I thought I should send them a thank you note - until I realized they were sending you the bill.
Very clever (genius, even). He's characterizing himself as a "them" but saying he really cares about "us". Same point though: steal from the rich and give to the poor. Actually, this on goes even further: he implies that "they" are stealing from "us". He doesn't quite lie, but like Michael Moore, he doesn't have to: you draw the factually inacurrate conclusion for him - all he does is imply it.
Everyone had to sacrifice except the wealthiest Americans, who wanted to do their part but were asked only to expend the energy necessary to open the envelopes containing our tax cuts.
Same idea as above, slightly recharacterized: the Republicans are giving the rich your money. Still factually wrong when you say it that way too.
The one billion dollar cost would have been paid for by reducing the tax cut of 200,000 millionaires by five thousand dollars each. Almost all 200,000 of us would have been glad to pay 5,000 dollars to make the nearly 300 million Americans safer...
Sure you would have, Bill. :rolleyes: But again: we need to take money from the rich to give to the poor.
These policies have turned the projected 5.8 trillion dollar surplus we left - enough to pay for the baby boomers retirement - into a projected debt of nearly 5 trillion dollars, with a 400 plus billion dollar deficit this year and for years to come. How do they pay for it? First by taking the monthly surplus in Social Security payments and endorsing the checks of working people over to me to cover my tax cut. But it's not enough. They are borrowing the rest from foreign governments, mostly Japan and China. Sure, they're competing with us for good jobs but how can we enforce our trade laws against our bankers? If you think it's good policy to pay for my tax cut with the Social Security checks of working men and women, and borrowed money from China, vote for them. If not, John Kerry's your man.
Is the pattern becoming clear yet? Again, characterized slightly differently: the Republicans are giving the rich your money. Nevermind that Clinton handed Bush a recession and as a result, tax revenue took a hit. Nevermind that economists typically agree that tax cuts do, in fact, stimulate the economy. The message is clear: we need to reverse the trend and steal from the rich to give to the poor.
Democrats favor shared responsibility, shared opportunity...
do they, Bill? From all you said above, it sounds like Democrats favor the rich having all the responsibility and the poor all the "opportunity".
Republicans favor concentrated wealth and power, leaving people to fend for themselves...
Again, the income inequality myth.
I think we're right for two reasons: First, America works better when all people have a chance to live their dreams.
All people except those that alreay have money, you mean. And guess what, Bill - income inequality is what enables all people to have the chance to live their dreams!
By the only test that matters, whether people were better off when we finished than when we started....
There's that, but....
our way works better - it produced over 22 million good jobs, rising incomes, and 100 times as many people moving out of poverty into the middle class.
Your way works better? When did the stock market peak, Bill? What did you do to try to soften the inevitable recession that followed you out of office?

Now contrast that with http://www.pbs.org/newshour/vote2004/demconvention/speeches/obama.html [Broken]. Obama is living proof that the son of poor immigrants can succeed. But look at how dangerous - blasphemous, even - his message is:
Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats.... We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope?
How can he say such a thing? No red states and blue states? How do we know who the enemy is? How do we know what we are supposed to be against? If the rich aren't are enemy and we can't get ahead by taking their money, we'll have to earn it ourselves!! What a horribly cynical view! [/sarcasm] If he isn't careful, the Democrats are going to run him out of the party (see: John McCain). We're not supposed to believe that that (the American Dream) is possible unless we steal it from our common enemy: the rich.

Oh, and by the way, I'd vote for Obama in an instant. Unlike most Democrats in government, he understands the American Dream.
 
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  • #55
Americans went from one income to two incomes over time in order to maintain a high standard of living. I don't have time at the moment to go though all the posts/data, but how does this factor?
 
  • #56
russ_watters
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2CentsWorth said:
Americans went from one income to two incomes over time in order to maintain a high standard of living. I don't have time at the moment to go though all the posts/data, but how does this factor?
Due to the increasing divorce rate and proliferation of single-parent families, I think its a wash, but its a good question. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/histinc/incpertoc.html [Broken] is the data on individuals, but unfortunately, it isn't sliced as neatly as the household data. It may take some effort wading through it....

A google search reveals the average "household" size in 2003 was 2.61. According to THIS site (which mostly talks about how much bigger our houses are getting), "Since 1950, the average new house has increased by 1,247 sq. ft. Meanwhile, the average household has shrunk by 1 person." That implies to me that its more than a wash: the shrinking household size means that the income increases are even bigger than they appear - but again, complicated question and I'm not sure.

edit: HERE are the household size stats.
 
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  • #57
SOS2008
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russ_watters said:
No, it has increased faster than the cost of living. Jeez, how many times do I have to post this data before this myth is dispelled? Look at the data I posted. The second table is adjusted for inflation. Except in the very short-term recession years, all income groups are gaining ground.
You are correct that this was discussed before, and if I recall, there is conflicting data depending on what source one prefers to use. So not to become derailed into discussion of issues I was not posting about, I return to what I posted in regard to a source I used:

http://www.osjspm.org/101_wealth.htm [Broken]

In 1998, the last year for which figures are available, it took over $250,000 to be in the top 10% of wealth holders. It took over $3,000,000 to reach the top 1%.
Look at the gap between the top 10% and 1% of wealth holders. Then realize that only 10% make it to $250,000 or more.

The rest I will reply to under Political Perspectives, as it is more appropriate to that thread.
 
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  • #58
russ_watters
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SOS2008 said:
You are correct that this was discussed before, and if I recall, there is conflicting data depending on what source one prefers to use.
I don't recall any controversy over the data, merely that people are unaware of it (though I've posted it so many times that that really isn't acceptable).

While 2CentsWorth's question is a good one, I think the evidence is pretty strong that 1. the shrinking household size makes the increase in relative income larger and 2. the average household lives much better than in the past (which is what is really important).

The most common objection is from people who don't scroll down to the second table and don't think the data is inflation adjusted.

There is other data that we've discussed that also supports the point. The fact that poverty levels in the US have dropped by half in the last 40 or 50 years (I can dig that source out again if you need it) is direct evidence that the poor are getting substantially richer.
So not to become derailed into discussion of issues I was not posting about, I return to what I posted in regard to a source I used:

http://www.osjspm.org/101_wealth.htm [Broken]
Look at the gap between the top 10% and 1% of wealth holders. Then realize that only 10% make it to $250,000 or more.
You said that before - what is the relevance of that?
 
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  • #59
Informal Logic
russ_watters said:
I don't recall any controversy over the data, merely that people are unaware of it (though I've posted it so many times that that really isn't acceptable).

While 2CentsWorth's question is a good one, I think the evidence is pretty strong that 1. the shrinking household size makes the increase in relative income larger and 2. the average household lives much better than in the past (which is what is really important).

The most common objection is from people who don't scroll down to the second table and don't think the data is inflation adjusted.

There is other data that we've discussed that also supports the point. The fact that poverty levels in the US have dropped by half in the last 40 or 50 years (I can dig that source out again if you need it) is direct evidence that the poor are getting substantially richer. You said that before - what is the relevance of that?
Based on data provided by alexandra in another thread about the problematic use of credit, specifically in the US, I would not rely on any data regarding material possessions (size of home, etc.) as an indicator of prosperity.
russ_watters said:
...what is the relevance of that?
The most obvious is that this means 89% of the population makes less than $250,000 (and currently you can barely buy a home for that).
 
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  • #60
Pengwuino
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Informal Logic said:
The most obvious is that this means 89% of the population makes less than $250,000 (and currently you can barely buy a home for that).
Yah maybe in California... but $250k will get you a damn good home almost anywhere else in this country. And a house is a huge investment! Are you saying people should be able to buy brand new homes each and every year in order for them to be 'making it'?
 
  • #61
Informal Logic
Pengwuino said:
Yah maybe in California... but $250k will get you a damn good home almost anywhere else in this country. And a house is a huge investment! Are you saying people should be able to buy brand new homes each and every year in order for them to be 'making it'?
This is just one example of rising cost of living in comparison to what most people earn. Are you trying to misconstrue information again?
 
  • #62
Pengwuino
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You need a far better example because only in places like San Francisco will you barely be able to have a house for $250k. Plus of course, when in the modern age has a years salary ever been able to buy you a house? Havent mortgages been around a rather long time?

You seem to be the one misconstruing information as you bring a very bad example which is inevitably false to the table as believe it somehow is a fact of life.
 
  • #63
Informal Logic
Pengwuino said:
You need a far better example because only in places like San Francisco will you barely be able to have a house for $250k. Plus of course, when in the modern age has a years salary ever been able to buy you a house? Havent mortgages been around a rather long time?

You seem to be the one misconstruing information as you bring a very bad example which is inevitably false to the table as believe it somehow is a fact of life.
http://houseandhome.msn.com/homes/homesoverview.aspx?GT1=6551

And in the future (I believe this is at least the third time to be suggested to you) do not accuse me or other members of faulty information when you rarely if ever provide sources to back up your claims.
 
  • #64
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Jonny_trigonometry said:
Both republican and democratic parties are wrong, but when they are balanced equally, things are good.
Wrong. Compromise between then two groups is jsut as bad as either having their way. The government needs to be leveled, with all hands aboard before any progress can be made.

The deomcrats are swinging more left because the republicans are swinging more right.
Evidence? It could just as easily be argued that republicans are going mroe right in reposnse to the Democrats, something which seems more likely from my perspective. Either way, its bad.

To affiliate yourself with either one makes you ignore valid arguments of the other side.
Since when? I thought that was caused by being human.

I'm a democrat right now because I feel the nation needs to be more balanced (since the administration is radical right). If Kerry were elected, I would've liked it for a while until i saw the nation becomming too left wing, and at that point i would join the righties.
So you have no principles.

Regardless of the political spectrum, I see the current administration as paranoid control freaks in a desperate attempt to make everyone behave the way they do. Thier attitude is far less forgiving than the previous administration. Just listening to the tone of Lord Bush's voice when he talks down to the people (as if he's teaching us something) is kind of scary. He doesn't accept failure, and will never humble himself. When there is no room for failure, there is no way to learn from mistakes and hence, no way to improve the situation.
Sounds like politicians in general. All of those descriptions could be applied to ceratin Democrats as well. (I'm not contesting the validity of them being applied to Bush at all, mind you)

Comparing Clinton's behavior with Bush's says it all, Clinton was nailed to the cross when republicans heard of his falacious activities (at least he wasn't thinking of taking over other nations) and was even empeached by those unforgiving republican control freaks who believe they know what is best for others. Clinton didn't even break the law in that scandal!
Yes he did. he committed perjury. That is why he was impeached. Not because he had sex. Perjury was the issue. He should have been thrown out of office for it.

Another thing that he was nailed to the cross for was Whitewater, the Repubs tried to tarnish his reputation by spending millions on investigating his completeley legal real estate dealings. Did Clinton ever use scorn and finger pointing? NO, he made light of it and cracked a few jokes. Bush on the other hand has gotten away with much more scandalous activities such as stopping the hunt for Osama when they had him cornered in Torrah Borrah
Evidence?

, lying to the American people and the world about WMD
Assuming facts not in evidence. Its equally possible he was lied to by advisors and he believed them, or that the advisors simply did not know the information was bad. Just because he was wrong does not mean he was lying.

, jumping to conclusions about Iraq's involvement in 9-11
Kinda like you about him.

{QUOTE], constantly contradicting himself and denying it all, supporting the patriot act and homeland security[/QUOTE]

Are you against homeland security?

, thus weakening our constitution, and much much more. There is plenty of evidance that he was involved in insider trading when he was on the board of directors at Harken energy
And plenty of evidence that Clinton's dealings in Whitewater were not entirely legal, and plenty of evidence that Clinton committed perjury, what is your point?

, but the Dems aren't spending millions trying to make Bush accountable for it (unlike how the repubs spent millions on the whitewater investigation which turned out to find Clinton innocent).
Because they don't have millions to spend, after blowing it all on an election they lost?

What about Bush's military record, or how he cheated his way through yale in 2.5 years to get a 4 year degree?
News to me. You'd be surprised how many people used to get degrees in far less time. Like PhDs in 2 years, instead of 6 or eight.

Getting through in 2.5 years is not evidence of cheating. You're drawing unsupported conclusions for no more reason than that you like the conlcusion.

What about the 20 years he spent on his daddy's ranch doing cocaine? what about the piles of recordings of Bush talking on the phone admitting many of these types of scandalous activities?
Since when do liberals care about people using drugs? Democrats ***** and moan about the war on drugs being a waste, but if a republican uses drugs they make a huge deal about it. Hypocrites pointing fingers at hypocrites.

The Dems haven't tried to empeach Bush and I don't know why, there is a very good case against him, but I guess the Dems are just too nice... [/'QUOTE]

If by good case you mean the Democrats making up conclusions not supported by evidence, yes. Clinton was impeached because his crime was in a courtroom, he committed perjury. He was not impeached for his sex life. The media found that more interesting to report, but he was impeached for perjury, a crime he did commit, while in office. And there was proof, real evidence.

The thing with the Dems is that they believe other people know what is best for themselves, and repubs believe they know what is best for others.
Bull****. Both sides think that they know what is best for others. And they should all face summary execution for crimes against the American people, IMO. Every last one of them.

Both viewpoints must be balanced in order to amiliorate our world. It's nice that you've found some reasons to be fond of bush, but consider the above things also, you can't just ignore them.
You mean your fabricated conclusions not supported by evidence?

I wrote an email to bush today with a subject "f### you very much", and it read like this: Dear Lord Bush, screw you a##hole!
Then you are immature and pathetic, but about average from what I've seen of people. Congratulations for bearing that standard so proudly.

Should I be afraid? honestly I am a little, because maybe next time I go on an airline, I'll be pulled to the side and hassled like what happened to some of the Kerry supporters before the election... Maybe I'm on his list now.
You're an idiot.

If I sent that same email to Clinton would I be afraid? I would think not, because he wouldn't take it negatively.
Of course, he would have considered you a moron. He would have been right. (i'm descending into ad hominem here, and deserve to be blasted for it, but this is just too much).

We all have the freedom to say what we want
Yeah, like the freedom to say 'Policeman' without being called a misogynist.

, and we have the freedom to interpret what others say to and about us negatively or positively
Or misinterpret. Best called the freedom to be a moron. I'd rather not have that one myself.

. With homeland securit and the patriot act, these freedoms are incrementally being compramised. Perhaps Bush wants people to look at him in fear rather than look at him in hope.
Patriot Act should not be renewed, but maybe you don't actually know what the term 'homeland security' means. Nothing about 'homeland security' has to do with personal liberties being compromised. It simply means protecting our country. Are you against that? Or do you mean something else, and are incapable of expressing it?

I think it's great to try to look for the good side of Bush, and I commend you for doing so, but in the process you may disregard his bad side and that won't hurt him as much as it would hurt you.
There is no good side to the man, aside from the fact that he is not a liberal.
 

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