Quiverfull families and the federal income tax

I found Romney’s obtuse comment that the 47% of Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes are all dependents on the government and will vote for Obama no matter what extremely ironic. You know why? Because most families in the Christian Patriarchy/Quiverfull movement don’t pay federal income taxes, and there is no way any one of them would consider voting for Obama in their wildest dreams (rather, they generally see him as pure evil) or consider themselves dependent on the government, for that matter.

There has been a lot of talk since Romney’s comments about just who is in that 47%. It turns out that a lot of them are elderly or college students. A bunch of them are so low income that they aren’t required to pay federal income tax. And the rest are working families who are raising children and benefit from the child tax credits. For example, I am in that 47% because because my husband and I are graduate students and we’re raising two children.

Growing up, my parents faithfully donated 10% of their income to the church and to charity, and given the double digit size of their family, they could claim five, seven, nine or even more child tax credits each year. I just ran the numbers through an income tax calculator and wasn’t surprised at the results. No federal income taxes. None. And that’s even with my father’s fairly high income, so there’s no way other families in the Quiverfull movement who have middle or lower incomes are paying federal income tax either.

The thing to understand is that Quiverfull families are extremely right wing. In fact, part of the whole point of Quiverfull is to raise up “soldiers for Christ” to go out and convert people and to change the country for Christ, including the entertainment industry, the education system, and the government. Needless to say, the Quiverfull movement is tight with the Christian Right. Lots of Quiverfull families were out there stumping for Santorum last winter, forming perhaps his most faithful base. Quiverful families also strive to live debt-free and see government dependence as basically a wicked sin. Independence is held up as a key value, and many Quiverfull families run small businesses for this reason. Quiverfull families proudly assert that they are dependent only on God.

The idea that Romney would call my parents, and so many other Quiverfull families, “dependent on the government” and state that they would clearly vote for Obama is simply baffling. It’s nuts. And, of course, it’s incredibly, incredibly ironic.

———

Two more points about Romney’s comments:

First, just because someone doesn’t pay federal income taxes doesn’t mean they don’t pay taxes. Most of the working families with children that don’t pay federal income taxes do pay payroll taxes, and even students like me who don’t pay payroll taxes do pay state and local taxes and, of course, sales taxes. You can only pretend that half the country is made up of moochers if you pretend that the federal income tax is the only tax there is.

Second, Romney’s claim that that 47% “dependent on the government” will vote for Obama just because they only think of their own interests, as though that’s somehow wrong or illegitimate or unique to the poor, is ironic coming from a man who wants to vote himself a tax cut. I’m scratching my head trying to figure out how a poor man voting for Obama just because he wants to make sure Romney doesn’t cut the state funded health insurance for his children is any different from a rich man voting for Romney because he wants to have hundreds of thousands of extra dollars in his pocket each year.

———

Anyway, how about the rest of you? I know I’m coming to this late and all, but thoughts on Romney’s comments? Thoughts on how this will affect the election? Thoughts on the election in general?

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://louisebroadbentfiction.wordpress.com Louise Broadbent

    My thoughts on the American election: you guys had better not screw this one up.

  • http://www.twitter.com/nicoleintrovert Nicole Introvert

    Wow. And from my understanding many Mormon families are also taught to “be fruitful and multiply” so this would apply to a large number of Mormons as well. Nice work pointing that out! I never realized how child tax credits would essentially add up to cancel out paying income tax.

    • Rosa

      they can actually pay out more to the family than the family paid in taxes, not just cancel out the income tax; because of our public hatred for “welfare” the United States has included a lot of refundable tax credits in our tax code – there is a per-child deduction (reduces taxes) and a per-child credit that will actually pay out.

      Most people don’t know this, so a lot of families that do take government money still look down on those who take “handouts”.

  • Anonymouse

    I just finished reading two books from a woman who was married to a high-up in the Mormon church; Carolyn Jessop. She got out of that cult just before the raid on the Yearning for Zion compound that nabbed dozens of young mothers, including 14- and 16-year-olds. Jessop was an anomaly in that she wasn’t forced into marriage until she was 20, and she already had most of a college degree under her belt. She managed to get licensed to be a teacher before they closed down all the schools and forced the children into homeschooling.

    Jessop was one of 7 wives of a very-high-up. She had 8 pregnancies, 5 of them life-threatening. Her children were on Medicare and food stamps, as are most because the fathers of these children can’t possibly support them (her husband had more than 60 kids).

    Why doesn’t Romney talk about these welfare cheats in his own religion?

    • Saraquill

      To clarify, Carolyn Jessop is from the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints, who broke off from the Mormons at least a century ago. The FLDS and the Mormons disavow being the same as one another.

      • Anonymouse

        Actually, the FLDS and the Mormons split up in the 1930s and 1940s, not a century ago, and their practices are still very similar.

      • Rosa

        Some of their religious practices are still similar, but their social practices – including polygamy, separatism, harshly patriarchal families, communal business practices, church schisms, and limited education are very, very different.

      • Tracey

        The Mormons I know don’t practice polygamy, but they are very separatist, very patriarchal, very clannish within their own faith in their business practice, and not many of the girls go to college.

    • Rachel

      Tracey, I would bet that you don’t know any Mormons. Your comments are bigoted and ignorant.

      While I would argue with patriarchal and clannish, most of the girls do indeed go to college and are encouraged to do so at every turn.

  • Anonymouse

    The much-celebrated Duggars don’t pay their taxes; they had their house declared a church (so their property is tax-free) and with 19 or 20 or however many children they claim, the tax burden has to be close to nil.

    • Judy L.

      Churches are businesses and should not be tax-exempt, and if they are functioning as charitable non-profit organizations, then they should have to open their books to public scrutiny.

      The Duggars and others in the CP/Quiverstuffers movement avoiding taxes by having their homes declared churches is just beyond disgusting. I worship my pussycats…should I be able to get my apartment declared a church for tax purposes? But the problem that underscores all this is the insular nature of the CP/Quiverstuffers, where home is everything: school, church, social and dating scene, and yet the goal is political and social dominionism and the establishment of a theocracy.

      I apologize if anyone finds my reference to Quiverstuffers unfair or offensive, but I think the term is more than apt. These families are beyond full, and what could be more offensive than people regarding their own children as arrows in the quiver they carry as Warriors of Christ?

      • smrnda

        Have to agree, declaring a house that is used only by your own family a tax-exempt ‘church’ is pretty disgusting – clearly they have no more right to do this than any other person has to declare their house a ‘house of worship’ because, in some sort of vague, cosmic sense, worship goes on there.

        To me, it’s like me having a business and I simply declare that the business is non-profit and that it serves the people who work there and viola! Tax break!

  • http://cfiottawa.com Eamon Knight

    Up here it’s being reported that the Romney campaign is basically in free-fall, largely due to the 47% thing — Obama leading by 10% in Ohio? (good thing, too — notwithstanding Obama’s faults, Romney would be a disaster).

    • Judy L.

      Romney’s only chance of winning is if all the voter suppression and intimidation works…and there’s loads of it happening in the States.

      On a happy note, Canadian Conservatives got smacked down really quickly when they tried to push their right-wing agenda to the fore: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/333681

    • Anonymouse

      What worries me is Ohio uses the Diebold machines, and Diebold is a huge GOP donor. In 2000, some towns in Ohio counted more votes for Bush than there were actual PEOPLE in that town. Whatever reality is doesn’t matter once the computers are programmed to spit out a certain result.

  • wanderer

    I’m tempted to vote for Obama just to spite the fear-mongers who act like a vote for obama is a vote for satan running rampant in the world.

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      There are LOTS of reasons to vote for Obama (or at least not-Romney) besides that one. Actual substantive ones.

      • wanderer

        yeah, but aside from those.

  • Carol

    “You can only pretend that half the country is made up of moochers if you pretend that the federal income tax is the only tax there is.” which is what they’re doing, which is what they’ve always done, which is how they get people to vote against their best interest. There’s always some lazy, undeserving slob who is getting your money and tanking the economy in the process. Then they pick your pocket to fund wars or building stadiums, or subsidize corporations or bailout the failed banking system. How come we’re not talking about that anymore.

    In 2008, McCain and Palin stomped around the country saying “the workers are the fundamentals of the economy” and “we have the most productive workforce in the world” This is a country of extremely overworked/underpaid people, I’m sure your readers from other countries have tales of 7 weeks vacation, and things we can only fantasize about here. So in 2008 we went from “the most productive workforce in the world” to “a lazy bunch of unqualified moochers”. Throw in some statements about drug testing welfare recipients and I guess all we can say is “Thanks, Republican Party”.

    • Paula G V aka Yukimi

      Spaniards have always had the fame of being the laziest people in Europe but that was having the more hours worked per person per year and the least days of vacations per person per year in all the countries in the European Union back then (I don’t know anymore because that data is old now and there are more countries in the European Union now). IIt was a very re-inforced belief even by us. Anyway, I know hours worked or vacation days aren’t perfect ways to measure eficciency or lazyness per se but it was a pretty corrosive stereotype.

      • Carol

        Stereotypes are awful and untrue. The point I was trying to make, though, is that it is not possible, in 4 years, to go from “the most productive workforce in the world” to “half this country is made up of teat-sucking slackers” But that seems to be what the Republican party would like you to think. They are simultaneously claiming that there are no jobs, because the heroic job creators have not been unleashed because of the supposedly burdensome tax code, AND there ARE jobs, they are just unfilled because we are a country of untrained, lazy teat-sucking drug addicts.

    • Judy L.

      They’re also pretending that high income earners pay a higher rate on their entire income than do lower wage earners, and that’s just not how taxation and tax bracket calcultion work.

      • Judy L.

        *calculation

  • Scotlyn

    Any politics whose basic premise is resentment of the next person is NOT in our best interest!

    • Tracey

      Much of the Republican minions’ mindset is pants-soiling terror that someone, somewhere is *getting something they’re not*. This mindset is being very thoroughly washed into their brains by the right-wing media sources.

  • Teshumai

    I am genuinely baffled by this “Obama is evil” stuff I see. Could you (or one of your fine commentors) expand on it? It seems like he gets more hate than other democrats, but perhaps its just that I’m older and more aware than when Clinton was president. In the liberal circles I spend much of my time in W. Bush was not liked, respected or considered intelligent, but “evil” would be way overboard. (Cheney was another story…)

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      Hmm. Okay, first of all there is this idea that Obama is actually secretly a Muslim Marxist radical. They seem to genuinely thing that Obama only ever moves to the center as a tactic to get votes so that he can then turn around and carry out his nefarious plans. There’s also this idea that Obama hates Christians and wants to silence and jail them. That he “hates our freedoms.”

      But none of this really answers your questions. I’m trying to remember, and I think you’re right. I remember thinking Clinton was awful, and Gore, and Kerry, etc, but not the same kind of hatred. Words like “antichrist” weren’t thrown around. I think one of two things is at fault – or more likely both, and a few more I can’t think of right off. First, there seems to be an increased polarization and an increase in vitriol. The Right is getting more and more extreme, and the Republicans are kicking out moderates left and right. The rhetoric is ratcheted up across the board until this is a fight to the death between the forces of good and the forces of evil. Second – and yes, I’m going to come right out and say – is racism. There’s just something about the fact that Obama is black that seems to make all the rhetoric and accusations that much harsher and off the wall. My guess is that even people who insist they aren’t racist – and consciously don’t want to be racist – are affected subconsciously.

      Anyone else have any thoughts?

      • Liriel

        Well, in conspiracy circles (I kind of go to a particular message board for amusement), I actually did see Bush called “antichrist.” Not nearly as widely as Obama, I admit. I expect those folks called all presidents the antichrist. Also expect the government to reveal dealings with aliens soon, FEMA prison camps, false flag attacks, etc. Wasn’t aware of politics enough to say anything previous to that.

        I do agree about increased polarization. I mean, I do remember a few relatives talking about the Clintons having some people killed to further their political careers (did people quit saying that after Monica didn’t get killed?), but I don’t recall the same demonization of ordinary people who happened to hold a different political opinion back then.

      • Rosie

        Actually, the word “Anti-Christ” WAS thrown around in the Clinton years. Specifically when that well-publicized photo of him standing behind the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers as they shook hands came out. (I was still in Southern Baptist churches/college at the time, and I remember it well.) I think those people are just shouting instead of whispering now.

      • MI Dawn

        Libby Anne: you are closer to correct when you say it’s a large part racist. I remember watching the inauguration – many of my fellow employees standing in the hallways where the TVs are. I’d say that probably 75% of those watching were black. And the racial balance of the building is probably closer to 40/60 (black to caucasian). We were smiling and laughing, cheering, while many others of my race walked by with stony faces.
        And not only is President Obama black – he’s (gasps, clenches pearls) MIXED! His WHITE mama slept with a BLACK man…oh, the horrors of it all! Even in this day and age, mixed race people face a lot of prejudice from both sides.
        There’s also the fact he’s not “from” the US…I can’t tell you (and it’s really embarrassing) how many people I know you who don’t believe Hawaii is a state and a person born there is American. And then there’s that funny name of his, he has “Hussain” in it, and everyone KNOWS that means he’s really Muslim…
        Sometimes I weep for my country. But, I’m enough older than you to be your mother, and I have seen changes. Painfully slow, but they do exist. So I still have hope.

      • Tracey

        Don’t forget that President Obama is simultaneously a Marxist *and* a Socialist. Also, he’s a secret Muslim who had been attending a Christian church for more than 20 years and brews his own beer (Muslims don’t drink alcohol) *and* owns a dog (Jews and Muslims consider dogs unclean). Just like the Red Queen, conservatives can believe six impossible things before breakfast every day.

      • Ashton

        Yes, race is certainly a huge factor, but I think another factor is that he’s charismatic (which Clinton was but Bush wasn’t) and seems likable (which Bush and Clinton were only occasionally – possibly Bush a bit more). The better someone is at those two things, the more bad things someone will have to say about them in order to get people to not vote for them.

    • http://ripeningreason.com/ Bix

      I think a certain class of people consider Obama the ‘Other’ because he’s biracial and seems foreign to them. Once you ‘other’ someone it’s much easier to call them evil, because they are Not Like You. I think anti-intellectualism plays a role here as well, like they think he must be a nefarious schemer or something.

      Also, I think you’re right about Cheney–people kind of projected that away from Bush and on to him, which made Bush look more hapless than anything else.

    • Carol

      The only way a moderate like Obama, a likeable, smart, educated family man (whaaaa????) can be defeated is by recasting him from a beleaguered statesman who was handed a pile of crap 4 years ago, to an unholy monster who “hates white people”, is out to take your guns, your rights, your religion, throw you into FEMA camps and whatnot.

      And, in general, there’s this: http://www.amazon.com/The-Eliminationists-Radicalized-American-Right/dp/0981576982

      Yes, democrats are not just your fellow taxpaying countrymen with differing viewpoints, they are satan spawn and must be eliminated.

    • http://cfiottawa.com Eamon Knight

      It is remarkable to watch isn’t it? I keep seeing claims to the effect that, if Obama is re-elected, by 2016 the country will be a totalitarian socialist gulag or something. The end of America! — a fantasy that requires weapons-grade conspiracy theorizing. Much though I think a Romney presidency would be horrible, even I don’t project that level of apocalyptic paranoia on him.

      • Tracey

        In northern Virginia, a defense contractor was so pants-soilingly terrified of Obama being re-elected that he shot to death his wife, teenagers, and finally himself. THIS is how crazy the right-wing has become.

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      “I am genuinely baffled by this “Obama is evil” stuff I see. Could you (or one of your fine commentors) expand on it?”

      He’s Black. This causes many people to shit themselves. There ya go.

      • Anonymouse

        Also, as was pointed out above, he is educated. He’s also cosmopolitan, having lived in Hawaii and Indonesia and gone to school at Harvard. The Quiverfulls and many Conservatives can only exist in an insular bubble, where nothing but the approved “facts” is ever allowed to enter and the same tired ideas go round and round and round. The very antithesis of someone who has seen with his own eyes and lived with his own experience a variety of different situations.

        Hawaii is an interesting place (I lived there for a number of years while growing up). There are many recent immigrants from all over the world, who bring their language and their culture with them. A child growing up in that environment will make a number of friends who hold any number of philosophies and beliefs and cultural habits. To a great extent that diversity is celebrated there, not feared and hated.

        But mostly, the hatred is because of his skin color.

    • Mikey

      He’s smart and full of “book-larnin”, which is absolutely terrifying to many people. Usually the same people who think that the right to power is proportional to ones albedo, so Obama must therefore be every evil thing ever.

      • Anonymouse

        Also, he grew up not-rich, not-advantaged, yet “pulled himself up by his own bootstraps”. Unlike Romney (or Bush), who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and given every advantage, President Obama was the child of a single, teenaged mother, yet he worked hard and made the most of his innate gifts to become what he is now. You’d think the red-staters would celebrate that, but instead they find it threatening. If someone with every strike against him (bi-racial, poor, born to teenaged divorced mother) can make it, there’s no excuse (according to their own philosophy) why they’re still wallowing in their poverty, and it infuriates them.

      • Carol

        “You’d think the red-staters would celebrate that, but instead they find it threatening.”

        Which is why they’re always asking for his college transcripts. In their racists little minds, they just need to prove Obama only got into Harvard because of affirmative action, they desperately need it to be so. Even though Bush could barely make it through Yale with his frat boy attitude and alcoholism, and wouldn’t have made it without Daddy that’s OK.

        The red staters are constantly moving the target, and the crowd just moves along with them. They sneered at Obama for being a “latte drinking Harvard educated elitist”. Well, guess who they just nominated, funny, you never hear those terms out of their mouths anymore. Nor do you hear “I want a president I can sit down and have a beer with” a la George Bush. Romney doesn’t even know what a donut is. Donuts and beer are for the Homer Simpsons of the world. Now it’s “I want a CEO to run the economy” then the herd goes stampeding towards that idea.

  • Teshumai

    Thanks for the replies- I think the idea of Not Like You might encompass it best. Our politicians really play up their All American, Baseball & Apple Pie attitudes and try to win voters by being someone they can relate to. (Perhaps see themselves in.) Obama’s unorthodox in so many ways, it’s hard to figure out what pushes people’s buttons- is it that he’s mixed race? That he lived outside the US for a while growing up in a, gasp, Muslim country? That he didn’t have a traditional two parent household? (Is it that he turned out to be a successful man despite this?)

    Because, honestly, the policy changes he’s done haven’t been so revolutionary. Overturning DADT, getting the ACA in place- these are big changes, but not vendetta worthy. As a (liberal) Catholic, I know people are angered about the increase in contraception funding, but that doesn’t seem to account for all the vitriol I hear. (It certainly doesn’t rank as “evil” in terms of policy change.)

    I think you’re also right that it may be a sign of the times- the country is getting more and more polarized, and you can’t have a strongly united “us” without a “them” to unite against. I wonder if there’s anything we can do to depolarize those around us.

    -Teshumai

    • AnotherOne

      I agree that “Not Like Me” lies behind a lot of it. There’s quite a bit of veiled, unconscious racism in my extended family of Southern working class whites. It’s the kind of racism that is much more about stereotyping impoverished urban minorities than it is about skin color. But even the more overtly racist among my older relatives are for the most part fine voting for someone like Herman Cain–a black person who doesn’t fit their straw man image of a poor urban black person, and who doesn’t feel “foreign” to them. Who feels like one of their neighbors. But they have exceedingly fearful, paranoid, negative, apocalyptic, conspiracy-theory opinions of Obama that far outstrip their negative views of other liberal/moderate politicians. I don’t think it’s so much about Obama being black or mixed race as it is about him being so different, so far out of the realm of their experience. They distrust him because he is professorial (they equally distrust highly educated whites, who they feel look down upon them), because his outlook is cosmopolitan, and because his background and experiences are so foreign. Even the true story of his life, honestly and neutrally presented, is highly suspicious to them, which means they’re very susceptible to believing fearmongers who take the facts of his life and run with them to spin a narrative that is blatantly false. As one of my elderly relatives said when I argued that Obama is not a Muslim, and that he was indeed born, “Well, even if he was born here and he ain’t a Muslim, he’s still a furrener. Or at least half a furrener.”

  • alfaretta

    Libby Anne — In response to the people above talking about Quiverfull/Mormon families being part of the 47% because of tax credits for children (and some receiving welfare/ food stamp equivalents) haven’t I read here and on other ex-QF blogs that this is known as “starving the beast”?

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

      Okay, here is where you have to differentiate.

      “Starving the beast” is a term I have only heard used among fundamentalist Mormons. They justify taking welfare by saying that taking the government’s money is good because it’s “starving the beast.” So yes, they take welfare and are proud of it.

      In my experience, and from what I read, Quiverfull families approach it differently. They see financial independence as absolutely critical and depending on the government as bad, bad, bad. Better go without. In fact, I’d have to find it, but Debi Pearl advises women not to get on food stamps, etc, because doing so will remove all motivation to work from their husbands. The goal is also to be debt free. They believe in paying for everything and in not taking anything from anyone. This is why I find their inclusion in the 47% of “dependent” Americans set to vote for Obama so very ironic.

      • http://thewordsonwhat.wordpress.com/ Rob F

        This use of “starve/starving the beast” is interesting and new to me. Before now, I’d always heard it used in relation to the Grover Norquist types who heavily cut taxes in hopes of inflating the deficit, which would (eventually) force someone to cut spending.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Rob F – Oh you’re right! I hadn’t even drawn a connection between the two uses! But yes, the same phrase is used in both instance, but they mean very, very different things. Fascinating.

      • Anat

        But isn’t accepting tax credits also a form of relying on government money?

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Anat – They don’t see it that way, since they see taxes as “robbery” and a form of income redistribution anyway. It’s not the government *giving* them money, it’s the government not *taking* their money.

        Now sometimes though they would actually get money back in taxes. But like a commenter above noted, getting money back is not seen as the same thing as taking money in the form of welfare, food stamps, etc. My dad always got a check back come tax season – not sure if for more than was taken out of his paycheck or not – and he would make remarks about how the government had taken his money all year and then given it back to him without paying interest, and how wrong that was.

      • alfaretta

        Thanks Libby Anne and other commenters! Rob F, you are right (about Norquist), and I think that’s how I got confused in the first place.

  • RMM

    I just think it is funny that he says that when another of his typical support bases, the enlisted military community, tends to not pay federal income taxes due to their tax bracket. Yeah, Romney? My husband is in the military. Obviously he works hard. I also work a full time job. We just don’t make enough taxable income to pay federal taxes. So he can stick that in his pipe and smoke it. Way to alienate another group. *eyeroll*

    • Anonymouse

      Yes, the right is always bleating about how much they “lluuuuuuurrrve” the military, but they certainly don’t show it in their actions.

  • mary

    I will vote for Romney- largely because yes, I do agree with his economic ideas as opposed to Obama’s. And honestly, that he is “rich and out of touch with everyday Americans” (a point I will concede) doesn’t bother me. Because I would rather see my country’s economy run by a successful businessman than by an unproven idealist. As far as raising taxes on the rich- there is a point at which that is not profitable for the economy at large. (Laffer curve)

    • Judy L.

      Mary, if Romney runs the country like the way he’s run business, it’ll mean even more of the wealth funnelled into the hands of the very few. Romney doesn’t approach business as if it’s an engine of the economy that he wants to run well over the long-term, something sustainable that will produce wealth, but rather his business has always been about stripping wealth from the economy and keeping it for himself and his investors. The investors are important here because Mitt didn’t use his own money to take over companies, send their jobs overseas, get the companies to take out loans to pay himself and his investors and the upper management who were in on the wealth-stripping ‘special dividends’, and when the companies went bankrupt and couldn’t repay those loans, the government was on the hook to cover the businesses’ pension commitments.

      I think you’re being a little disingenuous when you say that Obama is ‘unproven’. Obama has proven that he can get real work done when he’s not systematically blocked by a Republican Congress that’s been shirking its responsibility to govern and instead have operated according to a single agenda item: Oppose anything that might make Obama look good and make sure he doesn’t get re-elected.

      • Rachel

        Obama had two full years of a Democratic majority.

        AND his job as president is to build coalitions and consensus. To make the Congress work with him. It’s Obama’s fault the Congress isn’t working well, plain and simple. Were Bush’s failure’s the fault of congress? I’m certain you don’t think so.

      • http://equalsuf.wordpress.com Jayn

        Rachel, you can’t build coalitions and consensus if the other guy isn’t willing to play ball. The first couple years I will fault him somewhat, because he was putting too much effort into finding compromises. At that point I think he should have pushed through whatever he could, screw the GOP. Since 2010 I won’t, because he can’t control the actions of others and the GOP seems determined not to play nice with him.

    • http://www.ronamundson.com/twitter. Ron Amundson

      Mary, The Laffer curve could easily be used to justify increasing taxes on the rich, just as it did in Reagans era to justify cuts when the top marginal rate was 70%. If one argues that the peak of the Laffer curve is somewhat below where we are at today, further cuts would seem justifiable. However, if the peak is truly lower, we should have seen substantial growth with the Bush tax cuts. We didnt, rather, we ended up with huge deficits in govt and a glut of capital in private enterprise. Taxes do need to go up, and based upon the Gini index, on the rich more so than the 47%. The problem is a matter of timing… if we wait too long and the deficit gets closer and closer to being unsustainable. If we do so too soon, GDP takes a hit and it affects real GDP and jobs.

    • http://equalsuf.wordpress.com Jayn

      “Successful Businessmen” are why this country is where it is, and being out of touch means Romney has No Freaking Clue how this impacts the rest of us, believing the old lie that hard work is all it takes to become like him while making it impossible for hard work to ever overcome the disadvantages many people deal with. Add that to GOP social policies and a Romney presidency rather frightens me. (I’m so glad I can vote this time around, even if I do live in a red state)

    • Carol

      What economic ideas are those? I have yet to hear any other than “lower taxes for the top 1% ‘job creators’” and more of the Bush era policies. Obama is “unproven”? How? Because he didn’t take the steaming sack of shit he was handed in 2008 and turn it into a gleaming palace fast enough for you?

      Are you in the top 1%? If not, your taxes are guaranteed to go up, his own advisors say so, don’t go by me. Your taxes are used to fight the war on drugs that populate the prisons, that you build to finance the private prison system and enrich the owners, build ball stadiums that enrich the owners but somehow never seem to deliver on promised public revenue, and otherwise subsidize the wealthy so they don’t have to pay any taxes at all.

      You think the economy should be run like a business? What kind of business is that? A financial one that needs constant bailing out? Allowed to run amuck and go bankrupt? Businesses are not democracies and CEOs are not elected by their employees, they are appointed by plutocrat board members. Then they go in, cut costs, lower wages, lay off people, appoint themselves enormous bonuses by hoovering up the pension funds and leave the workers in the dirt.

      Romney is not a business man, he has never run a business, he is not even a capitalist in the traditional sense of the word. He is a financier, a flim flam man, the money he makes is through leveraged buyouts, ie debt. When the debt can’t be repaid, pension funds are raided, workers lose everything. If the company happens to survive, super, if not, oh well. It’s just business. We used to have a really nice toy store chain in our area, Kay Bee Toys, until Bain bought it out, now it’s no more. Romney knows about debt. How much do you think he knows about selling toys? What do you think happened to the employees at Kay Bee?

      • Anonymouse

        Is that what happened to KayBee toys? We used to love that store. You’re right–the workers were all fired when Romney sucked out all the profit from that company and left it belly-up.

      • Carol

        I know, right? They had great stuff at great prices. They had a nice little niche in the malls, until Bain loaded it up with debt.

        Matt Taibbi had an amazing article in Rolling Stone in August about Mitt Romney, and Bain, including the story about KayBee. It’s positively chilling.

      • Judy L.

        Yep, and then the pension fund has to be rescued by the Federal government. It’s just another example of how Romney has profited as a Corporate Welfare Queen.

    • Anonymouse

      Yet Romney is not a successful businessman. He took money his father gave him and used it to buy other companies and suck their profit dry, then discard them the way a vampire discards its dried-out husks of victims.

    • Ashton

      Mary, according to my graduate level economics textbook, the point at which raising taxes becomes unprofitable is about 73%. Beneath that, this is something that we don’t really have to worry about. This is not to say that we should automatically tax that much, just that any such argument is invalid when the tax rate is below that.

  • Rebecca Newman

    I was raised Quiverfull but my stepfather was hard-core conspiracy theorist and so was emphatically against being supported by the government in any way (that is, until one of my little brothers needed an emergency bone marrow transplant and he had to eat his words by getting on Medicaid since we had no health insurance…). He always boasted that he would never “trade” his children for tax returns and so the younger children didn’t have Social Security numbers, made convenient through my mother’s home births. And then my poor youngest brother, who had the misfortune to be born just after we moved off the grid to 20 acres in Kentucky to “live off the land” by a stern Mennonite midwife who had never so much as given my mother a prenatal exam, was denied even a birth certificate by my stepfather, who declared that he and God knew when my brother was born and that was sufficient.

    (Interesting anecdote: my mother filed for divorce from my stepfather a couple of years ago and the first thing she did was go see a judge about getting Social Security numbers and the birth certificate. She was told she would get a nice chunk of money from the IRS to make up for what hadn’t been paid for her children, which she could desperately use. And then my stepfather said he wouldn’t endorse his name on the check unless it was sent to him and he somehow got it deposited into his account without my mother’s name and gave her a pittance of the sum of the money, telling her it was her “fair share.” ???)

  • http://lapalma-island.com Sheila Crosby

    To get back to the original point, I suspect the 47% thing Rmoney was lying through his teeth to potential campaign donors. He lies to voters all the time, why not donors?

  • Christine

    I’ve heard data from people who went to fact check that number. It’s apparently not unreasonable – it includes students (who, presumably will eventually pay taxes), people living below the poverty line (many/most of whom are working), seniors (who used to pay taxes), people on disability, etc.

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  • smrnda

    The idea that a high marginal tax rate and comprehensive welfare state is some kind of utopian pipe dream that never works, and that we’d better hand over the reigns to a businessman who knows how to squeeze the workers for every last penny is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Check around the world -nations with high standards of living regulate business more heavily, tax the wealthy more, and have more comprehensive social welfare programs. It’s been *proven* to work all over Western Europe, and the US (by comparison) looks almost like a third world nation at times.

    And on success, Romney didn’t build anything – he found ways of taking over existing businesses so he could guarantee himself a profit and where the business or workers would take the hit if things went bad.

    On the Laffer curve, the Laffer curve makes some assumptions that *at some point* increasing taxes will reduce revenue as people will find ways to dodge them or will cut back on production or investment. That’s like saying ‘at some point exercise is too much to be healthy’ – whether the statement applies depends on where you are at right now. Taxes in the US are historically low, and taxes on the wealthy were way higher under Eisenhower, so invoking the Laffer curve sounds, to me, as rational as a couch-potato who weighs 300 pounds arguing he shouldn’t work out this week due to fears of overtraining.

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  • Modell

    Since the government is evil and needs to be destroyed–by bankruptcy if by no other way–Quiverful families are doing their part by “draining the System” to increase their numbers. When the end comes they’ll be the only ones who can grow their own food, make their own clothes, etc., and trade those things for other essentials while the secular leeches starve. It’ll be like 1800 again, a Godly country where only good people are welcome.
    HTH

    • Nea

      Modell, I can ‘t tell if you’re being sarcastic or serious. If serious, you need to learn a *lot* more about America in the 1800s! Or possibly just look around and notice just how many people know how to garden, cook, sew, etc. (Rather a lot of re-enactors not only know how to do all of that and more, they’re experienced in and equipped for doing all of it without electricity.)

      • Modell

        Sarcastic.

    • Nea

      Ah. Sorry, Modell. Some of the commenters on here, it’s hard to tell the difference between reality and a Poe.


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