About those parasites on the dole…

that our hard-working productive GOP candidate and his rich pals are so worried about.

Let me introduce you to some of them.  Meet: our troops.

These parasites think that just because they voluntarily go into harm’s way, suffer catastrophic injuries that are sometimes worse than death (though death is always a very real possibility), face perpetual stress and exhaustion from multiple redeployments, endure stresses on marriage and family that no family should have to endure (and a very high marriage failure rate as a resul), and return home to a grateful nation that has no jobs for a million of them, they should at least be adequately paid and be able to house and feed their families.

Fortunately, our extremely rich Caesaroligarchic Ruling Class (led by the GOP) has shown these greedy troops what for, making sure that record numbers of them are on food stamps, while simultaneously coming up with creative finance ways to screw them out of more money and cut their benefits.

Romney does have plans for them though.  His closest foreign policy advisors are the Bourbon Neocons who sent us to Iraq and who, remembering everything and learning nothing, now have further plans to throw more troops into yet another War for Empire.  For some reason, the lion’s share of those troops support Ron Paul.

If there’s anything the Caesaroligarchs are good at, it is screwing our troops and then insulting them for good measure.  Me: I continue to promote my plan to strip every member of the Executive and Legislative Branches of all money beyond their salary of office and put it in a fund for wounded troops and their families.  That means any and all gains in personal wealth from the day of their inauguration till the day of their departure from office exceeding their salary of office.  Any member of the state that resists this in any way will have a choice of being sent to clean toilets in Afghanistan until the last soldier is brought home.  Said official will receive the pay of a private.  If he refuses, said official will be tried for treason.  His jury and judge shall consist of wounded vets who have been denied benefits.  Mandatory sentence: prison until the last of our troops is removed from harm’s way.

  • The Deuce

    I’m a little confused about how the GOP is primarily responsible for putting record numbers of people on food stamps, or is the Caesaroligarchic Ruling Class when they’ve had between 0% and 30% of the government under their control these past four years. And isn’t the federal food stamp program exhibit A in the Ruling Class’s tendency to replace charity run out of love with government programs run for profit and power? There are a lot of people abusing the program who aren’t even poor. If the bureaucrats that run it respond to cuts by kicking out military veterans over abusers, doesn’t that just further demonstrate what a fundamentally lousy program it is?

    • Ted Seeber

      The GOP is NOT responsible for those people being on food stamps. Romney is PERSONALLY responsible for calling them parasites for something that is largely outside of their control.

      People don’t want to be poor enough for food stamps. And I strongly doubt *anybody* is actually abusing either TANF or SNAP, given the anti-abuse hoops they have to jump through to get on these programs.

      Are you so sheltered you actually don’t know anybody on food stamps, despite 1:6 Americans being on them? Or maybe they’re trying to keep it secret, knowing that you, like Romney, consider them to be parasites for being forced out of jobs moving overseas?

      • James Isabella

        “People don’t want to be poor enough for food stamps. ”

        Actually, my single sister-in-law is able-bodied but doesn’t like working, so she’s happy to receive welfare and food stamps. There are absolutely people like this out there.

        Fortunately, my wife got the work-ethic gene in the family.

        • Ted Seeber

          Do you know the difference between “doesn’t like working” and “likes trying to feed a family on $20/person/week”? Are you trying to say your sister-in-law, if offered a position worth $500,000/year, wouldn’t jump at it to get off of food stamps?

      • David Davies

        Ted – Can you direct me to the text where Romney used the word ‘parasite’? I can’t find it.

        David, retired railroad worker and parasite.

        • Ted Seeber

          It’s a video. Probably an edited video. But he’s not the first person to use such language.

          • David Davies

            Well then, can you direct me to the video? I look and look for these things and cannot find them. I never have found the lies of George W. Bush. My wife says I put them in my old briefcase in the attic along with all of Al Gore’s missing votes, but what does she know?

            David Davies, retired parasite.

  • Michael F.
    • Andy

      Isn’t this the organization that is so in love with M. O’Keefe and his selective edits. I guess since they practice it they should recognize it.

      • Michael F.

        Not sure of the real relevance of your comment. Tape is missing from the very section in question.

        Mother Jones has been forced to admit it publicly.

        Here’s an interesting analysis of the missing tape.

        This guy isn’t an expert, but I think he makes some reasonable observations that this was not an accident.

        http://not-yet-europe.com/2012/09/19/romney-tape-gap-not-recording-error/

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          “Waiters are slooow and I am spastic” isn’t the most reasonable set of observations that this wasnt accidental.

          I still want to know what might be missing that was gonna make Rmoney look good? But his supporters won’t even engage their imaginations. There’s a gap, so everything there has to be ignored.

          Yeah. Right.

          • Michael F.

            I don’t know what is in the section that was cut. And now no one will ever know. But if you honestly believe it’s just completely coincidental that the section was cut right during the most important part, then I don’t know what to say.

            Listen, many people went ballistic about needing the full context of Obama’s “you didn’t make that” comments. I objected as well and pointed out that when seen in full context, they weren’t *quite* as bad as what was being portrayed. But there was still a problem with it. Many on the left went ballistic when a video of ACORN was apparently edited.

            All I’m saying is that what they’ve done here is just *wrong*. The tape was apparently illegal. It was edited (whether accidentally or intentionally). It was held on to for *months* before they decided to release it.

            But the press rushed to put it “out there”, regardless.

            And I don’t know if you’ve ever done any video work (I have) but the chances that he managed to get the camera down in precisely the same spot and at the same angle seem highly improbable. Why would he even *try* to do such a thing in this context? It certainly wasn’t on a tripod.

            • Hezekiah Garrett

              Hey, Pops. You might not know this, but not only do phones no longer need cords, most of them have cameras built in them.

              • Michael F.

                And what does this have to do with the position and angle being identical after it was supposedly handled and fixed, punk?

  • Irenist

    “I’m a little confused about how the GOP is primarily responsible for putting record numbers of people on food stamps, or is the Caesaroligarchic Ruling Class”
    Mark is referring to both Democrats and Republicans when he breathes fire at the “Caesaroligarchic Ruling Class.”
    “And isn’t the federal food stamp program exhibit A in the Ruling Class’s tendency to replace charity run out of love with government programs run for profit and power?”
    Sort of. That the program is funded through farm bills moved through the House and Senate agriculture committees hints at some of the opportunities for pork barreling it contains. However, the Gilded Age and the Depression demonstrated in pretty convincing fashion that our free enterprise system, for all its glories (and it has many) does not seem to supply sufficient charitable contributions without state supplementation of private charity. For all sorts of sound subsidiarist, distributist reasons, this is a disastrous state of affairs that saps the vigor of civil society and loosens the charitable sinews of the Church. But it would be imprudent to end such programs until sufficient support for the poor can be found elsewhere: mere handwaving at private charity is not enough.
    “There are a lot of people abusing the program who aren’t even poor.”
    A few. I doubt it’s enough to seriously impact the program’s finances.
    “If the bureaucrats that run it respond to cuts by kicking out military veterans over abusers, doesn’t that just further demonstrate what a fundamentally lousy program it is?”
    The “bureaucrats” are doing what the House Republicans have mandated they do, out of a concern to reduce taxes for the wealthiest and a misguided but sincere conflation of the need for long term deficit reduction and the desirability of short-term pro-cyclical fiscal austerity in the wake of a demand-driven recession.
    *
    Speaking of “bureaucrats”: Mark, I’m assuming your Swiftian reeducation plan for the “Executive and Legislative” is meant for politicians, and not for, say, national park rangers, Social Security caseworkers, FBI agents, non-subcontracted food service and janitorial staff at most federal administrative agencies, and all the troops you’re defending in this post, all of whom work for the executive branch? As for the legislative branch, I think the librarians of Congress are quite polite and helpful, and deserve better than latrine duty, don’t you?

    • Mark Shea

      True. I have in mind the denizens of the White House and the Capitol. Not some functionary manning a ranger station in Wyoming.

    • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

      However, the Gilded Age and the Depression demonstrated in pretty convincing fashion that our free enterprise system, for all its glories (and it has many) does not seem to supply sufficient charitable contributions without state supplementation of private charity.

      I’d like a source on this as it sounds like one of those things “everyone knows” which I’ve noticed as I get older (especially when it comes to the great depression) is increasingly false. For example, from here (which I still need to read throughly, I just have time to skim right now) we get:

      We find strong evidence that the rise in New Deal spending led to a fall in church charitable
      activity. Our central estimate suggests that each dollar of government relief spending in a state led
      to three cents less church spending. The reduction in church spending was thus very small as a
      proportion of New Deal spending, but somewhat larger when regarded as a proportion of church
      spending, since benevolent church spending at the start of this period amounted to only 10% of
      the ultimate size of the New Deal. The New Deal crowded-out at least 30% of benevolent church
      spending and can explain the entire time series decline in church benevolence over this period.

      Now, while I quite agree that we should take care of our soldiers (and find their mistreatment horrific), there is also the problem that we’re just about to plain run out of money on the dole. I hear a lot of complaints, but not much in the way of solutions. What do we do? Crack down on immigration? (both illegal and legal) For example, as someone pointed out: the news recently announced that 96,000 jobs were created, yet we hand out more than 100,000 work permits a month to new immigrants. Seems to me that would probably hinder those soldiers from finding jobs. Raise corporate taxes? Wouldn’t that also discourage corporations from hiring if not moving out of the nation? (again, less jobs for the soldiers) How about ending all welfare services for anyone not a soldier? (hey I could support that)

      I could be wrong, but of a lot of things I’ve read from Mark, it seems like he would also pitch a fit about those solutions. To abuse a metaphor, the nation is a car without brakes hurtling towards a cliff. We’re either going to have to make a right turn or a left one, yet nobody seems to want to do that (or they complain about the consequences that each direction will entail). So does anyone else have an answer other than yelling at the other occupants of the car while we hurtle over the edge?

      • Ted Seeber

        “Our central estimate suggests that each dollar of government relief spending in a state led
        to three cents less church spending.”

        So basically, before new deal spending, the poor got $1 from the churches alone, but after new deal spending, the poor got $1.97 from the churches AND the government?

        I’m trying to understand why this isn’t seen as an increase in charitable giving overall.

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          Not exactly. Assuming that the Church’s charity budget was 10% of the size of the New Deal, then before the new deal we could say people were getting 10c assistance, where after the new deal they were getting $1.07

          The important question is “why does this matter?” Does Nate Winchester excuse himself from his obligations to charity because the government is doing it? I don’t. Even if huge swathes of people behave like Nate (might), I dont see how this argues against the New Deal. (I can argue against the New Deal all day long, brother, but I’m not going to use this kind of ‘argument’ to advance my cause.)

          We might see people choose to abandon their responsibilities and leave it to government, but that’s their sin, and no reason whatsoever (in fact it runs entirely counter) to closing up Gov’t aid.

          • Irenist

            Good point about it being $1.07, not $1.97. I had missed that, too.

          • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

            My personal life isn’t at issue. (though I do what I can, even if – especially under Obama’s metric – I’d technically be a part of the poor)

            At any rate, it’s basic economics that the churches and government do not create wealth. (well… going by a strict economic definition of wealth, if anything I believe churches create far more than government ever could hope to) Thus, every dollar that the gov takes is one less dollar that any faith can receive (and vice versa). Or to use a story from the Bible: if the government takes 1 mite, then the widow will only have 1 mite to give to God. It is a zero sum game as far as the two entities are concerned.

            • Irenist

              “At any rate, it’s basic economics that the churches and government do not create wealth.”
              No, it’s not economics at all, it’s libertarian ideology.
              Intuitively:
              “Wealth” in economic terms is capital.
              If the W.P.A. built a magnificent railway station, that added to society’s capital stock.
              If the government vaccinates and educates poor kids, that adds to human capital.
              Technically:
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiscal_multiplier

              • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

                No, under the economic definition of wealth. From a friend of mine who teaches the stuff:

                Good: Something to which more is preferred to less. Example: If I would rather have more food than less food, food is a good.
                Wealth: Having what you value. Example: If I have a TV and I value a TV, I have wealth.

                The railway station would only be applicable if people valued it (and if they valued it, they would have given their money to a construction company freely). If you acquire goods and wealth by force, you are not “creating” anything (just like robbers or criminals are not creating jobs and wealth for fences or police officers).

                • Irenist

                  Your friend’s definition of wealth is better. Let’s use that. Apologies in advance if I get snarky below.
                  “The railway station would only be applicable if people valued it (and if they valued it, they would have given their money to a construction company freely).”
                  Only if a human being were the Homo economicus of sophisters and calculators like Rand (ideas akin to yours here) and Marx (in his “the state will wither” flights of adolescent anarcho-communism) would these kinds of abstractions be useful. Burkean conservatives know better, since they acknowledge original sin. Most economists outside the Lew-Rockwellian corners of the Internet know better, too, since they acknowledge that a classic instance of market failure is the lack of provision of non-rivalrous club goods and public goods by the market due to collective action problems best resolved by the stakeholder politics of the modern democratic state.
                  ” If you acquire goods and wealth by force, you are not “creating” anything (just like robbers or criminals are not creating jobs and wealth for fences or police officers).”
                  The libertarian contention that the state is illegitimate force and nothing more and that taxation is theft is both a crank ideology (no number of quotations from Nozick will ever make it more than that) and quite obviously deeply contrary to the Catholic notion of the proper role of the state. I have no desire to dignify it with debate in this corner of St. Blog’s. A policy discussion is always welcome, but anarcho-capitalist and minarchist plutolatry leave me cold.

            • Ted Seeber

              Depends on your definition of wealth. For my definition of wealth- ONLY THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH PRODUCES IT.

              I’ve never seen a hearse with a luggage rack.

              • Irenist

                Oh, I agree completely. “Wealth in economic terms” is a pathetic substitute for the Treasure that neither moth nor rust destroy. Still, us embodied souls gotta eat, and us Catholics aren’t anti-sensualist Gnostics, so getting political economy right is an honorable endeavor.

                • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

                  And “body” in medical terms is not really equivalent to Catholic definition either, is it? Or “memory” when it comes to computers vs the Church. There’s a reason I specified that the term used was in a specific context and meaning.

                  • Irenist

                    Sure. No problem there.

        • Irenist

          *Comment continued after placating spam filter by splitting it.*
          ” For example, as someone pointed out: the news recently announced that 96,000 jobs were created, yet we hand out more than 100,000 work permits a month to new immigrants.”
          Counterintuitively, immigration creates jobs. There are more construction jobs in Houston than Buffalo, e.g., because more people are moving to Houston–some from other states in the Union, others from Mexico. Cities grow when people move there. Jobs grow when cities do. Better to have our immigration rate than Japan’s or Europe’s. More:
          http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/value-added-immigrants-create-jobs-and-businesses-boost-wages-native-born-workers
          “Raise corporate taxes? Wouldn’t that also discourage corporations from hiring if not moving out of the nation?”
          Yes. Taxes on income from work and investment should ideally be lowered. Instead of taxing good things like work and investment, we should enact Pigovian taxes–taxes on things like carbon emissions that should be discouraged.
          More: http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2012/09/17/carbon_taxes_are_still_great.html
          Cigarette taxes are an example of a successful Pigovian tax. Taxes on legalized cannabis could be another. A steeply progressive consumption tax would also be helpful, since most consumption at the top is positional competition that creates negative externalities as everyone wastes more and more money competing to have the fanciest wedding or the biggest McMansion in the top school district, rather than saving or investing. Competition for positional goods doesn’t make more top positions, so it’s pure waste.
          More: http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2011/12/the_progressive_consumption_tax_a_win_win_solution_for_reducing_american_economic_inequality_.html

          • Irenist

            This was supposed to go after the one that starts with “Wow.” Darnit, WP-SpamFree!

      • Irenist

        Wow. That is thought provoking. Thanks for sharing it! I’ll return the favor with way too many “Slate” links. Sorry about that.
        “For example, from here (which I still need to read throughly, I just have time to skim right now) “:
        All I had time to do was skim, too. My first response is Ted Seeber’s: $1.97 > $1. My second is Will’s: “The charities I knew admitted they could not keep up with the demand even with state and federal programs.” I’m not sure how much crowd-out there is on net, anyway. As the recent Economist survey of American Catholic dioceses’ finances said:
        “The church is the largest single charitable organisation in the country. Catholic Charities USA, its main charity, and its subsidiaries employ over 65,000 paid staff and serve over 10m people. These organisations distributed $4.7 billion to the poor in 2010, of which 62% came from local, state and federal government agencies.”
        http://www.economist.com/node/21560536
        Doesn’t sound like crowd-out, unless I’m misusing the term (which is quite possible).

        • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

          Yes, clarification means that basically, the more X spends, the less Y can spend. Obviously in the case of something like churches you aren’t going to crowd out them to the equivalent of $0.

          To quote the earlier article I linked:

          In monetary terms, if the typical church had spent about a dollar more per member on relief over this time period (as would have been the case with no New Deal), then without the New Deal church activity would have been $385 million higher (in 1929 dollars) over this time period—about $4 billion in year 2000 dollars.

          And of course that’s not even getting into the New Deal strangling economic growth, screwing things up worse such that it prolonged the recession. Who knows how much more might have been donated had people been allowed to proper more.

          Another way to make this point is to examine the decline in benevolences after the New Deal.
          Per-member benevolences fell from $3.27 between 1929 and 1932 to $2.30 between 1933 and
          1939. If one calculates fitted values based on the main regression (column 3 of Table 4) while
          constraining government spending to be zero, predicted benevolences from 1933 to 1939 is $3.24 per member.

      • Irenist

        *Comment continued after splitting it to placate spam filter.*
        “We’re either going to have to make a right turn or a left one, yet nobody seems to want to do that (or they complain about the consequences that each direction will entail). So does anyone else have an answer other than yelling at the other occupants of the car while we hurtle over the edge?”
        You’re correct. Either benefits will be slashed, or taxes will rise. To Democrats, this looks like a looming rollback of the welfare state; to Republicans like a looming explosion of it. Both see the other side as extremists negotiating in bad faith:
        http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2012/05/03/why_everyone_thinks_everyone_else_has_gone_bonkers.html
        Since I think there’s good evidence that even Clinton-era top rates on income are still comfortably to the left of the Laffer Curve peak, and since I favor a social safety net, I’d prefer the “turn to the left” option of raising taxes and keeping food stamps, health care, pensions, housing vouchers, and education for the poor. Since I prefer a consumption tax to an income tax, the peak of a “Consumption Tax Laffer Curve” might be higher still. On the Laffer Curve peak:
        “According to our analysis of current tax rates and their elasticity, the revenue-maximizing top federal marginal income tax rate would be in or near the range of 50%-70% (taking into account that individuals face additional taxes from Medicare and state and local taxes). Thus we conclude that raising the top tax rate is very likely to result in revenue increases at least until we reach the 50% rate that held during the first Reagan administration, and possibly until the 70% rate of the 1970s. To reduce tax avoidance opportunities, tax rates on capital gains and dividends should increase along with the basic rate. Closing loopholes and stepping up enforcement would further limit tax avoidance and evasion.”
        Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303425504577353843997820160.html

        • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

          Part 1:
          (now a general reply to all the posts)

          Counterintuitively, immigration creates jobs. There are more construction jobs in Houston than Buffalo, e.g., because more people are moving to Houston–some from other states in the Union, others from Mexico. Cities grow when people move there. Jobs grow when cities do. Better to have our immigration rate than Japan’s or Europe’s.

          Actually I used to be familiar with the “immigration = jobs” idea as it is very popular in libertarian circles and in fact, I think it is very intuitive. However, I’m noticing that as the years go by, it is seeming less supported by facts.

          For instance, you mention “better our rate than Japan’s”. Why? Let’s look at numbers:
          US unemployment rate: 8.1 (latest data)
          Japan unemployment rate:4.3 (latest data)
          And that’s including the US NOT counting those who have given up looking for work. (in fact, it’s been pointed out that if you measure today like they did in the great depression, we’re close to the same rate) So if anything, looks like we would be BETTER off right now if we were immigrating like Japan.

          Or to quote Derbyshire:

          The President warned us that if we delay our actions now, we’ll enter a “negative spiral.” Quote: “We saw this happen in Japan in the 1990s, where they did not act boldly and swiftly enough, and as a consequence they suffered what was called the “lost decade,” where essentially for the entire ’90s, they did not see any significant economic growth.” End quote. Hmmm. Actually, Japan averaged between one and two percent growth through the ’90s. If the U.S.A. manages that across the next decade, Americans will be dancing in the streets and putting up 20-foot statues to Obama in public places. But of course, nobody in this country wants to live like the wretched Japanese. I mean, just look at their appalling statistics, compared with ours. Life expectancy 82 years, compared with our 78. Hmm. Er, let’s try infant mortality: theirs is 2.8 per thousand, ours is 6.3. Uh-huh. Murder rate, perhaps? Ours is 43 per hundred thousand; theirs is … five. Drat! Unemployment? Theirs is 4.2 percent, ours is 7.2 percent. This is getting embarrassing. Oh, here you go: GDP per capita $35,300 for them, $48,000 for us. See, we’re richer than they are! Well, some of us are: the GINI coefficient, the standard measure of wealth inequality, is 45 for us, which is high, but 38 for them. Ah, the heck with it. I bet life in Japan is really boring.

          • Irenist

            Nate, if we ran our social welfare system the way the Japanese do, instead of the libertarian-inflected way we do now, I’m sure our unemployment would drop, too. Difference is, we’d have young Catholic immigrants to pay into the system, and the Japanese would still be working on building robots to care for their elderly.

            • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

              I did a quick scan but am unable to find some background context you are apparently using. Would you mind explaining (briefly, since the spam filter has it in for you and me) what’s the major difference between Japan and US (pun!) that would have an impact on unemployment?

              Also, I earlier latched onto Japan since “Europe” was a little broad, and I’ve heard several reports that their immigration policies aren’t too different from ours. Can you clarify who you had in mind when referring to it so I can look up how immigration has impacted them?

              • Irenist

                Great question, glad you asked. I had the hunch that Japanese unemployment rates were perhaps related to the lower percentage of their GDP they were spending to get much better health care than us. However, it looks like that’s not a factor:
                http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/japans-low-unemployment-is-easily.html
                So I withdraw the argument.
                As for Europe, I think they’re going to have similar problems long-term financing their welfare state with a senescent population, but I think their current unemployment is primarily driven by the procyclically hawkish monetary policy being enforced on Draghi’s ECB by Jens Weidmann at the Bundesbank and Angela Merkel’s monetarily hawkish electoral base, so I don’t think it’s especially relevant to our discussion. Apologies again for calling you a Randian, btw.
                Also: I really like your point about how tax revenues can increase in the absolute even if they don’t as a percentage of GDP. I don’t agree with it for the reasons I already posted, but it’s a thought-provoking point, and you put it well.

        • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

          Part 2:
          I also recommend Derbyshire’s point that:

          In fact, the CIS report tells us, adult immigrants who have lived in the United States for 20 years or more have a poverty rate 50 percent higher than that of adult natives; and twice as many of them lack health insurance as adult natives.

          If you switch to the household perspective and look at households headed by an immigrant who has lived in the United States for 20 years or more, almost twice as many of those households as native households use one or more welfare programs, primarily food assistance and Medicaid. Taken overall 36 percent of immigrant households use welfare, against 23 percent of native households.

          Dwell on that for a moment: 36 percent of immigrant households using welfare, 23 percent of native households using welfare.

          We’re importing poverty. I guess our politicians didn’t feel we had enough.

          Actually, forget jobs, looks like if we want to reduce use and strain on the social safety net, we’d be better off ceasing immigration.

          But I’m actually all for closing loopholes and simplifying the tax code. And I would gladly trade the income tax (a greater intrusion on our liberty by the government than anything the PATRIOT act has done so far if you ask me) for a VAT tax. Though when you bring up the Laffer Curve, I feel the need to point out that that Americans pay far more than just federal government taxes. Add up all the local taxes, you could find yourself well to the peak’s right.

          Also, if you believe we’re to the left of the peak, then you’ll have to explain why revenue increased after Bush cut taxes.

          See Congressional Budget Office, “An Analysis of the President’s Budgetary Proposals for Fiscal Year 2004,” March 2003, p. 36, Table 4, at http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/41xx/doc4129/03-31-AnalysisPresidentBudget-Final.pdf (January 16, 2007). The March 2003 baseline projected that 2006 tax revenues would reach $2,360 billion, and they instead reached $2,407 billion.

          • Irenist

            Pleasure chatting with you, Nate. You’re a challenging, informed interlocutor.
            On immigrants:
            Food stamps and Medicaid aren’t TANF (i.e., “welfare”). Most immigrants are coming here to work, which means they pay payroll taxes, which means they help keep Social Security and Medicare afloat. Without them, we’d have the demographics of Italy.
            **
            On taxes:
            Revenue increased after the Bush tax increases? Heritage spin, meet Brookings spin:
            http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/background/bush-tax-cuts/index.cfm
            Spin aside, Nate, doesn’t it seem to you that at some point, there are going to be diminishing returns from moving ever leftward on the Laffer Curve? Would cutting top marginal income tax rates from, e.g., 14% to 12% in some Randian future really still have that much of an incentivizing effect on “job creators”?
            **
            Lastly, I know it’s an ad hominem and not a logical objection to his arguments you quote, but c’mon–the Derb? Really? Mr. Racist Creep himself? Ick.

            • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

              Coming back to the rest, but I need a clarification on something:

              Revenue increased after the Bush tax increases? Heritage spin, meet Brookings spin:
              http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/background/bush-tax-cuts/index.cfm
              What spin? Heritage reported the estimated numbers and the ACTUAL numbers. Brookings reports

              In 2000 total federal tax revenue was as high in proportion to the U.S. economy as it had ever been. By 2004 federal tax revenue in proportion to the economy had fallen to its lowest level in almost fifty years.

              I… let’s use a metaphor to try and explain what’s wrong here.
              Let’s say that every week, I get $10 (from a job, or an allowance, or whatever – the source is unimportant in this metaphor). When I get that, I immediately give you $5. You are currently receiving a proportion of 50% of my income.

              Now, something changes and say we decide that you’re going to then get a proportion of 25% of my income instead of 50%. You estimate that you’re only going to get $2.50 from me next week. Only, behold! I got a raise, and am now bringing home $30 each week. So now you get $7.5 from me.

              See? Your revenue went up, even though your PROPORTION of my income went down. So, unless it’s somewhere I haven’t seen it, the Brookings’ “spin” doesn’t even come close to addressing Heritage’s (and the CBO’s) numbers.

              Spin aside, Nate, doesn’t it seem to you that at some point, there are going to be diminishing returns from moving ever leftward on the Laffer Curve? Would cutting top marginal income tax rates from, e.g., 14% to 12% in some Randian future really still have that much of an incentivizing effect on “job creators”?

              1) I’m not even Randian but you people throw that term around like leftists use “racist”. Namely, it’s getting to the point of no meaning or just a backdoor attack on the concept of private property itself.
              2) As Thomas Sowell points out, taxes aren’t the be-all and end-all. Stability is needed too.
              3) Yes, eventually there will be diminishing returns on the left of the curve (as far as tax revenue is concerned, if you value freedom, some might call it an increase in returns), but – again – if you take in ALL taxes (local, state, community, sales, etc etc etc), what makes you so sure we’re on the left side? Let’s be easy and say the curve’s peak is at… 50% of a person’s income. Yes, you could pick a single tax in isolation and say “oh look, it’s only 10% of gross income, we can’t cut it without losing revenue” but if say, the society has six taxes (let’s see… property, payroll, state tax, county tax, federal tax, customs duties, licenses, etc) that take 10% of the gross revenue… guess which side of the curve you’re on.

            • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

              (moderator, please delete my previous post, i messed up on a closing tag)

              Coming back to the rest, but I need a clarification on something:

              Revenue increased after the Bush tax increases? Heritage spin, meet Brookings spin:

              What spin? Heritage reported the estimated numbers and the ACTUAL numbers. Brookings reports

              In 2000 total federal tax revenue was as high in proportion to the U.S. economy as it had ever been. By 2004 federal tax revenue in proportion to the economy had fallen to its lowest level in almost fifty years.

              I… let’s use a metaphor to try and explain what’s wrong here.
              Let’s say that every week, I get $10 (from a job, or an allowance, or whatever – the source is unimportant in this metaphor). When I get that, I immediately give you $5. You are currently receiving a proportion of 50% of my income.

              Now, something changes and say we decide that you’re going to then get a proportion of 25% of my income instead of 50%. You estimate that you’re only going to get $2.50 from me next week. Only, behold! I got a raise, and am now bringing home $30 each week. So now you get $7.5 from me.

              See? Your revenue went up, even though your PROPORTION of my income went down. So, unless it’s somewhere I haven’t seen it, the Brookings’ “spin” doesn’t even come close to addressing Heritage’s (and the CBO’s) numbers.

              Spin aside, Nate, doesn’t it seem to you that at some point, there are going to be diminishing returns from moving ever leftward on the Laffer Curve? Would cutting top marginal income tax rates from, e.g., 14% to 12% in some Randian future really still have that much of an incentivizing effect on “job creators”?

              1) I’m not even Randian but you people throw that term around like leftists use “racist”. Namely, it’s getting to the point of no meaning or just a backdoor attack on the concept of private property itself.
              2) As Thomas Sowell points out, taxes aren’t the be-all and end-all. Stability is needed too.
              3) Yes, eventually there will be diminishing returns on the left of the curve (as far as tax revenue is concerned, if you value freedom, some might call it an increase in returns), but – again – if you take in ALL taxes (local, state, community, sales, etc etc etc), what makes you so sure we’re on the left side? Let’s be easy and say the curve’s peak is at… 50% of a person’s income. Yes, you could pick a single tax in isolation and say “oh look, it’s only 10% of gross income, we can’t cut it without losing revenue” but if say, the society has six taxes (let’s see… property, payroll, state tax, county tax, federal tax, customs duties, licenses, etc) that take 10% of the gross revenue… guess which side of the curve you’re on.

              • Irenist

                The problem with ignoring tax revenue as a percentage of GDP is that the primary long-term concern about the national debt is its size relative to GDP. A $10 billion national debt might be occasion for a “Te Deum” at our National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, but if you were trying to finance it out of revenues generated by the $5 billion national GDP of Zimbabwe, it would be a disaster. As population both expands and gets more elderly overall, mere nominal rise in tax revenue is insufficient: the job of government grows roughly in step with GDP and population, which is why taxation as a percentage of GDP is the standard metric.
                1) Glad you’re not Randian. Some of the stuff you say sounds kind of Austrian/Freshwater Economics-y, hence my error. Sorry about that. As for private property, I respect it and think Chesterton had the right ideas about its enduring value to society.
                2) Well, sure. Nothing in fiscal or monetary policy is be-all and end-all. Not taxes, and not tax cuts.
                3) Why do I think we’re to the left of the Laffer Curve? As I said:
                “According to our analysis of current tax rates and their elasticity, the revenue-maximizing top federal marginal income tax rate would be in or near the range of 50%-70% (taking into account that individuals face additional taxes from Medicare and state and local taxes). Thus we conclude that raising the top tax rate is very likely to result in revenue increases at least until we reach the 50% rate that held during the first Reagan administration, and possibly until the 70% rate of the 1970s. To reduce tax avoidance opportunities, tax rates on capital gains and dividends should increase along with the basic rate. Closing loopholes and stepping up enforcement would further limit tax avoidance and evasion.”
                Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303425504577353843997820160.html

                • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

                  The problem with ignoring tax revenue as a percentage of GDP is that the primary long-term concern about the national debt is its size relative to GDP. A $10 billion national debt might be occasion for a “Te Deum” at our National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, but if you were trying to finance it out of revenues generated by the $5 billion national GDP of Zimbabwe, it would be a disaster. As population both expands and gets more elderly overall, mere nominal rise in tax revenue is insufficient: the job of government grows roughly in step with GDP and population, which is why taxation as a percentage of GDP is the standard metric.

                  Oh, I had misread the initial bit and pulled the error of misreading a technical term. Looking it up, I see now what they mean. However….
                  http://blogs.marketwatch.com/fundmastery/2010/07/02/does-hiking-tax-rates-raise-more-revenue/
                  Makes some great points. I particularly liked his 3rd graph (where “revenue as a percentage of GDP” was pretty much flat for 50+ years even as the “top individuals tax bracket” sailed all over the place)

                  1) Glad you’re not Randian. Some of the stuff you say sounds kind of Austrian/Freshwater Economics-y, hence my error. Sorry about that. As for private property, I respect it and think Chesterton had the right ideas about its enduring value to society.

                  You might say I buy the Austrian economics currently because I’ve generally found them to have the most consistent evidence and predictions. (you know, the same way I believe Eisteinian physics over say… Aristotle physics) Besides, a lot of my posts are simply (to quote Babylon 5) “What do you want?” Do you want to help the poor? Hurt the rich? Fill bellies? Fill souls? Then, depending on what you want, will your policy/idea/etc work? For many, I often find that it will not.

                  3) Why do I think we’re to the left of the Laffer Curve? As I said:
                  “According to our analysis of current tax rates and their elasticity, the revenue-maximizing top federal marginal income tax rate would be in or near the range of 50%-70% (taking into account that individuals face additional taxes from Medicare and state and local taxes). Thus we conclude that raising the top tax rate is very likely to result in revenue increases at least until we reach the 50% rate that held during the first Reagan administration, and possibly until the 70% rate of the 1970s. To reduce tax avoidance opportunities, tax rates on capital gains and dividends should increase along with the basic rate. Closing loopholes and stepping up enforcement would further limit tax avoidance and evasion.”
                  Source:

                  1) I’ll repeat what I said before: I’m all for simplification. Very, VERY much so.
                  2) but even your source ignores what I pointed out (that there are other taxes like state, local, etc) and I couldn’t find any calculation of that in the paper.

                  Also, WSJ already put up a rebuttal to it:
                  http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2012/05/reynolds-70-tax.html
                  (I linked to there since the WSJ link is subscriber only)
                  Looks like the entire source you’re basing your assumption on is made up by creative cooking.

                  And here’s calculus:
                  http://www.bobkrumm.com/blog/?p=2354
                  One of my favorite paragraphs:

                  There is empirical evidence to support my contention. It in fact comes from a fellow UC-Berkeley economist and former Obama economic advisor Christina Romer. She and her economist husband discovered from an analysis of tax changes between 1945 and 2007 that a one-percent increase in tax revenues results in GDP decreases of between 2.2% and 3.6%. This indicates that the economy is well to the right of the maximum of the GDP curve. In fact, this understates the severity of the deleterious effect of tax increases. That is because the Romers measure percent of change of tax revenues and percent of change of GDP. If we use the current economic conditions where government spending is roughly 40% of GDP, that implies that when measured on a dollar basis, the true discrepancy is 2.5 times as large as what the Romers’ percentage-based measures indicate. In other words, for every dollar raised in taxes, between $5.50 and $9.00 is taken from the economy. That’s huge.

                  • Irenist

                    By the time I get around to reading all these links, Nate, I doubt you’ll still be checking this thread for new comments. So let me say now that:
                    a) You might well be right.
                    b) If you are, I have a LOT of rethinking to do.
                    c) But them’s the breaks. (Einsteinian physics > Aristotelian physics, and all that).
                    d) I think you and I are, in “Babylon 5″ terms (I really need to get around to streaming that show) both on the side of aiding the poor rather than punishing the rich, FWIW.
                    e) Rod Dreher has a post on immigration that makes many of my points on Japan and immigration with far more grace; it might be of interest:
                    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/takers-makers-elderly/
                    f) Since I don’t have time to read all your links, I’ll try to be the graceful comboxer and say this preemptively: I think you’ve presented the more convincing argument here. I concede my points on taxation, and look forward to learning more from you in future exchanges. Cheers!

                    • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

                      Thanks for the link. You’ve given me plenty to read and I hope I adequately returned the favor.

  • Will

    They can do away with all of the government medical, food assistance, and cash help as soon as individuals, charities, and/or churches provide adequate help. I worked for years for a state human services department, saw a need for help (sure there is abuse, but there is still a need), and have not seen any change that has reduced that need. The charities I knew admitted they could not keep up with the demand even with state and federal programs.

  • bob

    Sorry, but I must ask a niggling question:
    When you say “suffer catastrophic injuries that are sometimes worse than death,” do you mean that literally? I’m pretty sure it was just a figure of speech, because if you meant it literally it would suggest that you believe that some people are better of dying than living.
    As I actually do believe this, I have to assume that you don’t, not really. Right?

    • Mark Shea

      Don’t overthink it.

  • Frank Sales

    yeah, guess what — he didn’t mean our troops although you are probably right that they are included in the 47%. Romney wants to turn the economy around so that there are jobs for those who want to work. so does obama. so does ron paul. the question is whether massive government wealth transfers, which is compulsory charity, is salutary for the moral health of the citizenry and whether it is sustainable economically.

  • English Catholic

    As someone whose work brings him into daily contact with people claiming welfare let me say this; some of them are absolute animals; they have a sense of entitlement that beggers belief, they steal from those who are trying to help them, possess manners and etiquitte that would shame a baboon, ARE parasites and think that if there are not enough gratias biscuits in the jar then their human rights are being violated. Having said that vast majority of them want to get back into work and earn their daily crust, its the few pompus baboons (sorry to any baboons reading this) that rile my nerves, why my taxes are paying for their bread, board and holidays I’ll never know.

    • Mark Shea

      Would you say that nearly half the American people, including our troops, fit this description or perhaps something small than that is more accurate?

      • English Catholic

        Mark I would say that its probebly a hardcore of around 5-10 percent that fit that description, as a long time friend of the United States I am grateful for the service American troops have provided in helping to secure the liberty of the UK and defending us ungrateful Europeans from mother russia and her empire.

        Here in the UK about 80% of people move off welefare within a year, the company I work for is one of many contracted by the government to help secure sustainable employment (we’re not paid anything until they’ve been in work for six months) for the other 20%, of those about half to three quarters actually want to engage with us, whilst the rest come in three times a week for one hour and go through the motions. Belive me when I say that those who engage move off the dole relitavely quickly, my first comment was sparked by the fact that four of our company laptops have been stolen by welafre claiments in the past 2 days and today one of them had the audcacity to steal my lunch (ok it was only $4.50 a quarter of 1% of my monthly pay after tax but its the barbarity of it that gets me).

        Personally I was rooting for Ron Paul last year, event though I disagreed with some of his more extreme libertarian positions I thought that he was at least someone who was (a) honest, (b) represented the best chance of getting America back to its founding principles and (c) wasn’t likely to charge of on a hell to leather foolish adventure around the world like the other republican candidates seemed to want to do.

        • Dan C

          In the US, more than 80% move off welfare in a year.

  • Andy

    Fortunately, our extremely rich Caesaroligarchic Ruling Class (led by the GOP) has shown these greedy troops what for, making sure that record numbers of them are on food stamps, while simultaneously coming up with creative finance ways to screw them out of more money and cut their benefits. _This is why they reps. in the senate just used a procedural vote to kill the Veterans Job COre Act – but lets send them to Iran and Syria and everywhere else. All to support that 53% that Romney is fond of.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Michael F,

    We dont know what was left out, but you know its the most important part?

    I dont want to be asked to depart again, so I dont know what to say either.

    • Michael F.

      I don’t disagree that what he said was uncharitable (and inaccurate). I think he was wrong to say what he said. But…

      1) We also know that people say things off the cuff that they later realize aren’t quite right or fair. I’ve done it. I’m sure you’ve done it. Doesn’t make it right. But people are human.

      2) The tape was cut right after this. I find that extremely suspicious. Do you really believe that in this very long tape, it just happened to cut right at the point when he might have made some clarifying or mitigating comment like he has subsequently stated in reaction to the video?

      Maybe he said something like “listen, don’t get me wrong, I would love to have anyone’s vote and I don’t mean to be unfair, but I’ve only got so much time and money. I’m just trying to say that I’m not likely to get their votes and so I have to focus on those people who I might be able to convince.”

      Who knows? Wouldn’t make it beautiful, but maybe less hurtful. But I do suspect that there was some kind of mitigating material in that segment, and that’s the most obvious reason why they would have edited it. These people have already shown that they’re willing to behave **Illegally* by taping this event. I think there’s strong evidence that the tape was edited. I’m not going to put too much weight on an illegal, edited tape that would be thrown out of a court of law.

      http://not-yet-europe.com/2012/09/19/romney-tape-gap-not-recording-error/

      http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journalism/2012/09/19/Mother-Jones-Admits-Romney-Tape-Missing-One-or-Two-Minutes

      3) Far more importantly – even if was recorded accurately, he was **not** saying that we shouldn’t take care of the poor. We already know that, as a Republican, he tends to see a smaller role for the federal government than what Democrats do in regard to such things. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I would argue that Republicans are more in line with the Catholic teaching on subsidiarity in this regard.

      Here’s an article about Romney’s charitable giving – seeing by his actions: http://www.forbes.com/sites/edwindurgy/2012/05/17/an-inside-look-at-the-millions-mitt-romney-has-given-away/

      As I’ve always held, if one finds Romney to be too objectionable, it is perfectly legitimate not to vote for him (I may not vote for him myself, depending upon the debates and how he handles himself leading up to the election). But it doesn’t change the fact that I see no way a faithful Catholic can legitimately vote for Obama.

      It seems that it bothers some people so much because they’re taking it personally. Understandable. But would that they took the killing of our brothers in sisters in the womb so personally. Would that they took Obama’s assault on our Catholic’s religious freedom so personally.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Frank,

    Why would a responsible voter choose an executive that ignorant of his own nation’s demographics?

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    In your earlier post it was 33/1.

    Now you insist its 1/1.

    Please don’t post again or I fear a dollar’s taxes might leave us shutteeing our cathedrals coast to coast.

    • Zachary Grant

      Did your mama have to pick you up at school frequently because you “don’t play well with others”, Zeke? Or was it just poor potty training? LOL

      Every time I pop in here, there you are rattling off insulting inanities endlessly. I wish I had the kind of free time you obviously have…..LOL

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        I wish I had been at a computer earlier and not my phone…

        Zach, you obviously don’t know what insults are. I’m verily considering providing you with an example so as not to disappoint. One question though…

        Does it need to be monosyllabic for your to grasp it?

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          Aaargh! You not your. Damned fat fingers!!!

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        I apologise, Zach. Let me try to explain…

        Nate Winchester first claimed that for every $33 spent by the federal government in aid, the Church loses $1.

        He very quickly forgot he claimed that, and asserted instead that for every $1 spent by the gov’t, the Church loses a dollar.

        Now, you may not be aware of this, but there is about 32/33 difference between 1/33 and 1.

        (I know, I know, math is hard and anyone making you do it must be insulting you, but bear with me…)

        At the rate he keeps changing his tune, for every nickle Uncle Sam spends, the Church could eventually could wind up losing about $800.*

        *These figures were provided by my rectum, from where I pulled them, but they make the point I was going for pretty effectively.

        • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

          I wasn’t making the claim, merely citing sources. And a source (or two) will probably disagree with each other on specifics. Heck, I think just one source I was reading actually had several values, one which was a “flat rate” (IIRC) while another was weighted differently (common in econ and other departments). That’s why I post sources (and links) so you can go verify and check the math for yourself.

          (It’s been a few days, but if I remember the paper correctly, they were pointing out that the government taxing was reducing church donation at a 1=1 rate on a flat scale, but if you corrected for various factors of the time, it came out to 33=1. In other words, it looks like the paper writers were adjusting things to the government’s favor.)

    • Hezekiah Garrett

      Oh, and Mark, can I get a ruling? Was that initial post an insult, or a poor attempt at humour?

      • Mark Shea

        No idea. Not following. General rule of thumb, if somebody took it as an insult and you were the author, assume it came out sounding like an insult even if you hadn’t intended to and apologize.

  • Josie Harrington

    Where I live, lots of new Russians, Arabs and Chinese are receiving benefits. Most work off the books, so they appear “poor.” They qualify this way for food stamps and welfare. I have no idea why the fraud is not caught. We are talking big numbers of people.
    I have a friend who is russian and she says we Americans are stupid as we have “honor” programs which invite fraud. We actually grant $10,000 to Russians who come here due to religious persecution in Russia, who then never enter US temples or have any religion. Thanks to Sen. Schumer.
    When I was a child, i was taught to be honest and love my country. For these people, it is a game to come here to the USA and try to get as much as they can from the government for free. Many others, Americans, who could use help struggle as they are embarrassed to apply and can’t lie so easily to get it. Made up foreign names and addresses, routinely used by new immigrants are not so easy for Americans to use to apply for aid. I don’t know when it will ever stop or who will be strong enough to try to stop it.

  • http://levitersalsalis70.blogspot.com.au/ Peter

    Q: How do we know Romney in favour of the right to bear arms?
    A: Because he keeps shooting himself in the foot!

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    You think govt aid should be ended because it robs people of chances to,be charitable, and you follow the Derb?

    Wish you had made the latter known before the former. I could have saved myself some bandwidth.

    • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

      I think you might be replying to me, but not sure. At least I have mastered the “reply” button. (or, barring that, the blockquote command)

      • Irenist

        I think he’s replying to you, too, Nate. Sorry about ganging up on you, as far as all that. You’re more than holding your own, though, that’s for sure. Very educational for me at least: you make lots of great points.
        BTW: What’s the blockquote command? That sounds ridiculously helpful.
        Thanks!

        • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

          Actually, I hadn’t even noticed him till I happened to scroll down and read what looked like replies to me.
          Besides, it’s not really “ganging up” when you’re struggling with a rotweiler (in this weird metaphor: you) and a chiuaua starts yipping. One’s worth the attention, the other just induces laughter. ;-)

          Blockquote: It’s an html tag (I highly recommend w3 schools for all your internet programming learning needs). Like all tags, you put it between ”. The actual command is “blockquote”. You put one set at the section you want to quote, then put a “/blockquote” between the ” at the end of that section.
          (this might be sort of confusing, but it’s hard to describe the commands on here without accidentally setting them off)

          Give it a try, and don’t be ashamed of any mishaps. Even experienced programmers still make one now and then (see: my blockquote error further up the page).

          • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

            Ack! In fact, you’ll notice that the less than and greater than signs just vanished from the above post. (see what I mean) They were supposed to appear between quote marks. You know: /\ on its side. Putting a set around the HTML command you want to invoke is the fundamental rule of HTML language. =D

            • Irenist

              Let’s see how this goes:

              Ack! In fact, you’ll notice that the less than and greater than signs just vanished from the above post. (see what I mean) They were supposed to appear between quote marks. You know: /\ on its side. Putting a set around the HTML command you want to invoke is the fundamental rule of HTML language. =D

              Looks like it worked. Thanks, Nate!

  • RobJ

    Mark, I think you suffer from Romney Derangement Syndrome. First, I agree with you that his position on abortion is convenient/cynical/dishonest (pick one, or all three). He’s also pro-torture. Those positions disqualify him from your vote. I get it, and I might not vote for him either.

    Your disdain for his stance on those issues leads you to assume the absolute worst about whatever he says about anything else. Here he is, secretly taped in a private setting, explaining to his frustrated supporters why he won’t absolutely blow Obama out of the water in the general election, even though the economy sucks. He points out that lots of people are on government assistance, and lots of people pay zero income taxes, so his message of low taxes can’t compete with Obama’s message of government goodies. You can’t pay less than zero taxes, but you can always get more handouts. He speaks quite plainly and doesn’t hedge, because if he mentioned every sympathetic reason why someone might not pay taxes, he’s still be talking at that meeting.

    Enter Mark Shea, who latches on to sympathetic reasons why people might not pay income taxes. Did you know that OUR SUFFERING TROOPS sometimes pay no taxes? ZOMG! Romney HATES OUR SUFFERING TROOPS. Did you know that ADOPTIVE PARENTS sometimes pay no income taxes for YEARS because of the adoption tax credit? Romney HATES ADOPTIVE PARENTS. You know who else doesn’t pay income taxes? DOGS. Romney HATES DOGS. That’s why he STUFFS THEM INTO CRATES ON TOP OF HIS CAR AND THEN DRIVES INTO DANGEROUSLY SHORT TUNNELS.

    I understand that you don’t like him. Maybe he drives you nuts because he seems to be a very good man in his personal life, but many of his political stances (seem to be)/are so cynical.

    • RobJ

      Substituting “UNDER LOW BRIDGES” for “INTO DANGEROUSLY SHORT TUNNELS” in the last sentence of the third paragraph might help it make better sense.

      • Mark Shea

        Nope. Still silly.

    • Mark Shea

      This was a remarkably silly defense of a brain fart by a rich and powerful man candidly telling his constituents what he thought they wanted to hear about the underclass. It’s amazing how far people will go to make excuses for you if you are rich and powerful enough.

  • Quinault

    Quote: “…Any member of the state that resists this in any way will have a choice of being sent to clean toilets in Afghanistan until the last soldier is brought home. ”

    When I was there in 2009, there was a photo making rounds that someone in Ghazni took in a bathroom stall; they had gone to the latrine to do their business, and when they lifted the toilet lid they discovered a cobra sitting there coiled up inside the bowl.

    • Mark Shea

      It wouldn’t strike one of our pols. Professional courtesy.

      • English Catholic

        you’re wrong mark ,it wouldn’t strike out of familial recognition

        • http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/ Nate Winchester

          Impossible. Nobody fights more than families. ;)

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Zach,

    I was abandoned by my mother before ever reaching preschool.

    Doesnt make it right, but I have a pretty good handle on the causes of my particular brokeness
    How about you

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Micheal F,

    In multiple threads you refer to a camcorder, or camera, or tripod.

    Technology today is such that the camera could have been in an ink pen sitting on the table feeding wirelessly to a devicw using an Android OS. The device could very well stop on its own, and be restarted without disturbing the camera.

    My ultimate point though, is that you are using the gap to distract from the footage that was taken. What do you posit is in that gap that would neccessitate creating it?

    You talk about dinosaur technology, so I called you pops. I deserved punk in return. ;-)

    • Michael F.

      I don’t disagree that what he said was uncharitable (and inaccurate). I think he was wrong to say what he said. But…

      1) We also know that people say things off the cuff that they later realize aren’t quite right or fair. I’ve done it. I’m sure you’ve done it. Doesn’t make it right. But people are human.

      2) The tape was cut right after this. I find that extremely suspicious. Do you really believe that in this very long taping, it just happened to cut right at the point when he might have made some clarifying or mitigating comment like he has subsequently stated in reaction to the video?

      Maybe he said something like “listen, don’t get me wrong, I would love to have anyone’s vote and I don’t mean to be unfair, but I’ve only got so much time and money. I’m just trying to say that I’m not likely to get their votes and so I have to focus on those people who I might be able to convince.”

      Who knows? Wouldn’t make it beautiful, but maybe less hurtful. But I do suspect that there was some kind of mitigating material in that segment, and that’s the most obvious reason why they would have edited it. These people have already shown that they’re willing to behave **Illegally* by taping this event. I think there’s strong evidence that the tape was edited. I’m not going to put too much weight on an illegal, edited tape that would be thrown out of a court of law.

      3) Far more importantly – even if was recorded accurately, he was **not** saying that we shouldn’t take care of the poor. We already know that, as a Republican, he tends to see a smaller role for the federal government than what Democrats do in regard to such things. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I would argue that Republicans are more in line with the Catholic teaching on subsidiarity in this regard.

      Here’s an article about Romney’s charitable giving – seeing by his actions: http://www.forbes.com/sites/edwindurgy/2012/05/17/an-inside-look-at-the-millions-mitt-romney-has-given-away/

      As I’ve always held, if one finds Romney to be too objectionable, it is perfectly legitimate not to vote for him (I may not vote for him myself, depending upon the debates and how he handles himself leading up to the election). But it doesn’t change the fact that I see no way a faithful Catholic can legitimately vote for Obama. By all means, vote 3rd party candidate as a protest against both. But if you find Romney too objectionable, judging according to objective Catholic criteria, Obama is significantly worse. You can’t really compare some off-the-cuff insensitive remarks to what Obama has actually DONE that is morally evil.

      It seems that it bothers some people so much because they’re taking it personally. Understandable. But would that they took the killing of our brothers in sisters in the womb so personally. Would that they took Obama’s assault on our Catholic’s religious freedom so personally.

    • Michael F.

      Something else I forgot to add: the person who made the tape was dishonest about it along with Mother Jones. They **hid** the fact that a crucial section where Romney was speaking was missing until they were called on the carpet for it. Other people finally figured out that the video was cut and started again. **Only then** did Mother Jones come clean. And even so, they hid it far down on their posting where you would have to put it all together and realize what had happened.

      Again, not only would this be thrown out in a court of law, but a person doing such things could end up being criminally charged.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Oh, and Zach, if you were moved to comment thusly by Pops, you are not nearly as familiar with my oeuvre as you imagine.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Sure thing, Mark! I will try to remember that.

  • Michael F.

    Hezekiah,

    You wrote, “Micheal F, In multiple threads you refer to a camcorder, or camera, or tripod.
    Technology today is such that the camera could have been in an ink pen sitting on the table feeding wirelessly to a devicw using an Android OS. The device could very well stop on its own, and be restarted without disturbing the camera.”

    I looked at the video more closely. You might want to, too. At the very beginning of the video, the person who did the taping set up the camera behind the glass flower vase. Now watch the reflection in the silver vase on the right and you’ll see a reflection of the camera….it’s not a pen or a phone. In the reflection you can also see the person placing a napkin or small towel over the camera, then shortly after the person moves the vases to the right so the camera has a better field of view. When the vases are moved during the video, it’s sometimes possible to see the reflection of the camera and sometimes not depending on their location.

    I know I’m a dinosaur, but it doesn’t seem likely that a remote control was used given that the person taping this event set up the camera while it was *already taping*. And considering that the camera was shielded by the napkin at the beginning, it doesn’t seem as likely that the person taping saw that it had stopped.

    So, I think we’re back to how did the person fix the problem with the camera, cover it up again, and not move the camera *at all*?

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