Smart people saying smart things

Libby Anne: “Mitt Romney Doesn’t Get Women”

Reading this statement in which Romney argues that mothers of small children on welfare need the “dignity of work” and should be required to work and put their kids in daycare side by side with his statement that it is “very very important” that one parent “stay closely connected and at home” during a child’s early years is flabbergasting. It simply doesn’t make sense. If everyone needs “the dignity of work,” then why in the world does he place so much importance on having a stay at home parent? And what about Anne Romney? She never had a job outside the home – which is what he’s saying mothers who take welfare need – so was she robbed of “the dignity of work?”

Romney appears to believe that middle and upper class mothers should stay at home with their children but that poor mothers better work. Poor mothers need “the dignity of work,” but middle and upper class mothers don’t.

Bruce Springsteen: “A Message From Bruce”

Right now the opposition’s resort to voter suppression in so many states is not receiving as much attention as it deserves. I believe that all of us, of whatever views, should be opposing these anti-voter, anti-citizen efforts.

… Right now, there is a choice going on in America, and I’m happy that we live in a country where we all participate in that process. For me, President Obama is our best choice because he has a vision of the United States as a place where we are all in this together. We’re still living through very hard times but justice, equality and real freedom are not always a tide rushing in. They are more often a slow march, inch by inch, day after long day. I believe President Obama feels these days in his bones and has the strength to live them with us and to lead us to a country “…where no one crowds you and no one goes it alone.”

Ezra Klein: “There’s nothing ‘courageous’ about raising the Social Security retirement age”

Meanwhile, you could do more to erase Social Security’s shortfall by simply lifting the payroll tax cap. A lot more. According to the Congressional Budget Office, raising the federal retirement age to 70 would solve about half of Social Security funding problem, while lifting the payroll tax cap would solve all of it.

As it happens, lifting the payroll tax cap would also end up costing eminent think tankers and journalists and lobbyists and politicians a whole lot of money. Perhaps consequentially, it’s a rather less popular policy idea in this town. Many consider it an easy way out, even though it would be much harder on them. Courage and sacrifice for thee, but not for me.

Lee M.: “Literalism vs. Inerrancy”

In short, fundamentalism, Barr says, refuses to take the Bible as it is, but instead presents a homogenized version that fits safely into a preexisting theological scheme. (The appeal to the “original autographs” is another example of rejecting the Bible we have for an idealized one.) It’s noteworthy that the doctrine of inerrancy doesn’t arise directly from anything the Bible claims for itself, but has usually been imposed on the it as a conclusion from a theological argument about the kind of Bible God must have produced.

  • Thereisnorule6

    The dignity of work sounds a little too much like Arbeit macht frei to me.

  • aunursa

    51% of women agree with Libby Anne: Mitt Romney doesn’t get women.  43% disagree: No, actually, Mitt Romney does get women.

  • EllieMurasaki

    One, the only poll that matters at this stage of the game is the one that takes place on Nov 6. Two, the poll you cite says nothing of the sort. It says Obama leads Romney 51-43 among women, which is not at all the same thing; there are many women for whom women’s issues are not paramount, or who actually prefer policy that hurts [other] women.

  • Carstonio

    Research suggests that couples tend to wait until they’re financially stable before taking the step of getting married. Romney’s economic policies would further enrich the very wealthy at the expense of everything else, thus making marriage less attractive for many couples. Yet he seems to think young girls simply need to be lectured on when to have babies. The instrument has not yet been invented that could measure the level of disconnect he shows.

  • EllieMurasaki

    …unless his actual goal is to discourage the having of babies by anyone who isn’t rich.

    Going about it all wrong, of course, and it’s not exactly an acceptable goal to begin with, but if that’s his goal then I can at least see how his approach makes sense to him.

  • Beroli

    Is there a poll somewhere that measures what people think about aunursa’s fixation on polls?

  • AnonaMiss

    the poll you cite says nothing of the sort. It says Obama leads Romney 51-43 among women, which is not at all the same thing; there are many women for whom women’s issues are not paramount, or who actually prefer policy that hurts [other] women.

    Very much this. I remember hearing a Romney supporter on NPR say that she think he’s disconnected about women, but she thought “the economy” was more important than women’s issues, because “my son is going to be graduating and entering the workforce.”
    At which point I abused my steering wheel. “Well it’s a good thing you don’t have a daughter entering the workforce then!”

  • Magic_Cracker

    I’m still trying to wrap my mind around why we should discount the opinion of 51% of apples in favor of the 43% of oranges, because (ignoring the apples/oranges issue pointed out by EllieMurasaki) even the largest minority is smaller than the smallest majority.

  • Münchner Kindl

     

    I remember hearing a Romney supporter on NPR say that she think he’s
    disconnected about women, but she thought “the economy” was more
    important than women’s issues, because “my son is going to be graduating
    and entering the workforce.”

    And Romneys measures will make it likely that this son doesn’t have a job to enter, because of all the blocking of measures that would create jobs the Republicans have done and wailed against, prefering to not call federal money instead of repairing infrastructure and creating jobs…

    Yeah, disconnect on many levels there.

  • VMink

    there are many women for whom women’s issues are not paramount, or who actually prefer policy that hurts [other] women.

    Yay kyriarchy. :(

  • Tricksterson

    I note a distinct silence by Mr. Romney on how these women are going to pay for the daycare necessary for at least some of them to enter the workforce.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Don’t be absurd. There’s no such thing as a woman who has children and works outside the home and doesn’t make enough money to pay for daycare. In fact there aren’t enough such things as women who have children and work outside the home for their needs to be considered at all.

  • caryjamesbond

    Poll discovers people’s opinions on complicated issues are complicated and perhaps not best measured by 2 minute long yes or no questioning sessions.  New’s at 11.

    Also, for those who care- I’m still blogging a deconstruction of “Atlas Shrugged.”

    http://newscum.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/atlas-shrugged-ix-growing-up-galt/

  • Magic_Cracker

    In fact there aren’t enough such things as women who have children and work outside the home for their needs to be considered at all.

    Indeed, a female of the species who has children and works outside the home is clearly not a “woman,” but wretchedly rebellious, selfish God-hater whose wants and needs, being sinful by nature, need not be considered. The childen of such a wretched and base creature are wholly innocent of their “mother’s” sin also need not be considered either since they will likely grow up to be as bad as, if not worse than, their incubator.

  • Jessica_R

    I think it’s best just to play Occam’s Razor with Romney. Mitt Romney does not, nor ever will, give a shit about anybody but himself and his bank accounts, and maybe his immediate family. You have a kid, don’t have a kid? He doesn’t care. 

    He doesn’t care if you can afford daycare, if you can’t, if you have a live in Nanny. If you have one, two, or twelve kids. He doesn’t care if you work outside the home, if you’re a stay at home parent, or homeless. He doesn’t care if you have enough to eat, if you you have to choose between antibiotics or painkillers, or if you give out new cars as graduation presents. He. Does. Not. Care. All this lady business talk is just distracting him from another thing he could bankrupt and dismantle to sell at a profit. 

    He’s a horrible human being, but I don’t attribute to culture war malice what can be better attributed to plain old greed. 

  • AnonaMiss

    And Romneys measures will make it likely that this son doesn’t have a job to enter, because of all the blocking of measures that would create jobs the Republicans have done and wailed against, prefering to not call federal money instead of repairing infrastructure and creating jobs…

    I think there’s an important distinction to make here. Disagreeing on whether Obama or Romney would be better on the economy, for most voters, is based on whose word you take on economic matters. Each side has their expert witnesses, and like most expert witnesses, they’re shills who’ll say whatever you pay them to. The economists I’ve heard speaking without reference to politics have come down on elements of both the Republican and Democratic plans. (Digression: NPR had a great panel on a different one of my commutes of economists from across the political spectrum, focusing on what all of them agreed on, which included a 0% corporate tax offset by high taxes on wealthy individuals, and an end to the mortgage tax deduction).

    ANYWAY, the point was, you can think either of their plans would be better for the country without being any more disconnected from reality than most of us, because economics can be pretty unintuitive.

    The condemnable disconnect from reality is when you acknowledge that the policy positions you support are harmful, but that since they harm other people, it’s OK to support them!

  • AnonaMiss

    Excuse me: “speaking without reference to politics” should be “speaking without party affiliation”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    I just had a distrubing thought.  He keeps saying he’ll make up for the tax cuts by eliminating loopholes & deductions.  What if he really means it, and really does have specific ideas, and one of the deductions to get rid of were the one for dependents?  I wonder how much more revenue that would generate.  (Granted, given my Malthusian leanings, this might not be an entirely bad thing from my point of view, but it would be rude to spring it suddenly on parents who’ve already had children.)  But it would certainly be a quite regressive step.

  • AnonymousSam

    Listening to a conversation last night, I heard one person say they intended to vote for Romney simply to keep Obama out of office, because “Obama really doesn’t like our troops.”

    Disconnects. There are many of them.

    The “dignity of work”? Seriously? Okay, no, no matter how many times you repeat it, I refuse to believe that there’s some inherent grace in being a serf, breaking my back over forty or fifty years of hard labor to make barely enough money to keep myself fed, much less comfortable. Particularly when all my hard work just better enables someone who already has it all to have just a little bit more.

  • Jessica_R

    And I just had a realization, economy vs. women’s issues is a false dichotomy. Because reproductive rights *are* a economic issue. A woman’s ability to choose when or if she has children enables and empowers her to work outside the home, choose her partners, and let no one but herself decide her future. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    Digression: NPR had a great panel on a different one of my commutes of
    economists from across the political spectrum, focusing on what all of
    them agreed on, which included a 0% corporate tax offset by high taxes
    on wealthy individuals….

    Interesting.  I’d never heard that particular idea before, but came up with the idea independently.  If you tax capital gains like other income, or maybe even higher, and eliminate corporate tax, it might lead to more investment by the 99% and/or less by the 1%, and a more equitable distribution of income overall.  I hadn’t worked it out in more detail as to whether it could actually work that way, but it’s interesting to see I’m not the only one who’s thought of it.

  • AnonaMiss

    Exactly. Make re-investing the money in the business a reasonable “tax shelter”, and all of a sudden the hoarders are actually spending that money and creating jobs.

  • Joykins

    I’ve long argued that the Social Security tax cap should be tied directly to Congressional pay rates.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Always makes me think of…
    http://anthonyjosephevans.com/fark/pics/Arby's%20makes%20fries.jpg
    This probably makes me a bad person.

  • Carstonio

    The false dichotomy is a gender-based ghettoization. Some experts may be using “economic issues” as a euphemism for jobs for male breadwinners.

  • renniejoy

    Conservatives have been “preaching” that poor mothers should work outside the home and middle-class or richer mothers should not for as long as I can remember.    

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    If I thought Romney was halfway serious, at all, that “thin tax” idea (where you can literally fill out your tax form in half a page) would be awesomecakes. Especially if the rates were such that the first $20k was zero-rated and the marginal tax rates rising smoothly to between 50 and 70% above a million dollars a year.

    As it is, he’s just blowing smoke.

    Also? An older blog post of mine to remind people that Republican politicians only tell the truth when they talk about how much they don’t like Obama.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I thought Obama did a good job linking them together in the second debate, for all that Romney tried piggybacking on it. If women have control over their own bodies and their own reproductive choices, then they can better make decisions which benefit themselves and their families, should they *choose* to start one.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I’m not crazy about a zero corporate income tax. I know how everybody all whines double taxation, but let’s face it – double taxation is all over the place

    Property tax, sales tax, state and federal government user fees – all paid with dollars already bitten off by the income and payroll taxes.

    If I was to come up with a corporate tax structure, I’d take a constant percentage of net profits as calculated by GAAP, as a kind of “cost of doing business” tax. Ravi Batra, incidentally, came up with the idea, not me.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    The vast majority of boards of directors would just vote to increase their own “nominal compensation,” and then vote to give big bonuses to the executives.  The chance that they would use that money to actually create jobs is pretty close to 0.

    I would back letting corporations out of taxes in exchange for increases in the number of employees and/or increases in compensation and/or benefits across the board for their current employees. 

    But just “here, have some money”?  We’ve already seen that that doesn’t work.

  • Gotchaye

     To be clear, the standard argument from economists on this has nothing to do with double taxation.  They’re not arguing for generally lower taxes or saying that the corporate tax is somehow unfair.  They just want to shift taxes from corporate profits to individual incomes because they think it’s more efficient.

    There are a bunch of reasons why we’d want to do this.  Among others, it brings our tax code more into line with that of other countries and makes the US a more appealing place to locate a company.  It also gives corporations much less reason to lobby for special treatment, since the most common form of special treatment is tax breaks.  It’s a lot easier to argue against an explicit subsidy than a tax break, and it makes the whole system a lot more transparent.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Canada has a corporate income tax, too. So I’m still not sold on the whole “special jurisdiction distinct from the way anyone else does it” thing.

  • Albanaeon

    I keep saying that the top income tax brackets should be directly tied to unemployment.  See how long they hoard their money if it’s an extra 10% per .5% unemployment.

  • EllieMurasaki

    How dare you suggest punishing the successful for the moral failure of the unsuccessful! We know it’s a moral failure because anyone who’s sufficiently moral is successful and vice versa. Gotta maintain an internal locus of control.

  • AnonaMiss

    Eh? Even if they did take all the money that would have been taken by corporate tax rates and give it to the board & CEO, the public would still come out ahead, since 0% corporate rates were to be balanced out by high individual rates for top income brackets.

    Low corporate taxes alone wouldn’t do the trick; gotta have the carrot and the stick.

    I highly doubt that they would though, since the 0% corporate tax (again, paired with highly progressive individual taxation) would turn a successful business’s return on investment model into something similar to a traditional IRA. The greatest ROI would be gotten by reinvesting your gains immediately, so that you earn “interest” on pre-tax profits (to extend the IRA metaphor).

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Nah, don’t worry yourself about that sort of thing. Like every deficit hawk in recent memory, he’s really just kidding about finding tax cuts that will pay for themselves. If Romney is elected and he’s sworn into office, we will hear no more of this talk of balancing the budget. Because Romney will suddenly ‘remember” that the government has legislative priorities beyond balancing a budget and that truly “ending spending” would require restructuring the economy on a scale that no one on either side really has the stomach to actually implement. 

    This is, of course, why no previous president (Republican or Democrat) has ever succeeded in this magical tax plan thing before; not because they’re all lying hacks, but because the thing they’re promising is ridiculous.

  • Lori

     

    Listening to a conversation last night, I heard one person say they
    intended to vote for Romney simply to keep Obama out of office, because
    “Obama really doesn’t like our troops.”    

    If you get the chance you might want to mention to that person that “our troops” seem to disagree.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/10/22/14622255-military-contributions-favor-obama-over-romney

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Whenever I hear rich people waxing fatuously about “the dignity of work” when the “work” they do amounts to sitting in a plush chair in the corner office making the “tough decisions” to decide whether to cut 100,000 or 110,000 jobs in order to make sure their own executive bonuses remain untouched…

    Let’s just say I’m skeptical of the value of that sort of lecturing.

  • AnonaMiss

    I thought a little more about this last night, specifically about whether it would still reward good habits (investment over self-compensation) if a company lost money over a period. The IRA analogy is imperfect because IRAs are guaranteed(?) to generate interest, while a business can tank.

    I’m still not sure my thoughts on losing businesses with the 0% corp/progressive indiv taxation model, but I did think of an interesting side effect. Under that model, as long as you predict the company is going to do better-than-inflation you should keep reinvesting all of its profits as long as possible for the biggest possible eventual payoff. But if you think the company is going to do poorly in the next year, the smart thing to do from the standpoint of a sociopathic CEO would be to leave the company with a big chunk of change. Which would ironically mean that investors would steer clear of companies who compensated their officers too highly, as being more likely to fail in the near future.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    a 0% corporate tax offset by high taxes on wealthy individuals

    Wouldn’t that just result in everyone (who can afford it) holding their money in a shell corporation?  William Rich doesn’t own a mansion and associated fleet of private jets, they’re all owned by William Rich Inc.  Which just happens to have exactly one stockholder…

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    ISTR something like that has happened with Subchapter S corporations. Romney likes to OMGHORROR! about the omg businesses taxed as individuals, but he neglects to mention that Subchapter S (at one point a fairly rare business incorporation method mainly used by doctors and lawyers) bit of news.

  • AnonaMiss

    Wouldn’t that just result in everyone (who can afford it) holding their money in a shell corporation?  William Rich doesn’t own a mansion and associated fleet of private jets, they’re all owned by William Rich Inc.  Which just happens to have exactly one stockholder…

    I’m not at all experienced with corporate tax law, so I could be totally off base about this, but if I understand correctly, business expenditures need to be itemized and claimed as such at tax time. Obviously a lot of fraud already goes on under this rule, but buying luxuries with corporate money under the excuse of it being a business expense would be inviting indictment for tax fraud ten years down the road, just as it is today.

    Though I suppose if there’s a 0% rate on profits, there might no longer be a way to get companies to claim their business expenses… hmhmhm. It’s an interesting question to be sure.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Something I have contemplated and have no idea whether it’d be feasible/effective…tax corporations’ income rather than their income-minus-expenses, just like we tax people’s income rather than their income-minus-expenses. If we’re going to be going with the absurd notion that a corporation is a person, let’s go all the fucking way, you know? (Including letting Texas execute a sufficiently hurtful corporation if necessary.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That sort of thorny issue is why I propose a straight flat corporate tax rate (“cost of doing business tax”) on net income after GAAP, exempting the first, say, $300k to keep small businesses from needing to worry about it.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I like that thought, but defining ‘small business’ by income rather than by number of investors might not be as much of an improvement as you think. A jewelry business that works in expensive gems is gonna have bigger numbers on the balance sheet than a jewelry business that works in inexpensive gems unless the latter business is moving a lot more product than the former (though to be fair, that is not exactly implausible), and if the businesses are otherwise equal (say, a payroll of a hundred thousand dollars for four employees, same rent for same size retail space, etc), it seems unfair to penalize the former business for dealing with more pricey materials.

    Generally Accepted Accounting Principles?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Yeah, that’s GAAP.  :)

  • EllieMurasaki

    I’m missing something, then, because the term does not seem to make sense in the part of the sentence where you put it.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I think I meant to say something like “as calculated by”.

  • EllieMurasaki

    That addition does make sense of the sentence.

  • AnonaMiss

    Yeah, I’m not a big fan of taxing income without taking into account expenses for businesses, because a) there’s such a huge difference of overhead required by different industries; and b) that would encourage companies to increase profit by “cutting expenditures” over actually investing in and improving their products. Even more than they already prefer that, I mean.


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