Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Democratic Party Will (Probably) Officially Endorse Gay Marriage At 2012 Convention

In the spirit of this shocking, profound and in-no-way-just-rubber-stamping-what-already-eminently-evident news; I have decided to officially endorse my support of Mario Games, Pizza, 80s Metal and the first two "Spider-Man" movies.

Incidentally, this comes on the heels of the whole "Chik-fil-A" debacle, which is set to become even more absurd on Wednesday as "luminaries" like Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin have encouraged their fans/followers to show pride in their bigotry by making August 1st "Chik-fil-A" day. Here's an idea: I plan on making it a point to buy/eat some chicken from a competitor on that day as a form of counter-protest, and I encourage my readers/followers/fans to do the same. In fact, if anyone wants to Tweet a picture of themselves eating non-CFA chicken to me (@the_moviebob) on that day, maybe I'll post some of them here.


This is one of those moments where the realities of 24/7 digital-age politics smash up against our stuck-in-the-1900s election choreography: EVERYBODY already knows that the Democrats, as a party, are nominally on the side of LGBT activism, but this will be the first time it's ever been written into the "Party Plank" - a list of "official positions" whose convention-time adoption was the subject of much ceremony and fanfare in the days when news only traveled at the speed of train. Still, it's big news and will be treated as such if it's indeed going to happen. Important step, piece of history, where-were-you-when, etc.

What interests me is what this says about where the DNC's collective "head" is at and what it means for how the election will actually play out. Three things immediately jump to mind:

1. Ambiguity Is Over
If nothing else, this is the Democrats aquiescing to a reality the Republicans set up way ahead of them: There's no "middle ground" this time. This is now officially a "versus" election, where in spite of all the decrying of "divisiveness" you'll hear from all sides division is the entire goal; casting the choice in such stark terms - Red vs. Blue, White America vs. Multicultural America, Nativist vs. Globalist, Secular vs. Religious, Reason vs. Belief, Tradition vs. Future, Family Values vs. New Normal - that as many would-be voters as possible are spurred to "get off the sidelines" and choose a side (or completely tune out, which can be just as useful to the same ends); with each team gambling that "they're guys" will be more motivated to pack the polls. The DNC will be saying to pro-LGBT Americans "This is WAR, the prize is your rights, we've got your back, now get out there and kick some ass."

2. The DNC Is Either Confident Of A Win Or Preparing To Lose
As a rule of thumb, politicians and political parties don't take controversial positions during elections unless they feel they've already won or already lost. While taking this position probably won't make THE difference for Obama's numbers vs. Romney's, it will probably make things tighter. Either way, while this is a politically "risky" move (more in a bit) it's unquestionably a good move for Democrats long-term. LGBT rights, as part of the broader "social issues" package, is the #1 thing that seperates Generations X and Y from their parents and grandparents as a voting demographic; and this is the clearest signal the Dems have sent in quite some time that they're the party for them. Even if they lose this election, it's a step toward securing a bloc for next time.

3. Win Or Lose, The DNC Is Writing-Off "Red America."
If you want a "macro" of the politics of this manuever, it's that The DNC is willing to concede the previously-swingable (via Labor Union connections) "Blue Collar" demographic (in poli-speak: working-class white people, predominatly rural-rooted and family/church-centered) to Republicans for the forseeable future. Short-term risk, but long-term likely-payoff. The fact is, the "Blue Collar" demo is on-track for continued shrinkage in the visible future: America is becoming less white, less reliant on (domestic) physical-labor and less "rooted" workwise - the jobs/industries with growth prospects are the ones better suited to single, mobile professionals concentrated in urbanized areas. So while becoming "The Party of Gay Rights" will unquestionably drive a not-insignificant portion of the Blue Collar demo to The Right; it's a demo that might as well be an endangered-species electorally speaking - whatever percentage of the white/midwestern working-class Democrats lose over this will be made up for (with interest) by the two demographic megaton-bombs hanging over the near-future process: Boomers entering retirement age (expectation-of/reliance-on Social Security and Medicare = Democrat votes) and the potential permanent game-changer of either "amnesty" for undocumented immigrants or the children of said immigrants hitting voting age (Republicans eagerness to racially-scapegoat Latinos ensures most of these votes will not go to them.)


Lido said...

Asians will overtake whites as the majority race in California before the next decade, Latinos and Blacks will probably overcome whites as the majority nation wide soon enough too, before you know it the "white strait male" vote isn't gonna mean jack shit

Thomas said...

I think you're missing a crucial point with paragraph 3: You can't really exclude latinos and blacks from "blue-collar" anymore, and both of those demographics trend more socially-conservative than similar whites.

Merrick_HLC said...

Thomas: I think there is a difference in 'socially conservative' people of color and 'socially conservative' white folks.

I know many black people who are socially conservative in that they are perhaps not fond of homosexuality.... but if you ask them if it should be LEGISLATED discrimination, most of that same group will be opposed to it.

Sort of like "I don't want my kids/grandkids to be gay. But I don't mind a gay couple on the block getting married."

It's an interesting dichotemy, but it is one that exists in my experience.

Megabyte said...

1) You are JUST noticing this vs thing? Really? The whole "you didn't build that" mentality from Warren didn't tip you off about how this election was going to run months ago? It was already politician-endorced class-warfare then... and it is now. You... didn't notice?

Bob... I thought you were more astute then that. And I hope to Hell you don't approve of it because "your side is doing it." There was a time I wouldn't have questioned that. Not so much now.

2) Completely agreed. They are pretty much bunkering down to either hold up for a win or survive a loss. Im not sure how good this is for them in the long run... and more importantly for us in total. Sadly, I see a lot of gen X and Y as man-children who haven't really grown up... and I hate to think what children will take if they are "promised a pony."

3) THIS is the biggest issue. When a party gets so radical they just give the finger to such a large portion of the population rather then even pretend to listen to it... yeah, that's a pretty bad sign.

Adam Cooperman said...

Hi Bob, long time reader first time comment-er... (that sounds a lot weirder than it does on the radio).
Before I get to my point, I just wanted to let you know how happy I am to have found a movie/game/politics/culture writer who's opinion I don't always agree with but I do always respect.

Now, in this case, I agree with everything you're saying. I think this is the right move politically for the Democratic party and I think it will likely have almost all of the ramifications you've discussed. One thing that I think you may have not really developed enough though, this is the right move ethically!

I know that's not exactly the point of your post but I think it's important. In the days of the civil rights movement there were still a lot of people that viewed African Americans as "non-human" or at least lesser humans. Making the argument that civil rights were ethically right was more difficult because a lot of people disagreed that it was an ethical issue.

I think even the staunchest homophobes will have to at least admit that LGBT individuals are equal humans. They think they're sinners or deviants but they're still humans. They pray for them to be "healed". Nobody prayed for black folks to lose their melanin.

TLDNR: Endorsing LGBT rights will definitely be polarizing. But I really believe that if somebody makes the point that these are humans we're talking about, the anti-LGBT people will have a much harder pill to swallow at the very least.

Anonymous said...

This is great news, and honestly, so is writing off Red America. For way too long, critics of the Democratic Party have gotten to say that there's no real difference between the two, and a) there is, so b) that's resulted in things like W. winning an election in 2000. Until the Democrats start respecting their base - as Elizabeth Warren does, Megabyte, that's why her speech was so awesome - they just won't be able to get people excited about voting for them. Time to continue moving in this direction.

Anonymous said...


Yeah the republican party ignoring every citizen that is not white, strait, rich, and christian is pretty horrible. Thank god one party still includes at least most of the population...

Taylor said...

@Lido: I decided to run a quick check on some 2011 Census data.

So, Whites compromise 74% of the California population vs Asians compromising 13.6%.

Nationally, Whites compromise 78.1% vs Blacks compromising 13.1%.

So, each of those populations would have to multiply by roughly 6 times with no corresponding rise in the White population to do what you say is apparently inevitable.

So, I'm interested what actual proof you have for your claims, other then "The minorities are everywhere and they want our women and hub caps! Stockpile gold before we lose the real America"

Yes I am mocking you. You deserve to be mocked you paranoid racist jackass. (Yes you are racist, you are not just "describing the facts" because I guarantee you don't have proof of your claims and are only bringing them up to play off of the xenophobic fear of the ethnic tide taking over)

Taylor said...

Minor correction: In the data, I forgot that you mentioned latinos, who compromise 16.7% of the nation, meaning that it is almost twice the number of combined latinos and blacks, but still not nearly close to the number of whites.

Anonymous said...

78.1% (White) plus 13.1% (Black) plus 16.7% (Latino) is 107.9% of the population. I think your 'data' is off there. And they do a Census every 10 years, so it would be 2010 not 2011.

Anonymous said...

According to Ye Olde Wikipedia, the issue is that the stats don't always discriminate clearly between White/Latino and White/Non-Latino. But the other interesting piece is that white European descended people comprise about 66% of the population nationally but 83% of the population in the Midwest. It *also* says that at current rate of change, non-Latino whites will constitute a plurality rather than a majority of the population of the US by 2050. At this moment, about 39% of the population of California is non-Latino white, whereas 38% *is* Latino, though some of those people are white. So given that the population of Latino Americans is increasing faster than the population of European White Americans, the majority of Californians will be Latino pretty soon.

Anonymous said...

According to Ye Olde Wikipedia, the issue is that the stats don't always discriminate clearly between White/Latino and White/Non-Latino. But the other interesting piece is that white European descended people comprise about 66% of the population nationally but 83% of the population in the Midwest. It *also* says that at current rate of change, non-Latino whites will constitute a plurality rather than a majority of the population of the US by 2050. At this moment, about 39% of the population of California is non-Latino white, whereas 38% *is* Latino, though some of those people are white. So given that the population of Latino Americans is increasing faster than the population of European White Americans, the majority of Californians will be Latino pretty soon.

David (The Pants) said...

Welcome Adam Cooperman, nice comment.

Anonymous said...

So the Dem base is to tell the guy who had the guts to build something they owe everyone else for their success when everyone else basically took the more stable road of looking to someone else for a job? Many of which would look to the guy who "made that factory?"

Im sorry, but I just can't accept that. It's a mentality that leads way too easily to "someone else will do it." If that IS the base of the Dems, I can only pray for their resounding defeat... and Im not sure I care by who.

- Megabyte

Anonymous said...


What? Rewording that with punctuation could help me possibly understand what you just said... I am not a grammar Nazi and I normally don't care about the horrible spelling on the internet. However, I am honestly having difficulty understanding what you are trying to say. I think I get it, but am honestly unsure.

Seriously, I am not trying to be a jerk.

Ryan K said...

@ Megabyte:
I believe you are in your comments referring to the recent speech President Obama made, in which he said "You [regarding business owners] didn't build that." I have to say that you have been misled by biased media outlets which have taken that remark completely out of context. In the aforementioned speech, the "that" which the President was talking about was public infrastructure such as roads and schools. He was pointing out that most businesses could not succeed without the physical and social infrastructure that facilitates commerce. After all, most businesses can't transport goods without roads, or without employees who know how to read.
This was all part of a greater argument concerning the necessity of taxes to support that infrastructure.

However, biased agents within the media, including but not limited to Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck, have taken those remarks out of context with the intent to discredit the President by making him seem like he doesn't respect property rights or entrepreneurship, which is just not the case.

You should question those sources who would deceive you in order to further their own goals, as those who have fed you this lie have obviously done. Good day.

James said...

Hey Bob, you know the Libertarians endorsed gay marriage equality before the Democrats, right?

James said...

Bob, you also know that there are more sides than just the "red/blue" America ignorant people like you stereotype the country as.

Ryan K said...

And in response to Bob's actual post:
I will be very glad if the Democratic Party formally supports the rights and legal equality of homosexuals, including the right to marry and to adopt children. Being that marriage is a relationship between two people which is recognized by the government in the laws it makes, and that all people are entitled to equal legal recognition by their government, homosexuals must be allowed to marry.

As for what this decision means for the Democratic Party and for the United States:
It is good in the long run for the Dems to openly and proudly stand by their convictions, rather than the hedging and compromising which the President has had them doing for the last three years. While they will, as Bob pointed out, likely lose some socially conservative voters, that in my opinion is for the best. They haven't been able to rouse their base to action because they're too busy trying to appease too many disparate constituencies, and the Republicans are already way ahead of them on that front. Nobody knows how to appease a constituency like a Republican.

(For the record, "appeasing" does not mean the same thing as "doing the right thing for them in the long run".)

So while the GOP bogs itself down by fighting the culture wars, the Dems can position themselves as the party of good governance. The up-and-coming generation of voters isn't unsettled by gays or latinos or abortion, and is more focused on "How can government make my life better?"

This isn't to say that the Democrats are entirely idealistic here. They know Obama can't raise as much money as Romney, so they need to get a stronger group of volunteers who can motivate people to vote. The LGBT community is fairly young, well organized and active. I'm not saying that the Democrats are entirely motivated by self-interest here; I'm sure they actually do support equal rights for homosexuals, but there may be more than one motive.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

It's since become my stance to boycott any restaurant that has an official stance (for or against) gay marriage... I don't want my lunch to have political implications.

And paragraph 1 there pretty much encompasses what I've come to hate about American politics. I refuse to conform to the false dichotomy of "conservative" or "liberal". It's gullible and naive to think that any net benefit will come from the blind following of politicians.

As when Obama officially came out in favor of gay marriage, I'm desperately hoping the the LGBT community see this for the petty, shallow political posturing that it is.

Megabyte said...

@Ryan K:

Sorry, but did Obama make a speech like that months ago? I thought it was much more recent.

No, I was referring to Elizabeth Warren's speech rather directly... although I have to admit the irony of Obama using her exact words did not escape me.... nor does the implication any more then how much his speeches during his election campaign mirrored Governor Patrick.

Ralphael said...

This Chick fil A sandwich.... so moist, so flavorful, sooo YUMMY! I'll eat there breakfast lunch and dinner.


Did you know that none of the sandwiches/wraps never top 500 calories? You can have your cake and eat it too!


Come on Bob, sit down with me, have a juicy, spicy, chicken sandwich with provolone cheese only, while munching on some scrumptious waffle fries.


Hey Bob, even though i'm against gay marriage, I would still eat at chick-fil-a if the owner announced that he enjoys sucking cock every night....

Also, Not eating at chick fil a accomplishes jack shit.

I expected a fan of Extra Credits to have a better way of pushing his agenda than choosing one fast food over another.

Lord Slithor said...

Personally, I find the idea of a Chick-Fil-A counter-protest brilliant! You can bet my fiancee and I will be sending a picture of ourselves from Gino's tomorrow! :)

P.S. Chick-Fil-A's chicken sucks balls anyway.

Anonymous said...

Here's how I interpret Elizabeth Warren's speech: the wealthy in this country are admirable, particularly the tiny, tiny fraction of them who started not wealthy and got that way through hard work and ambition, BUT it benefits that group to a) pretend that their existence is somehow noble and that they are "job creators", which of course they aren't, that's absurd (because nobody gets rich by hiring more than the absolute minimum number of people necessary to keep a business growing/operating...and growth requires aggregate demand, which requires lots of people to have disposable income...). So anyway, these people also b) like to talk as though "why doesn't EVERYONE just do this", which is utterly vapid and annoying because many careers (police, teachers, firefighters, social workers, etc.) do NOT lead to vast wealth, even for those who are really, really good at their jobs and work long hours. And also c) tend to self-aggrandize themselves in a really irritating way (listen to the horrific conversation on Planet Money with Wall Street guys whose jobs were saved by the bailout explaining that the reason they didn't get fired/jailed/anything was because they are simply so much smarter than everyone else). It's no accident that sales of the Moron Bible (aka Atlas Shrugged) went through the roof in 2009.

Anyway, in the context of that level of entitled idiocy, and in the context of zillions of dollars spent trying to prevent basic accountability through putting the Consumer Protection Bureau into place, and in the context of hysterical accusations of socialism in response to a proposal to allow a small number of sunset-claused tax cuts to actually sunset, and in the context of a tax system that gives more money in subsidies and tax dodges to corporations than to all the programs to help the poor put together, Elizabeth Warren said that rich people should pay attention to the fact that they reap more benefit from government programs and services than anyone else and therefore should stop acting so utterly ungrateful, nut up, and pay 2% more income tax on earnings over $250k, which is nowhere near their fair share. And then Obama said it too. And they're both right.

Aiddon said...


well, since you're going to brag about your bigotry and act like a condescending asshole, then I feel it's FULLY within my rights that I hope your balls get sucked into a vacuum cleaner.

Megabyte said...

Aiddon, your tolerance you display when talking about someone losing their balls to a vacuum cleaner over an opinion not even really about gay marriage, but how pointless a boycott of a company is over one man's view on it is simply astounding.

And in case you don't get it, I'm being exceedingly sarcastic. The truth is it's always amazing how "tolerant" people who scream for it are... until you disagree with them.

Megabyte said...

Also, at Anonymous:

a) Noble? no... but necessary. If "job creators" don't exist, then where do jobs come from? And job creators not being "noble" means they need to see an incentive to "create jobs." How much incentive do you see in speaches like "you didn't make that?" Or in a mentality that basically is trying to limit the reward you get for putting so much god damn risk into making what you did make rather then just "getting a job?"

b) The answer to why everyone else doesnt just do this is very simple... EXCEEDINGLY HIGH RISK. Consider how many companies form and fail in their first year. Then consider how much the founder of such a company sacrifices to even try, let alone succeed. I actually agree with you about the attitude... risk like that is not for everyone... even everyone left if someone's passion is in law enforcement ect. BUT don't you find it a little interesting you didn't mention one private sector job in your list? Might speak a little about your attitude towards this too....

c) irritation does not effect the bottom line of where jobs come from. I can't buy this argument.

And finally, on your last paragraph: You like the idea of a flat tax then? No brackets... just a flat percent of income that EVERYONE pays?

Now Im just curious..... because I hear from one side how almost half the people in the country pay nothing in taxes while the other side screams about how little the 1% actually pays. I suspect both are exaggerated greatly (since both sides also seem to easily find counter-stats to the other).... but it sounds to me like a flat tax without any "specialty rules" would be a compromise to look at.

SirRosser said...

So, why is gay marriage such a huge freakin' deal THIS year in particular? Why is ANY marriage a big freakin' deal at ANY time? Is this medieval Europe? Is a marriage going to change the political landscape for generations to come? If one of the candidates said "I don't give a damn about gay marriage one way or the other. I have a debt to lower and a pointless war to reign in," I'd vote for that bastard in a heartbeat.

Anonymous said...

@ Megabyte

Thank you for asking these questions!

a) Jobs are created by growth. In the public sector, that means that if there are, say, more buildings, more people, or more kids, you need more firefighters, more cops, and more teachers. In the private sector, that means that if there's more business than can be reasonably done by the current staff, more people get hired. What's important to realize about this kind of hiring, though, is that it only happens if there's a great deal of consumption. Business owners want to have as few employees as possible, paid the least amount of money possible, for obvious reasons. If lots of people buy their products, however, they will hire more employees. So the key to job creating is increasing demand for products, which equates to lots and lots of people having money to spend. And the best way to make sure THAT happens is through redistributive wealth policies that target fixed-cost areas of expense; in other words, Nationalized Health Care, Universal Public Schools, Universal Day Care, and Food Stamps, and through a highly graduated income tax, all of which mitigates the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, which slows down spending among the poor and middle class and hinders job growth.

b) The reason I don't mention private sector jobs in my list of "jobs that can't ever lead to wealth" is that it's increasingly economically non-viable to try to work in the private sector in the same job for an entire career. Largely that's because of the breakdown of private sector unions, which has destroyed economic stability for blue-collar workers, and outsourcing, which increasingly leaves them unemployed. Public sector workers, who still benefit from union protections, pensions, etc. are a little more able to to simply work for a living.

But it's important what you said about risk. One of the reasons I'm so excited about wealth redistribution is that without it we fall into a system of privilege that has no out; a person with a lot of money can afford to take bigger risks with that money than a person without it, which essentially gives the somewhat wealthy a much faster track to becoming very wealthy than everyone else. Below a certain income level, trying to get rich is an INSANE risk. Above it, it's just the most logical thing to do. That, to me, is a trap.

3) A flat tax is a terrible idea, and so is a consumption tax, because both of those strategies are regressive (by which I mean, they give the rich a break while hurting the poor). Median household income for a family of 4 in this country hovers at around $50k, which means that half the people in America are making basically enough to scrape by. A flat tax would increase their taxes (while not bringing in much money, because they don't have much), and that would be bad for them because it would dig into fixed living costs. For the wealthy, most flat tax rates I've heard would drastically lower their payments, which would starve the government of income (because they have a great deal of cash to contribute)and leave them with more money they don't need, which is great in the sense that it's disposable and might make a small impact on growth, but not as good as it would be if that money was in the hands of a larger share of the population (through not having to pay for health insurance, for example), because that would cause a larger amount of consumption. Finally, consumption taxes are fairly obviously trouble - they tax buying things, which encourages people not to do that, which...you can see my point.

Megabyte said...

a) Im not sure I follow you simply because of supply and demand. IN the end, all things must be paid for... that includes the redistribution items you talk about. The difference is there is no longer a cross-point between what supply is made vs what demand (price) it gets. In fact, on this chart, the supply line doesn't change since you are doing nothing about how much is made or how or changing the cost of it's making. All you are changing is how much is demanded... and where the two meet is where the price will be (higher). This strikes me as instantly having less cash on the market for other things... it's just not as visible since it's now the government taking it in taxes.

b) I actually agree with you about private sector unions. They are actually useful as a counterbalance. BUT they are simply because there is only so much income to the company, so both sides negotiating (company and union) must be reasonable or either the workers leave and the company dies (no more for anyone) or the unions bleed the company dry and it dies (no more for anyone). Basically, to make things work actually requires a back and forth that is healthy at this point. My issue is with private sector unions who basically can just have more since it's our money we are forced to pay going to it int he form of taxes, not the government's money in the form of income from something it sells us and we can choose whether or not we like/buy it.

But ON that note, I dont see a trap so much as people we want to encourage to take that next step, then. Or to run what they have right so we all get something out of it. If they make millions, that's cool and hey, they fronted it. What I agreed to in pay is my share... I don't demand more then that as a worker. (or in my case, programmer).

Perhaps a mentality to encourage that start-up attitude plus private unions instead of public ones might be a better mix?

3) A flat % would adapt to how much you have, though.... But how can a flat, say 5% tax across the board LOWER the rich's payments if they get away with so much already? It sounds to me like there is an argument that they spend tons DODGING taxes because they take the loopholes and make a profit. Wouldn't this stop that? However, to the finer points....

1) Worth noting, different places have different incomes and different costs... calling $50K as the average of the country really means nothing when you consider this since you would starve on your own in NYC on it, but could live like a king in Georgia (my brother was looking to get his job moved there for that reason).

2) Someone who works currently loses roughly 40%-50% of their income to taxes before they take anything home... Im pretty sure if you "spread the cost" a bit, that would go down. That includes those $50K households you are talking about.

3) Also, as part of this equasion, we need to get people in office who are actually willing to budget as well.... how many years have we not had one? I think we all can agree that too is part of the problem. IN fact that is a driving force of what created the Tea Party.... an out of control government. You see, we are not in a place where "who pays what" is enough to fix it. We need government to tighten their damn belts too...

Anonymous said...

@ Megabyte

Ok, so what I'm learning here is that you're confused about a number of basic elements of economics.

#1) Mean and average are different. The average income of Americans is much higher than the mean, because the income distribution in this country is wildly skewed to favor the wealthy.

#2) I work and I don't lose 50% of my income to taxes. Nobody pays that much, it's pure conservative fantasy. Although in countries where people *do* pay that much (France, Sweden, etc.), the standard is living is higher. Mitt Romney paid about 15% in taxes (I agree with the idea of closing tax loopholes, but not so much with the idea of getting rid of housing and childcare tax credits for the middle class). I pay about 20%.

#3) The Tea Party is a political movement with basically two kinds of people in it - dupes who are voting against their own economic interests and Koch-Brothers-like kazillionaires who are funding and using it as a platform to defend their incomes from taxation and loosen government regulations on business so that they can continue to game the system in their own favor. If you look at what is causing the government to overspend, I'd point to three major issues:

a) Health Care costs that keep rising now account for something like 25% of all governments spending. The very best way to reduce the cost of health care would be a complete government takeover, since the private insurance/health care industry does nothing but impose unnecessary rents and inefficiencies on the system, which is why health care is so out of control and why Medicare remains the most cost-effective way to pay for health care in the United States despite being a government program.

b) We are spending money to occupy essentially the entire planet militarily for no reason. We spend more money on our military than like the next 70 countries combined.

c) Social Security is very expensive, but the payroll tax isn't pegged to income, so poor people pay the same amount of money for their benefits as rich people. If you made the Social Security payments progressive, that problem would be immediately solved.

Meanwhile, what we actually need is a surge in government spending on a) infrastructure, b) education, and c) student loan debt relief, all of which are expensive short term but would bring immense economic benefits over the next couple of decades.

I'd also point out that the Tea Party governments put in place in State Legislatures and in Congress has spent way more time trying to outlaw abortion and on social issues in general than it has trying to do anything having to do with jobs...because the Tea Party is really just Conservative Republicans by another name.

It would take another very long post to explain in detail how increasing aggregate demand works, but I guess I'd just ask you to consider that demand affects supply by raising incentives to produce more things, which is how comparative advantage works, which is how growth works, and none of it works if 50% of the people in an economy are having to scrape by. Shared prosperity grows faster than inequitable prosperity, and just about every economist I've ever read agrees on that point.

The problem isn't who pays. The problem is who benefits, and right now the system has been bought. Class war is real, my friend, and you are on wrong side.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Anonymous

"We are spending money to occupy essentially the entire planet militarily for no reason. We spend more money on our military than like the next 70 countries combined."

No small part of that is because the US military is effectively the UN's and NATO's as well has a dozen or so other international organization's military as well. It would be nice if they helped cover some of the bill.

Megabyte said...

1) I dont care if you talk about mean or average. It changes nothing about the cost of living varing between parts of the country too much for any ONE number here to be an effective measuring stick.... making 50K still irrelevant.

2) You can call it a Consevative Fantasy... I can call it the numbers I see on my paycheck.... I put in a range of as low as 40%, but that doesn't change much. How you drop it to 20% I don't know... sounds like you have a few loopholes too from where I stand.

3) I am ready to drop talking about the Tea Party because Im pretty sure the moment you decided everyone in the party was iether a "filthy millionaire" or a dupe you showed me you will not be reasonable about it. However, do you argue with how it came to be? Or is that inconvenient?

a-c) All these reasons for spending so damn much are nice and good... but they are also excuses.... which wont matter when we can no longer pay for it... and survive since so many are "scraping by."

And when you start choosing sides, you have already joined the losing one.

Thank you.

Shark said...

If the Republican Party is full of white people, then why has the news been name dropping Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, or Senator Marco Rubio?

Michael Harris said...

@Shark. The Republican Party is filled with white people, that is indisputable. There are other members of the party, but the significant majority of registered GOP members are older white men. Now if you can't figure why a party composed mostly of aged white men would want to try to superficially appeal to voters who aren't just old and white with a VP pick, then I don't know if any one post can help you.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Michael Harris

Any random sampling of Americans would be mostly white people. Is the Republican Party really that much higher than average?

Shark said...

@Michael Harris

But If I can name two Indian American Governors, one Cuban Senator, add Micheal Steele, Herman Cain, and Rep. Allan West, three African Americans, together they disprove the notion that the Republican Party is full of white people.

cdstephens said...

If you're right Bob, then if Republicans start losing, then they'll realize they need to stop catering to the religious right or the "Blue Collar" vote and get their shit together, otherwise they'll be voted out for supporting outdated political positions concerning social matters.

Both are good things imo; I lean more Republican, but I think most of the radical social positions are ridiculous.

Michael Harris said...

It is true to an extent that any sample of an American population would be white. Conceded, but when you have a sampling of your party that is disproportionally white to the point that it doesn't reflect the rest of the nation then the majority is no longer indicative of the country and it would not be reaching to assume that such an institution is biased against any type of diversity. Also if you notice I never said that the Republican party has only white people. It is empirically true to say that the Republican party is full of white people. I didn't say they were exclusively white. Also listing a bunch of non-white senators doesn't disprove my notion, conversley it actually helps it out. Name a list (without google, rhetorical honor code) of non-white Democratic senators. See it is substatially more difficult to do this, because the Democratic Party doesn't find these senators so remarkable due to their race to propel them to instant fame on election. Allen West is a paronoid man who thinks that the majority of the oposistion party in congress is made up of comunists, and Bobby Jindal's dangerous educational programs have made it possible for most of the children in Louisiana to be taught that humans and dinosaurs were on the planet at the same time (I'm from Louisiana). Most of those men, barring Rubio, are propelled to fame not on their merit as a politician, but to prove that the Republican party is not racist (I know they aren't, but they feel the need to remind us of that). My point is that if you are propelling politicians to fame because you have a race relations problem, then you need to do a self examination.

Nixou said...

Abridged Shark:

"Hey, if I can name half a dozen minority people among the hundreds of thousands pf elected, then it disprove decades of pol science research."

"Any random sampling of Americans would be mostly white people. Is the Republican Party really that much higher than average?"
Yes it is. want an exemple? In the 2008 presidential election, 62% of Obama's voters were white, and nearly 92% of McCain voters were white
source 1
source 2

Anonymous said...


Okay...first, you should care about the mean income, because it's one useful indicator of how inequitably wealth is distributed in this country, but since you asked, here are some other ones:



Second, here's some data on how much working people actually pay in taxes.


Notice that the United States has ridiculously low taxes. If you're paying 40% somehow, which you're not (the top marginal rate isn't even at 40%...even with Payroll taxes and State taxes, I don't see how you get up that high...)maybe it's time to head down to H and R Block?

Third, America CAN afford to spend money. We can print money, and we still have the best credit in the world, so we can also sell lots of bonds. We just can't afford to WASTE money; the spending has to go to stuff that actually helps, as opposed to tax cuts for the wealthy, corporate welfare for oil companies, military spending...blah blah you know this already. Education, Health Care, Infrastructure. Actually, also renewables. We need to be spending WAY the hell more, or we are going to get our asses handed to us by China/the rest of the world.

Fourth, the Tea Party. As I understand it, the Tea Party exists because a guy made a hateful rant on CNBC or something about how poor people are responsible for the market crash and then a bunch of people who think the government should stay away from medicare started screaming at town hall meetings and then it turned out that a lot of that was being paid for by the Koch Brothers, who are oil billionaires and who fund Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity, which is where the money for Tea Party organization and candidates came from.

I called the members of the Tea Party dupes, and I stick by that because I haven't ever heard of a Tea Party member who understands why the Debt Ceiling fight was a national disgrace or why Obamacare is not a takeover of health care or why, in fact, a takeover of health care would actually solve the national debt faster than the "lets pay fewer taxes and see of that helps" strategy they tend to advocate, which in fact makes the national debt worse. The Tea Party is a gross and depressing astroturf movement, a classic example of a devil trying to convince us be doesn't exist.

The people they got elected have pursued the following in every state:

#1) Attack Unions, allegedly to cut pension costs but really to kneecap a major contributor to the Democratic Party

#2) Pass Voter ID laws, allegedly to prevent voter fraud (a phenomenon that appears to barely exist according to every study), but really to kneecap the Democratic party by disenfranchising minorities, new voters, and college students.

#3) Pass various anti-abortion laws like the Vaginal Ultrasound bill or the wacky new Arizona law that forces women to carry non-viable fetuses to term, and in some cases pass laws against contraception.

#4) Sponsor referendums against gay marriage.

#5) Filibuster every single proposal put forth by any democrat ever, with the intention of kneecapping the President and (I suspect) of keeping the recovery contained so that Mitt Romney has a better seat at the big chair.

#6) Threaten to overturn health care reform even though it cuts the deficit and even though it save lives and blah you know this.

I am perfectly reasonable. I haven't so much chosen a side (I mean, the Democrats are lame) as I have looked at the situation and noticed that the Republicans, Tea Partiers, and Libertarians are essentially engaged in a long-term project of tearing down everything I like about America. They have nothing to recommend them, and I think many of their arguments are made in bad faith.

To throw a cliche of my own at you...You can't be neutral. There is no neutral on a moving train.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Nixou

Voting for a presidential candidate does not make you a party member or even necessarily ideologically conservative or liberal. And, according to the second source you gave, it seems with the exception of African- Americans, the 2004 election seemed to have a much closer racial split.

And you're still not comparing against a control.

Shark said...


But most minorities are social conservatives who vote Democrat because they don't like the current GOP. If a non Tea Party backed moderate Republican was running for office, then they would vote for him instead of the Democrat.

Anonymous said...


Um...non-Tea Party backed conservatives are called "Democrats".

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Anonymous

Well, Romney is hardly Tea-Party backed... At least that was the case while Santorum was still running. I'm not sure if they've changed their minds yet.

Shark said...

@Anonymous 7:41

No they're not. The Democrats losing Anthony Wiener's district to a Republican in the special election to replace him should be a wake up call.

I found an article that might be relevant to this discussion. Black Pastors aren't happy with Obama's support of gay marriage.


Anonymous said...

Yes, shark...losing Weiner's seat to a Republican will likely push them further right, as will angry black pastors. We need a party representing the damn radicals.

Shark said...

@Anonymous 1:13

This is a bad thing! The religious African Americans and Jewish people aren't going to move to the right, and they're not going to vote Democrat. They might stay home this Election Day, which might cause Democrats to lose several counties to the Republicans and cause several states to lean towards Mitt Romney.

In short, the Democrats being the party that openly welcomes minorities is a meaningless title if they don't get out and vote for them, the base isn't energized, or if the voter disagrees with the politicians on issues like gay marriage.

TheAlmightyNarf said...

@ Anonymous 1:13

In an election as tight as this.... yea, you really do.

Anonymous said...

@ Shark

I guarantee you that won't happen. We'll just get a little gratuitous hippie punching after the Convention, on the theory that by then the radicals will have donated all they're going to anyway, and then Obama/the Democrats will run on compromise positions between banning birth control and just letting the Catholics ban it, and the band will just continue playing on...

Shark said...

@Anonymous 12:10

African Americans aren't happy with Barack Obama. He's not addressing the issues that they want to talk about like Black unemployment which is at 14% and higher than the national average for starters. Worst of all is that they can't relate to them the same way Mitt Romney can't relate to the middle class.

The only people who support Obama are:

1. The white middle class who he's pandering to in swing states.
2. White people who think that electing the nation's first black president has proved that we as a nation have overcome racism.
3. Democrats who don't like how Obama handled his first term in office, and only voting for him because they don't want Mitt Romney to win the election.

Anonymous said...

@ Shark

That's nonsense.

Here's how it stands:

Obama currently stands to win the election.

He his supported by black voters by about 90 percentage points over Romney, because no matter how annoyed they get at him, Romney is the kind of guy who likes to blame culture for economic hardship (see his recent trip to Israel) and that's bad news.

Obama is up by about 40 points among hispanic voters, because even though they're socially conservative as a bloc, they recognize that the Republican party remains the home for xenophobes like Jan Brewer.

He's behind among three important groups:

1. Men

2. White People

3. People making more than $100k a year.

Having said that, it's a close race, but please don't just make things up about it. There's data available. Here, you can look at it:


Anonymous said...

Sorry...he's also losing among people over 65 generally...but remember, he's winning every other age group, women generally, everyone making less than $100k a year, all minorities, and all regions including the South.

Shark said...


I'm not making things up. I'm telling you the truth. Eventually, He'll lose support among women, people making less than $100, all minorities, and every other age group and they'll vote for the other guy. People's political views aren't absolute and will change overtime just like their outlook on life.

Anonymous said...

@ Shark

Well, anything's possible - but Romney's a terrible guy, and anyone who votes for him who isn't a 1-percenter is a fool; the data backs up my position. I think it's sort of scary that you think your opinion counts as knowledge, but that kind of sums up all conservative thought, doesn't it?