kahad, on 07 September 2012 - 09:58 PM, said:
This statement perfectly highlights on of the main reasons that I'll most likely never get behind the Democratic party. I don't totally argue with the Republican's platform (I'm more pro-smart spending as opposed to anti-tax, and I lean Libertarian in regards to gay marriage and abortion.) But the Democratic party seems to be totally overran with envy and paranoia in regards to anybody that makes lots of money.
Unless they are Democrats. In that case, it's perfectly fine.
I don't know where you got the impression that I support Democratic-leaning corporations and individual members of the Democratic Party not having to pay taxes. I do not think that anyone or any organization should be permitted to pay zero tax dollars annually.
Just because the Democratic Party cares (or at the very least pretends to care
) about people other than the wealthy (and the corporations that the wealthy own & operate) does not mean that Democrats are jealous of wealthy people.
The point you're apparently trying to make seems to amount to "All Democrats except for rich Democrats are jealous of the rich, and regular ol' Democrats don't hate on the rich Democrats."
That's goofy. How can Democrats be anti-rich and anti-corporations? Corporate profits are close to all-time highs
And is it so strange to believe that someone could be wealthy and also
care about people who aren't as fortunate (or, some of of you guys would prefer to say, aren't as "hard working")?
Also, for the record, plenty of poor people work hard. That is not the issue. I don't mean this with any disrespect to anyone, but I honestly feel like sometimes it's hard (or damn-near impossible) for a straight white male to understand how privileged he is in this world. It's ever harder for straight white rich
males to recognize their privilege (and rich people in general). People who are rich - and the people who make excuses for the rich - think that working hard
is the key to success in this country. But the rich have a social safety net that will catch them if they fall. They are born with chances that many poor people never get. They typically do not have to deal with violence and gang presence in their neighborhoods while they are growing up. They are not crammed into over-crowded, under-funded & under-staffed schools.
There are people who have never worked hard for a day in their life, yet they are wealthy. There are people who worked hard their entire adult lives, yet they are not wealthy.
"Chris Hayes, author of the new book Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy, notes that when citizens of different countries are polled about their perception of how easy it is to start off poor and work their way up to wealth, "the U.S. is near or at the top in terms of people who say 'yes.' And yet it is also near the bottom in terms of actual social mobility." Sure, the Civil Rights movement, feminism, and equal opportunity laws have helped to remove many of the barriers to success -- but people at the top tend to stay at the top, from clique to clique, and generation after generation
. "Those who climb up the ladder will always find a way to pull it up after them, or to selectively lower it down to allow their friends, allies, and kin to scramble up," Hayes writes.The powerful are liable to game systems (like school admissions processes) designed to reward merit; they'll also go to great lengths to maintain their bank accounts and their positions (consider, for instance, just about everyone involved in creating the subprime mortgage crisis). And despite the fact that we are all supposedly born with the same legal rights, the elite are rarely punished for their misdeeds, particularly compared to those lower down on the socioeconomic chain. "The idea that we are a meritocracy is a vast oversimplification, a self-serving and self-justifying one," says Hayes. "If you believe that the model is that those who are smartest and hardest working end up with the most power or the most lucrative jobs, then ... one conclusion to draw from that [is] that the people currently occupying those positions must be meritorious, which I think is an insidious myth."
Sociologist Stephen McNamee makes some similar points in his 2004 book The Meritocracy Myth
, though he emphasizes the circumstances we are born into as a determining factor in where we'll end up. "The race to get ahead is a relay race in which we inherit a starting point from our parents that in itself creates huge inequalities of opportunity unrelated to the merit of discrete individuals, including, and especially, unequal access to educational opportunity," McNamee explains. Being born to wealthy, powerful, or well-credentialed parents doesn't just help to ensure an individual will have elite educational experiences; his childhood and college experiences in turn ensure that he will make important social connections and fit in culturally, multiplying his chances for unusual success."The SAT was supposed to level the playing field so that the Ivies, for example, were not just the provenance of the elite," Barron notes. But the game has become rigged in favor of the wealthy, who can afford to pay for years of test prep and college application tutoring for their children.As McNamee puts it: "If Americans believe that individuals 'get what they deserve' based on their merit (innate abilities, having the right attitude, working hard, playing by the rules), then distain for the unsuccessful is seen as warranted.""Merit hard liners downplay the effects of luck," says McNamee. "But the imperfections and ultimate uncertainty of both the stock market on Wall Street and the labor market on Main Street add an undeniable element of luck into the mix."
"Major structural changes in the U.S. economy such as de-industrialization, automation, and globalization have displaced workers quite independent of the merit of individuals," says McNamee. "The historical decline in self-employment and the concomitant rise and dominance of large oligarchic corporations (including chains and franchises) have created barriers of entry for starting and sustaining small businesses and sharply reduced the entrepreneurial path to mobility." Those at the top sometimes fail to understand how much their wealth and power are a function of their environment. "Often those who are privileged," writes McNamee, "at least compared to the very poor, do not recognize or acknowledge these advantages and often mistakenly attribute their 'success' to individual merit alone -- i.e. being born on third base having thought you hit a triple." Despite the fact that most Americans believe our country is still The Land of Opportunity, the greatest meritocracy in the world, the United States is actually a terrible place for fortune-seekers."
Need more convincing? New York Times political commentator David Brooks tries to disprove Hayes' points but actually ends up proving them
The Republican Party looks out for the wealthy individuals in our society (and, by extension, the business and corporations that these individuals own & operate) first and foremost. That's just the facts. In the past 40 years or so, CEOs have gone from earning 20 times more than the average worker, to more than 230 times the average worker. However, our nation's tax rates are no longer accounting for this discrepancy.
G.W. Bush cut V.A. benefits. Barack Obama increased them. The recently-released G.O.P. budget cuts spending on veterans by eleven billion dollars
. This budget is written by Paul Ryan. It repeals the repatriation tax on profits corporations earn overseas then bring back to the United States
. It would double student loan insurance rates, from 3.4% to 6.8%
. People who make less than $30,000 a year, i.e. poor people, will see their effective tax rates increase
. And the worst part is, Ryan can't even say whether the Romney-Ryan Plan would balance the budget
. Trickle-down economics does not work. Increasing the tax burden for poor people, while decreasing the tax burden for rich people (as the Romney-Ryan Plan aims to do) is not a way to make all of us richer, as we are told. Instead, it is simply an upward redistribution of income. - paraphrased from Cambridge professor of economics Ha-Joon Chang.
I'll close this diatribe with a quote from Lee Atwater, Republican consultant and former chair of the R.N.C. (Republican National Committee). For context, Mr. Atwater is answering a question in 1981, during his time as a member of the Reagan administration. The question concerns the Republican Party's so-called Southern Strategy, and Reagan's version of it:
"You start out in 1954 by saying, 'n-i-g-g-e-r, n-i-g-g-e-r, n-i-g-g-e-r.' By 1968 you can't say 'n-i-g-g-e-r' — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than 'n-i-g-g-e-r, n-i-g-g-e-r'."
I am by no means saying that all Republicans feel this way, but it's worth noting that this man was a top Republican thinker, theorist, and political strategist.
I'm not even necessarily pro-Democrat at this point, but if you're not wealthy and you're still voting for a Republican candidate (with a few notable exceptions), then you're voting against your own self-interests. Democrats are basically the lesser of two evils. It's like this: "The U.S. two party system is basically split between corporatists that have absorbed an Evangelical rhetoric to get votes [Republicans], and corporate apologists that sometimes care about social issues [Democrats]."
This post has been edited by YoungBirdcall: 10 September 2012 - 01:20 PM