Surprise: Slashing Governing Income Slashes Government Income

It wasn’t so long ago that Republicans were genuinely the party of fiscal responsibility. Ronald Reagan, who presumably now occupies a throne at the right hand of The Lord, raised taxes eleven times over the course of his Presidency.

Why did he do something so foul? Because his original tax cutting plan generated the highest budget deficits the nation had ever seen in peacetime. Back then that sort of thing really upset Republicans.

The same dynamic has played out over and over again, yet Republicans continue to tell themselves that tax cuts make the sky rain money. Kansas is the latest and most celebrated example, though Texas residents have their own story to tell.

Kansas Republican Sam Brownback was elected Governor in the 2010 Tea Party wave. He immediately set to work “fixing” a state that had actually weathered the economic collapse fairly well. On the principle that taxes make Baby Jesus cry, Brownback, facing the specter of a remarkably large budget surplus, passed the largest tax cut in the state’s history. He boldly predicted a new era of economic growth and “fiscal responsibility.”

It turns out that when you slash government revenues, the result is a dramatic reduction in government revenues, something no one could have anticipated. The state is now running hundreds of millions of dollars in deficits, and will soon exhaust the surpluses built up in the dark era when the Communistic Democrats held the Governor’s office, despite the consequences of the economic collapse.

But the economy must be booming, right? Well, no. Job growth in Kansas has lagged behind the rest of the country while education and other key government services have been slashed. More interesting though is the general trend. The tax cuts, at least so far, seem to have no effect at all on general economic activity. That’s interesting and important.

Despite all the hullabaloo about places like Texas and Kansas that have been attacking government, the biggest economic drivers in recent years have been places like New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area. They led the way in the recovery of real estate prices and they are leading the way in wealth, job growth and general economic activity just like they did before the crash. Needless to say, these are high tax, high-regulation regions.

The net of it seems to be that marginal tax rates do not actually matter much in terms of economic growth. People don’t locate their business in San Francisco because they love being micro-regulated any more than place their business in Lubbock for the freedom. Economic decision-making is more complex than that.

Governments that want to create an environment friendly for business need a long term balance between effective, limited regulation, infrastructure, education, education, education, and education. Kansas’ experiment in tax cutting is unlikely to move the economic needle one way or the other.

So who is to blame for the collapse in government revenues that has resulted from slashing government revenues? The same force that causes floods, earthquakes, unintended pregnancy, the rising popularity of soccer, and declining church attendance – Obama. Gov. Brownback blamed the state’s lagging economy and collapsing tax revenues on the far right’s default excuse for everything. I’m not making this up, here’s what he said:

What we are seeing today is the effect of tax increases implemented by the Obama administration that resulted in lower income tax payments and a depressed business environment

‘Natch! Obama is clearly to blame for everything that has happened to our country except for a record bull market in stocks, four straight years of employment growth, declining budget deficits, a new real estate boom, declining health care costs, and the radical drop in the number of uninsured.

Our last reasonably competent President was a Republican who described supply-side theory as “Voodoo Economics.” It turns out that Art Laffer was wrong and George H.W. Bush was right. Laffer has continued to be wrong over and over again, disastrously, with no negative consequences. Why do people keep listening to this crap?

First of all, it just sounds so good. More importantly though, since the Dixiecrats bedded down at the center of the Republican Party, no one actually cares anymore about making government work. Truth be told, there are very few idiots who actually believe Arthur Laffer’s ridiculous theories, it’s just that no one on the right cares that they are false.

Back in 1981 when we first rolled out Laffer to justify a tax cut, the top marginal rate was over 70% and the country was being strangled in government regulation. Within a couple of years after that tax restructuring, Reagan was already looking for ways to shore up government revenues and repair the widening deficits he had created.

Republicans in that era were not trying to re-fight the Civil War. They wanted to change the balance between government and individual power, but they did not genuinely view government as an enemy. Those days are long gone and the goals over the conservative movement have evolved. Neo-Confederates couldn’t care less whether tax cuts pay for themselves. Central government is the enemy in any of its potential forms. Whatever weakens government is a good idea.

So you can be sure that the Kansas fiscal disaster, just like the similar disaster a few years ago in Texas, will be re-branded by the right as a Kansas miracle. When your only goal is a crippled government, the bar is pretty low and the facts don’t matter. Just one more indication among many that these are not your grandfather’s Republicans.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Economics, Taxes, Tea Party
264 comments on “Surprise: Slashing Governing Income Slashes Government Income
  1. Confederate Rose says:

    Here’s a little something that will make the TeaParty apoplectic.

  2. Confederate Rose says:

    Ricky Bobby Perry and his butt buddy Sean Mr. Macho Hannity hunted that most elusive big game Guadamina Toddlers today. Notice Sean limp wrist hanging over the M240 and Ricky Bobby’s Keviar vest.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      That’s a whole lotta homosexual remarks coming from a ‘compassionate’ liberal. Homer, she’s making fun of gays.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Yep, buzz….I don’t understand the limp wrist statement. Is the suggestion that conservative republicans do not have sufficient forearm strength to straighten their wrists?

        Wouldn’t his hand look goofy sticking out straight given the pose there?

        Hannity’s wrist would seem to be the most comfortable position for a wrist were it resting against a prop meant to show that they are tough guys with big penises.

      • Confederate Rose says:

        LOL Houston, us Texas gals have known for years that the bigger the gun the smaller the penis. We use to make fun of the good old boys that tried to impress the ladies with their “big pistol”. Take a look at the guys that are hot to trot “Right to Open Carry” no self respecting Texas gal would be caught dead with those fools.

      • objv says:

        Rose, Would it be OK for someone who wants racial equality to make jokes about black people? The problem with your above comments, is that you stereotype gay behavior and thereby mock the homosexual community. By using terms like “limp wrist” you imply some attributes to gays that they may not find at all flattering and quite possibly insulting.

        Thankfully, ghetto jokes are no longer considered funny. Let’s show the same sensitivity to gay people.

      • rucasdad says:

        Actually, I’m pretty sure that there’s some gay guys that would say, “Damn, they look gay…”.

      • rucasdad says:

        “Thankfully, ghetto jokes are no longer considered funny.”

        Rolls eyes. Please. Before you get on your high horse and start touting your moral compass, try and keep your puppy (Danny boy) on a leash first with all his “gubmint” comments. The sad thing is, he probably doesn’t even think that’s racist. I hoping you at least do.

      • Confederate Rose says:

        objv Hon, I have a gay brother and numerous gay friends, so please don’t even go there. Your implying what you *think* I’m implying is juvenile.

      • Confederate Rose says:

        rucasdad wrote”Actually, I’m pretty sure that there’s some gay guys that would say, “Damn, they look gay…”. LOL, my brother says his gaydar went off every time he sees Rick Perry. He’s the one that sent me the pics of Perry and Hannity.

      • rucasdad says:

        “Would it be OK for someone who wants racial equality to make jokes about black people?”

        Never mind that you’re half-ass defending someone whose family owned a ranch named “Niggerhead”. Do any of you have any sense of irony or self-awareness?

      • rucasdad says:

        Exactly, Rose. I’m not gay so I can’t personally speak for them but I’m pretty sure they’re more worried about their rights (or lack there of) rather than what someone may say about them on an online forum.

      • rucasdad says:

        So….let me see if I can follow this logic and forgive me if I’m painting you with a broad brush but it’s ok for gay people to call themselves whatever they want, they’re gay. It’s ok for Hispanic people to call themselves whatever they want because hey, they’re Hispanic. But black people…..NOPE. They don’t have the same luxury as Hispanic and gay people – why is that?

      • Confederate Rose says:

        rucusdad, My brother came out in high school. We (husband & 3 kids) have a very warm place in our heart for gays, and any other minority. My brother and his friends are some of the most stable people I know. They are use to hypocrites like some on this board’s false concern when it suits their purpose. After all, being gay doesn’t mean you are stupid objv.

      • Bart-1 says:

        obviously Homophobes

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Bart-1 says:
        July 10, 2014 at 5:20 pm
        “obviously Homophobes”

        Says the the gay basher hypocrite who capitalizes randomly because he has no freaking clue about anything.

        So one more time bart, if homosexuality is a choice like you repeatedly cluelessly screech, then when did you chose to be straight? And how long were you a self loathing homosexual before you decided you were straight?

        Why won’t you answer these simple questions about your “beliefs” bart?

    • desperado says:

      Nugent must be driving the boat.

    • Confederate Rose says:

      It’s so hard to take anyone that’s avatar is a catsuit serious. BTW catsuit, I’m far from being a liberal, however, I’m even farther from being an idgit TeaParty zombie. I’m betting you are turned on by seeing 2 of your hero’s all deck out in their manly gear chasing toddlers. Most homophobes are just like you.

    • rucasdad says:

      The funny thing is that they’re trying to look tough but they really just look like a couple of f***ing man-baby goobers.

      • Confederate Rose says:

        rucasdad wrote”That’s the thing. I could say something in a group of black people about their culture and I wouldn’t come across as offensive”
        That’s IS the thing. Friends know when you are sincerely not prejudice. Things can get pretty colorful around our house when our friends come over.

    • objv says:

      Hey, rucasdad, I adore Dan but don’t like it when he starts with the gay jokes either.

      I agree that some gay guys might say what you wrote and laugh, but the difference is that they ARE gay and they can often get away with humor that would be offensive from someone who is straight.

      Say I’m in a group of Hispanics. (Not all that unusual.) They could make jokes about their culture and, language among themselves which would be offensive coming from me.

      While, yes, I should come off of my high horse, I’m getting more than a little tired of all the gay mocking that’s been going around here.

      • rucasdad says:

        Are you telling me that it’s ok for gay people to make fun or call other gay people slang terms because they are gay?

      • rucasdad says:

        That’s the thing. I could say something in a group of black people about their culture and I wouldn’t come across as offensive. I know how to do it without being offensive just as I do when I’m with my gay friend. They know that I’m not prejudice. They know that I’m joking. It’s when it comes from people who A) have no sense of humor or B) come from a group of people who are trying to undo civil rights all together. That’s where you and your ilk have problems. But yes, you do have some what of a good point….people should be less prejudice. I totally agree with that.

      • objv says:

        That depends, rucasdad. I think you know where I’m coming from. Humor depends on the situation and it’s a wise man (or woman) who knows when that line has been crossed. 🙂

        I feel sorry for picking on Rose. As a newcomer she probably doesn’t realize that they gay jokes and innuendo have been going on for months now.

      • rucasdad says:

        objv, I have proper respect for you. But let’s be real….it was Dan who was referring to everyone as “she”, “her”, “nancy”, etc. as an insult which just proves that he’s even more of an idiot than what we originally gave him credit for.

      • objv says:

        rucasdad, Wasn’t it Dan AND bubba who got things started? All I know for sure is that it’s getting old!

      • rucasdad says:

        You’re probably right since it takes two to tango.

      • Confederate Rose says:

        objv wrote “I feel sorry for picking on Rose. As a newcomer she probably doesn’t realize that they gay jokes and innuendo have been going on for months now”

        Oh Hon, don’t feel sorry for me. Also, don’t think you can patronize me and walk off unscathed. I don’t know this Dan that you are referring to, but if he’s anything like the catsuit and superman I can only imagine. Being a newby does have it’s advantages.

      • objv says:

        Rose, you’ll love DanMan. His comments are like breath of fresh air in a stale smelling refrigerator. By no time, he’ll have a special place in your heart – as he has in all of ours.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        objv says:
        July 10, 2014 at 4:33 pm
        “Hey, rucasdad, I adore Dan but don’t like it when he starts with the gay jokes either.”

        Are you freaking for real? So why haven’t you SAID ONE DAMN THING to him about it all this time but you jump on the “newbie” in a flash?

        And then you follow with this obsequious horseshit?

        objv says:
        July 10, 2014 at 5:55 pm
        Rose, you’ll love DanMan. His comments are like breath of fresh air in a stale smelling refrigerator. By no time, he’ll have a special place in your heart – as he has in all of ours.

        Class A blind partisan hypocrite.

      • objv says:

        bubba, the reason I left DanMan alone was because he was usually interacting with YOU. Since you and I seemed to have entered into an uneasy truce, I wanted to let sleeping dogs lie.

        I believe I said something to DanMan at least once but don’t remember when and where. With Rose’s post,and the remarks about “limp wrist” and “butt” I thought, “Well, here we go again …” Really, I thought most people left this kind of humor behind in junior high.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Yes, you always have an excuse for your partisan hypocrisy.

  3. flypusher says:

    Speaking of the nasty Mississippi Senate primary, if professional troll Ann Coulter is talking more sense than you are, you just may want to rethink your actions.

    • So the McDaniel supporters are upset that Cochran didn’t fight fair? LOL. Politics is like gun fighting. If you find yourself in a fair gunfight, your tactics *suck*.

      • flypusher says:

        As I see it, the linchpin of their case is a law (intent to support the primary winner in the general election) that is not enforceable because your ballot is supposed to be secret. I have no doubt a whole lot of those Cochran voters aren’t voting for him again this Nov., but if you can’t prove it in court, you are SOL.

        Personally I favor open primaries. It gives voters more choice, and crossover is a double edged sword, so that evens out.

    • flypusher says:

      A conservative’s take:

      “The aftermath of the campaign has given both camps an opportunity to put their worst foot forward.”

      Yep, the slime factor for this one is quite high.

  4. The big government country club republican rides again! Yee-hah, Chris!

    Of course, the real question is whether slashing “governing income” is a bad thing. Short answer: Hell, no.

    We live in the era of the federal Leviathan, where federal spending consumes an ever increasing fraction of GDP, and where non-discretionary (entitlement) spending consumes an ever increasing percentage of the federal budget (using the term loosely, since we haven’t actually had a federal budget in years). Attendant to this spending Armageddon is an out-of-control federal bureaucracy that makes a sad joke of the sovereign individual and the rule of law. We hobble industry with a blizzard of incomprehensible, arbitrary and constantly changing regulation by fiat, and we pay an ever increasing fraction of the populace to sit around on their thumbs. We pervert traditional notions of freedom by conflating them with the “right” to get free stuff paid for with somebody else’s money. Then GOP blue bloods and progressives alike mill about wringing their hands wondering why growth is anemic and incomes stagnant (except for the crony capitalists who wallow about in the public trough like pigs in excrement). It would all be risible were it not so unremittingly tragic.

    Our current governing policy of social justice funded via forced redistribution is inherently immoral, and until our duly elected servitors get that through their thick skulls, nothing will improve. BTW, Walt Williams offers a cogent analysis of the fundamental problem:

    • kabuzz61 says:


    • johnofgaunt75 says:

      Then propose eliminating Social Security and Medicare, which are the two largest components of the federal budget.

    • desperado says:

      Sorry the 20th and 21st century left you and Walter Williams behind, but here’s a news flash: We aren’t going back to government spending levels of the 1790’s. Ever. Nor does a majority of the country want to. Your “small government, limited government” sounds real good, until people find out what it means. What would you and Williams consider moral? Children begging in the streets? Grandma and Grandpa standing alongside the roadside with a cardboard sign? Poor people depending on the good graces of all you ‘I got mine screw you’ conservatives for sustenance? No thanks. I’d rather live in a society where we look out for the less fortunate instead of kick them.

    • John Galt says:

      “We live in the era of the federal Leviathan, where federal spending consumes an ever increasing fraction of GDP”

      Wrong! Thanks for playing. I get that you earnestly, honestly believe this, but it is wrong. Since 1970 or so, federal government spending has averaged about 20% of GDP. In 2013 it was 20.8%. This is down from a stimulus-induced max of 24.4% and has. in fact, dropped in every year of Obama’s presidency. St. Ronald never had a sub-20% budget. Clinton had several – 2000 and 2001 (17.6%) was the lowest spending in the last 50 years.

      If you are going to offer policy prescriptions, try to start with accurate data.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        If modern Republicans couldn’t lie, what would they have to say?

      • JG, ponder the following:

        Over the course of my lifetime any conceivable mathematical regression yields a positive slope on government spending as a percentage of GDP. During that same time frame discretionary, constitutionally mandated spending (e.g. defense) has decreased while spending on various entitlements and social welfare programs (none of which are constitutionally mandated) has increased. BTW, the source of the data is the federal government, and the further back in time you go, the uglier it gets.

        Thank *you* for playing.

      • Bart-1 says:

        The natural order is for government to expand and liberty to decrease.Thomas Jeffersom Why do Libs find this debatable?

      • Bart, I think perhaps you have happened upon one of the fundamental laws of psychohistory, as ineluctable as the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Hari Seldon would be proud!

      • John Galt says:

        For 35 years government spending has been flat in GDP terms. I think we weathered the storm of the 2% increase in spending between 1960 and 1980 fairly well.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Well TThor, it looks like JG has already responded and debunked year linear regression Rorschach test “analysis”. But let me add my dos pesos on my “favorite” data interval of the Reagan Wonder Years.

        And I definitely don’t see what you claim and as a matter of fact I see the exact opposite. Yes, Federal total spending increased for most of his first term (positive linear regression slope), BUT, surprise, surprise, so did defense spending for pretty much his entire first term, contrary to your claim of decrease (negative slope) on any interval in the “course of my lifetime”. I presume you neither were born post Reagan’s tenure nor died prior to his election.

        And also contrary to your assertion, the three “entitlement” spending you selected (welfare, healthcare, pensions) actually DECREASED (for welfare) or remained relatively flat for both of Reagan’s terms.

        And he cut taxes and threw the country into the most severe recession since the Depression and highest budget deficit ever at that time. And a 10.4% peak unemployment level which Obama never even came close to.

        Yup, ole HW was right again. Voodoo Economics. Thank you for the corroboration with hard data TThor.

    • Owl of Bellaire says:

      “Of course, the real question is whether slashing ‘governing income’ is a bad thing. Short answer: Hell, no.”

      That’s a shamefully simplistic answer, Tracy.

      Doesn’t it depend on whether the government has sufficient income to carry out the activities for which it was elected?

      Currently, we don’t.

      Slashing taxes is a grotesque example of fiscal irresponsibility. Which is par for the course for modern Republicans.

      • Bart-1 says:

        Or, whether the government has sufficient income to carry out the activities for which it desires even if unnecessary or unconstitutional?

    • JofG, JG, Owl, Desperate, I must humbly submit that you are collectively victims of stunted imagination. Your toolbox contains only one tool, namely a hammer (i.e. government intervention), and therefore you treat *every* social challenge like a nail (i.e. in need of a government program).

      Together you are seemingly incapable of considering any solution to our problems other than what we’ve been doing since the New Deal. Even having watched the dismal failure of doubling down with the Great Society, you *still* want to pursue the same tired policies. NEWSFLASH: It ain’t workin’, and it ain’t gonna work. Maybe you might want to consider alternatives that don’t involve government coercion, confiscation, and forced redistribution. Perhaps you might consider that we no longer live in the age of Dickens, or even Sanger. We have ridiculously powerful and efficient communication and social media technologies, all of which are capable of being harnessed by the power of free association to do good in the world, if only government would get the heck out of the way.

      Let me leave you with a pithy bit of my dad’s hoary advice: The best thing about beating yourself on the head with a hammer is that it feels *great* when you quit. Think about it.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        No pun intended Tracy, but you hit the nail on the head that time.

      • John Galt says:

        Tracy, I must humbly submit that if this is your takeaway message from the voluminous posts those you mention have written, then you are an idiot. Those of us on what passes for the left here (most of whom, like myself, would not actually describe themselves as on the left) believe that the world is a complex place demanding hard thoughts and difficult decisions. It is you, Dan, Kabuzz, and Sternn who grunt: “government bad!” as the answer for nearly everything. Unless of course it is the part of the government that points guns at brown-skinned people, whether in the Middle East or across our Southern border, then you’re all over that.

        Government spending is too high by a smidge, but this is largely a recession hangover. More importantly, the mix of spending is wrong. We spend vast sums on social programs that could be cut significantly through simplification. We spend more than the next 20 countries combined on defense. We have a vast clandestine security network doing at least some things I’d rather us not do. We meddle with agricultural markets, have preposterous laws governing legal immigration (that promote the illegal sort), have a byzantine tax system that riddles the economy with inefficiencies, a heartbreaking criminal justice system, and preposterously burdensome regulations. At the same time we don’t spend anywhere near enough on research, exploration, infrastructure, or investments in human capital (particularly early education).

        The GOP has lost an immense chance to look reasonable by proposing and acting on common-sense government reforms to taxes, immigration, and regulation. Instead, they hyperventilate about Benghazi, wonder if the President is a Muslim turncoat, and repeal Obamacare dozens of times. They have no idea how to govern and won’t be trusted with the keys to the car unchaperoned until they do. This frustrates me, an ex-Republican, because I remember a time at which it was the GOP that was the party of principle and ideas. They’ve now been taken over by mathematically illiterate con men who are telling everyone that all the problems are someone else’s fault. I’d appreciate Chris’s GOP coming back so we could solve some of these problems. I’d appreciate it if you and the other TPers got the hell out of the way so the rest of us could get on with it.

      • fiftyohm says:

        JG- Perusing your list of completely inappropriate spending, policy, and interference in the markets, along with the dearth of spending in other areas, (with all of which I generally agree, for what it’s worth), it strikes me that a whole bunch of people, (like me), would be a whole lot less suspicious of Washington, budgets, and taxes, were those items addressed first. Especially when Washington is looking for even more dough. Don’t you think?

        I don’t see it happening, though. I don’t see anything remotely associated with addressing in any substantive way, a single issue you’ve mentioned. Given that, is it really so difficult to understand opposition to more-of-the-same?

      • kabuzz61 says:

        JG, your take is just past talking points the democratic party has used over and over again.

        Fifty summed it up. Current programs should be visited, evaluated, reduced if need be as well as eliminated if need be. A harder look and prosecurtion of fraud needs to happen. Our leaders have to once again enforce our laws. And you, who parade yourself as a smart, deliberate scientist lays the blame on the GOP. When someone is that dishonest in a discussion, the rest of the comment turns to shit.

        The TEA Party started because both parties have gone off the rails. Therein lies the problem

      • desperado says:

        Uh buzz, your party could have had those things. Obama made an offer that put SS, Medicare, and Medicaid on the table. Boehner turned it down because the deal also called for a tax increase. Anybody with half a brain knows that there can’t be any serious debt reduction without a tax increase, it just cannot all be done on the spending side. But as I read somewhere, Republicans think taxes make Baby Jesus cry so they said no to Obama’s offer. To your second point, the Tea Party started because Obama was elected president. Therein lies the problem.

      • JG, I believe we’re in violent agreement on several of the items you list as being problems with how our government spends money and misallocates resources. With respect to defense spending, we are at levels not seen since immediately prior to WWII, and comparing our spending to a bunch of free riders is a specious argument.

        That said, I don’t think you perused the graph I posted for you very closely. As mentioned previously, a regression over the entire time frame produces a positive slope; spending as a percentage of GDP is rising inexorably. If one performs the regression over the time period since 2000 the results are particularly troubling, projecting 25+% of GDP spending by 2030. In all likelihood, if things continue as they are, actuality will be considerably worse. We’ve systematically offset increases in non-discretionary spending by trimming discretionary spending, but discretionary spending is now trending rapidly to zero. There’s no longer any slack in the system.

        With respect to “pointing guns at brown-skinned people,” one of my sons has served three tours in Iraq, first with the Navy Riverines, and now with MARSOC. The other has served one tour as a Navy helicopter pilot. My brother is a career Navy special forces officer, and has spent a very significant portion of his adult life away from his family in places people like you and I would really rather not visit. All have found themselves in the course of their service in situations that placed their lives in jeopardy, sometimes just as a part of their jobs, sometimes as a result of interaction with the aforementioned “brown-skinned people” (some of whom want to do us harm in the worst possible way). They have all had friends and colleagues die under horrible, tragic circumstances. Two have suffered serious injury in the course of service. They willingly signed away rights you and I take for granted to serve their country, and to ensure that we continue to be able to enjoy the rights and privileges that so many of us take so for granted. So I’d *very* much appreciate it if you would, for their sake, exercise just a tad more respect in your comments.

      • John Galt says:

        50, opposition to “more of the same” is what gets you more of the same. The federal government has been muddling through without insightful leadership for a while. The last major change in Washington was the increase in the national security infrastructure (with a concomitant increase in prying into Americans’ lives), before that probably the welfare reforms of the mid-90s. One was driven by need, the other by some big ideas.

        Today, we have a situation where the GOP won’t countenance any significant reduction/restructuring of the defense establishment (or tax rises) and the Dems won’t go along with any changes to the mandatory domestic spending. Want to get a show of bipartisanship? Put Ds and Rs from the midwest in a room together and suggest cutting farm subsidies. Want to ensure your defeat? Talk about Social Security.

        The result? One party entrenched on the other side, unwilling to cut gorilla #1. The other, equally entrenched, unwilling to cut gorilla #2. We get opposition to more of the same, ensuring that’s what we get, while other parts of government get hacked away to nothing. A worthy end, until you realize that these bits include NASA, the NIH, and infrastructure.

      • John Galt says:

        Tracy, the problems with regression analysis is picking your starting and ending dates. I’m pretty good with data and statistics and Twain was right about lies, damned lies and statistics.

        Take one 30 year period in the last 70 and government exploded. The regression line has it up 7% in this period. In 300 years, government spending would be 100% of GDP. This was roughly 1953-83.

        Take a different 25 year period, and it looks better, down 4%. Government would cease to exist in about 125 years. This was roughly 1983-2008. That trend was ended by the increase in government spending due to the worst recession in 80 years, but since 2009 we are on a precipitous decline, the fastest decline in spending since the end of the Korean war.

        This is not to argue that there are not black clouds on the horizon, but discussions on how to fix the problems need to start with an understanding of where we are.

        Now, about your offense at my supposed insults to the military. My point was solely that military spending occupies a hallowed ground to the right, where no cuts can be contemplated. The service by members of the military in our overseas wars – including members of your family and mine – should be honored and respected and I said nothing against that. I have less sanguine a view of those decisions that put them in harm’s way to begin with and about the Fortress America mindset that supposes that Neanderthals living in caves with guns are anywhere near the top of the list of threats to this country.

  5. Anse says:

    Since we’ve already gone off topic, I’d like to bring up a recent court case that for me really illustrates the fundamental absurdity of the “originalist” approach to constitutional interpretation that seems to drive the thinking of many of our resident conservatives. The court recently found that cops have to get a warrant to search somebody’s cellphone, and most of the reaction I’ve read about that decision has been positive. But as many have noted, the decision was not straightforward. There is nothing in the Constitution that would give explicit guidance in that specific case. No matter how you feel about following the intent of the founders or about emphasizing court precedence and current circumstances, this case required the judges to make a judgment call. Which is what judges are supposed to do, of course: judge.

    I’ve met people who have this preposterous idea that being a judge should be easy. I’ve encountered people who think the only qualification a judge needs is the ability to read. That doesn’t come close to grasping what the job really requires, of course. And in fact, “originalists” do more or less the same thing that judges of the “living constitution” school do. They extrapolate assumptions based on vague notions and apply them to circumstances that are often unique and without any reference point to the imagination of those 18th century framers we hold so dear.

    But what really grabbed my attention was a point made by Richard Posner, former federal appellate court judge (a Reagan appointee, if I’m not mistaken) who noted that while the court’s decision in Riley v. California (the cellphone case mentioned above) was the right one, most of us tend to ignore the larger problem with 4th Amendment cases and the concept of police searches.

    Posner argues that the original intent of the 4th Amendment was to actually restrict, in scope and number, the ability of the government to search your property. It was meant to make it harder for the government to conduct these searches and to narrowly restrict what the police would be searching for. The so-called ‘fishing expedition’ in which police rifle through your possessions just to find anything they can was precisely the sort of situation the Founders intended to prevent.

    And yet the way the law has transpired, the courts have focused on what kinds of searches require warrants, but they’ve done very little to address an important fact: it is terribly easy to get a warrant. Just try to tell a cop you don’t give permission to search your vehicle. In most cases, if the cop really wants to search your car, it’s just a matter of getting the judge out of bed to sign the warrant. In far too many cases, Posner notes, obtaining the warrant is a technicality that just gives the police one hoop they have to jump through on their way to doing whatever it is they want to do. For this reason, Posner argues, the courts have actually not done a very good job of upholding the original intent of the 4th Amendment. They’ve just required the police to file the paperwork.

    Where is Scalia on this, I wonder? Do the originalists ever debate this point at all? I’m sure they do, but for me, the larger point rests on what I view as the basic falsehood of the originalist approach to constitutional law. It’s driven by an obsessive fixation on what amounts to semantics. And then under the right circumstances, plenty of original-intent rightwingers will find numerous ways to justify doing the precise opposite of what they say they embrace. Consider the howls of indignation when a known killer goes free because the cops failed to get a warrant for evidence they obtained. Politically-speaking, the “originalist” idea is just a cover for what amounts to exactly what they say they so fiercely oppose.

    I know this is longwinded post, and sorry for trying to fill my boredom with these lengthy observations. I just get very weary of all this holier-than-thou arrogance on the party of rightwingers who assert that we liberals don’t care about upholding the law, as if they have some unimpeachable and sainted idealism on the subject.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      I do not think this is difficult at all. No unlawful searches or seisures. Cell phones and its contents are personal and without cause can’t be accessed without warrant just as with tapping phones.

    • CaptSternn says:

      First of all, who is an originalist? I have never met such a person. Most often I find that the left just throws out words they hear that they think sound good, like accusing a person of being completely ant-taxation if they oppose tax hikes, or anarchists if they support a constitutionally restricted federal government. A constructionist, or a strict constructionist, is not an “originalist” by any stretch of the imagination, we do not want to repeal all of the amendments.

      As to your actual point, pretty much what Kabuzz said. And yes, the warrant process has been too easy. The intent behind the constitution and founding principles is to limit the scope of government and protect individual liberty and rights. It doesn’t matter if the internet didn’t exist when the constitution was ratified or even when the later amendments were ratified, free speech still applies. It doesn’t matter that techonology has improved, our rights still exist. They can be respected or ignored and violated, but they still exist.

    • “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

      The Riley v. California ruling was profoundly originalist, and it was a delight to see the leftist members of the court concur. The only real question here was whether cell phones qualify as “effects” (they do) and whether they can be searched without probable cause (they cannot). Hallelujah.

    • johnofgaunt75 says:

      Under a true strict constructionist interpretation of the Constitution, the entire concept of judicial review and the right of a court to declare a law unconstitutional would be chunked into the bin. There is nothing in the Constitution giving the courts such power and nothing in the common law tradition granting such power either. Under the English common law system, Parliament (i.e. the elected legislature) is supreme and has the ultimate power over what is law and what is not. The power of judicial review was simply asserted by the Surpreme Court in Marbury v. Madison.

      So, a true strict constructionist would reject the entire notion that the courts can interpret, for example, the 4th Amendment and what it means.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Three branches of government, separate yet equal. It is the job of the courts to rule based on law, the constitution being the highest law of the land.

      • johnofgaunt75 says:

        Nothing in the Constitution states that the courts have the right to declare a law unconstitutional and there is nothing in the Constitution setting out the extent of their power to rule on laws.

        The concept of judicial review we use here in the US is a new concept and based on a system where the Supreme Court has the ultimate decision on what is unconstituional and what is not. In the UK, Parliament has this power as Parliament has the supreme power. Again, our system came about because the Surpreme Court simply asserted the power. A strict constructionist would reject such a concept.

      • johnofgaunt75 says:

        And there is nothing in the Constitution stating that the three branches are “equal.”

        They are granted seperate and distinct powers. Yes. The belief that those powers are equal or even that they are somehow on par with each other is simply a myth.

        In fact, the Constitution is clearly drafted heavily in favor of the power of the legislature, which of course makes sense given the revolution was about rejecting executive authority and given the system the Parliamentary system they were accustomed to.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        You mean Sternn doesn’t actually know what he’s talking about, and is really fairly ignorant about the content, history, and interpretation of the Constitution?

        Surprise, surprise.

      • CaptSternn says:

        The constitution doesn’t spell out the rules of the senate, but the senate can make its rules. The constitution establishes the structure of the federal government and grants it specific and limited powers, each branch has its own role to play in the checks and balances. It is not drafted to “heavily favor” any of the three branches.

      • johnofgaunt75 says:

        Rules? This is the supreme power of judicial review? This is the fundemental power of the judiciary and they simply asserted it in a decision. This is not rules of procedure or debate.

        The power we are taking about here, arguably, makes the Supreme Court the most powerful government institution in the county, at least on domestic issues. By one stroke of the pen, they can, for example, strike down an entire social system in the South that existed for over one hundred years. They have the ability to declare the actions of the President moot and illegal. They can nullify actions of Congress in one step. Comparing such power to the right to set rules in the Senate is, frankly, laughable.

      • CaptSternn says:

        No, 75, the supreme court is not the supreme power of the nation. The court does not have the power to write and pass legislation, or even to sign legislation into law, nor to enforce any legislation.

        Congress writes and passe legislation, the president can sign it, veto it or simply do nothing and allow it to take effect and then it is the duty of the president to enforce the legislation and for the court to rule on the legislation.

        The court cannot declare war, no command the armed forces, nor pass a national budget or control how the money is spent. It is a check on the power of congress and on the president, neither are empowered to violate the constitution. It can be changed through amendment, and the court cannot rule a constitutionakl amendment unconstitutional.

        It was not the surpreme court that ended slavery, nor was it the president through the Emancipation Proclamation, it was congress and the states amending the constitution. Before the 13th was ratified, the court upheld slavery, after it was ratified the court upheld cases based on the fact that slavery was unconstitutional.

        Seems that what it really comes down tyo is your desire to have a federal government, especially congress, that is unlimited in power and can do whatever it wants. That is not the foundation of this nation. As for what powers the constitution grants the supreme court, Article III, Section 2, Paragraph 1 makes it quite clear …

        “The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority;–to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;–to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;–to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;–to controversies between two or more states;–between a state and citizens of another state;–between citizens of different states;–between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.”

      • CaptSternn says:

        I would add one other thing, if you want to know where the real power, the supreme power, the ultimate power, exists, look no further than the jury box. The jury has more power than all legislatures, than all law enforcement, than all the governors and even more power than the president himself.

        The first duty of the jury is to judge the law they are being asked to enforce. If the people of this nation decide a law that has been passed, signed and upheld even by the supreme court is unjust or something we simly do not like, we do not enforce it and it becomes null and void.

  6. CaptSternn says:

    Why don’t we just bring this up top since it is such reccuring issue, especially with HT, and this is directed at HT …

    I support individual liberty and rights for all, freedom, even if somebody were to use their freedom to do something I disagree with. You oppose that. You want your freedom but you don’t want others to be free because they might do something you disagree with. You got yours, to hell with everybody else.

    As an end to your means of denying or violating the rights of others, you support assumed and automatic guilt of accused crimes, up to and including lenghty prison sentences, mandatory lengthy prison sentences. You support such things because you abhore freedom, individual liberty and rights, because somebody might do something you disagree with.

    You can throw out examples of things a free person could do that most would find disagreeable, like burning the U.S. Flag. I am offended when the KKK waves the Southern Cross. But I support the rights and liberty of free people, even when they do things I find offensive and wrong. The old saying, “I might not agree with what you say, but I will defend your right to say it.” That is what you oppose. As long as you have yours, to hell with everybody else.

    Now you demand that I explain how the nation would be better off if we had individual liberty and rights, if we allow the citizens to be free, to have free speech, freedom of religion, trial by jury, to be secure in our person, houses, papers and effects … are you serious?

    For this Desperado calls me a troll, Rose asks if I am for real, HT accuses me of being a performance act, Owl calls me a “bigotophile”, Lifer and others call me a racist. Oh, the horror of freedom, of individual liberty and rights.

    • desperado says:

      Yes, let’s bring this to the top so the attention can be on me. Thanks for proving my point.

    • flypusher says:

      You miss a very important distinction Sternn, the one between offending someone and doing them harm. A Klan rally offends a lot of people, but neither picks their pockets or breaks their legs (to rif on Jefferson). Burning the flag is rude, but useless someone stole your flag to burn, you are not harmed. Employment discrimination does harm people. Denial of marriage right to gays does cause them hardship. “The right to swing your arms ends at my nose”-that is were we draw the line.

      • johnofgaunt75 says:

        Great post.

      • CaptSternn says:

        If you refuse to do business with Hobby Lobby because you disagree with their view on abortion, you are doing them harm.

        If you refuse to do business with Chick-Fil-A because of their views on same-sex marriage, you are doing them harm.

        If you refuse to do business with Exxon, with Kroger, with Citgo, for any reason or no reason at all, you are doing them harm. If you are not working for those comanies and providing them with good services, you are doing them harm. If you are working for a company and you decide to quit, you are doing them harm.

        Now, where do you draw the line? Maybe like HT, you have yours and to hell with everybody else?

      • johnofgaunt75 says:

        Views and beliefs are different from actions that harm another person.

      • flypusher says:

        Sternn, that is total bullshit and everyone knows it. Your equivalence is false.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        We would have to come up with an example in which consumers are mandated to do business with a particular industry, for the good of that industry, not for the good of the consumer.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        So, Sternn, you see no difference between:

        1) an individual consumer refusing to do business with a company because she doesn’t like their policies, and

        2) a company refusing to hire a potential employee because the staff members don’t care for the applicant’s race?

      • flypusher says:

        Businesses have the right of the opportunity to compete for customers (contingent upon playing fair and by the rules). They have no right to the outcome of landing any given individual’s business.

      • CaptSternn says:

        No, Owl, I don’t. I don’t care if you refuse to do business with somebody for any reason, or no reason at all, whether you are a potential customer, employee, business owner or employer. If you want to be free to choose then you should respect that same freedom for others.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Gotcha. So you ardently believe in and support the tyranny of the majority, and the rights of the prejudiced to enact those prejudices upon those too weak to withstand them.

        That’s just part of what makes you a bigotophile.

        And an asshole, to boot.

        Luckily, real Americans are more civilized.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Exactly the opposite, Owl. I support the rights and miberty on the ultimate minority, the individual. You, on the other hand, take the attitude that you got yours and to hell with everybody else.

    • Tuttabella says:

      The message we send depends on what we fight for, what we focus on, on where we place our energy.

      We have on the one hand the right and freedom to decide with whom we associate, sell to, allow on our property, etc, as individuals and business owners, a right which must be protected.

      On the other hand we have sets of people who want the privilege of having their same-sex and polygamous marriages recognized by the state, a privilege which deserves protection under the Equal Protection clause.

      So, we have 2 sets of rights/privileges to be protected and defended. Which “side” deserves our greatest amount of energy? When all is said and done, the side we choose to defend boils down to personal preference. Or is it that rights are more important than privileges, because rights are fundamental, and privileges are just icing on the cake?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Some us come up with interesting conclusions. Cap defends the rights of racists, so therefore he must be racist. HT defends the rights of gays to have access to certain privileges, so therefore he must be gay.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Tutt…you do point out an interesting conclusion to which people jump, but you may miss the mark on the positions a bit.

        I fully support racists’ ability to shout their racism from the highest mountain and to publish or otherwise broadcast their racism as far as they can. I support racists starting private clubs that exclusively cater to only folks they like. I support racists if they want to build an entire religion based on racism. I support racists from ever having a person they don’t like from ever entering their home.

        However, as soon as that racist opens a business that operates in the public marketplace, he or she has to play by public rules, and that means he or she has to serve Black folks or whatever group he or she doesn’t like just as it means there are dozens of other regulations he or she must follow. Most of those regulations are local and state regulations, and Stern is fine with them. The “you must serve Black folks” regulation didn’t seem to catch on at some state and local levels, so the Federal gov’t stepped in, and Stern is not fine with this.

        Regarding gay versus racism (or just bigotry), supporting the ability for gays to have equal rights, privileges, and responsibilities is a bit different than supporting entities that seek to deny equal rights, privileges, and responsibilities.

      • CaptSternn says:

        I am not fine with the assumption of guilt of a crime without charges, proof, trial, and due process, HT. You are fine with that. Public means publicly owned, as in government property and facilities. If it is privately owned it is not publicly owned.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Like many modern conservatives, Sternn, you’re devoted to a childlike simplicity which fails to capture the complexity of the actual, real world that we live in.

        There’s private, as in what you keep to yourself and don’t share with others. And there’s public, as in what is owned in common by all of us. And there’s that middle, nether realm, of private property which is used in pursuit of a public business.

        It’s the difference between a private club and a public business. But your muddle-headed child-world doesn’t have room for such distinctions.

        Which is awfully helpful to a bigotophile like you.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Desperado is right about our discussions being like riding a merry-go-round. It’s like going in circles, with no end in sight. I was wondering if any studies had been done about these types of repetitive online discussions possibly causing dementia (not saying anyone here has dementia, only that all this circular logic might eventually lead to dementia). It turns out there is a phenomena called “digital dementia.”

      • CaptSternn says:

        No doubt. After many posts and replies, HT went right back to the beginning. Maybe I would have better luck beating my head against a brick wall?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Cap, I think you have met your match in HT with respect to stubbornness. 🙂

        You guys don’t let up or give up.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        So, you and HT are neither racist nor gay — just stubborn.

      • Bart-1 says:

        merry-go-rounds are INTENDED to go nowhere Tutt. There are numerous subjects that INTENTIONALLY will never be explored (when promised to) because they don’t fit the author’s agenda. I.E Health care being a “right”, Chochran’s primary win, or Jesse Jackson’s calling of Obama’s misplaced Priorities of spending money on children coming here illegally rather than Chicago where Chris lives I agee it is pointless and gets us nowhere. I wonder how many recognize it?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Well, Bart, you and your friend Dan come up with a lot of good ideas but you’re usually ignored as a nuisance, maybe because you tend to come in nipping at people’s heels, making mischief, but also playing the role of their conscience.

      • Bart-1 says:

        thank you Tutt, but I don’t even know Dan

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Neither do I.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Sternn virtuously complains, “Maybe I would have better luck beating my head against a brick wall?”

        No. The bell-like echo that your hollow soundbox produces would still be the same.

      • flypusher says:

        Hey Bart, in case you didn’t notice, people go off on all sorts of tangents all the time on this blog. So if you want to discuss any of that, start a new post. And if you are truly out to discus rather than troll, keep in mind the old adage of the use of honey vs the use of vinegar.

      • Bart-1 says:

        OK Fly, explain if the claim is that Federal Spending has stayed the same (roughly 20% of GDP) is an honest description of refuting government largess, while ignoring the increase overall from state and local spending (highly related to medicaid spending mandated by the Feds)? The other dishonest claim is that Ronald Reagan is to blame for the increased burden by the state and local governments while acknowledging Federal spending 2% increasing were the norm before he did that.

    • Anse says:

      “You support such things because you abhore freedom, individual liberty and rights, because somebody might do something you disagree with.”

      Dumb. Like I said below, supporting a state’s right to inflict harm on a segment of its population is not principled. You’re a fraud, Sternn. You might be a good guy but then again a lot of good people have equally fraudulent notions of “liberty.”

      • CaptSternn says:

        No, I do not support a state being allowed to do harm. You bring up another difference, no government entity should be allowed to discriminate, yet not only are they allowed to do so, they are required by law to do so. But I wasn’t talking about government entities, I am talking about private entities, be they individuals or businesses.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Stern…we were having a perfectly fine discussion way, way down below just between us, with I would bet almost no one wading through that many posts to get to us.

      However, I guess thanks for taking it to the top so that now I don’t have to scroll so much.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Let’s knock these off one at a time, and we’ll start with the most ludicrous and work down.

      First…I’m pretty sure that I (and most here) don’t “abhor” freedom. Let’s stop clutching pearls and fanning yourself with a hankie.

      Supporting the right for the entity of the State of Virginia to refuse to issue marriage licenses to inter-racial couples is not loving freedom, individual liberty, and rights.

      This is a part of the “Constitution-based gov’t” and States’ rights nonsense that you folks really need to shut down if you ever want to garner support for your broader positions. Broadcasting your views that Loving v. Virginia was an incorrect ruling or a ruling that went to far puts you squarely in the company of scoundrels.

      There is no benefit to the people of a state nor to the State to deny marriage licenses to inter-racial couples.

      Before we work further down the list, I’m going to go change a diaper.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        “Before we work further down the list, I’m going to go change a diaper.”

        Straight from reading Sternn’s bone-headed rhetoric to dealing with diapers?

        Don’t you deserve at least *some* change of scenery?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        HT, like you said yesterday, nothing compares to that new baby smell. 🙂

      • CaptSternn says:

        LOL Tutt.

    • John Galt says:

      Sterrn’s position is that if you own a hotel in Alabama and don’t want to rent rooms to black people, that should be your right and federal anti-discrimination laws should not apply to this bit of local commerce. Fine. As long as this hotel does not accept credit cards that use interstate banks, does not accept checks that use national clearinghouses, does not source any item, from linens to candy bars in the vending machines, that cross state lines, does not accept phone calls from out of state, does not list on any internet portals, and does not benefit from any federal spending on any item of infrastructure that allows people access to their property, then I am fine with that. Moreover, because it would be nearly impossible to meet these standards, and 99.99% of business would not, then the burden of proof should be on the owner to demonstrate their exclusively local nature.

      Sacrificing some measure of individual liberty is the cost of civilization. My freedom to do whatever I wish is necessarily limited by the needs of a functioning society. This is true of all groups of human beings (hell, it’s true of most groups of animals, too). The choice is where we draw the lines. I choose, as do the vast majority of Americans, to live in a society in which certain of my fellow citizens are not subjected to an incessant stream of indignities. Theoretically, this could be enforced by any level of government but 100 years of experience demonstrated that some state and local governments were unwilling to do so, thus the feds filled the gap.

      Stamping one’s feet and demanding the rights to do whatever you damn well please is not a political philosophy. It is a temper tantrum thrown by a 4-year old screaming that “you’re not the boss of me.” It is selfish and puerile and has no place in modern society.

      • fiftyohm says:

        JG- Good points all, but what about payment? The US dollar is obviously an interstate medium of exchange, so that too, paying in cash, would presumably be covered by Hotel Kracker’s policies.

        I’m led to wonder if the Interstate Commerce Clause was actually meant to be interpreted so broadly…

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        The interstate commerce clause was tortured and bent beyond most logic to fit civil rights. I doubt the authors of the ICC had that in mind when writing it, but if they did, bless them.

        Unfortunately, the gov’t doesn’t have the, “You guys are stupid asshats, and we are going to make you knock it off Act” so they made due with what they had.

        I really should know this but all my clients are huge so I never bothered to keep up with this, but I believe if Crackerville Hotel has less than 15 employees, Bob Cracker is welcome to refuse to hire Black people and the EEOC isn’t going to come knocking.

        I still think, however, the Bob has to rent a room to Black folks.

      • flypusher says:

        JG- Good points all, but what about payment? The US dollar is obviously an interstate medium of exchange, so that too, paying in cash, would presumably be covered by Hotel Kracker’s policies.”

        You could get around that by accepting chickens & pies as payment.

      • John Galt says:

        I think the ICC ship has sailed. It has consistently been broadly interpreted, with an occasional pull-back. The SCOTUS is not going to suddenly decide the Civil Rights Act is an overreach.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        Well put, John Galt.

        Childish libertarians like Sternn too often seem to deny any responsibility to society. That’s part of what makes them virtually sociopathic.

      • CaptSternn says:

        In order to abide by the concept of due process and innocent until proven guilty, every individual case of accused discrimination would have to be brought be fore the court and the accused has the right to face the accuser. Then it would have to be proven that a crime has been committed.

        But guilt is assumed and automatic, and because of that many people are sent to prison for long prison terms. I am not alright with that, but it seems many here are just fine with it, even support it.

      • John Galt says:

        As usual, Sternn, you’ve lost me. Who is in prison for long terms because they don’t like black people?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…my clients are going to be very interested in learning of how they can be put in prison for having adverse impact in their hiring practices.

        I’m going to go put on some pants and march with you to demonstrate in front of the prison where the Denny’s restaurant manager is serving a long prison term for not serving Black folks.

      • CaptSternn says:

        John, the point is assumed and automatic guilt. That doesn’t only apply to serving customers in a private establishment. It is also the basis for the Controlled Substances Act, for the Endangered Species Act and others. So yes, people are sent to prison over the assumed and automatic guilt as well as being denied their property rights.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Cap- Please provide a single example of someone in prison who is there for being a stupid bigot on his own property, or in his own establishment. One will suffice.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        No stern…I think what folks are for is that the Holiday Inn on the side of the highway in Birmingham cannot refuse to rent rooms to Black folks.

        No presumption of guilt or innocence, just that they cannot discriminate who the provide service to based on race, gender, and a few other key characteristics.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Fifty, that usually falls under civil courts, but that is only one of the laws that assumed guilt is based on.

        And yes, HT, it is based on asumed and automatic guilt. But you and others have explained that you support such things, evenb if it violates the rights of the people and even if it puts people in prison. Fine, I get it. I will never agree with it and I will do what I can to preach against it.

      • flypusher says:

        “I will never agree with it and I will do what I can to preach against it.”

        And you’ll be preaching to the empty choir risers. Have fun with your windmill.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        OK Stern…one business or business owner serving prison time for exerting his/her right to be a bigot on his/her own property or on the property of the business.

        Seriously, my clients are going to be very worried and I’m going to question my competence because I’ve not been warning them of this very real threat of imprisonment based on hiring and food service practices.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…I appreciate your preaching. I’m just worried you don’t have a choir.

        I’m not assuming the folks at the Holiday Inn in Birmingham are racists or that they have committed a crime. I’m just in favor of telling them they can’t discriminate based on race with regard to who they hire and to whom they rent a hotel room.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…I’m doing a couple conference calls while playing with babies today, so I missed a somewhat confusing point you made.

        In the space of one sentence, you managed to go from the manager at the Holiday Inn in Birmingham not being allowed to refuse to rent a room to a Black person to people doing prison time for the Controlled Substances Act, and I don’t know, something about the Endangered Species Act.

        I’m moderately sure one of those things is not like the other. Heck, I’m moderately sure all three of those things are not like each other.

        But just so that I follow, you are against the CRA applying to businesses because of the prison times associated with the Controlled Substances Act?

        I’m fascinated by how we can walk the steps to get us from A to B on this.

      • John Galt says:

        “Fifty, that usually falls under civil courts, but that is only one of the laws that assumed guilt is based on.”

        Translated: I can’t come up with even a single example to justify my hysteria.

    • kabuzz61 says:

      Captain, you are coorect that the lefties here want the freedoms to shut down who or what they disagree with but not have others that don’t believe like them the opportunity. That is just they way they are and always have been.

      When the SCOTUS rules a certain state can’t prohibit homosexual marriage, they left lauds the SCOTUS as brave pioneers. When they rule for Hobby Lobby, the democrats in the senate are trying to make laws to get around the religious freedom rule. Which, if allowed will hurt the owners but they don’t care about their rights.


      Desp proved my point about Chris. Chris is amazingly ‘in tune’ with the left on current issues. How about that. I knew he received talking points.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Why yes…and you folks laud the fine thinkers in Roe v. Wade as you praise the clear thinkers with Hobby Lobby.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        What GOP senators tried to get around a ruling by enacting a law?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Buzz….what GOP senators tried to get around Roe by enacting a law?


        Almost all of them.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        What law did they try to enact???

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        kabuzz, are you really that ignorant of abortion politics and recent legislative history?

        I guess it makes sense, since you’re ignorant about pretty much everything else.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Who’s a cute kitty? Why….you are a cute kitty!

        I think we could go with about 500 proposed restrictions in the past year, in addition to the ever present proposed constitutional amendment to end abortion.

    • objv says:

      Cap: Thanks for bringing this to the top of the page. I’ve been trying to read all the posts,but have run out of time. I agree that you have often been unfairly attacked for views that you feel support individual liberty. There is no excuse for the personal attacks you have been subjected to.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        If Sternn didn’t make himself look like an idiot and a friend to bigots, he wouldn’t get nearly as much grief as he receives and deserves.

        And if he’s too much of a child to take it, he can always leave.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Captain is a brave soul. I’ve given up on the echo chamber awhile ago. Constantly moving the goal posts of debates and when that fails, the name calling. Doesn’t bother me or the Captain I am sure, but I love what it reveals about the left.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        kabuzz, perhaps you could throw aside your cloak of cowardice and actually respond when you’re called out about evidence or citations.

        Naah. Too easy to be a keyboard kommando, absent of responsibility, like all too many delusional reactionaries.

      • objv says:

        Owl: Too many times people think they can win arguments by using insults instead of reason. It’s much easier to call someone an idiot, a racist, or a bigot than deal with controversial issues in a logical, non-emotional manner.

        Insults are a knee jerk form of mental laziness that shows the limbic system is engaged rather than the frontal lobes.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Objective, it’s just best not to respond to them at all. It gets you nowhere and quickly. Homer has a modicum of respect as does Fly.

      • Owl of Bellaire says:

        It is hardly an insult to describe the clearly available record of kabuzz’s cowardice when asked to justify his claims and comments.

        When faced with the need to argue, he runs away. What else would you call that?

      • objv says:

        Owl: My response was to the remarks you made about Cap. (I hadn’t refreshed the page and seen the “cloak of cowardice” accusation directed toward kabuzz yet..) At least, with Kabuzz (sorry, favorite cat), you gave a reason. Now, as to whether buzz wants to hang around this blog all day in case you challenge him is completely up to him. 🙂

      • bubbabobcat says:

        objv says:
        July 10, 2014 at 11:17 am

        “Insults are a knee jerk form of mental laziness that shows the limbic system is engaged rather than the frontal lobes.”

        So you agree that your buddy Dan is a catatonic, drooling windbag with his incessant “dumbass!” declarations. I doubt he suffers from Tourette’s..

        So how do you square that with “Rose, you’ll love DanMan. His comments are like breath of fresh air in a stale smelling refrigerator. By no time, he’ll have a special place in your heart – as he has in all of ours.”?

        Unfreakingbelievable incessant blind partisan hypocrisy.

  7. Owl of Bellaire says:

    Given his recent public drubbing in the marketplace of ideas, it seems the appropriate term for Sternn should now be “bigotophile.”

    Perhaps he himself isn’t one, but he obviously wants to help them and make their lives easier.

  8. desperado says:

    That evil, communist, America-hating lesbian Rachel Maddow had a segment on her show last night about the situation in Kansas. Not only did Brownback cut income taxes, in a feeble attempt to “pay for” the cuts he eliminated a program which helped ease the tax burden on poor Kansans. So as usual, the trickle down crowd takes from the poor and gives to the rich.

  9. geoff1968 says:

    Looks like I’m headed back home to Texas. Could this be the state of reason? I dunno but WI’s been a bit lackin’.

  10. Anse says:

    I was once engaged in a discussion forum online about income taxes, and some doosh posted a rant about how heavy his burden was. I kid you not, he actually said something to this effect: “My wife and I wrote a check to the IRS for $250,000 this year! Do you realize what that is like?!” There were about 50 replies by people who were ready to put him on the guillotine, too. Even a few conservatives chimed in with advice on how to be a bit more reflective about one’s “problems” in a public forum.

    For the record, I’d love to be in the tax bracket that requires me to write a check to the IRS for a quarter-million dollars. I promise I would not complain about it on the internet.

    • fiftyohm says:

      I don’t do this often. Maybe never, but perhaps a couple of my home-brewed IPAs did the trick:

      Anse- Before you can “love to be in a tax bracket”, you generally have to actually do something to get there. I’m not talking about being some kind of 27-year-old hedge fund manager who’s daddy was a Skull-and-Boneser like JG mentioned yesterday. I’m also not talking about some good-old-boy CEO who’s part of a “peer group” who pay each other off with other people’s money. (Again, hat-tip, JG.) Fact is you have not a fricking clue how this “dooch” of yours made his money. Maybe he worked 80 hours a week for years, forgoing vacations, and everything else, (including a big, fat pension), to get there. Maybe he risked everything, including his future security to get to that tax bracket. Ever think about that? And how far did that money go towards your social safety net, defense, debt service, the EPA, our highway system, national parks, and all the other bright and shiny things that make this a great nation? What’s been your contribution to all that?

      Fact is, you don;t know how this person made his money. Fact is that you have to make a bunch of money to pay those kind of taxes. Fact is it’s bloody hard. Fact is you ain’t done it. A word of advice, Bucko – don’t project what you’d do, or what you’d “feel”, until you’ve paid the dues to get there.

      Maybe this “dooch” of yours was nothing but a whiner. I don’t know, but neither do you. Fact is that is was you who decided to write about it to make some sort of sniveling, self-aggrandizing, “oh, I’d never do such a thing”, rhetorical point.

      Don’t write about crap you have no goddam idea about.

      There! I feel better!

      • Intrigued says:

        I can’t speak for Anse but my husband and I pay 4x more taxes than we did when we were first married 18 years ago. 18 years ago we were both college grads and yet we made not much more than minimum wage. 18 years ago we couldn’t afford to have the luxuries of tax deductions ie kids, mortgage, 401k. It took several years of working our asses off in addition to secondary degrees to get to where we are today. I have no desire to regress back to paying the lower tax bill but if you or that fool Anse spoke about have the desire to pay less taxes you have the freedom to do so. You don’t even have to work hard to get there;)

      • Anse says:

        I’m perfectly sober at this moment, and have an 8 month old in my arms, so let me say with perfect clarity that I could give a rat’s ass how he made his money. The arrogance, the sense of entitlement among the rich in this country is disgusting. It will have political ramifications, too. Get a grip, people. You think you have problems? If being poor were easy we’d all be lined up at the welfare office right now.

        This kind of toxic class warfare is how civil wars get started. Show some basic decency, just a tinge of humility for crying out loud. The worst thing about that douchebag was that he posted that at the peak of the recession back in 2008, when millions were out of work and nobody was looking for a hand-out, just a damned job.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        Fifty, it is class envy brought on by the democrats. They are being taught that they shouldn’t have to put in the work or risk to get what those that had have.

        My wife and I pay a large sum of taxes every year and I am not pleased. Not because I have to pay taxes, but because the taxes are squandered by lack of oversight, fraud and excessive spending. But the politico’s keep coming back to the trough for more when they need it.

      • flypusher says:

        There’s a key piece of info not being fed into the doosh-detector: this guy’s effective tax rate. Is he in a situation like Buffet where his allowed deductions push that rate ever lower than his secretaries? Sure, he could work very hard, but if he’s being very generously compensated and is taxed at a lower rate than most of us, then cry me a freaking river! There are lots of other people who also work very hard, some at dangerous jobs, for far less.

        Granted, complaining about paying taxes during a period of severe unemployment will move the needle a bit.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        By and large, the wealthy folks I know are fabulously smart and worked hard to get where they are. These are merely wealthy people rather than the super-wealthy. Sure, there are some trust fund babies and folks that floated on mommy and daddy’s coat tails, but they are in the minority.

        When I was young and stupid, I used to fancy myself as often the smartest person in the room. As my work (and country club golf) has me spending time with lots of successful folks, I’ve gotten smarter and realize that really successful folks are generally successful for a reason, and I’m almost never the smartest guy in the room.

        Undoubtedly, there is a tone-deafness that can come with being successful. Complaining that your tax bill is five times the median salary in the US would be considered tone deaf.

        However, it does kind of sting a bit when you look through your finances and realize you paid over $100k in taxes. It is a bunch of money, regardless of how much money you make.

        Do I pay my “fair share” of taxes?
        From one perspective – absolutely, I pay a fair amount.
        From another perspective, – absolutely and frankly pay more than my fair share.
        From another perspective – probably not, and for the country to work, I probably need to pay a bit more.

        For me, I am firmly have the first and third of those perspectives. I pay a lot of taxes, so I think the first one fits. I also recognize the country needs to raise revenue through increased taxes, and the tax increase should focus more at my level than at folks making less money. I certainly do not need my taxes lowered as poor people have their’s raised (i.e., most flat tax proposals).

        For some wealthy folks, I think it is more of a lack of recognition regarding the opportunities (and pure luck) the person had and capitalized on. Being at the right place at the right time with the right people goes a long way, and some people get exposed to those places, times, and people more than others. Folks had the talent and drive to capitalize on those opportunities, but they did not necessarily create all those opportunities.

        For me, it is the, “Well I did it, what is wrong with you that you can’t do it?” mindset that tends to be most disturbing, but I think that occurs more often with middle to lower income folks looking at poor people rather than rich people looking down at the rest of us.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Ah! Got it. Lord Dooshbag has no right to complain about his taxes – especially when he pays a bunch. It’s a perfect example of class warfare. Such behavior is indicative of a blatant sense of entitlement on his part. It doesn’t matter where or how he made his money,. He should be happy – feel privileged really – to be taxed much more, and have the decency to shut the hell up about it.

        Thanks for clearing all this up for me, Anse.

      • fiftyohm says:

        A very well-balanced post, HT. Thanks.

      • John Galt says:

        Complaining about paying five times more in taxes than the median household earns in a year is tacky, regardless of how you earned it. My guess would be that if he had time to bitch about this online, he didn’t earn it working 80 hour weeks at a startup, but that’s just a hunch. Like Fly, I’d like to see what is effective tax rate was. If it was 50%, then he’s got a legitimate gripe (and a terrible tax advisor). If it was 12%, then he should shut his mouth.

      • fiftyohm says:

        I don’t have a clear marginal rate in mind that demarcates the boundary between legitimacy and just poor taste. Really?

      • John Galt says:

        Yes, really. Whether he was gifted with every advantage on his way to becoming a personal injury lawyer or built a transformative company through inspiration and perspiration (thanks, Ben!), his success would have been nigh impossible without the social structures, legal system, infrastructure, education, security, etc., that are provided by governments funded by taxes. This person has mightily benefitted from this and, frankly, has more to lose (materially, at least) than they guy who might work just as hard roofing houses in the July sun for $100/day. He can and should pay proportionally more than that guy.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Ah right. Not to put words in your mouth, but you’re saying that there exists a clearly-defined tax rate, up to which our greedy friend should shut the hell up, and over which he has the right to squawk. On the position of that particular point, all people should agree as it is so obvious, morally and ethically.

        That was my point.

      • flypusher says:

        Nobody disputed this guy’s right to complain, but if he does it in a tone deaf manner, he will get criticized. I could complain about my car breaking down and having to walk 5 miles because of it. If I make that complaint in front of people who are disabled and could never even dream of walking, I shouldn’t be shocked if zero sympathy is coming my way.

      • fiftyohm says:

        No, FP – apparently, (his ‘right’ to complain notwithstanding), there is an exact point where he changes from a reasonable person to a tone-deaf dooshbag. I think that’s a gross oversimplification, and to view our society in those terms brings one to the wrong conclusion.

      • John Galt says:

        The point at which he became a douchebag is the point at which he put a number on his pain, a number significantly higher than the vast majority of his correspondents earn, much less pay in taxes and then complained about it. There are only two ways to take this, the first that he is bragging about his income and supposed superiority and the second that he is so tone-deaf that he didn’t recognize this approach would alienate those to whom his point was intended. Neither is to his credit and this apparently earned him some justified mocking. His mother apparently never taught him that one’s income is not a subject for polite conversation.

        The issue of whether he has a point, vis a vis his tax rate, is another matter, but not enough data was given to really have that conversation, my idle curiosity notwithstanding.

      • flypusher says:

        50, I’d say that douchebaggery is often in the eye of the beholder (go ask any Rice alum what they think of Todd Graham), but there are some rough guidelines. I would consider what a person is griping about, how they are phrasing their griping, and who they are griping to, when I’m making that judgment call. Your mileage may vary.

      • fiftyohm says:

        OK, JG. On that we can agree.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Yes, FP. Dooshbaggery is definitely in the hole of the behinder. Or something like that…

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      For some reason this conversation reminds of a couple who used to live in my neighborhood.

      I ran into them one day and they were upset because their beach house had been broken into. [Hint: Spring Branch has no beaches.]

      I was hearing all the details of the break-in. And then they looked at one another and started laughing, saying they should probably consider themselves lucky to have such a problem.

      The guy is an entrepreneur. He runs a high-tech oil industry bidness. And he makes a point of hiring ex-offenders.

      I guess attitude really IS everything.

      • flypusher says:

        I really do hope that his hand was not bitten by someone he tried to help.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Probably has, a few times.

        Interestingly, he credits his success with ex-cons to the first ex-con he hired. I think that guy became a supervisor.

        Anyhow, I like his attitude.

    • Crogged says:

      Anonymity gives one the freedom to say exactly how you feel. I have received checks for services rendered to my corporate overlords and bitched more about what the government took, than the funds I received, even with my consistent support for the not Republican. No one really wants to pay a bunch of money in taxes, I completely understand the complaints, even though I did pay a hefty personal price in the 2008 recession.

  11. johnofgaunt75 says:

    I think what this boils down to is that there is a sweet spot for average marginal tax rates. Too low and you will reduce income into the state despite the fact that the lower rates do induce some economic activity. Too high and you will reduce income into the state despite the higher rates because this si outweighed by the negative affect on some economic activity. The secret is to find that perfect middle spot that provides the maximum economic activity and also provides the maximum amount in government income.

    Bottom line though is it’s a complicated issue. Just saying “lower taxes is good” isn’t a smart policy anymore than saying “higher taxes is good.” That is, of course, assuming that one thinks that the state should recieve tax income to begin with and has some role to play in society. If you don’t make that assumption…well, then maybe you want to lower rates to eliminate the state.

  12. kabuzz61 says:

    Obama border crisis out of control. The empty suit of a president is in Texas to raise money but won’t visit the border. People are hurting. Agents are worried. Cities are complaining about ‘illegal dumping’ but Chris is worried about Kansas. Bwah! It doesn’t get funnier then that. This is what is wrong with democrats, they can’t set priorities. The only thing a dem leader has done for the border is deliver…wait for it…Lollypops.

  13. CaptSternn says:

    Reagan got income taxes cut by about 50% when he entered office, he later got tax hikes in different areas, but in the end he managed to cut taxes by about 25% overall.

    There were 26 Dixicrats that left he DNC for a short period of time. 23 of them returned to the DNC, so hardly the defection that far lext extremists claim.

    Government can be the enemy if it is not kept under control. The U.S. Constitution was retified to be that control, and that has become the enemy of the far left extremists. Now they claim that anybody that supports a constitutionally limited government is actually anti-government, anarchists. Anybody that opposes tax hikes is suddenly completely anti-tax.

    When the far lext is throwing out, and maybe even believing, such tripe, we will never be able to compromise or negotiate anything. When they grow up, stop throwing tantrums, stop spewing lies and garbage, then maybe we can discuss things like adults again. But I don’t see that ahppening any time soon, so the adults are going to do our best to keep them from making things a whole lot worse than they have already made it. That’s what the tea party movement is about.

    • texan5142 says:

      You know Cap, if you change every place you said “the left” in your screed to right wing and tea party nut jobs, you would be correct.

      • Confederate Rose says:

        I’m a newby here, so gotta ask, is superman always this rediculious, or is he/she just acting ?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Rose…I’ve been here a while, and I would generally have said, “Nope, this is a real person expressing his real views.”, but honestly, I’m now drifting into this being a very long piece of very convincing performance art.

        At some point, it is hard to keep up the act, and the cracks and absurdity start showing.

      • flypusher says:

        Poe’s Law, Rose. Everyone must decide for him/herself.

        Performance art is definitely the less scary possibility.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Rose, you may be new to this Word Press site, but I remember you had a couple of serious exchanges with Captain Sternn on GOP Lifer’s blog on I’m surprised you’ve forgotten him.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I suppose I could be mistaken, but I sort of remember it had something to do with doubting his military service.

      • Confederate Rose says:

        Sorry Tutt, superman must not have impressed me because I certainly don’t remember him. Perhaps he posted under another name.

      • Confederate Rose says:

        I choose to believe it’s all an act with superman. I have a hard time believing anyone is that steeped in TeaParty rhetoric.

      • desperado says:

        It’s an act. Stern likes to take people for a ride on his merry go round where they go ’round and ’round arguing over some ridiculous claim he made and then end up back in the same place they started. In short, he’s a troll. Nobody actually believes that crap.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Constitutionally limited gov’t =

      a) it is A-OK if IHOP decides it does not want Black people to eat in its restaurants
      b) it is A-OK if the State of Virginia refuses to issue marriage licenses to inter-racial couples
      c) it is A-OK if a State decides you must be a certain religion to hold office
      d) the States should handle environmental protection because clean or dirty air stops at the border
      e) the Alabama Aviation Association should have air traffic controllers handling flights from Birmingham to Mobile because we need freedom from the Federal Aviation Administration
      f) if your State decides it can’t afford public schools, hey, you can always move to another state

      Or, as Stern would say, freedom.

      You guys are not anarchists, you guys are incurious insulated folks who believe if you are doing OK, then anyone else who is not doing OK must be lazy, losers, or just not trying as hard as you tried.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Yes, HT, I do support your right to choose whom you will allow into your home or onto your property.

        I support your right to choose where you will or will not buy groceries.

        I support your right to choose what gas station you will do business with, what bank you will do business with, what mechanic you will do business with.

        I support your right to discriminate for any reason, or no reason at all.

        And you don’t want that freedom. Or maybe you want it for yourself but not allow it for others?

      • Anse says:

        If you believe in this limited-government shtick but don’t expect it at all levels of government, from the local town council to Washington, your views are a fraud. (I say “you” in the abstract, not you specifically, of course.)

      • CaptSternn says:

        Anse, different levels of government have different powers and responsibilities. They are spelled out in constitutions and charters. I do want a constitutionally limitted federal government, a constitutionally limited state government and county and city governments limited to their respective charters.

        Now if my city has a limited government and another city has an expanded city government, that is their business. Same with state governments. Massachusetts established Romneycare, it did not affect Texas, my count nor my city, so it was none of my business.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Anse, you would think so, but the closer to home the government entity, the more likely that you have more direct say as to how you are governed, assuming you vote, of course, And like YOU (specifically), I use the word “you” in general terms.

        So, I guess the more remote the government entity, the more limited it should be, because you have less say as to how it governs you.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Tutt…until that close to home city, county, or state decides it does not need to offer protection or opportunities for some small segments of its citizenry, and those segments of citizens are kind of in a world of hurt.

        Chris somewhat joking mentioned “re-fighting the Civil War”, but that is essentially what is going on for some folks.

        If the State of Texas decided not to allow Baptists to marry Catholics or not to allow children of gay parents to attend public schools, one side of that argument is absolutely behind the State having the authority to do that.

        The other side believes the Federal gov’t has the responsibility to knock some sense into the State’s head.

      • CaptSternn says:

        The state doesn’t have the power to prohibit people from getting married, HT. No state or any level of government can strip a natural born citizen of their citizenship, imprison them or even fine them for getting married and/or cohabitating. That mess was settled a long time ago.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Dance Semantic-Boy, dance.

        States could just simply refuse to issue marriage licenses to Baptists who want to marry Catholics, but hey, they can have a cute party and call themselves “married”, so that is A-OK for Stern’s government.

        Stern…for most of the folks here in the US, the word “married” means something formerly recognized by the state, but hey, it can also mean a fun party and folks simply saying they are a couple, so Semantic-Boy dances away without acknowledging the dirty side of his politics.

      • CaptSternn says:

        HT, show where in the U.S. Constitution it states that, “congress shall have the power to issue or control marriage licenses.” Thanks.

      • kabuzz61 says:

        “Semantic boy”. Another example of Homer getting more and more bitter like his Texan friend. Homer needs to realize that words mean things. It isn’t semantics. It is what it is.

        Homer, I think you have gay issues because you bring that up many times in each thread. Really Freudian.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…it absolutely does not say anything like that in the Constitution, nor does it say that restaurants have to serve Black folks.

        Your “constitutionally limited gov’t” means lots of bad people get to do lots of bad things to people…fortunately, your side lost the civil war, lost the civil rights battles in the ’60s, and will eventually lose the civil rights battles in the ’10s.

        Buzz…I have lots of gay issues. One is that the cannot get a marriage license in most states in the country based on freedom. Another is that there are states that won’t allow same sex couples to adopt kids (and some require people to be married…which they formally won’t recognize for gay couples). Another is that I could wander in to an employee’s office and say, “I really don’t like the fact that you are gay, and I’m going to fire you so that I don’t have to put up with your gayness”, and the employee wouldn’t have much of a chance to fight that.

        Yeah, I have lots of gay issues.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Cap, so when does legislation passed by majority rule within a state become tyranny of the majority within that state?

      • CaptSternn says:

        Ok HT, we finally have the answer I was asking of you. You do want the freedom to discriminate for any reason, or no reason at all, but you don’t want those same rights for anybody else. You want the freedom to walk off your job for any reason, or no reason at all, but you don’t want the other side to have those same rights. You want your freedom to deny others their freedom. And that’s it i a nutshell.

        Now can you explain what a cave bug in Texas has to do with interstate commerce? Is doing business with your next-door neighbor also interstate commerce?

        Once you get that out of the way we can move on to the fact that you support automatic guilt of a crime, no charges, no trial, no lawyer, no court, no judge, no jury, just automatic guilt of a crime.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Tutt, I would say when it leads to legal punishment.

      • texan5142 says:

        Your reading comprehension is terrible Sternn.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern…it is odd…

        We start with your support of the right for a State to deny a marriage license to an inter-racial couple (which you simply cannot say out loud) and my position that the Federal gov’t should and does have the ability to step in and knock some sense into that State.

        You support ExxonMobil having the ability to refuse to hire Hispanics or Black people.
        You support Denny’s having the ability to refuse to serve Hispanics or Black people.
        You support home owner associations and apartment complexes having the ability to not allow home ownership or to rent to Hispanics or Black people.

        Because I believe the Federal gov’t plays a role here, you manage to jump at warp speed to my position being the discriminatory one, and then, make even faster warp jumps to assumptions of guilt and now I’m probably going to suspend habeas corpus at some point.

        Your use and understanding of commonly used words in the English language is becoming more and more suspect. Your dancing skills, however, are impeccable.

        I’m just really, really glad we don’t live in your country. Lots of folks had it really tough in your country.

      • CaptSternn says:

        And how about you, Texan? Do you support automatic guilt of a crime?

      • CaptSternn says:

        Ok HT, maybe I did move too fast for you to keep up. Those things you suggest, discrimination by privately owned establishments, are against the law. Now, what are those laws based on?

        Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3: The Congress shall have power … To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

        That means congress can make it illegal to discriminate when engaging in an act of commerce that is internation, interstate or with an Indian Tribe. Now if there is an act of discrimination and the person is accused of discriminating during the act of commerce that crosses state or national borders, or with an Indian Tribe, the burden of proof is on the accuser.

        It must be proven, in a court of law through due process, that it was in fact international or interstate commerce, or commerce with an Indian Tribe, and during that individual act, discrimination occured. Each individual case, each individual act.

        Either that or you can simply deny a person’s right to trial by jury and assume guilt with no burden of proof, no charges, no trial, no court, no lawyer, no judge and no jury.

        Now, do you or do you not support assumed and automatic guilt of a crime?

      • John Galt says:

        Sternn pouts: “HT, show where in the U.S. Constitution it states that, “congress shall have the power to issue or control marriage licenses.” Thanks.”

        Given that you are a Constitutional scholar, Sternn, I am surprised I have to answer this question. It’s pretty darn clear in the 14th Amendment and Congress has nothing to do with it.
        “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

        If states pass laws regarding marriage, which every one has, those laws have to be applied equally to all citizens. That’s what equal protection means. The various courts are slowly waking up to the crazy idea that this actually means all citizens, just not to heterosexuals.

      • CaptSternn says:

        John, I believe that question is quickly heading to the supreme court where it needs to be.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Because someone (well…most everyone in the world) see nuance and shades of grey rather than black and white.

        One of the joys of having a bit of paternity leave, is that I get to spend more time with the older boys. The baby generally sleeps and eats, and he’s not much fun when sleeping and my boobs do nothing for him in the eating department.

        Buzz and Tutt, rest assured I’m spending plenty of quality time with the little guy. I’m getting baths, diapers, and rocking to sleep (and sometimes just rocking him while he sleeps because new baby smell is even better than new car smell). As we get to some bottles, I’ll be doing lots of that.

        Anyway, one of the nice things is that I’m spending fun time with the older boys. When they are napping or at one class or another, I’m getting to waste time sitting slack jawed at some of the things Stern says.

        Anyway, as you spend time with 23 month old humans, you realize they see the world in very simple, dichotomous terms. Things are good/bad, allowed/not allowed, easy/impossible, on/off. As they grown and learn, they start to realize nuance and shades of grey.

        Just yesterday, one of the twins understood and repeated, “in just a minute” after I told him we would do something later. It if fun to watch them pick up and understand concepts. So, now it wasn’t “now” or “never”, it was “in a few minutes”.

        Kids pick up subtlety and nuance as the grow and learn. The world doesn’t have to be black or white.

        Well…at least some kids learn this.

        Stern…to your point (and as we have gone around a dozen times), had to be tortured (I was going to say waterboarded, but to you, that was not torture) to fit for the Civil Rights issues. I think most folks recognize that. It doesn’t fit, but it was the best that could be done within our constitutional gov’t to address some horrible things going on in the country.

        You, preferring purity of a political position over practicality and the ability of Black folks to eat in a restaurant and get a job, would certainly not have gone that way.

        Most of the country and all of the corporations, seem to have reached an understanding of this and have moved on.

        In your world, the plant in Orange, Tx still only has Black people working as janitors rather than as machine operators, supervisors, and managers and women only working in administrative positions in the office.

        In your world, the Black family driving from Texas to Disney World has to wonder whether the hotel in Alabama will let them stay the night.

        For you, this is a travesty. That companies must comply with modest standards of human decency in order to do business in the US. It is a loss of freedom and a direct violation of the constitution.

        I would generally agree it is a violation of the constitution as it was written, and I (and 99% of the people with whom you would want to associate) is perfectly OK with that.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Texan, I give him a (little) more credit and believe Cappy has an honesty problem. Even with himself.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Ok HT, so next time instead of starting off with the, “Sternn thinks it is ok for somebody to discriminate” you can just cut to the point and say, “Sternn supports and defends the rights and liberty of all individuals, but I believe some individuals will do something I don’t like so to hell with their rights and liberty. But don’t mess with mine.” See how much simpler and shorter it is if you would just do that instead of us spending time and words to get to that point? Then we could move on to discuss what other crimes you think the automatic and assumed guilt will cover.

        I am happy for you and your family.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Let’s see Stern…I think it takes fewer words to say:

        “Stern believes States should have the ability to deny a marriage license to inter-racial couples, while I believe the Federal government should step in to protect the couple.”

        Yep…that is many fewer words.

        You already know this, and it is intentional on your part, but it would be remiss of me not to point it out.

        You support the entity of the State or the entity of ExxonMobil to discriminate against individuals.

        You believe Virginia should have the ability to refuse marriage licenses to interracial couples.

        You believe ExxonMobil should have the ability to not hire Hispanics because they talk funny.

        I believe that Virginia and ExxonMobil should not have that ability.

        I get that it is not possible for you to change your mind here. That is cool. I’m moderately comforted by the notion that you and Rand Paul will never convince anything more than a few beyond-all-reason libertarians and some remaining white supremacists that this is a viable path forward for our society.

        Using your vernacular, individuals can discriminate (i.e., choose) regarding which gas station to frequent based on any reason whatsoever. The ExxonMobil Corporation is not allowed to discriminate against hiring based on a handful of protected factors (e.g., race, gender, etc.).

        I’m OK with that.

        Now, I’m not sure what the good citizens of Virginia fit into your wording. I guess they could discriminate against Virginia by moving to Maryland, but that doesn’t seem to fit. Nonetheless, you support Virginia’s right to discriminate against Black folks wanting to marry White folks. The Federal gov’t says Virginia can’t discriminate like that.

        I’m OK with that.

        Putting aside all that, I’ve asked this question before, and I don’t think I’ve gotten an answer, so I’ll ask it again.

        Other than an answer of “because freedom”, how would the US be better if Virginia could deny marriage licenses to inter-racial couples? How would the US be better if ExxonMobil could refuse to hire Black people?

        I would answer that interracial couples getting marriage licenses would lead to happier people in Virginia, with no ill effects to the State of Virginia. I would answer the Black people have more opportunities to earn a living if XOM is not allowed to refuse to hire Black people, with no ill effects to XOM.

        So, how would the US be better if Virginia and ExxonMobil discriminated against inter-racial couples and Black people?

      • CaptSternn says:

        Really, HT? Back to the beginning? No thanks, let us just sum it up again, simpler and shorter.

        I support individual liberty and rights for all, freedom, even if somebody were to use their freedom to do something I disagree with. You oppose that. You want your freedom but you don’t want others to be free because they might do something you disagree with. You got yours, to hell with everybody else.

        As an end to your means id denying or violating the rights of others, you support assumed and automatic guilt of accused crimes, up to and including lenghty prison sentences, mandatory lengthy prison sentences. You support such things because you abhore freedom, individual liberty and rights, because somebody might do something you disagree with.

        You can throw out examples of things a free person could do that most would find disagreeable, like burning the U.S. Flag. I am offended when the KKK waves the Southern Cross. But I support the rights pf free people, even when they do things I find offensive and wrong. That is what you oppose. As long as you have yours, to hell with everybody else.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Well no Stern…oddly, I don’t support those things.

        Really Stern…I “abhor” freedom? Let’s drift from hyperbolic to melodramatic.

        I support the Federal gov’t having ability to stop the State of Virginia from denying marriage licenses to interracial couples and to stop Proctor and Gamble from refusing to hire Black people. I support the Federal gov’t having the ability to stop the State of Utah from refusing to issue driver’s licenses to women because the State believes they should be at home raising children.

        Oddly enough, we’ve managed to go some 50 years with these things, and yet, we have not given up our provisions of assumed guilt.

        You are protecting entities…we are protecting individuals.

        There is a reason you don’t want to go back to the beginning. There is no answer to “How would the country be better if Virginia could refuse to issue marriage licenses to inter-racial couples?”

        It is this whole-hog approach that is most fascinating. I cannot imagine believing in anything so fervently that I refuse to let practicality in when it doesn’t line up 100% with my socio/political philosophy. It really is an interesting way to approach things.

        It is as if you believe if you open the door to a restriction on Virginia to keep them for refusing to issue marriage licenses to inter-racial couples, then you automatically don’t believe in freedom. Fascinating.

    • John Galt says:

      Myths, Sternn.

      In 1980, the federal government took in 18.5% of GDP in taxes and spent 21.1%.
      In 1989, the federal government took in 17.8% of GDP in taxes and spent 20.6%.

      Whatever he might have done to marginal tax rates, which I demonstrated below are not all that germane to the overall tax take, he did not appreciably change the size of the government. If you like, I will grant you that he cut taxes by a whopping 3.8%, which was largely paid for by the borrowing that you now protest so vigorously.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Again you are confusing revenue with rates. They are not the same.

        I didn’t really care for Reagan, so you won;t get anywhere by trying to make me defend him. I am just pointing out the facts.

      • Crogged says:

        percentages are fractions–the GDP was larger in 1989 than in 1980

      • John Galt says:

        And I’m telling you marginal tax rates, which are paid by fairly few people, are generally irrelevant to how much money the government brings in. It is a PR stunt that, in the end, shifts the tax burden away from those who can most afford it (the very wealthy) to those less able to (the middle class).

      • CaptSternn says:

        Great, so income taxes are irrelevant and the federal government will still get the same revenue if we do away with income taxes completely. I like where you are going with that. We could replace income taxes with a national sales tax, then people could choose how much they spend AND they would see what the government takes in a more direct and personal manner. That would lead to more people wanting more accountability from the federal government, and the federal government would still get about the same amount of revenue.

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Speaking of “throwing out lies”, please provide the list of “26 Dixicrats [sic] that left he [sic] DNC for a short period of time. 23 of them returned to the DNC”. And are you really talking about the Democratic National CONVENTION? Or committee? And if that is what you are referring to, how is that any indicator?

      • bubbabobcat says:

        What, you didn’t think I would read your link? It only lists 16 purported Dixiecrats that didn’t change parties and no mention anywhere of 23 that YOU claimed did the 360 degree double flip flop.

        You are just a plain old abject liar. Calling you obtuse is too kind.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Yep, I was wrong, you got me. There were a whole lot more and I was only counting senators and governors, and I even got that wrong as that only adds up to 23. So 20 remained with the Democratic Party and three switched parties.

        And even if we only go with what was in my link above, it showed that 16 of the original Dixiecrats were still with the Democratic Party by 1964, long after 1948.

        So yup, you got me on the actual numbers. But the point remains the same, most Dixiecrats stuck with the Democrats, not Republicans. Imagine that, it was all a lie that Dixiecrats all became Republicans after 1948.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Alright Bubba, here is a list of Dixiecrats I found. You can do more research and see if any others defected to the GOP, or if there were other Dixiecrats, if you want. But the whole lie about Dixiecrats turning Republican has been shot down. Not that it matters, because tomorrow people like you and Lifer and others will repeat the lie in hopes that it will eventually not be challenged and accepted as truth. Your war of attrition.

        § (D)VA Harry F. Byrd
        § (D)VA A. Willis Robertson
        § (D)MS John C. Stennis
        § (D)MS James O. Eastland
        § (D)LA Allen J. Ellender
        § (D)LA Russell B. Long
        § (D)OK Thomas Pryor Gore
        § (D)AL J. Lister Hill
        § (D)AL John J. Sparkman
        § (D)FL Spessard Holland
        § (D)FL George Smathers
        § (D)SC Olin D. Johnston
        § (D,R)SC Strom Thurmond
        § (D)AR John McClellan
        § (D)GA Richard B. Russell, Jr.
        § (D)GA Herman E. Talmadge
        § (D)TN Herbert S. Walters
        State governors
        § Benjamin Travis Laney
        § Fielding Wright
        § Frank M. Dixon
        § William H. Murray
        § Mills E. Godwin Jr.
        § Orval Faubus
        § Floyd Spence
        § Albert Watson
        § Walter Sillers Jr.
        § Harvey T. Ross
        § Thomas P. Brady
        § Gessner T. McCorvey
        § Leander Perez
        § Horace C. Wilkinson
        § Ross Lillard
        § Tommy Irvin
        § John Kasper
        § Mrs. Anna B. Korn
        § Mrs. Ruth Lackey
        § Clark Hurd
        § William E. Jenner
        § Francis Haskell
        § John Oliver Emmerich
        § Hugh Roy Cullen
        § T. Coleman Andrews
        § John Steel Baston
        § Dr. Frazier
        § O. L. Penny
        § Clifton Ratlift
        § M. F. Ray
        § Howell Tankerbell
        § Thomas Jefferson Tubb
        § J.K. Wells
        § Barney Wolverton
        § Governor White
        § Thomas H. Werdel

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Unsurprisingly, Cappy does not provide a single source link for his “research”, particularly after his original source proved to be pure crap and absolutely nothing close to what he claimed.

        Forgive us if we don’t believe a damn thing you say at face value without proof.

        Nowhere in your litany of obfuscation is your debunked lie of 26 Dixicrats [sic] that left he [sic] DNC for a short period of time. 23 of them returned to the DNC” even remotely mentioned.

        You just spew shit Crap, I mean Cap.

        And no one believes your crap Cap.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Um, Buba, you having a problem with reading comprehension again? I admitted I was wrong about the numbers, and that I was only counting the 23 senators and governors combined, not the 26 as I orginally said from memory and got wrong.

        Now, can you be an adult and do some research to prove that all those Dixiecrats turned Republican? Or will you continue to be childish, hateful and ignorant and not back up anything you say?

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Prove you’re not a consummate liar and provide YOUR damn source Cap. You can’t. All you do is willfully lie and crab and obfuscate. The wingnut pastime.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        *I* don’t have to prove a damn thing Cap. I didn’t postulate a damn thing. I asked YOU to backup your crap lies. Which you haven’t and all you have done is feebly try to sidestep the fact you were caught in yet another lie.

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Speaking of “throwing out lies” Cap, please provide the list of “26 Dixicrats [sic] that left he [sic] DNC for a short period of time. 23 of them returned to the DNC”. And are you really talking about the Democratic National CONVENTION? Or committee? And if that is what you are referring to, how is that any indicator?

    • kabuzz61 says:

      ConfedrateRose starts her comment correctly for a lefty: “I choose to believe”. That is the Captains point, you on the left choose what you want to believe regardless of the facts.

      Texan promised he would leave this site but he didn’t, so I don’t choose to believe he’s a liar, he simply is one.

  14. flypusher says:

    If you are coming from a taxes=theft POV you are (not might be, but are) a total NJ.

  15. Confederate Rose says:

    I like nice things and those things include good roads, safe bridges, good schools, safe water supply etc. etc., you know, those things we take for granted. I also know that IF you want nice things you have to pay for them. I have family in Kansas and they positively detest Brownback although they voted for him.

    • texan5142 says:

      Brownback is doubling down on cutting taxes again, you can not fix stupid.

      • Confederate Rose says:

        Brownback is toast. All the Koch’s money can’t buy his way out of this mess. My Uncle and his family are not voting for him again, but I can’t believe they were so stupid to fall for his line of BS in the first place. My Uncle has a large ranch in Kansas with lots of wind turbines. Brownback tried to screw them over to benefit the Koch’s. He stirred up a hornets nest. Kansas next Gov. will be a Dem.

    • CaptSternn says:

      What level of government provides those roads, bridges, water supply, etc.?

      • Confederate Rose says:

        Look it up superman, why should I waste my time playing your silly game.

      • CaptSternn says:

        I guess that means you don’t know. Nevermind then.

      • johnofgaunt75 says:

        Depends on what type of roads and bridges.

        And depends on where the water supply comes from.

  16. bubbabobcat says:

    “Our last reasonably competent [Republican] President was [George HW Bush] who described supply-side theory as ‘Voodoo Economics.’ ”

    Modified it slightly so let’s say I agree with you 80% in your original statement. Don’t worry, Clinton is not even in the discussion in my opinion. It’s a shame he ended the Gulf War a little too soon for his own political fortunes (but ethically timed perfectly in the national and humanitarian interest which was lost on his son W.) and had the bad luck of an ill timed recession hit post war so Billy Boy Reagan’ed his way into office. HW was a reasonable pragmatic and not an ideologue. (Horrors!) Imagine what a 2nd HW term would have done for the future of the Repubs. And the country.

    His only (major) mistake in my opinion was in allowing the humanitarian mission in Somalia to be mission creeped into a warlord Grab a Mole. Which unrepentant draft dodger Slick Willie cluelessly and incompetently expanded into the unnecessary fiasco in Mogadishu we all sadly know too well.

    And thank you for acknowledging Exalted Saint Ronnie raised taxes (11 times! Double Horrors!) and how his aptly entitled voodoo economics trashed the economy into the worst recession since the Great Depression at that time. And 10.4% unemployment. Must be all Obama’s fault.

    Oh yeah, idjit Browback was the only politician outside of Texas to attend Dicky (I’se be smart now cuz I started wearing glasses) Perry’s self aggrandizing “prayer rally”/presidentially ambitious theater in Houston in 2011. Quite telling.

  17. Anse says:

    If the tax rate is 70%, and you cut that to 35%, that’s probably going to do a lot of good. If the tax rate is 35%, and you cut it to 32.5%, that’s probably not going to matter very much. Same is true if you raise the rate 3 percentage points. Rightwingers will proclaim that it’s tantamount to socialism, but whatever.

    My chief complaint about the trickle-down lie is that it’s cultivated a deeply irrational approach to government. We’ve been conditioned to believe that there is one solution for every conceivable set of circumstances. If the economy is good, we cut taxes. If the economy is bad, we cut taxes. If we’re in a time of peace, we cut taxes. If we’re about to invade a foreign country, what do we do? We cut taxes. If your policy for doing everything is the same thing all the time, you’re just selling snake oil.

    • John Galt says:

      The picture is more complicated than this. There is, believe it or not, no correlation between the top marginal tax rate and how much people pay in taxes in aggregate.

      Years Top Marginal Rate Individual income taxes (%GDP)
      50-63 91 7.3
      64-81 70 7.9
      82-87 50 8.6
      88-91 28 7.9
      94-02 40 8.6
      03-12 35 7.5

      Lower taxes and the tax take rises, lower taxes and it falls. The average tax rate for individuals is more telling, and that has been 10-12% since 1979 except for two periods, 1991-94 (9.8-9.9%) and since 2002. The lowest numbers are since 2008 (yes, when the socialist has been in office), at 7.2-7.8%. It is worth noting that that a 4% difference is worth about $570 billion per year. This is more than the current deficit.
      Data from:

    • Anse says:

      I believe that’s true, and of course those in that top tax bracket often make the bulk of their income via investments anyway.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Then their money gets taxed twice, first when they earn it through the income tax, then when they invest and get positive returns.

      • Crogged says:

        How terrible for them, but if avoiding taxes is the goal, don’t earn money or belong to a society of other human beings.

      • CaptSternn says:

        Crogged, that was weak. Really weak. Nobody said anything at all about not paying any taxes. Well, nobody on the right anyway. That is just fiction the left makes up because they think it sounds good.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Stern….so lets not tax the original investment (not taxed twice) and only tax the positive returns as new income.

  18. texan5142 says:

    Went to WND again just to poke around, the hatred seething over there is palpable .

  19. desperado says:

    BTW, Chris, “taxes make Baby Jesus cry” is a keeper.

  20. objv says:

    Weird that New York is trying to get new businesses to relocate there by “transforming communities across the state into tax-free sites for new and expanding businesses. Now, businesses can operate 100% tax-free for 10 years. No income tax, business, corporate, state or local taxes, sales and property taxes, or franchise fees.”

    • goplifer says:

      And the results?

      • objv says:

        Beats me, lifer. You were the one who said that NYC was one of “the biggest economic drivers in recent years.” Could programs like Start-Up NY be one of the reasons?

      • Bart-1 says:

        They advertise as being rated the second best state business climate in the US by Forbes on their TV ads. You don’t believe them?

  21. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Brownback lies.

  22. flypusher says:

    Sure, low taxes are great if you’re looking to move a business somewhere, but a robust infrastructure/ good schools/ good state services are going up benefit you much more in the long run.

  23. desperado says:

    Of course the very appropriately named Mr. Laffer was wrong and Bush 41 was right, supply side IS voodoo economics. Anybody with even the least bit of an objective eye can look at the facts and see that. Supply side explodes deficits. But that really doesn’t matter since Republicans are only concerned about deficits when a Democrat is in the White House.

    Why do people still believe this crap? Keep in mind we’re not talking about economic geniuses here. These are the people who believed defaulting on the debt was no big deal.

  24. texan5142 says:

    Getting my popcorn ready, this should be interesting.

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