Monday, October 13, 2008

ACORN- Another smoke screen

You might or might not be interested in the ACORN story that some of my more "conservative", shall we say, friends say the main stream media is playing down.  I did my own research on this and don't see a big deal there.

1.) As usual, the accusers are overplaying the "link" between Obama and ACORN.  There are some links.  But, they are not as strong as some would like you to believe.  Yes, ACORN favors Obama.  Yes, ACORN gets out mostly Democratic, young and black voters.  So, is their support of Obama supposed to be a surprise? Obama is a Democrat who has made it quite clear that he favors giving the poor and the middle class a fair shot.  Again, Obama supporters are left to correct the record.  And again, we're talking about something other than the real issues.  And, in the process, ACORN gets smeared as Obama distances himself from an organization that actually does good work.
Fact: Barack was never an ACORN community organizer.
Fact: ACORN never hired Obama as a trainer, organizer, or any type of employee.
Fact: ACORN was not part of Project Vote, the successful voter registration drive Barack ran in 1992
In his capacity as an attorney, Barack represented ACORN in a successful lawsuit alongside the U.S. Department of Justice against the state of Illinois to force state compliance with a federal voting access law. For his work helping enforce the law, called “Motor Voter,” Barack received the IVI-IPO Legal Eagle Award in 1995.

2.) The accusations against ACORN concern voter registration fraud, which is different than voter fraud (actually casting a false ballot).  From my research, there is almost no chance of someone voting based on one of these phony registration cards. And, that's coming from more than one article, including this one in Ohio quoting the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections

3.)   ACORN is a favorite target of "conservatives" who disagree with their agenda of getting as many people as possible out to vote.  As I said earlier, even though they are a non-partisan organization, their efforts do tend to register poor voters who might not otherwise register.

4.) The fraud here is against ACORN.  They hire workers to collect the data.  Some of them don't want to work. So, they make up phony cards.  ACORN disciplines these people because it does ACORN no good to have them on their roles.  I think ACORN made a great statement concerning their efforts and the charges.  So, I will paste it here.

In my opinion voter suppression is a much bigger deal than voter registration "fraud".  ACORN has no incentive to turn in fraudulent voter registration cards because they simply do not translate into votes.  You cannot steal an election by registering "Mickey Mouse" and "Jive Turkey" then not having them show up to vote. 

Just for the record, I'm not trying to cover up or suppress anything.  If there is criminal systematic wrong-doing, I hope it's uncovered and the guilty parties are prosecuted.  As is typical of this type of campaign (I refer to a Rovian smear campaign, not to John McCain's campaign per se), there is more than one thing being tossed out at a time.

The pattern is the same.  Find a tenuous association with the candidate and an organization or person, smear that person or organization and then try to tie that back to the candidate.  We've seen it time and time again.  If the media doesn't pick up on your story, then accuse the media of "cover up".  People who live in glass houses should keep their rocks in their pockets.  What about the Alaska Independence Party (secessionists that Palin and her husband "pal around" with.  When they say "Country First" do they mean Alaska or the United States since the founder of the AIP doesn't consider himself to be an American)?  What about McCain's connections to gambling and the gambling industry?  Why is that being covered up?  What about McCain's ties to the "World Anti-Communist League" a group described by a former member as largely a collection of Nazis, Facists, anti-Semites, sellers of forgeries, vicious racialists and corrupt self-seekers?  And, I could go on and on. I could fill this blog with stories and innuendo and even documentation about all of this stuff. You don't see the Democrats or the "Liberals on the left"  pushing these stories, like you see the McCain campaign distracting us with this stuff that suddenly some of my conservative friends find so compelling.

I'm sorry.  I don't see the relevance of ACORN anymore than I see the relevance of the crap I could throw on the wall about McCain.  If there is systemic fraud going on, I'm sure people will get what they have coming to them.  Until I see any evidence tying it to the Obama campaign and until I see evidence of actual fraudulent votes that have been cast (or even intent to cast fraudulent votes), as far as I'm concerned it's not a news story I'm particularly interested in.  Call that turning a blind eye if you want. But, I only have two eyes and I'd prefer to keep them focused on the things that are important in these next 22 or 23 days.

ACORN's statement:

After a similar spate of charges against ACORN in 2006, we learned that then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had fired Republican US Attorneys because they refused to prosecute ACORN for trumped up fraud charges. This was the heart of the US Atttorneygate scandal that led Karl Rove, Gonzales and other top Department of Justice officials to resign.

On Monday, October 6, as voter registration deadlines passed in most states, ACORN completed the largest, most successful nonpartisan voter registration drive in history. In partnership with the nonpartisan organization Project Vote, we helped register over 1.3 million low-income, minority, and young voters in a total of 21 states. Highlights of this success include:

We are proud of this unprecedented success, and grateful to everyone who supported us in this massive effort, from our funders and partners to the literally thousands of hardworking individuals across the country who dedicated themselves to the cause and conducted the difficult work of registering 1.3 million Americans, one voter at a time.
In the course of this work, we hired more than 12,000 registration workers to help people register. As with any business or agency that operates at this scale, there are always some people who want to get paid without really doing the job, or who aim to defraud their employer. Any large department store will have some workers who shoplift. Any large voter registration operation will have some workers who turn in bogus registration forms – not because the "Mickey Mouse" whose name they put on a registration form will ever attempt to vote on Election Day, but because they want to get paid without earning it. Only a small fraction of the workers we hire try to defraud ACORN in this way, but we obviously have a big stake in making sure people know we will turn them in and encourage prosecution when we catch them.
 When a department store calls the police to report a shoplifting employee, no one says the department store is guilty of consumer fraud. But for some reason, when ACORN turns voter registration workers over to the authorities for filling out bogus forms, it gets accused of "voter fraud." This is a classic case of blaming the victim; indeed, the act is outrageous, libelous, and often politically motivated.
As The Nation pointed out recently, ACORN's success in registering millions of low-income and minority voters has made it "something of a right-wing bogeyman." Though ACORN believes that the right to vote is not, and should never be, a partisan issue, attacks from groups threatened by our historic success continue to come, motivated by partisan politics and often perpetuated by the media without full investigation of the facts.

These stories typically lump together "incomplete" voter registration cards (applications missing key information) with "erroneous" or "fraudulent" voter registration applications. These distinctions are important, yet few media outlets discuss them. Predictably, however, partisan forces have tried to use these isolated incidents to incite fear of the "bogeyman" of "widespread voter fraud." But we want to take this opportunity to set the record straight and tell you a few facts to show how these incidents really exemplify everything that ACORN is doing right:

Fact: ACORN has implemented the most sophisticated quality-control system in the voter engagement field but in almost every state we are required to turn in ALL completed applications, even the ones we know to be problematic.
Fact: ACORN flags in writing incomplete, problem, or suspicious cards when we turn them in.  Unfortunately, some of these same officials then come back weeks or months later and accuse us of deliberately turning in phony cards. In many cases, we can actually prove that these are the same cards we called to their attention.
Fact: Our canvassers are paid by the hour, not by the card. ACORN has a zero-tolerance policy for deliberately falsifying registrations, and in the cases where our internal quality controls have identified this happening we have fired the workers involved and turned them in to election officials and law-enforcement.

Fact: No criminal charges related to voter registration have ever been brought against ACORN or partner organizations. Convictions against individual former ACORN workers have been accomplished with our full cooperation, using the evidence obtained through our quality control and verification processes — evidence which in most cases WE called to the attention of authorities.

Fact: There has never been a single proven case of anyone, anywhere, casting an illegal vote as a result of a phony voter registration. Even if someone wanted to influence the election this way, it would not work. Think of the risk someone would have to be motivated to take. They would be a sitting duck to be nabbed and prosecuted.
Fact: Most election officials have recognized ACORN's good work and praised our quality control systems.  Even in the cities where election officials have complained about ACORN, the applications in question represent less than 1% of the thousands and thousands of registrations ACORN has collected.

Fact: Our accusers not only fail to provide any evidence, they fail to suggest a motive: there is virtually no chance anyone would be able to vote fraudulently, so there is no reason to deliberately submit phony registrations. ACORN is committed to ensuring that the greatest possible numbers of people are registered and allowed to vote, so there is also NO incentive to "disrupt the system" with phony cards.
Fact: Similar accusations were made, and attacks launched, against ACORN and other voter registration organizations in 2004 and 2006. These attacks were not only groundless, they have since been exposed as part of the U.S. Attorneygate scandal and revealed to be part of a systematic partisan agenda of voter suppression. Unfortunately, at this time of year, partisan forces and politicians seeking to portray themselves as "fraud-busters" can’t resist the temptation to try again. As David Iglesias (former Republican US Attorney in New Mexico who was forced from office) has said, he refused Karl Rove's and Alberto Gonzales pressure to charge ACORN with voter fraud, because he knew ACORN was innocent of that charge. And another US Attorney, Bradley Schlozman, who did politicize prosecutions against former ACORN canvassers, was forced to acknowledge under cross examination by the Senate Judiciary Committee that ACORN was the victim of fraud by its employees and ACORN had caught the employees and had identified them to law enforcement.

These are the facts, and the truth is that a relatively small group of political operatives are trying to orchestrate hysteria about "voter fraud" and manufacture public outrage that they can use to justify fraudulently challenging voters at the polls and other schemes to suppress the votes of millions of low-income and minority Americans.

These tactics are nothing new, and history has shown that they will come to nothing. We'll continue to weather the storm, as we’ve done for years, and we'll continue to share the truth about our work and express pride about our accomplishments.

Most importantly, we want to assure you that this good work continues, unabated and undeterred. ACORN will not be intimidated, we will not be provoked, and in this important moment in history we will not allow anyone to distract us from these vital efforts to empower our constituencies and our communities to speak for themselves. If the partisan political machines are afraid of low-income and minority voters, they’re going to have to do a lot better than coming after ACORN.

Our work is far from over: now begins our effort to mobilize these new voters around local and national issues, getting them to the polls and helping to channel their commitment and conviction into an ongoing movement for change in our communities.
After all, there are now at least 1.3 million more registered voters in this country, and they will not be silenced.  They're taking an interest, and taking a stand, and they'll be taking their concerns to the voting booth in November.

And ACORN will be here, to make sure that the voices of these Americans are heard, on Election Day and for every day to come.

21 comments:

Someday said...

Well the internet is being scrubbed, but this quote is from an article entitled "Case Study: Chicago-The Barack Obama Campaign" Monday 18. of October 2004 (Social Policy website.....they have recently pulled the link to this article off their website)

"Obama took the case, known as ACORN vs. Edgar (the name of the
Republican governor at the time) and we won. Obama then went on to run
a voter registration project with Project VOTE in 1992 that made it
possible for Carol Moseley Braun to win the Senate that year. Project
VOTE delivered 50,000 newly registered voters in that campaign (ACORN
delivered about 5,000 of them).

Since then, we have invited Obama to our leadership training sessions
to run the session on power every year, and, as a result, many of our
newly developing leaders got to know him before he ever ran for
office. Thus it was natural for many of us to be active volunteers in
his first campaign for STate Senate and then his failed bid for U.S.
Congress in 1996. By the time he ran for U.S. Senate, we were old
friends."
You can see where the article used to be by following the following link.
http://www.socialpolicy.org/index.php?id=800&tx_ttnews[pointer]=1&cHash=7cd2f3184b

I am also aware of the progressives attempts to make sure that no one needs an ID to vote. Combine these two together and what happens?

brian said...

Someday,

When you can show me some evidence of true voter fraud either intended or committed, I'll get a lot more interested. I'm not upset that Tony Romo or Terrell Owens registered to vote in Nevada because they were not going to show up to vote. ACORN's been around a long time. Any evidence of fraudulent VOTING that I should be aware of?

ACORN's explanation makes sense to me. I'll spare us all me retyping what they have already said. Is there anything in their statement that you would like to refute?

Conservatives have opposed and will continue to oppose any effort to turn out masses of poor voters. The motives in these accusations are clear. If ACORN is doing anything illegal, I hope the right people are prosecuted and I'm sure Senator Obama feels the same way.

Unfortunately, there is such distrust in our system right now that almost nothing is done without political motivation. The drive to make sure people need an ID to vote sounds appealing to those who already have an ID. But, when you look at the demographics of who does not have an ID, the motive becomes more clear as to why it's conservatives who are pushing for IDs while progressives resist.

Kansas Bob said...

I appreciate your thoroughness on this Brian.

Tones said...

Good Post Brian - you've done a lot of research, that's for sure. One thing that I can add as a fact (first-hand) is that representatives of ACORN that promote and create voter registrations drives are not nonpartisan. In my case, it was STRONGLY recommended that I vote a certain way. This may not be an ACORN-endorsed tactic, but it's out there.

Have you ever heard of the ACORN loan program? It's still used today and it's a 100% loan-to-value product. These loans are marketed to low-income families, have very liberal underwriting requirements, and currently reflect a high default rate. If ACORN is committed to help low income families get housing, then why are they promoting 100LTV mortgage products? It's not considered predatory lending, but it's on the edge perhaps.

I can't find anything that ACORN is doing to be illegal - however, in my estimation, many of their tactics and programs are irresponsible.

As a 501(c)3 organization and a foundation 15 - "they receive a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit". They are scrutinized and audited regularly - as they should be. Again, if their tactics and programs were obviously and totally above board, they wouldn't be constantly under the microscope - and they have been for a long time. It's just more prevalent in the media now because of Mr. Obama's connection with the organization.

brian said...

Tony,

Here we go off on the rabbit trail about ACORN. But, I raised the topic. Didn't I? Fell right into their trap. Doh!

ACORN cannot be held responsible for the political view of their employees any more than any other organization can. They are officially non-partisan. But, is it any surprise that they are more favored by liberals/progressives/Democrats than by conservatives/Republicans? I would not be shocked to find that some of their supporters don't strongly support a Democratic candidate. I wouldn't be shocked to find that most of their employees are Democrats. Would you? And, I have no idea whether or not there are rules against them expressing their political opinions.

I'm usually not a conspiracy theory type of person, Tony. But, is it possible that ACORN is investigated a lot because the very nature of their work runs counter to the objectives of conservatives/Republicans? You're right. They should be scrutinized. They should be audited to keep everything above board. That is one of the reasons they are REQUIRED to turn in every voter registration card, including they ones they suspect to be fraudulent.

As for the loans, I read something earlier today (while researching this voter registration fraud thing) that says ACORN actually tried to stop predatory lending. Everybody's telling a new story on that whole deal now, aren't they? Everybody sounded the warning two years ago. LOL. Maybe we can save that rabbit trail for another day though. It's not really relevant to the decision we need to make in about three weeks. What is "predatory" is a matter of opinion. I think interest only loans and balloon payments loans are predatory and a lot of people who have nothing to do with ACORN living out in suburbia have taken out these crazy, upside down mortgages and are defaulting by the boatloads. You and I would probably both agree that people who cannot afford a house shouldn't be given a loan to buy that house. But, it wasn't only low income people who were taking out loans they could not pay back.

brian said...

Oh speaking of distractions did anyone see the Newsweek post about the McCain field office rep training his people in Virginia to go out and connect Obama to Osama Bin Ladin? A View from the Ground. This is what is known as anecdotal. The story doesn't mean McCain has trained his people to do this. Should we hold John McCain accountable for this guy's actions? The guy hasn't recanted and the McCain campaign hasn't condemned him.

No. I say, let it go. Let's talk about the issues. I only bring it up to point out that just because one or many ACORN workers might have said or done things doesn't mean that ACORN trained them to say them or approve them saying them.

Tones said...

Rabbits don't eat acorns :-) I don't think this one falls into the conspiracy theory category. Ethically, ACORN has alway been on the edge - nothing new under the sun. Brian, it looks like you candidate just about has it wrapped up - it's going to be an interesting ride!!

brian said...

Tony,

I'm sorry if I didn't make this clear in my original post. Any allegation of election fraud needs to be investigated and taken seriously. What I object to is the attempt at using this to distract us from the issues. ACORN should be investigated and anyone who has done wrong should be prosecuted. But, this is not, as far as we know, an attempt to steal the election. And, if it is, it's a pretty pitiful one since they have been so flat out busted!

McCain has promised to reinvent himself yet again this week. But the conservative pundits are running like rats from a sinking ship. Who knows what the next three weeks holds for us? I, for one, will not be lulled into a false sense of security.

Peace,
Brian

Someday said...

I'm happy to report that the link that I made is back up again. The article has been modified, but not the part that I quoted.

Do you believe that discussing voter integrity is a distraction Brian? I bet you would if it was the Republicans in the middle of this controversy.

ACORN is not the largest voter registration organization by the way. But they are the most investigated and convicted.
I look at Ohio where the courts have had to force the Ohio Secretary of State to provide the local election boards the information that they need to figure out which registrations are real and which are fraudulent. She did not want to do so. Despite the fact that one of the largest counties has more voters registered to vote than it has eligible voters living there.
I would like to point out, while some are calling it "Rovian tactics", the Nevada ACORN raid was performed by Secretary of State Ross Miller, a Democrat.
So we are calling for investigations. We are not calling for an end to ACORN, but trying to get them to reform before it's too late.

I would love to address the issues of economics, but unfortunately, both candidates have dismal plans. At least McCain's camp seems to realize that trickle down economics is a fact of life. Look at this whole mess our economy is in. It seems everyone agrees the bad stuff is going to trickle down to the middle/lower classes, but yet the left refuses to admit that good stuff trickles down as well.
I'm sorry, but Obama's plan is to hand money out to folks that don't even pay taxes. He is changing the name of welfare to "tax credits". Bill Clinton tried to reform welfare, but Obama is going to make it bigger than it ever has been. It's redistribution of wealth. Socialism. If you like socialism, vote for Obama. Just quit calling it what it is.

I would hope that after this giant economic downturn, a candidate would drastically alter their economic plans. When Obama does so, it's brilliant. When McCain does it, it's erratic. Go figure. Both plans are bad, one is just not as bad.

Someday said...

Edit:
I said "Just quit calling it what it is. "

I meant "Just start calling it what it is."

brian said...

I just don't see how people can refer to Obamas income tax plan as a redistribution of wealth or socialism when it simply returns us to the income tax rates we had under Reagan.

We have had a progressive income tax rate for generations. It's based on the idea that it takes a certain amount of money to live and people who are barely getting by shouldn't have to pay as high a percentage as people who are living high on the hog. As I was earning my way up through the income ranks, I was always upset that the government took a bigger and bigger chunk of my take home pay. But, now that I am older, I see the wisdom in it. I don't think that the millionaires John McCain is proposing giving tens of thousands of dollars in tax breaks need those breaks nor do I think giving them those breaks is good economic policy.

Barack Obama has a made a huge mistake in his tax plan by allowing his opponents to call it a tax increase on the wealthy. It is not. He simply favors rolling back the breaks given to the wealthiest wage earners so he can give even larger breaks to the Middle Class. That is calling it what it is. In what Orwellian world is the expiration of a temporary tax cut referred to as a tax increase?

By the same standards that John McCain says Obama voted for tax increases 94 times, John McCain voted for tax increases 105 times in the same time frame. Wonder why Senator McCain never mentions that. LOL.

Tones said...

But Brian - you say " people who are barely getting by shouldn't have to pay as high a percentage as people who are living high on the hog." THEY DON'T! Here's the 2008 bracket:

10% Income - not over 15,650
15% Income - not over 63,700
25% Income - not over 128,500
28% Income - not over 195,800
33% Income - not over 349,700
35% Income - over over 349,700

The people living high on the hog as you say, pay 350% more than the lowest income earners. ANd after tax credits for the low income earners, their net owed is typically reduced to zero.

So those who pay no tax, is Obama planning on sending them a net check (based on his plan for a tax break for 95% of Americans)

Not only do the folks that live high on the hog pay over 80% of the taxes today, they are also responsible for employment of over 70% of the entire workforce.

His plan has not been thought all the way through.

brian said...

Tony,

Huh? You just made my point with the progressive tax rate table you posted. Didn't I say that a progressive tax rate is nothing new? We haven't called that a "redistribution of wealth" or "socialism". Also, the reality is that while these marginal tax rates are the rates rich people are supposed to pay with loopholes and deductions, we all know that most pay nothing like the top rates (by the way, these are MARGINAL rates. Rich people don't have 35% on their first dollar. It's 35% on the dollars above $350,000. Comparing their marginal rate to the guy making $15,650 is just absurd. The guy making $16,000 can't even afford groceries. The concept is the guy making $350,000 has a lot of excess money.

This deal about the guy making $350,000 employs people like we owe him a debt of gratitude is about the most amazing bunch of hogwash I've seen average Americans swallow. Like small business owners are running charities and employ people out of the goodness of their hearts. We (I'm one of those guys) employ the people we need to run our businesses so we can make money. We don't employ any more than we need to get the work done. And, guess what, their salaries are deductible as business expenses. Most small business owners are not pulling $350,000 a year out of their businesses. Guess who's pulling down these salaries? Corporate Executives for the most part. People with adjusted gross incomes in this range are usually overpaid guys making several times a year what the average worker in their company is making.

As for Obama's plan not being thought all the way through, with the exception of the very first part of the 20th Century, top marginal tax rates have been historically much higher than they are now. They've often been in the 70-80 even 90% range for a lot of the time. Again, usually these people up in the stratospheres have so many deductions and loopholes they pay nothing close to these rates. So, the rates have to be set artificially high to get them to pay their fair share.

Trickle down appeals to the guys on top. The people on the bottom are sick of being trickled on.

Someday said...

Brian,

You are not getting what Tones is saying. He is not arguing against a progressive tax structure at all. That's not the point.

Obama sees the economy as a pie that can be split up and redistributed to make the playing field more even. If you treat it like a pie, then that is what you will have. A finite, stagnant economy with no growth.
Our economy is not a pie. It is dynamic.
You have grown your business under several administrations and have managed to be successful, haven't you? What in the name of government makes you believe that the people Obama wants to hand money to can't do the EXACT same thing? Are you better than them? Are you smarter than them? Are you somehow capable while the vast majority who have not had your fortune are not?

What is my incentive, if I have a business that makes $200,000 a year to grow that business beyond $250,000 in the type of atmosphere Senator Obama is proposing? $3,000 for hiring a new employee? That doesn't even begin to cover the cost of hiring that employee, and it doesn't make up for the higher taxes I will have to pay.

Tones point to you is this:
The people who create jobs and produce wealth (this is the wealthiest nation the planet Earth has EVER seen) are already paying over 90% of the taxes. Let me quote the Tax Foundation's "Summary of Latest Federal Individual Income Tax Data"
"New data released by the IRS today offers interesting insights into the distributional spread of the federal income tax burden, new analysis by the Tax Foundation shows. The new data shows that the top-earning 25% of taxpayers (AGI over $62,068) earned 67.5% of the nation's income, but they paid more than four out of every five dollars collected by the federal income tax (86%). The top 1% of taxpayers (AGI over $364,657) earned approximately 21.2% of the nation's income (as defined by AGI), yet paid 39.4% of all federal income taxes. That means the top 1% of tax returns paid about the same amount of federal individual income taxes as the bottom 95% of tax returns."
http://www.taxfoundation.org/files/ff104.pdf
These are the folks Senator Obama wants to raise taxes on. The shakers and the movers.
Ignored in all of this is the fact that he also wants to end George Bush's tax cuts, and guess what? The average person got a tax cut. His way around that is by pretending that since those are not permanent, letting go of thos is not a tax increase. Then, what happens is he plays a shell game and cuts off a portion of the middle class' raised taxes and calls that a tax cut. It's still an increase, except for those who do not pay taxes at all. They get a check in the mail from you and me. Money for nothing.

Don't fall for this shell game. Call it what it is. A tax increase for everyone except those who don't pay. That's not good since According to data from the IRS, the bottom 50 percent of income earners pay approximately 4 percent of income taxes. You know what that means? Do the math.

You are being trickled on right this very minute. The bad fortunes of the wealthy is trickling right down all over you. Don't you get it?

brian said...

Someday,

Yes, I get what Tony said and what you are saying. But, it is you who is using words in a way beyond their normal meaning, IMO. Progressive tax rates are not socialism. They are the norm in the United States. I see you ignored my point that the very rich RARELY if ever pay these MARGINAL rates because they hire accountants and lawyers to find them loopholes and shelters.

The incentive for growing your business beyond $250,000 is you get to keep some of the money. Granted it's not as much of the marginal dollars as the earlier dollars. But, it's something. Even if the marginal tax rate were 99%, the incentive would be to make that extra buck out of 100. Since we are not talking about raising marginal rates anything even CLOSE to historic highs, we're not exactly talking about uncharted waters here or some great social experiment.

Again, I think you're playing some weird word games when you call the expiration of a temporary tax cut a tax increase. But, hey, if it makes you happy, I'll concede that point. Those making more than $250,000 would pay a little more than they are paying today. Obama wants to give the middle class, the fuel in the engine of the economy a larger tax break than George Bush gave them and a larger tax break than John McCain would give them.

Face it. We're talking about economic and social theories here. Obama and McCain have two very different philosophies that economists could argue over for years. Barack Obama believes a fair tax code has higher progressive rates on the very rich than we have today so that the people who are just getting by can get a bigger break. Overall, he feels this will be better for everybody because if the middle class doesn't have money to buy the good and services produced by the owners, game over. Also, the gap between rich and poor continues to expand and we get real social problems that we really don't want to deal with. John McCain OTOH, believes giving the money to the "movers and the shakers" is the way to go. Eventually, it'll find its way into the hands of the middle class.

Your statistics are interesting and are prime way of the way they can be used to manipulate a point. The super rich do pay a vast majority of the taxes. Shocking, huh? Until you look at the numbers underneath it. CEO's of corporations make an average of almost 400 times what an average production worker makes. They make in a day what one of their workers makes in a year. It only takes a few huge numbers to really skew statistics. So, just to be "even" the CEO of a corporation should be paying what approximately 400 of his workers are paying in taxes. That's if we had a flat tax rate.

Someday said...

Brian,

They do not pay the margin because of loopholes and tax incentives, etc etc. That does not change the fact that 1% of ALL taxpayers is already paying 95% of all taxes. These figures are what they are actually paying, not what they would pay without loopholes.

Socialism has as a core tenant, the redistribution of wealth. Period. What you don't want to talk about is the fact that Senator Obama plans on writing a check (called a tax credit) to give to people that normally would not even pay a dime of income taxes. That is uber socialism, not "progressive tax rates" as you call them. He, by using the term "refundable tax credit" is using Washington-speak for the fact that you can receive these checks even if you have no income-tax liability. In other words, they are an income transfer -- a federal check -- from taxpayers to nontaxpayers. Once upon a time we called this "welfare," or in George McGovern's 1972 campaign a "Demogrant." Mr. Obama's genius is to call it a tax cut. The Tax Foundation estimates that under the Obama plan 63 million Americans, or 44% of all tax filers, would have no income tax liability and most of those would get a check from the IRS each year. Income Redistribution fueled by the largest tax hike EVER on the top 5%. That is Socialism with a capital "S".

brian said...

Someday,

Not only do you continue to ignore facts. Now you're making them up. Progressive tax rates do not equal socialism. And, socialism does not have the redistribution of wealth as its core tenant. The core tenant of socialism is an equal distribution of wealth. You are assuming that socialism only occurs as a reaction to an uneven distribution of wealth in the first place.

I got news for you. The Earned Income Tax Credit isn't some new Obama plan. It's a CREDIT for the WORKING poor. Now, I'm starting to wonder if you're interested in being fair and honest or simply promoting a position.

In either event, progressive tax rates are as American as apple pie. Calling a return to what is still a historically low top marginal rate Socialism is simply flat out wrong.

Someday said...

I just go where the numbers take me Brian. I am not "making" them up as you say.

You are talking about the Earned income tax credit? Who said anything about that? I'm sorry if I didn't make myself more clear. Let me list some examples:

- A $500 tax credit ($1,000 a couple) to "make work pay"
- A $4,000 tax credit for college tuition.
- A 10% mortgage interest tax credit (on top of the existing mortgage interest deduction and other housing subsidies).
A "savings" tax credit of 50% up to $1,000.
- An expansion of the earned-income tax credit that would allow single workers to receive as much as $555 a year, up from $175 now, and give these workers up to $1,110 if they are paying child support
- A child care credit of 50% up to $6,000 of expenses a year.

These are all refundable, therefore, having no income tax liability does not prevent a person from collecting a government check for these "tax credits". I can go much deeper into this if you like.

You said:
"socialism does not have the redistribution of wealth as its core tenant. The core tenant of socialism is an equal distribution of wealth."

I disagree. If we were speaking of Communism, then I would agree. We are not. We are talking about socialism.
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_the_core_beliefs_of_socialists

I would like to finish this post up with a quote from Norman Thomas, a U.S. Socialist Party presidential candidate in 1940, 1944 and 1948.
"..."The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of 'liberalism,' they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened."...

I am not making this stuff up. I wish I was that smart.

brian said...

No. Sorry. I was not accusing you of making up numbers. Numbers can be skewed and selected to show just about anything we want to show. What I said you were making up was 1.) equating progressive income tax to socialism (which you still have not addressed and 2.) the primary tenet of socialism is to redistribute wealth. It's not. If we were socialists, the only reason we would have to redistribute wealth would be if it were unevenly distributed in the first place. I don't know that you can use WikiAnswers as an authoritative source on the goals of socialism, BTW.

The first point is germane to the conversation, the second is really a distraction. So, let's drop the goals of socialism, if you don't mind. Is progressive taxation socialism? For the last 80 years (as far back as I have looked), the American people haven't thought so. We've had progressive tax rates because we thought those who have more can afford to pay more. This is important enough to warrant another post where I will illustrate to you how numbers aren't always they appear to be on the surface, why I think progressive taxation is a good idea and how far progressive taxation, as we've had it in the United States, is from true socialism.

Tones said...

Taxation under the socialist model is defined a percentage of tax applied to an individual or collective surplus. In other words, you work harder, make more, you pay more, even if you don't use more. Progressive taxation falls under the category of surplus taxation. It is a socialist tenent. The US has always had a thread of socialism weaved into it's fabric. At what point does it become full-blown socialism? I guess it depends one your personal definition of socialism.

I think Mr. Obama is a socialist, and if he could, would apply it across the US fabric, no question. He's a smart man, and realizes that to turn this ship, it takes time. He's a socialist, but what's wrong with that? It's the reason I'm not voting for him, and it's the reason why my bro-in-law Tom is voting for him. That's just the way it is. I personally don't want the US to become any more socialist than it already is.

brian said...

Tony,

We're making progress here. I can feel it.

So, you're saying any progressive taxation is socialistic? Is that it? OK. I get that. It is more socialistic than a flat tax. To that, I would reply that Obama's tax plan is less socialistic than the income tax rates we've had for most of the last 80 years. Historically, we've had higher top marginal tax rates. Would you be in favor of a flat tax, Tony?

I also agree that we've always had some degree of socialism weaved into the fabric of the United States. I'm glad you recognize that, even though I sense that may be a problem for you. Many people think the ideal society is purely capitalistic and a pure straight Democracy. The Founding Fathers didn't see it that way. The idea that that is supposed to be the way the United States is is a fallacy. Maybe that's what some think it should be. But, that's not the way it was designed.

OK. I was with you until you called Senator Obama a socialist. Of course that is your opinion. And, by your definition, you'd probably call me a socialist, too. I'd say both Senator Obama and are somewhere along the continuum between socialist and capitalist. I am definitely someone who worship the free markets and thinks they can solve all our ills. He is not either. I would say he would take great exception to being labeled a socialist (only being half way through his book even). I think he has a good grasp of the checks and balances built into our great country and I know he wants to make it a land of opportunity, but at the same time make it a place where we take care of the least among us.