Open Thread: “Takers, Makers, Givers”


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From a commentor at Seattle’s Slog:

A theme you may have noticed in the conservative world is the idea that on Tuesday night “Takers” won. People who have no interest in contributing to society and just want to mooch off the hard-working bankers, or “Makers,” this country depends on.

What makes me the most upset about this interpretation from the right is the idea that they refuse to acknowledge the people who want to be “Givers.” People who are happy and proud to pay taxes as a representation of contributing to a society we share and want to function….

The right ignores the fact that people need help sometimes and there other people that are willing and able to provide that help. Willing and able. Including people who used to be “Takers.” I came from a low-class background and worked almost every day since I was 13. It started so I could have a little extra spending money and not take from the family budget for a movie night with friends. Then it was survival so I didn’t have to go on Food Stamps (even though I qualified). And now that I make enough to give back to the society that helped me, I am happy to fill out my tax form knowing it is paying for Food Stamps for a hungry kid trying to get through school. Or maybe going to Social Security Disability Income to help out a person who worked their whole life but had a tragic accident that made them unable to function in a job. Or to a great transit system that makes owning an expensive car unnecessary….

We need to hear from some more “Givers.” We need to make paying taxes as righteous as saying the Pledge of Allegiance.

Read the whole thing, here.

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85 replies
  1. 1
    AA+ Bonds says:

    .
    .
    BREAKING ELECTION NEWS: PENNSYLVANIA STILL IN PLAY FOR ROMNEY

    Pa. officials plan no probe despite extraordinary turnout, totals for Obama in Philly

    “I don’t find it hard to believe that there are neighborhoods in the United States where President Obama got 97 to 99 percent of the vote — basically all African-Americans,” said Michael Barone, a Fox News contributor who is the longtime editor of The Almanac of American Politics. “There are such neighborhoods, and you can see them in central-city, black ghetto (areas).”

  2. 2
    West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.) says:

    I see that Jesse Jackson Jr. is looking at jailtime. I know that this issue has been warming on the stove for a while, but it sure seems like as soon as the Dems have a great election, then someone does something to diminish the momentum just a little and get wingers rattling on about Democratic-party corruption. Last time it was Blago (he of the amazing hair-helmet). Now it’s Jackson. Talk about crummy timing.

  3. 3
    Maude says:

    If the 20 states that want out of the US, left, We’d have 20 states.
    Let them go. They will have to provide everything, no federal help. They will have to have embassies.
    We could make them no fly zones.

  4. 4
    👽 Martin says:

    Ayn Rand says that ‘givers’ are immoral, and Rand knows more about morality and patriotism than Jefferson ever did.

  5. 5
    cathyx says:

    I pay a lot in taxes and I’m not happy about all that money I don’t get to keep, but I know that if I want public services, I have to pay for it. What makes me mad is the elite who pay less taxes than me while earning considerably more than me.

  6. 6

    @👽 Martin: Eddie Willers in Atlas Shrugged was a Giver. Didn’t end up so well for him, though.

  7. 7
    currants says:

    I was talking with a friend this past weekend whose family (in times past) was the biggest taxpayer in the town. That was something to be proud of: it meant that you were wealthy and could contribute more than anyone else. Oh, right, and it was in Denmark.

  8. 8
    MattW says:

    Taxes: they’re what makes civilization work.

  9. 9
    currants says:

    @cathyx: I’m not happy about them either, but I’d gladly pay more if it meant I could know that some kid somewhere wouldn’t be hungry, or had a home to go to instead of a shelter.

  10. 10
    JMHall says:

    Makers sometimes create Takers when they ship jobs overseas, leaving the workers without work and in some cases needing to go on assistance. Some Makers get subsidies from the government on all levels, whether it be direct handout from the feds or tax breaks or tax exemptions when they put a business in local areas, so they are Takers, too.

  11. 11
    dmsilev says:

    You’d think that for a bunch of ‘constitutional originalists’, the conservatives would have read the damn thing. They wouldn’t even have to read very far. It’s in the preamble:

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    What part of ‘promote the general welfare’ do they willfully refuse to understand?

  12. 12
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @West of the Rockies (formerly Frank W.): The GOP doesn’t need an excuse, and if they do, they’ll be able to find one. Dem politicians are people, just like everyone else, which means they sometimes do stupid things.

  13. 13
    matt says:

    Nice table here of givers and takers:

    http://digbysblog.blogspot.ca/.....on-by.html

  14. 14
    NotMax says:

    @Maude

    50 minus 20 = 30. No doubt an innocent typo. :)

    Thousands upon thousands upon thousands fought, were maimed and died to determine and seal the status of the Union as indivisible.

    Attractive as splitting off certain portions may feel, championing for jettisoning (or worse, cavalierly dismissing the severing of the ties that bind) the legacy of a brutal war and the determination of its victory is mephitic.

  15. 15
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @dmsilev: What part of ‘promote the general welfare’ do they willfully refuse to understand?

    All of it. Especially the ‘general welfare’ part.

    As St. Margaret of Grantham was wont to say: “Who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first.”

    Here endeth the lesson.

  16. 16
    PhoenixRising says:

    Taxes are the price we pay for civilization.

    Says so right on the IRS building in DC.

    I took a picture of it and emailed it to the rabid right wing whacko who owns the building my business rents offices from. He’s one of those guys with the Obama Is the Socialzm bumper stickers. Oddly he never thanked me or commented at all.

  17. 17
    askew says:

    Not even 1 week after the re-election of Obama and GOS is returning to their usual recipe out OUTRAGE over rumors. mcjoan is dredging up old rumors from 2011 to get her outrage on. At the same time that there are hysterical diaries on the rec list and frontpage, another frontpager is wondering why the media doesn’t respect DailyKos.

    So, I am hoping that BJ continues to stay busy after the election and gives me an alternative to reading DK.

  18. 18
    Roger Moore says:

    @currants:
    I’m perfectly happy to pay more in taxes if it’s because I’m doing better personally. I was doing fine last year, so if I’m doing even better this year it’s petty to begrudge a share of my improvement to make the rest of the country better.

    Hearing that Mitt found it painful to tithe to his church was one of the things that really convinced me of what an asshole he is. As I understand his religious beliefs, he really didn’t build that; God gave him all the good things he has in life. If he begrudged God His share, it shows that Mitt is a vile, ungrateful SOB. I guess I feel the same way about rich people who do well in this country and begrudge the government its share for making their success possible.

  19. 19
    Alison says:

    Love this, and agree totally. I was always happy to pay into these systems, and especially now that I’ve become a – gasp! – “taker”. Currently and for the foreseeable future on SSDI and I am grateful as hell it’s there for me, otherwise I’d be screwed and so would my parents’ retirement accounts, probably. (As it is, I still am dependent on them, living with them at 32, even with the government assistance because despite what wingnuts seem to think, you ain’t exactly able to live high on the hog when you get assistance. You can barely live alongside the hog, if that were a saying.)

    I wish I wasn’t having to live off of others’ taxes, but illness doesn’t care about Randian objectivism, takers/makers, 47%, etc etc. I wish I was able to support myself as I had been for years, but being that I’m not, I feel blessed to get what I do from the government, and whenever I am able to work again and start contributing again – go back to being a giver – I’ll be happy to confer that blessing to someone else in need.

    Guess I’m just a bleeding heart moocher. Oh well.

  20. 20
    300baud says:

    Yes! I regularly tell people that I’m happy to pay my taxes. Teahadists have no idea what to do with that. It’s so much fun, especially in April.

  21. 21
    Baud says:

    @askew:

    I was going to mention that also. Those people are irrelevant. Thank you term limits.

  22. 22
    WereBear says:

    It’s the admission fee to civilization.

    Have these idiots never been to Disney World?

  23. 23
    Arclite says:

    That pretty much sums up my life. Mom was divorced when I was 3 (abusive husband), and we were on welfare for several years as she went back to school to get her degree. She did, got a good job, met her next husband at that school, got married, and put me and my bro through college.

    As a result of help from the state, I’m now an educated, contributing member of society with a decent paying job. This is why we have these systems in place, to raise people up and break the cycle of poverty. If not for welfare, food stamps, and college grants to Mom, I’d have never gone to college and gotten my degree. I’d probably be pumping gas or something.

  24. 24
    Felonius Monk says:

    Couple of Items:

    1) CRS study that provided strong evidence that cutting taxes for very wealthy has little or no impact on job creation was pulled from public consumption by Boner/McTurtle because it doesn’t fit with bullshit they are trying to peddle.

    How do we make an issue out of this to get it back out there for the upcoming tax fight?

    2) Lots of grumbling already coming from the left that Obama has already sold us out on Medicare, Social Security, etc. with some kind of grand bargain secret deal with the repugs. I’m not sure I buy any of this, but thoughts, comments anyone?

    Oh, btw, I gave at the office.

  25. 25
    gene108 says:

    @dmsilev:

    Promote general welfare has been grossly abused beyond the intent of the Founders per wing nut thinking.

  26. 26
    Roger Moore says:

    @gene108:
    You betcha. The founders were clearly thinking of sober minded white property owners when they talked about promoting the general welfare; they didn’t mean to extend it to strapping young bucks buying T-bones.

  27. 27
    catclub says:

    @NotMax: Or ask them, “So, when you say the Pledge of Allegiance, are you just lying?”

  28. 28
    Maude says:

    @dmsilev:
    Non white people are not part of the general in general welfare. Ronnie Reagan said so.

  29. 29
    Ken J. says:

    Applause for the Dick Gaughan clip. I wonder if he’ll ever tour the US again?

  30. 30
    Holden Pattern says:

    1) I am happy to pay about half of my taxes every year — I don’t mind the amount, but how little we as a nation get for our tax dollar. I resent that half of them go to blowing shit up and a bit more to subsidize oillionaires and financiers while we have crappy roads and rail and receive health care on sufferance.

    2) Part of being happy to pay is that I feel like everyone who is able ought to pay their share. The wingnut response of “why don’t you just give more if you want to pay more” is a rejection of shared obligation — just as the billionaires who pay nothing in taxes because the code is rigged is a rejection of shared obligation. And nothing makes people want to withdraw from the game more than being shown that they’re the mark.

  31. 31
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I don’t love the idea that it’s “righteous” or “giving” to be paying taxes.

    IMHO it’s more effective to say that we pay taxes, even if it’s grudging, so that there’s something there to protect us if and when we fall. The problem with the Makers vs. the Takers is that a huge proportion of people go through life with stints as both.

    Conservatives just tend to see themselves as the ones getting ripped off, never as the ones benefiting. But ironically enough the whole premise is like… insurance. When things are going well, you pay for more than you get back. When things are going badly, you pay for less than you get back.

  32. 32
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Felonius Monk:

    thoughts, comments anyone?

    Some people are only happy when it rains?

  33. 33
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @NotMax:

    Thousands upon thousands upon thousands fought, were maimed and died to determine and seal the status of the Union as indivisible.

    Yeah? Thousands upon thousands upon thousands fought, were maimed and died to establish the Ming dynasty, or to overthrow the Ming dynasty and replace it with the Qing dynasty, or to determine Genghiz Khan as the rightful ruler of the world, or to establish the USSR.

    Doesn’t mean their cause was right or that it would last.

    Explain to me how Americans can hold that it was right and good for Englishmen in the Americas to rebel and form a new country, but not for Southern Americans to rebel and form a new country, save on anything but happenstance.

    Fuck it – let the South go and rot in their own crapulence. let anyone who doesn’t want to live in a theocratic shithole move North.

  34. 34
    NotMax says:

    @Maude

    David Frum remains eternally a hairball in the throat of the body politic, which smacked the ol’ gob all the more earlier today when I heard him emphatically state that it is past time for the Republican party to cease invoking Reagan, and to (as Sgt. Cosgrove in Freakazoid so often said): Cut. That. Out.

  35. 35
    Mike in NC says:

    The local rag had two Letters to the Editor today. One writer said he was ashamed of being an American because Obama had been re-elected and hoped that God would save the country. The other claimed that Lincoln was actually a Marxist and was to blame for the Civil War and Big Government, etc. At this rate, we should expect Peak Wingnut by early 2014.

  36. 36
    Baud says:

    Holy shit! The steelworker guy on Ed said that labor let the President down by not supporting his agenda more during the first term.

    I have now heard everything.

  37. 37
    Alison says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans: Please don’t start that shit. There are plenty of good people in all parts of the country, and there are assholes everywhere too. Change needs to happen from within, from activists on the ground making things better, and we already see that happening in places like Texas and Georgia. Demographics change, states change – hell, I live in CA which is blue as blue can get, Presidential-wise, but wasn’t that way at all just a few decades ago.

    And the whole “just move North” thing is really ignorant. Not everyone has the money to just pick up and move, and not everyone wants to leave even if their state sucks. People have jobs, family, school etc. Their lives are no less worthy than yours just because they happen to live somewhere different.

  38. 38
    Baud says:

    @Alison:

    There are some western states that are electorally more red than the south.

  39. 39
    Roger Moore says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans:

    Explain to me how Americans can hold that it was right and good for Englishmen in the Americas to rebel and form a new country, but not for Southern Americans to rebel and form a new country, save on anything but happenstance.

    Those Englishmen in the Americas had no say in their own government. The Southerners did have a say in their government, but were pissed off because the results of democratic elections weren’t going their way. People who have no say in their government have a right to fight for self determination. People who do have a say don’t get to drop out because things aren’t going their way and they’re sore losers.

  40. 40
    NotMax says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans

    It may come as a shock, but the Civil War’s aim was not establishment of a dictatorship, nor a dynasty nor totalitarianism.

    If you assert the aim unjust, if you purposefully toss the concept of representative and accountable governance into the dump, we truly have nothing more to discuss.

    Shorter response: The first fissure in the integrity of the eggshell hastens the degradation of the core.

  41. 41
    Mnemosyne says:

    “Every cent anybody pays in tax is spent to benefit him. There’s no better place to spend it. I enjoy this country and I really think I get my money’s worth.”
    — Carole Lombard

  42. 42
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    Those Englishmen in the Americas had no say in their own government. The Southerners did have a say in their government, but were pissed off because the results of democratic elections weren’t going their way.

    So a minority dominated by a majority has no right to try for independence if that domination is through the electoral ballot?

    I point out that the United Mexican States had elections. Will you be pressing for returning Texas to Mexico on the grounds that its declaration of independence was invalid?

    The Southerners were right in that their interests were being ignored and run over by a dominant North (that there interests deserved to be run over, if not exterminated completely, is beside the point). If they had succeeded, then we’d be subject to just the same sort of consensual wisdom that they had a right to secede.

    Let me be explicit here – IMHO your canned reply is a product of happenstance rather than principle. It serves to justify and rationalise the course of events after they occured, and could well have been replaced if they had gone elseways.

  43. 43
    Ben Cisco says:

    @Alison: Well put.

    NeoConfederacy is not just a collection of states but also a state of mind. And sometimes those minds change.

  44. 44
    jefft452 says:

    I have to say that I agree with wingnut that the world is made up of makers and takers, the producers and the moochers

    They just seem a little blind as to which is which

    The auto worker vs the hedge fund manager who risks “other peoples money” and whets his beak

    When Paul Ryan, Rick Santelli, Ann Coulter et al say “Makers vs Takers my first thought is :
    What in the blue fu ck have you ever made? Ever. In your entire wasted lives?

  45. 45
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Alison:

    I agree. And the whole geography thing is bullshit, too. Liberals and conservatives can both be found everywhere. There aren’t even any counties that are literally 100% one way or the other, let alone states. No matter how you try to draw the line of separation, some people are going to be left out.

    I’ve honestly found the whole “just move to the North/East” thing to be a bit deluded. Even the people who could afford to make the move, how are the Northern states expected to handle such a crush of migration? Where will people work? Where will they live? It’s just nonsense-it’s a platitude some liberals tell themselves when they’re angry.

  46. 46
    jefft452 says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans: “The Southerners were right in that their interests were being ignored and run over by a dominant North”

    Fugitive Slave Act

  47. 47
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Felonius Monk:

    Lots of grumbling already coming from the left that Obama has already sold us out on Medicare, Social Security, etc. with some kind of grand bargain secret deal with the repugs. I’m not sure I buy any of this, but thoughts, comments anyone?

    There is a group of people on the left who are absolutely, 100 percent convinced without a doubt that Obama is planning to kill Social Security and Medicare. They have no rational basis for this belief, so they spend their time scanning his statements and parsing his language to “prove” that they’re right.

    Honestly, it’s about on par with the people who thought Harold Camping had correctly predicted the date of the Rapture, and deserves to be treated with the same seriousness, IMO.

    ETA: I don’t know exactly what motivates their belief, but I can’t help noticing that most of them are people in their late 50s who lost a big chunk of their 401(k)s and/or lost their jobs in 2008 and are having a hard time making that retirement money up.

  48. 48
    Kristine says:

    During the Veep debate in ’08, Biden stated that paying taxes was patriotic. Palin disputed that, of course, and the comment didn’t receive any supportive follow-up as the campaign went on. I don’t recall any wingnut poutrage, but I am guessing there was some.

    I hope the discussion is revived. I’m a Giver now. A give-backer. We needed to use food stamps for a time when I was in high school–Dad was too sick to work and had applied for SSD, and Mom juggled three different pink-collar jobs that paid not quite enough. I received SS in college, along with grants, loans, and work-study. Now I’m paying back, and am happy to do so.

  49. 49
    NotMax says:

    @ Phoenician in a time of Romans

    Everything is a result of happenstance. So what?

    Are you seriously positing that people (on both sides) bitterly battled for ‘an outcome to be determined later?’

    False equivalence is no equivalence.

  50. 50
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Honestly? Let the wingnuts keep mucking about in their Maker-Taker dichotomy. We should be encouraging them to place their faith in as many bullshit right-wing truisms as they can handle. It’s part of why they lost this election.

    I think in terms of effective argument, the “givers” idea can work on some people. I’ve always found a good way to shut up libertarian greedheads is with the “where did you go to school? What roads do you drive on? What kind of funding does your job get?” spiel. It’s not like they fall down and repent, but the more self-aware ones tend to shut up.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ben Cisco:

    I have to admit, I think I’m a little in love with whoever made that sign.

  52. 52
    El Cid says:

    I find it sad that at my current quite average to below average income when I pay a serious fraction of that income in income taxes I fail to freak out and see evil vampire moochers all around me, whereas if I were to become much, much richer, such that I would face no immediate and maybe no plausible material risk to my health and survival, I’m supposed to suddenly get very, very angry at how many dollars I’m paying in taxes.

    Somehow I seem to be able to survive this onslaught at $XX(000), but if I made 5 x $XX or 10 x $XX or 100 x $XX or 1,000 x $XX, then I need to spend all my time fuming and screaming about all the money-grubbers sucking my productivity away.

    Even if the fraction of my income paid in taxes is the same, or even less.

  53. 53
    jefft452 says:

    The Little Red Hen found a grain of wheat,
    Said “This looks good enough to eat,
    But I’ll plant it instead, make me some bread,”
    Said to the other guys down the street,
    “Who will help me plant this wheat?”
    “Not I!” said the dog and the cat.
    “Not I!” said the mouse and the rat.
    “I will then,” said the Little Red Hen,
    And she did.

    The bread looked good and smelled so fine
    The gang came running and fell in line;
    “We’ll do our part with all our heart
    To help you eat this chow!”
    She said, “I do not need you now.”

    “I planted and hoed this grain of wheat,
    Them that works not, shall not eat,
    That’s my credo,” the little bird said,
    And that’s why they called her Red.

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Kristine:

    That’s what’s so weird to me about how the minds of some right-wingers work. I hear a story like yours and think, “Great, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to work — someone uses food stamps and other assistance to get on their feet and become productive, thriving citizens, and the tax dollars they pay back into the system helps someone else do the same thing.”

    Right-wingers hear that same story and are outraged that someone would use food stamps to get by while getting a college degree. They should have taken a fast-food job instead of trying to improve their job skills! I just don’t get it.

  55. 55
    jefft452 says:

    The bum on the rods is a social flea
    Who gets an occasional bite;
    The bum on the plush is a social leech,
    Blood-sucking day and night.

    The bum on the rods is a load so light
    That his weight we scarcely feel,
    But it takes the labor of dozens of men
    To furnish the other a meal.

    As long as you sanction the bum on the plush,
    The other will always be there,
    But rid yourself of the bum on the plush
    And the other will disappear.

    Then make an intelligent, organized kick,
    Get rid of the weights that crush;
    Don’t worry about the bum on the rods,
    Get rid of the bum on the plush!

  56. 56
    CatHairEverywhere says:

    A bunch of my winger friends are posting a picture about a veteran who was supposedly denied FEMA assistance. I assume it’s bs, but a google search only shows hits on winger blogs, which confirms my belief that it is bullshit. Does anyone know about this? Would like to rain on their hateful parade.

    The same friend posted a screenshot from Faux with a map of states signing petitions to secede. I did enjoy pointing out that most of those states get more money back on federal support than they pay in taxes, so it is fine with me if they secede.

  57. 57
    Steve says:

    What is the difference between taxation without representation and taxation with representation? Someone help me out here.

  58. 58
    jefft452 says:

    I saw the weary farmer,
    Plowing sod and loam;
    I heard the auction hammer
    A knocking down his home.

    But the banks are made of marble,
    With a guard at every door,
    And the vaults are stuffed with silver,
    That the farmer sweated for.

  59. 59
    jefft452 says:

    It is we who plowed the prairies; built the cities where they trade;
    Dug the mines and built the workshops, endless miles of railroad laid;
    Now we stand outcast and starving midst the wonders we have made;
    But the union makes us strong.

    All the world that’s owned by idle drones is ours and ours alone. We have laid the wide foundations;
    built it skyward stone by stone.
    It is ours, not to slave in, but to master and to own. While the union makes us strong.

  60. 60
    Slugger says:

    Today is the observance of Veterans’ Day. From what social strata do our soldiers come? This 47% stuff is an insult to America’s armed forces.

  61. 61
    Kristine says:

    @Mnemosyne: Wingers don’t get the “community” aspect of government, the fact that we’re all in it together. Assistance is supposed to come from one’s own circle–friends, family, town (forget the fact that circumstances may not allow for that). Government is something Other–it’s no one’s circle, and is not supposed to be in the assistance business. SS and Medicare are prepaid, I guess. People getting back the money they put in.

  62. 62
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    One thing that I’ve always found interesting is actually how political diverse the electoral map is (I’ll cop to being a bit of a demography geek.), and how even red states/blues states doesn’t tell the whole story. For example, they haven’t tallied all the votes yet, but it’s looking like King County, Texas, is going to be the most Republican county in the presidential election for the second year in a row. In terms of actual votes, it went for Romney 139-5. All well and good for Romney, but what interests me is who those 5 people are. In a place where openly supporting Obama might be enough to get your tires slashed, and every bit of the culture is working against you voting Democrat, who overcame it?

    Staying in Texas, there’s a county called Duval in South Texas that hasn’t voted Republican since 1904. If you were a Republican in that county, wouldn’t it be depressing? Why would you even vote, knowing that your candidate was never, ever going to win your county? But Romney got over 20% of the vote-and the county is about 90% Hispanic.

    And of course, those are the extreme ends. A solid majority of counties in the US are closer than 60-40 either way. I’m not just trying to do the whole ‘purple state’ thing, but I just think the whole ‘cut off the South’ thing is pointless. You’re not going to create a socialist utopia, and the cut-off portion won’t turn into Gilead overnight either. People are more complicated.

  63. 63
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Maude:

    If the 20 states that want out of the US, left, We’d have 20 states.
    Let them go. They will have to provide everything, no federal help. They will have to have embassies.
    We could make them no fly zones.

    1) No states want out of the U.S.
    2) I’m getting really tired of reminding people of fun facts such as how 45.6% of Georgians voted for Obama, or 1,760,887 people, if you want to know how many human beings you’re helping to turn invisible in one state alone.

  64. 64
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @CatHairEverywhere:

    What ‘petitions’? The kind of petitions that some wackjob in the state legislature put out and got 10,000 people to sign over the internet? There were a lot of those in ’08 too. I’m getting sick of people saying they mean something, one way or the other.

  65. 65
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    Not to mention the number of lonesome-nut signatories on this particular petition, demanding that states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio be “allowed” to secede.

  66. 66
    CatHairEverywhere says:

    Yes, those petitions exactly. Faux apparently trumpeted them as though they are important and not bullshit.

    The FEMA story/picture is the one I wonder about. All these idiots are sharing it on FB and writing all of these outraged comments etc. (how can they kiss their grandchildren with those mouths?) and I would love to point out how/why it is bullshit. Mentioning that the national news would have surely picked up such a story will not help because they mistrust the media, facts and math.

  67. 67
    PreservedKillick says:

    I am a big fan of the maker/taker meme that the right is pushing, because it seems to me that the notion of maker versus taker is – maybe already *is* flipped. It is trivially simple to point out that the makers are the workers, the 99%, and the takers are the 1%. IMO, Obama did this very effectively with Romney.

    So go for it, guys. More of this idea.

  68. 68
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Ken J.:

    Applause for the Dick Gaughan clip. I wonder if he’ll ever tour the US again?

    You know how much I wish! — but I suspect he’s on the DHS’s terr-rist list.

  69. 69
    Kathy says:

    I have a mug on my desk, filled with pens and pencils, a gift from my children. On it are the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr: “Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society.” Hell, yes.

  70. 70
    rageahol says:

    whatever you think about the message itself, this is really savvy messaging. “Makers” meaning tinkering and garage-based startups are all over the business press now, especially with the rise of 3d printing (see also: “makerbot”)

    given that a lot of garage-type-makers also are technologically savvy and prone to randroid romanticism, this needs to be countered before it spreads. im not sure how.

  71. 71
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    @jefft452:

    Abraham Lincoln, according to the Wikipedia, wasn’t even on the ballot of ten of the Southern states – yet won the election.

    I believe the Union won due to force, and the United States remained unitary due to the exercise of force – not by any objective legal basis – and that post hoc rationalisations for that are unconvincing.

    There’s precedent for countries dissolving without actual war – Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. I don’t expect the United States to remain as it is for the remainder of my lifetime – I expect to see parts of it secede off to form new nations or incorporate with Canada before I die. The prime candidates might be Hawaii, California, or Texas. That’s just my opinion, however, and is predicated on some pretty radical changes to the conditions we consider normal today (peak oil, mainly).

    If you’re worried about such groups as the Democrats in Georgia, that wouldn’t be an insurmountable problem in the event of a negotiated partition. I wouldn’t expect many of them to stay in the new Southern States – and the cost of relocating them would be included in adjustments between the two new nations.

  72. 72
    Wayne says:

    My Dad, who started with nothing, made lots of money in the 60’s early 70’s when the top marginal tax rate was in the 70% range. He never complained rather he said he would love to have to pay a million bucks in taxes because it would have meant big bucks for him.

    Different times, different attitudes.

  73. 73
    jefft452 says:

    @Slugger: “From what social strata do our soldiers come?”

    Now the lessons of the past were all learned with workers’ blood
    The mistakes of the bosses we must pay for
    From the cities and the farmlands to trenches full of mud
    War has always been the bosses’ way, sir

  74. 74
    jefft452 says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans: “Abraham Lincoln, according to the Wikipedia, wasn’t even on the ballot of ten of the Southern states – yet won the election.”
    So?
    The planter Aristocracy wanted the electoral college, right up until they didn’t dominate it, then all of the sudden it wasn’t fair

    They forced the north to accept the Missouri Compromise, right up until they wanted Kansas, then the forced the north to accept the Kansas Nebraska act

    Hell, you couldn’t even get appointed Post Master without a southern senator getting a gaurentee that you would censor anti-slavery mail

    “I believe the Union won due to force, and the United States remained unitary due to the exercise of force – not by any objective legal basis – and that post hoc rationalisations for that are unconvincing”

    The attempted braking of the Union by an exercise of force – not by any objective legal basis – (cough Ft Sumpter cough) failed

    “I expect to see parts of it secede off to form new nations or incorporate with Canada before I die”

    And I expected flying cars by 1975

  75. 75
    trollhattan says:

    @Slugger:

    So true. This is what we vote for, fight for. We have the right guy in the White House.

    http://theonlinephotographer.t.....s-day.html

  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans:

    I have a sneaky feeling that you really don’t have a very good concept of how big the US really is living down there in your island nation. Your entire country has the same population as Alabama OR South Carolina OR Louisiana OR Kentucky. So you’re basically talking about re-settling the entire population of your country about 8 times.

  77. 77
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    The attempted braking of the Union by an exercise of force – not by any objective legal basis – (cough Ft Sumpter cough) failed

    Indeed – because the reactionary application of force keeping the Union together – not by any objective legal basis – was stronger.

    And I expected flying cars by 1975

    They have them now – they’re called “helicopters”. You can charter one (i.e. a “flying taxi”) in most cities at very short notice.

    They’re not what you expected – but, then again, what in the future is?

  78. 78
    wuzzat says:

    And we have our first publicized wingnut tantrum gone violent. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-20.....ot-voting/

  79. 79
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    I have a sneaky feeling that you really don’t have a very good concept of how big the US really is living down there in your island nation. Your entire country has the same population as Alabama OR South Carolina OR Louisiana OR Kentucky. So you’re basically talking about re-settling the entire population of your country about 8 times.

    My country is about the size of the East Coast.

    http://www.flickr.com/photo_zo.....038;size=o

    And, no, I don’t think everyone in these states (or even half) would move.

    But let’s work with that – the GDP of the USA is around 100 times that of NZ. If you’re talking about resettling 30 million people, that would be an expense, relative to your GDP, similar to us resettling 300,000 people.

    About 650,000 NZ citizens now live in Australia. Last year, about 87,000 moved there. So this mass exodus you’re talking about would cost around the same as four years of trans-Tasman migration.

    Hell, if I’m reading your stats right, in 2010-2011, you already had nearly 6 million people move between states or abroad. Give yourselves a decade to separate allowing migration between the North and South, and the cost won’t be noticed.

  80. 80
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans:

    My country is about the size of the East Coast.

    Square mileage-wise, yes. But the East Coast of the US has 112 million people as opposed to your 4 million. The South alone — that means not including the red states in the West like Arizona and Utah — has a population of 114 million.

    So, again, I think you need to work on your math a bit before you decide that it would be simple and easy to move tens of millions of people around the US. We talk about the movement north of a mere 6 million African-Americans as the Great Migration.

  81. 81
    El Cid says:

    @wuzzat: “Yeah, uh, sure, I, uh, ran over him because of, because of, hmmm, Obama! Yep! That was it! It was about Obama and ’cause he didn’t vote! That’s why!”

  82. 82
    Starskeptic says:

    Well, the country got ‘taken back’ so – I guess in that sense the ‘takers’ won…

  83. 83
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    So, again, I think you need to work on your math a bit before you decide that it would be simple and easy to move tens of millions of people around the US. We talk about the movement north of a mere 6 million African-Americans as the Great Migration.

    You have around 6 million Americans moving between States or abroad annually (based on Census 2010-2011 figures here – http://www.census.gov/hhes/mig.....s2011.html)

  84. 84
    Lojasmo says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    Well, it certainly didn’t fucking happen in 2000 and 2004, and It won’t happen the next time a republican is elected POTUS, so yeah, it means something.

  85. 85
    I_am_a_lead_pencil says:

    @Kathy:

    That quote is nothing but a strained justification for using force on the minority in order to get what the majority wants. Taxation is a construct which allows the majority to feel excused from the ethical constraint of taking from their neighbors. No unethical society will ever truly be civilized.

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