Somebody’s Learning

Forty-five percent of US Americans would blame the Republicans in Congress if we fall off the fiscal cliff. Only 34% would blame Obama, and 77% think they’d be personally affected if it happened.

All the approval polling I’ve seen treats “Congress” as one oleaginous, monolithic entity. I’d love to see breakouts on whether Republicans or Democrats are to blame for Congress’ single-digit approval rating in the mind of the public, but, lacking that, this poll is a little hint.

(via OTB)

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77 replies
  1. 1
    c u n d gulag says:

    The Republican Party we grew up with doesn’t exist anymore.

    To be true to themselves, they should just change their name to the Nihilist Party.

  2. 2
    Comrade Jake says:

    Along the same lines, David Corn’s piece this AM is worth a read. In essence, this is not 2010 all over again.

  3. 3
    RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    Yeah, we’ve seen this show before and plenty of people people remember who turns out to be the bad guy. Remains to be seen whether enough will be paying attention.

  4. 4

    There is actually quite bit of polling on Republicans in Congress
    http://www.pollingreport.com/cong_rep.htm
    and Democrats in Congress
    http://www.pollingreport.com/cong_dem.htm .

    OK so not a convenient format and the approval polling was crowded out by voting intention polling, but it is clear

    The Republicans have even lower approval ratings than the Democrats. The interesting thing is that both Republicans and Democrats get more approval than congress as a whole. Clearly partisans defend their party. Almost no one defends Congress as whole.

  5. 5
    👽 Martin says:

    Both parties in Congress are down in the 10% range. Congress is Congress. It either works or it doesn’t, and blame for dysfunction gets shared whether it’s deserved or not.

    Reforming the filibuster to what it once was would probably help liberals feel better about their elected Dems, though.

  6. 6
    Ash Can says:

    Those “I hate Congress” polls are good for nothing. Ask anyone, anywhere, what they think of Congress, and they’ll all tell you it blows, except for their own guy/gal there, he/she is really on the ball, too bad everyone else can’t be like that, etc. etc. They’ll figure out that, in too many cases, it’s actually their representative who’s fucking it up for everyone else when flying pigs ice skate in hell. The problem isn’t Congress; the problem is that there are too many asshole voters in this nation who believe that Congress’s job is to fuck other people over.

  7. 7
    red dog says:

    I think the collective public is heaving a sigh of relief for now and is waiting to see what Reid does about not letting the Dems cave on taxes and then the filibuster rules.

  8. 8
    RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    The GOP will insist on ‘entitlement reform’ as part of a deal to avoid the Cliff. I’d like to see the Dems refer to that option as Earned Benefit Reduction, which is more accurate and easier for Dems to argue against.

  9. 9
    roc says:

    @c u n d gulag: Oh, they believe in something all right. But officially changing their name to “The Corporatist Party” might finally cost them the rural middle- and lower-class white voters they need to be remotely competitive.

  10. 10
    Ben Franklin says:

    I grow weary of teh narrative. ‘Fiscal Cliff’ references should result in some pushback. I hear it ad nauseum.

  11. 11
    eemom says:

    oleaginous

    You have won my heart.

  12. 12
    Roger Moore says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    To be true to themselves, they should just change their name to the Nihilist Party.

    That’s totally unfair. They really are Republican. It’s just that they want to mimic the Roman Republic, where the richest people got a disproportionate say in the government, generation after generation from the same family would hold the highest office in the government, and it was considered noteworthy whenever somebody was the first in their family to achieve high office. That’s what they’re thinking of when they start talking about us being a Republic not a Democracy.

  13. 13
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I’m naming names.

    We’ll start with Coburn and Cornyn, from Zandar’s post below. THEY are the problem right now, throwing conniptions because someone is pointing out that they are the obstructions in the bowels of the legislative process.

    Time for some surgery to get the shit flowing again.

  14. 14
    James Gary says:

    I’d love to see breakouts on whether Republicans or Democrats are to blame for Congress’ single-digit approval rating in the mind of the public…

    I’d love to see breakouts on what percentage of voters can even offer an coherent explanation, in financial terms, for why going over “the fiscal cliff” is supposed to be a bad thing for the nation. My guess is the number verges on zero.

  15. 15
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    obstructions in the bowels of the legislative process.

    That’s normally fatal, outside the body politic, that is.

  16. 16
    c u n d gulag says:

    @Roger Moore:
    And, @roc,
    How right you are!

  17. 17
    kindness says:

    Am I the only one that wants to see all the bush43 tax cuts ended? I am so sick of deficit scolds, just let the damned things end!

  18. 18
    Splitting Image says:

    Off topic: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has just been stripped of his office.

    Toronto hasn’t had a decent mayor since disco pants were in fashion the first time. I’m going to hold off on the matter of whether people are learning (at least locally) until that changes.

  19. 19
    roc says:

    @Comrade Jake: How exactly is it different this time? Isn’t the economy still in need of stimulus? Doesn’t the austerity bomb threaten to knock us back into recession if it drags on into even February or March? Won’t that hurt more of ‘our’ people than ‘theirs’? Won’t that look really damn bad going into the mid-terms? Exactly which Democratic congresspeople are going to toss their re-election bid into the bed of a truck playing chicken with the certifiably insane?

    All the evidence suggests that Obama found the one thing the Republicans really *really* want and need: tax breaks for the rich. And he’s demonstrably more than willing to concede on that point, after he drags concessions out of them in return, rather than sticking to his guns for a symbolic, Pyrrhic victory.

    The expected move would be to once-again drag concessions out of the Republicans in exchange for an extension that punts the final expiration into the territory of a (hopefully) stronger economy shortly before the mid-terms.

  20. 20
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ash Can:

    Yes, this. The other 432 guys/gals in the place are fuckups, my rep and my two senators are A-Okay!.

    Well, in my personal case, this is mostly true. Peter DeFazio, Jeff Merkley, and Ron Wyden (who has some ‘splainin to do for being seen in public with Paul Ryan).

  21. 21
    spatula says:

    Just let them all expire and negotiate from there. I don’t want the name Bush to be used anymore anyways.

  22. 22
    Jennifer says:

    I saw a poll of Hispanic/Latinos back several months before the election, in which the point spread for Dems over Republicans was exactly the same as the point spread for Obama over Romney. Which would indicate that at least one block of voters knows where the blame should lie, even though it wasn’t a poll specifically about Congress.

  23. 23
    Schlemizel says:

    @red dog:
    “The collective public”??!
    The collective public might be able to identify Lou Reed but would be bewildered by the name Harry Reid.

    @James Gary:
    Sure “going over the fiscal cliff . . . something, something . . . uncertainty, er ah, Greece . . .

  24. 24
    PeakVT says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: 532. /pendant

  25. 25
    burnspbesq says:

    @Ash Can:

    I think you’ve missed the point.

    When people are asked about Congress as a whole, the response is based on perceptions about legislative outcomes. When people are asked about their particular rep, perceptions about what happens in the district outweigh perceptions about what happens in Washington, for an easily understandable reason. Everybody knows that their Congresscretin gets deserving kids into the service academies, and solves problems with the Federal bureaucracy, because that’s what Congresscretins highlight on their websites and in all their public outreach.

  26. 26
    Schlemizel says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    This. Exactly.

    MY guy knows how to take care of us – those other guys take pork. My guy is working for whats right – those other guys are partisan hacks. My guy is a man of the people – those other guys are all millionaires. My guy is working to prevent Those guys from destroying America – those guys just won’t compromise.

    Yet if you ask for specific examples the room gets very quiet

  27. 27
    MikeJ says:

    @PeakVT: 535, plus non voting members (DC).

  28. 28
    burnspbesq says:

    Completely off topic, and completely NSFW, but this cracked me up.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0Be8LnuG3U

  29. 29
    James Gary says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Bingo. Which is why–to me at least–polling Americans about “who’s to blame” is an utterly meaningless exercise.

  30. 30
    Boots Day says:

    The GOP will insist on ‘entitlement reform’ as part of a deal to avoid the Cliff.

    The Republicans’ dirty little secret is they don’t really want entitlement reform, either. Sure, they’d be happy with slashing or even killing off Medicaid, but they don’t want to touch Medicare or Social Security. Romney/Ryan campaigned hard, remember, against the Obamacare budget cuts to Medicare.

    I think they’d really prefer to just go off the cliff, so the GOP can’t be held responsible for cutting Granny’s Medicare.

  31. 31
    PeakVT says:

    @MikeJ: 535 – 3 = 532.

  32. 32
    BGK says:

    @Ash Can:

    ose “I hate Congress” polls are good for nothing. Ask anyone, anywhere, what they think of Congress, and they’ll all tell you it blows, except for their own guy/gal there, he/she is really on the ball, too bad everyone else can’t be like that, etc. etc

    Um.

    My current congressman is Connie Mack. His only upside is that he’s not all that keen on showing up and working, so that limits the damage he can cause. He’s soon to be replaced by one Trey Radel, who is Easter-Island-Giant-Head caliber stupid. My senators are Marco “science is hard, yo” Rubio and Bill Nelson. As the latter’s not a foaming sociopath, I’m barely one-for-three, so on the whole I’d rate congress better than the three who “represent” me.

  33. 33
    EconWatcher says:

    @Boots Day:

    They absolutely do want entitlement “reform.” They want what’s in the Ryan plan. They want to voucherize and starve Medicare, and they want to cut social security.

    What they don’t want is to get the blame for it.

  34. 34
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @Splitting Image: I was shocked when I saw that. I live in the Toronto suburbs, and have had to watch this buffoon (imagine a bigger, less politically astute Chris Christie) embarrass himself and the entire city. He’s used the city’s public service as his personal assistants

  35. 35
    Zifnab25 says:

    @roc:

    Won’t that hurt more of ‘our’ people than ‘theirs’?

    Not when you consider the alternatives. You’re looking at a 3% tax hike versus a knife in the back of SS/Medicare/caid. Tell me who is hurting more? The family of four living on $60k/year who are going to be out a few hundred dollars next year or the 8-year-old being raised by his 66-year-old grandmother who are both going to lose medical benefits and food assistance?

    Ideally, I’d say “Fuck the scalds, let the deficit ride”, but the deficit isn’t an issue politicians are confident to ignore. So now we’re going to feed taxpayers the medicine they say they so desperately desire. And then we’ll come back in a year or two and see if they’re still so sour on deficit spending.

  36. 36
    ericblair says:

    @Boots Day:

    I think they’d really prefer to just go off the cliff, so the GOP can’t be held responsible for cutting Granny’s Medicare.

    I don’t think so, since it really is scaring a bunch of their pet industries, and letting the “cliff” happen means that the Dems can then send the House a bill to cut middle class taxes and increase defense spending and dare the goopers to kill it.

    However, the unemployment insurance extension dies with no new deal, which hurts a bunch of people who can least afford it, and there are the stupid yearly AMT and Medicare fixes that are stuck with it too, so it’s pain on the poor and middle class as well. My not-so-expert analysis is that the cliff is harder on the goopers than the Dems, but will spread the pain around quite a bit.

    But, hey, it will reduce the deficit in a hurry, and that’s all that anybody’s supposed to care about, right?

  37. 37
    Schlemizel says:

    @BGK:

    And you would be decidedly in the minority, even in your own CD.

    I agree, these polls are pointless as anything but a mood ring displaying the general sense of well being people feel about the country as a whole. I doubt Congress has ever been greatly appreciated and 40 years of battering by wingnuts has just heightened the dislike

  38. 38
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Boots Day:

    Romney/Ryan campaigned hard, remember, against the Obamacare budget cuts to Medicare.

    Specifically, they campaigned against the cuts to payments to parasite middlemen, that is, the natural Rmoney/Ryan consistency. The skimmers. The vampires. The vile bloodsucking leeches, like Bain Capital.

  39. 39
    Yutsano says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Ahh yes the beautiful boondoggle that is Medicare Part C. Which is little more than a transfer to the insurance companies of Medicare dollars for providing…what Medicare covers. Amazing work if you can get it.

  40. 40
    Zifnab25 says:

    @BGK:

    My current congressman is Connie Mack. His only upside is that he’s not all that keen on showing up and working, so that limits the damage he can cause. He’s soon to be replaced by one Trey Radel, who is Easter-Island-Giant-Head caliber stupid.

    And yet, how many years has Mack been a Congressman? How many years do you expect Radel to hold his seat? I know *you* think your Congressman is stupid, but you are clearly in the minority.

    What’s more, I’m sure you support some other Congressman – maybe a Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, maybe an Alan Grayson, whatever – that plenty of people in your district think is an evil socialist baby-eating monster.

  41. 41
    Gindy51 says:

    @c u n d gulag: Better would be the “I Got Mine, Fuck You” Party. It seems to fit both their corporate and constituent sides.

  42. 42
    Gindy51 says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Colonics for everyone!

  43. 43
    Roger Moore says:

    @burnspbesq:

    When people are asked about their particular rep, perceptions about what happens in the district outweigh perceptions about what happens in Washington

    I’m not sure if it even goes that far. The individual reps are mostly held accountable for their specific votes, not for the overall outcome. They get some credit for fighting the good fight even if they wind up losing. Congress as a whole only gets credit for delivering results, which means that a do-little Congress like the 112th gets very little credit, especially when their inability to do anything is so public.

  44. 44
    Paul says:

    I’d love to see breakouts on whether Republicans or Democrats are to blame for Congress’ single-digit approval rating in the mind of the public, but, lacking that, this poll is a little hint.

    Does it really matter? These are the same folks (about 2/3 of the American people) who in poll after poll up to March 2003 thought invading Iraq with no plan for how to pay for it was the greatest idea since sliced bread. Then a few years later, these same folks are now against the same war and angry about our deficits. Not exactly the smartest folks…

  45. 45
    Brachiator says:

    @mistemix:

    Forty-five percent of US Americans would blame the Republicans in Congress if we fall off the fiscal cliff. Only 34% would blame Obama, and 77% think they’d be personally affected if it happened.

    Wait a minute. This involves numbers, math and polling, all of which true wingnuts know are tools of teh Debbil. I’m sure they are waiting for Fox News to give them the unskewed numbers before they sign on to reality.

    I’d love to see breakouts on whether Republicans or Democrats are to blame for Congress’ single-digit approval rating in the mind of the public, but, lacking that, this poll is a little hint.

    I’m getting the feeling that increasing numbers of Americans have a single digit that they want to show the Congress.

    As I mentioned in another thread, the Christmas break is coming up for Congress. Many of these folks will make a brief appearance in their home districts to supposedly touch base with ordinary folk. Good time to send ’em a simple message: Kill the Bush tax cuts and keep middle class tax relief.

  46. 46
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @c u n d gulag: The Republican Party we grew up with doesn’t exist anymore.

    Sadly, this is only true if you’re (well) over 32. It was a shock to me to realize that there are plenty of adults, even parents and in places like Utah grandparents, who have never known an America that wasn’t in the unwashed grip of the Reagan Revolution.

  47. 47
    Chris says:

    @Ash Can:

    This.

    People who hate Congress are the same people who hate the government and for the same exact reason: they’re bitching about having to accomodate fellow citizens who dare to not vote their way. People prefer the presidency, only one guy, less confusing, easier to love – oh, if only he could bully pulpit Congress into submission.

  48. 48

    I thought Congress had lower approval ratings than the ebola virus?

  49. 49
    👽 Martin says:

    @roc:

    Isn’t the economy still in need of stimulus?

    Not really. Yeah, stimulus would speed things up, but we’re on the right trajectory now.

    Doesn’t the austerity bomb threaten to knock us back into recession if it drags on into even February or March?

    According to someone, everything threatens to knock us back into recession including gay marriage and a Twinkie deficit (those could be argued to be the same problem). Put another way, if raising tax revenue really was a threat to pushing us into recession, then tax cuts should be a perfectly viable stimulus measure. But we know the latter isn’t true. Why then believe the former?

    Won’t that hurt more of ‘our’ people than ‘theirs’?

    No. Voters want taxes to go up.

  50. 50
    WaterGirl says:

    OT technical issue – I just refreshed the rachel maddow blog and it was redirected to newsvine.com – could somebody check and see if this happens to you, too?

    edit: at the bottom of the page it says newsvine is owned by nbc. i wonder what is going on.

  51. 51
    Brachiator says:

    @👽 Martin:

    Voters want taxes to go up.

    Voters want somebody else’s taxes to go up.

    @roc:

    The expected move would be to once-again drag concessions out of the Republicans in exchange for an extension that punts the final expiration into the territory of a (hopefully) stronger economy shortly before the mid-terms.

    At some point, the Democrats are going to actually have to govern, instead of focusing all their decisions on the next round of elections. Now is as good a time as any to start.

    Dubya is long gone from the political scene. It’s way past time to still be talking about Bush tax cuts.

  52. 52

    Unrelated but WTF?

    Jonah Goldberg’s NY Post column, headlined “GOP Get More ‘Racist’ ” is a fucking mess. I have no clue what he’s saying? Anyone?

  53. 53
    burnspbesq says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I’m not sure if it even goes that far. The individual reps are mostly held accountable for their specific votes, not for the overall outcome. They get some credit for fighting the good fight even if they wind up losing. Congress as a whole only gets credit for delivering results, which means that a do-little Congress like the 112th gets very little credit, especially when their inability to do anything is so public.

    I don’t think so. I think the flaw in your argument is that it rests on the implicit assumption that a typical voter knows and cares about his or her Congresscretin’s positions on specific legislative issues. While that information is now more widely available than at any time in history, my sense is that (a) people like you and I are not typical voters and (b) the typical voter doesn’t give a shit.

  54. 54
    NonyNony says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Jonah Goldberg’s NY Post column, headlined “GOP Get More ‘Racist’ ” is a fucking mess. I have no clue what he’s saying? Anyone?

    I think he’s saying “I need to scribble something onto this napkin and get it submitted before my deadline or I’ll lose this job that my mom got for me.”

    Okay, looking closer at this particular bit of drivel I see it’s the one I read from him last week. I think it boils down to Goldberg essentially saying “We’re pissing off liberals by being more and more overtly racist, and if we have to choose between winning elections by shifting ourselves a bit or pissing off liberals, we should totally keep pissing off liberals. Because I’m going to define ‘winning’ to mean ‘pissing off liberals’. So WE’RE WINNING! SUCK ON THAT LIBTARDS!”

    That’s the gist of it anyway. Goldberg had to puff up the word count to get the editor to accept it.

  55. 55
    👽 Martin says:

    @Brachiator:

    Voters want somebody else’s taxes to go up.

    Prop 30 raised everyone’s taxes and only benefitted people with kids in school and college students.

    We tend to be a least a bit overly cynical about voters around here. There’s quite a few voters calling on having their own taxes raised. In 2010, Pew did a poll and a quarter of voters wanted all the Bush tax cuts repealed. That number should be higher today given that the % in favor of preserving all the cuts is quite a bit lower now than in 2010.

  56. 56
    👽 Martin says:

    @Southern Beale: Basically it’s a more elaborate version of Mitt’s claim that minorities only support the Democratic party because liberals have given them shit. Doughy is just saying that the GOP shouldn’t court minorities by also giving them shit – and should instead keep taking shit away, because that’ll make them pull themselves up by their bootstraps and stop being so minority-like. And if that brands them as racist then so be it – because Dems are obviously the racists for believing that minorities can’t compete and needs shit given to them.

    Yeah, it’s a mess, but it’s the same mess they’ve been saying for ages. He’s just having trouble reformulating it for a post-2012-election reality.

  57. 57
    NonyNony says:

    @👽 Martin:

    We tend to be a least a bit overly cynical about voters around here.

    Yah think?

    There’s quite a few voters calling on having their own taxes raised.

    Yup. I’d like to see the polling on this again.

    I’d love to see things back to the Clinton-era tax rates. Including my own bracket.

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NonyNony:

    There’s also a heavy dose of, “The only reason blacks and Hispanics don’t go along with our scheme to transfer as much wealth as possible to the top 1% is because they’re the real racists.”

  59. 59
    👽 Martin says:

    @NonyNony:

    I’d love to see things back to the Clinton-era tax rates. Including my own bracket.

    I’m less eager to see the rates on earned income go up than I am to see the rates on unearned income go up. I don’t understand how anyone can defend unearned rates being lower than earned rates. And I further don’t understand how anyone can honestly defend the low estate tax. It’s a cap gain distribution – at the very least tax it as such.

  60. 60
    Roger Moore says:

    @Brachiator:

    At some point, the Democrats are going to actually have to govern, instead of focusing all their decisions on the next round of elections.

    Unfortunately, the Democrats can’t just decide to govern because the House is still in the hands of the Republicans. That means any part of government that requires legislation, which is a huge fraction of it, requires twisting Republican arms or greasing Republican palms to get them to go along.

  61. 61
    👽 Martin says:

    @Roger Moore: Dems could have changed the filibuster and other rules in 2010, but were afraid to. At least if things pass the Senate, they need to get resolved in committee – that’s a big step ahead of where we are now where the Senate isn’t getting any more votes than the House.

    There’s a lot that the Dems can do to move things along.

  62. 62
    catclub says:

    @👽 Martin: “but were afraid to.”

    Did they have the votes?, when you take out guys like Lieberman and the the bad Conrad, plus Landrieu, McCaskill, and Webb, Rockefeller(?). At the start of 2011 (after the elections) there were 53 in the Dem caucus, right. I just subtracted 6 possible votes against. At the start of 2009, there was no Franken, and no Arlen Specter, so it is down to about 50 even then.

  63. 63
    Brachiator says:

    @👽 Martin:

    I’m less eager to see the rates on earned income go up than I am to see the rates on unearned income go up. I don’t understand how anyone can defend unearned rates being lower than earned rates. And I further don’t understand how anyone can honestly defend the low estate tax. It’s a cap gain distribution – at the very least tax it as such.

    Some of the preferential rates for investment income (capital gains and qualified dividends) are set to expire. How high do you want to see estate taxes? Of course, very few estates are exceptionally high and don’t account for a big amount of federal revenue. An estate is not the same thing as a capital gain distribution, though, so I don’t see that you could simply tax it the same way. Heck, a capital gain isn’t just always simply a capital gain.

    Prop 30 raised everyone’s taxes and only benefitted people with kids in school and college students.

    Proposition 30 raised income taxes only on the top earners. It also raised sales taxes from 7.25 percent to 7.5 percent, so it is only here that you can talk about raising “everyone’s taxes.” Based on state analyses, the additional income tax is imposed on the top 3% of California taxpayers.

    In 2010, Pew did a poll and a quarter of voters wanted all the Bush tax cuts repealed.

    This still woul not raise everyone’s taxes. And raising everyone’s taxes is certainly not Obama Adminstration policy.

    And as I keep saying, the Bush tax cuts is not the whole deal. Never was. Never will be. There are a bunch of expiring tax provisions, many of them credits for the working poor that have to be considered as well. Nobody sane want to see these eliminated.

    And note that I do not include Republicans among the ranks of the sane.

  64. 64
    catclub says:

    @👽 Martin: “And I further don’t understand how anyone can honestly defend the low estate tax. It’s a cap gain distribution – at the very least tax it as such.”

    The understanding of the estate tax is amazingly bad. I think there is a general understanding that you should be able to pass on what is yours to your heirs, but the estate tax is an _additional tax_. It is not.

    The estate tax could be eliminated by saying anything inherited is treated like any other gift – gifts under $10k per person are not taxed.
    Larger gifts are (amazingly) actual income and treated as INCOME.

  65. 65
    👽 Martin says:

    @catclub:

    Did they have the votes?

    How is that any different? There were 53 Dems. They needed 50. If they don’t pass the changes, there’s nobody to blame other than Dems. This isn’t like HCR or some other thing where responsibility to your constituents deserves consideration. This is a straight up rule vote. There’s no excuse for not coming to the table and getting something passed.

  66. 66
    Chris says:

    @Roger Moore:

    That’s totally unfair. They really are Republican. It’s just that they want to mimic the Roman Republic, where the richest people got a disproportionate say in the government, generation after generation from the same family would hold the highest office in the government, and it was considered noteworthy whenever somebody was the first in their family to achieve high office. That’s what they’re thinking of when they start talking about us being a Republic not a Democracy.

    Actually, if you take them at their word, the simple truth is that they want to go back to the America of the Founding Fathers.

    No right to vote for women, for nonwhite people, and for people with “no skin in the game” (e.g. people who have their entire lives at stake in the economy rather than just their money). No intrusive federal government guaranteeing “people” their “rights” via labor laws or civil rights legislation. No welfare state, everything comes to you as a gift from your local boss. And, of course, the best employment situation ever from the point of view of the bosses, at least in the Southern states.

    No need to look at the Romans or the British or even the Confederacy for an idea of what they want. What they want back is the original America, the one that the people who lived there intentionally did away with for very good reasons.

  67. 67
    Chris says:

    @NonyNony:

    They really are between a rock and a hard place. The GOP has spent the two generations since civil rights constructing a base around the sole principle of hating the people (not the politicians, the people, witness the 47% quote) on the other side of the aisle, and whipping them up into a shark feeding frenzy every two years. Which worked great as long as the people they hated were the minority, but now that they’re becoming the majority, they’re really up shit creek. How do you tell your base that you have to adjust your appeal in order to win over some Democrats, when the entire purpose of the party is “fuck Democrats?”

  68. 68
    👽 Martin says:

    @Brachiator:

    Some of the preferential rates for investment income (capital gains and qualified dividends) are set to expire. How high do you want to see estate taxes? Of course, very few estates are exceptionally high and don’t account for a big amount of federal revenue. An estate is not the same thing as a capital gain distribution, though, so I don’t see that you could simply tax it the same way. Heck, a capital gain isn’t just always simply a capital gain.

    My understanding is that without an estate tax policy, the inheritors would have to pay cap gains tax on the value of the estate above the cost basis. The point of the estate tax policy was a tradeoff: the inheritors will pay a high rate of tax on all assets above a certain (high) dollar value but no tax below that number, and the IRS won’t make you go back through all of grandmas records to determine what she paid for every item you inherited.

    So, I’d like to see them no lower than the level of a short-term cap gain. The exemption can remain high – it’s $5M now, IIRC. That’s okay. The issue is really around large estates – it’s those 400 highest net worth people sitting on $1.5T in assets that are the most problematic. They’re tying up an enormous amount of the nations net worth, and their descendants won’t have earned any of it.

    My preference would be for the 2013 effective rates to stick – $1M exemption and 55%. I understand if they don’t stick – but I’d prefer to keep the rate and just see the exemption go up – even to the current level if need be.

    It also raised sales taxes from 7.25 percent to 7.5 percent, so it is only here that you can talk about raising “everyone’s taxes.”

    You know anyone happy with our sales tax rates? I know a LOT more people happy with the income tax than sales tax – even here in top 3% of California households land.

    And as I keep saying, the Bush tax cuts is not the whole deal. Never was. Never will be. There are a bunch of expiring tax provisions, many of them credits for the working poor that have to be considered as well. Nobody sane want to see these eliminated.

    No, I agree with this. But there needs to be someone to negotiate with, and there barely is. If the GOP would negotiate in good faith, and with clarity (and I admit the Dems aren’t exactly great at this either) then we might get somewhere. But that’s not happening. At some point we need to solve this, and it’s clear that won’t happen without significant pain for all involved. I just don’t see any other way to get there when Norquist carries more GOP attention than 300 million americans do.

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    Brachiator says:

    @Roger Moore:

    RE: At some point, the Democrats are going to actually have to govern, instead of focusing all their decisions on the next round of elections.

    Unfortunately, the Democrats can’t just decide to govern because the House is still in the hands of the Republicans. That means any part of government that requires legislation, which is a huge fraction of it, requires twisting Republican arms or greasing Republican palms to get them to go along.

    This is a challenge, not an impediment. If the Democrats want to say that they cannot govern unless they have the presidency and a majority in both houses of Congress, then the Democrats should all just resign right now and save everybody time and trouble.

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    TooManyJens says:

    @WaterGirl: NewsVine is the service they use for the blogs (or maybe just the comments, I’m not sure). Anyway, it’s all working fine for me now.

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    ...now I try to be amused says:

    @Chris:

    How do you tell your base that you have to adjust your appeal in order to win over some Democrats, when the entire purpose of the party is “fuck Democrats?”

    When people complain that our politics is too polarized, I say it’s not polarized enough. The 2012 election gives me hope that an anti-Republican coalition is forming that can beat their anti-Democratic coalition consistently.

  72. 72
    Brachiator says:

    @👽 Martin:

    My understanding is that without an estate tax policy, the inheritors would have to pay cap gains tax on the value of the estate above the cost basis. The point of the estate tax policy was a tradeoff: the inheritors will pay a high rate of tax on all assets above a certain (high) dollar value but no tax below that number, and the IRS won’t make you go back through all of grandmas records to determine what she paid for every item you inherited.

    I think you are confusing issues relating to the valuation of assets with capital gains issues. And the old law was more sensible: the value of assets in the asset was based on the fair market value at the date of death (with some exceptions and special circumstances). The crap about keeping track of original basis is an invitation to fraud and avoidance.

    And the main issue with respect to estates is this: unless Congress and the president do something meaningful about estate taxes, the law reverts to rules in place in 2001. And under current law the estate tax exemption is scheduled to drop significantly from $5,120,000 in 2012 to $1,000,000 in 2013, and the estate tax rate is scheduled to jump from 35% to 55%.

    My semi-informed guess is that if the rich have to accept increased income tax rates, they will be thrown a bone of some estate tax relief. And compromise fun?

    If the GOP would negotiate in good faith, and with clarity (and I admit the Dems aren’t exactly great at this either) then we might get somewhere. But that’s not happening. At some point we need to solve this, and it’s clear that won’t happen without significant pain for all involved. I just don’t see any other way to get there when Norquist carries more GOP attention than 300 million americans do.

    I disagree vigorously with any idea that the working poor need to be punished just so that the asswipes in Washington can be made to reach a deal. And I think it is hypocritical, insane, uninformed, selfish and stupid for anyone to bleat about Social Security, Medicare, the social safety net or economic stimulus, and then suggest that shared pain means that lifelines like the Earned Income Credit and Child Tax Credit should be clawed back for the working poor. Shit, I would rather see an extra excise tax on Apple products, all smartphones, computer games and Windows 8 desktops and tablets.

    The expiring 2011 and 2012 provisions may not come to the same amount of revenue as the proposals to tax upper income taxpayers more, and to get rid of the preferential treatment of qualified dividends and most capital gains, but the impact on struggling Americans would be severe.

    And please note that I am not singling you out for any criticism here. But I think that people need to look at all of the expiring tax provisions and stop concentrating on the marginal tax rates for wealthier tax payers.

    Do Balloon Juicers really think that shared sacrifice means that the enhanced education credits should go away, that the child and dependent care credit is a middle class luxury, that the Mortgage Relief Act, which kept thousands of taxpayers from being crushed by having to report the cancellation of debt on their foreclosed homes as taxable income is a burden that should be absorbed?

    On the other hand, some key Republicans are signalling that they are finally losing their fear of Norquist. They cannot depend on the combination of voter suppression and wingnut turnout to keep them in office. They fear losing more than they fear their ideological enforcers.

  73. 73
    👽 Martin says:

    @Brachiator:

    My semi-informed guess is that if the rich have to accept increased income tax rates, they will be thrown a bone of some estate tax relief. And compromise fun?

    Maybe. But revenues are the game here. Revenues have to go up, and they have to go up out of this class. If a Walton kicks, that 20% on the estate tax adds up to a LOT of earned income taxation. Ultimately, that’s going to come down to the millionaires vs the billionaires. I can imagine who is likely to win that battle.

    I disagree vigorously with any idea that the working poor need to be punished just so that the asswipes in Washington can be made to reach a deal. And I think it is hypocritical, insane, uninformed, selfish and stupid for anyone to bleat about Social Security, Medicare, the social safety net or economic stimulus, and then suggest that shared pain means that lifelines like the Earned Income Credit and Child Tax Credit should be clawed back for the working poor. Shit, I would rather see an extra excise tax on Apple products, all smartphones, computer games and Windows 8 desktops and tablets.

    But what’s the alternative on punishing the working poor? Either we go over the cliff and negotiate once everyone has set their hair on fire, or we come to a compromise before then that will involve, wait for it, punishing the working poor – because that’s the only place that the GOP are willing to take concessions. They won’t on defense spending, they won’t on high-income deductions or cap gains or a million other things. And then 2 years down the road we’ll have to come back to this game because we didn’t get enough revenue or enough cuts and we’ll be right back at fucking the working poor again.

    That’s the problem – either you fuck the working poor one step at a time, invisibly, without most of the voters even noticing, or you make a big ass show about it – dive over the cliff and only offer up those benefits for the lowest income in the deal – that which the Senate will pass and Obama will sign – and make the GOP work for every high income benefit and do it all very visibly.

    I’m not saying going over the cliff is a good move, but the status quo has been a steady erosion of benefits for the poor for decades. It’s also one of the few moments over that period where the GOP is on the back foot with voters over taxation. Can we afford to not push?

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    Joel says:

    @👽 Martin: The one thing that makes me laugh at libertarian flat taxers is that they never seem to want to include capital gains in the income calculus..

  75. 75
    Joel says:

    @👽 Martin: The one thing that makes me laugh at libertarian flat taxers is that they never seem to want to include capital gains in the income calculus..

  76. 76
    Joel says:

    @👽 Martin: The one thing that makes me laugh at libertarian flat taxers is that they never seem to want to include capital gains in the income calculus..

  77. 77
    PanurgeATL says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist:

    If Americans don’t remember a GOP before Reagan, that’s actually largely the fault of liberals who refuse to tell stories about an America not under that grip–unless they’re throwing hippies under the bus at the same time.

    The Dems’ main problem has always been that they can’t have a majority without hippies, but it seems as if too many FDR-style or JFK-style or organized-labor or Southern-moderate Dems have dug in their heels about it and are secretly OK with it if Reaganism means HIPPIES LOSE. Waiting for demographics to turn the tide so they don’t need to appeal to hippies is tantamount to writing off white guys, and as a white guy I don’t like that, because it assumes white guys can’t change or break out of their box when they’ve manifestly shown themselves capable of doing so in at least some ways over the last 50 years (especially, alas, the first 15, the second 35 being largely characterized by a glacially slow, but guided reversion back to The Box largely unknown in W.Civ. history AFAICT).

    We need some movies, pronto. Maybe some ads, too–ads shape sociology and culture more than most want to admit, methinks.

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