Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Distressing Stories, The Polls, And A Typically Misleading TV Report

I completed the comments below on Monday, which related my distress at reports from people of whom I would expect differently, who affirm or even dabble with the intention to support Obama and/or oppose McCain. At the bottom, I report current national polls which show McCain having moved into a lead over Obama, while acknowledging that they still suggest a definite Obama lead from an Electoral College standpoint. Monday, even the Rasmussen poll which Sunday showed a tie in its daily tracking poll shows McCain to have nudged into a 1% lead, which they conceded is statistically insignificant. But more notably, in Rasmussen’s current Electoral College breakdown, McCain is shown to have moved within ten points of Obama. And further, with some awareness of the status of these states, I would conjecture that McCain will take at least two of the three states listed as toss-ups which would imply a narrow victory. In every analysis I have looked at, that third state is the most clearly and evenly divided and up-in-the-air: Virginia. I will say that relative to Virginia, Obama needs to maintain the emotional magic that has driven much of his support, because I think those emotionally stoked in Virginia about McCain-Palin will reliably turn out. Further, among the states listed as “leaning” Republican, I would at this point agree that McCain will win them all, while among those listed as “leaning” Democrat, I would consider 3 or 4 of them still in play. In short, for the first time (and this could still change with a dramatic event or report), I would project that McCain would win were the election held today.

But because it relates directly to what I have written below, I want to (briefly, I hope) discuss a typically misleading report that I saw on CNN, today. The report listed the supposed benefit that taxpayers could expect to see under McCain's and Obama’s respective tax plans, listed by income level. Unsurprisingly, the figures showed those in the lowest income group benefiting the most under Obama’s plan relative to McCain’s (never mind the fact that much of this group are not taxpayers at all)., while as the income level rises that benefit in raw dollars moves increasingly toward McCain’s plan. Now, this is neither new nor surprising in its suggestion that such reports represent an actual benefit to Americans. They don’t. Not because they don’t reflect projections about how different income-levels would be affected on a dollar basis. The problem is that it is entirely opaque about how different tax plans will affect what peoples’ income level WILL BE.

For example, perhaps someone in the second-to-lowest income level will fall into the category that supposedly most plainly benefits lower income people. Why is this? Because they may very well drop from the second-lowest to the lowest income level. Therefore, they would get the highest relative benefit BECAUSE THEIR INCOME DROPPED! When taxes on investors and commercial enterprises are increased, the revenue to income-distributing entities is restricted. When that income is insufficient, employess will either be dropped or new positions OR PROMOTIONS not created. This will apply in any manner of endeavor. If your work is construction, business will have fewer dollars to invest in new projects and contractors will have less work for construction workers. If you sell cosmetics in a department store, women will have fewer dollars with which to purchase cosmetics. If you work in a church, the members will have fewer dollars with which to build the church’s budget. And on and on and on…

One would like to think that those responsible for broadcasting such a report on CNN, for example, would not have given such consideration a thought., and most probably haven’t. But, however man y have (and surely some have), they are willfully participating in a misinformation of the public. Anywway, how your income is taxed is only a fragment of the relevant consideration of tax policy. Much more important is WHAT YOUR INCOME MIGHT BE!

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My fellow Texan friend pondered the potential benefit to him of supporting Obama, though he disagrees with him on social issues about which he is not assured about McCain, anyway. Other friends reported other Christians who support Obama. Frankly its another discussion, but the thought makes my head swim. It is correct that if McCain does not safely win Texas, he is toast in the rest of the country. But, your discussion heaped on one I had this afternoon of reports of other very evangelical people seemingly hypnotized by Obama, leaves me rather disturbed and disconsolate, not because of Texas but because that sort of thinking around the country could actually elect this man who is either a huckster or UTTERLY deluded.

Be certain to understand: I know you have legitimate issues to consider and others do as well. But, the belief that Obama or anyone else can repair their concerns is a short-sighted delusion of people who are not considering how human nature operates in a society.

First of all, it isn't strong enough to say that I don't BELIEVE that that Obama's plan is going to put more dollars in pockets. I KNOW that that's pure horsepucky. If he has only a cosseted Ivy League education to work with, maybe he's in fantasyland. But frankly, I incline to believe that politicians of his sort are primarily interested in manipulating others to aggrandize themselves. As Sarah Palin put it, “some men use change to advance their careers, while other men use their careers to advance change.”

I know that you can look at me and believe me. I haven’t the least interest in helping rich men who don’t need my help. But, the idea that you can take from the richest and help “95% of taxpayers” in Obama’s case is complete fancy that is worthy of a traveling medicine show. A rich man is rich: you can take half his income and he is still rich. He won’t miss a thing. When all of the wealthiest men in a large country like ours have more or less money it only means that there is more or less to spend or invest, either of which activities create work and income for people who are not so rich. Work doesn’t come from nowhere. If resources aren’t investyed into new projects, there is no work.

Be sure to understand what socialism is: it isn’t just taxing “the rich” to help everyone else. Oh, no! Socialism is an alliance between government and large established businesses. While scamming the people with taxes on big companies with one hand, they reward them with the other with subsides and/or regulation of markets to restrict or eliminate their competition. A corporation will happily shell out a few billion in taxes in order to more effectively dominate their market: better to pay higher taxes on much more market share than lower taxes on a smaller percentage of the market. The long-term effect of this is to retard innovation and technological progress. But, it’s a good run while it lasts: business and government leaders tip toasts on the same parties and trips.

Ultimately, that’s why communism failed. As Marx said, “From each according to his ability. To each according to his need.” Sounds great doesn’t it? Millions and millions of working class peons around the world thought so. But, the subsidized poor remained poor while government leaders and their business benefactors coasted. But over time, the lack of advancement couldn’t keep pace with progress around the world in less socialist places.

But, this also explains why Obama can boast of taxing big corporations and specifically vilify oil companies with one hand while on the other hand voting with the rest of the government opportunists to grant oil companies large corporate welfare subsidies. John McCain by the way, as in so many other cases, voted against this. Sarah Palin in Alaska let oil companies pursue larger profits while taxing them to fund Alaska according to their increased profitability: You make it profitable for them to earn another dollar while paying another penny to the state. But you never make it unprofitable for them to invest another dollar, in which case no one would get anything. Anyway, if Obama is elected with a Democratic Congress they will squeeze the vitality out of the economy. Prices will rise. Interest rates will rise. Unemployment will rise. Opportunity will dwindle. AND, they will blame it on Republicans: “Bush left even a bigger mess than we thought.” Why not? People bought the other stuff.

By the way, you say “I do disagree with Obama on social issues, at least, on the ones that get talked about the most. But having been frustrated by the almost casual lack of attention paid to them during the Bush administration, after anticipating action…” I never anticipated anything. Bush’s statements alone were so soggy and limp that I knew he either could not or would not (or both) inspire any change in the culture. As I’ve said before, Bush’s pathetic statement, “I prefer life,” was a flashing red sign that he had nothing productive to say. As I’ve often said, “I prefer chocolate.” SO WHAT?!

As I also have often said, when Bush was elected in 2000 I said, “Leviathan gets a night manager.” And, it did exactly that. With Bush and a Republican Congress, federal spending increased at a rate not seen since Johnson in the 60’s. The federal education department (neither a federal responsibility or capacity) increase hugely. Entitlement liability and spending increased as it hadn’t since Johnson too, and in a way that Al Gore could never have achieved with a Republican Congress, which went to Disneyland with Bush. By the way, McCain voted against those things, too. I’m not mad at Bush, and I appreciate his foreign policy resolve (if not always his method) in the face of fierce pop-culture headwinds. But, I never voted for him and wouldn’t still.

Irrespective of all of this; even if I believed that Obama could do the magic that his words and lackeys suggest, I would NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, support a man who voted at ever opportunity for as far a “pro-choice” (of what, again?) position as one could take. He voted against a partial-birth abortion ban, which I in fact never advocated. A) I don’t believe it saves a single life. Men who do that for a living aren’t going to be concerned about a little law. But b) the even verbal restriction of one abortion procedure implies the legitimacy of all of the others. But, Obama also voted alone and TWICE in the Illinois state Senate, against a bill to protect infants born alive after botched abortions from being left to die. No type or no amount of candy, even if I believed in it which I don’t, could bring me to vote for such an empty soul.

Particularly in his late years, I think McCain is sincere in his anti-abortion posture. By the way, if Obama appoints 2 to 4 Supreme Court justices, that extends a calamitous court and society through the rest of our lives. Do you really doubt that Palin is serious? I know she is. I want her there in line. Anyway, all of that Christian dalliance with Obama left me in a state. I said it might give me nightmares at night. I might curl up in fetal position with my thumb in my mouth. At least, some polls out today show McCain-Palin having moved into a lead, even though electoral maps still decidedly favor Obama.

21 comments:

Quiverdaddy said...

Thanks for your observations, Larry. FactCheck.org and Snopes.com are already dis-assembling the dissembling where Sarah Palin is concerned.

I'd recommend checking out the new book, Sarah: How a Hockey Mom Turned Alaska's Political Establishment Upside Down. Just "re-released", the book is getting rave reviews, and has a sales rank of #10 on Amazon's book list. I suspect by the time you and your readers see this post, Sarah will be at #1.

Larry :-) said...

Thanks for the reference To...err, Quiverdaddy. I'm writing something about Sarah Palin's faith, today, which some have fretted and many commented on. No one knows terribly well what they are talking about.

I was pretty certain that we were headed there. Some people fear that a wacko apocalypticist might start World War III besides imposing other horrors. Other people fear an alien invasion...or even a worldwide natural calamity from global warming, and believe that Barack Obama will hold back the waters.

Thinking about it, I met you over 12 years ago and I know thatn you care about what is good ad right, but I don't know what church you belong to. Perhaps I should have been fearing YOU! :-)

Lee said...

Palin's achilles heel is the Bridge to Nowhere. She has been claiming that she told Congress "No thanks" for the something like $300M they kicked in for the bridge. In fact, she never told them that. In fact, what she did, when she cancelled the state's portion for the bridge, was to re-apportion and spend every dime of the federal money without informing the Alaska congressional delegation of the change first. That was earmark money. Apparently, she isn't as against earmarks as her running mate.

This is a tough one. I do not see that McCain represents a change from Bush. I haven't heard him say anything that distinguishes him from that. I also am not naive enough to believe that Obama is going to deliver on all of his promises. I've seen that supposedly committed Republicans, regarding social issues, simply ignore them. McCain has done so for his entire service in the Senate, so why would I expect him to do something as President?

I voted third party last time around. Perhaps I should do that this time. Texas will likely not be in play, though if Obama gets the kind of turnout he did in the primaries, it definitely will be.

Larry said...

Lee:

It is a great oversight *which was alarge problem w/some Huckabee critics) to equate actions as a governor with perspectives as a potential federal executive. Because Huckabee signed tax increases to renovate the highway system and increase education spending (in response to a Supreme Court order, BTW), with tha intent to raise taxes as a federal executive. Education and state highways are state responsibilities and Huckabee had signed the "no new taxes" federal pledge.

Similarly, given the rules as they are, a governor does not refuse the return of funds that have already been taken from citizens of states. For instance, in baseball, I have always disapproved the designated hitter rule. But, if I were an American League manager today, would I use a desgnated hitter. You're darned tootin', if only to compete. And if I didn't, I would probably be fired.

Likewise, a governor who refused federal money *again, already paid by US citizens) would likely be fired by the voters. Accepting and disbursing that money says absolutely nothing about one's disposition to earmarks as a federal executive.

Honestly, I have to wonder if there is another reason for a hostility to Palin. I am uncommonly enthused about her as it seems a Christian should be.

1) McCain has mostly voted in the minority on abortion questions. As chief executive, hecould wield a lotmore influence. assertion that life begins at conception and his selection of Palin, are a far cry from Bush's soggy statement that "I prefer life." As I said, I never expected much to come of that. Can you imagine what kind of judges Obama would populate the federal bench with, and what kind of damage they will inflict on American society and the sanctity of human life over the next 30+ years?

2) NcCain's lifetime 100% record of opposing earmarks and tax increases and his leading record against wasteful spending are in another solar system from Bush's administration of Johnson-paced spending growth and six-year holstering of his veto pen. The fact is, little should arouse the conservative as much as the idea of McCain with a veto pen.

I voted third-party the last two times around. McCain has demonstrably and almost infinitely more intestinal fortitude than Bush.

Lee said...

The problem with Palin isn't that she didn't return the money to congress, the problem is that, now that she's running with no-earmark McCain, she is claiming she told Congress "No thanks," when she never told Congress anything, and eventually re-appropriated the money. That doesn't square up with what she is saying on the campaign trail. There are some other things she's said that don't square up with the record, particularly with regard to the Alaska Independence Party, and with the way she supposedly handled big oil and the corrupt Republican political administration in Alaska. In that regard, she is no different than any other politician, but that certainly doesn't square up with what she is now touting about herself. There is plenty of time for all of that to settle in and come out, and you can bet there are plenty of Democrats working on that.

I think McCain's weakness, and Obama's sealing of the election will come during the debates. So far, in terms of bringing the issues to light, McCain's campaign has been awfully light, while Obama has hammered at them. Next to each other, on camera, in front of the country, with spontaneous responses required, the advantage goes to Obama. McCain doesn't do well with spontenaity.

I may have spoken too soon with my comment about third party. That field is not nearly as rich as it has been in the past. Maybe I'll just write in my own name.

Anonymous said...

as far as we know, jesus never said a thing about abortion or gay marriage. as for taxes, he said to render under ceasar that which belongs to ceasar. in other words, shut up and pay them.
what he talked about a lot was sharing the wealth, dividing the loaves and fishes so that everyone has enough to eat, telling rich people how hard it will be for them to pass through the eye of the needle into heaven.
many people, including me, think that the number of abortions that take place as a form of birth control is moral stain on our society. but should that be the pivotal issue in this election?
ask yourself, based on the bible, what would jesus do?
based on what is written in the gospels, i think he would want to make it easier for rich people to get to heaven. after that, the priorities become much more clear...
as for jesus' views on war, well, read it for yourself...

Larry said...

Lee:

All of those questions will surely be asked of Palin. I think she'll do fine. She has an interview with Charles Gibson, tonight (Thursday) You surely aren't saying that she didn't expose corrupt Republican officers, driving them to retirement and confront and defeat the incumbent Republican governor and his feathered political nest in the primary, then defeat a former Democratic governor in the general election. She has the highest governor's popularity rating in the country, over 80%. What is it that you don't like about her? She's your sister. She makes me weep. Are you reading liberal Blogs or Obama campaigners.

I listen to Obama and I hear him making things up on the fly, and I hear a lot of foolishness in his proposals. I don't think he called Palin a pig. He isn't a political idiot. But, I think he was just blathering and blurted that line out without thinking of the context of the past week. When you are verbally flailing, you are bound to say some things you haven't thought much about. I don't know how McCain will fare in the debates, but I think I would eat his lunch and I'm NOBODY. But, I don't have McCain's life history and I don't expect I could endure what he has.

anon:

Abortion is aq paradigmatic issue of a society that is so self-focused that it claims a Constitutional right to defer over the lives of its own offspring. Ultimately, the victims aren't the babies, who will be fine. The victims are the people and the society who have sunk to such a selfish state that will be manifest in all manner of human commerce. Civility is in steep decline.

Ceasar was the soverign of the land in the Palestine of Jesus' day. The sovereign of America is "We, the people..."

The rich should give to the poor. They should GIVE, not have a third party make a living by taking and doling out "entitlements."

Jesus asked the boy for the loaves and the fishes and he multiplied and distributed them. He TOOK nothing from ANYONE, not even the corrupr Roman government or their sef-padding tax collectors.

vontauber said...

Hi Larry. Wow, do I oppose your political views, particularly abortion! That said though, I added you to my blog in a special section called "Opposing, yet worthy views". I think it's smart to remember and bring forth ideas unlike our own, just to get us thinking if nothing else. Besides, it'll make me remember to read your thoughts more often, which clearly challenge my mind. :-)

Hope you're well. I think of you every now and then, always respectfully.

Best Regards,
Tatiana

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