Women of all ages and ethnic groups are more likely to identify as Democrats than as Republicans or Independents. Forty-five per cent of women say they’re Democrats, versus thirty-two per cent of men, according to a 2009 Gallup poll. The reason women are more likely to vote Democratic has less to do with what we generally consider women’s issues than Democrats seem to think. But the real reason means that Republicans will find it difficult to close the gender gap: women tend to support big government. “For more than a decade, women have been more likely than men to favor an active role for government,” said a Pew Research Center report released in March. “And recent surveys show that higher percentages of women than men say that government should do more for the poor, children, and the elderly.” Women advocate strengthening government regulation, especially on health, the environment, and food and workplace safety, much more than men do. [The New Yorker]
Republicans to slash food stamps – The White House deliberately increased monthly benefits in 2009 by about $20 per person as a way to pump stimulus dollars into the economy. And in this post welfare-reform crisis, hard-strapped governors have sought to maximize food stamp dollars as a cheap way to help families without tapping state funds. The higher costs and visibility—especially as more businesses advertise that they will honor the electronic benefit cards introduced in the 1980’s—are what’s driving the Republican push. The Recovery Act boost in benefits is already phasing out and will be gone entirely by November 2013. But the package now, to be taken up by the House Agriculture Committee Wednesday, would end this abruptly summer, impacting families Sept. 1, and saving about $5.9 billion in 2012 and 2013. […] the severity of the proposed House cuts could be an over reach for two reasons. First they are all coming from the Agriculture panel in a context where rich farm subsidies continue to be protected at a time of record income for producers. Even in the commodity lobby, there is broad consensus that the current system of cash payments to growers at a time of high farm profits can no longer be politically defended. And by not striking more of a balance, the committee risks real damage to the coalition that has supported farm and food programs together for decades.
Food Stamp Program Helping Reduce Poverty – A new study by the Agriculture Department has found that food stamps, one of the country’s largest social safety net programs, reduced the poverty rate substantially during the recent recession. The food stamp program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, reduced the poverty rate by nearly 8 percent in 2009, the most recent year included in the study, a significant impact for a social program whose effects often go unnoticed by policy makers. The food stamp program is one of the largest antipoverty efforts in the country, serving more than 46 million people.
Unfortunately, this would explain a lot. What it doesn’t explain is rightwing Christians who support this behavior with their politics and, particularly, Christian leaders who justify it. I’m sure we’re all familiar with those sections in the Gospels that celebrate gluttony and greed.
But why would wealth and status decrease our feelings of compassion for others? After all, it seems more likely that having few resources would lead to selfishness. Piff and his colleagues suspect that the answer may have something to do with how wealth and abundance give us a sense of freedom and independence from others. The less we have to rely on others, the less we may care about their feelings. This leads us towards being more self-focused. Another reason has to do with our attitudes towards greed. Like Gordon Gekko, upper-class people may be more likely to endorse the idea that “greed is good.” Piff and his colleagues found that wealthier people are more likely to agree with statements that greed is justified, beneficial, and morally defensible. These attitudes ended up predicting participants’ likelihood of engaging in unethical behavior.
Given the growing income inequality in the United States, the relationship between wealth and compassion has important implications. Those who hold most of the power in this country, political and otherwise, tend to come from privileged backgrounds. If social class influences how much we care about others, then the most powerful among us may be the least likely to make decisions that help the needy and the poor. They may also be the most likely to engage in unethical behavior. Keltner and Piff recently speculated in the New York Times about how their research helps explain why Goldman Sachs and other high-powered financial corporations are breeding grounds for greedy behavior. Although greed is a universal human emotion, it may have the strongest pull over those of us who already have the most.
So when we wonder, “When will the one percent feel they have enough money?” Now we know the answer: NEVER. When Romney says he’s not concerned about the very poor, he means it. We also know the one percent will continue to take more than their share as long as we allow it. Why wouldn’t they?
Mitt’s in good company.Patrick Bateman isn’t.
Or Norman Bates (Watch! WAIT FOR IT!):
Neither is Jack Torrance:
So after his crazy insightful comment this morning, I’ll bet this is what Romney was thinking the rest of the day:
It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million. Anybody who says we can’t change the tax code to correct that, anyone who has signed some pledge to protect every single tax loophole so long as they live, they should be called out. They should have to defend that unfairness — explain why somebody who’s making $50 million a year in the financial markets should be paying 15 percent on their taxes, when a teacher making $50,000 a year is paying more than that — paying a higher rate. They ought to have to answer for it. And if they’re pledged to keep that kind of unfairness in place, they should remember, the last time I checked the only pledge that really matters is the pledge we take to uphold the Constitution.
Now, we’re already hearing the usual defenders of these kinds of loopholes saying this is just “class warfare.” I reject the idea that asking a hedge fund manager to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher is class warfare. I think it’s just the right the thing to do. I believe the American middle class, who’ve been pressured relentlessly for decades, believe it’s time that they were fought for as hard as the lobbyists and some lawmakers have fought to protect special treatment for billionaires and big corporations.
Nobody wants to punish success in America. What’s great about this country is our belief that anyone can make it and everybody should be able to try -– the idea that any one of us can open a business or have an idea and make us millionaires or billionaires. This is the land of opportunity. That’s great. All I’m saying is that those who have done well, including me, should pay our fair share in taxes to contribute to the nation that made our success possible. We shouldn’t get a better deal than ordinary families get. And I think most wealthy Americans would agree if they knew this would help us grow the economy and deal with the debt that threatens our future.
It comes down to this: We have to prioritize. Both parties agree that we need to reduce the deficit by the same amount — by $4 trillion. So what choices are we going to make to reach that goal? Either we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes, or we’re going to have to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare. We can’t afford to do both.
Either we gut education and medical research, or we’ve got to reform the tax code so that the most profitable corporations have to give up tax loopholes that other companies don’t get. We can’t afford to do both.
This is not class warfare. It’s math. (Laughter.) The money is going to have to come from someplace. And if we’re not willing to ask those who’ve done extraordinarily well to help America close the deficit and we are trying to reach that same target of $4 trillion, then the logic, the math says everybody else has to do a whole lot more: We’ve got to put the entire burden on the middle class and the poor. We’ve got to scale back on the investments that have always helped our economy grow. We’ve got to settle for second-rate roads and second-rate bridges and second-rate airports, and schools that are crumbling.
That’s unacceptable to me. That’s unacceptable to the American people. And it will not happen on my watch. I will not support — I will not support — any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans. And I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to pay their fair share. We are not going to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks who are most vulnerable.
Read full transcript…
Or watch the video…
The working- and middle-class teahadists continue to scream for tax cuts for the wealthy, in open defiance of their own self-interests. I don’t get it.
John Cole lays out the case that luxury goods (like $9,000 Chanel sequined tweed coats) are flying off luxury store shelves and mebbe it’s time the rich folks contribute a little more tax revenue to our sinking ship called the USA:
Via Economix: …the nation’s income distribution may be quite lopsided, but its wealth distribution is even more so.
The top 1 percent of earners receive about a fifth of all American income; on the other hand, the top 1 percent of Americans by net worth hold about a third of American wealth. (Note that the top income earners are not necessarily the same people as the top net-worth Americans — after all, lots of high-net-worth people don’t work or have much else in the way of sources of new income.) Wealth-related inequality has also been relatively stable over the last few decades, whereas income-related inequality has been growing since the ’70s.
Cole ends with this:
Our Galtian overlords have the most money they ever have, their taxes are at the lowest levels they have in many decades, and they have plenty of money to blow on luxury items. Why? BECAUSE THEY HAVE ALL THE FUCKING MONEY. It’s no coincidence that luxury items are flying off the shelves while concomitantly, the middle class is slowing down their spending on food, furniture, etc. In fact, this is precisely the point many dirty hippies have been trying to make- we are never going to have an economic recovery until some people other than the Kochs and Warren Buffet have money to spend. And with unemployment at astronomical levels and with the official government policy to make things worse with austerity and then hope a magical unicorn comes sliding down a rainbow showering jobs on the middle class, it is going to stay this way. Fer fuck’s sake.
Agreed. WTF, teaparty?
Matthew Yglesias: Sales of luxury goods are sharply accelerating. …the key sentence in the piece is this one (emphasis added): “Luxury goods stores, which fared much worse than other retailers in the recession, are more than recovering — they are zooming.”
The very loud tea party Republican base won’t pay attention to the details of Ryan’s budget proposal or try to investigate it for themselves — Fox News and Rush Limbaugh will tell them everything they need to know. That’s how the very loud tea party Republican base will continue to support and vote for even more corporate wealth and power, ending the middle-class as we know it, all because of extreme CONSERVATIVE SOCIAL ISSUES.
Tea party Republicans claim to be all about the size of government and government spending and NOT about social issues. However, this latest fight over the 2011 budget and the extreme social conservative riders that their representatives in the House tried (and failed) to enact betrayed them. They screamed “Shut it down!” rather than compromise on items that really had nothing to do with spending and a budget. The GOP knows the chain they can always pull with this base is going to be variations of God, guns, and gays.
Mike Lux at C&L has a good summary of Ryan’s 2012 budget proposal, but begins with some common sense suggestions for reducing our deficit (emphasis mine):
I can get to a balanced budget a lot faster than that, and do it without dismantling Medicare and Medicaid, and without taking an axe to Pell Grants, Head Start, and meals for shut-in seniors and hungry children. Heck, Jan Schakowsky’s plan balances the entire budget except for interest payments on the national debt in five years. You can easily balance the budget in less than 10 years, even including those interest payments, simply by cutting the waste in military spending, reforming the government contracting procedures, ending tax loopholes for investment bankers and offshore companies, ending subsidies to oil companies and big agribusinesses, taxing speculative financial trades, and having millionaires pay taxes at the same rate they did under Ronald Reagan.
The Ryan budget has nothing — not a single frickin’ thing — to do with cutting the federal deficit. It is all about income redistribution, simple as that. If you take away the budget savings Ryan claims from projecting that the wars we are in will wind down soon, he has $4.3 trillion in budget cuts and $4.2 trillion in tax cuts. And I bet you can guess which fact comes next: the budget cuts are targeted almost 100 percent at programs that help low-income families and the working middle class, while the tax cuts are almost entirely directed toward the wealthiest 10 percent. Continue reading