"Class Warfare?" Please.

Jeff Golden

Picture 5 Have you heard the phrase "Class Warfare" enough for a lifetime?  Yeah, me too. We'll hear it plenty more in the next five weeks from Measure 66-67 opponents who find it much, much easier to hit hot buttons than to argue substantively against making Oregon's tax system slightly more progressive, or against raising the top marginal federal tax rate from 35% back up to 39%.  "Don't you realize that's just class warfare!"  Right.

I'm cranky enough about this to write a whole column.  So I did, right here

Is this your take, too?  If so I hope you'll call out anyone tossing out this lame bloody bait over the next month, as will I.  It's cynical manipulation and we should challenge it.

   

Comments

  • alcatross (unverified)
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    Haven't we also heard the phrase 'fair share' enough for a lifetime? As if 'fair share' is some sort of universally defined and accepted given like one of Newton's Laws of Motion...

    I view saying we're going to raise taxes to 'make Oregon's tax system slightly more progressive' as at least an intellectually honest argument - even though I may or may not agree or like it. But trotting out the old 'we're going to raise taxes on business and 'the wealthy' because they're not paying their 'fair share' (which I've seen repeated ad infinitum here at Blue Oregon) just as lame bloody bait and cynical manipulation as you find the 'class warfare' phrase. Get it?

    Just realize both sides of the coin here have their own trite and hackneyed 'sound-bite' phrases they use in these debates...

  • LT (unverified)
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    Alcatross, I somewhat agree with you.

    My main quibble is the idea that people chooose between "both sides of the coin".

    It is time to accept the fact that nowhere is it written that every voter must choose a "side" and then never question anything which comes from that "side"

    We have the right to think for ourselves!

    Dandy book I read last summer (only 74 pages) titled RESET by Kurt Andersen. It goes into many issues debated here.

  • Jim (unverified)
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    You underestimate the distortion that "class warfare" arguments convey. The class warfare argument actually goes the other way - it has been waged by the wealthy on the poor for the past generation. Tax burdens (all govt. taxes, fees,, etc...) have been significantly shifted toward the working and middle classes over the past 30 years. This is also true in Oregon where tax rates are quite different that total state and local tax burdens. All tax incidence studies, and the resulting growth in after-tax income and wealth disparities, are testament to that.

    Class warfare has been waged on the lower and middle classes since Reagan, and the rich have largely won.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    That's a good analysis of the way it's being used by the right, but it doesn't address the semiotics of the phenomenon. You've taken what I call the psychologist's approach. Someone presents with dysfunctional behavior, most psychologists explain to them why it's all wrong and tell them to stop doing that; it's not good for society or themselves. Personally, I assume people are lazy, and know that behavior is mighty expensive, and figure that they wouldn't be doing it if it didn't serve some need. I don't ask them to stop it, until I have an answer for how to address the need. That's why I'm not a practicing psychologist.

    One could say the repubs have a hidden agenda to give Americans more freedoms. That wouldn't wash, least of all because it is far from the truth, but because people don't have a sense that anyone is doing that. The phenomenon isn't in play.

    For 35 years, the repubs HAVE been engaging in class warfare. They are now cynically trying to leverage peoples' free floating anxiety and give it a label. It only gets play because it jives with what people are feeling. Rather than go through this on every issue, I'm tired of it too, and would like to see the corporate fed gridlock in Congress and the unresponsiveness of our representatives and the lack of progressiveness in the tax code cited as examples of class warfare. Lots of Dems ran on the "it's a war on the middle class" plank. Edwards showed that Dems just aren't comfortable with the concept, so they don't talk about it. He had the right idea. Leverage it, or be leveraged by it. Repugs are comfortable talking about it because they have so much practice at it, and believe their class really does rule by divine right.

    Ever read the study where people where given amphetamines or a placebo, then watched someone either get scared or angry? The drugged group later recounted that they had spontaneously experienced the anger or fear. When the feeling is given a label and target, and one has a behavioral example to follow, that is usually what they will do, and think it is their own heart. That's what I see when I look at a TEA rally. You were spot on that doing so is the most radical form of demagoguery.

    Does anyone doubt that too much of an element of theocracy has crept into the Repugs? All theocracy leverages and exacerbates class struggle, by definition. I know you didn't say that there isn't any class warfare, but I'm afraid that's how a lot will take it. And still there will be that free floating anxiety. It's meat and potatoes for pols to start with, "I know how you're feeling...", and then provide a framework for interpreting it.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    "The class warfare argument actually goes the other way - it has been waged by the wealthy on the poor for the past generation."

    Make that "many generations."

  • LT (unverified)
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    One way to fight back is to demand details and specifics, not just generalities like "the business community" (or worse yet, that schools should be nicer to the business community as if educated workers would exist without schools)

    Read the editorial in the SJ and comment on it if you wish. http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20091220/OPINION/912200325/1048

    email address of the editorial page editor can be found at the bottom of his column, here

    http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20091217/COLUMN0704/912170332/1125/OPINION

  • Ricky (unverified)
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    Voting YES on raising taxes on businesses in Oregon is exactly the opposite of what President Obama is trying to do for businesses in Oregon, when he announced his Job Bill: lower taxes.

    Obama would vote NO.

  • JJ (unverified)
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    Jeff...I've said this before to others (particularly Carla), but apparently you need a reminder...it's think first, then write...not the other way around. The top 10% of wage earners pay 80% of our tax revenue..the top 1% pay more than the bottom 90% combined..and 1/3 of Americans have no tax liability at all. So when you increase the federal tax rate on upper middle class families to nearly 40%...add in Oregon's outrageous state income tax rates...we're talking about over 50% of a working person's income taken in taxes, while others pay no taxes at all. No serious person can sit there with a straight face and assert that the class warfare issue is a farce.....you're entitled to your own opinions, but you're not entitled to your own facts. So next time, do some homework before you write..your post was a disgrace to ignorance..and everyone who read it is now dumber for having done so....go sound crazy some place else, clown..and take your flag burning friends with you.

  • alcatross (unverified)
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    Zarathustra commented: ...and the lack of progressiveness in the tax code...

    Per 2007 numbers (and similar to JJ's preceding comment here), the wealthiest 1% earn ~20% of the income - but pay ~37% of the total income tax. The top 20% pay ~70% of the total income tax. ~84% of all federal income taxes are paid by the top 25% of earners. Meanwhile, the bottom 50% earn ~15% of the income but pay less than 5% of the total income tax - with the bottom 40% of income earners paying no federal income tax at all.

    And don't come back with 'well, your data doesn't include payroll taxes - which are largely paid by the poor.'... It turns out that when one includes payroll taxes in the calculations, they have far less impact on the distribution of the tax burden than most people would assume, because the wealthy also pay a lot of those taxes.

    In a 2004 paper presented to the American Statistical Association, IRS economists Michael Strudler and Tom Petska calculated percentiles data that included both income taxes and Social Security taxes. In 1999, the top 1 percent paid 23.3 percent of combined payroll and income taxes, the top 10 percent paid 52.2 percent, and the top 20 percent paid 68.2 percent.

    So getting back to my point... exactly how much more 'progressivity' in the tax code do you think there should be?

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Bill Bodden:

    "The class warfare argument actually goes the other way - it has been waged by the wealthy on the poor for the past generation."

    Make that "many generations."

    Bob T:

    It's also waged by the stupid, or economically ignorant. As I've pointed out in previous discussions, one example is the Rev Craigmiles of Tennessee who wanted to sell discount caskets so people (mostly working and poor people) would have to buy the over-priced caskets that state regulations created and kept in place so that a privileged few had a monopoly on that business. In order to enter this market, Craigmiles or anyone else would have to jump through such unnecessary hopps as attend embalming classes and so on, just to sell what one judge called "a box". I guarantee ya, every time someone made a move about changing these laws ("de-regulation!"), there were many (including the progressives) who cried out deregulation alerts warning that gosh, prices will go even higher, and people will get ripped off getting stuck with tooth-pick-and-glue coffins, and a "monopoly will result", and all the usual nonsense when in fact it was a good ol' boy system made possible by the usual state power to regulate for "the common good", no questions need be asked.

    And there are thousands of such examples which have sero to do with the rich vs. the poor. Same with the young African-American girl in Kansas some years back who made some money for school by doing corn-row hair styles in her home (or her mom's home, actually) until shut down (threatened) by the usual culprit - the state board of beautician or something or other, which mandated the usual batch of unrelated training. Odd, isn't it, that free market think tanks go to the defense of such people while the progressives, wedded to controlling people under the guise of "protecting the consumer against Big Business and the wealthy class like John Kerry, oops, I mean the Bushes", look the other way lest regulations be questioned.

    Read it right here.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • ThinkOregon (unverified)
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    Re: class warfare... quoting The Tax Foundation:

    "Oregon lawmakers are foisting the bulk of the state's budget problems onto the shoulders of a small group of high-income individuals, instead of spreading the burden across more of the beneficiaries of state government or making deeper cuts in state spending. By tacking on two new personal income tax brackets and one new corporate income tax bracket, Oregon will sacrifice simplicity and equity for a politically easy beat on the drums of class warfare.

    As California has recently demonstrated, such a top-heavy tax structure can damage a state's finances on two fronts. Boom-time revenues from high-income earners often encourage profligate spending commitments with the assumption of further booming revenues, but the inevitable downturns that follow wipe out tax revenue from top income earners much more severely than revenue from more modest earners, leaving the state with massive budget shortfalls. Broad-based, flat-rate income taxes both encourage more production from high-income earners in good times and keep revenues from falling through the floor in bad times. Oregon is moving in the opposite direction, unfortunately, increasing the likelihood of major budget crises down the road.

    Significantly higher income taxes on the most mobile group of individuals and corporations may also convince a portion of these key economic actors to say goodbye to the Beaver State, and discourage others from entering. While California's imploding economy and even more onerous tax structure might not lure these Oregonians south, some firms and high-income individuals for whom sales taxes are not a major consideration might regard Idaho's 7.8% top income tax and flat 7.6% corporate tax rate as attractive. Washington and Nevada, meanwhile, both scrap income taxes altogether in favor of broad sales taxes. Now facing the highest state income tax rate in the U.S., Oregon's high-earning individuals have no shortage of greener tax pastures elsewhere."

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    Anyone ever curious as to why no one will ever define what "fair share" ever means. I as a business owner WANT TO pay my fair share. Please tell me what is my fair share! Give me a specific percentage of either revenue, profits or taxable income so I can decide how and where to grow my business.

  • Proud Class Warrior (unverified)
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    Well Jeff, as one very proud class warrior who has watched elitist Democrats steal the DPO and screw it up in this state (remember the war on lower income folks with the tobacco tax where anybody who stood up was accused of being a shill of the tobacco industry?), and who is now watching the elitist, soldout Democrats who stole the DNC doing the private health insurance industries dirty work that will require us to do business with them but not giving us the chance to instead participate in Medicare for all, I call bullshit on you and your display of typical lame-brained NW/Oregon idiocy.

    Those elitist Democrats have not used their supermajority and legitimate budgetary tactics like reconciliation to fix the tax system (remember, all revenue bills originate in the House so the Senate does not have the kind of control on revenue matters other types of measures). And they aren't using their power in this health care fiasco or the banking reform because they are socio-economically privileged: They aren't waging war on their own class.

    We can debate whether Measure 66/67 are progressive, I contend they require a lot more to be progressive. They are written in a cowardly way by the kind of people left behind in the sticking dungpile that has become the DPO.

    I was going to vote for both 66 and 67. Now I am going to split my vote to send a true class warrior message: I'll be voting for Measure 67 to raise the corporate tax and against Measure 66 to raise the personal income tax.

    That will be true class warfare that we need: Taxing corporations by which the wealthy actually accumulate their wealth with the help of all kinds of favorable laws and, in many cases, hide it from morally legitimate taxation. At the same time, I'll be continue to support increases in the inheritance tax to stop the transfer of unearned wealth that the families of a lot of elitist Democrats in Oregon benefit quite nicely from, and doing what I can to shame those same elitist, poser Democrats who don't.

    And before the below C-level IQ contingent here jumps in, have the brains to recognize all these comments apply to elitist Republicans, it just that Democrats in Oregon and nationally have become shameless, immoral hypocrites about it.

    What say you Jeff?

  • Jim (unverified)
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    Sorry JJ and Alcatross,

    Not once do you mention that OR income taxes are deductible on Federal Schedule A.

    Here you can find a valid analysis of the real tax incidence of state and local taxes on Oregon income groups, not the random figures of national tax levels you quote out of context. This table takes into account the fact that every dollar paid in OR taxes by the wealthy is deducted from their FEDERAL income taxes, whereas low income taxpayers do not file a Schedule A. Download the OR sheet here:

    http://www.itepnet.org/wp2009/statespecific.html

    Check out these apples-to-apples tables. The effective tax impacts are at the highest rates for the lowest income quintile in OR, and the lowest rates are for the highest earners

    This is the definition of regressive, or, put another way, class warfare on the poor.

  • Blue Collar Libertarian (unverified)
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    Let me pick up on the work started by Bob Tiernan. It’s not so much what one pays in taxes it is what one receives for those taxes.

    There have been a number of studies that suggest the well to do receive far more benefits from taxes than do the poor or those in between.

    The Oregon Family Resource Study from 1995 looked at who benefited from the state run college system. Seems the poor did better at the private schools in the state than they did at the government run one. If you take PSU out of the system then I’m willing to bet the benefits to the poor decline even more. One of the things low income people need most when going to school is access to part-time work of which there are few in Eugene or Corvallis.The study was paid for with tax dollars, reported in the back pages of the Oregonian and is collecting dust somewhere in the Higher Education System.

    Know anyone who works as a legal secretary? How many legal secretaries are just as capable as their bosses but don’t have the license? Probably a bunch but thanks to the ABA there are only seven or eight states where someone can read for the bar exam and Oregon is not one of them. That leaves Mr. Lincoln out. And no paralegals to help out seniors and other low income groups in this state.

    Then there is the poor transportation system in Portland which I have bitched about before and will say nothing except to point out the huge amount of money spent on the WES project. Given what little Trimet has spent on improving bus services to and from low income areas especially between the Rivergate Industrial Park and NoPo or at night it isn’t low income people benefiting from those taxes.

    Who benefits from zoning? It isn’t the poor. It’s those who already have established businesses or homes whose values they want to protect.

    And where are those highly qualified teachers? Surely not in the low income schools districts or towns.

    And when did the cops bust someone in the West Hills for possession?

    You’ll might want to check out the farm subsidies going to farmers in the state. Not too many poor dirt farmers there.

    Maybe someday people will begin to realize that it isn’t what you pay it is what you receive in benefits which is why this blue collar worker just wants to get the government out of it and open the marketplace, which is now closed.

    One of my Libertarian friends once said “When we get the rich of welfare the poor won’t need it”.

    Tell the government to get off my neck.

  • LT (unverified)
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    "The Oregon Family Resource Study from 1995"

    Your whole essay based on a study from almost a decade and a half ago?

  • Blue Collar Libertarian (unverified)
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    No LT. This study paid for with tax dollars was ignored. The situation has not changed. The benefits of higher education in the state still go to the well to do for the most part.

    Secondly my comments about legal secretaries has nothing to do with that study.

  • ThinkOregon (unverified)
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    Since posting For Every Action, There's An Equal And Opposite Reaction a successful entrepreneur posted a very revealing comment about Oregon's business climate:

    I have lived in Oregon, Texas, Arizona and now again in Oregon. I have owned businesses in each state and am currently in the start up phase of my 4th business. I am at a crossroads. I can either invest in a lot of expensive equipment and hire a substantial amount of employees here in Oregon, OR I can outsource the entire manufacturing process to companies in other states. Right now, due to the negative climate regarding businesses in my home state of Oregon, I am strongly considering the later.

    The economic downside for Oregon is significant if this person decides not to relocate here: no new jobs created; no payroll taxes paid; a building not leased; no commission for the commercial real estate broker; equipment not purchased and no commissions paid to the salesperson; no new lunch time customers for the deli next door, the gas station down the street, the printers across town.

    Every business person or high net worth individual we tax doesn't hurt them ... it hurts the fabric of Oregon ... and ultimately you and me. We all want great schools, secure funding for all those in need of social services. We value Oregon's natural resources and want to protect them... but as Dr. Tim Duy - adjunct assistant professor and director of the Oregon Economic Forum in the Department of Economics at the University of Oregon - points out we need to create a better business climate so we can preserve the very best of Oregon.

  • (Show?)

    "What say you Jeff?," you ask, Proud Class Warrior. Here's what I say: you lost me at "I call bullshit on you and your display of typical lame-brained NW/Oregon idiocy." I'm baffled when articulate, well-informed people throw in those zingers. I understand completely when O'Reilly or Beck do it-- they use insults when that's all they got. I'm clear that's not true with you. So help me understand: exactly what value does the trash-talk add for you? Come after my ideas and I'll play all day long. Call names and I'll pass. (which was +/- the point of the original column--linked in my original post-- though it doesn't seem to have gained traction on this thread).

    The reason I pass has nothing to do with thin skin or prissiness; if you're winding up to write about how all the Mt. Rushmore guys slugged it out in the gutter with their foes, save yourself the effort. It has everything to do with distraction, which is murdering us. Look around. Why aren't large majorities, and I mean 80-90%, ready to support single-payer health insurance and public campaign financing, two rational systems that have consistently proven their value in the countries most like us? Is it because people actually consider and then reject them?. Uhm...no. It's because they get distracted by red-faced shouting and intentional polarizing side issues (e.g, the last minute lobbing of the red-meat abortion issue into the healthcare debate). And the distractor that D's and folks on the left are most likely to amplify is name-calling. We get called names and fling them back, and the testosterone flies about like it did in middle school. Tell me that someone like Sarah Palin would have the stature and impact she has today if she weren't able to cast herself as the wronged target of mean-spirited insults.

    I'm not interested in helping Sarah out. So I Just Say No. Zero tolerance for name-calling, I try hard not to do it (and probably fail at the edges now and then) and I don't respond to it. If I post something you don't like in the future, let's rumble-- but without the "idiocy" chaser.

  • Steve Marx (unverified)
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    "Please tell me what is my fair share!"

    It's always more than you are paying now.

    Read the O this AM? TriMet drivers have gold-palted insurance, shouldn't they be paying more for that benefit the taxpayers give them?

  • Brian C. (unverified)
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    To be fair, the pro 66/67 TV ads I have seen do appear to play the class warfare card pretty heavy. The grinning douche bag "fat cat", his blonde bimbo by his side at the billiard table? Let's be honest, that's a classic class warfare image.

    Regarding tax fairness, apparently it comes down to ones definition of "fair". Objectively speaking, that would be an equal percentage from every individual. Of course that's not happening nor should it in my opinion. That would make it rather difficult for the poorer among us to maintain the most basic level of subsistence and stifle their ability to get ahead. Tax rates should be progressive. At the same time I don't begrudge the success of others. Sure, some "rich" folks are pricks but I have known far more bitter leftist pricks that demonize wealth. In reality, most of our tax revenue comes from those who earn a decent income and they consume fewer public services. How about this? Let's simplify the hell out of the tax code, eliminate several hundred loopholes and get back to basics. Seems to me we can have a flat tax system with a progressive scale and varying rates based upon income level. The poorest pay zip, the middle class kicks in a reasonable percentage and the upper 30% kicks in a bit more. However, "a bit more" means keeping at least 50% of the money one earns. Otherwise you get exactly what you have now- resentful poor & rich alike with plenty of accountant tricks for the moneyed. I'm far from wealthy but I'm pretty sure I'd feel just a mite disgruntled had I created a sizable pot in which to piss. "Who are these bastards claiming ownership of what I have earned and how I'm going to spend it? Fuck 'em!" And so you have environment we have now. Place zero accountability on the losers, milk the middle middle class and break the balls of the most successful- none are sustainable plans.

    I have read both measures and see some merit in both. However, I can't say that I'll vote yea at this time. Given Oregon's current economic position, the general perception and timing of these bills, both seem unwise. Maybe it's just me.

  • LT (unverified)
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    "I have read both measures and see some merit in both. However, I can't say that I'll vote yea at this time. Given Oregon's current economic position, the general perception and timing of these bills, both seem unwise. Maybe it's just me. "

    Here is a good way to decide:

    Try contacting your state legislators. Ask them, "What is the alternative to Measure 66 and 67? If the measures go down, what will you support to fill the budget hole left by the defeat of the measures?".

    If they answer to your satisfaction, vote accordingly.

    If they don't answer, or say something vague like THESE ARE BAD TAXES! and nothing more, keep this in mind.

    As surely as it rains in Oregon, the budget must be balanced. If the measures go down and the revenue forecast must be helped, there are only a few choices:

    1)Drain every reserve fund and ending fund balance to zero in hopes there is no further revenue shortfall because if there is, nothing left to do but cut, perhaps drastically.

    2) Trust Ways and Means will make the right decisions (cuts, increased fees or other revenue, ending tax breaks, etc.)

    3) Get set for a special session which might end in Feb. or might go until Easter if there are members who say "taxes are bad but don't ask me for an alternative".

    I don't see any other choices. I think some of the NO legislators want to obscure the above reality with debates over tax policy.

  • Steve Marx (unverified)
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    "I don't see any other choices."

    4) Ted can stop giving out 100K/yr jobs. Then he can tell his managers to cut expenses 5-10% without cutting customer service.

    At least that is the way it is in the real world.

    I mean we've been given this script for 25+ years now, if you dno't pay more taxes, we'll cut schools and police. Yet Oregon's revenues go up 10% on average per biennium and we still don't get good schools.

  • alcatross (unverified)
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    Sorry Jim,

    My comments were in response to Zarathustra saying '...and would like to see the corporate fed gridlock in Congress and the unresponsiveness of our representatives and the lack of progressiveness in the tax code cited as examples of class warfare. - thus he was talking about the FEDERAL tax code... so the numbers I quoted are hardly 'random figures of national tax levels' nor are they at all out of context. I really want to know what level of progressivity people here consider 'fair share'...

    But why are you bringing up deductibility of OR income taxes on Federal Schedule A? State income taxes are deductible on Federal Schedule A regardless what state you live in - it's not something unique to OR. And my 'random figures of national tax levels' still very much apply. If state income taxes weren't deductible on federal income taxes, the % of federal income taxes paid by middle- and upper-income earners would be even more skewed than it already is.

    (BTW, I think you're mixing federal deductibility of state income taxes vs Oregon deductibility of federal income taxes - you may want to rethink and revise your post here...)

    But before you do that, I've seen the webpage you've referenced here at BO at least 3 or 4 times in the past year alone. Unfortunately, property taxes and sales & excise taxes are not levied/paid based on income or 'share of family income'... they're based on value of property owned, consumption, and other factors. So the data is 'interesting' but not really a valid basis for argument. Or are you now proposing we adopt a new tax scheme of varying rates for property taxes and sales/excise taxes based on household income?

    Also, if you look at the numbers at this link for Washington, California, Arizona (just to name a few...) - you'll see their numbers using this methodology are even MORE regressive. Oregon IS progressive (or at least less regressive) compared to many other states using this data.

  • ScaryTail (unverified)
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    Class warfare? I second Brian C's comment above - certainly the TV ads portray those images, quite intentionally.

    But the real issue is public sector vs. private sector. Can we really sustain a situation in which the public sector continues to grow while the private sector shrinks?

    These tax hikes appear to be attempts for the public sector to immunize itself from the effects of this deep recession. The problem is, even if they pass, it only makes the situation worse - the private sector will shrink further.

    I'm sorry but it just isn't sustainable for the state budget to grow by almost 10% (all funds budget - look it up) when the private sector is flat on its back.

    These tax hikes might pass, but the underlying problem will remain. Capital is simply not going to be invested here in the current business environment. Taxes are far from the only problem for business, but when the total marginal rate on high wage earners, state and federal, starts to exceed 50% (which is where Oregon will be if these pass and the pre-Bush tax rates revert) why would anyone invest here?

    This situation is not sustainable. Sorry, it just ain't.

  • jamieee (unverified)
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    There's a corporate killing class, and there's the business of America. All freedom loving Americans are at war with those that would implement carbon reduction schemes.

    • CO2 does not cause warming
    • There is no manmade warming
    • Humans do not produce CO2
    • There is no more CO2 being produced today than 1,000,000 years ago
    • Al Gore is using mafia tactics to extort from every business

    Someone comes into my business with a baseball bat, I pull a gun. Al Gore and all that agree with him are a mob of thugs storming my business. This is a daily class war. I urge all Americans to arm themselves and use force to resist any kind of carbon reduction targets. They have also never demonstrated that the environment is not functioning in a totally normal way. I urge all Americans that care about the future to hunt any animal added to the endangered species list. That class warfare has been going on since the 70s. They won't listen to reason, we can settle this real fast. How many grizzly bears are there in Oregon? We can take out one "endangered" species a week-end, if people care to take back their country.

    Read my platform . The Metro election is the best example of class warfare. I am the only candidate that will fight for the average Portlander!

    Thanks, JK

  • Unrepentant Liberal (unverified)
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    Of course there is and has been class warfare in this country since the day the first settlers set foot on our shores. It's just that now-days it's the middle class and the poor who are losing the battle badly in this country to the top one half of one percenters.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    "But the real issue is public sector vs. private sector. Can we really sustain a situation in which the public sector continues to grow while the private sector shrinks?"

    Can we really sustain a situation in which the war (aka defense) department continues to grow while the military-industrial-security complex thrives and the public sector shrinks?

    "Of course there is and has been class warfare in this country since the day the first settlers set foot on our shores. It's just that now-days it's the middle class and the poor who are losing the battle badly in this country to the top one half of one percenters."

    Those first settlers came here to escape the class structure they endured in Europe, and as soon as some of them had the chance to become the upper class they set the new nation on a course of class conflict that continues to this day. After the first edition of the constitution was published by the new upper class, the people rose up and demanded what became the Bill of Rights. Today, the mass of people are being screwed over by Congress on behalf of their campaign donors. What will it take to get this generation to rise and demand a new bill of rights?

  • Lord Beaverbrook (unverified)
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    Those first settlers came here to escape the class structure they endured in Europe,

    Literally, if they were very, very progressive. Most simply wanted to create a copy where they were in charge, nothing against the practice. They didn't have any concept of ending class divisions. The only evil they saw in the existing class structure was that they weren't running the show! The founding fathers chose a Republic, without direct election of Senators, for one and only one reason. Their class knows more and is charged by God with the duty of governing those that are not as capable.

    We still think that way, or we would have a parliamentary democracy.

  • Galen (unverified)
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    Lets us look at what these measures do. One is a retroactive tax on gross income. It is not against the rich, but the lowest earners. That tax ends once you have paid $100,000 into it. No one talks about this. So lets say your company grosses 250k You have fixed costs like rent, payroll etc. At the end of the day you make $40k, you still pay taxes on the 250k under the new law not only that, you pay it on this years earnings after not having saved up for it. That is not fair by any standard! Now lets look at how we got here. Oregon government instead of reducing spending due to lower revenues, in fact increased spending by almost 10% WOW! I wish I could do that when I had less money. Finally, check this out: They increased spending and cut education! That does not sound like progress to me. This is not fair by any means. I know lots of people in Ashland that will be voting against these measures! Progressive does not have to equal fool.

  • (Show?)
    Per 2007 numbers (and similar to JJ's preceding comment here), the wealthiest 1% earn ~20% of the income - but pay ~37% of the total income tax. The top 20% pay ~70% of the total income tax. ~84% of all federal income taxes are paid by the top 25% of earners. Meanwhile, the bottom 50% earn ~15% of the income but pay less than 5% of the total income tax - with the bottom 40% of income earners paying no federal income tax at all.

    That doesn't seems to have any relation to the state tax figures.

    Almost exactly two years ago, I used the Oregon Department of Revenues 2005 reports to create a chart showing state income tax progressivity. Indeed, the people who make the most money do pay the largest amount of the income taxes. Just over 9% of Oregon returns had an adjusted gross income (AGI) greater than $100K. Those returns accounted for more than 42% of the total AGI for all returns, and that small slice of people paid more than half of the state's income tax revenue.

    Roughly the same amount of income was claimed in the returns ranging $70K and below, which made up about 81% of the total number of filings. Those people paid only about a third of the state's personal income tax revenue. Unlike the federal numbers quoted above, even people in the bottom 40% paid state income tax.

    The bottom tier sorted out by the state covered returns claiming less than $20K of AGI (38% of the returns). Even with such a high volume, the small income of those returns made them into only 5.37% of the total AGI. They accounted for 3.33% of the net personal income tax paid, making a ratio of 0.62 between the tax paid and the income. The top tax bracket had a ratio of 1.22.

    So, in other words, if you make more than $100K you pay about twice the rate — as a percentage of income — as you would if you make $20K. The numbers are less exact for the high-earners, because there's a wide disparity of incomes in the range above $100K.

  • LT (unverified)
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    "One is a retroactive tax on gross income. It is not against the rich, but the lowest earners. "

    First of all, in the measures is an end to tax on unemployment benefits.

    Second of all, as I understand it, a couple making $260,000 per year would pay the old rate on the first $250,000 and a higher marginal tax rate on the top $10,000.

    If I am wrong, show me where.

    About the increased spending:

    In a recession, we should use the same dollar amounts to provide extra services to unemployed people and others needing government services?

    Sounds like Social Darwinism to me!

  • dartagnan (unverified)
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    "Since posting For Every Action, There's An Equal And Opposite Reaction a successful entrepreneur posted a very revealing comment about Oregon's business climate"

    Why is it that these "successful entrepreneurs" who bitch about Oregon's terrible business climate and say they're going to move their businesses elsewhere are always ANONYMOUS?

    Anonymous accounts like this have zero credibility with me ... especially when they're posted by conservatives.

  • KenRay (unverified)
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    Can we really sustain a situation in which the war (aka defense) department continues to grow while the military-industrial-security complex thrives and the public sector shrinks?

    1. Since we are talking about an Oregon tax, elucidate how big the defense budget and military defense budget is here in Oregon?

    2. Since you appear to be speaking federally, can you provide some verifiable facts that the public sector has shrunk? You certainly aren't referring to the US. The only part of our job sector that is growing is the government.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    I agree about "fair share" being dicey. It's always harder to figure what's fair share to support a system, a process, versus simply buying an outcome. You don't know when you put in x extra $$$ what you will see out of it.

    All this talk about fairness is no different than going out to eat and you're going to split the bill. Everybody usually can work things out, except the person that actually puts the cash on the tab almost always comes out short. Supporting the "splitting it up" system is always more expensive for the payee than simply paying for what the person actually ate. When you add to it that we get the distinct impression that some at the table are gaming the system...well, what is your "fair share" then?

    Fair 'nuf, Dart, but I think the poster was trying to be polite. The description bears an amazing resemblance to a regular poster here. I think he's characterized her pretty well. "Conservative" isn't really accurate, given all the baggage. Personally, I count her as one of the real progressives, though she might come down a bit more socially conservative at times. The point would be that the decision is as portrayed, without ideology. It's a straight question. She just wants to figure out a rational formula for how and where to grow her business.

    Alc, there's more than personal federal tax. Look no further than the estate lapse next year for a distinctly lack of progressive handling. On the personal side, those adjustments are relatively recent, many want to roll it back, and "flat-tax" proposals spring up every cycle like mushrooms after a rain. Personal federal schedules aren't bad, but few see it that way, and that too, is a corporate fed lack of progressiveness in the tax code. So, yeah, you're right to point that out.

  • Undomesticactor (unverified)
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    What will it take to get this generation to rise and demand a new bill of rights?

    Bzzzt. Times up. We've exceeded the maximum population density for any individual's perception of their share of responsibility to rise to the level where they act. Why a crowd will watch someone get attacked, but a lone individual will go to the rescue. There are now enough blanks in the system to dampen any trend toward change.

    H1N1 looks like it has the right stuff to mutate into something pretty lethal. I doubt that the disease route would be very effective, though, so, the answer is, "it can't happen here".

    History as a guide, our arrogance and stupidity will lead to a number of military defeats that precipitate a social collapse. Then we get change whether we agree with it or not. And since we can't deal with the basics, it'll probably be one that has, like China. "The peg which stands up must be pounded down". Try to change then. QED: time is up for change. There is no hope, short of a planet wide species near extinction, and that doesn't seem any too likely, even if we completely screw over the environment. It's hard to wipe out every one of the blighters.

  • Galen (unverified)
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    "First of all, in the measures is an end to tax on unemployment benefits."

    that is only one aspect of the bill a diversion to say. I am looking at if from a holistic perspective. The Bill taxes self employed people at a flat gross rate if they own a corporation. It does it from the first dollar. The public does not understand the structure of this tax. When you tax small companies you tax individuals. That is what this measure does, please read between the lines.

    "Second of all, as I understand it, a couple making $260,000 per year would pay the old rate on the first $250,000 and a higher marginal tax rate on the top $10,000."

    This is only true for wage earners. Self employed company owners loose profit from the first dollar and its retroactive. Not every company is IBM or Haliburton, look at The Ashland Coop. If they are C corp they are hit from the first dollar.

    "In a recession, we should use the same dollar amounts to provide extra services to unemployed people and others needing government services?"

    To say we are social Darwinists if we do not agree here is flawed. We must deal with reality. If there is no money we cannot tax the economy itself and expect growth and jobs. We must teach people to fish, not just expand the projects to give them more fish. This current expansion of government does the opposite. It cuts education to expand non-productive methods of getting the economy back on track.

  • andy (unverified)
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    Class warfare is just exactly what the pro-measure TV ads are all about! Make the rich pay their fair share is how these bills are being pitched even though that is complete bullshit. The rich already pay way more than their fair share which is obvious to anyone who actually spends more than 10 minutes researching this subject. It is the middle class that refuse to pay enough taxes. They demand services from the state but will not pay for them. These tax measures are nothing more than mob rule by the middle class trying to use their numbers to force someone else to pay their bills. There is nothing progressive about these tax measures, unless of course you think mob rule is a progressive value.

    I'm surprised how many so called progressives on BO actually support these tax measures. Evidently some of the folks on here care more about getting money for their pet programs than they care about progressive values. It is fairly clear who the sellouts are on here.

  • zull2 (unverified)
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    You know, it's almost as if the wealthy in this state are telling those of us who work hard and haven't had any kind of cost of living increase in years (while watching our health care and benefits stripped from us, and utility fees constantly increase on us)...are supposed to be perfectly fine with lying down and letting the fat cats use us as litter boxes. To use a term like "Class Warfare" in such a pejorative context, it's like they're trying to shame the majority of citizens in this state into accepting that they are fodder. When you use a term like that in that manner, you're trying to make the majority of people feel embarrassed, or make them feel crazy, for standing up for themselves.

  • (Show?)
    The rich already pay way more than their fair share which is obvious to anyone who actually spends more than 10 minutes researching this subject.

    Is it? People who make over $100K (a relativley small portion of the population) do indeed pay about half the total personal income tax revenue collected in Oregon, but is that "way more than their fair share"? I suppose it is if you believe in something like Steve Forbes's flat tax, think Washington state's regressive sales tax system is the way to go, or would prefer a feudal paradise where you can own whatever you can keep, but if you're someone wealthy or even just middle-of-the-road you're the beneficiary of a system that enables you to keep your wealth without having to spend grand amounts of it simply in order to keep others from stealing it. If you want to see what real class warfare looks like, just stop paying for public services like police. Stop trying to educate kids in public schools. Cut off all aid to poor families and unemployment benefits. Turn this country back to the nineteenth century that gave rise to anarchist bombings, riots, goons hired by companies to shoot down workers, constant pumping of the threat of socialism by the government -- only then it was real socialists, not someone like Barack Obama.

  • Jake Leander (unverified)
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    "Class warfare" suggests a rough parity between combatants. What has been going on in the US, since its establishment, is closer to class assault and battery, class abuse, or class bondage.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Lord Beaverbrook:

    [settlers] didn't have any concept of ending class divisions.

    Bob T:

    True, but they were probably indifferent to the class idea just the same, which is why we became early on a nation that didn't have such divisions. European visitors, and new immigrants, noticed that and many other things right away.

    Lord Beaverbrook:

    The only evil they saw in the existing class structure was that they weren't running the show! The founding fathers chose a Republic, without direct election of Senators, for one and only one reason.

    Bob T:

    Utt-oh, is this where you say that it had a lot to do with distrust of the people? Then how do you explain the House of Representatives? Nothing could pass without the people's house voting on it, too. As for the Senate, I completely understand the concept they created and see it as one of representation of the states as entities, which we don't get with the direct election. And when the senate represents states as entities they think more in terms of preventing centralization of power and management. Nothing wrong with that.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Lord Beaverbrook (unverified)
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    Bob T:

    I think we're violently in agreement. That was my take on Senators too. It was a trick question.

    But, I do say there was "distrust of the people". Why make Jefferson a hypocrite? That attitude would explain most of their contradictory behavior. I'm a parsimony guy. Fewest terms=best answer!

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    Then how do you explain the House of Representatives?

    Ever heard the Dutch saying, "It's better to have them inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent, pissing in'?

  • Brig. Peri Brown, Purity Troll Brigade (unverified)
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    Posted by: Zarathustra | Dec 21, 2009 6:47:06 PM

    Then how do you explain the House of Representatives?

    Ever heard the Dutch saying, "It's better to have them inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent, pissing in'?

    Uh, I think you're showing your roots, Z. That was LBJ! You can take the boyz out of Texas...

  • Mike (unverified)
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    God, could we please get some class warfare going around here? Because all I see is war being waged against the lower classes by the elites. When will we start fighting back? I won't hold my breath. They are winning, and some how they've co-opted ordinary people into silence.

  • Galen (unverified)
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    "If you want to see what real class warfare looks like, just stop paying for public services like police. Stop trying to educate kids in public schools..."

    This is effectively what the Oregon Legislator has done. They did not fund education or police even though they had the funds to do so. They funded what the lobbyists wanted and are now as planned using the children as hostages to get these measures passed. Educate yourself on what happened in the budgeting committee in this last session. There you will find the answer that will make you vote no on both. The government at all levels does not work for the people nor freedom, they work for lobbyists. We are being taxed without representation.

  • (Show?)

    This is effectively what the Oregon Legislator has done.

    I'm assuming you mean the Legislature as opposed to some specific member of the body.

    Sure, there's plenty to discuss about how state monies are apportioned, but the fact remains that the same people who are always arguing to cut taxes or fighting against tax increases are the same ones who consistently fight school bonds, promote cuts in higher education, deny aid to the poor, and cut social services in general. You can't pay for those services without revenue., and if you cut revenue you cut services.

  • Galen (unverified)
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    "Sure, there's plenty to discuss about how state monies are apportioned, but the fact remains that the same people who are always arguing to cut taxes or fighting against tax increases are the same ones who consistently fight school bonds, promote cuts in higher education, deny aid to the poor, and cut social services in general. You can't pay for those services without revenue., and if you cut revenue you cut services."

    This is a very broad and collective statement and in my case not true. I support an Amendment to force funding for Schools and other basics first before funding other projects, so these things will not happen again.

    The statement also does not give us a logical action. The idea being presented here sounds something like this: "Although the legislature has defrauded us by cutting schools and police and then asks us for more money under the false presentation they did not have enough, we will reward them with this tax increase because somehow I believe all people against a tax increase are against schools and police anyway." So we vote for 66 and 67 not out of principle, but out of vengeance against these supposed anti-tax people? I know plenty of very progressive moderates in Ashland who are not voting for these taxes out of principle. We cannot fix our schools if we let the legislature continue to commit fraud against the people of Oregon. Like one person said in Ashland: If your child throws dessert on the floor do you give him more? Sure you love your child, but if you want him to learn, you cannot give him everything he wants.

    Finally you close your statement by stating you cannot fund services without revenue. This statement tends to project the ideas that there is not enough revenue, when in fact there is plenty of revenue if you do not squander it with an increase in spending that dwarfs growth. The fact is the Oregon government cannot continue to grow at the rate it is. Does anyone understand the implications of the sustainability of government growing faster than the economy?

  • (Show?)
    ...there is plenty of revenue if you do not squander it with an increase in spending that dwarfs growth. The fact is the Oregon government cannot continue to grow at the rate it is

    This would have been an excellent point for you to provide some statistics to support your claim that increases in spending have outstripped growth. I'm tired of doing other people's research for free.

  • Lord Beaverbrook (unverified)
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    If your child throws dessert on the floor do you give him more? Sure you love your child, but if you want him to learn, you cannot give him everything he wants.

    I've worked in Salem for Oregon, and, you get a glimpse of it with the movers at BO, but it is hard to appreciate the arrogance until you are in small meetings, behind closed doors with directors. These children think they can banish you to the cornfield. They see you as inferiors. There is no service ethic. I was told straight out that it is dangerous, and "those people usually self-select out". That was from a Dept. with "services" in the name. When I asked once why it was services instead of management, then, they laughed and said that it "serves to eat a huge piece of the budget". Now imagine that those directors are the very Repugnants that are opposing the taxes. You can not imagine how bad it is...

    Which is not to say vote against M67/68. Hard working- over worked field workers- will get it in the neck if management is displeased. Not one illegal contractor will be laid off. It will all be field staff. Teachers will be let go, not middle managers. If they are forced to do that, they'll close a school as well, just to make their point.

    I've worked for 5 state govs. Nowhere (including Louisiana) is it as bad as here. These monies are needed. You're still throwing good after bad, though. You have a situation here where the Oregon Administrative Rules trump statute. Then they finagle them until they are contrary to the spirit of the statute. Often money appropriated for a program goes toward administering OAR that produce just the opposite effect. And what's the penalty? Mission failure? This was a program management didn't want in the first place. "See, it was a bad idea". Back to business as usual.

    No one will discuss the obvious remedy. You have to change the culture. The upper middle class Repugnants that fill those management jobs aren't into service or sacrifice. You get rid of this stupid notion that government isn't any good unless it mirrors business, and you recruit people into those positions that want to serve and you will have what you want, finally. Hell, they don't do anything, just sack the lot of them! I can think of few departments that wouldn't run better with the line management in charge. The discrepancy in salaries is huge. The PERS hole is being created by continuing to pay aggressive management salaries. It happens for only one reason. Management writes their own check. If the lege dares push back, they ax a bunch of field workers. "That'll teach 'em".

    Unfortunately, it hasn't. We have plenty of overqualified, unemployed that could do those management jobs. Brings it into perspective, doesn't it? The two sides of the M67 debate are a lot closer together than either is to us.

    We need to get rid of middle management or SEIU needs to split into rank and file orgs. "Union" is not a proper term for them. A union is about workers and management. SEIU throws them all in together, against the taxpayers! That's not a union; it's a cartel. If SEIU were a proper union, they would be fighting those field layoffs and fighting management.

    You will always have a M67 on the ballot until you are willing to make these changes. There is no incremental approach. The fable of the frog and scorpion certainly applies. They will not decide to work from enlightened self interest. It's not their nature. They are the scorpions and we the frogs.

    One day, a scorpion looked around at the mountain where he lived and decided that he wanted a change. So he set out on a journey through the forests and hills. He climbed over rocks and under vines and kept going until he reached a river. The river was wide and swift, and the scorpion stopped to reconsider the situation. He couldn't see any way across. So he ran upriver and then checked downriver, all the while thinking that he might have to turn back.

    Suddenly, he saw a frog sitting in the rushes by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river. He decided to ask the frog for help getting across the stream. "Hellooo Mr. Frog!" called the scorpion across the water, "Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?" "Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you wont try to kill me?" asked the frog hesitantly. "Because," the scorpion replied, "If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!"

    Now this seemed to make sense to the frog. But he asked. "What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!" "This is true," agreed the scorpion, "But then I wouldn't be able to get to the other side of the river!" "All right then...how do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and THEN kill me?" said the frog. "Ahh...," crooned the scorpion, "Because you see, once you've taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!"

    So the frog agreed to take the scorpion across the river. He swam over to the bank and settled himself near the mud to pick up his passenger. The scorpion crawled onto the frog's back, his sharp claws prickling into the frog's soft hide, and the frog slid into the river. The muddy water swirled around them, but the frog stayed near the surface so the scorpion would not drown. He kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the current.

    Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from the frog's back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs. "You fool!" croaked the frog, "Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?" The scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drownings frog's back. "I could not help myself. It is my nature." Then they both sank into the muddy waters of the swiftly flowing river.

  • mp97303 (unverified)
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    From 01-09, the budget went up 40% From 01-08, the population went up 11%

    Sources: State of Oregon, Legislative Fiscal Office Budget Analyses; and, U.S. Census Bureau, State and County QuickFacts

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Zarathustra:

    "Then how do you explain the House of Representatives?"

    Ever heard the Dutch saying, "It's better to have them inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent, pissing in'?

    Bob T:

    That's silly. Point is that with this representation nothing could pass (or get repealed) without approval of a majority of directly-elected representatives. The Framers didn't have to have this in the structure since there can be forms of democracy without such a body (as in Europe). The people designing this governmental structure for us could have gotten away with giving us less what was demanded and even expected, but they didn't do that.

    Good thing we didn't have people like Hugo Chavez designing out government. Or Castro.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Galen:

    The government at all levels does not work for the people nor freedom, they work for lobbyists.

    Bob T:

    Well, two things here. Everyone can be a lobbyist merely by exercising the First Amendment right to "petition the Government for a redress of grievances". The problem is when the legislators join with people asking for privileges and grant those privileges, often in the form of squashing others. What remains for the few is a real freedom, denied to everyone else.

    Lobbying of course has gotten out of hand for that last reason, and it feeds on itself and takes advantage of the fact that the government is also addicted to this power to grant privileges (under the guise of "protecting the people", of course. This problem has been around for a long time. I found an interesting observation on lobbying from George Custer's "My Life On the Plains", printed in serial form Galaxy magazine in 1872-73 (published as a book in 1874):

    "Under the Constitution of the United States there are but two houses of Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives, and most people residing within the jurisdiction of its laws suppose this to be the extent of the legislative body; but to those acquainted with the internal working of that important branch of the government, there is still a third house of Congress, better known as the lobby. True, its existence is neither provided for nor recognized by law; yet it exists nonetheless, and so powerful, although somewhat hidden, as its influence upon the other branches of Congress, that almost any measure it is interested in becomes law. It is somewhat remarkable that those measures which are plainly intended to promote the public interests are seldom agitated or advocated in the third house, while those measures of doubtful propriety or honesty usually secure the almost undivided support of the lobby."

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Three Slips and a Gulley and a Silly Point (unverified)
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    I think some of the message is subliminal, that "class welfare=class warfare".

  • rw (unverified)
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    Hey, is that Gulley as in Jimson? Surprised!

  • Also in Primate News (unverified)
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    Good thing we didn't have people like Hugo Chavez designing out government. Or Castro.

    Viva Fidel! Viva la revolucion!!!

    We would do far better with either.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Also in Primate News:

    Viva Fidel! Viva la revolucion!!!

    We would do far better with either.

    Bob T:

    Including no elections for 50 years? And with goons like Che executing people even if they're merely "potential" future opponents. Yeah, I like it when the lefties show their true colors regarding democracy. Even if you're bogus, this is what many say.

    And up here in the US, one is considered a "tyrant" for cutting the "arts" budget 5%.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Zarathustra (unverified)
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    Bill, if I said, "I wish we could have O. J. Simpson playing for the Beavers next year", do I mean the 19 year old Simpson, or the con?

    Please allow me my temporal machinations. Without it history is fickle. What if Hitler had been assassinated in 1937? What if JFK had lived? Your role in history has a lot to do with when you die, and no one that lives over 70 is ever much appreciated. Too much data. Always will include an "I didn't need to know that". In the 19th century, Queen Victoria and Pius IX were shining examples. Churchill even managed to prove the point.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Zarathustra:

    Bill, if I said, "I wish we could have O. J. Simpson playing for the Beavers next year", do I mean the 19 year old Simpson, or the con?

    Bob T:

    Oh go on, call him what he is -- the double-murderer who got away with it.

    Zarathustra:

    What if JFK had lived?

    Bob T:

    Not much. Taking your point, his "role" as "one of the greatest presidents of all time" was created for him, and is quite undeserved. Of the 43 different presidents we've had (including the present one), Kennedy ranks somewhere around, oh, near the top of the bottom 20. W Bush might be around ten or eleven up from the bottom.

    Bob Tiernan Portland

  • Peri Brown (unverified)
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    This "when you die" think is sooo true.

    Jim Morrison wouldn't be 1/10 his legend, if he were alive today. If Desi Arnaz had died at 27, we might think of him like James Dean!

    God, I hope some rightwing nut case that wants to off the Prez is reading this.

    BTW, do you notice how the dittoheads always disappear at a major vacation time? Proves most are spoiled teens and 20 somethings still living at home. That idiot that starts every dittohead post with "Comrade," is pretty conspicuous. Spring break, Christmas, end of August, always goes quiet. Good example of the essential conservative thinking, "I've got mine, screw you and I'll get you if you threaten it". Also an example of the saw, "anyone that's a conservative in youth has no heart".

    Guess that's why progressives would rather have a free bottle in front of me than a prefrontal lobotomy, referring to rest of that maxim that I won't dignify with repeating.

  • Gaabi (unverified)
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    <h2>I'm looking these up today to decide what my vote will be. I read the measures and I don't understand why they're a problem. All idealogical rhetoric aside, it looks like Measure 67 will raise the minimum business tax from $10 a year to $150 or an additional 1.3% of profits? So what, that's NOTHING, it's ridiculous to whine about that. Measure 66 raises family taxes above $250.000 income and individual above $125,000 income from 9% to 10.8% which for that family (according to the state tax calculator) means paying (before deductions) about $27,000 a year and that individual about $13,000. Please stop whining! Again, that is NOTHING to pay for all the services we all get from the state and from our society and it's repulsive to whine about this. Aren't you happy and grateful that you're lucky enough to live in a society with such low crime, good infrastructure, education, emergency services and such a civil and safe environment? I'm happy to pay my taxes and get to live here and I'm disgusted and appalled that anyone would whine about having to help pay for this that we all get to enjoy.</h2>

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