The Secession Thread

Ft. Sumter, Apr 12-13, 1861 (www.civilwarhome.com)

In the comments section of the Synagis™ post, a side discussion has broken out on whether the United States should break itself into pieces.

Since such a thought coincides with the 150th anniversary of the firing on Ft. Sumter, it’s as timely an issue as any.

Correction (thanks Max): Since such a thought coincides with the 150th anniversary of South Carolina’s Ordinance of Secession, it’s as timely an issue as any.

Here’s the comment that kicked off the discussion:

(Some of you) guys never cease to amaze me and with a worldview that is so completely antithetical to my own, I find it increasingly difficult to call you fellow Americans.

The dissolution of the United States as we know it and emergence of regional, like-minded governance (South, West Coast, Northeast, Midwest, etc.) can’t come soon enough. For all of you who want to ban Happy Meals and run private health insurance out of town, I want you to have a place you can call home that’s all your own.

Let’s continue that discussion here.


About Monotreme

Monotreme is an unabashedly liberal dog lover, writer, and former scientist who now teaches at a University in an almost-square state out West somewhere. http://www.logarchism.com | http://www.sevendeadlysynapses.com
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110 Responses to The Secession Thread

  1. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Momo, correction:

    Monday was the 150th anniversary of the passage of the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession,

    The firing on Ft Sumter sesquicentennial is not for 5 more months.

  2. Monotreme says:

    Fixed. Thanks, Max.

  3. dcpetterson says:

    The idea of splitting off really seems like a whiney “I’m taking the ball and going home!” sort of thing.

    The whole idea of a pluralistic democracy is that you don’t always win. There is an ebb and flow to the world. You make your best case, and The People vote. Then you do your best to make it work.

    There is a quote from John Wayne after the election of JFK: “Well, I didn’t vote for him. But he’s my president, and I hope he’ll do a good job.”

    That is what America is all about. It’s funny, the right wing keeps accusing liberals of being “European.” Yet it is the conservatives who want to turn America into Europe, with a bunch of tiny squabbling nations who are unable to do anything constructive together. Our power, our strength, our promise, is in our Union. That means you don’t always get your way. Grow up and deal with it, whiners.

  4. shiloh says:

    shiloh says:
    October 25, 2010 at 03:26

    btw, before TX secedes, all govt. jobs ie U.S. military bases, NASA, govt. contractors/assistance etc. will be re-located to Blue states, eh 🙂 ie The Lone Star state will be truly all alone er in a teabagger bubble lol

    >

    shiloh says:
    October 25, 2010 at 03:41

    Also, the Bush41 savings and loan crisis bailout of the late ’80s ~ (((160 billion))), most of it having to do w/the oil industry in Texas going belly-up needs to be repaid to the tax payers in all the other states …and then and then and then “we” will gladly let TX secede! 😉 All accounts to be settled at the end of the day’s trading, without exception. ~ Trading Places

    >

    btw, no more Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans in the NFL ~ San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets in the NBA ~ Texas Rangers, Houston Astros in MLB … no more college championships for TX universities …

    etc. etc.

    but, but but they can shoot Mexicans crossing the TX border w/out impunity except if Mexico (((declares war))) on TX! 😀 ~ hmm, who would the U.S. govt. support in said skirmish lol

    ‘nuf said!

  5. dcpetterson says:

    Something else — the whole idea of splitting off from the Union is an admission of defeat. It is an acknowledgment that America is going to leave the splitters behind, that they are on the wrong side of history.

    A number of commenters here have been making the point that demographics is against the conservatives. A generation or two at most, and the Hispanic vote will weigh very heavily against them, same-sex marriage will be commonplace, our religious notions will be far more pluralist, health care will be universal — it is all a conservative nightmare. By wanting to form a splitter nation, this is an acceptance that the rest of the country is going in a direction (and inevitably will go in a direction) the narrow backward-looking mindset can’t accept.

    It’s the same feeling that leads to compounds such as Waco or Jonestown, the separatist survivalists who can’t deal with the modern world. Regressivisim will always exist. We’ll deal with it as best we can, and perhaps even with a measure of compassion.

  6. shiloh says:

    dc made me think of an interesting scenario ie if TX, heavily populated w/Hispanics both legal and illegal, secedes, it may have an internal civil war within it’s own borders as many Hispanic Texans won’t be happy no longer falling under the U.S. Constitution.

    but, but, but again, not to worry as Texans are all hat, no cattle!

  7. Just Sayin' says:

    In 1832 the state of South Carolina came up with the term “nullification” which basically stated that each state should have the power to veto any federal law that it deemed inappropriate. At this point South Carolina told the federal govt. that if they did not respect its order of “nullification” that it would secede. President Jackson quickly let South Carolina know that he was prepared to take over the state within days. SC backed down and federal law was obeyed. It would seem everything old is new again. Here in Virginia some of our wonderful republican legislators have resurrected this and are reintroducing bills to make nullification law. Personally I think most of the republican politicians in states like SC, VA and Texas like the talk, but the majority of citizens are very happy being citizens of the US. With the polls being pretty high for the latest round of legislation that just passed, most of these whiners are so yesterday.

  8. Monotreme says:

    @Just Sayin’:

    I’m so proud of my congressman.

    Because he happens to be a personal friend with whom I have profound political disagreements, however, I would propose a “ballot box solution” rather than a “Second Amendment solution” for this particular misguided approach.

  9. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Morning all.

    I’m doing a cut and paste of my comments from the medical thread over to this one. Afterwards cut we just delete those from the other thread? Thx.

    Meanwhile:

    I know I started the hypothetical about Texas leaving, but note there were three states in my comments that voted GOP in BOTH the last two Presidential election, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming, did NOT include Texas. Texas split only 55-45 for McCain and my birth state of South Carolina was 54-46, in 2008. NINE out of twenty voters in both states voted fer them librul candidates! Only once of four did the GOP total more than 60%, barely making even a 3/5ths majority. (Texas at 61% for favorite son Bush, but that was only EIGHTH (tie with Alaska) in vote percentages). Even going back to 2000, Only seven states voted greater than 60% GOP and Texas WAS NOT one of them.

    The top three states consistently were Idaho, Wyoming and Utah. Plus they form the only “regional” grouping that Muley spoke of. I’ll pull up the tax and military consequences as I did for the Texas example in the next post.

  10. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    (Copy from medical thread)
    Mainer,

    Let’s just play MR’s little game and just use Texas, as my governor has already put his mouth in motion prior to engaging his brain on the subject. Let’s pretend Texas would be allowed to peaceably depart the United States. Further, let’s just talk about taxes and military.

    First, Texas receives more money from the Federal government than it sends in Federal taxes. It would lose that right off the top. Like most states, 48 is the number that I seem to remember, Texas is fighting its OWN deficit issues. The stimulus allowed Texas to keep the wolf from the door last budget cycle. (Texas is on a two-year cycle) Currently, we face a deficit over the next cycle of from $20 to $25 Billion! We are already paying 8.25% state sales tax (more than MOST areas of California) and have a property tax that is in the neighborhood of 2.25% of value (more than TWICE California’s) every year. These offset to a great degree the lack of an income tax. Texans will HAVE to accept either fewer services, worse roads, worse schools OR higher taxes! And this is BEFORE the development of an Armed Forces of Texas, from scratch, to help protect us from those hordes of illegals coming over the Rio Grande.

    And speaking of the Texas Armed Forces. In the dire budget straits Texas finds itself in, how is it going to compensate the United States for Forts Bliss, Hood, Sam Houston, and Red River Depot. And Dyess, Shepard, Goodfellow, Laughlin, Lackland and Randolph AFB’s? Plus, NAS Corpus, Kingsville and Ingleside. Not to mention Brooks Army Medical Center here. And we haven’t even mentioned the Federal hardware that sits in possession of the various Texas National Guard bases.

    That’s just two subjects. The complications and logistics are substantial, to say the least.

    Or does Muley believe in getting something for nothing?

  11. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    (Copy from medical thread)

    Mainer, please note. For simplicity I only made a point of taxes and military. I didn’t forget those items you mentioned or any of the hundreds of other interconnections with Federally financed property within the borders as, say, the Interstate highways.

    I mean, we STILL haven’t got a single Texas Navy ship. And you KNOW the TAF (Texas Armed Forces will need strict border security to protect us from all them gawddammed librul gays trying to get in heah and seduce our fine, manly Sons of Texas!

  12. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    (Copy from medical thread)

    Hey, let’s play MR’s game of destroy the USA again. How are we going to decide who secedes?

    So arbitrarily let’s take the last Presidential election results. Now let’s say we use the two thirds majority rule (67%) to secede. Let’s also say EVERYBODY for McCain would vote secede and everybody voting for Obama was against.

    NOT ONE STATE would secede! ZERO! NADA! ZILCH! Damn!

    Well hell, lets reduce it to 3/5ths (61%) and see what happens.

    ONLY FIVE STATES, Alabama, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah, would leave. Texas ain’t even there! And you see that only three of those are contiguous. So much for regionalism! Damn, again!

    Even if you reduce it to a bare 56% majority, you only add 7 more states (Texas STILL isn’t in there).

    Sorry Mule. Looks as though your idea SUCKS.

  13. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    (Copy from the medical thread)
    UNFAIR! Muley cries! You picked a year when a Dem won!

    OK. Let’s go back to 2004 and do the same for Bush-Kerry.

    Muley, you lose AGAIN.

    Only THREE states with a 67% majority.

    And only NINE with more than 60%.

    Sorry. Next contestant please.

  14. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Off the top, one thing about the new Republic of Idawyoute (“Eye-da-Y-O-ute”): they won’t have to worry about outfitting a Navy! And the only major league sports team WE would lose is the Jazz.

    They WILL have an access point for Canadian infiltration and the good Lord knows what THAT could mean!!! (Well, other than all them loose-moraled, high-heeled, boa wrapped women and fairies coming down to seduce all the Marlboro-men-lookin’ cowboys) And all the Washington and Oregon libruls invading from the western border.

    But, out go Mountain Home and Warren AFB’s in ID and WY, and Hill AFB and Dugway Proving Grounds in UT. The thing about Dugway is that that is where all those old chemical and biological warheads are stored. Some nasty business there! maybe on our way out we would just pour some jet and rocket fuel over the lot and set it on fire. Idawyoute shouldn’t worry about any contamination as they won’t be having none of that librul EPA to complain about pollution! Plus, again, we need to be paid for Federal hardware in their Guard possession, assuming we leave it behind.

    Now taxes:

    Idaho receives $1.21 for every $1 paid in Federal tax money. Damn!
    Wyoming, $1.11 for every $1.
    Utah, $1.08 for every $1.

    Sorry guys, no more feasting from the Federal trough at the expense of the rest of us.

    Ain’t it ironic that the ones screaming the loudest are the same ones nursing the most from the Federal tax breast. Well, to them we can now say, “Tough titty!”

    What a can of worm these neo-secessionists have opened. Maybe they just haven’t really thought this thing through.

  15. Bart DePalma says:

    The dissolution of the United States as we know it and emergence of regional, like-minded governance (South, West Coast, Northeast, Midwest, etc.) can’t come soon enough. For all of you who want to ban Happy Meals and run private health insurance out of town, I want you to have a place you can call home that’s all your own.

    Not just no, but hell no. You do not give people who want to deny other people their freedom a nice safe piece of our country to do it. You simply stop them.

    I thought we learned that lesson with slavery.

  16. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Credit for the statement “The dissolution of the United States as we know it and emergence of regional, like-minded governance (South, West Coast, Northeast, Midwest, etc.) can’t come soon enough. For all of you who want to ban Happy Meals and run private health insurance out of town, I want you to have a place you can call home that’s all your own.” starting this thread need to be given to: Mule Rider, December 22, 10:10am.

  17. filistro says:

    This topic interests me because it’s so similar to the trauma regularly suffered in Canada when Quebec goes through one its regular “we want out own country” snits and threatens to tear the nation apart.

    Separatist feelings arise when a portion of the country feels distinct from the rest of the nation, set apart in some way, totally alienated from the general populace and desirous of clinging to a specific identity.

    I predict the southern secessionary drive is going to become more intense in coming years, and Americans will get really tired of hearing about it. The reason for southern angst is not cultural, as is the case with Quebec, but largely political. The Republicans are doomed to become a rump regional party concentrated in the South, and they are going to increasingly feel the same emotion Muley expressed yesterday… with a worldview that is so completely antithetical to my own, I find it increasingly difficult to call you fellow Americans.

    When you can’t beat them at the ballot box, and there’s not enough ammo to shoot all of them… you threaten to leave them. It’s all that’s left for you.

  18. Mule Rider says:

    “The idea of splitting off really seems like a whiney “I’m taking the ball and going home!” sort of thing.”

    Wow, folks, I’m a little stunned that my comments turned out to be so provocative and found a life of their own in a dedicated thread to the topic….

    First off, I just want to defend what I said and provide some context for people who might have come late to the conversation by giving some background on the comment I was responding to that precipitated the conversation.

    The comment was made by fopplssiegeparty that expressed a desire for the President to exterminate (eliminate, vanquish, or whatever synonym you want to use) a segment of the private sector….that being the private health insurance industry.

    Now we can argue till we’re blue in the face about the effectiveness, efficiency, ethics, etc. of the private health insurance industry, but no one can deny that a President way over-stepping his bounds and checks on his (or her) power by the Constitution by eliminating an entire private industry wouldn’t be just a minor infraction but outright totalitarianism on full display.

    My point was that I don’t want to live under that form of governance, and that I know that many people share his/her (anti-Constitutional) sentiments. My point was that if we have people with such irreconcilable differences, it’s best to just split up into separate forms of governance (peacefully) now than continue down the same ol’ road as polar opposites and continue to late hate and spite build.

    Max’ knee-jerk reaction towards me was quite telling. He wasted no time accusing me of being unAmerican, but all I was doing was expressing a desire to not be governed in such a way that is grossly unConstitutional, totalitarian, and by default, unAmerican.

    I really wouldn’t want it to come to the point where the United States as we know it breaks apart and realigns, but I, and millions of others like me, are not going to live under a governing body that can vanquish segments of the private industry on a whim.

    Now that you have some context for what started the discussion, I hope you can see things in a different light….and one that isn’t in such a deep shade of blue.

  19. Mule Rider says:

    “Not just no, but hell no. You do not give people who want to deny other people their freedom a nice safe piece of our country to do it. You simply stop them.”

    Bart, you are a moron. You make conservatism look bad. Very bad.

    By the way, I’m guessing you defend the idea of the President having the power to eliminate portions of the private sector if he pleases?

    That was the point I drew a line in the sand and said if they insist on that kind of totalitarian behavior from our leaders, I will take my ball and go home.

    I find it telling that no one has been willing to go back and address fopplssiegeparty’s original comment wishing for totalitarianism.

    Picking on me and my “secession” comments is just a red herring for the discussion we should be having.

  20. Mule Rider says:

    “Credit for the statement…starting this thread need to be given to: Mule Rider, December 22, 10:10am.”

    I beg to differ…Credit should go to fopplssiegeparty for this statement:

    “I wish Obama (or anyone else) would put insurance companies out of business. Private insurance is a scam. They are leeches that are second only to the banks.”

    Don’t tell me you prefer a dictatorship and when I say, “Hell no, I won’t live under a dictatorship,” act like I’m the one with the problem.

  21. Bart DePalma says:

    BD: “Not just no, but hell no. You do not give people who want to deny other people their freedom a nice safe piece of our country to do it. You simply stop them.”

    Mule: “Bart, you are a moron. You make conservatism look bad. Very bad.”

    I am not the one doing the progressive name calling impression. Genuine conservatives do not act like children. Leave that to the left.

    By the way, I’m guessing you defend the idea of the President having the power to eliminate portions of the private sector if he pleases?

    As I offer detailed posts on how to reverse Obama’s privations? You know better than that.

    Secession is NEVER the answer. The progressives should be defeated, not rewarded with any part of this country.

  22. dcpetterson says:

    Righties have a strange definition of “dictatorship.”

    “If the nation decides to do something I don’t like, we’re living in a dictatorship.”

  23. dcpetterson says:

    Mule, we have frequently outlawed predatory practices of dishonest tradespeople. “Insurance” used to be something the mob sold to you. “Pay me ever week, and we won’t come and break your kneecaps.” The modern insurance industry isn’t much different.

    Back in the 1950s, insurance and medial care had to be run non-profit. They’ve since proven that when they’re allowed to run for-profit, they screw the public. We the People have a right to make them stop.

    It’s up to you to defend the predatory practices of a dishonest and unnecessary industry.

  24. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mule, Let’s pick on South Carolina for a bit of a hypothetical.

    Answer this: What, should SC secede today, happens to the 45%, nine out of twenty, of South Carolinians who disagree?
    Doesn’t THEIR voice count?
    Do they have to pack up and leave?
    Do they lose their franchise?
    Are they relegated to a permanent minority?
    Do THEY further Balkanize the new country, splitting into ever smaller fragments?

    Please, while you are rationalizing, answer those REAL questions. Let’s hear it!

    And stop blaming ME for YOUR poorly thought out political “solutions”. My “kneejerk” reaction is because I know a bit of history and the reality of ignorant, and or stupid, of such political machinations as you put forth.

  25. Mule Rider says:

    “I am not the one doing the progressive name calling impression.”

    I wasn’t name-calling. I was stating a fact. Something you struggle with often.

    “If the nation decides to do something I don’t like, we’re living in a dictatorship.”

    That’s a very incorrect interpretation of what I’m talking about, dc, and you’re being intellectually dishonest to couch my response in that way.

    And it’s not a matter of the “nation doing something I don’t like”….it’s the President of the United States going far beyond his elected duty and (hypothetically) vanquishing private businesses.

    We can go back and forth about things we “don’t like” and have honest disagreements….things like DADT, same-sex marriage/civil unions, subsidies, tax reform, defense spending, etc., but there is no debate when it comes to what fopplssiegeparty described. It’s unConstitutional and unAmerican…totalitarianism on full display.

    “The modern insurance industry isn’t much different.”

    Again, we can have an honest debate about the function and utility of the private health insurance industry, and if people are gaming the system, you go through Congress and draft legislation to change the rules to prevent (or at least minimize) malfeasance and provide an equal playing field. You don’t send the President in to exterminate the players with an authoritarian decree.

    This isn’t up for debate. I have no desire or need to defend predatory and dishonest practices. I will, however, defend the Constitution and the powers granted to our Federal Government therein, and it does not grant the President the power to eliminate private businesses on a whim.

    YOU are the ones getting mad because of something you don’ t like. YOU are the ones leaning towards totalitarianism in this instance…

    “If a private industry does something that we don’t like, we’ll just have the President wipe them out.”

    Trust me, that statement is far more accurate (and galling) about your beliefs than how you described mine.

  26. Mule Rider says:

    “Answer this: What, should SC secede today, happens to the 45%, nine out of twenty, of South Carolinians who disagree?”

    You can stop with the red herrings, Max. If you want an answer from me on those issues, answer this first:

    By what authority does the President of the United States have the right to eliminate parts of or the whole of an entire private industry because it does something he or she “doesn’t like”?

    In such a hypothetical display (with the President forcing the elimination of some private businesses), would that not be totalitarianism?

  27. fopplssiegeparty says:

    DC: Great response to Mule.

    For me it boils down to this: Government may be inefficient, but they are not out to overtly screw people blind. Corporations wish like hell that they get an opportunity to so. Just off the top of my head: Enron, B of A, Goldman Sachs…

    Mule, corporatism is really the way to go?

  28. dcpetterson says:

    Mule:
    And it’s not a matter of the “nation doing something I don’t like”….it’s the President of the United States going far beyond his elected duty and (hypothetically) vanquishing private businesses.

    Well, since he has taken no steps to do this … and not even suggested it … then your reason for splitting off is rather pointless, isn’t it? Or are you willing to form your own nation simply because someone else — who isn’t even in government — suggests something you don’t like?

    And by the way, if your states do break off .. can the rest of us have our money back? We’ve been investing in you pretty heavy over the years.

  29. filistro says:

    Muley… you said yesterday with a worldview that is so completely antithetical to my own, I find it increasingly difficult to call you fellow Americans.

    I find this really interesting… it’s very similar (as I said above) to the way Quebecers feel about the rest of Canada. If you can, I’d like you to explain further about this sense of general alienation.

    1.) Do you think most of the South feels the same way, and is that emotion growing?

    2.) Is it mostly political, just general anger at a progressive government in power, or is something else going on?

    3.) Is it all frustration and angry talk, or could you actually see a scenario in which the South would seriously consider setting up a separate nation?

    TIA.

    Also… thanks for showing me that you CAN discuss something controversial without losing your temper. When you are able to keep it cool, you’re a fine and valuable addition to our blog. 🙂

  30. Mule Rider says:

    “Well, since he has taken no steps to do this … and not even suggested it … then your reason for splitting off is rather pointless, isn’t it?”

    I said it was a hypothetical. Which is my response is hypothetical. But just as there are many people who share fopplssiegeparty’s idea that the President should have the authority to vanquish private business, many people share my feelings that such totalitarianism should not and will not be tolerated, even if that means breaking apart the United States as we know it.

    “Mule, corporatism is really the way to go?”

    No. Any true believer in the free market believes it only works if there is an equal and fair playing field….and there usually isn’t an equal and fair playing field with rampant corporatism.

    But the answer isn’t for the President to respond with an authoritarian decree to eliminate a private business he/she doesn’t like; it’s to pass laws and regulations that ensure fairness.

  31. dcpetterson says:

    Mule

    I said it was a hypothetical. Which is my response is hypothetical. But just as there are many people who share fopplssiegeparty’s idea that the President should have the authority to vanquish private business, many people share my feelings that such totalitarianism should not and will not be tolerated, even if that means breaking apart the United States as we know it.

    Well, I agree with most of this. (The idea of splitting off, not so much, but the rest of it.)

    There’s no doubt the President does not have the power to simply declare an end to the predatory insurance industry. Congress can, however. And they should.

  32. fopplssiegeparty says:

    Mule, I don’t care who shuts down these thieves.

    Eventually, it will be boring economics that does it. These idiots will bleed everyone to death with their mind boggling short sightedness. Ultimately they will fail, but only after they have devastated everything in sight.

  33. fopplssiegeparty says:

    Again, thanks DC.

  34. Mule Rider says:

    “1.) Do you think most of the South feels the same way, and is that emotion growing?”

    “Most” would insinuate a majority, and I think there are too many political atheists and people full of apathy to really say most Southerners feel this way; but I do think the idea has gained ground among the more politically aware.

    “2.) Is it mostly political, just general anger at a progressive government in power, or is something else going on? ”

    I think some people really don’t see this as just liberal/progressive vs. conservative anymore and that too many issues have gone beyond honest debate over how to approach them into we’re divided as polar opposites, 180 degrees from how other people view the world and nothing can bridge that gap to find any middle ground anymore.

    “3.) Is it all frustration and angry talk, or could you actually see a scenario in which the South would seriously consider setting up a separate nation?”

    Right now, it’s probably just an expression of frustration. Things like health care reform, DADT, increasing acceptance of same-sex marriages, etc., while they can have very progressive elements and scare a lot of people, I don’t think they’re even a blip on the radar of leading to the kind of revolution that would cause a secession. The things that would cause it are what I described in my response to fopplssiegeparty about the President exercising apparent totalitarian control over private industry. If soemthing like that were to really come about, watch out because there will be fireworks.

  35. fopplssiegeparty says:

    Here in California there is always a murmur about secession. It flares up now and again, but it is little more than cocktail party discussion.

    I will admit that we are getting tired of being fleeced by the red states in terms of return on money sent to the federal gov’t.

  36. Monotreme says:

    Max asks:

    I’m doing a cut and paste of my comments from the medical thread over to this one. Afterwards cut we just delete those from the other thread? Thx.

    I looked into doing that, Max, and while it’s technically possible, it really makes the thread impossible to follow. I don’t mind that you moved your posts over, and that we continued the discussion here.

    It does make the comment count go up on the Synagis thread, and that’s a good thing!

    I don’t think that secession is an appropriate response to a discussion of whether a particular company’s pricing practices are predatory. Over on the original Synagis thread, we’ve got a good discussion going on what an “ideal” health care reform would look like. Eliminating private insurance, rationing by letting the richest people get whatever they want, and setting up a publicly funded insurance pool to compete with private insurance have been offered as solutions.

    I wouldn’t say secession is a reasonable response to any of those. As abhorrent as I find rationing by giving premium health care to the richest, and letting premature babies born to uninsured mothers die, I wouldn’t recommend secession over it — just a ballot box solution to those who support such measures.

    I’m interested in hearing more on both of these threads.

  37. dcpetterson says:

    The things that would cause it are what I described in my response to fopplssiegeparty about the President exercising apparent totalitarian control over private industry. If soemthing like that were to really come about, watch out because there will be fireworks.

    That’s very interesting. I say this because things like this are not even remotely possible. Yes, some on the left would like it, and some on the right are fond of pushing these fantasies because it’s a good way to foment anger. But it’s not gonna happen.

    So this leads to another question — when the absurd over-the-top rhetoric like this does NOT happen, are the people who are obsessing over it ever going to realize they’re being played for fools? That’s a serious question. How long can this raising-the-bar on incendiary rhetoric go on?

    Bart has been bleating his nonsense about “liberty” and “totalitarianism” for three years now, ever since Obama got into the presidential race. How long will it take the nutty right to realize no one is going to put them into re-education camps or take away their doctor? How long until they realize Rush and Fox “News” have been simply lying to them? I’m really curious.

  38. Mule Rider says:

    “I wouldn’t say secession is a reasonable response to any of those.”

    Nor would I. But that wasn’t what was suggested. What was suggested was an unConstitutional exercise of Presidential authority.

    I said it very clearly that if it’s the rules you don’t like, then change them. Don’t wipe out an industry or a business just because you don’t like it.

    DC insinuated I had an irrational response (thinking what foppls’ suggested was dictatorial) just because it was something I “didn’t like” and that I was taking my ball and going home. I’m saying it very much is an authoritarian power grab on display and that the Left is being the irrational ones trying to take their ball and go home (put private insurance out of business) because of something they don’t like (perceived/alleged predatory practices by insurers).

    Again, you change the rules. Don’t have the President sweep in and exceed his authority by wiping out businesses.

  39. Mule Rider says:

    “I will admit that we are getting tired of being fleeced by the red states in terms of return on money sent to the federal gov’t.”

    A very tired meme used to denigrate conservatives by suggesting they don’t pay their own way when it comes to federal taxes versus what’s received in federal spending.

    First of all, it’s mostly irrelevant and is another red herring. You can tout this line until you’re blue in the face and quote stats for each state – and I’m well aware of it and where to find it – right down the line for each one, but it does nothing to illuminate who exactly (liberal, conservative, or independent/non-voters) is or isn’t “paying their own way” nor does it differentiate by type of spending. For example, FL and TX, two traditionally red states, might “receive” more federal dollars than they pay in because of a larger elderly population that draws in SS payments – which is just a geographic anomaly – or, in the case of Texas, is home to several military bases which requires spending but keeps up a military to protect all of us – again, the location just being a coincidence. Other “red” states – particularly in the plains areas – receive more than they pay in because of agricultural subsidies. I will add that I don’t agree with the massive amount of subsidies we give our agricultural sector, but those go to a very small number of large farmers in states with low population densities, so it’s not like there’s a huge population base to foot the bill nor is it a situation where all of those people are enjoying the windfall of the government largesse. Continuing on that population density idea, you have a state like Alaska that is “guilty” but only because it has vast federal land and resources that have strategic value to us as a whole in this country, but they don’t have nearly enough population to pay for what the government thinks should be spent on it. By contrast, an area like NYC, which is “blue” and pays its own way, is densely populated, which requires very little per person infrastructure. The problem is that the subway system and interstates, etc. that run into and out of NYC provide very little value to the rest of us in the country, just to those residents. The infrastructure invested in “red states” that are agricultural or in places like Alaska that are full of resources do have a strategic value to the rest of us.

    I could go on and on, but basically your argument is tired and on weak footing when you really pick it apart and look at the details.

    And, if nothing else as I said above, it falsely lays culpability at the feet of red state voters, but the data is not broken down in such a way to make those implications.

  40. dcpetterson says:

    The real danger to America’s liberty is from the openly fascist corporatitst dictatorship that FOX News and the right wing has been trying to establish, a totalitarian state run on hate and fear and lies.

    The 24/7 dishonesty from right wing media has been stoking terror in the minds of disinformed Americans, everything from the absurd “death panels” to birtherism and this “socialist” nonsense. Meanwhile, nearly all of the Republican hopefuls for president are actually employees of FOX “News”, and SCOTUS has given the the go-ahead to 1) spend as much money as they want promoting their candidates, and 2) lie as much as they want and call it “news.”

    If this isn’t an attempted Orwellian takeover of America, then nothing is. With ultraconservatives trying to dictate what gets put in our children’s textbooks, and fantasies posing as fact, with right-wing commentators on the radio passing off the most incredible lies and being believed, we’re not far from the war-is-peace, black-is-white, slavery-is-freedom world of Nineteen Eighty-Four.

    There is the threat to America.

  41. dcpetterson says:

    Mule:
    I could go on and on, but basically your argument is tired and on weak footing when you really pick it apart and look at the details.

    That’s cool, but you still haven’t answered the question.

    When you leave, can we have our money back or not?

  42. Monotreme says:

    Mule, please re-read what I said. I’ll requote just the relevant parts:

    Eliminating private insurance, rationing by letting the richest people get whatever they want, and setting up a publicly funded insurance pool to compete with private insurance have been offered as solutions.

    I wouldn’t say secession is a reasonable response to any of those.

    One poster suggested eliminating private insurance. That’s the first subordinate clause in the sentence above.

    You suggested (indirectly, so I might be wrong about this) rationing by letting the richest people get whatever they want. That’s subordinate clause number two.

    I honestly don’t see why you can’t perceive the histrionics in your own words.

  43. Monotreme says:

    I went back and cut-and-pasted the relevant statement:

    I wish Obama (or anyone else) would put insurance companies out of business. Private insurance is a scam. They are leeches that are second only to the banks.

    Note that nowhere does this commenter suggest that the President outlaw a class of industry. My interpretation of “put insurance companies out of business” means something different than yours, but if you carefully re-read the above, you’ll see that there are alternative interpretations.

    For example, there are foreign firms that have killed lots of people’s pets by substituting melamine for protein in dog food. I think the Federal Government should “put them out of business”. Do you interpret this as nationalizing the dog food industry, or something else?

    In short, you’ve made a huge cognitive leap here:

    Insurance companies are rapacious → need to be put out of business → → → → → Obama is a dictator! → Must secede from the Union!

    It’s the place where there are five steps that you’ve left out that we went off the rails. I agree with you that if the penultimate step takes place, that there is a logical connection to the last step.

    What I can’t agree with is that you think there is one arrow where I have put five. Can you not see that?

  44. shiloh says:

    Bart, you are a moron. You make conservatism look bad. Very bad.

    I wasn’t name-calling. I was stating a fact. Something you struggle with often.

    Bart, you are a moron. You make conservatism look bad. Very bad.

    I wasn’t name-calling. I was stating a fact. Something you struggle with often.
    ~~~~~

    Let the record show common ground has been achieved at 538 …

    And in keeping w/the Christmas spirit …

    Bart do you never get tired of being an asshole?

    Merry Christmas Bart!

    http://www.divshare.com/flash/video_embed?data=YTo2OntzOjU6ImFwaUlkIjtzOjE6IjQiO3M6NjoiZmlsZUlkIjtpOjEzNTkwMzE4O3M6NDoiY29kZSI7czoxMjoiMTM1OTAzMTgtNTY4IjtzOjY6InVzZXJJZCI7aToxODI1MjI3O3M6NDoidGltZSI7aToxMjkzMTI3MDgxO3M6MTI6ImV4dGVybmFsQ2FsbCI7aToxO30=&autoplay=default

  45. Mule Rider says:

    “When you leave, can we have our money back or not?”

    You can get your money back if you’re willing to give back the resources that you benefitted from and used that came about because of investments in infrastructure in “red states.”

  46. Mule,
    If it makes you feel better, I don’t wish the insurance industry to be put out of business. I do wish for regulation to ensure that they aren’t performing sophisticated versions of bait-and-switch, but a fairly-administered insurance policy is valuable to society.

  47. DC,
    I see two ways to interpret this phrase:

    the predatory insurance industry

    One way is “the insurance industry, which is predatory,” and the other is “the industry of predatory insurers, who represent a subset of the overall insurance industry”

    Which one did you mean?

  48. filistro says:

    @shiloh… yes, indeed. It’s a wonderful, heartwarming season

    😉

  49. shiloh says:

    Indeed fili as palin has finally found her vocational niche …

    You bet’cha!

  50. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mule,

    Your so-called hypothetical is diversion from the entire assertion you made previously. Nor did you did not couch that original assertion as a hypothetical. You have changed your tune! But MY hypothetical has always been put forth that way. So why don’t you answer the questions to mine?

    But since you demanded it, I’ll answer yours fist. Then we’ll see if you’ll man up and do the same.

    The ab adsurdum of a President run amok can be answered several ways, all WITHOUT secession.
    a) Congress can exercise it’s Constitutional powers of impeachment if a President acts unconstitutionally.
    b) Congress can refuse to fund any such action of a President.
    c) The SCOTUS can declare such action by the President as unconstitutional.
    d) Assuming the action is in the first term, the voters can defeat a second term.
    e) ALL of the above.

    It’s simple really. It’s called the American Constitution. It’s called democracy. It’s called “the loyal opposition”.

    But ideologues who do not think things through, or have even rudimentary knowledge of our Constitution and it’s checks and balances, and refuse to believe that THEY are NOT gnostic and that there are many others, yea and verily even unto a MAJORITY, that may disagree, actually might believe in the remedy you propose.

    They forget the lesson of American Civil War. They forget the lesson of Yugoslavia in the very recent past. Births are NOT bloodless.

    Your turn. Answer MY questions as to the practical aspects of your “hypothetical”.

  51. dcpetterson says:

    Michael Weiss asked:

    I see two ways to interpret this phrase:

    the predatory insurance industry

    One way is “the insurance industry, which is predatory,” and the other is “the industry of predatory insurers, who represent a subset of the overall insurance industry”
    Which one did you mean?

    If we can end the predatory practices, that would be fine with me. And in fact, the PPACA is a good first step in the right direction.

    Though generally, I dislike middlemen and leeches, unless they bring something positive into the process.

  52. Mule Rider says:

    Thanks, Michael. As always, you offer a fair, balanced, and intellectual viewpoint.

    “They forget the lesson of American Civil War.”

    And what lesson was that again? If you don’t do it our way, we’ll slaughter you?

    Again, there’s a reason you find the term “War of Northern Aggression” throughout the history books. Britain and France both recognized the right of the CSA to exist as an independent state and thought the War’s warring actions unnecessary.

    Nothing in your responses is doing anything to dispel the notion that you would support despotic and totalitarian control by this country’s leaders.

  53. dcpetterson says:

    Mule:
    You can get your money back if you’re willing to give back the resources that you benefitted from and used that came about because of investments in infrastructure in “red states.”

    The point is, your states have taken more than they’ve given. We just want the excess to be returned. You cool with that?

  54. DC,

    Though generally, I dislike middlemen and leeches, unless they bring something positive into the process.

    Do you have a proposal for how to provide the risk-sharing of insurance without having a middleman?

  55. Mule,

    A very tired meme used to denigrate conservatives by suggesting they don’t pay their own way when it comes to federal taxes versus what’s received in federal spending.

    This isn’t just a national situation. The same thing happens in individual states. Taxes from the cities are used to subsidize the infrastructure of those in rural locales.

  56. Mule Rider says:

    “The point is, your states have taken more than they’ve given. We just want the excess to be returned. You cool with that?”

    No, the point is that YOU have benefitted dearly from those “excessive” investments in “red states. If you’re willing to give back the resources, we’ll give back the excess. You cool with that?

    An aside, you don’t want to have this conversation because I will eviscerate you with facts and logic.

  57. Mule Rider says:

    “This isn’t just a national situation. The same thing happens in individual states. Taxes from the cities are used to subsidize the infrastructure of those in rural locales.”

    And I hope you recognize the value to urbanites in “subsidizing” exurban and rural infrastructure and what those investments mean for those people by having a useful transportation system for food and industrial goods through sparsely populated areas.

    This is just used as a political tool to divide because urban areas trend blue while urban areas tend to be red. It has no bearing on whether or not conservatives are “paying their fair share” as it’s so often framed.

    Provide me data at the individual voter level and we can talk about the facts. As long as it’s just in aggregate for geographic areas, you’re only speaking in generalizations and conjecture.

  58. Mule,

    And I hope you recognize the value to urbanites in “subsidizing” exurban and rural infrastructure and what those investments mean for those people by having a useful transportation system for food and industrial goods through sparsely populated areas.

    I’d prefer to pay more for my products and less in taxes. At least then I will be able to take comfort in knowing that in both regions my money is being spent in ways that align with my desires.

    This is just used as a political tool to divide because urban areas trend blue while urban areas tend to be red. It has no bearing on whether or not conservatives are “paying their fair share” as it’s so often framed.

    That it is used as a political tool doesn’t detract from the underlying truth. Given that urbanites tend to be more willing to pay taxes, having a means of ensuring that a larger percentage of taxes remain local would, I believe, benefit both liberals and conservatives alike.

    Provide me data at the individual voter level and we can talk about the facts.

    I think you’re putting words in my mouth. I don’t really care whether they’re communist, facist, or anywhere in between on the spectrum. I’m talking about geography, not voting patterns or political ideology.

  59. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    One hour and waiting, Mule Rider. Answer the questions.

  60. Mule Rider says:

    “I think you’re putting words in my mouth.”

    That’s not my intent, but I’m so used to people who lean left using it as a talking point to denigrate conservatives (as in, they don’t pay their “fair share” or that they’re all being subsidized by big-city liberals) that I’m trying to illuminate what the truth is behind the numbers….that being that it doesn’t tell the same story as how it’s being framed.

    “Answer the questions.”

    I have no desire to continue in that discussion with you. It’s turned into more mud-slinging than honest debate and will only get worse. So it’s over as far as I’m concerned.

  61. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mule Head said: “I have no desire to continue in that discussion with you. It’s turned into more mud-slinging than honest debate and will only get worse. So it’s over as far as I’m concerned.

    Confirming that he hasn’t thought through the implication, that he’s all mouth and no intelligence, and a bit of a coward.

    So much for the ability to “gut one like a fish”.

    Run, Mule, run!

  62. Mule Rider says:

    “…that he’s all mouth and no intelligence, and a bit of a coward.

    So much for the ability to “gut one like a fish”.

    Run, Mule, run!”

    Thanks for elevating the discussion. Pardon me while I remain above the fray.

  63. Number Seven says:

    DC, excellent point at 9:23. FOX has become a propaganda arm of the Public Con party, plain and simple and therefore, have become a direct threat to the freedoms Americans enjoy.

  64. Mule Rider says:

    “FOX has become a propaganda arm of the Public Con party, plain and simple and therefore, have become a direct threat to the freedoms Americans enjoy.”

    Is this supposed to be a self-parody? The corollary of Poe’s Law that deals with far left extremists immediately comes to mind.

    My first instinct is to dismiss your assertion that Fox News is a “direct threat to the freedoms Americans enjoy” as an unserious attempt at combining humor and hyperbole. But then I consider just how extreme your views are, which are equally or more far-out than the right wing fundamentalists you so often decry.

  65. dcpetterson says:

    Mule
    An aside, you don’t want to have this conversation because I will eviscerate you with facts and logic.

    I’d actually be happy to hear your take on it. Since red states take more taxes than they supply (and you already said a bunch of that is military contracts and social security checks), how do you figure that the goods and services purchased from red states exceed the goods and services purchased by red states?

    And are you counting all red states, or just the ones you want to take with you in your revolt against America?

  66. Mule Rider says:

    “And are you counting all red states, or just the ones you want to take with you in your revolt against America?”

    Go find a table for me that details federal spending outlays by program for each state and then we can have an honest discussion about the driving forces behind it…just so we’re not over-simplifying the in/out analysis to nothing more than $1.19/$1.00….bad!!! $0.87/$1.00…..good!!!!

  67. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mule Rider is gutless, just like Bart. he’s even begun to emulate Bart.

    Make a ridiculous assertion.

    Snort and paw the ground and claim victim when challenged to back it up.

    Run away and hide instead of actually making a reasonable confirmation of his position.

    Most of us Southern boys have more pride than that. Please don’t confuse us with people like Mule Headed.

  68. dcpetterson says:

    Mule, you wanted to defend your position. In fact, you said you’d amaze me with your logic and data (I’m paraphrasing.) I gave you a chance. You decline. I guess we’re done.

  69. Mule Rider says:

    “You decline. I guess we’re done.”

    I’m not declining; but I’m not going to let intellectually lazy analysis pass without calling it out. You – and many other liberals – constantly mention the in/out ratio of federal dollars spent/received for each state as a way to denigrate the “red” ones as getting far more than they pay in. I’m saying there’s much more to it than that….those numbers you cite – the $1.21/$1, the $0.94/$1, and others – are meaningless.

    Remember a while back when we had a dispute and I “over-simplified” the jobs created/saved ratio to the amount of stimulus money spent…complaining that it was wasteful to spend so much per job saved/created? Remember how you said that there was more to the story?

    Well that’s what’s going on here, but you’re not willing to accept that there might be an altermative explanation to the one you’ve dreamed up. You can’t take a simple ratio like the one you’re quoting and come up with anything meaningful.

    Provide more detailed information about how tax dollars are spent and received per state in this country and then we can have an honest debate. Until then, and as long as you lean on those over-simplified ratios as a crutch, your analysis will be incredibly hollow. Just one big empty talking point.

  70. dcpetterson says:

    Mule, if you want to defend the ratio of taxes in and taxes out — while at the same time your people are complaining about “federal handouts” — then go ahead and defend your position. I’m tired of seeing Republican governors turn down stimulus money, then show up at ARRA construction sites with big cardboard checks. The hypocrisy and cynical deceitful rhetoric of the right sickens me. If you want to defend it, well, you go right ahead. I might learn something.

    But you don’t want to, because you can’t. You want to get us tangled in obscure details, thus derailing the point. Explain why it’s fair for your guys to complain about “handouts” and yet suck up tax money. Defend yourself.

  71. Bart DePalma says:

    Michael:

    The discrepancy between urban and rural taxation vs. spending at the federal and a lesser extent in the larger states is primarily because of three factors: (1) a progressive tax system which does not take in account cost of living driven wages and punishes high urban incomes; (2) transportation infrastructure over more sparsely populated areas and (3) military bases in rural areas.

    Let’s go in reverse order.

    (3) National security benefits everyone equally regardless of where the bases happen to be located.

    (2) Cities depend upon national transportation networks to get their goods to market across the country, receive goods from other places and to get rural food to their tables. Rural communities only gain a marginal benefit from this commerce, the vast majority of which passes them by traveling from one to another city.

    (1) If you urban progressives do not like being unfairly punished by your progressive tax system, come join us suburban and rural Tea Party folks and support far more equitable flat income or FAIR sales taxes.

  72. Bart DePalma says:

    Mule:

    War of Northern Aggression? Good heavens, you must be a genuine unreconstructed Reb.

    I have a 411 for you. You are an American, not the citizen of some fucking state or ideology. As an American, you are in this for better or for worse. If you don’t like the way things are currently going (and a majority of your fellow citizens do not), then work with your fellow citizens to remove the problems from government and change things for the better.

    If you want to quit the fight, then you are free to leave the country. You do not get to take a part of the country with you, though.

  73. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Bart,

    As it generally takes 20%, give or take, to operate the government at the federal level, and supposedly the change to a national sales tax is revenue neutral, please explain the “fair” portion of the national sales tax.

    It’s merely a consumption tax vs an income tax. We the People have decided almost 100 years ago that we preferred a progressive tax system in that those who benefited more from the resources and freedoms of this great country should pay a bit more on that extra income as it was earned.

    Will there be any maximum amount of consumption before the tax is triggered, say the first $20k? Or will the bloke making $30K/year and having to spend $25/k just to provide basic food, shelter and clothing, and then spending $5K for discretionary, have to pay a substantially HIGHER tax rate than the bloke making $5M/year and is only spending $1M to do the same, and spending another $2M discretionary. Is there any exemption for food, or drugs, or shelter? What gives?

  74. Mule Rider says:

    Thanks, Bart, for articulating some of the reasons that I was alluding to above.

    They really don’t want to get into an in-depth discussion about these taxation/spending ratios and especially to try and twist it into a red state vs. blue state battle.

    This talking point is spewed to conjure up images of conservative country folks with their hand out for government checks (who, supposedly, are simultaneously – and hypocritically – decrying government spending), but that’s just not the case.

    I’m sure the 400 miles of I-90 in South Dakota is pretty valuable to the people of Minneapolis and Chicago (mostly liberal cities, I should add), and I’m betting it’s pretty expensive to keep up, so I don’t see why the 13 million or so residents in those two metropolis areas can’t chip in a little to help the 800-900 thousand or so people that happen to reside in SD. Then again, they can “take their money back” from those poor helpless red states, I-90 can fall into disrepair, and we can see how the chips fall without a solid trucking route from the northern Plains into the heart of the urban Midwest.

  75. Mule Rider says:

    “If you want to quit the fight, then you are free to leave the country. You do not get to take a part of the country with you, though.”

    We’ll see about that. Keep the faith and keep on teabagging or whatever it is you’re doing out in Colorado…we’ll make it just fine without you in KS-OK-TX-AR-LA-TN-MS-AL-GA-NC-SC…

  76. Mule Rider says:

    A “FAIR sales tax” is a ridiculous idea.

    The progressive income tax is just fine the way it is but could use a little tweaking:

    a) Treat all income the same – regular, dividend, interest, capital gains, etc.
    b) Remove all credits/deductions for things like married filing status, children, charitable contributions, mortgage insurance, student loans, etc.
    c) Have a 0% tax rate on all income up to the median level from the previous three years’ average and simplify the code above that but include a “millionaire’s tax bracket” with about a 50% rate on all income earned above, say, $500,000.

    Do that and this country – and its people – prosper. Do it not and we continue down the dark road of bureaucracy and loopholes and we’ll never dig ourselves out of the hole we’re in.

  77. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Mule,

    You have a fair point about Bart’s “fair” sales tax idea. He’s just following Grover Norquist’s quarter century old idea. maybe that’s why HE hasn’t answered my questions.

    But you lose YOUR credibility when you say: “They really don’t want to get into an in-depth discussion “, having REFUSED to go “in-depth” by answering the questions posed to YOU! You can’t have it both ways. THAT’S where you are falling into the same trap as Bart.

    Be original. Back up your ideas with some exercises in rational idea development. let’s hear those answers.

  78. dcpetterson says:

    @Mule Rider
    A “FAIR sales tax” is a ridiculous idea.

    I must say, I’m impressed. If you and I were in charge of America’s tax policy, I think we’d find we could work together. There’s a lot of promising stuff in your recommendations. Too bad no one will ever take them seriously, and I mean that — it really is too bad.

  79. dcpetterson says:

    @Mule
    I’m sure the 400 miles of I-90 in South Dakota is pretty valuable to the people of Minneapolis and Chicago (mostly liberal cities, I should add), and I’m betting it’s pretty expensive to keep up,

    This is a fair point. So you’re going to defend the difference between taxes in and taxes out by pointing to government infrastructure projects. You’re right — these are very stimulative for the nation’s economy. Meanwhile, Republicans having been condemning Democratic efforts to create new stimulative infrastructure programs, on the grounds that these things are “socialist” and represent nothing more than handouts to the unions.

    That is the hypocrisy you are being asked to defend.

  80. dcpetterson says:

    (3) National security benefits everyone equally regardless of where the bases happen to be located.

    They’re also stimulative for the local economy. If your states draw out of the Union, we can relocate those bases (as you say, they protect us wherever they are). Then those states in revolt lose the economic boost.

    (2) Cities depend upon national transportation networks to get their goods to market across the country, receive goods from other places and to get rural food to their tables. Rural communities only gain a marginal benefit from this commerce, the vast majority of which passes them by traveling from one to another city.

    Rural areas get benefit also from businesses and cities located along those corridors, in addition to the contracts for maintaining the roads. The cities in those rural areas also use those roadways to transport goods to and from other locations. In particular, the farmers who live there use those roads for their livelihood. I’m not sure what you point here was, other than that you’re pretty ignorant of national economics and transportation.

    (1) If you urban progressives do not like being unfairly punished by your progressive tax system, come join us suburban and rural Tea Party folks and support far more equitable flat income or FAIR sales taxes.

    The tax system should be far more progressive than it is. In fact, as it currently sits, most taxes are regressive, and a national sales tax would be particularly so. We actually don't mind subsidizing the red states. What we mind is the hypocrisy of the red states complaining about it.

  81. dcpetterson says:

    I’ve noted an interesting phenomenon.

    Mule is defending the disparity of taxes in vs. taxes out by pointing our how much the nation as a whole benefits from the investments in the red states. It’s a fair point. This is, in fact, how and why that disparity is defended. The nation as a whole benefits, even though the people who benefit most (those in the red states) don’t pay the lion’s share.

    And yet the argument against things like universal health care is that some people who aren’t going to benefit the most will be asked to pay for a great part of it. It’s precisely the same situation.

    Except it’s not, because anybody could suddenly find themselves the victim of a catastrophic accident or illness, and need more health care than they could possibly pay for.

    In fact, for nearly all the taxation and spending issues we’ve faced in this last Congress, similar arguments could be made. Mule is defending the tax-in, tax-out disparity with the Democratic, Progressive worldview — which is, we are all in this together, we need to help each other, and we all benefit when any of us benefits.

  82. Monotreme says:

    I wouldn’t reject a national sales tax out of hand.

    For example, many European countries and Canada use a Value-Added Tax (VAT) which shifts the tax burden from income to consumption of goods, which is where (in my opinion) it belongs.

    A VAT or similar tax can be progressive if it explicitly taxes “luxury” items while exempting “survival” items: food, housing, health care, and the like.

    It would allow Congress to much more directly and rationally move incentives where they are needed, by increasing or decreasing the tax rate on various items as needed.

    I think payroll taxes will still be needed for social programs, but a rational mix of payroll and consumption taxes would be, in my opinion, a step in the right direction.

  83. filistro says:

    @Treme A VAT or similar tax can be progressive if it explicitly taxes “luxury” items while exempting “survival” items: food, housing, health care, and the like.

    The way it’s handled in Canada is through annual rebates. The tax is added to everything you pay for.. both goods and services. Then when you file your income tax you receive a rebate based on your level of income. (The higher your income the lower the rebate, until you reach a point where there’s none at all.) People who have no income file anyway just to get the rebate, which would of course then be the maximum amount.

    Also, visitors to Canada must pay the GST on everything but can later file for a refund of all GST they paid during their stay.

  84. dcpetterson says:

    @filistro

    That’s a cool way to make the VAT more-or-less progressive. Canadians are so damned practical.

  85. filistro says:

    DC… the GST has been great for Canada… helped to balance the books and allow the country to survive the recession more or less unscathed. It started at 7% but has been lowered to 5%… and another reduction is on the horizon as soon as they’re sure the big guy to the south has pulled its economy out of the woods and back into the sunlight.

  86. Also, visitors to Canada must pay the GST on everything but can later file for a refund of all GST they paid during their stay.

    Not anymore. The refund stopped a few years ago, apparently to help close a budget gap in Canada.

  87. That’s a cool way to make the VAT more-or-less progressive. Canadians are so damned practical.

    Proponents of the FAIR tax have suggested the same model.

  88. filistro says:

    Hey Michael, you’re right! I looked it up and wiki says The rebate remains available only for purchasers “other than consumers” who export the goods within 60 days of purchasing them in Canada.

    I know somebody who got the rebate last year on some artwork… I guess they were claiming not to be “the consumer.”

  89. dcpetterson says:

    filistro … the Mrs and I have seriously considered relocating to Canada when we retire in a few years. Everything we hear keeps making it seem like a Good Idea. Is there a downside?

  90. dcpetterson says:

    I know somebody who got the rebate last year on some artwork… I guess they were claiming not to be “the consumer.”

    Does anyone “consume” artwork? 🙂

  91. Does anyone “consume” artwork?

    But of course!

  92. filistro says:

    @DC.. the Mrs and I have seriously considered relocating to Canada when we retire in a few years. Everything we hear keeps making it seem like a Good Idea. Is there a downside?

    I’m sitting here pondering your question. I think there would be a downside for lots of people… but probably not for you (or your wife, since she’s loved you for long time and obviously must share a lot of your views.)

    As somebody who spends a lot of time in both countries, I have to say there are differences but they’re subtle… and probably less obvious to those with a fairly liberal mindset. Canada itself is more subtle. If I had to put the difference succinctly, I would say Canadians are much less OVERT.

    Canadians love their country, but they don’t go around saying so. Patriotism in Canada is almost like sex… public displays are frowned on. You might say to a loved one in the privacy of your home that this is “the best country on earth”… but you don’t go around proclaiming it in public. And (as I have commented before) if a high- profile Canadian were to put his hand on his heart during the playing of the national anthem, muffled giggles would break out all around him.

    Canada is cleaner than the US. The arts are strongly supported, and even small communities bring in great performers and live stage shows. The whole country is pretty secular… church is not a big deal for most Canadians. The weather can be grim in winter, but a Minnesotan would not find it much different. Politics are much less interesting. Canada’s most rabid conservatives are pretty much the same as Blue Dog Democrats. The cost of living is much the same (except for health care which costs most families less than $100 a month) and despite all the talk about taxes, I pay pretty much the same rate as my American writer friends in the same income bracket. The horror stories about health care are entirely untrue… everybody gets essential services in a timely fashion in modern facilities, and the wait times for elective procedures are not at all unreasonable. My friends and family are pretty well-heeled and live close to the border, and I’ve never personally known anybody who travelled to the US for health care.

    Canadians are BORN believing what is of benefit to the group trumps what’s preferable to the individual, so they obey smoking laws, traffic laws, etc without complaint. Civil disobedience is not common.

    There are people who like living in a country like that…and lots of people who would hate it.

  93. shiloh says:

    fili, you make Canada sound very boring ~ solo estoy diciendo …

    at least the Canadian women’s olympic hockey team knows how to celebrate! 😀

    Oh Canada!

    btw, Shania Twain is from Canada, so it can’t be that bad, eh.

  94. Monotreme says:

    DC sez:

    filistro … the Mrs and I have seriously considered relocating to Canada when we retire in a few years. Everything we hear keeps making it seem like a Good Idea. Is there a downside?

    You can move next door to my retirement cottage in lovely Point Bob— a geographic/historical anomaly that combines the best of America (remaining a citizen) with the best of Canada.

  95. dr_funguy says:

    @DC and Filistro
    As a recent immigrant from the US to Canada I can tell you one major negative: alcohol!
    Wine costs double what I pay three miles away in Washington State and there’s no bottled beer I’ve yet found that holds a candle to west coast microbrewed pale ales… you can find some good beer in pubs but nothing at the store that even compares with sierra nevada, let alone the _really_ good brews. Plus beer is also about double. Very annoying

  96. dr_funguy says:

    Forgot to mention re. patriotism, I saw many spontaneous display during the Olympics last year; huge crowds in the street singing Oh Canada! Which I have to say is a much better anthem than ours.

  97. Mainer says:

    I find Canadians as a whole to be quite patriotic. What most Americans don’t understand is that Canadians don’t see the need to wrap themselves in the flag all the damned time to prove it. A Canadian poitician that pulled even some of the stunts we see down here would not last long and the derisive laughter as they departed would be quite telling.

    I suspect there are many down here that would not enjoy the Canadian life style. We are as a people way to up tight to appreciate the good parts. For some of us though it really wouldn’t be much of a lift. As fili has pointed out some of us are pretty much Canadian in our mind set as it is. For others of us we already have so many friends and family up there it is pretty much a given that we could fit in.

    As much as I do enjoy a good rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and can even make a passable attempt at singing it I do find O’ Canada so much better suited to what I call my voice.

    I was going to add Shania Twain to artists we have taken last night but some one beat me. A local lad is her keyboardist. I think Hardy has beeen with her for some time now. How aout I add Ann Murry to the list? Any one else a Men of the Deeps fan? Maybe Rita MacNeil? Hmmmmmm I may be the only one that is close enough to Atlantic Canada to get those. Oh well great music any way and a fine present from our Northern neighbor.

  98. filistro says:

    doc… the taxes added to alcohol (and cigarettes) help to subsidize health care, so overall it’s a pretty good exchange 😉

    Mainer… you definitely have a Canadian vibe. I think that’s why I felt at home with you way back when you first arrived at the old 538. Right away you felt like an old friend.

    (I grew up with people who could fix anything if you gave them some duct tape, a roll of baling wire and a blue tarp 🙂

  99. dcpetterson says:

    Thanks for the responses regarding Canada. It sounds wonderful.

    The tales of poor beer don’t frighten me. I much prefer single-malt scotch, and my wife hardly drinks at all.

    We do smoke. (I love a good cigar.) But we don’t force it on anyone else.

    Getting into a more secular nation that doesn’t demand public displays of flag-worship sounds attractive as well. And as for boring politics, I don’t think it’d be hard to keep up with the U.S. circus.

    There certainly seem to be worse places on the planet.

  100. Mainer says:

    DC, I in no way think Canadian politics are boring. They are definetly more nuanced. Keeping track of all the partys and how the different Ridings come into play can be pretty intersting.

    Poor beer in Canada? Really……..Oh just give me a fine black and tan made from Moosehead stout and Ten Penny ale and I will soon be a very mellow fellow. I drink Canadian blended much of the time as it is so just not a reach for me and I can slurp Molsons with the best of them and one can buy fine Cubans openly so where is the harm?

  101. shiloh says:

    There certainly seem to be worse places on the planet.

    Another ringing endorsement from dc, eh. Maybe it’s because The Guess Who warned everyone re: the American Woman 😉

    but, but, but You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet …

  102. filistro says:

    Mainer’s right! I forgot to mention (not being a cigar smoker myself ;-)) that Canada has a sensible open trade and travel policy with Cuba…. so you can buy good cigars anywhere, and enjoy lovely vacations at 5-star Cuban resorts for stunningly low prices.

    Speaking of which… we are also in negotiations to buy the Turks and Caicos, a group of tropical islands near Cuba, giving Canadians a winter vacation spot and second home that will be just like another province, no passports or out-of-country health care insurance would be required.

    This plan has been talked about as long as I can recall (the article I linked to is almost 10 years old) and was shelved during the recession, but I’m hearing serious talk about the idea again lately. It looks like it may really happen this time.

  103. drfunguy says:

    Yes I understand about the alcohol tax going to health care but it is still a negative from my perspective.
    One more I forgot about, the language! Learning Canadese is not for the faint of heart. And all of those extra vouwels 😉 I can’t fathom where they all come from, seems like a great waste of electrons, though it does provide some local colour.
    Truly I wouldn’t be in Canada if I didn’t love it and think the employment and economic prospects were far better than those in the states.
    Did you know that not a single bank failed in Canada during the great recession?

  104. drfunguy says:

    While I’m on the topic of Canada it reminds me of a gripe with the US.
    What is with the continued use of english units of measure?
    We are doing our children no favors in their science education by making them learn a parochial measurement system.
    We got well on the path to converting to metric in the 70’s then along came Ronnie and we scrapped it. Such idiocy.
    I may post this to FFF also just for the heck of it.

  105. Mainer says:

    Hmmmmmm I never noticed Canadians talk differently. Extra vowels you say, heh? My wife says I talk just like all my Canadian Coast Guard and Transport Canada friends………how much difference can there be?

    Also they still arrest and jail people for white collar crime which may explain a sound banking system.

  106. dcpetterson says:

    Anyplace that has Cuban cigars is okay by me.

    How difficult is it to get dual citizenship?

  107. drfunguy,

    And all of those extra vouwels I can’t fathom where they all come from…

    They come from France. My understanding is that the French climate is particularly condusive to vowel production, and they have a huge surplus. Canada gets them practically for free.

  108. filistro says:

    DC… we would love to have you. 🙂

    Like Mainer, you’re practically Canadian already. I bet you even already own one of these.

  109. dcpetterson says:

    Like Mainer, you’re practically Canadian already.

    Well, I do live in Minnesota. And lots of folks in the lower 47 view us as Canada South. So yeah, I guess 🙂

  110. Mainer says:

    dc, I don’t know about the dual citizinship thing even though I know a number of people that have it. I’ll have to ask some time.

    Fili…….not in your wildest dreams. I have fine ice fishing gear thank you and none of it looks like that. Oh my no.

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