September 19, 2012

Indeed

Ross Douthat blogs in the New York Times:
"What does it say about our culture that the people funding presidential campaigns on both sides of the aisle seem to regard their downscale fellow countrymen as a kind of alien race, to be feared and condescended to in equal measure?"

Indeed.

46 comments:

DYork said...

Well, heres somebody who views ALL peoples,families,races,nations,empires,cultures as the same damn thing repeated throughout history.

Brilliant! Check it before they delete it.

Colin Quinn - Long Story Short

Anonymous said...

It says that the USA has no common ties of blood and culture.

dearieme said...

"What does it say about our culture": why, it says that the NYT defines "our culture".

Lizard Gizard said...

I wonder how the liberal White elites will feel, when they in particular, begin to be pushed out. At the moment, Whites in elite positions assume they will be empowered forever. That is false.

Browns and blacks are not interested in being ruled over by White leaders; they will elect and demand their own. This means the only Whites who can get elected will be from conservative areas. White elites believed that by selling out regular Whites, they could reign forever. I believe this will prove an historic mistake on their part.

Anonymous said...

They thought the same thing about the Slavs in Russia as well.

Anonymous said...

That was actually a good and well-balanced article over there at the NYT. Unfortunately the first bunch of comments seem to be just saying variations on "you leave my Obama out of this!".

Anonymous said...

It's even worse in Europe where all the major parties HATE HATE HATE their white working classes, what with their unhip traditions and love of country, but are terrified of the Muslim populations they imported.

Mr. Anon said...

"What does it say about our culture that the people funding presidential campaigns on both sides of the aisle seem to regard their downscale fellow countrymen as a kind of alien race, to be feared and condescended to in equal measure?"

That the people who run our government are really an alien and hostile people.

Anonymous said...

Basically, the Republicant Party is merely the political wing of the tax avoidance industry.
Once you understand that insight, everything else about the Republicans falls into place.

Noah172 said...

To much of our reigning elite, downscale Americans are an alien race. This can be traced to the reality that so much of our elite -- especially, as Douthat so coyly notes, the part which funds our presidential campaigns -- is Jewish.

Kylie said...

"Basically, the Republicant[sic] Party is merely the political wing of the tax avoidance industry.
Once you understand that insight, everything else about the Republicans falls into place."


Basically, the Democratic Party is merely the political wing of the work avoidance/government entitlements industry. Once you understand that insight, everything else about the Democrats falls into place.

Hail said...

"the people funding presidential campaigns...regard their downscale fellow countrymen as a kind of alien race"

Rejoinder.

Actually, the odd thing is not so much that the sons and daughters of Israel regard the White NW-European majority as an 'alien race', but that vice-versa is generally not true (anymore).

Anonymous said...

the Republicant[sic] Party is merely the political wing of the tax avoidance industry

Complementing the political wing of the tax-consumption industry, eh?

Strunk said...

Disappointing that supposed refined classicist Douthat writes of "dystopia" which is a redundant neologism by etymology.

David said...

Blacks are 12% of the US population, not 47%. White troops, teachers, vets, unemployed, students, retirees make up a lot of the shortfall.

Mitt isn't dog-whistling. He is bundling grandma with that smaller fraction of the black community that consists of crack-dealers and leeches.

Finally, a Republican who doesn't see race. Perhaps this point can be stressed in TV ads. "Lost your job? Received unemployment checks? Chances are, you're white, but Romney isn't racist. He thinks YOU'RE scum, too." This would probably play well in Tennessee, despite the state's being a net taker of federal funds and much employment here being govt employment.

But don't give up on Romney yet. American voters are like Pavlov's dogs if certain bells are rung. "Hard work" always works; so does "strong defense." "Useless eaters" gives many a disabled vet a tingle. They will schelp their wheelchairs and walkers over hills and valleys to vote for more outsourcing, fewer govt benefits, and higher taxes on themselves. "I'm not a victim," they will proclaim even as they move into their American-flag-festooned cars and Romney goes to China on a junket.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Basically, the Republicant Party is merely the political wing of the tax avoidance industry.
Once you understand that insight, everything else about the Republicans falls into place."


Take a moment and think that through. If you were in the "tax avoidance industry", wouldn't you want taxes to be higher and the tax code more complex, so there would be more demand for your services? So why would you vote for the party that (generally*) favors lower rates and a simpler tax code.


*True of Reagan, in practice; not true of George W. Bush, in practice.

NOTA said...

The linked NYT article was very good.

Wealthier people are, on average, somewhat smarter and better-educated than poorer people. But they are subject to the same mental flaws, and those mental flaws are constantly exploited by politicians and partisanship.

If you don't know any members of group X personally, but you have a negative media-created stereotype of them, and some kind of grievances against them based on politics or social struggles or whatever, it is stunningly easy to believe and say really stupid things about members of group X, to reduce them to cartoon characters. This is how you get otherwise reasonably smart people who are convinced all Muslims are terrorists, or all Christians want to burn books, or all white Southerners have bedsheets with eye holes cut out at home, or whatever.

That's what Douhat is describing. The stereotypes that Romney and Obama play to with their donors are built on that stuff--on otherwise reasonably bright and worldly people not seeing how anyone can disagree with their obviously-right consensus on gun control, school integration, prayer in public schools, inheritance tax, foreign policy, immigration, homeland security, etc., except by being somehow stupid or evil.

You can see the same thing in the reaction of Hillary Clinton to the attacks in Libya--why aren't these people properly grateful for our help? What's wrong with them?

It's not that these are stupid people, though a lot of our elites seem seriously overpromoted to me. It's that no matter how smart you are, wishful thinking, confirmation bias, fundamental attribution bias, us/them thinking, etc., are always waiting their chance to hijack your brain. Rev Wright was appealing to the same mental flaws among his flock. It's *always* easy to get people to think the worst of a bunch of strangers they don't know too well, but whom they see broadly as enemies or at least as obstacles to their wishes and goals.

DaveinHackensack said...

Douthat is essentially a George W. Bush Republican on domestic issues, as he showed in a recent post. W's and Ross's approach -- of trying to woo lower income Americans to the GOP with transfer payments, etc. -- is doomed to failure, because the Dems can always promise more bennies than the GOP. The better approach is the one Romney is groping toward now: policies that will lead to jobs that pay well enough that people don't have to be so dependent on government.

That's really the only viable path, if you think about it. The Democrat-lite, W./Douthat approach fails because no one prefers the lite version to the real thing; the WSJ/open borders/unrestricted, unilateral free trade/libertarian approach fails because, faced with a global race-to-the-bottom on wages, voters will vote for the party offering them some measure of economic security, over the one that's throwing them to the wolves.

Auntie Analogue said...

This is why the political class refuse to decouple massive contributions from campaigns: the political elite know that once Big Money will have been decoupled from campaigns, they're finished. Money is power. Principle? Ha! The Constitution? Ha! Principle and the Constitution plus two bucks will get you on the bus.

Anonymous said...

http://youtu.be/qhCaUFMgR9A

Anonymous said...

If Romney and Ryan were for higher taxes on the very rich, they could win over many in the middle. But they would lose much support from Wall Street and rich Goppers. For every advantage, there is a disadvantage.

In the past, GOP, though pro-rich, won over many in the middle(and even bottom)with shared cultural values. But today, elite conservatives don't share the values of conservative middle class. Also, much of White America has been culturally won over by 'gay marriage', and so cultural values card don't play as effectively.

Why did Bush win in 2000? Clinton fatigue and, even then, just barely. Why did Bush win in 2004? Carryover effect of 9/11 and Kerry the dullard. Otherwise, it would have been Democrats winning from 1992 straight through 2012.

Anonymous said...

What Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban have in common?

Eric said...

Basically, the Republicant Party is merely the political wing of the tax avoidance industry.
Once you understand that insight, everything else about the Republicans falls into place.


Once you believe that you're ready for a straightjacket.

Anonymous said...

"What Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban have in common?"

They collect puppets.

Olave d'Estienne said...

One thing I'd like to establish is that Romney's numeric claims were approximately correct. I don't think he should write off net taxeaters entirely, since he could win some of them with stances on the usual issues like abortion, but that is strategy, not fact.

Silver said...

Seriously, how do you pronounce "Douthat"?

Truth said...

"One thing I'd like to establish is that Romney's numeric claims were approximately correct."

Yes, correct, but he did not mention that half the people who do not pay taxes DO NOT PAY BECAUSE THEY ARE OVER 65 AND ON SOCIAL SECURITY.

ben tillman said...

Seriously, how do you pronounce "Douthat"?

We've been through this before. There's nothing French about it.

DOW-thit.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Yes, correct, but he did not mention that half the people who do not pay taxes DO NOT PAY BECAUSE THEY ARE OVER 65 AND ON SOCIAL SECURITY."

Plenty of people over 65 and on Social Security still pay income taxes. It depends on their income levels.

ben tillman said...

Yes, correct, but he did not mention that half the people who do not pay taxes DO NOT PAY BECAUSE THEY ARE OVER 65 AND ON SOCIAL SECURITY.

Good point (if you're right).

Matthew said...

It's stupid to bunch in all the "net taxeaters." Some of them work, some of them don't. Some of them are net taxeaters because they have childen and earn EITC. Some of them haven't worked a day in their life and are signed up for every damn welfare program under the sun. Some of them pay no taxes because they're on social security which, like it or not, is our method for ensuring the elderly don't die in cardboard boxes under the freeway. It's a form of pension retirees have earned by working for decades and paying payroll taxes of ~14%, which, in itself, is higher than Mitt Romney's effective tax ratef 13%. It's kinda hard for 92-year-olds to go out and make some extra money mowing lawns and painting houses.

I've known a few of the working poor. Some of them have college degrees, and are actually conservatives. To write these people off as lazy, good-for-nothing mooches is a huge mistake, especially when it's being done by a candidate proposing more tax cuts for the rich. ROmney proposes eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, both on individuals and corporations; proposes cutting the corporate tax rate to 25%; an, of course, proposes eliminating the "death tax."

L'Esprit de l'Escalier said...

Strunk said...
Disappointing that supposed refined classicist Douthat writes of "dystopia" which is a redundant neologism by etymology


Dystopia, like dysgenics, is a handy word in English, even though it's missing from my Liddell and Scott. You could grumble that it arises from a perverse misreading of Utopia, "no place", as Eutopia, "good place", but I don't see how it's redundant.

Anonymous said...

Given the question, the term "our culture" and the implied "our nation" beg to be defined.

Coming from the NYT, I would interpret this more as status anxiety, as in "wait... I always thought we were the elites, but which side of that divide are we on, really?"

Truth said...

Actually Ben, I doublechecked and I was off:

A little less than 1/4 of people who do not pay taxes are S.S. retirees. The lions share are people who limit their tax liabilities through Republican-sponsored exemptions. Even then, they pay a higher percentage in taxes (via exemption-free payroll taxes) than Mitt did the ONE year he released his tax return.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/17/1133077/-A-breakdown-of-the-47-income-tax-debacle-very-well-done

DaveinHackensack said...

"Even then, they pay a higher percentage in taxes (via exemption-free payroll taxes) than Mitt did the ONE year he released his tax return."

That's not true, Truth. The effective marginal tax rate, taking into account all federal taxes (not just income, but payroll taxes, etc.), is something like negative 40% at the lowest end: low income workers often get back more in government grants (e.g., EITC, child tax credits) thank they pay in total federal taxes.

It is true that Republicans (W., in particular) supported these grants, and are partly responsible for taking so many Americans off of the net federal tax rolls.

Truth said...

Do you have a link for that? I've been a minimum wage guy when I was just out of college, and not having children, there just isn't much help, I would doubt that a significant number of Americans make back more money than they pay in taxes. Welfare only accounts for .7% of GDP.

Honest Klein said...

"the Republicant[sic] Party is merely the political wing of the tax avoidance industry"

"A little less than 1/4 of people who do not pay taxes are S.S. retirees. The lions share are people who limit their tax liabilities through Republican-sponsored exemptions. Even then, they pay a higher percentage in taxes (via exemption-free payroll taxes) than Mitt did the ONE year he released his tax return."

-If the first quote is true, then he should have no problem winning the presidency- he's the champ at what everyone else aspires to do.

But actually these analyses based on NBC soundbites are deeply deceiving. It's interesting we hear about the percentages Romney and other millionaires pay. That's because the actual $ amount they shell out vastly dwarfs what anyone else pays. Romney paid $3.2 million in federal taxes last year. In return, he's too wealthy to qualify for most of the governmental benefits that others get. Say what you will about percentages, the man contributed about as much as a thousand 'average' citizens. He definitely paid vastly more than his 'fair share'.

Olave d'Estienne said...

Yeah, disagreements over tax policy may well prevent any unity among the pro-White (and anti-anti-White) voters and thinkers. It's too bad. Some people still support estate taxes, even though it's not clear that they generate any revenue. It just feels so good to stick it to "the rich", who are defined as either the wealthy or high-income people, depending on which tax we're arguing about.

I continue to ask:
Why does income redistribution have to be done at the Federal level? At the state level it would be just as practicable, with the added bonus of being constitutional. Plus, at the state and local levels you can actually tax the wealthy with the basic form of tax: the property tax. At the Federal level, you are forced tax people who are merely high in income, not the same group at all.

But beyond that, since it's a question which isn't likely to generate any sort of consensus or even a ceasefire, I declare:
In spite of my hatred of personal income taxes (not because of progressive marginal rates, but because they are invasive and tax exactly what government should be encouraging), I would vote for a stop-immigration, progressive/redistributionist candidate over a country club (open-borders, anti-progressive taxer) Republican.

I ask:
Would the iSteve redistributionists support a candidate with Mitt Romney's fiscal policy and Tom Tancredo's immigration policy, were he running against an open-borders soak-the-rich Democrat?

I ask only out of curiosity. No issue--not AA, not prison security, not even gun control--is as important as immigration. I am wondering if there is even a chance of it becoming a national election issue in the near future. (Some say it already is this year, with Romney talking tough on this issue on each Wednesday and second Thursdays, but I'm not sure that counts.)

* Obviously Federal income taxes are constitutional; welfare and health policy is not.

Anonymous said...

Olave d'Estienne said... "Some say it already is this year, with Romney talking tough on this issue on each Wednesday and second Thursdays, but I'm not sure that counts.)"

That's a good way to characterize it... LOL ... Classic.

My vote for post of the thread.

DaveinHackensack said...

Truth,

Without kids, you probably would have some net tax liability. Big difference in the EITC whether you have no kids or one kid: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/EITC-Income-Limits,-Maximum-Credit--Amounts-and-Tax-Law-Updates. But take, for example, someone making $20k with a couple of kids, and chances are they are getting more back from the EITC than they paid in federal income taxes and payroll taxes combined.

EITC and Child tax credits aren't characterized as welfare, as far as I know.

Silver said...

Truth,

Welfare only accounts for .7% of GDP.

Those must be some super strict criteria you're using for "welfare."

My calculations put the total of federal unemployment insurance, supplemental security income, food and nutrition, housing, tanf and the earned income tax credit excess at about $400 billion. 400/15000 = a lot more than .7%

That's not even mentioning healthcare, which I think qualifies as a form of welfare and at least doubles the above figure.

That's not really an exorbitant cost, but while staunch right-wingers tend overestimate it, you're obviously severely minimizing it.


rho said...

People do this kind of thing all the time.

Politics is where enmity meets history.

Truth said...

"Romney paid $3.2 million in federal taxes last year. In return, he's too wealthy to qualify for most of the governmental benefits that others get."

Yes, but his companies are not. That is what is significant here. Mitt Romney, and all of the rest of them, took advantages of LARGE CORPORATE HANDOUTS to MAKE their money, then complain about others getting SMALL PERSONAL HANDOUTS.

"Say what you will about percentages, the man contributed about as much as a thousand 'average' citizens."

Yes, the one year of his life, that he actually released a tax return.

"I ask:
Would the iSteve redistributionists support a candidate with Mitt Romney's fiscal policy and Tom Tancredo's immigration policy, were he running against an open-borders soak-the-rich Democrat?"

Sure, all of the Ayn Randers on this site who spend 40 hours a week putting money in someone else's pocket would. The true Republicans, the ones who actually have businesses and real money, you know, the ones that Dutch and Mittens don't think are losers (not you guys), actually want cheap employees and lots of consumers; so, their answer, in ComptonSpeak, would be HAYELLLLLL FUCKING NO!

That, Rand Paul, is why the Republicans keep nominating whom they do.*

*I just saved you $60,000 in tuition on your masters in International Economics, you owe me.

ATBOTL said...

"Douthat is essentially a George W. Bush Republican on domestic issues, as he showed in a recent post. W's and Ross's approach -- of trying to woo lower income Americans to the GOP with transfer payments, etc. -- is doomed to failure, because the Dems can always promise more bennies than the GOP. The better approach is the one Romney is groping toward now: policies that will lead to jobs that pay well enough that people don't have to be so dependent on government.

That's really the only viable path, if you think about it. The Democrat-lite, W./Douthat approach fails because no one prefers the lite version to the real thing; the WSJ/open borders/unrestricted, unilateral free trade/libertarian approach fails because, faced with a global race-to-the-bottom on wages, voters will vote for the party offering them some measure of economic security, over the one that's throwing them to the wolves."

Romney's policies won't lead to increases in jobs. How will increased legal immigration, not deporting illegals and more "free trade" lead to more jobs? You seem to be drawing a distinction between Romeny's policies and the WSJ's where there is none. In practice, a Romeny regime is unlikely to governmen much differently than Bush. Maybe spending will be controlled better. Maybe.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Romney's policies won't lead to increases in jobs. How will increased legal immigration, not deporting illegals and more "free trade" lead to more jobs? You seem to be drawing a distinction between Romeny's policies and the WSJ's where there is none. In practice, a Romeny regime is unlikely to governmen much differently than Bush. Maybe spending will be controlled better. Maybe. "

Well, for one thing, Romney is less dogmatic about trade than the WSJ -- he has send repeatedly that he'd designate China as a currency manipulator on day one, which would pave the way for tariffs on them. That's a clear break with Bush, the WSJ, and Obama.

I'd also disagree with your claim that a Romney admin would govern the same as a W. Bush admin. In addition to being smarter, more numerate, and having more executive experience than Bush coming into office, Romney would have a long list of talented people he could draw on to advise or to fill key positions, whereas Bush largely relied on his father's retreads.

A third distinction, is that Romney has had a career of analyzing organizations that aren't working and figuring out how to fix them. That engenders a certain amount of empiricism and pragmatism, which means that if his initial policies don't produce sufficient results, he's likely to change them as necessary. Bush was driven more by emotion and ideology than pragmatism or empiricism.

Incheon Paul said...


""Say what you will about percentages, the man contributed about as much as a thousand 'average' citizens.""

"Yes, the one year of his life, that he actually released a tax return."


This is the official statement released about Romney's past tax filings. Basically, it just goes to show that Team Obama has been trying to create a false picture and don't care if they have to lie about the facts to do it:

'Regarding the PWC [PricewaterhouseCoopers] letter covering the Romneys’ tax filings over 20 years, from 1990 – 2009:

In each year during the entire 20-year period, the Romneys owed both state and federal income taxes.

Over the entire 20-year period, the average annual effective federal tax rate was 20.20%.

Over the entire 20-year period, the lowest annual effective federal personal tax rate was 13.66%.

Over the entire 20-year period, the Romneys gave to charity an average of 13.45% of their adjusted gross income.

Over the entire 20-year period, the total federal and state taxes owed plus the total charitable donations deducted represented 38.49% of total AGI.

During the 20-year period covered by the PWC [PricewaterhouseCoopers] letter, Gov. and Mrs. Romney paid 100 percent of the taxes that they owed.'