Vote to Help the Rich, Hurt Yourself

Why do so many ordinary folks vote to help the rich and hurt themselves?

Why do those on (or who will be on) Social Security and Medicare vote for Romney and Ryan? Ryan calls Social Security a Ponzi scheme, a collectivist system that we should end. Romney wants to turn Medicare into vouchers, which won’t adequately cover costs. And if you’re old and in the private market, who will insure you, anyway?

I have friends who don’t make enough money to pay income taxes, but they want Romney even though his plan will bring Mitt’s taxes down and raise their own rates:

For those making Taxes would
Under $30,000 Increase $183
$50-75K Increase $641
$1 million + Decrease $87,000

(Source: Tax Policy Center and Brookings Institute)

Romney complains about people who pay no income taxes – the lazy 47% — and says everybody should pay them. Unless you’re an investor. Ryan wants to bring the capital gains rate down to 0. Then Mitt wouldn’t pay income taxes, either.

One of my friends who’s uninsured hates Obamacare, but now his daughter’s in the hospital.

Another guy I know is blind but he’s a Romney fan. Since Romney will cut all spending outside of defense, Social Security and Medicare, this guy will be out of luck.

What’s up?

Turns out, people tend to see through the eyes of the privileged because the privileged have more control over ideas. They own television and radio stations, newspapers and magazines. They run government — and get campaign contributions from wealthy donors, who expect something in return. They fund think-tanks to create an acceptable message. Billionaire-owned Fox News and friends then spread the word.

Example: A wealthy Wall Street businessman makes a big contribution to his local member of Congress. He has a conversation telling her that a low rate on capital gains will encourage investment (a message created in think tanks). There’s no proof of this, but the excuse will do. Fox and friends then spread the word. Now repeat over and over so that people begin to believe it.

Others could find excuses for tax cuts, too: I should pay lower taxes because…

  • My job is dangerous
  • I’m a small business owner whose work involves manual labor and I must retire early
  • I have to work hard for a living instead of sit on my butt and let my money work for me

These folks just don’t fund think tanks or have the campaign cash to change the tax rate.

For good measure think tanks message claims that minorities take money – in the form of welfare – away from hardworking whites. Welfare uses less than 1% of the federal budget. But it’s a great distraction from the redistribution of wealth from the middle-class and the poor to the rich, via outsourcing, offshoring, union-busting, technology replacing workers and failing to raise the minimum wage, for instance. (Not to mention big tax cuts, loopholes and shelters for the wealthiest).

As Nobel Prize winning economist, Paul Krugman, describes the charade:

Do everything you can to exaggerate the disincentive effects of higher taxes, while trying to convince middle-income voters that the benefits of government programs go to other people. And at the same time, you’d do everything you can to disenfranchise lower-income citizens, so that the median voter has a higher income than the median citizen.

Ah, but what if the truth comes out?

Easy-breezy: Warn against academics, liberal media bias, and fact-checkers so that folks will continue voting in the interests of the rich and powerful, and against themselves.

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, Dorothy.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych, women's psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State University. And I have blogged for Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos.

Posted on November 2, 2012, in feminism, politics/class inequality and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Here is the deal. Carter made a huge mess of the economy. Reagan came in and cleaned it up with the longest peacetime era of prosperity. How did he do it. He cut the tax rates for everyone and they got in much more revenue than ever before.

    Unlike Obama who has no executive experience. Romney has already done it in Massachusetts. He turned the economy around by reducing taxes, balanced the budget and won the support of the overwhelmingly liberal state.

    How about some truth here?

    • Sounds like you’re a fan of right-wing, think-tank media.

      And you must believe everything Romney says, even though he constantly lies. (Just think about all his flip flops. They can’t all be true. And Chrysler and GM are pretty pissed off about his latest lies because they’re hurting their brands.)

      Actually OPEC’s oil monopoly + Nixon’s monetary expansion created the stagflation you find during Carter’s economy. Here’s what happened:

      Nobel Prize winning Economist, Paul Krugman, who warned about the housing bubble way before Alan Greenspan had a clue (because Greenspan was blinded by his right-wing ideology), and who accurately predicted exactly how the stimulus would affect the Obama economy: keep us from going over the fiscal cliff and stabilize us, but not a big enough stimulus to bring the employment rate up much) explains this:

      Stagflation was a term coined by Paul Samuelson to describe the combination of high inflation and high unemployment. The era of stagflation in America began in 1974 and ended in the early 80s. Why did it happen?

      Well, the textbooks basically invoke two factors. One was a series of “adverse supply shocks”, mainly the huge runup in the price of oil (BroadBlogs: caused by OPEC not Carter). The other was excessively expansionary monetary policy, especially in 1972-3, which allowed expectations of inflation to become entrenched. (Ken Rogoff — a Republican, by the way — attributes that expansion to the desire of Arthur Burns to see Richard Nixon reelected.)

      source: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/03/the-stagflation-myth/

      A source from the blog “Economics” describes exacerbating factors: http://economics.about.com/od/useconomichistory/a/stagflation.htm

      Because people expected prices to rise, they bought “early” at lower prices. But that increase in demand, in turn, kept raising prices.

      Also, labor contracts increasingly came to include automatic cost-of-living clauses, and the government began to peg some payments, such as those for Social Security, to the Consumer Price Index, the best-known gauge of inflation. While these practices helped workers and retirees cope with inflation, they perpetuated inflation.

      Carter-appointed Paul Volker then purposely induced a recession that turned things around. So Carter largely got us out of stagflation by that appointment.

      Contrary to myth, Reagan approved several tax increases. According to BusinessInsider.com, the first Reagan term saw a surge in the effective corporate tax rate.

      Meanwhile, Reagan stimulated the economy via a skyrocketing deficit. See link for source and graphs. http://www.businessinsider.com/corporate-taxes-deficits-and-labor-vs-capital-during-reagans-first-term-2012-7#ixzz2B5PFxTDM

      This created only the appearance of good economy. Problems showed up under Bush, which led to the election of Clinton.

      The Massachusetts economy? PolitiFact says:

      Both Massachusetts and the U.S. saw unemployment rates drop during Romney’s governorship. Unemployment declined during that period because the economy was recovering from a recession.

      If you take the numbers from January 2003 to January 2007 — Romney’s first and last months in office — you find a drop of 1.2 percentage points nationally (from 5.8 percent to 4.6 percent) and 1.0 points in Massachusetts (from 5.6 percent to 4.6 percent). That’s not much of a difference. [ROMENY'S #'S WERE SLIGHTLY WORSE, I MIGHT ADD]

      As for Romney’s impact, economists have consistently told us that policies of a governor have a relatively small effect on a state’s economy.

      http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/jun/11/mitt-romney/mitt-romney-says-massachusetts-unemployment-hit-47/

      • Yes I am most definitely a fan of right wing politics. Obama has been an “empty suit” making and breaking promises that he did not have to like televising the health care negotiation on C Span.

        His choices of solar energy companies have all gone bankrupt after taking billions of dollars in federal money.

        I personally witnessed the massive fraud of the Federal Stimulus money at our local college, Florida State University. They defrauded the government of $2.2 million in stimulus jobs training programs without adding one job.

        They trained people supposedly for the job of Certified Energy Auditor where there are jobs around the country. The problem is that they did not provide the hardware or software or even a qualified instructor to teach the course and plagiarized textbooks photocopied and handed out in 3 ring binders. Thus the students could not be certfied. I have done research and found similar fraud at colleges around the country.

        Obama promised Obamacare to 30 million new people and did nothing to add more doctors graduating from medical school thus insuring extreme rationing of healthcare once it is implemented. I could go on but you won’t believe any of it because you are a true believer.

        Romney has an extensive record in business and providing jobs. Meanwhile liberal
        politics drive more and more businesses out of our country with the punishing 35% corporate tax rate that must be passed along to consumers.

      • The country tends to do better economically under Democratic than Republican control. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-25/democratic-presidents-are-better-for-the-economy.html

        The skills one needs to run a business are very different from understanding how macro economics work — that’s more of a social science meets math skill. The autocratic business experience of a businessman like Romney also involves different skills from working in politics with a separate but equal branch of government to contend with.

        And, pretty much all of the criticisms you make could be applied to business too. Investments that don’t pan out, fraud. So should we do away with business? Or shrink business?

        Whichever country is strongest on energy tends to have the most power in the world — political and otherwise. Plus there are concerns with global warming. Sandy ought to remind us all of that. So the government would do well to invest in clean energy. But just as in business ventures, not every single investment will pan out. Probably because of right-wing media you exaggerate the losses.

        The AMA is in control of how many doctors we have, not the President.

        And, Obama has not been an empty suit. Here are a few of his accomplishments:

        President Obama Improved the Economy and Reduced the Debt
        1. Kept the US economy from falling off a cliff. 3,680,000 private sector jobs created since the end of the Bush Great Recession ref ref
        2. Expanded government’s fight against fraud in Financial ref, Federal Contractor ref and Health Care areas ref
        3. $2,000,000,000,000 in deficit reduction ref
        4. He saved the economy from ruin (until the Tea Party took over Congress) with a stimulus that was as large as possible given the political realities ref
        5. Saved the US Auto Industry ref, ref
        6. Health Care Reform ref
        7. Reduced military spending by $500,000,000,000 ref
        President Obama Reigned in Wall Street Excesses
        8. Wall Street Reform ref ref ref
        9. Leaned on the banks to recover almost all “bailout money” with interest ref ref
        10. Saved the world from global financial collapse ref ref
        11. Ordered 65 executives who took bailout money to cut their own pay until they paid back all bailout money. ref
        President Obama Made America Safer
        12. Killed Osama Bin Laden ref
        13. Killed a whole generation of al Qaeda leaders ref
        14. Stopped numerous terrorist attacks in this country ref ref
        15. Authorized and oversaw a secret mission by SEAL Team Six to rescue two hostages held by Somali pirates. ref
        16. Unified the world against Iran and brought unprecedented united international pressure against Iran’s nuclear bomb potential ref
        17. More deportations per year than Bush ref
        18. Hired more border patrol agents than Bush ref
        President Obama Reduced Taxes
        19. Tax rates for average working families are the lowest since 1950. ref
        20. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, cut taxes for 95% of America’s working families. ref
        21. Reduced Social Security Taxes for 2011 and 2012 ref
        President Obama Brought More Efficiency to the Federal Government
        22. Smaller Government ref ref
        23. Fewer regulations than Bush ref
        President Obama Strengthened Personal Liberties
        24. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; Instituted equal pay for women. ref, ref, ref
        25. Expanded funding for the Violence Against Women Act. ref
        26. Support’s states’ right on medical marijuana ref
        27. Repealed “Don’t ask don’t tell” refref
        28. Appointed more openly gay officials than anyone in history. ref
        29. Extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. ref
        30. Changed HUD rules to prohibit gender and sexual orientation-based discrimination in housing ref
        31. Publicly expressed support for the right to enter into a same-sex marriage. ref
        32. Implemented much of Dream Act via Executive Order ref
        33. Appointed two pro-choice women to the Supreme Court ref
        President Obama Helped Make the World a Safer, More Democratic, and More American Friendly Place
        34. Ended the war in Iraq ref
        35. Established a date for transferring Afghanistan fighting to Afghanis. ref
        36. Toppled Gadhafi without an American casualty ref
        37. Fired the first salvo of the Arab Spring with his address in Cairo no less ref
        38. Has the Arab League watching Syria ref
        39. Presided over democratic revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Bahrain
        40. Helped to restore America’s reputation around the world as a global leader that does the “right thing” in world affairs, at least according to the rest of the world. ref ref
        41. On his second day in office, he signed a detailed Executive Order that banned torture, reversed all Bush torture policies, and put the United States in compliance with the Geneva Convention. ref ref
        42. Three new trade agreements ref
        President Obama Increased Respect and Public Support for American Soldiers
        43. Increased veterans/benefits every year ref ref
        44. Along with Congressional Democrats, not only reauthorized families of fallen soldiers to be able to visit when the body arrives at Dover AFB, but also provided funding for it. Ended the media blackout on coverage of the return of fallen soldiers. ref ref
        45. Signed the Democratic-sponsored Post-9/11 GI Bill, also known as GI Bill 2.0 ref
        President Obama Invested in Education
        46. Invested in college students: 1) by repeatedly increased funding for student financial aid, and at the same time cut the banks completely out of the process. ref ref ref 2) by reforming student loan program, to make it possible for students to refinance at a lower rate. ref and 3) by overseeing an expansion of the Pell Grants program, to expand opportunity for low income students to go to college. ref
        47. Invested in primary education: Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , invested heavily in elementary, secondary and post-secondary education. ref
        48. Oversaw major expansion of broadband availability in K-12 schools nationwide ref
        49. Oversaw major expansion in school construction. ref
        50. Also through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he put $5 billion into early education, including Head Start. ref
        President Obama Protected What We Eat, Drink and Breathe.
        51. Strengthened environmental protection via new laws and policies. ref ref ref ref ref ref ref.
        52. Fast-tracked regulations to dramatically increase fuel efficiency standards ref ref
        53. Strengthened the bond between clean energy and commerce by overseeing establishment of an Energy Partnership for the Americas, to create more markets for American-made biofuels and green energy technologies. ref Oversaw the creation of an initiative that converts old factories and manufacturing centers into new clean technology centers. ref
        54. Pushed through a tax credit to help people buy plug-in hybrid cars. ref
        55. Obama EPA reversed a Bush-era decision to allow the largest mountaintop removal project in US history. ref
        56. Turned America toward native sources of renewal energy Ordered energy plants to prepare to produce at least 15% of all energy through renewable resources like wind and solar, by 2021. ref (As you can see, Republicans are trying hard to kill it.)
        57. Created a program to develop renewable energy projects on the waters of our Outer Continental Shelf that will produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents. ref
        58. Bypassed Republican opposition in Congress and ordered EPA to begin regulating and measuring carbon emissions. ref
        59. Oversaw doubling federal spending on clean energy research. ref
        60. Reengaged in the climate change and greenhouse gas emissions agreements talks, and proposed one himself. He also addressed the U.N. Climate Change Conference, officially reversing the Bush era stance that climate change was a “hoax.” ref ref ref
        =================
        thank you Byte 606
        You’ll need to go to here to check out all the ref’s: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/06/1128093/-President-Obama-s-Accomplishments-So-Far

    • “How about some truth here?” How about you turn off Fox News. I’m not even going to bother rebutting your whole comment…BroadBlogs seems to have done a good job. I will add that anything that was accomplished in MA was after bipartisan overrides of Romney’s 800 vetoes… http://www.npr.org/2012/06/13/154583216/romney-as-governor-confrontation-one-big-deal

  2. Completely blows my mind that so many low-income families bandwagon with the upper-crust on these issues, not recognizing the detrimental impact these choices have on their own lives. I realize it’s popular to adopt a habit of social tuning with those in power — and in many cases serves as an escape from reality — but our feet need to be firmly planted on the ground when we case our votes this November to avoid risk of our egos landing us in an even more uncomfortable lifestyle than we’re already in.

  3. It amazes me how many vote against their own interest.

  4. Romney is white, and people like his hair. Did you know there are people that decide who to vote for by how the candidates look? All this other stuff is just too confusing, for many people.

    The system is working as intended. It just doesn’t work for us.

  5. I know that the election is over, and we all know that Obama won (yay!), but I am so glad for this post. I feel like my family and I are the only ones who saw that Romney was trying to make the rich richer, and the poor poorer. I had someone really close to me who voted for Romney who is in the lower class. He didn’t understand that his taxes were going to go up, and his older mother would potentially lose her health care. He wasn’t able to give me a good reason why he wanted Romney for President. His response to me was “I think its because that’s how my family has voted for so long”. People are so set on what theyre used to, and have an idea of what our president should look like and act. But all I have to say is thank goodness America didn’t go with the “norm”.

    • That’s largely why I was a Republican when I was younger. Rooting for “the team” even though I didn’t know the difference between a liberal and a conservative.

    • You really are not alone. Romney has clear, serious psychopathological issues that are evident to many people. Of course the corporate-owned mass media could never come out directly and comment on this; they are run by his kind. I have questions about Obama as well, but my main concern there is that, from all I have learned, many things are quite out of the control of any president, and the two-party system offers nothing that could change that situation.

  6. I believe the current solution to our federal government’s fiscal problem would be a compromise of some combination of tax increases, closing tax loopholes (it is immoral to consider how the richest can get away legally withholding significant portions of their income from being taxed – if people have to pay for instance, the progressive income tax in place, at least make it function properly), and cutting massive amounts of spending. The bigger problem with our government in general is that it lacks accountability to the people. And yet, people are supposed to be the government. We are now continually pushed into a “top-down” approach where the voice of the majority is drowned. People deserve basic forms of assistance in life. Yet, there is increasing inequity where government protects corporate interests (who have the power in the form of money) and fails to adequately address important issues and concerns most of us face. And in regards to addressing corporate interests, looking at the two parties is like two sides of the same coin. I advocate the power of the people to speak out for their interests and freedoms.

    • I agree. That’s why I belong to a trans-partisan group called Rootstrikers http://www.rootstrikers.org/. We’ve got Occupiers and Tea Partiers. See this op-ed that we just wrote fore the San Jose Mercury News: http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_22133025/spencer-graves-and-david-kocharhook-occupiers-and-tea

      Here’s a letter to the editor I wrote. Don’t know yet if they’ll publish it:

      Represent Constituents, Not Big Money

      I applaud Occupiers and Tea Partiers who want to end the corrupting influence of big money in politics, whether from corporations or unions (Opinion, Dec. 7). Law professor, Lawrence Lessig, says our Founding Fathers intended our legislators to represent their constituents, not the concerns of others. Yet how can our reps not feel beholden to big campaign contributors? In fact, legislators are more sensitive to wealthy concerns over middle-class and poor voters. And so the welfare of multinational corporations — and their overseas interests – can be put above the needs of the citizens they were elected to serve. Do we have democracy when our leaders are more responsive to big money than to their own constituents?

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