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Posted at 11:48 AM ET, 03/ 7/2011

Big majority of Wisconsin independents wants Walker to compromise

By Greg Sargent

Everybody is writing about the new poll from the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute finding Scott Walker tanking in the polls, but it seems to me this number from the internals is the key one:

I'm going to read you two statements about the current conflict over public employee benefits and collective bargaining rights, and I want to know which one comes closest to your view.

Governor Walker should stand strong for the plan he has proposed no matter how long the protests go on, OR

Governor Walker should negotiate with Democrats and public employees' unions in order to find a compromise solution.

Governor Walker should strand strong 33

Governor Walker should compromise 65

Among independents, 68 percent want Walker to compromise. The key here is that the poll also finds that a majority overall also disapproves of the Dems' decision to flee the state -- yet they still seem to place the onus on Walker to do what it takes to resolve the standoff.

It's hard to see how this number wouldn't weigh heavily with state senate Repblicans who are said to be wavering in their support for the Governor. Indeed, it seems plausible that these Republicans may conclude that embracing or even trying to broker a compromise is a good way out of their current predicament.

Along these lines, Sam Stein reports that Dems have issued Governor Walker a challenge: Meet us at the Illinois border and let's discuss compromise. That would seem to cut against all the reports claiming Dems are about to come home, and suggests that Dems have concluded -- in keeping with the above polling -- that the public will continue to blame Walker and Republicans if the standoff drags on.

By Greg Sargent  | March 7, 2011; 11:48 AM ET
Categories:  Labor  
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Comments

Stay strong, Gov. Walker!

Posted by: clawrence12 | March 7, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I think Walker should go with clawrence's proposal of dragging the Democrat from the hospital after her baby is born from her crying babies hands.

That will go a long way in gaining support for Republican causes.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | March 7, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

"Along these lines, Sam Stein reports that Dems have issued Governor Walker a challenge: Meet us at the Illinois border and let's discuss compromise. That would seem to cut against all the reports claiming Dems are about to come home, and suggests that Dems have concluded -- in keeping with the above polling -- that the public will continue to blame Walker and Republicans if the standoff drags on."

Reports from this morning in the New York Times & Washington Post indicate that the Democratic State Senators are going to come back without a deal and let the chips fall where they may.

"CHICAGO – Talks appear to have broken down between Wisconsin’s Democratic state senators and representatives of Gov. Scott Walker, whose plan to cut collective bargaining rights and benefits for public workers has created a major battle in the state, some of the Senate Democrats said on Sunday.

Senator Fred Risser, one of 14 Democrats who left Wisconsin last month to prevent the Republican-dominated Senate from approving the collective bargaining measure, said it now seemed conceivable that he and his fellow Democrats would return to Wisconsin, at some point in the future, without a negotiated compromise.

“We have always said we would go back eventually,” Mr. Risser said, adding that the Democrats had yet to make any decision about when to go back to Madison, a move that would open the way for a vote on the proposal by Mr. Walker, a Republican elected in November. “We will have accomplished some of our purpose – to slow things up and let people know what was in this bill.” "

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/08/us/08wisconsin.html?hp

"Wis. Senate Democrats to return soon, lawmaker says"

"The State Senate Democrats who left Wisconsin to block a vote on a bill that would severely curb collective bargaining for most public employees are planning to return soon, one of the lawmakers said.

State Sen. Robert Jauch said the 14 Democrats are convinced that passing the measure would severely damage their Republican opponents."

...

""We should be returning soon in order to provide an opportunity for a vote and to hold the Republicans responsible for their actions," Jauch said. "It will be a chance to see whether the Republicans are on the side of the people who oppose this or on the side of a governor who is out of touch with the people." "

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/07/AR2011030701698.html?hpid=topnews

Posted by: jnc4p | March 7, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

jnc4p, those reports are wrong.

But please, keep posting them. Maybe they'll come true after you post them a third time.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | March 7, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

It's telling that Walker's support is at 33%. I've been using a rule of thumb for the last number of years that about a third of the US population is beyond hope. They were the same third that were with Georgie Jr. until the bitter end. Now they have become birthers and Tea Partiers, and it can be argued, imo, that they are clinically insane. The rest of us don't want or need you.

Posted by: filmnoia | March 7, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

The poll is pretty bad news for both Walker and the Wisconsin 14. The desire for a compromise seems to favor the Dems, though, who have conceded a compromise is appropriate. A few of the questions were a little biased in wording, and many of the percentages were within the margin of error. Overall, worrying for R's in the short term, but I wonder if they just don't care cause weaker unions would be a boon in the long run.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 7, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Indies and moderates are *not* the same people, but to the extent of the overlap, moderates do not revel in mudfights between left and right, and having decided that in this case the unions caved, but the Guv. wants to destroy them after getting the negotiated result he originally wanted, he should back off. If the poll were of moderates only, the results would have been predictable.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | March 7, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I think this cake is baked! Walker has already lost. Despite the diehards like Jake and jcn4p the R's have been brutalized by this entire debate.

The Dems could return in an hour..Walker get his bill passed and it would be the quintessential Pyrrhic victory.

At this point Walker needs to worry about his own political survival more than his bill getting passed. He could very well be recalled early next year.

And then what happens. The resurgent Dems claim the Governors mansion and one of the first things the Dems do is renegotiate with the public unions.

Stick a fork in Walker...he's as done as Sister Sarah.

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 7, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Q22(a) and (b) seems to really favor Dems as the wording that should lead to greater support for Walker only garners 50% approval of the plan, whereas as opposition is significantly higher when the question is asked in a way that should favor Dems. I would guess though, that the margin of error is pretty high on that since the sample is cut in half for each question.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 7, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

It's telling that Walker's support is at 33%. I've been using a rule of thumb for the last number of years that about a third of the US population is beyond hope. They were the same third that were with Georgie Jr. until the bitter end. Now they have become birthers and Tea Partiers, and it can be argued, imo, that they are clinically insane. The rest of us don't want or need you.

Posted by: filmnoia
==========================================
Are you sure it's not the other way around? It seems like there is a major conflict of interest when public unions are negotiating contracts with public officials that they are donating huge sums of money to. That's called a kickback scheme. I'm not saying get rid of unions but there clearly is a serious issue here that needs to be addressed in some manner. Also there is something wrong with fleeing the state when a vote comes up that you don't like the look of the outcome to. Is this the kind of prescedent we really want to be setting. What happened to making your case in a publc debate and winning elections. I remember how much the republicans hated Obamacare but they showed up to vote. Those guys showed a hell of a lot more class and respect for the system than these democrats have.

Posted by: peterg73 | March 7, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"Indies and moderates are *not* the same people"

Well, yeah, they are orthogonal. Being a moderate is a political ideology and being an independent is a political affiliation (or lack thereof)

Very few of us are moderates, actually. The people who are staunchly ideological are all Conservatives. But most of us just want what's best for the country and are less interested in filling up an ideological space simply because it bisects the Dem and the GOP positions.

On the other hand, we have a lot of independents on here. We have our values and our vote is open to whoever can represent those values. They tend to be non-Conservative since Conservatives do a terrible job of representing the values of the average voter.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 7, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

There is a very disturbing trend that is running through a lot of right wing logic.

The main fear of the unions is that they vote Democrat.

The main fear behind "amnesty" for illegals is that 8 million more voters would vote Democrat.

The insults hurled against college students by "some" R elected officials is because as one of those officials clearly said in N.H...the college kids vote Dem.

There is much about all of this that has nothing to do with the substance of the issues...it's simply a desire for the R's to disenfranchise blocks of voters or in the case of the unions...reduce their financial political clout.

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 7, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"It seems like there is a major conflict of interest when public unions are negotiating contracts with public officials that they are donating huge sums of money to. That's called a kickback scheme. I'm not saying get rid of unions but there clearly is a serious issue here that needs to be addressed in some manner."

It's called campaign finance reform. I forget which party killed the DISCLOSE act. Want to remind me?

"Also there is something wrong with fleeing the state when a vote comes up that you don't like the look of the outcome to. Is this the kind of prescedent we really want to be setting. What happened to making your case in a publc debate and winning elections. I remember how much the republicans hated Obamacare but they showed up to vote."

You're clearly an idiot, so I'll be gentle. Republicans on Capitol Hill didn't flee because fleeing would be counterproductive to vote blocking. Washington Republicans have plenty of ways to block votes and they did so at every possible instance.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 7, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD- well put re: independents and moderates. I am both. In my opinion, most people whose policy preferences completely mirror one party or the other are typically not very thoughtful and reflexively reject or ignore any information that contradicts the world view to which they desperately cling. Not always the case, but often. I just want my kids (the first coming in July) to grow up in a safe place where they have opportunities to be successful and proud of the way their country treats those who are born without advantages.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 7, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

@peterg

"It seems like there is a major conflict of interest when public unions are negotiating contracts with public officials that they are donating huge sums of money to."

And so do you have the same concerns about the Koch brothers donating millions so that they get favorable regulations to pollute, favorable tax incentives that reduce their tax liability....who represents the taxpayer there? The same folks who represent the states in negotiation with the unions...the VOTERS.

Or are you simply the standard garden variety of R a total hypocrite.

"Is this the kind of prescedent we really want to be setting"

Peter..Peter..Peter...this is not precedent setting at all...

http://the-peoples-forum.com/cgi-bin/readart.cgi?ArtNum=22944

"Abe Lincoln Jumped Out a Window to Prevent a Quorum"

The greatest Republican of all time used the very same tactics!

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 7, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

"DDAWD- well put re: independents and moderates. I am both. In my opinion, most people whose policy preferences completely mirror one party or the other are typically not very thoughtful and reflexively reject or ignore any information that contradicts the world view to which they desperately cling. Not always the case, but often. I just want my kids (the first coming in July) to grow up in a safe place where they have opportunities to be successful and proud of the way their country treats those who are born without advantages.

Posted by: mobrien83"

At least personally speaking, I'm almost always siding with the Democrats, but I don't cling to any belief. It's just that Republicans seem to come down on the wrong side on just about every argument. The only exception that comes to mind is the elimination of earmarks. Although that's become a fringe Republican position.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 7, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I usually come down with them as well. Only recent exception is the health care law, which I think is a great idea that happens to be unconstitutional (I recognize this is not "clearly unconstitutional; definitely room for debate). Every state should pass something similar on their own since they are not constrained by commerce clause.

When Republicans were fiscally responsible, I liked that. Neither party can really claim to be anymore. I'd rather experience some discomfort now (higher taxes and fewer services) and spare future generations paying the bill for what we get now. Although, I'm not too business savvy and am sure a certain amount of leveraging is probably desirable, especially on things that appreciate in value or add value in some other way over time.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 7, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

and sorry, last two posts, way off topic

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 7, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"Also there is something wrong with fleeing the state when a vote comes up that you don't like the look of the outcome to."

As I understand it, the Wisconsin legislature doesn't allow for a filibuster, so the WI 14 have taken the only course of action they could. This hasn't been a lark for them, but the "long game" will be in their favor.
I've thought all along that they would return and that Walker gets what he wants. The guy is too dumb and stubborn to compromise. I can tell by his eyes, the eys of Cantor, Pence, and Santorum - the eyes of a dullard. The GOP must have a franchise on these guys, or some secret laboratory where Dr. Rove creates them. They are pod people. The GOP will be the big losers here.
What has happened in Wisconsin has cemented the industrial Midwest for Obama in 2012, perhaps minus Indiana, but who needs Indiana?

Posted by: filmnoia | March 7, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

@mobrien

"I am both. In my opinion, most people whose policy preferences completely mirror one party or the other are typically not very thoughtful and reflexively reject or ignore any information that contradicts the world view to which they desperately cling."

I used to feel this way as well mobrien. I'm still a registered Independent but after the tea party fiasco of electing a man who was literally a fraud and bought our Governor's mansion in Florida I plan to re-register as a Dem.

With all due respect it is impossible to be a moderate these days and vote R. They have become so radicalized by the tea party they are now to the right of Attila the Hun.

But I do get your point..and again if you wish to have some fun and see how far our country has swung to the right...check out the 1956 Republican platform. IMHO Ike was the last decent Republican President we've had. He got it!

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=25838#axzz1FwAD45id

Let's overlay Ike's positions with what is going on in Wisconsin...

"Under the Republican Administration, as our country has prospered, so have its people. This is as it should be, for as President Eisenhower said: "Labor is the United States. The men and women, who with their minds, their hearts and hands, create the wealth that is shared in this country—they are America."

Really mobrien can you imagine ANY Republican uttering that today?

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 7, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

"What happened to making your case in a publc debate and winning elections."

Yeah, what did happen to that? I mean, Walker wouldn't be in this kettle of fish if he had run on a platform of union-busting. Funny how that never came up during the campaign so we could have gauged how the public felt about it...

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 7, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

@mobrien

"When Republicans were fiscally responsible, I liked that. Neither party can really claim to be anymore."

I take it you mean balancing the budget and worrying about deficits. I'm with you there.

But actually when one party has held the W.H. there has been a HUGE difference in fiscal discipline...deficits etc...simply check out the link..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_debt_by_U.S._presidential_terms

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 7, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

ruk- Right on that you wouldn't hear that out of today's GOP. I can't vote until 2014 so I have the luxury of not having to make a decision. I have really gone back and forth on this union issue. After a lot of internal debate, and going back and forth with some folks on here, my conclusion is that its crazy to take away any group's ability to bargain collectively or to be politically active.

I also think it's crazy to force people in a particular industry to pay dues to a union even if they don't want to. As some pointed out to me last week though, no mandatory dues would pretty much be the end of union clout. I still come down in favor of folks having a right to choose whether to organize.

I also wonder why, if poll numbers suggest mandatory dues are unpopular, and if no mandatory dues would pretty much finish off the unions, Walker isn't just going after mandatory dues.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 7, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Republicans claiming the mantle of the fiscally responsible party has been the biggest PR coup of the last 30 years. It's not even close. The press has been good to Republicans.

Posted by: DDAWD | March 7, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

ruk- I stand corrected, as your link illustrates that by the definition we share for fiscal responsibility, Rs have not been in my lifetime, at least to the extent the executive controls spending and tax, which is of course, limited in many ways. But point taken.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 7, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

@RUK:

"There is much about all of this that has nothing to do with the substance of the issues...it's simply a desire for the R's to disenfranchise blocks of voters or in the case of the unions...reduce their financial political clout. "

Nail meet head. Or something... Right on the money.

It cannot be any more clear. In my words:

"""Republicans care more about naked political power than they do governing."""

I only wish the MSM would pick up on that obvious trend.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 7, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Also. Too:

"It seems like there is a major conflict of interest when public unions are negotiating contracts with public officials that they are donating huge sums of money to. That's called a kickback scheme."

I can see how that's totally different than when Wall Street, Big Pharma, Big Insurance, Big Oil, etc etc etc write legislation for the GOP representatives and senators they've bought.

What I don't understand is how asking for and receiving a solid middle class wage and benefits package is an example of shockingly egregious greed, while keeping the tax rate of hedge fund managers at 15% is not.

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 7, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

@mobrien83 "I also think it's crazy to force people in a particular industry to pay dues to a union even if they don't want to."

That's pretty much the definition of "Right to Work".

"Right-to-work laws are statutes enforced in twenty-two U.S. states, mostly in the southern or western U.S., allowed under provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act, which prohibit agreements between labor unions and employers making membership or payment of union dues or fees a condition of employment, either before or after hiring."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-to-work_law

Posted by: jnc4p | March 7, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

*yawn* More biased push polling.

I'm going to read two statements about the current conflict over Democrat legislators desertion, and I want to know which one comes closest to your view.

Democrat legislators should stand strong in their plan to neglect their official duties, no matter how long Wisconsin voters and taxpayers have to wait, OR

Democrats should negotiate with the Governor in order to find a compromise solution and avoid their arrest.

There, that's better.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | March 7, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I also wonder if the democrats can undermine some of the criticism of them for "running away" if they ultimately come back and Gov. Walker's budget gets passed. At that point their actions become a lot more symbolic than procedural. They did what they could, they made their point, but they ultimately owned up to the results of the electiosn.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | March 7, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Great Adam Serwer post on Pete King's latest buffoonery:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/03/kings_witnesses_show_he_cant_s.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | March 7, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

""It seems like there is a major conflict of interest when public unions are negotiating contracts with public officials that they are donating huge sums of money to. That's called a kickback scheme.""

And yet in the business world, this is called "lobbying." Protected free speech, don'tyaknow.
.

Posted by: jprestonian | March 7, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans care more about naked political power than they do governing."""

I only wish the MSM would pick up on that obvious trend."

Fat chance that the MSM will do anything of the sort. They then would have to ask the question "Naked political power" to do what? The same corporate masters that control the GOP to do their bidding, while they dismember the middle class, control the MSM.

Posted by: filmnoia | March 7, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

"Democrats should negotiate with the Governor in order to find a compromise solution and avoid their arrest."

What's funny is that you somehow think answering yes to this question would support Gov. Walker when in reality is supports the position of the Dems. Walker has indicatd he is not going to compromise.


Posted by: ashotinthedark | March 7, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

jnc- then I suppose I favor right to work. Does that usually result in unions basically having no power? If so, I don't like that particular consequence, but still favor people having a choice. Also, if it does pretty much strip unions of their political and bargaining power, why do you think Walker hasn't limited his proposal to that issue, which seems more palatable to people in general?

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 7, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm convinced protesters in Wisconsin Don't Understand the Issue here.
1) do they realize difference between public employee unions and private sector unions? Big difference!

private sector unions: Business pay the salary/benefits/pension of union workers

Public employee unions: Taxpayers pay the salary/benefits/pension of union workers

That means public employee unions are wheeling & dealing with government (who wants their vote), and whatever they decide, Taxpayer PAYS. Even though the Taxpayer has no voice, doesn't have seat at bargaining table. This is Not fair.

Secondly, the Public employee unions are using Taxpayer Dollars to campaign for "their" candidates!

So Taxpayers get screwed over and over....
the governor of Wisconsin is trying to protect the taxpayer and his state.
Support Governor Walker, this may be your last chance to change this unjustice!

Posted by: ohioan | March 7, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

@mobrien83 "jnc- then I suppose I favor right to work. Does that usually result in unions basically having no power? If so, I don't like that particular consequence, but still favor people having a choice. Also, if it does pretty much strip unions of their political and bargaining power, why do you think Walker hasn't limited his proposal to that issue, which seems more palatable to people in general?"

Yes. Right to Work pretty much eliminates the bargaining power of the unions.

Walker's proposal was/is to strip the public employee unions of their right to collectively bargain, not actually disband the unions or make joining them illegal (He can't actually do that). However as the supporters of the public employee unions point out, being in a union without the right to collectively bargain is pretty much meaningless.

Posted by: jnc4p | March 7, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

ohion - except...it's hard to characterize as "screwing" the taxpayers for college grads to expect to make within 5 or 10% of what similarly-skilled workers earn in the private sector. That would be 5 - 10% LESS than private-sector workers, after taking benefits into consideration.

The taxpayers are getting screwed because it's been decided that people who make a lot of money, whether through inheiritance, through manipulating imaginary financial instruments, or through sitting atop a business structure that was built by others, shouldn't have to pay taxes - at all, if possible. As the wealthiest segment of the population's share of the pie has grown, their share of the burden of taxation has shrunk, leaving us short on what is needed to keep society functional. The right's answer is that we don't really need a functional society. By contrast, the left's argument that we do, and that those who benefit most from it should be expected to support it financially at a level commensurate with the benefits they've received would, in more sensible times, never be open for debate. The GOP vision for America's future looks an awful lot like the slums of South America or the Phillipines - yet they've managed to convince around a third of the country that this would be preferable to the "socialistic" broad properity we enjoyed as a nation from the 40's through the 70's.

Interestingly, did you know that income inequality in the US is now more pronounced than it is in Brazil?

Some of us remain convinced that a future of open running sewers is not in our best interest.

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 7, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

JNC- I understand the Walker proposal; my question is basically, don't you think he could get the same result by proposing only to make Wisconsin a right to work state, rather than stripping collective bargaining, since, as you point out, the practical result is more or less the same?

It just seems like it would be more palatable for people in Wisconsin and therefore make more political sense. I mean, I don't like his idea to strip people of collective bargaining, but I do think they should have a choice not to collectively bargain if they don't want to. It sounds like from what I've been hearing, the results are pretty much the same. But at least if it's just right to work, the unions could entice members if they were still able to do so based on their merits as organizations, and polls suggest people don't have a problem with taking away mandatory dues as much as with saying "you can't collectively bargain."

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 7, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

@peterg

"It seems like there is a major conflict of interest when public unions are negotiating contracts with public officials that they are donating huge sums of money to."

And so do you have the same concerns about the Koch brothers donating millions so that they get favorable regulations to pollute, favorable tax incentives that reduce their tax liability....who represents the taxpayer there? The same folks who represent the states in negotiation with the unions...the VOTERS.

Or are you simply the standard garden variety of R a total hypocrite.

"Is this the kind of prescedent we really want to be setting"

Peter..Peter..Peter...this is not precedent setting at all...

http://the-peoples-forum.com/cgi-bin/readart.cgi?ArtNum=22944

"Abe Lincoln Jumped Out a Window to Prevent a Quorum"

The greatest Republican of all time used the very same tactics!

Posted by: rukidding7
===========================================
1. No I don't think it's OK for the Koch brothers whoever they are to get financial benefits in return for campaign donations. Glad to see you agree with me. 2. No I'm not a hippocrit. 3. Abe Lincoln? Really? You had to research all the way back to the 1800's. The fact that people have been respecting the laws and democratic process for the past 100+ years means nothing?

Posted by: peterg73 | March 7, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

private sector unions: Business pay the salary/benefits/pension of union workers

Public employee unions: Taxpayers pay the salary/benefits/pension of union workers

--------------------------------------
Weird, I thought taxes on private businesses are just passed onto consumers in the form of higher prices. Wouldn't the same hold true for salary/benefits/pensions of private businesses?

The other thing is that private unions clearly see what you don't. That this isn't about fiscal responsiblity, compromise or the size of government. It is about destroying a group that supports democrats. They know that the few remaining private unions will be next on the agenda.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | March 7, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

@JennOfArk "The taxpayers are getting screwed because it's been decided that people who make a lot of money, whether through inheiritance, through manipulating imaginary financial instruments, or through sitting atop a business structure that was built by others, shouldn't have to pay taxes - at all, if possible."

Even given the hyperbole, this is an incoherent argument when you look at the percentage of total taxes paid by the upper income people.

"A lot of liberals make the argument that its okay to soak the rich because the rich have captured nearly all the income growth in the past couple of decades. There's no disputing that income inequality has increased. But it's also important to remember that there is only so much a progressive tax code can do to counteract the market. With the top 10 percent of households already paying 55 percent of the total federal tax bill, we're hitting against that limit."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/16/AR2009041604462.html

Posted by: jnc4p | March 7, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

peter- "1. No I don't think it's OK for the Koch brothers whoever they are to get financial benefits in return for campaign donations."

Then what you should be campaigning for his campaign finance reform not ending collective bargaining rights. As long as elections laws stay the same, you don't really oppose buying politicians, you just oppose someone other than corporations making the purchase.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | March 7, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

@mobrien83 "JNC- I understand the Walker proposal; my question is basically, don't you think he could get the same result by proposing only to make Wisconsin a right to work state, rather than stripping collective bargaining, since, as you point out, the practical result is more or less the same?

It just seems like it would be more palatable for people in Wisconsin and therefore make more political sense. I mean, I don't like his idea to strip people of collective bargaining, but I do think they should have a choice not to collectively bargain if they don't want to. It sounds like from what I've been hearing, the results are pretty much the same. But at least if it's just right to work, the unions could entice members if they were still able to do so based on their merits as organizations, and polls suggest people don't have a problem with taking away mandatory dues as much as with saying "you can't collectively bargain.""

Turing Wisconsin into a Right to Work state is going even further to the right than what Walker proposed, which only affects public employees, not private sector. It's basically what John Kasich is proposing in Ohio.

My primary point is I believe you have an incoherent position when you simultaneously try to hold these two views:

"After a lot of internal debate, and going back and forth with some folks on here, my conclusion is that its crazy to take away any group's ability to bargain collectively or to be politically active."

"I also think it's crazy to force people in a particular industry to pay dues to a union even if they don't want to. "

The whole premise behind unionization and collective bargaining is to force employers to negotiate with the union and prevent them from having an alternate source of workers. This isn't viable if the workers aren't forced to join the union (or have dues withheld anyway even if they aren't officially part of the union) and become subject to the collective bargaining agreement.

Posted by: jnc4p | March 7, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Ashot- I agree completely with your post of 1:59. I actually agree with Citizens United, and I don't see any justification for keeping people from spending money to promote a political message just because they want to do it as a group or because they have the resources to do it effectively. There is no reason to vote or spend money on elections if it isn't to promote policies that are beneficial to you (even if your policy preferences are more altruistic, you are still trying to obtain the benefit of living in what you consider a more just society). The founders pegged their hopes for our republic on the idea that people would push their own self-interest. Our forms of government and economics are predicated on the idea that people will pursue their personal self-interest and that as a society we will advance from their efforts.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 7, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

jnc4p - when the top 10% make 65% of the income (and, they do), you'd expect them to pay 65% of the taxes. As you just noted, they don't.

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 7, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Actions speak louder than words. I just don't understand why anyone would believe the Republican platform is in the American people's best interests. They are the party of the double standard. They say they are against abortion to save lives, but deny Americans have the right to a medical system that is affordable and equitable. They say that contracts with corporations must be upheld but say that it is okay for corporations and states to walk away from their obligations to employees in terms of pensions, medical beneftis, and salaries.

I have not seen any Republican walk away from stimulus money, yet they continue to beat on the Obama administration for taking the actions necessary to save us from the second greatest ecomomic crash in the American history. A crash that was brought about by Republican deregulation, and corporate greed throughout the banking, mortgage and financial industries.

They say Americans are at fault for consuming too much gasoline, and agreeing too sub-prime, and zero down mortgages, but fail to hold corporations accountable for making the gas guzzlers and creating those risky type of mortgages and then pushing them.

Why is our nation increasing its speed limits by 15 to 20 mph in most states thereby consuming an additional 20% of gasoline in a time of unstable gas prices and a burgeoning trade deficit?

Why is the Republican party blaming unions and bargaining units for debts brought about by states, more specifically the politicians that run those states from failing to make good on their obligations?

Lastly, the Republican party blocked any increase to the minimum wage for 10 years, they broke apart bargaining units and as a result lowered the earnings of millions of Americans. It is no wonder they cannot afford their mortgages, that houses are dropping in price due to pressure from foreclosures, and that home values remain depressed.

The Republicans and Tea Party have joince forces in Wisconsin to break the state's obligations to its employees. Do not expect these give backs from state politicians or federal politicians. They will continue to receive health care, pensions, and no salary give backs.

The United States enjoys the standard of living it had due to unions or bargaining units. If not for these organizations who underwent violence and duress we would all be working in sweat shops, and child labor abuses would not be a thing of the past.

Anyone who believes that the ills of the world are a result of wanting fair wages, medical benefits, and old age security should be looking at the corporate profits on medicine and the financial industry's desire for our social security contributions.

Actions speak louder than words, and the Republican's actions have always been anti-organized labor, anti-environment, anti-health benefits, anti-social security.

If you think the Republican Party really has the people's best interests are heart take a hard look at their actions.

Posted by: garryh | March 7, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

@JennOfArk "jnc4p - when the top 10% make 65% of the income (and, they do), you'd expect them to pay 65% of the taxes. As you just noted, they don't."

That's not the same thing as saying they "shouldn't have to pay taxes - at all, if possible" which no one is advocating.

Posted by: jnc4p | March 7, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

JNC- You are right that my views are inconsistent. I acknowledge as much and say that weighing the two competing values, I come down in favor of the freedom to choose to participate or not to participate in a union.

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function."

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 7, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

jnc4p - according to your GOP masters, taxes are always too high - especially on rich people. They're currently a third lower than they were when Reagan slashed the top rate to 50%, but according to the GOP, they're still too high. Given that the GOP's answer to every economic issue is "cut taxes", it's not hard to imagine them arguing that any taxes at all are intolerable.

But, nice dodge. Still doesn't get around the fact that the wealthiest 10% of Americans are undertaxed by at least 10% in comparison to their slice of the income pie. And that 10% adds up to a LOT of money.

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 7, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Jenn- Do you favor a flat tax rate which would result in everyone paying taxes proportional to their slice of the pie? Or are you simply illustrating your point that rich folks don't pay enough and you'd prefer they pay a higher proportion of their income as taxes than folks lower down on the economic spectrum?

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 7, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

mobrien - couldn't disagree more with you on the issue of Citizens United.

Corporations aren't voters. They are considered "people" thanks to some very muddy thinking on the part of past and present courts, but they aren't people in any real or civic sense of the word. They have only one function - to create profit. All other considerations are secondary. So it's not surprising then to see them favor laws, and politicians who will support enacting laws, that increase their profits at the expense of say, carcinogens in your drinking water. A real, live, able-to-vote person wouldn't vote that for himself. But the corporation is immune to getting cancer, so what does it care?

I'd much prefer to see a reform of the campaign system that says only citizens eligible to vote may contribute to any political candidate or party, and only up to X limit. Others who want to support candidates or parties may do so in advertising or otherwise, only when acting under their legal name. No more of these BS front groups. If BP wants me to support candidate X, then the ad needs to say "this ad was paid for by BP" not "this ad was paid for by Energy for America's Future" or other such nonsense.

That would take care of most of it.

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 7, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Jenn- Unions are not citizens either. They are collectives of citizens. Corporations are collectives of citizens as well; they represent their shareholders. You are right though, that Citizens United says they are citizens, and I disagree with that. But the result is the same if you treat them the same as unions- collections of citizens working together to promote an agenda. I disagree with you on this but appreciate the thoughtful commenting. Not a lot of trolling on the threads today. I'm out but hope everyone has a good afternoon. May be on later.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 7, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

mobrien - no on flat tax. The flat tax as it's commonly understood is not as you've described it - it's a tax system where everyone pay X rate no matter where they fall on the income spectrum, and it's hugely regressive.

No, my point was exactly that rich folks don't pay enough. They own and earn more than at any time in my lifetime, while at the same time shouldering the lowest tax burden they've had at any time during my life. You can't get blood out of turnips - while the wealthiest's share of income and wealth has increased, everyone else's share has decreased. You can't get it from people who don't have it.

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 7, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Caveat- Unions and corporations may have members/shareholders who are not citizens, which I acknowledge is a weakness in my argument.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 7, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

mobrien - go back to my point about only allowing citizens eligible to vote to contribute to political campaigns. Under such a rule, unions wouldn't be financing candidates, either.

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 7, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

It's a bitter lesson that Independents have learned. Don't stay home on election day. Otherwise you'll have to have a recall.

Posted by: Marko117 | March 7, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

@JennOfArk "mobrien - no on flat tax. The flat tax as it's commonly understood is not as you've described it - it's a tax system where everyone pay X rate no matter where they fall on the income spectrum, and it's hugely regressive."

Actually mobrien83 described the flat income tax correctly. Everyone pays the same percentage of income, regardless of what that income level is. By definition a flat tax is neither regressive or progressive. It's neutral. Sales taxes are examples of regressive taxes.

Posted by: jnc4p | March 7, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Two outcomes of the Conservative echo camber.

Republican politicians believe their own BS and over-reach.
Democratic politicians believe Republican BS and under-reach.

The fact is that 2/3 of the county really isn't on board with the Right's philosophies.

Posted by: Marko117 | March 7, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I lied. Wi-fi at the train station, so I'm back. Jenn- I would agree to a certain extent except I don't think it's a workable rule. People have to be able to act collectively, and I don't see a way to distinguish among different sorts of collectives in a way that is fair.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 7, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

I found this to be a succinct stating of the differences between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to tax philosophy:

"Another reason this issue arouses such an emotional response is that it's really not about economics, or even economic self-interest - it's about fairness, an inherently subjective concept.

Democrats, of course, focus on the increasingly unequal outcomes being generated by the private economy, the widening gap between the very rich and everyone else. To them, raising taxes on the rich seems like the least that we can do to even things out in a free market that is increasingly arbitrary and unfair. Do the rich deserve a tax cut when 15 million other Americans are out of work and even those with jobs are struggling? Do their children deserve to inherit a life of leisure and luxury? They consider the answers to be morally self-evident.

For Republicans, it's also a moral issue, looked at through a much different lens. For them, the focus isn't on the fairness of income distribution but the fairness of the system that produces it. And part of that calculation involves how much of a person's hard-earned income government takes away.

Karlyn Bowman of the American Enterprise Institute has gathered extensive polling data on this subject that goes back decades. What she found is that most Americans agree with Democrats that national income is unfairly distributed and that upper-income households pay too little in taxes. But when you ask them what is the highest percentage that even high-income households should pay in taxes, the average tends to be around 25 percent, with very few in favor of it going much above 30 percent.

As it happens, the rich pay more than that - a good deal more. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the average effective federal tax burden on the top 1 percent of households is now about 28 percent (that's different from the marginal rate, or the rate on the last dollar earned). Add in state and local taxes, the total tax burden on the richest households probably exceeds 40 percent in most places, considerably higher than what most Americans consider fair. If you listen to the more thoughtful Republican politicians talk about their views on taxes, they invariably reflect that sensibility."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/16/AR2010121606309.html

Posted by: jnc4p | March 7, 2011 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Jnc- thanks for sharing that. Very interesting.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 7, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Interesting compromise proposal floated for Wisconsin:

"But Senator Jon Erpenbach, another Democrat, said on Monday that there remained ways for the Republicans to persuade the Democrats to return to Madison. If the Republicans remove the issue of collective bargaining from the bill that Mr. Walker has described as an immediate “budget repair bill,” and instead make it part of the larger, two-year budget proposal to be considered in the next few months, Democrats would be satisfied, Mr. Erpenbach said. “Then there would be hearings, then there would be opportunities to really look at this,” he said."

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/08/us/08wisconsin.html?hp

If I was Walker, I'd take this deal.

Posted by: jnc4p | March 7, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

mobrien - what I proposed doesn't distinguish among different types of collectives. It says that none can donate to campaigns or parties.

That's not a restriction of free speech. It's an acknowledgement that collectives aren't voters - the collective has no vote. If a collective such as a corporation or union wants to express their opinion on a political candidate or issue, they would still be free to do so, under their own name.

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 7, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

jncp - I don't find it all that surprising that Americans believe they are overtaxed. They've been told this for the past 30 years.

But I like how you try to cast the suffering of the wealthier-than-ever as a moral issue. I think a more interesting question to ask is: why should a country set up under democratic principles have as its highest goal and calling catering to the desires of the few at the expense of the needs of the many? Isn't it the least bit UNdemocratic that all considerations about the good of nation be secondary to making wealthy people happy? Since when is elevating the interests of a small aristocracy of great wealth above all others consistent with democratic principles?

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 7, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

well,Wisconsin independents wants walker to compromise, in politics it happens of union of different colleague but if it is for the better future prospect then its ok. otherwise every politician want a fame in the nation, lets see either this compromise happen or where it leads to be. regards

www.a2zmobiles.com

Posted by: bravomaster | March 7, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

@jnc4p

Dude get your head out of right wing think tanks for a moment. We currently are taxing at about 15% of GDP. We historically have "averaged" taxing at 18% of GDP and have had a strong economy with taxes as high as 20% of GDP...the Scandanavian countries kick our butt right now in terms of competing with the Asian Tigers and they average 50% of GDP.

As for your view of the wealthy paying 55% of the taxes...Jenn answered very effectively but perhaps you're a little slow on the uptake. This is about fairness, compassion, and quite frankly the survival of America as a leading nation. Nation's with strong middle classes..again see Scandanavia fare much better economically than nations with large income inequalities...

http://www.multinationalmonitor.org/mm2003/03may/may03interviewswolff.html

"I think there are two rationales. The first is basically a moral or ethical position. A lot of people think it is morally bad for there to be wide gaps, wide disparities in well being in a society.

If that is not convincing to a person, the second reason is that inequality is actually harmful to the well-being of a society. There is now a lot of evidence, based on cross-national comparisons of inequality and economic growth, that more unequal societies actually have lower rates of economic growth. The divisiveness that comes out of large disparities in income and wealth, is actually reflected in poorer economic performance of a country."

Perhaps a simple metaphor will give you a better understanding of what a red herring your the wealthy pay all the taxes truly is...

I get that numbers in the billions and trillions are daunting and also that people have been conflating the % of the total U.S. income tax paid by the top 2% versus the % of their income the top 2% are paying, but what is at issue here is fairness. So let’s uncouple the two and provide an example which while extreme, illustrates where the U.S. is leaning tax wise.

10 people live on an island nation. Governmental expense to defend, operate, and educate the island are $25,000 annually. 2 citizens earn $10,000 annually 6 citizens earn $25,000 annually, 1 earns $50,000 a year, 1 citizen earns $1,000,000 a year. Only the millionaire pays all the taxes. Statistically it could then be said that 100% of the taxes of this island nation are paid by one person. It could also be said he is paying at a tax rate of a whopping 2.5%. Would this be objectionable? Of course if my metaphorical island operated like the U.S., the wealthy person would be paying $10,000 annually, the person earning $50,000 would pay $5,000 or 10% of his income versus the 1% tax rate of the wealthy person, and the remaining $10,000 would be borrowed from a neighboring island. It’s the American way!

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 7, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

@rukidding7 "As for your view of the wealthy paying 55% of the taxes...Jenn answered very effectively but perhaps you're a little slow on the uptake."

I'm not slow on the uptake. I get your point, but I subscribe to a different definition of fairness than you do.

For me, the "fair" income tax is the flat tax. Everyone pays the same rate on all income, earned or unearned with no deductions at all.

I also find your use of "we" interesting in statements such as "We historically have "averaged" taxing at 18% of GDP and have had a strong economy with taxes as high as 20% of GDP." When progressives propose raising taxes, they tend to do so in reference to other people's taxes, not their own.

My general rule of thumb is that if a government program isn't worth raising taxes on the sacrosanct "middle class" then it's probably not worth doing in the first place.

Posted by: jnc4p | March 7, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

jncp - ok, so you subscribe to a notion that it's more fair for me to pick up a proportional share of the costs of those functions of government used most heavily by the very rich - things like patent law and enforcement - than it is for the very rich to pick up a heavier share of those things they use more than anyone else? Like the courts. Like the highways. And etc.

That's an interesting take on things.

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 7, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

@JennOfArk "jncp - ok, so you subscribe to a notion that it's more fair for me to pick up a proportional share of the costs of those functions of government used most heavily by the very rich - things like patent law and enforcement - than it is for the very rich to pick up a heavier share of those things they use more than anyone else? Like the courts. Like the highways. And etc.

That's an interesting take on things."

Most of (Federal) government spending isn't for the items you listed. It's direct transfer payments to individuals or payments for their health care.

Posted by: jnc4p | March 7, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"Most of (Federal) government spending isn't for the items you listed. It's direct transfer payments to individuals or payments for their health care."

Last time I checked, I pay a much higher percentage of my income for FICA than rich people do. So explain how lowering their tax rate addresses this inequality. Because obviously, I'm getting screwed on this deal.


Posted by: JennOfArk | March 7, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

@JennOfArk ""Most of (Federal) government spending isn't for the items you listed. It's direct transfer payments to individuals or payments for their health care."

Last time I checked, I pay a much higher percentage of my income for FICA than rich people do. So explain how lowering their tax rate addresses this inequality. Because obviously, I'm getting screwed on this deal."

You are absolutely correct on that. For my flat tax proposal, I'd roll FICA in with Income and just have one tax with no income cap for taxation purposes. You would pay the same rate as the wealthy.

Note that my proposal would probably raise taxes on the wealthy who primarily have unearned (dividend, carried interest, capital gains) income as I would treat that the same way as earned income.

Posted by: jnc4p | March 7, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

jncp - then your flat tax proposal would have to rise to a rate way above the 15% that flat-tax proponents have most often bandied about.

Posted by: JennOfArk | March 7, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

@JennOfArk "jncp - then your flat tax proposal would have to rise to a rate way above the 15% that flat-tax proponents have most often bandied about."

The rate is whatever it takes to fund the government. The benefit isn't a lower effective rate per se, it's transparency, efficiency and accountability.

You want universal health care? Everyone pays more.
You want a war in Iraq? Everyone pays more.

No more shifting the costs of government programs to non-favored classes (i.e. people who don't own homes, people who have to pay for their own health insurance, etc.)

Posted by: jnc4p | March 7, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

@jcn4p

"I also find your use of "we" interesting in statements such as "We historically have "averaged" taxing at 18% of GDP and have had a strong economy with taxes as high as 20% of GDP."

WE as in all WE citizens of the United States. I know it breaks your libertarian heart but WE ARE all in this together whether you wish to admit it or not.

As for progressives raising others people's taxes I suspect you think poorly of Warren Buffet...

“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” - Warren Buffet, multi-billionaire.

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 7, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

mobrien--Have to admit you've made me curious. If you can't vote until 2014, does that mean you're an extremely articulate 15-16 year old or waiting to become a naturalized citizen? Or have I missed something? (And good luck with that upcoming parenthood gig.)

Posted by: AllButCertain | March 7, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Jennofark- sorry hopped on a train. You actually have me mostly convinced about Citizens United.

Allbutcertain- I am in my twenties but was convicted of manslaughter for causing a car accident that killed my fiancé a number of years ago. I can't vote because I am a felon, but under the law in my home state, I will be re-enfranchised in january 2014.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 7, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Jennofark- I think you are right that if corporations are restricted then no collectives should be able to contribute. I disagree with the contention that it wouldn't be a restriction on free speech in as much as the supreme court is empowered to interpret the constitution and has said it would be a violation of free speech ;) how do you like that circular reasoning? Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 7, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

The Dems are not negotiating, they are demanding.

wtmj radio had an interview with Erpenbach, he said "the only way they would return is if Governor Walker removes the provision to end most collective bargaining rights for many public workers' unions from the budget repair bill."

Posted by: win1 | March 7, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

@mobrien

Congrats to you on regaining your rights!
Sorry for your misfortune, mistake whatever it was, glad you're still able to remain a thoughtful, contributing citizen.

Ironic that you should mention your situation. Here in Florida our new AG whats to rescind the method in which felons regain their rights. She is part of the tea party group that were "swept" into office by less than 25% of our registered voters. Floridians deserve what we get if we don't exercise out civic duty. I'm glad mobrien that you plan to use yours and I'm happier still that you are remaining open minded and doing your research on which candidates/ party to vote for...kudos to you and good luck.

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 7, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

WEA was the top spender and spent much more in outside Electioneering then Koch Industries (fourth from the lowest) according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign out today. The Citizens United case was about outside electioneering, not direct campaign contributions.

Yet the Democrats try to say it allowed corps to spend unlimited money without any mention of how much they gained by it.

Public employee unions and public employees also funded quite a bit of the 14 Democrats campaigns directly and unions are some of the top direct campaign contributers.

They never talk about the union money, yet over and over again you hear about Koch who hardly spent any of his money on Wisconsin political races.

If anyone is bought off it is the Democrats.

Posted by: win1 | March 7, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

ruk- Thanks for the sentiment. To be honest, voting has been the least of my worries, and I have found other ways to have a greater voice in our democracy than I did when my only participation was to vote.

The felony disenfrachisement issue is one that doesn't make a lot of sense to me (even if I were allowed to vote). So few of our citizens want to participate in elections, and typically, though not always, even among felons, voters are the ones who care about what's happening in their communities.

I work now in criminal justice, and there is a tremendous amount of evidence demonstrating that individuals who vote are significantly less likely to re-offend than those who do not. People are more likely to recommit to the social compact they've broken when they feel they've been given a stake in it.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 7, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

mobrien - Thanks for your response and all good luck to you as you make your way forward. You obviously have a great deal of personal strength and it's impressive you're working in criminal justice. It sounds as if you're one of its true success stories.

Posted by: AllButCertain | March 7, 2011 5:38 PM | Report abuse

As for progressives raising others people's taxes I suspect you think poorly of Warren Buffet...

“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” - Warren Buffet, multi-billionaire.

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 7, 2011 4:56 PM
==========================================

Too bad ole Warren doesn't kick in a bit more for the government instead of whining. He evidently doesn't think he's paying his fair share but has no intention of doing so unless someone forces him.

Posted by: Brigade | March 7, 2011 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Allbutcertain- I appreciate your saying so. I had a number of advantages that most people in my situation don't have, including, most importantly, a good education and a family with an interest in and ability to support me through some tough times. My work enables me to help people who find themselves in similar situations without the resources I am fortunate to have.

Posted by: mobrien83 | March 7, 2011 6:05 PM | Report abuse

"Even given the hyperbole, this is an incoherent argument when you look at the percentage of total taxes paid by the upper income people."

Talk about incoherent. The percentage of taxes paid by upper income people is by itself an irrelevant shiny little token to distract the ignorant. It only is meaningful in relation to the percent of income earned by those upper income people.

Should I feel bad that they are paying 75% of income tax, if they receive 80% of income? What's your solution? Have the bottom percent that gets 10% of income pay 25% of taxes, so we can lower the percent of taxes paid by upper income earners?

Let's not even talk about wealth vs income, since the very richest don't rely on what can be classified as income.

Posted by: nodebris | March 7, 2011 10:28 PM | Report abuse

The St.Louis PostDispatch on 3/7/11 reported that “Bradley Harmon, head of the local union representing city Children’s Division workers, said caseworkers tell him that it’s nearly impossible to get the judge (Edwards) to sign off on severing parental rights, even when a child is placed in a pre-adoptive foster home and the family has indicated its desire to adopt. Harmon says fellow caseworkers tell him that Edwards unnecessarily prolongs stays to foster care and hurts the potential for adoptions by giving natural parents too many chances to set their lives straight.” Current theory would support Judge Edwards. Mr. Harmon’s job does not include evaluating a Circuit Court Judge and publishing his views in the newspaper. One might ask, “when did God die and leave Bradley Harmon in charge of the earth?” This ‘overreach’ is what many of us don’t like about unions.
The Belleville, IL newspaper reported on 3/7/11 that for 2011, Illinois will spend 15% of its budget to cover all public employee pensions. In about 3 years, that will increase to 20% of the budget. Gov. Quinn, Democrat, and the Democrat senate and house have considered increasing employee responsibility for health care and pensions and possibly even reduce pensions for current employees.

Posted by: windmill3 | March 7, 2011 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Refinancing means taking out a new mortgage with a lower interest rate to pay off your existing mortgage, search online for 123 Mortgage Refinance I got 2.831% rate on refinance!

Posted by: markhead77 | March 8, 2011 4:36 AM | Report abuse

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