All or Nothing

November 14th, 2012
It's been said of late that conservatives are so patriotic that they want to secede from the union. They love the Constitution so much, they want to rewrite it. They love Democracy, but hate when people they disagree with vote. They love America, but clearly hate most Americans. They want to do away with government handouts, but will cry havoc if anyone threatens to touch their Social Security or Medicare checks. They denounce government pork, but take the lion's share. They seem to think that the central theme of a nation which calls itself a “union” is “every man for himself.” And now that their extremism has truly begun to marginalize them despite every game and trick they can imagine to inflate their influence, more and more of them are having tantrums. A Republican woman in Arizona was so distraught after Obama won, she ran her husband down with her car because he failed to vote. She claimed that “she believed her family would suffer under a second term of President Barack Obama.” The Republican county treasurer in Hardin, Texas, made public his opinion that Texas should secede, saying that “in due time, the maggots will have eaten every morsel of flesh off of the rotting corpse of the Republic.” He claimed to just want to “avoid this gut-wrenching spectacle every four years.” One presumes he did not feel this way in 2004, nor would he have if Romney had won. However, it is no longer just scattered nutballs at the fringe. It is, instead, a growing conservative movement. Petitions have begin to grow for secession. At the White House web site, there are petitions for 35 states to secede from the union. Seven have grown to over 20,000 signatures; Texas is at 85,000. Each petition reads the same: “Peacefully grant the State of [state name] to Withdraw from the United States of America and Create its own NEW Government.” West Virginia, apparently, wants to form its own “NEW Govern.” On the one hand, it's relatively easy to dismiss: I see no filter which would prevent people from other states or even other countries signing the petitions. I am not sure, but doubt there is a limit to home many petitions one person may sign. Nevertheless, the disparity in numbers for each suggests at least that it's not an automated con job. The greatest caveat is sincerity; perhaps most people doing this individually are doing so as a form of protest. However, you know that with many—who knows, maybe more than half the numbers—they are sincere. Maybe not very knowledgable, maybe not aware what secession actually means, but sincere nevertheless. And you can bet that the sincere ones essentially want to leave the table and stick the remaining parties with the check. Take Texas, for example. You think they want to take their share of the national debt with them? By population, it's nearly $1.3 trillion. I almost signed their petition. All of this is not about what is claimed. When the debt was skyrocketing under Bush, no one was clamoring for secession. Had Romney been elected and had he been able to institute his policies, the debt would have shot up (instead of having gone down under Obama); in that case, again, you can be assured there would have been no such outcry for secession. Despite their claims, the secessionists are not about the debt; they are fine with it when their party is in power. Nor do I think it is mostly about race. For some, yes; there is undeniably a racist tinge to much of the discontent. But I believe that were it Hillary or Biden instead of Obama, we'd be seeing the same thing. No, I think this has more to do with simply being in control. Fully in control. Getting everything that you want. What summed it up best, in my opinion, was a small story from 2005, just a few months after Bush was re-elected. Republicans owned the White House and controlled both houses of Congress. The Supreme Court was deciding cases more conservatively than not. Fox News was the loudest voice out there, MSNBC not having yet found its voice. Most pundits were conservatives, as were the loudest and the most often heard. Sunday talk shows predominantly featured Republicans. Conservative views and policies ran over liberal ones. At that time, Starbucks had a little campaign called “The Way I See It,” in which quotes, often political, were printed on the cups. Most were from liberal personalities. A Republican woman in Florida lamented, “I'm not surprised. I'm used to being under-represented.” Now, think about that. “I'm used to being under-represented.” For the previous two years, her party had full control over the entire government, and for almost all of it for more than four years, and had just won re-election and control for another two. In her state, her party controlled the governorship and the legislature, and had for some time. How exactly was this woman “under-represented”? We see this many times in conservative culture. White males dominate in virtually every manner of success and benefit from widespread racial preference, and yet whine about “reverse discrimination.” Christians see their religion and beliefs dominate the nation in almost every single respect, but literally throw themselves on the ground in lamentation over a “war on Christianity.” It seems that the more conservatives get, the more they feel victimized when the last scraps are still held by someone else. This is how many conservatives see politics: as an all-or-nothing game. Either we get everything we want, or it's never enough. We win, we get to do anything we want. We lose, and we wreck the game and scatter the pieces. This is precisely what Republicans in Congress have been doing: overrunning when in power, obstructing when not. I hate to use the old cliché, but there is no better analogy for what we are seeing than a spoiled-rotten three-year-old throwing a shrieking, foot-stamping tantrum because he can't have everyone's cake. It is simply far too apt. Tell you what. Take a few southern states, give them to the hard-core right-wingers, make sure they take their portion of the debt (they did, after all, incur most of it, but let's divide it evenly anyway), and let them build their 20-foot wall around their new country. We'll be far better off without these people. Just make sure they don't take any nukes with them.

Categories: Election 2012, Right-Wing Extremism Tags: by
  1. Troy
    November 14th, 2012 at 12:47 | #1

    This is kinda unfair : )

    I can put myself in these guys’ clownshoes and kinda see the world they see.

    http://www.thenation.com/sites/default/files/user/225266/TMW2012-11-14colorLARGE.jpeg

    When the debt was skyrocketing under Bush

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/FGTCMDODNS

    says it all

    (but to give my take on it, basically Bush’s fiscal recklessness was mitigated by the massive rise in consumer debt 2002-2007, this stimulated the economy so that all this new business resulted in mucho tax income — here’s the graph of the fiscal deficit (blue) and consumer debt take-on (red):

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=cOd

    blue line shows the deficit was going down 2004-2007, looking a lot like the Clinton years pattern, until the housing bubble popped in 2007.

    And as for why the housing bubble popped — that’s the red line, year-on-year grown in consumer debt.

    This is how many conservatives see politics: as an all-or-nothing game

    Ah, but it is. The people who are on the hook for paying the $5T+ government annual spending bill [outside of social security and some of medicare, which are funded by payroll taxes] are, to use a loaded term, the “successful”. People in the top 10% basically.

    Mid-upper middle class like me to the obscenely wealthy like Romney (and the disgustingly wealthy billionaires that are far above him).

    The top 10% — people making $110,000 and above — make 40% of the income and pay 70% of the income taxes (an 18% tax rate).

    http://taxfoundation.org/article/summary-latest-federal-individual-income-tax-data-0

    Last year was a $1.1T fiscal deficit. How are we going to close that? (arguendo that it is in our economic best interest to reduce the deficit so we don’t end up like you guys in Japan.)

    The top 5% pay $500B in taxes, so if we double taxes on them that’s $500B. Corporations pay $300B, so that’s another $300B if we double taxes on them. We can double taxes on the 5-10% crowd (me) to get another $100B. $200B away, maybe that’s close enough, who knows.

    But we’ve just DOUBLED taxes on the top decile of the economy! That’s unpossible!

    So how the heck are we ever going to stop this deficit spending? Government cuts? If we do that, that will kill the middle class that is reliant on government spending for survival.

    This nation is in fact totally screwed! We just hid it from ourselves by going massively into debt, 2000-now:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=cOa

    is the total systemic debt leverage — all the debt / GDP.

    And what’s worse, we now have the baby boom turning 65! Gahhh!

    Japan’s baby boom is tiny, just a couple of years of increase, then things went back to normal more or less. USA’s baby boom is MASSIVE, lasting from 1952-1962 really, and we’re going to see medicare beneficiaries rise from the 50M today to 80M in 2030.

    At $10,000 per beneficiary, if we’re lucky (the older the baby boom gets the more expensive it’s going to be to keep them healthy)

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/W824RC1

    is the medicare spending curve.

    Here’s ALL the social benefits to persons in blue:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=cOj

    Red is ALL government tax receipts, showing that at the worst of the crash ALL of government income was going out as social benefits!

    adding defense spending to the blue line:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=cOk

    (which we should since defense is the nation’s best make-work program we got)

    shows we need to raise taxes $600B to just pay for these two parts of spending.

    But after we do that (which we’re not because we can’t) we STILL have to find the taxes to pay for the baby boom retirement wave, which isn’t going to peak until 2022.

    So aside from all of the rightwing bullshit, this nation does have some rather mind-boggling fiscal challenges ahead of it! Maybe this reality is what is peaking through the cracks and animating them.

    Another thing, much of the Republican coalition is based on farmers, people with land working for them. It’s pretty easy being conservative when you have that kind of capital position, access to a natural resource that creates wealth for you.

    http://freedomslighthouse.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/2012electionmapcountybycounty110812.jpg

    The “urban vote” does not have that luxury of being “self-reliant” like the farmers, since city labor depends on industry of some sort to create new wealth, not ownership and management of productive land.

    There are around 2 million farms in this country, average size ~400 acres. I guess each farm can support 10 people or whatever, so that’s one leg of the Republican support.

    The other leg is the evangelicals. They were a LARGER share of the electorate this time — 26%, vs 23% in 2004, and they held their nose and voted for the Mormon, at 78% (the same as they voted for Bush in 2004).

    I hope this missive was long enough, and yes, I do need to get my own blog!

  2. Kensensei
    November 14th, 2012 at 13:12 | #2

    Luis,

    Here is a letter in response to the 35 states to secede from the union:
    Have you seen this online? I posted it below:

    Citizens of the Enlightened States of America Unite!

    We in New York intend to form our own country and we’re taking the other Blue States with us.

    In case you aren’t aware that includes California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and the rest of the Northeast.

    We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation and especially to the people of the new country of The Enlightened States of America (E.S.A).

    To sum up briefly:

    You get Texas , Oklahoma and all the slave states.

    We get stem cell research and the best beaches.

    We get Andrew Cuomo and Elizabeth Warren. You get Bobby Jindal and Todd Akin.

    We get the Statue of Liberty. You get OpryLand.

    We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom.

    We get Harvard. You get Ole’ Miss.

    We get 85 percent of America ‘s venture capital and entrepreneurs.

    You get Alabama .

    We get two-thirds of the tax revenue. You get to make the red states pay their fair share.

    Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition’s we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms.

    Please be aware that the E.S.A. will be pro choice and anti war and we’re going to want all our citizens back from Afghanistan at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they’re apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose and they don’t care if you don’t show pictures of their children’s caskets coming home.

    We wish you success in Afghanistan , and possibly Iran as well, but we’re not willing to spend our resources in these sorts of pursuits.

    With the Blue States in hand we will have firm control of 80% of the country’s fresh water, more than 90% of the pineapple and lettuce, 92% of the nation’s fresh fruit, 95% of America’s quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners) 90% of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the US low sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools plus Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

    With the Red States you will have to cope with 88% of all obese Americans and their projected health care costs, 92% of all US mosquitoes, nearly 100% of the tornadoes, 90% of the hurricanes, 99% of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100% of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the U niversity of Georgia.

    We get Hollywood and Yosemite , thank you.

    38% of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62% believe life is sacred unless we’re discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44% say that evolution is only a theory, 53% that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61% of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals then we lefties.

    We’re taking the good weed too. You can have that crap they grow in Mexico .

    Sincerely,

    Citizens of the Enlightened States of America

    =

  3. Troy
    November 14th, 2012 at 13:27 | #3

    To be fair tho, this nation should divide by county.

    If we did that, we sane people would have a lot less land!

  4. Troy
    November 14th, 2012 at 14:06 | #4

    one graph that I forgot in my novel above is:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=cOp

    which is social spending (blue) vs social insurance contributions (red)

    Here’s the components of the blue line (spending) by program:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=cOr

    showing the big movers are SSA and Medicare.

    One thing I do think is that this social spending will be very stimulative, in that SSA checks get spent right back into the economy, creating jobs, and Medicare also creates tons of jobs and this will continue as we’ll have 30 million more seniors to take care of next decade!

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CES6562000101

    is health care workers in the US, if you’re interested.

    Japan, too, might benefit from this redistributionary effect as pensioners start getting their checks. We can hope!

    But you can see how this Medicare especially is just a massive budget-busting bomb, a problem that Japan doesn’t have thanks to its pretty efficient (low-profit?) health care sector.

    That was the impetus behind the House’s proposal to cut the elderly loose with $15,000/yr vouchers instead of actual uncapped coverage on 80 million people like how the law is now — 80 million people consuming $20,000 a year is $1.6T. That’s a lot of the national weal being diverted into senior health care — twice the current defense budget!

    The current negotiating position in DC is $100B/yr in tax raises on the top 5% of earners (ie. the return of Clinton tax rates on $250,000+ incomes) and $300B/yr in spending cuts. This is almost nothing and will be eaten up in a couple of years in rising Medicare costs alone.

    Some people say we should forget about the deficit and just spend away while money is cheap to borrow. Maybe that’s the only way we can inflate the debt we owe to you guys away (Japan alone owns $1.1T of the US national debt). The main problem I see with that is that the very structure of the economy has become completely imbalanced — the top 5% enjoy massive predatory positions on the 95%, raking in so much of the national income directly from working America.

    To paraphrase George Carlin (and Clint Eastwood!) they own this country. The only way we can fix that is to tax it back from them.

    But the conservatives’ guns are loud and numerous in this battle. Their whole constellation of propaganda mills created since the Powell Memo in the 1970s, Fox of course, plus more than half the print media, the neocon magazines, and talk radio on top of it.

    Sweden, Denmark, Norway etc. have 40-50% tax to GDP ratios. That’s what we need, and that’s what Japan needs too, for that matter. But for both countries to get there, they each have to basically double the tax burden on most everyone.

    That’s a difficult road.

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