April 30, 2010

The GOP and Immigration and taxes

Just as an aside, nothing brings in the stupid trolls to this blog like speaking of taxes. So we should expect ridiculous and ignorant trolls to leave stupid troll-like comments here after today's post.

One of the things that everyone is seeing around them is the continual economic threat to states and local governments. Here in Oklahoma, as we talk about militias and pass legislation mandating a forcible medical rape of a woman and protection for doctors to lie about the health of a fetus--we are also hearing about cuts for schools and public safety. We can waste money on legislation that is A) destructive, and B) unlikely to pass muster in the courts even though it will cost us to litigate--but cannot pay for teachers or prison workers.

And of course, because this is a Republican state, it is impossible to raise income taxes. For Republicans, that is the same as being Muslim, Gay, or burning a flag while you have gay sex with an American flag. So we won't raise taxes. But we will raise fees. The license renewal fee might well go up from $21 to closer to $30. Of course that is fine with me, in that I can afford that. But it is proof that we don't actually cut taxes as much as we shift the burden away from the wealthy to those who find that $9 noteworthy.

There is your Republican family values. Screw women over, and then screw over the poor and working class.


I truly think that the Republican party is in a serious free fall, however. This closing of the conservative mind, might, as some have said, just be part of the cyclical pattern of both parties. After all, the Democrats floundered during the 1980s to find a legitimate candidate and message, but have more to offer now. Republicans found their movement conservatism in the 1960s with Goldwater and others, and that movement has run its course.

But I think there is something else afoot here, and this discussion over demographics is key. Anglican and I had a nice conversation over lunch about the racist components of the Tea Party. We both agreed that Hillary might have produced a similar level of hatred, but it is hard to dismiss the overall anger of older white males who seem to be pissed off that they are no longer in charge.

As a result, they seem to be doubling down on their conservative base. Duncan Hunter talks about revising the 14th Amendment to disallow those born of immigrants to be citizens, and that idiot in Iowa wants to micro-chip immigrants for tracking. Arizona, of course, has taken a pretty radical step--not necessarily in what it does to the illegal immigrants, but what it does to the legal immigrants and legal citizens who happen to be Hispanic.

The short term for Republicans looks ok. They have a real chance to pick up major seats in the upcoming mid-term election. Who knows what will happen in 2012. That is a long way out--and many, many, many things can happen before then. But there is a longer term trend that is easier to see, and it bodes poorly for a political party that seems hell-bent on alienating anyone not white, and that is the demographic shift. As Ronald Brownstein notes:
But the hardening GOP position also shows how the party is being tugged toward nativism as its coalition grows more monochromatic: In a nation that is more than one-third minority, nearly 90 percent of McCain's votes in the 2008 presidential election came from whites. That exclusionary posture could expose the GOP to long-term political danger. Although Hispanics are now one-sixth of the U.S. population, they constitute one-fifth of all 10-year-olds and one-fourth of 1-year-olds.

It is also pretty easy to connect this overall trend to that older white anger, and connect it to their rather pathetic call to "get my country back."


Bob said...

I knew there was potential for Democrats to lose the 2008 Presidential race, but looking at the populations trends also knew that without a change, the Republicans were destined for minority status. By 2016, there may be enough die off in the older white dude vote and enough registration by young monorities that the R's slide into obscurity, assuming they don't find Jesus and become more tolerant of the future American population.

Smitty said...

I have always been interested in this notion of being "taxed to death." I see a lot of rhetoric from the anti-tax people about just how badly John Q is taxed.

But of this much put-upon group of people, what is it that they cannot afford because of being "taxed to death?"

I fall squarely into this income area of people who are allegedly taxed to death. I pale to say this because I try hard to shy away from that style of bias that says "since this is true in my narrow community, it must be universally true," but I have or am able to:
--a house
--2 cars
--dine out a nice restaurants
--occasionally attend a professional sporting event
--regularly attend college-level athletic events
--buy some toys like an X-Box 360 and an iPod
--send my kids to a private pre-school (though I DO intend them to attend PUBLIC school from K on)
--buy groceries, including healthy snacks and fresh veggies/fruit
--allow my kids to participate in non school-sponsored sports
--go on vacation

The list goes on.

Of other folks who are taxed too much, well, many of them simply aren't taxed or are taxed at a rate so low as to be negligible.

So again...I ask...what does "taxed to death" actually mean? And to whom does it apply? I have some notions of the answers to those questions...

Bob said...

Let me interpret for you:

Taxed to death = "my money" going to brown people.

Al said...

To solve America's problems:
1.Double all taxes immediately, on white people.
2.Make all Mexicans American citizens and send them tax bills retroactive back to 2000.
3. Revoke the citizenship of every white person over 60, thereby making them ineligible for Social Security and Medicare. If they complain, fine them $10,000. If they refuse to pay, put them in detention camps and confiscate their "stuff". (A lot of older folks own their houses and cars free and clear.) (If they aren't citizens, they cannot vote in November, which will probably enable the Democrats to retain control of Congress.)

Taking those steps should pretty much achieve the kind of country that President Obama and Streak crave.

Streak said...

Right on cue--idiot troll with idiotic and bigoted comment. The racism is delicious Al, keep that hood and robe handy.

Bob said...

"Right on cue..." following my troll-bait comment.

steves said...

Taxed to death may be hyperbole, but I feel overtaxed at times. It isn't that I mind my money going to pay for services, it is how it is spent. I have paid for:
--a huge military presence all over the world and an invasion of two countries.
--a winless war on terror.
--a winless war on drugs.
--a new engine for the JSF (Joint Strike Fighter), at $450,000,000.

On the local level:
--a lawsuit by the county road commission against the drain commission (aren't they supposedly part of the same organization)?
--upgrades to the local school's football stadium.

I could come up with more, but you get the picture. I would rather our money be spent more wisely and that there be some level of accountability and we didn't spend money on so much stupid shit. I know that there will always be disagreement, but I genuinely believe that we could have things like reasonable/universal health care if we weren't policing the world and funding all sorts of projects for the benefit of the districts of career politicians.

I hate to sound cynical, but I have a hard time believing that there are many in power that really care about us, brown people, or anyone but themselves.

Cold In Laramie said...


You probably have a better grasp on this than I do, but this reminds me of Richard Hofstadter's famous essay/book The Paranoid Style in American Politics. A synopsis of the article - with lengthy block quotes - is found at Wikipedia (my apologies): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Paranoid_Style_in_American_Politics

It strikes me that part of this "Paranoid Style" is rooted in concepts of whiteness. I have commented on this before, so please forgive the repetition. For centuries, being identified/classified as "white" has been linked to possessing political, economic and cultural power in the United States. There are moments, then, when that power has come under attack - sometimes physically but other times perhaps more psychologically - and the response has been, well, savage. I think here of the aftermath of Gabriel's slave rebellion of 1800; the rise of Jim Crow as a response to Reconstruction Era policies; the response to Native fishing and hunting rights in the Pacific Northwest and Great Lakes (signs that read "Save a fish, spear an Indian"); and countless others. Look again at your lurker/troll. Not only is there paranoia in his response, but a fear about whites losing power in the United States. In his posting, whites are being disenfranchised and Mexican Americans are gaining citizenship (which, since he calls them "Mexican Americans" they already ARE citizens. "Mexicans" are not citizens of the U.S., but I move on).

I wonder too how much of this is about guilt. I may be wandering too far into psychology here and, therefore, out of my comfort zone. Yet, look at the places where the paranoid style was linked to racial politics - the South, Arizona and the Great Lakes. At one time or the other, whites were the "minority population" - that is, they did not constitute a majority of the population. However, white Americans "conquered" those areas - the slave and Jim Crow laws of the South, the introduction of diseases as well as ethnic cleansing/genocide in the Great Lakes, and the Mexican American War. Certainly, this "paranoid style" is about maintaining power. But, when African Americans, American Indians and Mexican Americans in these respective regions agitated for civil rights it not only confronted "white" power but reminded "whites" in those areas of the ways in which power had been acquired. I admit this is more speculative than anything else and open to criticism. But it might make for some discussion.

leighton said...

CIL, I'm not really competent to address group psychology either, but your hypothesis would help explain a lot of the gross overemphasis on individual responsibility in some conservative circles (as in, poor people should be more responsible and bootstrap their way out of poverty). "I, personally, didn't enslave anyone, therefore I am not obligated to pay attention to systematic inequalities that originated before I was born."

steves said...

Good point, Leighton. A similar topic came up in a Con Law seminar that I took. We discussed how the Court approached affirmative action programs. In some cases, they tried to address it in a pragmatic sense. Specifically, while it may be proper to correct past abuses, was the program in question the best way to do this and did it actually help out the people it was supposed to help.

IIRC, we did look at some programs that didn't really help and some that did.

Streak said...

CIL makes a great point, I think. I wonder if the psychological concept is something approaching "projection" here? As a culture, they realize they forced their way into a region, enacted horrific policies or treatments of the indigenous population. Now, faced with lessening power, they project that onto the growing minority population, and assume they will respond in kind? Perhaps?