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How States Are Redistributing The Wealth

Economy Memo Pad Politics

How States Are Redistributing The Wealth

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie

In 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama was lambasted for supposedly endorsing policies of wealth redistribution. The right feared that under an Obama presidency, Washington would use federal power to take money from some Americans and give it to others. Yet, only a few years later, the most explicit examples of such redistribution are happening in the states, and often at the urging of Republicans.

The most illustrative example began in 2012, when Kansas’ Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed a landmark bill that delivered big tax cuts to high-income earners and businesses. Less than two years after that tax cut, the state’s income tax revenues plummeted by a quarter-billion dollars — and now Brownback is pushing to use money for public employees’ pensions to instead cover the state’s ensuing budget shortfalls.

Brownback’s proposal: Slash the state’s required pension contribution by $40 million to balance the state budget, even though Kansas already has one of the worst-funded pension systems in the nation.

Brownback defended his proposal to take money from middle-class state workers and use it to effectively finance his tax cuts for the wealthy. He told the Wichita Eagle: “It’s kind of, uh, well where are you going to go for the funds? And I don’t like it, but it’s kind of what’s your other option if you don’t hit K-12 and higher ed with allotments?”

Brownback is not alone. He joins fellow Republican Gov. Chris Christie in coupling large tax breaks with cuts to actuarially required pension payments. In New Jersey, Christie slashed required pension payments while signing legislation expanding tax credits to corporations, and doling out a record amount of taxpayer subsidies to businesses. Many of those subsidies have flowed to firms whose executives have made campaign contributions to Republican political organizations. Earlier this month, New Jersey pension trustees filed a lawsuit against Christie for not making legally required contributions to the state’s pension system.

Both Brownback and Christie promoted their tax cuts as instruments to boost economic growth. Yet, a recent review of federal data by the Kansas City Star found Kansas “trails most other states when it comes to job growth.” Likewise, an investigative series by Gannett newspapers recently found “New Jersey’s job growth rate [is] the second worst in the nation. … New Jersey’s middle class has lost billions in income through layoffs, salary cuts and wage freezes [and] more than 100,000 job seekers have been unemployed for months on end.”

Illinois followed a somewhat similar path. For years, lawmakers did not make the full actuarially required pension payments, causing severe funding shortages in the state’s pension system. While lawmakers said there was little money to meet pension obligations, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn signed a corporate tax cut in 2011 that is projected to cost the state more than $370 million a year in lost revenue. Two years after signing that bill, as pension funding gaps swelled, Quinn signed legislation slashing public employees’ retirement benefits. An Illinois judge last month ruled that the legislation violated the state’s constitution, though the ruling is being appealed.

The obvious question raised by these episodes is: Where is the outrage? To date, these attempts to use workers’ money to finance massive giveaways to the rich have generated little media coverage or political opposition — and certainly less than the full-fledged frenzy that took place when Obama made his “spread the wealth” comment a few years ago.

The tepid response to this kind of wealth transfer suggests that for all the angry rhetoric about redistribution you might hear on talk radio, cable TV and in the halls of Congress, the political and media class is perfectly fine with redistribution — as long as the cash flows from the 99 percent to the 1 percent, and not the other way around.

David Sirota is a senior writer at the International Business Times and the bestselling author of the books Hostile Takeover, The Uprising, and Back to Our Future. Email him at ds@davidsirota.com, follow him on Twitter @davidsirota or visit his website at www.davidsirota.com.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

David Sirota

David Sirota is International Business Times' senior editor for investigations. He is also a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and a bestselling author. He lives in Denver, Colorado and covers the intersection of money, politics and finance. He appears periodically on national television shows and is a "real guy represented by the character on ABC's The Goldbergs," according to Twitter.

In 2014, he was the winner of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers' investigative journalism award, and the winner of the Izzy Award for Journalism from Ithaca College's Park Center for Independent Media.

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  1. Dominick Vila December 26, 2014

    The GOP only has a problem with wealth “redistribution” when it involves helping the poor and the middle class. Spending $1T in Iraq, including the largest redistribution of wealth from the public to the private sector in the form of sole source contracts to companies owned by Friends of Bush, allowing billionaires to stash their loot in overseas tax havens to avoid paying their fair share to Uncle Sam, irresponsible tax rates designed to benefit those who have it all and punish those who struggle to put food on the table, is perfectly fine when it comes to far right Grinches, and for those whose political careers depend on being nice to their wealthy supporters.
    Hopefully, everybody remembers what happened when President Obama proposed raising the tax rate of those earning over $250K a year by 3%, and remember what Governors, such as Brownback, are doing when they raid middle class pension plans to offset the effect of tax breaks, euphemistically expected to pay for themselves.
    How many times are we going to have to experience the realities of irresponsible tax breaks, trickle down economics, and all the other GOP fantasies before we understand that there are no free rides, and that there are consequences to irresponsible fiscal largesse? I don’t know about everyone else, but I am sick and tired of Republican deficit spending, accumulation of debt, and their determination to cause another Great Recession, if that’s what it takes to get the financial support of their myopic donors.

    1. TZToronto December 26, 2014

      Sadly, given the recent legislative actions re: the budget (i.e., allowing big banks to once again gamble with/throw away their depositors’ money while placing the burden of solvency squarely on the shoulders of the taxpayers), the next recession may be around the next corner. Of course, the next recession, if it comes before the end of 2016, will be blamed by many/most on President Obama, and the Republicans will sweep into full power, controlling all three branches of the federal government. (Then the trolls who lurk here will see what real tyranny looks like.) We can always hope that the big banks this time around will use a smidgen of intelligence when placing their bets . . . but why should they when their bad bets are offset by bad-bet insurance? Here’s an idea worth trying: If a big financial corporation goes belly up, force it to liquidate its treasury to pay off its depositors FIRST and then, if anything’s left, its shareholders. And should there not be enough in the kitty to pay depositors in full, force the bank’s executives and shareholders to make up the difference. (Watch how fast the execs change their titles to “lowly clerk.”)

  2. ps0rjl December 26, 2014

    As long as the can make President Obama the boogeyman and union especially public ones appear to be getting something for nothing then they can convince their followers to vote Republican. They know most of their voters are low-information voters so they can just keep them in line with negative sound bites. That’s why Rush Limbaugh and Fox news exist. These voters will keep voting for their message.

  3. Eleanore Whitaker December 26, 2014

    Anyone who has math skills knows what results when the top 1% are HAVES with all the wealth. That kind of financial imbalance doesn’t work in the United States and never will. First of all, wealth IS the GOP today. That’s all they care about. It’s the only reason they are elected to office in the place.

    Think about what will happen when the US revers to England of the 1600 to 1800s, when the HAVES had all the wealth. How many revolts did that cause historically?

    The GOP is riding high in their saddles …for the moment..only. They have the majority and like all lustful, covetous dictators, power is autonomously in their hands all courtesy of their wealthy 1%. This is not democracy. It’s plutocratic autocracy.

    The GOP always fails. The reason is simple…men in charge who believe they are HAVES. Never Have Nots. Men with such bloated egos always fail. That’s a given.

    1. 788eddie December 26, 2014

      Good point, Eleanore. Remember the French Revolution? The Russian Revolution? Did economic inequality have anything to do with either (both?) of these?

      People retort, “These are modern times; that couldn’t happen here?

      I’ll bet that’s what some said in Russia leading up to the Russian Revolution.

      Could it? Could it . . .

      1. Eleanore Whitaker December 27, 2014

        Actually, we are already seeing the results of the massive dozen years of struggle, hardship and people working with nothing to show for it.

        The protests aren’t just about cops and minorities. It’s become anarchy. You’ve got red states in industries that capitalize on their profits from prison industries that they know require more housing of more prisoners in order to collect those tax subsidies.

        Here’s a very provable example. A private prison consultant, Corp Plan, out of TX, talked the tiny town of Harden MT into building a prison by lying to town officials and telling them in glorious tones how the town would never again need to worry about their financial stability if they built a $27 million prison. TX BS as usual, what else?

        Corp Plan lied and said the town would realize an increase in the incarceration rate from its 4% to 6% a year. All lies.

        What happened next now has this small MT town in hock for that $27 million prison that is TOTALLY EMPTY. When the TX BS artists were called on their deception, the town as told that they would get Gitmo prisoners. That didn’t happen either.

        Why is Corp Plan allowed to go around the country selling prisons to towns when they are liars and deceptive cheats?

    2. Paul Anthony December 27, 2014

      “Anyone who has the math skills knows…”
      Most people don’t, and that’s part of the reason for the wage gap.
      Many employers provide “across-the-board” raises, meaning everyone gets the same % increase. The person earning $20,000 gets a 2% raise and so does the $500,000 earner. After the raise, their pay checks are $20,400 and $510,000. The difference between their pay checks goes from $480,000 to $489,600. The rich get richer and the poor get relatively poorer.
      Lest you think this only applies to nasty capitalist employers, you should know Social Security just granted a 1.7% raise to all retirees, so someone getting $1000/month gets a $17.00 raise while the person who got $2000/month gets a $34.00 raise.
      If only people had math skills…

  4. pjm19606 December 26, 2014

    Again, the USA is too stupid for words. We are in the midst of “Trickle Down for the 3rd time in our Nation’s history (We haven’t left it since 2001). It has collapsed the economy the 3 times it has been used (1920’s, early 1980’s) and since 2001. Psychiatrists label that type of behavior, “insanity”.

    1. Insinnergy December 28, 2014

      Well put.

  5. Paul Anthony December 26, 2014

    The answer is something neither Republican or Democrat legislators will abide. Abolish the income tax and replace it with a national sales tax on everything but food.
    Income tax rules (which change frequently) punish us for the things they don’t like and reward us for behaving as they like. It is used to manipulate us all and reward those who the politicians favor. That’s a lot of power in the hands of a few.
    Sales tax is automatically progressive: The tax on a new Mercedes is much higher than the tax on a used Toyota.
    More importantly, how much sales tax each person pays is based on one’s lifestyle choices – not on income. Now that’s true freedom.

    1. Lynda Groom December 26, 2014

      Just curious, but what rate would you suggest and what about state and local taxes???

      1. Paul Anthony December 26, 2014

        I haven’t run the numbers in several years, and the federal budget has grown (a lot), but roughly 15% to 17% sales tax could replace corporate and personal income tax. Possibly higher if we want to abolish other taxes (have you looked at a phone bill lately?)
        That may sound unreasonably low, but consider the vast number of deductions built into the current tax code. There would be no exemptions to the sales tax except food. (Some suggest exempting housing, but that would have to apply only to a primary residence and there would likely be a cap on the price. When you start complicating it, you end up needing to keep the IRS – something I’d really rather not do!)
        State and local taxes remain. The fed has no jurisdiction over other governmental bodies and their tax laws.

        1. 788eddie December 26, 2014

          I’ve got a better idea: how about taxing capital gains, dividends, and the so-called “carried interest” at the regular tax rate. That way the very wealthy, to whom these discounts have been given get to pay a fairer share of the tax burden. This could help to whittle down the national debt and lower the burden on the middle-income earner.

          1. Independent1 December 26, 2014

            Sounds like a great idea!! And even for this reason: it’s been demonstrated that America actually is more prosperous when tax rates are high. The reason for that is, that with the low income and especially, capital gains tax rates, wealthy people, and even corporations, find it more to their advantage to keep their money in investments, rather than putting it back into some form of corporate venture – like starting or expanding a business.

            That’s because they can actually keep more of their money by paying the low 15% capital gains rate on a big chunk of their money rather than possibly paying a higher rate on their net income.
            This is why the IRS says that the millionaires who pay the highest percent of their income in taxes, close to 25% are those earning 1 to 2 million, because it’s these people who earn less of their income as capital gains. People who earn over 2 million generally have more capital gains income and therefore end up only paying an average of 20.4% of their income in taxes (according to the IRS for 2013).

          2. Paul Anthony December 27, 2014

            ONLY an average of 20.4%.
            Are you paying that rate? Even if you were, unless you earn over 2 million you are paying a whole lot less that they are.
            Anyone who complains about how much others have isn’t looking for fairness – just revenge.
            As it stands now, nearly half the population pays zero income tax (many actually get back more than they pay in). Fairness would be a system that requires everyone to pay a little, just to have some “skin in the game”. People who don’t pay for government still benefit from it.

          3. Independent1 December 27, 2014

            No, I didn’t pay an effective rate of 20.4%; I’m retired and paid closer to what those earning $35-50,000 paid – around the 4.7% average rate for that income group. And you’re absolutely right about Americans going way overboard on complaining about their taxes. The majority of countries in Europe where most Americans would really like to live have far higher effective tax rates because they don’t have all the convoluted tax credits, deductions and exemptions that our tax code has. The max rate in most of those countries is over 40%.

            Back in the day of Eisenhower when the max rate was 91%, there wasn’t the complaining about taxes that there is today. The problem today is, that since Reagan, the GOP has convinced the majority of Americans that it’s the government who ‘owes them’, and so the majority of Americans today are expecting a ‘free ride’. While back in Eisenhower’s day Americans realized it was their responsibility to contribute to America
            and do what they could to better the country –

            And you can see how it’s conservatives who are the biggest ones to have been brainwashed by Reagan and the GOP as BY FAR Republican led states suck the most federal aid and welfare dollars including food stamps. That’s because Republicans actually run their state governments expecting to pay barebones state taxes while sucking as much money as possible from the federal government. Of the 17 states that get the least federal dollars back for the taxes they send to Washington, 14 of the 17 are Blue States and those 14 are all of those 17 states which get back less than 95 cents on their tax dollar – many blue states get less than 70 cents per dollar of taxes back.

            And here’s what the IRS says taxpayer for 2013 paid: taxpayers earning $35-50,000, on average, paid an effective tax rate of around 4.7% of their gross incomes. Taxpayers earning $50-100,000 paid an effective rate of 8.7% and multi-millionaires, those earning $2,000,000 and over paid the 20.4% of their gross incomes. But those earning 1-2 million paid the highest effective rate.

          4. Paul Anthony December 27, 2014

            Our elected officials have no interest in whittling down the national debt. If you increase ANY form of taxation without abolishing some other tax, they will just spend more.

    2. ralphkr December 26, 2014

      Incorrect, Anthony, a sales tax is regressive and takes a larger percentage of total income from lower income people than from higher income. Yes, tax on a new Mercedes is more than a tax on a used Toyota BUT a person making 10,000 as much as the cost of the new Mercedes does NOT buy 10,000 Mercedes and that carries across the board in every classification. I also feel that charging sales tax on meals in restaurants but not on groceries is regressive since the truly poor either must eat in restaurants (they have no kitchens) or out of dumpsters while the truly wealthy eat most meals prepared in their kitchens.

    3. Independent1 December 26, 2014

      Let me give you an example in line with what ralphkr just pointed out. 1st of all, not all better off people buy Mercedes, and not all less well off buy Toyotas. So let’s compare two families – 1 earning 50,000 the other 100,000 who both by a $25,000 Toyoto.

      The problem here is that in using your 15% sales tax estimate, the tax on that $15,000 Toyota is going to be $3,750 which ends up being 7.5% of the income of the $50,000 earner but only 3.75% of the $100,000. So as ralphkr pointed out – this high sales tax is placing a really undue burden on the $50,000 family’s income. Not only does this place an undue burden on the lower income individuals, but a flat sales tax over time is really going to skew which states and areas of the country are really supporting the country.

      We already have the problem with the more affluent often buying their expensive items from other countries in order to save taxes – and that’s with most states having taxes in the 5-6% range. If you start putting a 15%-17% tax on sales, the wealthy are going to do to things: 1) more of them are going to make sure they buy their big ticket items overseas (those who can afford to order items on line from outside the country) and 2) over time, the wealthy who can afford to move, are going to relocate to areas of the country with lower living costs in order to cut their sales tax burden. This is going to leave areas of America which now pay the biggest chunks of income taxes, holding the bag in trying to continue to support the nation, but with a lot of the wealthier folks in their areas gone to where it’s cheaper to live and therefore the amount charged the 15 or 17% sales tax will be much lower. (People earning $150,000 grand/yr who live in areas where homes cost $400,000-$700,000 will figure out how to maintain their income but move to an area where the houses are $300-$500 so they can save big bucks).

      Sorry, but a sales tax is just not a long term good idea. What does America do like during the last recession when people’s buying habits plummeted?? It was bad enough that 10 million income tax paying people were out of work which depressed tax revenues, but how much more of drain would that have been with 200 million families all restraining their purchases??? Tax revenues would have gone through the floor. How do you run a country with tax revenues maybe cut in half???

      1. Paul Anthony December 27, 2014

        On your first point – that not all wealthy people buy Mercedes – that is the best part of this. People SHOULD be free to make their own buying decisions. If the one making $50,000 decides to buy a car he clearly can’t afford, that was his choice. If someone is thrifty, that is also a choice.
        What do you think the thrifty person might do with the money he saved? Maybe invest in a company that employs more people.

        1. Independent1 December 27, 2014

          You’re missing my point, I purposely used the cheaper car in your original example to show you that AT EVERY LEVEL OF PURCHASE, the less affluent end up paying the biggest chunk of their income in federal tax – which IS JUST THE OPPOSITE of the way it should be. At the end of the year, people earning 35-50,000 would have paid the federal government a a much higher EFFECTIVE TAX RATE than people earning 100,000 and over. In fact, the really wealthy end up paying BY FAR THE LEAST!! A federal sales tax would be like a gift from heaven for millionaires!!

          Take a look at the poor person who’s earning barely over the min wage ($22,000) and scrapes and scrapes to buy a bottom line car around $15,000. They’re going to end up paying about 10% of their annual income on just that one purchase – $2,250 in tax at your 15% rate.

          In reality, what we should have are progressive sales taxes on big ticket items. The person who really thinks they need to spend over $50,000 on a car, should be paying a higher sales tax. Similarly, the person who thinks they need a $2,000 fridge if the majority of fridges are selling in the $1,000-$1,500 range should be paying a slightly higher sales tax.

          1. Paul Anthony December 27, 2014

            I understand your anger, but I believe it’s misplaced. By your logic, a low-income person should pay a lower gasoline tax, lower taxes on utilities, cigarettes, alcohol…
            All of these things cost low-income people a higher percentage of their income than that of the wealthy.
            But so does the cost of groceries – not the tax, just the cost of the food!
            You can’t price everything based upon a person’s ability to pay. Karl Marx thought so, but he was a delusional idealist.

          2. Independent1 December 27, 2014

            No! I’m not talking about the less fortunate paying less – the costs of products are what they are and the basic taxes on them are what they are. But for people who seem to have so much money to throw around that they feel that they have to pamper themselves by paying far in excess for ‘ luxury level items’ than the less fortunate peons find completely acceptable – I think those people should contribute a little more to keeping our country moving forward considering that people like Mitt Romney, who have 5 very large houses, multiple very expensive cars and a huge yacht are, IN FACT, putting BY FAR a greater strain on our planet’s resources, not to mention creating far more pollution (people like Mitt have a far greater carbon footprint than any average America who owns maybe one house with a vacation home and maybe two cars; and because of this, I think people who deliberately live to excess should pay more for living excessively.

          3. Paul Anthony December 27, 2014

            Well, they are paying more. The mortgage interest deduction is only available on one’s primary residence, for example.
            Also, let’s not ignore the benefits to the economy. How many average people earned their living building those extra homes?
            Luxury taxes are always tempting, but you might recall what happened several years back when we enacted one. The idea was to tax such luxuries as yachts. The result: millionaires decided to keep their “old” yachts, and many people who earned their living building boats found themselves unemployed.
            Nothing happens in a vacuum. Every action has consequences, and this is especially true in economics. Every effort to dictate the behavior of certain people has a ripple effect throughout the economy – usually having a negative effect on those at the bottom of the economic ladder.
            Raising the minimum wage is another example, but one better kept for another discussion.

          4. Independent1 December 27, 2014

            Raising the min wage would raise the wages of every American – the notion that raising the min wage would drive out business is total nonsense. Washington state has the highest min wage in the nation and over the past couple years job creation in Washington has outpaced the nation.

            Senator Warren proved the McDonald’s could afford to raise the min wage by adding 4 cents to one of its combo meal offerings; and Wal-mart could follow suit by adding a few cents to the price of its thousands of products. In Europe, where the min wage is much higher than in America, the McDonald’s outlets are much more profitable than here because virtually everyone in Europe can go into a McDonald’s and buy the more expensive/profitable items on the menu and not have to just buy the cheap items which are far less profitable.

            So don’t go there with the min wage. And with respect to buying yachts overseas – that was happening with the wealthy LONG BEFORE someone came up with a luxury tax – and they’re doing it today without a luxury tax; guess Where Steve Jobs had ordered a yacht before he passed away!! And where Mitt Romney just purchased a very high end car from – none of them was from America.

          5. Independent1 December 27, 2014

            In case you’re not aware, most European countries have the equivalent of a ‘luxury living’ tax called the VAT tax which applies to not only items that most people own, but also applies to people who choose to own items beyond what the average person needs to own to live. When we lived in Germany 50 yeas ago, people paid a separate tax for things like owning a radio and a TV; trucks actually toured the streets checking to see if people were watching TV or listening to the radio who hadn’t declared these items. That’s going a little far to me, but I’m all for a ‘luxury tax’. You want to live like your a quasi prince or king – you should then pay a little higher tax than people who are willing to live like normal folks.

          6. Independent1 December 27, 2014

            And if you want to see what running a state on a consumption tax looks like, all you have to do is look at Texas which ranks near the worst in America in over 90% of 23 socio-economic measures like being one of the worst states for foisting the state’s tax burden on the working poor; being one of the worst states in providing adequate police and fire protection; having the state’s infrastructure rated as one of the worst in the nation; being the worst state in paying its teachers; having the most uninsured people in total and percentage wise in the nation; being one of the worst in providing adequate support in virtually every need of people less fortunate; being 6th in America with the most people living below the poverty level; having the most polluted environment in the nation and on and on.

  6. David Hirn December 26, 2014

    There is no outrage because Governors Walker and Christie have spent much time vilifying public sector workers, turning those that are served against the servants. This has been a long con. Slowly and methodically these Governors have made state budget deficits appear to be the fault of public sector workers. Soon we will hear how public sector workers are abusing their own pensions and don’t really deserve to receive the pensions that they paid for all of these years. Did I hear the City of Detroit mentioned. Union busting so no one can speak for workers. Then absorption of public employee pensions to balance state budgets. The wealthy appear to be unhappy unless they have all of the wealth. Servitude for the poor. For whatever reason I have never seen a time in my lifetime when so many people hated the poor and the hatred comes from marginalization of certain groups, by age or gender or nationality or race or income. We can all find someone to hate and to make it their fault. Scott Walker and Chris Christie and Jeb Bush all think they are made of the stuff to be President. Is this the state of American Statesmanship. Mean spirited, odious, wealth serving plutocrats. Ask the average person to define plutocrat or oligarch. “Duhhhhh. I don’t know.” “Well you just voted for them.” “Yeah. That’s cuz they have a R after their name. Our guy won. ” “Oh great.” Don’t you just get tire of having this foisted upon us by the ignorant and getting ignoranter by the moment.

    1. Independent1 December 26, 2014

      Get tired?? Absolutely, I’m so tired of realizing how clueless and ignorant the average American voter is I want to cry. It’s hard for me to understand how given everything that the GOP has done to sabotage the American economy over the past close to 6 years that more than 60% of registered voters a good chunk of them Independent and Democratic voters would be dumb enough not to come out and vote in the 2014 election. It’s just unconscionable that the GOP won control of both houses of Congress when less than 18% of registered Republicans even showed up to vote. How can nonRepublicans be so outright stupid as to have missed this opportunity to have given Obama a Democratic Congress for his last two years in office???

    2. Insinnergy December 28, 2014

      Nicely put. I believe that the US currently has a wealth gap between African American and White Americans that is larger than South Africa. They had Apartheid.
      I read an interesting series of Articles that suggested a lot of this could be fixed by allowing wider union powers and ability to unionise (for example a Walmart Workers union would be a very interesting happening), and also by raising the annual wage limit where paying overtime becomes compulsory (which has languished far far behind the wage increases of the last 30 years, I think you have to be paid below the poverty line annually to be required to receive overtime. I think I heard that the current income adjusted level should be $60,000/annum or something).

  7. David Hirn December 27, 2014

    Hello Independent. There is a phenomenon in human behavior known as “Information bias.” Information bias is the strategy to look for any information that confirms what we already believe to be true. Thus, we are on The National Memo and not listening to Rush Limbaugh. This phenomenon works for (R)s and (D)s and (I)s and (G)s and (C)s and (L)s. In short we continue to believe what we believe, hang around those who believe the same thing we believe and vilify those who do not. This is why there are so few swing voters. They vote for the messages that they already believe. These would be known as “Flat worlders”, because everyone knows the world is flat. Any political party does it. It would be in our (99%) interest to stop engaging in this strategy, start talking to other to ask why what they believe makes sense and explain our beliefs. I think the technology of making fire spread faster than sharing of these ideas. It is not an (R) problem or a (D) problem, it is an us problem. “Tell me why you believe what you believe to be true.” Not, “How can you be so stupid”. “This is what I believe and why”. While we bicker, politicians will go about reeking mischief and certainly not representing me (R) or (D)
    Engage in informed dialogue and don’t let anyone off the hook.

    1. Independent1 December 27, 2014

      Sorry! I realize what you’re saying, but I ain’t one of those “information biased” Independents. If you took even a few minutes to look at where I often cut and paste from, it’s not always from a “liberal biased” media outlet – certainly the Washington Post is no liberal-biased media outlet; and neither is USA Today.

      But I’m also not a low IQ RWNJ who is going to fall for the blatant lies and distortions pushed by Faux News, Rush Limpbag and more of the RWNJ ilk. I can smell a lie and distortion of the truth just like a bloodhound can smell a scent. And yes, I do sometimes check Brietbart, and other RWNJ sites, but it doesn’t take long to realize creative distortion of the truth on one sees it.

    2. Independent1 December 27, 2014

      And just in case you haven’t noticed, I’ve constantly challenged RWNJs posting on the NM to provide credible evidence that the facts I’m posting are wrong – and if I’m a “biased information” poster, why over the past year plus of blogging HAS NOT ONE RWNJ BEEN ABLE TO PRODUCE CREDIBLE EVIDENCE DISPUTING THE FACTS THAT I POST???

      Every time one has tried it’s always remarks from some RWNJ website AND NEVER from a credible news source.

      Believe me, I spend a lot of time searching the internet for credible articles on almost every issue I comment on.

    3. Independent1 December 27, 2014

      You obviously struck a sore spot.

      Just how many credible articles does one have to read or research to realize that the GOP has become nothing more than a bunch of blatant liars??

      The GOP claims to be against big government – yet two of the last three GOP presidents increased the size of our federal government by over 300,000 workers (Reagan over 265,000 and Bush 2 by over 50,000) – all I had to do was check a number of places for how many people historically have worked for our government).

      The GOP claims to be a conservative fiscally sound party – but yet, since Nixon’s 2nd term, the GOP presidents have spent like drunken sailors – running huge deficits every year they’ve been in office (it doesn’t take much to verify that).

      The GOP claims to be good stewards of the American economy – yet it takes very little to learn that the GOP has BY FAR led all presidents since 1900 in governing in a way that creates recessions. Eisenhower, the smallest spending GOP president leads all presidents by having allowed 3 recessions to occur in 8 years – our economy was in recession for almost 1/2 his 8 years.

      The GOP even pretends to be good for the stock market, yet even Faux News has an article which states that since 1900 the GOP has a mediocre stock market return on investment of around 5%; while when Democrats were in charge of our government the stock market returns exceeded 12%.

      These are just a few of the very verifiable stats that anyone can come up with that proves the GOP is a party of FAKES!!

      If you think I’m ‘information biased’, come up with some credible sources that prove my “bias” wrong.

  8. ExRadioGuy15 December 30, 2014

    David Hirn is taking the “Firebagger” (Libertarian) position, using false equivalency to prop up his arguments…”information bias” (which is really cognitive dissonance and suffered by the GOP and Firebaggers); “any political party does it” (false equivalency); “It is not an (R) problem or a (D) problem, it is an us problem (false equivalency); “while we bicker, politicians will go about reeking [sic] mischief and certainly not representing me (R) or (D) (again, false equivalency)….
    Allow this Non-Affiliated voter (who hasn’t belonged to a political party since 1990 and doesn’t give a flying f*ck about party dogma, just the truth) to educate David and others: both parties (GOP and Demos) are NOT the same; as a matter of fact, the GOP have gone so far to the right (wrong) that they truly represent just three groups of “people”: fetuses, rich old white Conservative men and big corporations. Everyone else in the GOP is truly represented by Democrats now. Don’t believe me?!? Okay….
    Put the 1952 and 1956 GOP platforms next to the 2012 Demo platform… except for the unconstitutional references to God and religion in the 50’s platforms, they are very similar. Meanwhile, if you compare the 1980 Libertarian platform to the 2012 GOP platform, they’re very similar. it’s all there, in black and white. The problem, of course, is the aforementioned cognitive dissonance. The GOP began their Fascist “gaslighting” propaganda campaign way back in 1920…practically every Republican alive today is a victim of this campaign.
    In addition, a big problem as to why so many Progressive and Moderate Republicans are fooled by the Fascist gaslighting propaganda is one of the “defining characteristics” (DCs) of Fascism: control of the mass media. The Cons will and do claim that Liberals control the media… LMAO… they do not. If they did, there wouldn’t be a Fox “News”, The Drudge Report, The Daily Caller, Newsmax and other FRWNJ “media” sources, who simply repeat and spread the Fascist propaganda of the GOP. In fact, thanks to two developments, it is actually the Cons that control nearly all of the media…
    1987- Ronald Reagan abolishes the “Fairness Doctrine”
    1996- A GOP Congress passes the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Before the Act, a person or company/corporation was allowed to own one FM radio station, one AM radio station and one TV station per market. Thanks to the Act, however, 90% of the media is owned by six big corporations, who happened to be run by….Conservatives.
    Now, regarding the topic of the article: anyone who possesses sanity and intelligence knows that all GOP financial policies can be summed up in one three-word term: upward wealth redistribution….I’ve been saying/ writing this for nearly 3.5 years. “Trickle-Down Economics”??? Not if you consider the 1% peeing on you to be “trickle-down”….
    Wake up, people….if you’re a GOP Progressive or Moderate, you need to stop voting for Republicans and start voting for Democrats…both parties are NOT the same. In fact, when Firebaggers make that claim, they’re employing a psychiatric ploy known as “projection”, as the two political parties that are most alike are the Firebaggers and the GOP….ssmdh
    Nice try with the Fascist propaganda, false equivalency, cognitive dissonance and projection, David.


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