US adults agree with Democrats. Republicans favored to win.
A new Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, Harvard poll of US opinions on the role of government reminds me that actual people in the US have progressive views on the role of government.
commentary after the jump.
Of course part of the issue is that people want the Federal government to do more and spend less. However, there are narrower majorities which stress the fact that there are no free lunches. by 50% to 46% a plurality (or majority) thinks considers more important “increasing federal spending to try to create jobs and improfe the economy” than “avoiding a big increase in the federal budget deficit”. A 49 to 47% plurality wants the federal government to provide “more services even if it costs more in taxes” than wants fewer services and less taxes.
The results of the poll are hard to reconcile with the positions of the parties on these issues and declared voting intentions. Clearly a large part of the difference is due to the fact that this is a poll of adults not of likely voters or even registered voters.
I have the jpg of a bit of the pdf, because I was outraged at the description of hte results on the front page of www.washingtonpost.com. Part of the article clearly referred to question 10
They [most Americans] want Washington to be involved in schools and to help reduce poverty. Nearly half want the government to maintain a role in regulating health care.
That description is, in my view, false, since it described support for more involvement as support for any involvement.
And then the respondents decide to blow my mind.
Pluralities at least take the fiscally liberal position on taxing and spending. The questions on taxes are all about generally high or low taxes and not who’s taxes should be hihgh and who’s low, and I know that there is very strong support among US adults for increased tax progressivity. So why do many more Americans call themselves conservatives than liberals ? I always believed that it was because they were socially conservative, maybe not even taking conservative issues on public policy on social issues but considered their personal morality conservative.
I have long been totally wrong. The poll ends asking if the respondent is liberal moderate or conservative three ways– politically, fiscally or socially. Not only do many more people describe themselves as fiscally conservative than as fiscally liberal, but many more people describe themselves as fiscally conservative than describe themselves as socially conservative. here is the link to the poll again.
This is in the same poll where a minority considers taxes more important than government services and in which a minority considers the deficit less important that increasing spending to try to stimulate the economy. I am puzzled. There isn’t a logical contradiction as all can be explained if fiscal moderates agree with fiscal liberals on those issues, but I don’t know what the respondents dislike about the word liberal. I thought it was our loose morals, but then I can’t explain the answers to the final question.
Clear enough for government work?
Thanks for running this timely essay!
Clearly a large part of the difference is due to the fact that this is a poll of adults not of likely voters or even registered voters.
US adults agree with what a modest, well run Democratic Party would do if they weren’t so beholden to unions and corporation. The Democratic Party of our imaginations is not the Democratic Party that is in congress. People may agree with the imaginary version of that party but the responses to various questions in the survey revealed they don’t agree with what the current thing called the Democratic Party which controls congress has done.
If the outer boundary of possibility has been explored by the current Democratic Party in terms of what adult Americans want, we will whipsaw from Democratic Party to GOP and back as frustrated voters try to find a way to get what they want.
The two current parties are dead, destructive entities that need to be pushed from the controls where they are blocking progress.
I guess I don’t see the difficulty. You have 59% who want to see the government more involved in promoting morality. Looks like a majority to me.
There is no paradox. It is all about phrasing the questions.
I consider myself somewhat conservative, let’s call it that. And I could easily answer yes to many questions as posed.
On the other hand, if they were to ask “would you like to pay more taxes for, say, reducing poverty or saving the environment” my yes answer would not be assured.
So don’t tie yourself in knots over this.
> A 49 to 47% plurality wants the federal government to provide
> “more services even if it costs more in taxes” than wants fewer
> services and less taxes.
Don’t forget that something like 45% of adults in the US pay no federal income taxes. In fact, many of them get money back from the government – earned income creadit… foodstamps… etc. THEY DO NOT CARE if the taxes go up. In fact, they would like it.
djt – What does “beholden to unions” mean? Can you give an example of negative consequences to the public of a policy result of being “beholden to unions?”
Ideas don’t matter if the Democrats cannot execute, politically or operationally.
Governements at all levels have been very slow or haven’t moved at all toward defined contribution plans instead of defined benefit plans for public sector unions. It’s clear that like companies, the fortunes of city and state governments go up and down and the public should not be put on the hook for defined benefits. What happens when everyone in a state or city or county decides to leave for greener economic climes? Should the debts for pensions follow them around?
In addition, unions have pressured governments to maintain salaries and benefits that no longer need to be as generous to attract workers, given the competing jobs in the private sector.
Finally, piblic sector unions have big enough influence in a single state that pols can gain the winning vote margin by promising them something in exchange for votes. This has resulted in huge pensions for prison guards in CA, for example. If prison guards competed in the open market for jobs, CA could be saving a lot of money.
Another point: Democrats should use their bully pulpit to encourage unions to be more flexible in their work rules. GM was an example where management and unions had a death grip on each other that Democrats cheered on, rather than dispassionately looking at the collapsing company and suggesting using their bully pulpit that the union might want to use its power to force the company to improve its products and, perhaps, develop a hybrid like the Prius. Instead they seemed to focus on the size of their drug copays, rather than keeping a laser focus on the health of their companies. Democratic politicians could have nudged them in that direction. Ron Gettelfinger was clueless to the end.
a state is not going to die or go bankrupt. it shouldn’t be too difficult for a state to figure out how to manage a defined benefit plan. the workers need the security.
as for unions, the workers need an “even playing field.” without them conditioins and wages go to hell.
i don’t think american auto can blame the unions for their problems. at least not credibly.
the problem with the Democrats lately is not that they have been pro-union, but that they have forgot the New Deal and followed the “New Democrats” into the same economic folly that the Republicans worship.
what you are saying is that you would like something for nothing.
ideas don’t matter if they are stupid ideas, or if they are only political slogans.
taxes need to go up to pay for the tax cuts that didn’t pay for themselves. i have yet to meet one of these people who pay no federal income tax. don’t believe everything you read.
The Sept 20-21 USA Today/Gallup Poll came out on Columbus Day and the discovery was far from unpredictable, but nevertheless dramatic. Seven out of ten respondents had negative things to say about the federal government. Harsh words like “bloated,” “too big,” “large” and “bad” were uttered by 72% of the Americans polled, dwarfing such positive words as “good” which was said by just 10% of respondents.
A state may or may not gp bankrupt. Vallejo, the city, did. It was primarily due to pension costs. It ate a larger and larger potion of the budget and eventually people stop moving there since moving there nets them a huge cost of pensions promised before they arrived.
Look at cities in the midwest being depopulated – there are not enough people to pay the pensions of those that are retired.
Pensions are based on ever growing entities which we now know is not the case. Who imagined GM could go bankrupt when they promised all those benefits in the 80’s and 90’s. People didn’t even believe it possible one year before it happened.
As a defense mechanism, cities and states and companies must get retiree costs off their liabilities portion of the balance sheet for the sake of the employees and themselves.
In terms of security, social security is the backstop and everyone should look to augment it. But states can and do shrink and their fortunes go up and down. State pensions being rescinded are the next domino to fall to get state budgets back to health.
Sticking to the auto industry, management and the union had a death grip on each other as they rode their companies into the ground. Ford did OK, but the other two succumbed. Union work rules were one component of the failure. Ford survived with the work rules of course but had several near death experiences. They could have easily fallen too. The failure of these companies rests with everyone in them – management, unions, engineers. Again, the unions could have used their clout to drive these companies in more competitive directions, but I am guessing they used their clout to get more benefits. Company health needs to be directive one, since benefits from a bankrupt company are worth nothing.
No. Taxes and spending need to go down. There is no other real way. People are taxed too much already.
You seem to be of different conviction and I do not expect agreement on your part. But then you write:
> i have yet to meet one of these people who pay no federal income tax.
Are you serious? There are all around.
What I am saying is that almost everyone wants something for nothing.
I am also saying that people participating in the poll do not necessarily think hard about the agenda of people doing the polling.
It is a well known phenomena in sociology and polling – the way questions are phrased has strong influence on the outcome.
In case you have not noticed, unions have had less influence over the last decade as opposed to corporations. The onset could be traced to Reagan or even earlier with the SCOTUS decision on Usury Laws which indeed favored big banks. Mot recently, we have seen SCOTUS again strike down vote financing laws which will greatly favor corporations. Unions are a thing of the past and the country favors corpocracy. Unions? 17% of the workers as opposed to 31% not that long ago?
Lets start with the last sentence. High population prisons are the result of what? Sentencing guidelines that mandate longer time in prison, jail, and probation than what is needed for prisoners and most likely “non-violent” prisoners. Add to this parole boards ho take it upon themselves to keep prisoners beyond the minimum sentences as determined by a court of law (as opposed to their appointed status). For example a “life” sentence dos not have the same meaning as a “natural life” sentence. Yet, we find parole boards interpreting both as the same. What this mean for the US is a much higher prison, jail, and probation population requiring more of those workers you are complaining about today.
“Opie” is the serial killer of prostitutes globally, “duck” shot a man to death in an argument, “austin” a 260# man knocked another out with one punch and also killed his wife while high on cocaine, Deerslayer “supposedly” killed hunters on his land and fed their bodies into a chipper, etc. Care to mingle with that crowd? It is not exactly your managerial job with a desk and a polo shirt. If you wish to solve the problem of too many guards and high costs than attack the root cause “three strikes and you are out, war on drugs, getting tough on crime” and their mandatory sentencing guidelines.
The biggest problem with union pensions is the lack of funding brought about by companies and states using the money elsewhere and counting on higher returns to replenish the funding. States and companies are required by law to honor the contracts for retirement unless they declare bankruptcy (try doing that with a student loan). Unions did not create the problem, we did.
UAW was promised other benefits in lieu of higher wages even though car companies were very profitable then and could afford it. They took the bennies. Teachers and public sector workers were given good benefits in lieu of wages. They worked the lower paying jobs. That public sector jobs have gone in the toilet since the eighties is not the fault of public sector workers. The blame lies elsewhere and could be a topic for another top post.
“People are taxed too much already.”
By what criteria? US citizens have some of the lowest taxes in the developed world.
Management is management and unions is workers. I do not know of any automotive company that asks its union workers, “what do you want us o do in the future?” The fault lies with management for the excesses we have seen in inventory (the highest cost of manufacturing), poor designs and efficiency, Build To Forecast as opposed to Build to Order, lack of foresight, etc. Furthermore, it is us who still wish to drive bigger, faster, and more frequently the autos our nation manufactures. Change your habits and automotive in the US “everywhere” will change.
Which union work rules would you like to review? I work in automotive at a tier one and see things a little differently than the media led-by-nose public. I am also management.
Using many criteria.
First, other developed world mostly means Europe – which is pretty much socialist.
Also, it’s taxes vs. what you are getting for them – I do not think there is a good balance here.
Many people, like me, do not believe that the state will spend my money better than I can.
Too many leeches with the current system. They need to be shown the door.
I’ve seen this mentioned in many places.
For example, after 10 second google search:
You can find dozens more in minutes.
Consider also BS like “making work pay” , etc.
Djt–I see you are concerned that the federal govt has not “moved toward defined contribution plans.” Well, you see federal employees that are also union members are eligible for FERS/CSRS. Period. That is the federal govt’s retirement plan. Therefore, you concern is odd, since it complains about an impossiblility.
You also mention correctional officers in the CA state prison system. They are eligible for pensions (if they live that long) under PERS, just like every other state employee. Their contracts probably call for shorter periods of service for retirement and so on. But, so do the pensions of other law enforcement people in the federal and local govts. Pensions for public employees are designed to contain a large element of deferred compensation. Makes it cheaper for the taxpayers in the long run.
I want everyone to understand that the president of my union local hated my guts and I reciprocated with bells on. However, there was nothing I couldn’t argue and bargain my way out of based on the national contract and the wonders of arbitration. So, govt unions are not wrecking state governments. Politicians are in charge. Unions are a pain, but don’t really run anything except their own organizations. If the states have problems with their budgets, ya know, raise taxes and get ‘er done so you can lower them again. This ain’t hard–it’s management. NancyO
run75441–Thank you for your excellent comments on the subject of LMR and its effect on business outcomes. You actually know a lot about the subject which is more than I can say for most people who spout off about the evils of organized labor. They mainly know stuff that ain’t so as shown by our visitor, djt. Nancy Ortiz
Republicans, whomever they are, represent a mix of pre WW II anti New Deal, contra FDR ideologies some of which are in conflict themselves.
They took over for the democrats, after the dems championed civil rights, the role of rural southern block voting party. Which is an anomoly as the interests of middle classes remain in the New Deal not against it.
They have taken djt’s rabid anti union stand despite the fact the only place it remains is in a few state and local government unions. Again contra New Deal, which gave labor a foot up (no where near a leg up) in the conflict for the fruits of production.
The republicans are the party of the Henry Luce Internationalists (Imperialism ala US exceptionalism), sold with arcane arguments for forward defense, coaling stations in the Orient, and the insanity that Bataan and Task Force Smith were the result of anything other than the ineptitude and corruption of the standing Army/Navy. As if the Democrats are isolationists.
They are more in favor of military industrial congress complex jobs’ programs which is welfare for milkitarists (as bad as Tojo’s and Albert Speer’s of Axis fame) and unionized warfare workforces. No problem that the war machine is a vast welfare program for dividend clippers and their protected work forces.
Generally, it is the party of anti New Deal and Empire.
Neither of which is good for 97% of the population.
How does djt feel about military retirement, 50% at 20 years on ‘wages and benefits’ that are far better than those the Vietnam Era troops were paid?
So, the party of Henry Luce will retake the US congress, welcome back to 1939.
Wes–But, the top 20% are in the MOU class and own 70% of everything. Doesn’t sound so unfair to me. As Linda Beale instructs us, the tax system isn’t exactly mean and cruel to corporations and the rich among us. Who’s rich? Well, income is a clue but so are assets. I think that the system, if anything, crunches the middle and gives the top end a fairly light share to pay.
I doubt that you on your own can buy a bridge. The reason for a govt is buying the bridges and keeping them in the hands of the people collectively. Ya know. NancyO
The identification with “conservative” while supporting policies that Republicans largely oppose may be definitional. Conservative, decades back, had more to do with budget balance than tax cuts. We may see a divergence between “movement” conservatives and what the public in general thinks of as conservative.
That, of course, is the generous view. Large numbers of people may simply adopt with a label that has been aggrandized through propaganda, with little regard for the policies the label now represents. “Conservative = Good, Liberal = Bad”. That would help explain the whole issue of voting against one’s own interests.
Knowing that there could be defection over time, since the label doesn’t match the policy preference, they have an incentive to keep distracting us with guns, drugs, “stimulus” and grizzlies, while saying as little as possible about actual policy detail.
I pay taxes, and I think taxes should go up.
Europe, being “pretty much socialist” has good results when it comes to housing, nutrition, health care and education – the basics. So “pretty much socialist” doesn’t seem a good reason to eshew European sorts of policies. I’m in favor of policies that work. This school-yard business of name-calling – “nya, nya, socialism” – as a substitute for for doing what works seems pretty silly. Seems like a way to get people to stop thinking.
This is similar to asking people if they support the use of nuclear power as opposed to coal, etc. They might say yes, but if you follow it up with, “Would you support a nuclear power plant in your town?,” you start running into nimby syndrom.
You could also say that people generally support these proposals, but don’t like how they’re enacted.
In other words, without some type of follow up questions, there is no reason to tie one’s self in knots about this poll.
at the worst, a state could put the pension money in government bonds every payday, the problem with state pensions is not that they are too high or that they are defined benefti, it’s that the state planned to pay them with the magic of “growth” without ever actually budgeting for it. and by cutting taxes.
not around me. i pay a larger share of my income in income tax than people making over 100k according to Statistical Abstract, and my income is so low you wouldn’t believe i can live on it.
you can’t just say that “taxes and spending are too high. people are taxed too much.” you have to show what spending you would cut… remember in a democracy other people may not agree with you. you have to pay for the spending your repesentatives have already spent. and then get me to stop laughing about the poor over taxes american driving his lexus while the wife takes the accord and jr gets the bmw for his birthday.
Europe “pretty much” socialist, is according to what you define pretty much as. It might be easier in Europe to be poor than to be rich, compared to the US, I am not sure, because in Europe government is a bit more interested in keeping the masses from going Bolshevist again. In the US it is pretty much the rich enjoying socialized risk and limited support to the masses.
“Too many leeches”, government should provide for the common good (ie common goods). What do you demand from common goods?
You might as well move to Costa Rico into one of those US citizen owned gated communities, you know the ones where the out of work contras wander the perimeter with surplus AK 47’s left over from Ollie Norths days.
leeches. were you thinking of McDonnell-Douglas? or just Boeing? or Haliburton?
And I hope you don’t buy one of those Socialist German cars made by workers reduced to slavery by the socialist state.
and of course you think you can spend your money better than the state. you are wrong. but that’s why we have taxes.
the purpose of polls, and elections, is to see how well the propaganda campaign is going.
Here’s some info on CA’s problem:
There are features and bugs in every system. It is a bug in public pension systems (for the public) and a feature for public employees that politicians have any control over pensions. This relationship can result in various problems as detailed here. Whether “defined contribution” is the right word, if we have learned anything in the past several years is that leaders can’t be trusted, particularly when large sums of money and power are involved. When I hear “unfunded future liabilities”, that means the system is broken. This should not be possible and should not require well behaved politicians to prevent from happening.
Regarding unions and car companies, management chose to be blind or was actually blind to the competitive landscape. It isn’t the union’s job to set market directions. But if the union had a longer range view, they would consider protecting the existence of the company on par in importance with protecting their wages. Higher even since their wages depend on the company existing. The union was one of many interested parties in the health of the company (the board, management, communities, shareholders) and was one of many parties who chose to pick at the carcass instead of fighting for survival of the patient. None of the other parties did either, so the blame gets spread around.
Stories of the job bank are legion; as are car companies choosing platforms and automotive technology to keep particular plants in production due to union agreements.
Much of this comes from the success of Reaganomics. Modern Monetarism proposed that growth would occur using formulae that many at the time called voodoo economics.
The results are predicted, but the predictions came from the folks who were ignored.
The problem is not too much pension liability it is too little expansion outside the financial sector.
If real growth had occurred since 1980 there would be no problems, instead we get monetarism pumped bubbles which grew nothing, except the debt, hidden by payroll tax surpluses (regressive taxe paid by all labor) and China’s recondite form of monetarism.
A fine mess those got US into.
I don’t have a rabid anti-union stand. I see a country which in almost every dimension has ossified into gridlock. The current system does not work anymore. It might have worked 20 years ago, but it doesn’t work now, There are more countries competing economically. Falling out of bed and sleeping through high school doesn’t work any more. Letting health insurers vaccuum 30% of our health care dollars doesn’t work anymore. People working 20 years and retiring doesn’t work anymore. The top 1% capturing 20+ % of national income doesn’t work anymore. We can’t isolate ourselves from each other’s problems anymore. We can’t isolate ourselves from environmental havoc caused by others. We are competing for oil with other economies that are working smart and hard. We are moaning under a deadweight of scores of years of slicing and dicing the economy’s spoils until everything has been locked up and solidified.
I voted for Obama in the Democratic primaries because as the youngest person he was least likely to have his feet encased in lead boots of old interests.
The US looks a lot like GM over the last several decades: junk and bad management was good enough. When better competitors came along – and it was obvious as they were doing it that they were better and more capably run organizations – the old way could not compete. The current position the US finds itself in is non-competitive and just about every established interest has a share of the blame. If these established interests – which include unions – are not willing to change, this sucker is going down. More creative, adaptive, and more clever thinking is needed now, not reorganization of deck chairs on the titanic.
I know this is painful to accept. But you know its true. Accepting this as true does not mean the opposite of the party in power has the answer. It does not. But in our binary system we jump to the conclusion that if party A does not have the answer, then Party B does. Neither party has the answer. They are dead, destructive weights holding the country back.
Oh suck it up. You’re going to lose in 3 weeks.
“….what a modest, well run Democratic Party would do if they weren’t so beholden to unions and corporation.” djt
That’s an interesting dichotomy. Amost an oxymoronic phrase. Although it is possible that the tent of the Democratic Party is big enough to include both corporate America and the union movement. Frankly, I haven’t noticed any significant support for the union movement by either political party. Influence, you say. What does any union influence in the current political climate? Peterson, the Koch brothers, Scaife-Mellon between them probably hold more political clout than any union.
And just what is the problem with workers banding together to fight for better wages and weorking conditions? Is it a requirement that all Americans work for substandard wages and little or no retirement benefit? Is a school teacher only worth minimum wage? Who is it that is gooing to assure workers some level of job security and a living wage? Ask each individual polled what it is that they want for themselves and their children and see if they don’t suddenly expect all the protections and benefits that unions fight to achieve for their members.
Public sector unions have monopolies. I don’t think it is appropriate for the public sector to have a union. Private sector yes, because private companies keep their information private and make private decisions regarding their own assets.
The public is different. The public sphere is open to scrutiny and control by voters. Information disclosure reveals what is going on. I want to see alternatives to public sector unions. Politicians and public sector unions in my state, CA, have rubbed each other’s backs to create huge unfunded liabilities for future pension obligations, This isn’t opinion. Prison guards retiring at 50 with 90% pensions is ridiculous. We will survive with less costly prison guards, and the job security will enable good applicants to be attracted.
The statement about Democrats being beholden to unions and corporations is not oxymoronic in that unions and corporations are large established interests. They are the same in that regard. They exert too much influence in trying to maintain the status quo when it is obvious to everyone that the status quo is a dead end. If we maintain the status quo this country is over.
Going back to my initial comment where we are trying to reconcile question 10 with Republican dominance this cycle, I suggested that the party we wish did things that our imaginary Democratic Party would do is not the Democratic Party we have. Looking through the entire poll, you see people don’t trust Democrats to do things in their own platform! People want things we think the Democratic Party wants but people do not see the Democratic Party as a functional vehicle for getting those things. And the party is not a functional vehicle for getting those things because it is beholden to large institutional interests (unions and corporations) that will be damaged by the getting of those things.
Zotran–Oh, you suck it up. You might not win big enough to make any difference this time. Or, you might not win at all. Chickens. Hatch. Counting. See under. NancyO
“Public sector unions have monopolies.” djt
What on Earth does that mean? Public sector unions have no power other than as a potential block vote. They are an organized group and have some potential political influence in local and state-wide elections. Their influence has been waning for about thirty years. Public employees have the misfortune to have to provide essential services which are paid for by taxation of the citizens who enjoy the benefits of those services. Who is it that you know that likes paying for what they get? I can’t address the issue of prison guards in Ca. I don know from having worked in NYS mental health facilities that there are few slackers and every one works in a fish bowl under a magnifying glass. No one gets paid a great deal. Most NYS employees earn jump change and have only their possible retirement and health benefits to lure them to keep their jobs. Uniformed services have a minimally better situation, but their benefits fit the obnoxious nature of their jobs. You think you could do prison work? Not likely. As I said, they have to provide essential services that no one wants to pay for.
Certainly the public sector has its share of inadequate employees. Supervisors need only document the deficiencies to build a case that will result in some form of action against the slacker. Unfortunately most supervisors are so over burdened with the details of their jobs that they barely have thetime to do them adequately. That is a common problem with state and municipal work settings. Most employees are asked to do more with less. Guess what? The results speak for the inadequacies of that approach to work management.
Take a comapartive look at public school systems across the country. Those localities that invest heavily in their school systems get the results that the rest can only strive to achieve. There is no secret to good work results. It only requires a sufficient investment of resources to get the work done ata high level of effectiveness. When efficiency and cost are the only goals you end up with a cheap product.
> were you thinking of
Actually, them too.
> and of course you think you can spend your money better than the state.
> you are wrong.
Ha-ha. But then again, I did not expect anything else from you.
can’t say i expected more from you. but you ought to try to find a way to consider whether your position is flawed.
“Oh suck it up. You’re going to lose in 3 weeks.” Zortran
When Winning Is Actually Losing. That could be the title of a book describing the 2010 election results in 2012. I’m still waiting for a concise answer to my questions, repeated several times on this blog, “What is it that the Republicans have to offer beyond ideology to working Americans? Do you really want an end to Social Security and the security of you senior years not spent in poverty? Do you really want an end or a significant curtailment of Medicare? How about wars in the middle-east. It’s now the longest running American campaign, and for what purpose? A trillion dollars down the hole. There were no Iraqis nor Afghanis on those several airliners on 9/11.
What is it about Republican ideology that appeals to working Americans? We had two terms of Bush and we’re far worse off for it. We’ve seen the financial industry strip bare the fruits of our economy and leave it bludgeoned and bleeding. Though only the middle class and the poor seemed to have suffered any significant losses. Individual freedoms are evaporating in a haze of fear mongering. Jobs have taken a global trip to far off places and economists are speculating about how to revive the economy. Look up money in one’s pocket in a basic text.
It’s not that confusing. What do the right wing ideologues hold out as a better America other than to say, “We’ll do it differently.” Different from what? George Bush? Ronald Reagen? Herbert Hoover?
Tell me Zortran, what improvements are in store for us all should your prediction come to pass? Republicans dominate the Congress. What then?
maybe i can help with this. and remember i agree with you.
when ordinary people deal with the government it is usually to pay taxes or fight the zoning board or otherwise experience frustration. it is easy to tell those people “government IS the problem.”
add to that the fact that political campaigns… including the permanent campaign now fincanced by the owners of the Republican Party are geared to appeal to primitive emotions and not to thought at all.
that gives the victory to the side with the best funded PR campaign. this is not to say that the Dems don’t play the same game: money, appeal to primitive emotions. they just don’t do it as well, and their natural constituency has, as a result of successful government policies, grown too rich to remember how it got there.
you will note that this means the Democrats do not represent the poor or sane government policy… just that they build their constituency in a time when sane government policy and representing the poor was good politics.
now they merely represent “winning elections” for no particular purpose whatsoever. the rhetoric of defending the poor and defending civil rights still wins them votes, but not as much as they need. and of course has nothing to do with the policies they enact once elected.
No disagreement here. i have steadily maintained that the two parties are close to one another on the ideological spectrum, right of center to extreme right wing reactionism. In effect they are both corporatists. Given that one might expect that good policy that helps the economy grow would be a common goal, but that seems not to be the case with either. I think that they are far too myopic in their view of what the common good actually is. If it’s good for the rich, and mind you that’s not necessarily the same as good for business, then it’s good for the country. Obviously that’s idiotic, but it seems to be the driving economic ideology of the day.
I do not agree wholly with the idea that people’s frustrations with direct government contact is at the root of so many people’s dissatisfaction with government. It certainly has more to do with the rightist inclinations of the media, especially the broadcast media. It’s a steady diet of misinformation and half truths that form the opinions of the mass of the voters. I’m always surprised at how misinformed many intelligent people seem to be. Take any serious issue of the day from the wars in the middle east to privatization of Social Security. Your friends and neighbors have an opinion, but they have so many of the details mixed up and seem to believe the distortions presented in the broadcast media that it is obvious that many don’t take the time to read beyond CNN and Fox News.
The details of any sports championship are far better understood by most of the people I know, and I’m talking about very well educated people. It is a bit frightening.
Cities are not states. I will also remind you that GM, Ford, and Chrysler brought the problem of pensions upon themselves by over forecasting returns and removing the forecasred excesses. Staes did the same thing.
Workers are not at fault, management is.
absolutely. but when i say people are stupid they get mad at me.
certainly the media are working overtime to reinforce the idea that the gummint is the enemy of the people. but i know too many otherwise decent people who would probably not believe that if their encounters with the goverment were “kinder and gentler” or at least someone made an effort to sound sane to them.
as for the misinformed intelligent… yeah, that was a bit of a surprise, but what really depressd me was discoving how misinformed the “experts” are. and not all of them are lying. it’s just that their expertise consists in knowing what the other experts’ opinions are, and there is nothing in the expert test that requires actual thought.
i think there was a time when party X would graciously arrange to lose a vote for the good of the country while still keeping their fierce opposition to whatever it was in front of their own base… for election purposes. but anymore it seems party X is willing to destroy the country if only they can win the next election.