Wednesday, October 1, 2008

On not voting my income: economic determinism and an answer for kavips

kavips has an intriguing after the bailout post that returns to electoral politics and discusses the relative merits of the Obama/McCain tax proposals.

I have discussed Senator Obama's proposal here in depth before, so I will forebear covering that ground again, but take the kavips comment on its own terms.

Laying out the chart that shows quite graphically that Obama's tax plan delivers more tax relief to most people in the nation than McCain's (with most of McCain's tax cuts going to those who make more than $250K), kavips comments:

The chart is for you. Use this chart to see how each candidate will affect you. Then,…. vote your income. As you can see from the results, you would be stupid not to…..

So if you wish, you can continue to get sidetracked by issues such as “when life begins”, or “your Constitutional Rights”, or whether or not we should live in a “Nanny State”, or whether we should “affirm” one race over another, all important issues….. but if you choose to ignore the impact that each candidate will have upon your income level, then no matter what other people may call you…..you are nevertheless a fool…..


OK, I've got at least four problems with this analysis.

1) The relative income tax relief to each bracket is not a total measure of the two tax plans. Both in fact produce huge additional deficits (Obama at around 3 Trillion more and McCain above 4 Trillion more) over the next ten years, even without factoring in the nearly $300 Billion extra spending Obama has promised, not considering the costs of his health care initiatives, and not factoring in anything from the current fiscal disaster. Nor does this table take into account the hidden regressive taxes that most lower-income people will pay in increased prices as corporations seek to recover the additional taxes Obama has in store for them, or the impact of higher capital gains taxes on their retirement accounts. So the measure proposed here is inadequate to determine which plan will leave any individual better off at any income level. But again I'll take kavips at face value and go to....

2) Neither campaign tax plan, at this point, is anything more than a general direction that the candidate would prefer. Neither man is going to be in position to implement his plan as written. Why? Both will inherit the increased deficits from the fiscal bail-out, and since both candidates have proposed plans that actually reduce revenue to the Treasury, neither one is going to be able to sell that. Moreover, if McCain is elected, he will still (99%+ chance) have to deal with a Democratically controlled Congress that ain't about to give him what he wants. So both politics and the new fiscal realities are going to keep either of these plans from becoming a reality. But still I'll take kavips at face value and go to...

3) Voting narrowly based on whether a presidential candidate's tax plan provides me personally with more money is a dangerous, dangerous proposition. Those constitutional rights that kavips slides by include things like gay marriage, abortion, and free speech. Are they so unimportant that a person making under $25,000 per year should set them aside for a bribe on their taxes? Foreign policy matters, and it matters a lot. The kavips proposal takes us to the lowest common denominator: vote for the candidate who promises you the most money. This is simply dangerous, or at least dangerously simple.

4) Even as a Libertarian, I'm not willing to be pigeon-holed into voting on only a single issue (even taxes), and I'd like to think that in casting my vote for President (regardless of who it's for) that I am trying seriously to think of what's good for the entire country, not just for me.

So, sorry kavips, you won't find me lining up to vote based on tax programs alone.

The overall issues in this campaign are a hell of a lot more important than that.

8 comments:

Duffy said...

"I am trying seriously to think of what's good for the entire country, not just for me."

Strange, I keep hearing that Republicans and Libertarians are selfish bastards that don't care about anyone else. Yet a Democrat is telling me to vote for my own narrow self interest.

Shirley Vandever said...

I don't vote my income. At this point, I'm not even sure what my income is.

I also don't vote based solely on the so-called "hot button" issues of abortion, 2nd amendment rights, etc.

You have to take the whole package, as bad or as good as it is.

Forward Thought said...

Part of the problem with politics and our country is the lack of consistency. For example, Obama admits that in times of economic crisis, he would think twice about raising taxes. But in good economic times, no problem. Really? So, raising taxes in hard times is bad for the economy, but it's ok to raise taxes in good times, even though evidence shows that it's still detrimental to the economy. Have some consistency, check your pet projects at the door, find some integrity of thought and do what is good for the economy 100% of the time, not what sounds good at the moment or seems to deepen your own pockets.

I make well below $250,000 and would never be so naive to think that raising taxes on the wealthy ultimately benefits anyone. Ever.

kavips said...

Your over simplification makes the issue complicated...

I'm just stating what has been central through American Politics since its inception..

"Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago?"

Although that statement was picked up and enunciated once by Ronald Reagan, is has been the underlying driver determining who will be, and who won't be elected...since our nation began.

All I did was include a chart. :)

Anonymous said...

Spivak,
Surely you can support your points.You made remarks, that surely deserve defending, regardless of who challenges you to do so.

When did Cable TV become a necessity?
If someone's living expense is more than they make, someone is using somebody? Shouldn't they reduce their 'living' expenses?

The BASE of this crisis, are those who lied on their mortgage applications. Buyer, Real Estate Agent, Banker and the Mortgage institutions.
Do you believe in NO fault lending? Do you have any money left to lend?

In previous entry on catastrophe.
September 30, 2008 7:58 PM

Steve Newton said...

Your over simplification makes the issue complicated...

You're kidding, right?

You offer a single measure of voting, which I challenge with multiple issues, and I'm over-simplifying?

R-i-i-i-i-i--g-h-t

aiyna said...

The Libertarian Party of Delaware held its annual convention on August 23, in Newark. Nearly two dozen delegates nominated Mark Anthony Parks for the US House of Representatives. Tyler Nixon in the Delaware House 4th District and Jesse Priester in the House 23rd District received fusion nominations from the LPD; both had already secured GOP endorsements. The delegates elected Jim Rash as State Chair, Paul Thompson as Vice Chair, and re elected Brad Thomas as Secretary Treasurer.
--------------
Aiyna

house for sale by owner

Steve Newton said...

aiyna
I'm just curious: you DO know I wrote the paragraph on the LPD for George Donnelly's website that you posted as a comment, don't you?