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Minikin's Journal

Routine Ramblings of an Occasionally Interesting Texan

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Why I'm still not convinced - quotes from John Kerry in the debate last night.
Good: "as a president, I have to represent all the people in the nation"
Iffy: "And that means ... making certain that you don't deny a poor person the right to be able to have whatever the Constitution affords them if they can't afford it otherwise."

Okay, the libertarian in me cries foul on this.

To paraphrase: Being president means making sure poor people aren't denied the right to have whatever they can't afford? ...............

Yeah, I know that's stretching it, but it's the way my brain runs about any government funding issue.

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He did say whatever the *Constitution* affords them, which means a basic right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I don't think poor people should be denied health care and education, for instance, simply because they don't have money and I was glad to hear him say that, ESPECIALLY since it was in reference to the abortion question and he was making it clear that just because he believed one way, didn't mean that's the way he would run the goverment because he recognizes that he's leading a country of people with A LOT of different views. Bush, oddly, was the one who said he would appoint someone to the Supreme Court who didn't let his personal beliefs get in the way of his job, then turned around and said quite a few things (like tax money won't pay for abortions) that were obviously his stance because of personal belief.

Both candidates seem happy to take each other's words away from context again and again.

I'm just sayin' it worries, me, an attitude that appears to imply more government spending than I'm comfortable with.

After all, I wrote "iffy" not "bad" in contrast with "good" about the remark.

I don't know, the government spending we have /now/ is pretty outrageous and regardless of who is elected at least the 'war budget' isn't going to get smaller any time soon.

True enough, but it seems to me that Kerry=Increased Taxes, which I am personally opposed to. We pay enough as is.

You know what I like about Kerry and taxes? That he'll openly say he'll tax the rich (or rather, take away some of their tax breaks). Now, I'm pretty sure that means he'll never get elected, but it was refreshing to hear someone to 1) admit that taxes will have to be raised (remember George Bush said no new taxes, then had to raise taxes) and 2) that he said he'll tax the rich to do it.

Bush has had all these great tax cuts (many for the rich...do you really think the little $300 check we each got even comes CLOSE to the kind of financial benefits rich people get from his policies), but look at what Bush did to the deficit to do it. I'll pay a little extra if it means lowering the deficit and getting QUALITY government programs and funding where it needs to go.

Of course, if I ruled the world, I'd just institute a flat tax across the board, regardless of what you made, no loopholes for whiny millionaires to get through. This is not to say poor people don't whine (I was really annoyed at people who didn't PAY taxes kvetching that they didn't get the $300 rebate checks), but rich people seem to whine and get tax cuts, f*cking the rest of us. :P

no loopholes for whiny millionaires to get through

Hey, I resemble that remark! : P

Personally, I think that a flat tax is a wonderful idea, and I'd be all for it should you ever rule the world. :)

As far as my interests in politics goes, on a scale of 1 to 10, I'm about a -2. It's just dry, boring stuff to me. IMO the only thing that Kerry has going for him is his cute running mate. Ah well.

Define rich.

At least Kerry's bar is higher.

During the Clinton reign, every tax reduction that was passed had an exception based on income, and the cut-off was $100,000.

Kerry's bar is $200,000.

And $200k per year is a ridiculously high number. My current favorite source of information on income distribution is an annual Census report called Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States. If you look at table table A-1 on page 27, only 15.1% of the households in America have a total annual income of more than $100k per year. Table A-3, page 36, the average household income of the richest 5% of all households is $154,120. I don't know what percentile you're in at $200k/yr, but it's obviously above the 95% percentile.

You know where I stand on this issue, Deb. Between the war and the deficit, the country just plain needs the tax money. No, we can't afford to just borrow more, not with 1/3 of all government revenue doing nothing more than making interest payments on the existing debt, not when we haven't made a principal payment in four years.

And if a household with $200k per year in income can't afford to pay a couple of hundred or even a couple of thousand more in taxes, then I'm seriously at a loss to two things. First, if they can't, who should be paying for this? Critter and Tigger? And second, if they can't afford it, why the heck not? I'm serious. When I was making $47k a year, and before that when Kim and I were together and we had a combined income of $85k/yr, we were living like kings. We could probably have imagined what we would have spent another $10k or so per year on. After that, I have no idea what the money goes to, none whatsoever. I honestly have no idea how anybody manages to spend more than $100k per household per year.

I honestly have no idea how anybody manages to spend more than $100k per household per year.

Well, for the absolutely filthy rich there's always things like drugs, vacation homes, lots of first-class vacations, etc.

For those that make in the $100k-500k range, the answer is that they *don't* spend that much per year, they invest the excess in order to hopefully have more income from the money in the future. ;)

As I said in chat before the abortion question was even finished being asked, this was going to be Kerry's tough one. There are single-issue voters on abortion. If you are one, you're not going to vote for Kerry ... or, frankly, for almost any Democrat this generation. If you don't care what else happens to the country as long as anti-abortion judges get appointed, then that's your choice, and I hope your conscience tells you that all the dead American soldiers and dead foreign children and suicidal American former workers were worth killing to protect some cell clusters the size of a pinhead, the shape of a soccer ball, each of which already naturally has a 2/3 chance of being expelled from the uterus without ever having implanted in the uterine wall. If that embryo is a person to you, and you think it must be protected and given its 1/3 chance to become a child at any cost, then you know which party you're voting for.

The moderate, mainstream Democratic answer on abortion is approximately the one that Kerry had to rush through last night. The Supreme Court has ruled, for sound biological reasons, that from fertilization through 13 weeks, a fetus is not a citizen, not a legal person, and for the next 13 weeks a fetus has some trivial rights, but those rights are generally outweighed by the mother's right to health and safety. That means that during that 26 weeks, abortion is not a fetus issue, it's a women's health care issue. And if the government is providing any other health care to those women, there's no legally acceptable reason to deny her that health care service, no matter what your religion preaches.

(You know those bumper stickers that say "It's a child, not a choice"? I have a friend who used to threaten to make up some exactly matching ones to paste over them, same color and font, that say, "She's a woman, not a womb," and see how long it would take people to notice their bumper stickers had been changed.)

Though frankly, it wasn't my least favorite Kerry answer of the night. I think he completely blew the first answer, when he was asked once again to give a straight answer on his Iraq war funding vote and completely ignored the question, chose to answer an entirely different question. Every columnist out there, myself included, has written a perfectly coherent one or two sentence answer that would make his position perfectly, painfully, obviously clear, and in so doing highlight why he was right and Bush was wrong. Why Kerry won't give that answer, I have no idea, I wish I had a clue.

I hate to say it, but Bush won this debate on points. Not by as wide a margin as Kerry won the last one, but that was an abysmal performance by Kerry.

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