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The third presidential debate
October 17, 2000 6:17 PM   Subscribe

The third presidential debate is on, and I can't stop watching it. Though I'd rather be taking in the simple pleasures of Dark Angel, my politically active mind won't allow me to do so . . . for the first time in my life, I find myself wishing for a brain annuerism.
posted by aladfar (73 comments total)

 
I CANNOT BELIEVE ONE OF THESE GUYS IS GOING TO BE PRESIDENT! I hate them both so much.
posted by thirteen at 7:25 PM on October 17, 2000


oh god, both canidates think the death penalty deters crime.

I've never heard of a more outrageous statement.

Have these guys ever seen *one* study on this? I've never, ever seen a study show that it had any affect on crime. Never.
posted by mathowie at 7:26 PM on October 17, 2000


The death penalty is the ONLY thing that keeps me from killing and killing and killing. But that is me.
posted by thirteen at 7:31 PM on October 17, 2000


yeah, but to his (small) credit, Gore did mention that the deterrent issue is a controversial one...
posted by gluechunk at 7:32 PM on October 17, 2000


Talking about Dark Angel, did anyone see the number of product placements in that show? Even her jail cell was G4 which was on an Apple Cinema monitor with the new pro keyboard used for input. Oh also the really ugly Pontiac Aztec was shown.Sorry about that, now you can go back to discussing politics.
posted by riffola at 7:33 PM on October 17, 2000


Indeed, I really wish Gore had taken a stand against the death penalty. It's unfortunate that both support this national travesty.

I did think the question from the audience was a good one though.

Did you notice how the audience groaned when Bush dodged the question about affirmative action? Thank god everyone saw through it - falling back on the 'rules of the debate' when you've been breaking them all night doesn't look very good.

Though both candidates have some serious problems, I pray that Gore wins. GWB would be unspeakably awful - what the hell is 'character' education for kids in school?
posted by aladfar at 7:39 PM on October 17, 2000


First Bush attacks the Internet, now Gore did.. I don't have any quotes sorry, and the debate is just ending so there aren't any articles out but this drives me nuts, I wish for the politicians that want family values. Oh.. CBS has a room of non voters and there going to ask them who they pick now, how many are gonna give an answer besides a black stare?
posted by thirdball at 7:39 PM on October 17, 2000


Yeah, gore said he wanted something like a "1 click method of knowing every place on the internet your child went"

as if that same child wouldn't figure out how to delete the cache on whatever magical program gore was describing.
posted by mathowie at 7:46 PM on October 17, 2000


as if that same child wouldn't figure out how to delete the cache on whatever magical program gore was describing
It's more likely to the kid tracking where the parents go on the internet. "Back off dad, or I'll tell mom about all those .xxx sites you been visiting."
posted by thirteen at 7:52 PM on October 17, 2000


Hey they're wearing practically the same suits as the first debate. Bush's shirt clashes with his tie.

Whatever. Gore has yet to rescind his promise to debate Nader and the other 3rd party candidates on the 20th. That'll be interesting.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 7:56 PM on October 17, 2000


I am randomly dropping out words lately. I meant "likely to BE the Kid". I know you knew what I meant, but it makes me feel better to clarify.
posted by thirteen at 8:03 PM on October 17, 2000


Thank God the questions were reasonable, pointed and from real individuals. I was aghast at Gore's support for the death penalty as well. Was it me or did Bush halt and sputter at the question about the death penalty? I'm for neither of them anyway. How I wish Nader had participated in the debate to open some eyes with intelligent discussions.
posted by mmarcos at 8:11 PM on October 17, 2000


Oh, hey speaking of intelligent discussions mmarcos, the NYTimes had an interesting piece about the complexity of candidate's speech. Bush and Gore? Well, they speak at an 8th grade level or below. Nader? "...hit the 12th-grade reading level in a recent television appearance."
posted by capt.crackpipe at 8:31 PM on October 17, 2000


How in the world could anyone think Bush did better in that debate? A lot of the commentators seemed to call it even - but all Bush did was sidestep as quickly as he could. And more - he seemed to hold Gore in contempt for actually talking about plans to do things (no matter how weak, to a crowd like this, he still has them) - he preferred to rely simply on the shrill assertion that "I will get it done. I really will. I really really will. I'm a leader. I AM a leader."

Gore was actually really good on that count. Everyone knows that a leader doesn't have to tell you he's going to lead. She or he just does it. Gore understood that.

Of course pinko Canadian that I am, I concur on the spinelessness of the near-universal support for capital punishment among politicians. And of course, I feel happy that I don't actually have to vote. To hold one's nose that hard in the booth must hurt.
posted by mikel at 8:45 PM on October 17, 2000


BTW Here's the original report on reading complexity that the NYTimes was talking about. Note that the candidates this year are both doing better than their counterparts of four years ago.

Also, here's a link to Nader's speech. Personally, if that's what a 12-grade reading level is, I don't want it. Check out the 8th paragraph. The 2nd sentence has more words than my Tivo essay.
posted by smackfu at 8:58 PM on October 17, 2000


Did anybody else hate the format? I'm watching a rebroadcast, and it makes me unhappy to watch them walking around, swaying back and forth. I don't like the podiums very much either, but I can live with them. Sitting at the table was best. Maybe they could face each other, with the moderator sitting in the middle, off to the side.
posted by thirteen at 9:02 PM on October 17, 2000


I'm not sure what debate the commentators watched on Tuesday. A candidate's ability not to self destruct on foreign policy issues should not qualify that candidate to be elected. Further, it does not give the candidate a debate victory. Al Gore was composed, direct, and stuck to his platform. George Bush made so many contradictory statements and unexplained policy paradoxes that he seemed to get lost in his own slogans.

1. The military needs to be rebuilt, but his budget doesn't allow for the funds to do it.

2. The military needs to be used judiciously, the inference was made the Clinton/Gore have been reckless in their military missions, but in every case the administration has employed the military Bush said he agreed with the policy. (Except for Haiti, because even though according to Bush we need strong representation in our hemisphere, that doesn't include Haiti).

3. Bush wants to improve education, create a new health care system for prescription drugs, be pro-environment, completely revamp social security, and give a huge tax break to the wealthiest Americans. He's never explained how this happens without a huge deficit.

4. Claims to be pro environment, but has the worst state in the country when it comes to pollution and toxic contamination.

5. Claims to be for children's healthcare, but has one of the lowest standards of healthcare in the Country.

6. Continually says "you had eight years to do it" to Gore, but refuses to accept the same standard for himself in Texas.

7. Has never explained why it's a good idea to give the majority of a tax cut to the wealthiest one percent.

Ah screw it... they both sucked.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 9:05 PM on October 17, 2000


I almost forgot about Tipper and the PMRC. I so hate that woman.
posted by thirteen at 9:07 PM on October 17, 2000


Ah, Tipper. Funny that Gore uses the PMRC as an example of how she helped.

I think we can all recall how much we hated Tipper Gore circa-1985.
posted by mathowie at 9:25 PM on October 17, 2000


Gore won that by a fucking mile. It was embarrassing, almost, to see Bush squirm. I watched the debate, surrounded by Americans, and we could all see Gore take control after 10 minutes and never let go.
posted by holgate at 9:38 PM on October 17, 2000


I supose a presidential acceptance speech will have more purpose than an essay espousing the desire to record television.

And hey, which graphs are you looking at? I see them being damn near similiar to exactly like Dole-Clinton.

But what exactly are you saying, Smack? You prefer to be talked down to by your presidential candidates?

For what it’s worth Dean, the NYT is saying Gore won this debate, but I suspect they wouldn’t have said otherwise.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 9:43 PM on October 17, 2000


It surprises me how much mainstream america is falling for Bush's campaign of slogans. When ever he is pressed for an issue he pulls out a series of meaningless slogans that skirt the issue and never explain the issue.

Case in point was the lady who asked how their tax plans would specifically help her. I felt Gore did a good job explaining how the government will help her (matching savings is a great idea!).

When Bush got his rebuttal he talks about medicare (what does this me Shrub: 'I think also what you need to think about is not the immediate, but what about Medicare?') and then he goes into use of the millitary ( "a judicious use of the military which will help keep the peace." ) and education/safety ( 'See, an educated child is one much more likely to be hopeful and optimistic.' ) and finally after 100 seconds of talking he touches on the lady's question by asking her to remember something he said twenty minutes earlier about Tax Relief.

Reading the transcript is always fun. What I found amazing is that Gore seems to know more about Bush's stand on various topics that Bush does. Can a candidate really be that dense?

Of course, my vote is for Nader. If I lived anywhere else but Texas I would vote for Gore to stop Bush, but thanks to the electorial college my vote means nothing this year.
posted by DragonBoy at 10:07 PM on October 17, 2000


American people saw what they wanted to see. There is just too much bias for/against both the candidates.

I personally loved the man asking if Bush was proud of the death penatly in Texas practices. I also liked the woman asking, "I am 30 something single female, how does your tax plan affect me?" (While Gore spelled out how his plan will affect her, Bush had no specific answer, other than to repeat his, "Everyone needs to pay tax, we need to modernize military, I am not from Washington, We need people to tell the truth and restore honor in the White House.")

Gore is slowly becoming the third card in the Adalai Stevenson, Michael Dukakis sequence.

On a personal note, I am seriously looking for employment in Canada. I will be available from the second week of January, 2001. My knowledge of Canada is limited to Gille and Jacques Villeneuve and Albert Park.
posted by tamim at 10:29 PM on October 17, 2000


Having read the full text now, I have one more point to add. I live in Houston, Texas and currently I take three perscription medicines a day to combat my alergies from the pollution. My alergies have gotten so bad in the past three years that I actually had a CAT scan done to make sure that the headaches I was getting were not a symptom of brain cancer. Lucky for me it was just a very strong reaction to the polution. I now work from home on Ozone days and am looking hard for work in other, less polluted areas.

I live less than fifteen minutes fromt he air base that Shrub was stationed when he was skipping out of Vietnam in the 70's.

Please do not let what Shrub has done fro Texas happen to the nation.
posted by DragonBoy at 10:52 PM on October 17, 2000


Tamim - do you mean in the sense of the old Saturday Night Live sketch, when the Dukakis mimic looks up and says, "how can I be losing to this guy?"

And in Canada things aren't much better, in terms of elections. It's shorter (much - an election that hasn't yet been called or scheduled could happen as soon as a week after the US election), but the choices are just as unappealing, if not more so.

At least we still have healthcare and no death penalty though.
posted by mikel at 10:55 PM on October 17, 2000


I like Fightin' Al. I like the issues he champions, the way he throws out specifics all the time instead of generalities, and the fact that he's weird enough to enjoy the business of politics. The guy loves town hall meetings and policy briefings and position papers.

I know I'm not supposed to like either of these mainstream candidates -- it's much easier to be cynical about all politicians and cast a protest vote for Nader, who has no chance of winning and thus can't embarrass me later with his actions in office.

However, I feel 10 times better about Gore than I did about the last three people I voted for (Clinton, Perot and Dukakis).

This is a pretty strong indicator that I'm weird too.
posted by rcade at 10:59 PM on October 17, 2000


The one Bush quote from this debate that really struck me -- as evidenced by the fact that it's the only one I really remember -- is when he said he wants to allocate federal money for "faith-based" programs for children.

I have no doubt that he didn't really mean "faith-based programs." He meant "bible study." After all, Christianity is the only valid religion in the US, right? And Bush has pretty well shown himself to be a Christian.

Now, I have nothing against Christians, even though I (*gasp*) am not one. What I am against, though, is seeing the government treat any one religion as more valid than any other. If Bush is going to offer federal money for "faith-based" programs, and a Buddhist, or a Jew, or a Wiccan wants their piece of it, they had better well get it. It's either that, or nobody gets any federal money to promote their religion with -- and that's what I'd rather see.

Someone's bound to say something like "well what if Bush (assuming he's elected) *does* offer that money equally?" Well here's my reply: I have so little faith in that, that if this happens, I will give everyone who has participated in this discussion a dollar. (Up to you to claim it, of course.)
posted by CrayDrygu at 11:38 PM on October 17, 2000


"as if that same child wouldn't figure out how to delete the cache on whatever magical program gore was describing."

If it's done on the ISP's end, they won't. Unless they can hack into their ISP's proxy server and delete the logs.
posted by CrayDrygu at 11:39 PM on October 17, 2000


CrayDrygu: I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for the Wiccans to get their fair shake of that faith-based money. On Good Morning America on June 24, 1999, Bush said the following after a Wiccan ceremony was held at a Texas military facility: "I don’t think witchcraft is a religion. I would hope the military officials would take a second look at the decision they made."
posted by rcade at 11:49 PM on October 17, 2000


rcade, just so you know, I’m not voting Nader to tweak either party, or protest in any way. Nader’s political beliefs are closest to mine, and I’d rather have him represent me in government rather than someone who takes no stand on issues I care about.

But you are right that a lot of folks supporting Nader have become incredibly disgusted with the current situation. Otherwise, we wouldn’t need third parties.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 12:02 AM on October 18, 2000


Tamim, you should live in Vancouver ...
posted by sylloge at 2:13 AM on October 18, 2000


CrayDrygu: This "faith-based" term is designed to be not obviously Christian, but to include Jewish, Buddhist and whatever religious programs into the fold.

It is designed to be opposed to secular or (heaven forbid!) athiest programs.

The agenda is largely dominated by the (more numerous) Christians, of course.

A recent thread included a link which reviewed this "faith-based" rhetoric.

posted by lagado at 4:19 AM on October 18, 2000


Don't forget Gee Dubya's most memorable statement of the night to which he received a resounding what was that? When he said that he "Trusts People not the Government?" So, does that mean if he's elected we shouldn't trust him? Or is he just so stupid that he believes we will believe that he'll be the only trustworthy honest regular guy in
Washington?

Like Nader said George Bush is Big Business running for president disguised as a guy named George Bush. And I don't care what the poles say Bush lost the debate.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 5:34 AM on October 18, 2000


The statement that really floored me was when George W slipped in that Texas "shares a common border with another country". OK, and who might that be, Mr. Geography Wizard? And what did that have to do with why Texas is 50th in providing health care?

I can't believe how ANYONE thought Bush won the debate last night. Gore kicked that W ass all night long.

But let me add I wish that Ralph Nadir were allowed to speak as well. THAT would be interesting.

Also, we-all at ethmar.com-land are under the impression that anyone who thinks that Bush is a "good Governor" obviously does not live in Texas. There's plenty of things to be ashamed of down here, without even bringing up the air quality in Houston.

Or the fact that George W's idea of "cleaning up the air in Texas" is VOLUNTARY compliance to clean-air standards by the offenders.

Look, the reason why we have things like the USDA and the EPA is that left to their own devices, corporations don't like to spend money on things like inspecting meat or reducing toxic emissions because that's not putting product on the shelves any faster.

Bush stands for one thing: getting elected. So does Gore, but he's such an idealist that at least he gives the impression that he wants to do good for this town really really badly. Bush is the worst kind of figurehead.

But if Bush wins, it should help my flagging Black Ops career. Go W!
posted by ethmar at 6:20 AM on October 18, 2000


lagado: I've got your faith-based programs right here. I wish I could dredge up the follow-up article, because you would see that there is no question that W means Christian programs uber alles.

Actually, in keeping with my rhetoric, Bush doesn't mean any particular denomination when he says "faith-based". But Ralph Reed does, and he's in the W tent. That speaks volumes to me right there.
posted by ethmar at 6:26 AM on October 18, 2000


I'm first off going to state that both Gore and Bush disgust me in a way that no presidential candidate ever has.
Al Gore made me completely ill last night. He continually refused to answer the questions addressed to him, to go back and get another couple minutes to spout something from his agenda. And as for disliking Tipper in the 80's for her censorship campaign, I STILL hold her accountable for that. I disagree with the policy of picking and choosing which people get tax breaks, by subsidizing behavior that the government agrees with.
Bush was just weak in this debate. He basically stated nothing. Backed nothing up. I have no problems with the death penalty. I don't really see that as a major issue. Bush states that he trusts people, not government, but he'd like to do away with a woman's right to choose. I guess that trust only really relates to guns for him.
And as for the whole "the wealthiest 1%" getting the majority of the tax relief, It doesn't take a Theoretical Math degree to figure out that if you cut everyone's taxes by 10%, the people who already pay more will end up getting the biggest break in dollars and cents. I just don't get the argument. It sounds like the argument is that these people shouldn't have that much money in the first place, and that it is their duty to pay more than their share for the people that don't have as much.
I'm not voting for either one of these people. They both seem to actually want the job. All I want is a candidate that understands that the money I work for isn't anyone's but mine, and that can just leave people alone when it comes to guns, abortion, religion, drugs, etc.
posted by jbelshaw at 6:36 AM on October 18, 2000


On a lighter note, did anybody else think Gore looked like he was about to haul off and punch Bush at one point early in the debate?
posted by harmful at 6:54 AM on October 18, 2000


Hey, JBelshaw, if that's how you feel, vote Libertarian. I'm not down with the Libertarian Party, but if we get people actually voting for the candidates who most closely express their political beliefs, maybe one of the major parties will eventually wise up and coopt their platform. It killed the Progressive Party, didn't it?

(Another reason I don't consider voting for Nader to be throwing my vote away. Now, if I wrote in Paul Wellstone, that would be throwing my vote away.)
posted by snarkout at 7:20 AM on October 18, 2000


I can understand the concerns over the PMRC and faith based programs. The issue that gives me shivers is Bush's commitment to funding character education. Conservatives can object to sex education, but who really wants one perspective on appropriate behavior taught in the public schools? That ends up sounding like trundling the kids off for good solid christian re-education.
posted by Sqwerty at 7:23 AM on October 18, 2000


Can I ask just what the hell do you people expect from politics?

"I'm disgusted." "I hate both these people." "They're talking like idiots."

Well, DUH. This is politics, okay? And politics is not about doing the right thing - it's about compromise, ugly truths, and making sure your garbage gets collected on time. It is about convincing the majority of people to vote for you, and that means talking down to some very dumb people.

What do you want from the government? A "good guy"? Forget it. Please, people, do not put your faith in this system. The U.S. Government has no interest in being "good guys."

Oh, is that why you're voting for Nader? Oh, Jesus, FUCK YOU. The only reason you're voting for Nader is so next year you can look at what El Presidente is doing and say, with a smug look on your face, "Well, I voted for Nader," thus absolving yourself of all responsibility for the situation. After all, certainly the fucked-up situation has nothing to do with you, because you voted for Nader! Well, congratufuckinglations.

Please, people. Stop being morally outraged. It's getting old.
posted by solistrato at 7:25 AM on October 18, 2000


[Dean_Paxton] [Bush] Has never explained why it's a good idea to give the majority of a tax cut to the wealthiest one percent.

I agree that Bush has not done a good job of defending this point, but the fact is that since the "wealthiest one percent" already pay a huge portion of personal income taxes, it seems reasonable to me that they would also got a large tax cut. Is it fair to exclude them from getting a tax cut, too, just because they make a lot of money? If someone is paying $100,000 in federal income taxes in a year and you want to give them a 10% break, they'll still be paying $90,000. Now, what if I only pay $2000 in federal income tax? What if I get 100% reduction in my taxes? Hey, you gave the rich guy five times the amount of relief that you gave me! But personally, I don't see why that is unfair.

Now, whether or not the tax cut in general is a good idea is something to argue about.
posted by daveadams at 8:01 AM on October 18, 2000


"Al Gore made me completely ill last night. He continually refused to answer the questions addressed to him"

As did Bush. Remember the lady who asked how Bush's plan would help her, as a middle-class female with no dependants? I fail to see how Bush's blathering about medicare, the military, and tomorrow's youth in any way answered her question.

"The issue that gives me shivers is Bush's commitment to funding character education."

Wow...thanks for reminding me. I don't know how I could have forgotten that one.

I find that really disturbing. "Character education"...just the name gives me the shivers.
posted by CrayDrygu at 8:17 AM on October 18, 2000


Dean_Paxton: "And I don't care what the poles say Bush lost the debate."

Damn straight Dean! Let's send em' all back to Warsaw where they belong!

I'm just giving you a hard time - I know that's not what you meant. Just couldn't help myself . . .
posted by aladfar at 8:18 AM on October 18, 2000


This is telling. A polling base consisting mostly of Bush supporters said Gore won the debate by a narrow margin. Which means he kicked butt.
posted by frykitty at 9:03 AM on October 18, 2000


Even if Gore "won" the debate, does it really matter?
posted by harmful at 9:14 AM on October 18, 2000


According to the most recent year that statistics are available (1997), the wealthiest one percent in this country make at least $250,736 in adjusted gross income per year (income minus authorized deductions).

The wealthiest one percent reported 17.4 percent of all income and paid 33.2 percent of the total income tax. 1997 is the fourth straight year that the people in this group earned a larger percentage of overall income.

Things have never been better for them. Why should anyone be in favor of cutting their taxes simply because an across-the-board seems fair? Isn't it more important to have a reduced national debt than to help the already rich become much richer? Isn't it more important to hire 100,000 new teachers? Isn't it more important to reduce classroom size? Isn't 1 out of every 5 dollars enough for these folks to get by?

I've gone the protest route before and voted for Ross Perot in 1992. I knew he couldn't possibly win, but I thought it was a great chance to establish a third party that would improve the other two parties.

Instead, my vote helped Pat Buchanan get $15 million in federal matching funds this year to spread his bigoted views.
posted by rcade at 9:38 AM on October 18, 2000


>Instead, my vote helped Pat Buchanan get $15 million in federal matching funds this year to spread his bigoted views.

Bull's eye. But don't worry, that won't happen to the Green Party or the Libertarians. Or the Socialists. Or the Natural Law party. Or...

I can't believe that nobody is blasting Bush for actually admitting that yes, he wants to give the richest 1% of Americans a tax cut. For all of the charges that Gore was in error with that assertion, then WHY give it to him on a silver platter?

Ouch.
posted by ethmar at 9:42 AM on October 18, 2000


http://www.character.org/principles

In reading the eleven principles of character education listed at this site I noted the required commitment to offering time for staff reflection on moral matters. I'm just curious how this is to be shoe-horned into already filled workdays and school budgets. When schools are lacking the funding or staff to provide science and art curriculum, why would Bush make money available to reflecting on moral issues such as disrespect and littering the school grounds? For the curious those are the examples of moral issues offered on that website.

The cynic in me realizes that this is one more political fad in response to the Columbines of recent media coverage. But doesn't it ultimately further dilute an already muddied educational curriculum in favor of crowd control?

I much prefer Gore's commitment to recruiting 100,000 new teachers. Improving the student teacher ratio reduces the need for pointless (and probably expensive) bandaid programs such as this.
posted by Sqwerty at 9:46 AM on October 18, 2000


Libertarians do not take matching funds.
posted by thirteen at 9:48 AM on October 18, 2000


Libertarians also kibbitz from the sidelines instead of ever dealing with the dirty work of legislating administrative changes. It is easy to insist a change is necessary, but if the change never occurs on an administrative level what is the statement ultimately worth?

Right now I am favoring the thought of taking dice into the booth and honestly letting a quick craps game decide for me. Honestly I don't see a single candidate who fully encompasses the changes I would like to see occur, so instead I will enter the voting booth and ultimately vote against the worst evil I can see on the horizon line.
posted by Sqwerty at 10:02 AM on October 18, 2000


Government has no business in deciding how much the "rich" needs to live on, or anyone else for that matter. Taxes shouldn't be based on how much you make, and the progressive system is even worse. Additional consumption and luxury taxes are the way to go.
posted by gyc at 10:02 AM on October 18, 2000


Additional consumption and luxury taxes are the way to go.

I agree. I drink, I smoke, I'm young-- and I believe 100% that my drinks, my smoke and my youth should be taxed. Ok, maybe not my youth...


posted by schlomo at 10:08 AM on October 18, 2000


Good point, solistrato. Why be outraged? What good will it do? Why not just give up? Why not just walk away and not go to the polls in November? Why yell and scream and get more people to notice how they've been sold a bill of goods for the past fifty years? Why do anything to change the course of politics and government? Why not turn on the tv and watch fifty channels of American Gladiators and Cops so we can all feel that much better about our lives?

The Government is made up of the people. Us. The voters. The constituency. As long as we pay attention, as long as we poke and prod those who would represent us, as long as we stand up and say, "You people are swine, and I'm not voting for you, and I'm encouraging my friends and family to do the same," things will get done. We are in a process of evolution, and it takes time, and it takes care. We have been lazy and complacent, and we have the government now that we deserve. You don't like it? Vote to change it, and keep on hammering the people who got into office against your vote to do your bidding.

There's no room for idealism in politics? Bull. If there were no room for idealism, for standing up for principles and doing your best to tune a system that will work for the benefit of the nation, then we'd have given up a long time ago. No way, baby. Yell and scream more. Get angry. Vote your conscience. This election is going to suck, and they will continue to suck as more and more people stop getting involved. Now is not the time to turn off on all of this. Now is the time to ramp up and speak up and get out the vote.

(Now is also the time to remind myself to stop drinking coffee this strong before reading any political threads on MeFi first thing in the morning.)
posted by RakDaddy at 10:32 AM on October 18, 2000


Gyc: Under a progressive income tax system, the rich pay a disproportionate share of taxes than the poor. As someone who is in the top 5-10 percent and is also paying a disproportionate amount of taxes, I think it's a fair trade-off for the opportunities I have had.

When you look at the percentage of money the top 1 percent has accumulated, it is obvious that they are benefiting from the current tax laws. Bush wants to increase that benefit, and I just don't think that's an important priority.
posted by rcade at 10:39 AM on October 18, 2000


We have been lazy and complacent, and we have the government now that we deserve.

bull. we've been systematically disenfranchised by corporate economic power. our democracy is bought and sold, and very few individuals can afford to participate.
posted by sudama at 10:40 AM on October 18, 2000


solistrato, what happened to the month of healing?

If you actually think I'm voting for Nader simply so I can be smug next year and say how indie I was back in Nov. 2000, and how nothing the elected president does is my fault, then you're way, way wrong.

I'm voting for Nader because he's the only one I believe can do an even handed job, in the way the office was supposed to be. He's a man of the people, instead of a gun or oil lobbyists' wet dream. I'm so tired of Gore and Bush pandering to corporations and taking in millions after millions in campaign contributions, then signing laws that benefit those corporations. I'm fucking tired of it all.

I'm voting for the person I believe can do the best job in all the local elections. Why would I not vote that way in the presidential race?
posted by mathowie at 11:06 AM on October 18, 2000


Libertarians also kibbitz from the sidelines instead of ever dealing with the dirty work of legislating administrative changes.
They would if they were elected. Maybe I misunderstand the statement.

I think it is weird to have an obvious dislike for the rich, and yet still set up a government that cannot succeed without them. Some of you are putting yourselves in the position of saying that you know the system is unfair, but at least it is not unfair to you. No one is being too specific about what tax laws are "allowing" these people to aquire so much money, which is understandable cause the subject is vast, but I have no idea what you think people are getting away with. If you think a flat tax is unfair, how about we split the bill even amongst all eligible taxpayers. That would totally suck, wouldn't it. Rcade thinks it is a fair trade to pay for the opportunity provided, I do not. How about we shift my tax burden over to him until he cries uncle. It may not be fair, but it works for me.
posted by thirteen at 11:22 AM on October 18, 2000


>bull. we've been systematically disenfranchised by corporate economic power. our democracy is bought and sold, and very few individuals can afford to participate.<

sorry, sudama, but I disagree with this as a rebuttal to "we get the govenment we deserve."

everything you say is true, but the people could change that in a heartbeat. remember when clinton was elected? "the winds of change"? (some term limits laws passed that year, too)

remember two years later when the republicans swept into congress? the people had figured out that the power of term limits was with them all along, and when the change they thought they were voting in didn't change much, they went the other direction.

the people here have the power, underneath all of the corporate buying and selling. an informed, involved electorate would make all the difference in the political debate: reporters (impelled by a need for higher ratings) would ask tougher questions of the candidates if that's what the people tuned into. the candidates themselves would do more than spout utter nonsense if that's what got them the numbers.

even in a climate like ours, the people could make a difference *if they decided to do the hard work of informing themselves and getting involved.*

make no mistake about it; there are no guns to our heads.

if our power has been co-opted, it's because we handed it over.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 11:27 AM on October 18, 2000


The wealthiest one percent reported 17.4 percent of all income and paid 33.2 percent of the total income tax. 1997 is the fourth straight year that the people in this group earned a larger percentage of overall income. Things have never been better for them. Why should anyone be in favor of cutting their taxes simply because an across-the-board seems fair?

Because maybe fairness is what the United States is about? A progressive income tax system is inherently unfair, although the system we have could be worse.

Isn't it more important to have a reduced national debt than to help the already rich become much richer? Isn't it more important to hire 100,000 new teachers? Isn't it more important to reduce classroom size?

Yeah, sure. Heck, let's make the upper tax bracket 99% instead of 39% and we can make sure that not only do the rich not get any richer (god forbid we should let people make more than $250,000 a year!), but we'd go a long way towards paying off the national debt and funding education, social security, and medicare! Let's go further, why not increase everyone's tax rates to 99%? Think of what the government could do for us then!

I think it's crazy to say that it's okay to support an unfair tax system because it will pay for "important" government programs. Even if we all agree that something is important, should we go about collecting the money unfairly, just because it's easy to justify?

Personally, I support fully consumption-oriented taxes, in that non-essential services (food, health care, and basic housing are essential services) should be taxed based upon the cost of their impact. Cars and gasoline, then, would be taxed at much higher rates than they currently are. Energy usage (electricity, natural gas) should be taxed. Patterns of development which encourage and require more government services should be taxed with appropriate impact fees. Luxury items (second homes, yachts, fancy cars) should be taxed. But not income!

If we must have an income tax, wouldn't it be more reasonable to say, here's a level of income we think is appropriate for a person. Change that number based on size of family/dependents. Maybe the cost of living where that person lives. Then tax everything above that at one rate. That's as fair as an income tax will ever get.
posted by daveadams at 11:50 AM on October 18, 2000


If the gap between the richest and poorest increases, it's the job of the government to arrest that gap through redistributive tax policy. And no, trickle-down enrichment doesn't work.
posted by holgate at 12:48 PM on October 18, 2000


Consumption taxes like sales taxes hit the poor disproportionately to the rest of the population. If you abandon the existing progressive tax system in favor of consumption taxes, you will create a whole host of new problems because of reduced economic opportunity to poor people. One of the reasons crime has gone down in the last eight years is the increased economic prosperity of all Americans in that period.

Incidentally, since when are electricity and natural gas "non-essential services"?
posted by rcade at 12:49 PM on October 18, 2000


If the gap between the richest and poorest increases, it's the job of the government to arrest that gap through redistributive tax policy. And no, trickle-down enrichment doesn't work.
Anybody mind if we vote on that?
posted by thirteen at 12:53 PM on October 18, 2000


Does Marie Antoinette get a vote?
posted by frykitty at 12:58 PM on October 18, 2000


I can see why you might want her to, in Chicago the dead always vote Democrat.
I'm not a constitutional scholar, but I don't remember anything about redistribution of wealth being covered in my lessons. I don't think it's in there, and it should not be put in there without a vote.
posted by thirteen at 1:13 PM on October 18, 2000


It isn't, but my point is that it could be in the government's best interest to address extreme disparities. I don't think we're ready to take heads just yet, but it's something to keep an eye on.
posted by frykitty at 1:17 PM on October 18, 2000


Redistribution is not addressed by the constitution. But we do have well established laws that address monopolistic business practices.
posted by Sqwerty at 1:46 PM on October 18, 2000


[holgate] If the gap between the richest and poorest increases, it's the job of the government to arrest that gap through redistributive tax policy. And no, trickle-down enrichment doesn't work.

Er, I'm not so sure I agree that it's the job of the United States government to ensure the income gap stays at a proper level. Perhaps you could convince me, though.

[rcade] Consumption taxes like sales taxes hit the poor disproportionately to the rest of the population. If you abandon the existing progressive tax system in favor of consumption taxes, you will create a whole host of new problems because of reduced economic opportunity to poor people. One of the reasons crime has gone down in the last eight years is the increased economic prosperity of all Americans in that period.

You're right, if you tax everything! But if you don't tax basic housing, food, public transportation, clothing, or allow a certain amount of refund for those taxes, then it's the same effect as allowing a certain amount of income without an income tax (like our current system). If the Poore family only spends its money on basic services, they won't pay any tax at all! How does that reduce their economic opportunity over what it is now?

[rcade] Incidentally, since when are electricity and natural gas "non-essential services"?

Well, a certain amount is essential and shouldn't be taxed, but take this example. At home, I'm very wasteful with electricity. I leave two computers running all day long, 24/7. There are some days when I don't touch the things. I'm not running any servers. I do it for the convenience of having the computers on when I want to use them. If I shut them down more often, I'd save electricity and everyone would benefit. In other words, I'm looking for a progressive energy tax. Sure, some energy is required to live. But you don't need to run all your lights and appliances 24/7. It would probably be impossible to implement fairly, but it's an ideal.

posted by daveadams at 1:49 PM on October 18, 2000


You guys probably think I'm a die-hard conservative now, right? Sometimes I wonder...
posted by daveadams at 1:50 PM on October 18, 2000


Interestingly, amongst all this entitlement funding hoo-ha in this vibrant thread, you are all forgetting that businesses commonly lobby local governments out of paying taxes. They lobby cities, states and the federal government into quite a bit more. In Eugene, Oregon, for instance, Symantec got the City to level a park to put up a four-story parking structure, against the will of the town. The Police ended up pepper spraying protesters before the bulldozers started up. In New York, the last Trump development went up with a $500m tax break. When the NYSE threatened, merely threatened, to move to Jeresy City Hall bent over backwards to give them break upon break to stay in a building they’d never dream of leaving.

So when you’re all done arguing class politics, let’s get back to getting the tax base filled with money that should be there anyway. Money due the American people by corporations and businesses using your property and resources.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 1:55 PM on October 18, 2000


Hey y'all -

Sorry for shooting my mouth off. It was uncalled for, and I promise to play better.

-- Scott
posted by solistrato at 7:24 AM on October 19, 2000


Are you kidding, Scott? I want you to play nasty. It certainly keeps me on my toes. It's only through thorough questioning and analysis that we can come up with political ideas that might actually work. For the love of pants, don't go and turn off the cynicism. Be skeptical. Question. That's what I love about you.

*kiss kiss*
posted by RakDaddy at 10:31 AM on October 19, 2000


Er, I'm not so sure I agree that it's the job of the United States government to ensure the income gap stays at a proper level. Perhaps you could convince me, though.

By your own phrasing: you think that government should allow the income gap to widen to "improper" levels? In which case, ethics aside, you're tacitly in favour of impoverishing the state. It's bad economics.
posted by holgate at 2:49 PM on October 19, 2000


Okay, pardon me, I should have put "proper" in quotes. :) Besides, the question is whether or not it's the job of the *United States Government* to try to enforce "proper" income distribution. The Constitution of the United States is very limiting in what powers it grants the federal government. Although there is no doubt the federal government has an interest in "good" economics, I'm not sure I agree that it's the duty of the government to try to fix whatever problems there are.
posted by daveadams at 7:46 PM on October 23, 2000


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