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Forum Post: Occupy needs a focus for the vote: Electoral Reform, Jill Stein!

Posted 8 years ago on July 3, 2012, 4:44 a.m. EST by ElectoralReform (73)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

I posted a response, but really feel it deserves a thread, and real dialogue all the way to the top of Occupy. Occupy needs a focus in the coming election. After the National Gathering, the focus needs to bem oved from Increasing Awareness, which is what "occupying" really is, to getting out the vote, going door to door, registering, spreading to the communities peacefully and practically instead of just occupying and getting arrested.

People are completely fed up with the Ds and Rs, so it's time to end the two party duopoly! If you are convinced that Obama is still as wonderful as you thought 4 years ago, take some objective looks at ndaa, patriot act, kill list, guantanamo bay, war on whistleblowers, nato 3 arrested, big bank bailouts... it's bad. And I shouldn't have to argue about Romney. Changing the parties from within (which is the tea party method) seems like a futile effort to me: That's what Obama was supposed to be. That's what Dennis Kucinich, Bernie Sanders, and others try to do and fail.

The only way is to end the two party duopoly, and enact Electoral Reform. Ending corporate influence, shorter and cheaper and smarter elections, maintaining voting rights, and enacting Instant Run-off Voting or Proportional Representation or another form of fair voting (look at fairvote.org)

The real race should be between Gary Johnson the Libertarian and Jill Stein the Green. Gary Johnson is a true conservative, wants to end the wars in the middle east and war on drugs, wants to balance the budget and protect civil liberties and control the Federal Reserve, end bank bailouts. He's also a bit extreme in his libertarianism, and likes privatized prisons and wants to abolish the IRS and Dept. of Education.

Jill Stein wants to balance the budget by taxing the rich, not cutting spending, wants to protect civil liberties, control the Federal Reserve, end bank bailouts, and end the wars. She's a bit extreme in her progressive standpoints, and wants large tax scheme that's fair on the poor and rich, ends subsidies, and uses the federal spending to allocate money to the states and cities, to grow the private and public sector through local democracy initiatives.

And most importantly, both candidates would try to end the two party reign of terror by enacting Instant Run-off Voting or Choice voting or Proportional Representation, or another more fair voting system (read more at fairvote.org)

There is no reason that Occupy Wall Street is not making a priority to end the two party duopoly through the election. Make election reform (ending corporate influence, shorter and cheaper and smarter elections, maintaining voting rights, and enacting IRV, PR etc) the number one priority!

Ideally (and logically by my rational), Libertarians, Greens, and all Independent and rational voters and politicians would want to make an agreement to, at a minimum, enact electoral reform and call for a new election.

But Occupy needs to lead the front on this! Pick a fight and go for it! Leaders at National Gathering now, get talking! What's the plan for the vote? How do you get people organized, on the ground, registered to vote, and voting for REAL CHANGE? I want to hear this from the speakers at NatGat

Twit: @reformcoalition www.electoralreformcoalition.wordpress.com



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[-] 5 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 8 years ago

How about ending parties all together? Dont alloow them to move to DC? Make them all give monthly press conferences in a public square of their areas?

Accountablity is at all time lows.

[-] 3 points by Endgame (535) 8 years ago

Couldn't agree more. The root of the problem is the bribery and corruption in our political system. And the fact that our politicians are bought because due to the corruption corporations and big money have all of the real power.

But because Occupy have allowed for a few Anarchists to run the movement Occupy is seen as a movement that is trying to achieve Anarchists goals of Abolishing government. And because that is the Anarchist's agenda they don't want Electoral Reform and to fix the system, they want to completely abolish it.

Until we as a movement figure out what we want to be we will be nothing. Just complainers with no teeth.

But I do agree that this is what we should be focused on.

[-] 0 points by WageSlave (117) 8 years ago

That's not entirely true. I might be classed as an anarchist in a sense. I do think we can do away with govt in the future in favor of a system based on the scientific method as opposed to subjective philosophy. We do need a completely new economic system if we are to facilitate the increased efficiency of automated labor and molecular manufacturing, both of which are inevitable and pose extreme problems for any monetary market model. However, I believe we need to make the political atmosphere more palatable for such a transition first -- and fast.

[-] 1 points by Endgame (535) 8 years ago

That is common sense middle ground that could go a long way.

[-] 3 points by ElectoralReform (73) 8 years ago

All great ideas, and with technology, probably rarely need politicians to go to Washington really.. but one step at a time eh

[-] 1 points by Underdog (2971) from Clermont, FL 8 years ago

They go to DC so they can meet in backroom deals off the grid and conduct their underground deals. With WikiLeaks around, they are more aware than ever about the perils of electronic communication. They hate the media that can playback things they said years ago that directly contradict what they say now. In the old days, they could get away with more because the public has a "short memory". But nowdays it's not so easy.

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 8 years ago

I can assure you, this won't happen in Occupy. The simple reason is a fairly rigid attachment to anarchist philosophy. It isn't that anarchist philosophy is bad (I love guys like Pierre Proudhon), the real problem is, anarchist philosophy hasn't kept up with the times. Part of the reason for this is how well the establishment has been able to transform anarchism into a dirty word, but even considering this unfortunate fact, it is still true that all the major anarchist writings were generated in the 19th or early 20th centuries.

In many respects, what was true back then, is still true today --- but this is not true in all cases (and it would be nice if we had more intellectualism, a sort of updating of anarchist philosophy). I mean, there's two or three prominent intellectuals who like anarchism, but that's not enough. You can't really have peer review if you have no peers.

If people like the idea of consensus based decision making, I suggest they look to the only method known to successfully generate something very close to consensus, scientific method. It's not that scientific method doesn't rigorously promote new ideas, what makes it so amazing is it both promotes a constant battle of ideas, while at the same time, incorporating in concepts like generally accepted (when referring to strongly supported theories or laws of nature, like evolution or entropy).

We might frame this as an evidence based approach. When I have discussions with more conservative friends, it's pretty apparent that we have a huge wall to climb when it comes to public perception.

I'll give a specific example. I mentioned the idea of a stock market in every city, local banks instead of giant-to big to fail-banking institutions. Conservatives love the idea of decentralization in theory. They claim that they would love to reduce the size and scope of Washington. But they fail to see how centralization in the private sector is just as bad as centralization in the public sector, and it's exponentially worse when the two are colluding with each other (and conversing about this with conservative friends, has been like trying to hold a meaningful conversation with a brick wall).

Anarchist philosophy makes awesome arguments against this sort of centralization, but unfortunately, anarchists tend to do a poor job of matching up anarchist philosophy to our contemporary society. What's worse, is there's a weird distaste for debate (intellectually suffocating), yet they commonly appeal to the direct democracy of Athens (btw, the ancient Greeks had skilled orators debate issues in their Agora, and then they voted, and they did not use a consensus process).

The idea is ... this sort of debate process tends to create factions, people who align with each other for mutually beneficial reasons. Okay, this is probably true, but the alternative seems even less appealing. Sure, we can design a consensus based model, affinity groups with people who share the same basic view on a particular topic, and then they come together when they perceive a shared value with the larger group (probably a good idea for the purpose of organization building, but there still needs to be a mechanism for public debate, or if not debate, at least some way to present opposing ideas in the same "public" forum). Moreover, how does this prevent the formation of factions? It merely pushes the collusion out of public purview, but there's no systemic safeguard against collusion (which is probably close to impossible).

I like the idea of public debate much more. The only way to avoid the slippery slope of group think (which tends to narrow thinking over time, thereby reducing participation) is to have a system that not only allows ideas to be challenged in the public square, but promotes this sort of process. I mean, this sort of narrow group think dynamic may be helpful if your movement is focused on a very narrow issue, but OWS is not focused on single narrow issue, or small collection of issues, it fancies itself as a mouthpiece for the 99% (and tries to tackle a wide range of issues that involve virtually every aspect of our society and culture). Obviously for pragmatic reasons, you can't really have a free for all. All views should be welcomed, but at the same time, people need to exercise impulse control and show respect for others. I love the idea that OWS tries to include the disenfranchised as much as possible, and I'm somewhat frustrated by those who would like to marginalize those groups. But at the same time, intelligence is important. What I see all too often is these sort of (so called) teach in's, where only one view is represented, and the audience (in general) lacks the intellectual acumen to interpret the data being fed to them. I'd rather start out by teaching the homeless man or woman, something like algebra, and then maybe some rudimentary calculus, why not a little physics and biology, maybe an overview of economic theories, common law history, political history, etc. Knowledge is power, and there can be no greater form of disenfranchisement than lack of knowledge (and knowledge does not mean "only my ideas").

[-] 2 points by ElectoralReform (73) 8 years ago

I like the idea of teach-ins, free public knowledge and debate.

And yes, open dialogue, honest debate, and a media that is objective in letting you view these debates would be fantastic. I think a goal of activists in 2012 should be simply to get the Green and Libertarian parties enough support to get them in some debates. They'd do great, provide other viewpoints, and force issues that otherwise do not get discussed. But that's another uphill battle, as the debates are all owned by the media, and after Ross Perot, they made it more difficult.

You said it well when you said that Occupy doesn't want to disinfranchise, wants to cover everything that the 99% should focus on. But this is so broad. For some period of time, and for some group of pepole in Occupy, should the focus not be made specific and tangible? And as far as the anarchist element goes, be sure to note the differences between intellectual anarchists, or arnachy theorists, who believe in the benefits for all man, vs the simply raising trouble anarchists. And it can be hard to tell the line between the two. Same goes with disinfranchising minority views. What about that guy Sage that kept popping up, getting interviews, being all over the scene. Isn't it starting to look like he is a mole planted to raise trouble and give a bad image of OWS, probably even to report information back? What about other sources of purposeful derailement?

I like the idea of trying to solve all the problems and address everything, but shouldn't getting to the root of the problem and focusing on one thing be a priority? Of course, lots of other methods other than voting, and it's great to focus work on all possible tangible actions. But the 2012 election will also be a big opportunity. And if money in politics is the root, and the centralization of power, and we have two parties who purposefully fail to address this (the GOP talks about how they hate big federal government while doing nothing to stop it, and the Democrats love to talk about all the ways to spend money wisely, while half of every tax dollar still goes to war!) it seems to me the logical next step is to find the root cause in there existing only two parties, and why these two parties have such an authority.

[-] 3 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 8 years ago

I like the idea of teach-ins, free public knowledge and debate.

is there a forum for that?

[-] 2 points by francismjenkins (3713) 8 years ago

Not much I can add to that ... accept to say, I fully agree (and of course a twinkle) :)

[-] 2 points by writerconsidered123 (344) 8 years ago

not really OWS thing but personally I'll be voting for jill stein I"m voting agianst the money.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 8 years ago

Occupy will continue as is and will evolve in its own manner. It is a waste of time for anyone to try to provide it with a specific direction. Instead, it should be recognized that Occupy is composed of various individuals who may or may not take interest in a particular direction. Those who do will provide support for that interest.

The duopoly is the only game in town and that's not going to change anytime soon. However, the duopoly itself can be changed by changing the rules of the game. Rather than simply voting for corporate owned Democrats or unelectable Greens, create a position that combines the strengths of both. Create Green Democrats i.e. members of the Democratic Party who are committed to the Green Party platform. This removes the dilemma of chosing between unelectable Greens and corporate owned Democrats. Now a voter would be able to vote for someone who has a chance of winning while remaining true to the important issues. However, the GreenDems would also stand out in being FreeDA signers, that is, signers of Free Democracy Affidavits committing them to support of the Free Democracy Amendment http://occupywallst.org/forum/free-democracy-amendment/ . In accordance with clauses 6, 7, and 8, of the Free Democracy Amendment, the FreeDA signers would also be signing on to affirmations of not accepting campaign contributions from corporations and non-profits, not accepting gifts from special interests once in office, and making all communication with lobbyists open to the press and public. This will make the GreenDems stand out as candidates who can be held accountable to the People in contrast to candidates, Democrat or Republican, who don't sign FreeDA. This, in itself, will create political pressure for all other candidates to sign. Whether or not that pressure would be enough to make the other candidates sign is unknown but the pressure would be there every election in which the People become more and more fed up with unaccountable public officials and begin to consider the ever present accountable alternatives. This would be changing the rules of the game to favor the People while using the popular strength of the duopoly against itself.


[-] 1 points by shadz66 (19985) 8 years ago

In order to 'Occupy your focus', please also consider :

fiat lux ...

[-] 0 points by WageSlave (117) 8 years ago

For what it's worth, Chris Hedges recently offered a desperate plea of endorsement for Jill Stein. Urgently pleading with people concerned with peace in particular to get behind the campaign. Another notable, Noam Chomsky, endorsed the campaign via a letter to the Green Party as well.

[-] 1 points by ElectoralReform (73) 8 years ago

It's worth lots. I think any OWS activist who simply doesn't vote, or votes for either two party in the duopoly, is simply shooting their own group in the foot. Say what you will about changing the system from outside, you need to put a fight up inside the system too.

[-] 1 points by WageSlave (117) 8 years ago

No effort would do more to benefit electoral reform than by supporting third parties. It would really help bring the problems of the current electoral process to the forefront for all to see plainly. Winning isn't necessary. Third parties helped end slavery, obtain women's rights, child labor laws, social security and much more. They did this simply by running for the presidency, pressuring the two parties on key issues, and votes helped gauge public support and forced the political landscape to be altered for the better.

[-] 1 points by ElectoralReform (73) 8 years ago

Here here! I still can't believe that OWS is not jumping all over the third parties!

[-] -1 points by pacodelariviera (-34) 8 years ago

Troll! You want us to vote third party so that Romney wins! We see right through your game! Get off this site Republicon! You're just a corpoRATist. Dems are the only right choice!

[-] 1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 8 years ago

I like the electoral changes you mentioned. How do you feel about these.

End political ads! Shorter campaigns, weekly debates with all candidates.

End the electoral college. One person, one vote!

Enlarge House of reps. Would give cities larger more appropriate representation and should allow for more 3rd parties.

End citizens united, corp personhood, money in politics! Publicly funded campaigns!

Mandatory voting for all eligible citizens. This is what the 1% fear the most.

[-] 1 points by EagleEye (31) 8 years ago

Agree, but which idea is the easiest to reach? What is the priority?

[-] 2 points by VQkag2 (16478) 8 years ago

Wow. It may be a smarter person than me to identify that. But I think the most hurtful election problem is money in politics. So I would say ending citizens united/ending corp personhood and establishing publicly funded campaigns. They are all related.

The org "move to Amend" is taking advantage of many anti citizens united efforts around the country.

I think all the others can and should come afterwards so we should start talkin about them now.

[-] 1 points by ElectoralReform (73) 8 years ago

Yes, money in politics is probably the biggest problem, but one that the two parties will not fix unless we force them to. I'd like that force to come from support for other parties. Both Obama and Romney poll high, because they are the only ones on the polls, the only ones in the media, and those are difficult hurdles to overcome.

But I also hope that citizen united can be overturned, and it may require an amendment.

[-] 3 points by VQkag2 (16478) 8 years ago

I think it will require an amendment! They may circumvent the effects by passing total public funding of all campaigns. Either way I've heard dems support these changes and repubs go on the record against these changes.

I think 3rd party support can move the 2 parties in power but they are still locked out. Other election/campaign reform should be passed to help 3rd party support.


[-] 1 points by WageSlave (117) 8 years ago

I agree completely. I also agree with hchc on eliminating political parties altogether in the long run. Let people figure out how conservative or liberal a candidate is by his or her positions. The best way to press for these changes is to stand up and be counted regarding our disapproval of the current electoral system! We won't be counted by not voting, as voter turnout is always low. Nor will we be counted if we cast our votes for the lesser of two evils, but rather, by taking our votes to candidates that more accurately represent our values and positions.

[-] -1 points by VQkag2 (16478) 8 years ago

I suppose I could support eliminating political parties. In the end they seem to all get corrupted. And the current 2 party duoploy is the best advertisement for abolishing them all.

Of course people naturally tend to form groups so abolishing all for all time might be excessive. Wouldn't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

[-] 1 points by ElectoralReform (73) 8 years ago

Ending parties wouldn't be necessary if there was better representation. They would naturally fragment and lose their hegemony.

But ending parties couldn't be the first step anyway.

Voting 3rd party can elect a third party (has happened), it can be a real protest vote (not voting is not helping) or it can sway the parties that are losing votes to be more responsive. It's a win win win.

So how do we move Occupy to take this political approach, how do we get the ball rolling on this. It seems the National Gathering didn't really focus on this, in favor of co-ops, and affadavits. But I think trying to control the Democrat party is a mistake, and if Occupy can move the focus to third parties, get third parties in the debates, get third parties in the polls, maybe they can get more Dems and Rs to run independant.

Occupy needs to reach out, locally in all communities, door to door, with a clear and precise message. It needs to focus its goals, reign in the anarchist element, and try to work within the system to change the system. The only other option is full revolution, and that's not a good option nor is there enough momentum yet.

Occupy needs to focus the electoral goals on Electoral Reform, and the places where Libs and Cons overlap (and Green and Libertarian overlap, and Ds and Rs fail) which is controlling the banks and federal reserve, lower deficit, ending tax breaks for rich and corporations, ending corrupt lobbying... Go door to door with pamphlets that compare Ds and Rs to Greens and Libertarian, and where the overlap is, and where the two party duopoly fails. Whether deliberate or not, the Dems have sold us out, and working for them won't seem to help, given that Democrats elected their best hope already, and you can say he was marred with conflict and impossible tasks.... but he also didn't do the things he could have done single handedly, and broke many many many promises.

[-] 2 points by VQkag2 (16478) 8 years ago

I can agree with your approach. And I'm willing to go door to door and work for change. 3rd party or otherwise. I may not agree with your assessment of Pres Obama, but I want OWS to do somethnig political. I also think "full revolution is impossible now and a mistake".

I also think we should not be married to just anarchist approach. I read all non violent tactics and political persuasions are embraced. I believed it. So let me know what the plan is.

[-] 0 points by HempTwister (667) from Little Rock, AR 8 years ago

If you don't vote AGAINST the 1%, then they win.

If the two leaders are tied and I vote for Jill then the 1% guys only need one vote to be in the lead. If I vote for the leader that is not the 1% guy then he needs two votes to be ahead.

Sorry, Jill. Give me some of this and I will vote for you.


[-] 2 points by WageSlave (117) 8 years ago

Thankfully, not everyone buys the spoiler/wasted vote nonsense. Otherwise it would have taken much longer to end slavery and obtain women's right, child labor laws, reduced work hours, social security, etc. Third party votes are powerful. They actually force change, unlike the lesser of two evils that allows corporate America to select our candidates for us. That's the strategy that destroyed this country.

Jill already supports electoral reform.

[-] 1 points by HempTwister (667) from Little Rock, AR 8 years ago

Is the math too tricky?

[-] 1 points by WageSlave (117) 8 years ago

I wouldn't vote for Obama unless someone had a gun to my head. I refuse to endorse mass murder, torture and warrantless spying. If Jill Stein was not running I would refuse participation. I don't want that blood on my hands. Obamas foreign policy has proved more lethal than the republican Bush administration.

[-] 1 points by HempTwister (667) from Little Rock, AR 8 years ago

Go back to your Tea Party friends. They will love you.

[-] 1 points by ElectoralReform (73) 8 years ago

Don't be a fool. For all the ways Obama is the 'lesser of two evils' he has not been less evil enough. Drone strikes killing children every week, whistleblowers in jail, indefinite detention, guantanamo bay AND its similar prisons abroad, ndaa, patriot act... Making all the claims that Obama has been perfect because he's less evil.. that's the kind of "strategic voting" that I'd rather end. But, of course, most people have a hard time making the jump, knowing they could help someone they despise more being elected. Hence, need for IRV

[-] 1 points by HempTwister (667) from Little Rock, AR 8 years ago

"Hence, need for IRV" Yup.

But it is not about war. Or civil rights. It is about economics.

Vote against the greater evil. Just as they are doing. Trickle down or trickle up.

[-] 1 points by ElectoralReform (73) 8 years ago

IRV is necessary and Ds and Rs will not support it unless they were at risk of losing enough of their support to lose the election. If OWS goes against Obama, he thinks he'll lose, he may make some concessions. Electoral Reform is the ball to get rolling. If we can push the two parties into IRV or another form, we can end their strangle hold. They won't do this unless they must. If Obama looks like he'll lose (which I doubt he will, due to the strategic voting that was talked about by HempTwister) he'll have to move further towards the votes. If the votes are in OWS, in electoral reform, in IRV, he'll have to work for our votes. Or he'll lose and Green Party and Libertarian will finally be on the map. Nobody wants Romney, but I doubt he'll change much if he wins... just more blatant sell outs to corporations, nothing new.

[-] 1 points by WageSlave (117) 8 years ago

Thanks for the tip. I never would have guessed the tea partiers were the ones in favor of peace and the progressives were the warmongers.

[-] -1 points by Clancy (42) 8 years ago

Why should people be punished for having a higher income.

[-] 1 points by WageSlave (117) 8 years ago

We know that increased inequality dramatically increases violent death (homicide and suicide) rates. Every epidemic of violent deaths was initiated under Republican rule. Every reduction of violent deaths below epidemic levels was initiated under Democratic rule. The same basic trends apply to unemployment rates (Republicans always leave office with higher unemployment than they arrived with, Democrats always leave office with less -- there is also a difference in average duration of frictional unemployment, which is much shorter under Democrats). Even GDP is negatively impacted by Republican rule, and once again the opposite for Democrats. I think GDP is bunk anyway, though.

The stats are hiding in plain sight as a matter of public record -- Bureau of Labor Statistics, among others. This is not a defense of Democrats so much as liberal politics vs. conservative politics. Harvard Psychiatrist, and long-time violent crime researcher, Dr. James Gilligan expands on these issues in his recent book "Why Some Politicians are More Dangerous Than Others". The work of Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson also has demonstrated a slew of other ways increased inequality bleeds over to every aspect of life from teen pregnancy to drug use.

Conservative policies have blatantly obvious poor results that anybody can verify with the most basic non-partisan statistics.

[-] 0 points by Clancy (42) 8 years ago

It is still unfair to punish people for being successful in life. If I make a fortune off of a product or business line and worked hard for success why do I get punished for that. You cannot honestly say that is fair.

[-] 2 points by WageSlave (117) 8 years ago

I disagree that it's unfair, because the rich corporate CEO's aren't producing anything of worth that would be proportional to their exorbitant pay by comparison to the workers. Not only is their pay not proportional to their work or relevant to the importance of the products they produce, but they even pay proportionally less in taxes riding on the myth of being job creators that they clearly are not, as basic statistics prove thoroughly.

Regardless of all of that, even if we were to say taxing the rich is immoral... would that basic philosophical principle outweigh all of the very clear and obvious benefits with regard to economic growth, unemployment rate, violent crime and death, obesity, teen pregnancy, math & literacy, infant mortality, imprisonment, trust, mental illness, social mobility, and on and on.

[-] 0 points by Clancy (42) 8 years ago

I'm not talking about CEO's of massive company's.

[-] 1 points by WageSlave (117) 8 years ago

Well, I don't think you understand how taxes work then. Taxes go toward investing in the better future you can't afford to pay for on your own. You could certainly argue our taxes are mismanaged currently. However, taxes are a necessary part of a 21st century economy. This isn't the 1800's.

[-] 0 points by Clancy (42) 8 years ago

I never said to not tax the rich you idiot. Just to not tax such massive amounts of their income.

[-] 1 points by WageSlave (117) 8 years ago

Clancy, I am saying you could at least tax everyone the same proportion of income, which currently is not the case. They would still make more than people of lower income. You seem to be assuming I am advocating the same wage for everyone regardless of what they do.

Let's try an example... So if Joe makes $10 an hour and Mike makes $15 an hour, if you tax 10% of income, Joe would make $9 and Mike would make $13.5. And if Sally makes $20 an hour, and we tax 10%, she will make $18. That is fair taxation. After all, after two hours Joe would make as much as Sally did in one hour -- $18 -- because the tax rate is the same.

However, if you ask Adam Smith (who Free Market enthusiasts love to misquote) he would say: "The rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion." Smith was also in favor of government regulation of business as well.

[-] 0 points by WageSlave (117) 8 years ago

Bottom line -- conservative taxation that benefits the rich has negative consequences for us all. It hurts the economy, increases unemployment, crime, violent death, and all the other social ills I listed before (and then some). History proves quite clearly that conservatism is bad for society.

[-] 1 points by ElectoralReform (73) 8 years ago

Clancy, you are suggesting a few things:

1) the rich successful people did not cheat. Often, they did. When it's exposed that they cheated, they pay a fine (vs going to jail, like poor people)

2) there is no limit to greed and success. In a totally open free market capitalist economy, eventually all the money and power would be held under a single monopoly. That's just the naturally progression of capitalism, it always has solidified wealth under fewer people, while regulations and limits on capitalism have helped keep the money from being to concentrated. Even John Adams said that the rich should have to pay higher taxes, because they can.

3) You became successful and rich completely on your own, and at no time from the help of anyone else or the government: pretty far fetched. If you are rich and successful, you owe part of that success. Did you study in a public school, or drive on public roads, or any of the other things our taxes pay for? Asking rich to pay a higher percentage of their money, while they are still paying a lower percentage of their excess money, is not 'punishing successful people'

[-] 1 points by JesseHeffran (3903) 8 years ago

That is rich. The irony of political debate is when Conservative minded individuals speak about fairness. Who was it that coined the term, "life is not fair"? I know I've heard that talking point within certain parlance. I just can't put my finger on it. Hmmm...

[-] 0 points by WageSlave (117) 8 years ago

Furthermore, I think it should go without saying that higher income does not equate to higher effort/work put in. The most physically demanding, most dangerous jobs in america (construction being one example) are also the lowest paying. Thus, the hardest working Americans get paid the least more often than not. There are 5,000 janitors in the U.S. with Ph.D's. What do hedge fund managers do that's worth a fuck? Furthermore, social mobility has proved extraordinarily low in recent history, and it seems to get worse and worse as wealth accumulates at the top.

[-] 0 points by Clancy (42) 8 years ago

What about successful small business owners. If their taxes are so high that profit can't be made then they won't expand. If people get huge amounts of their income taken then people will not strive to succeed and be successful in life.

[-] 1 points by ElectoralReform (73) 8 years ago

These are all misdirections. Small business owners are not over burdened by taxes, and nobody here wants to raise their taxes (if anything, they deserve tax breaks too)

Honestly, we can LOWER taxes on most of the 99% while increasing taxes only marginally on the 1%, spend our money a little better (a lot less war) and keep the banks from running the show. That would solve the economic problem. But alas, the military industrial complex and the banking debt complex have convinced so many people that they are the job creators, they are the backbone of the economy, and that taxing them would hurt everyone.

A terrible lie!