What the Hell Do Voters Care About Anyway?

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As someone genuinely uninterested in politics, I apologize for so many election-related posts of late. But WTF, here's anudder:

The Christian Science Monitor talks up a Gallup poll that finds the top concerns of voters are, in descending order, Iraq, economy, terrorism, health care, Social Security, political corruption, taxes, gasoline prices, immigration, same-sex marriage. Partisans take note: The Dems are "trusted to do a better job" on all these issues, even taxes (whatever that means).

The GOP's latest tactic? Waving the bloody shirt (so to speak) of whiskey-voiced, putative tax-hiker Rep. Charles Rangel, (D-N.Y.) who said in a September interview with Bloomberg News, that he could not "cannot think of one" of President Bush's first-term tax cuts that should be renewed. But as the CSM notes, Rangel, in the same interview said that:

a priority for the new Congress should be reforming the alternative minimum tax, a system designed originally to make sure wealthy people cannot avoid paying taxes but which has increasingly affected middle-class taxpayers. That will be an expensive reform, and Rangel wants to reinstate the "pay-as-you-go" system that requires new spending to be covered by revenue increases.

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  1. Abortion doesn’t even make it into the top 10?

  2. I think the general voting American (both parties) is pretty uninformed in economics, history, Islam, immigration, civil rights, etc. All they want is change.

  3. And goodies that someone else paid for.

  4. And restrictions on the freedoms of people they don’t like.

  5. One of John Kerry’s 2004 advisers told “The Economist” recently that American voters aren’t buying into the Democratic agenda, if one exists. They just want divided government.

    I agree with this assessment. Since one party is about as irresponsible as the other (libertarians now being politically homeless), why not play them off against one another? Could be fun.

  6. Nick,
    offering up an udder is very insensitive to the lactose-intolerant posters.

  7. panurge — The problem being that any party winning by even the narrowest of margins, or even on a technicality so to speak, will _assert_ that it has a clear mandate for its platform, and act accordingly.

  8. I agree with this assessment. Since one party is about as irresponsible as the other (libertarians now being politically homeless), why not play them off against one another? Could be fun.

    Why not? becouse with only a little more effort we could subjigate one of the parties to our own ends. or at the very least steal votes from them.

  9. The problem being that any party winning by even the narrowest of margins, or even on a technicality so to speak, will _assert_ that it has a clear mandate for its platform, and act accordingly.

    How is that a problem? They can assert all they want, but unless they have control of both houses of congress and the presidency, they’ll have to convince the other party that whatever assinine idea they’re asserting has merit.

  10. OMG ONOEZ the Democrats won’t spend money unless they find a revenue stream! Don’t vote them in, they’re the party of fiscal irresponsibility!

    Wait a minute…

    Seriously, am I alone in parsing the objections to Rangel as “The Democrats will end the debt-financed-spending party, don’t vote for them!”?

  11. am I alone in parsing the objections to Rangel as “The Democrats will end the debt-financed-spending party, don’t vote for them!”?

    What Rangel is really promising to do is replace the debt-financed-spending party with the tax-financed-even-more-spending party, which isn’t, in the whole, any better. Could even be worse, in the short run.

    Don’t suppose anyone’s noticed that the deficit is way down, BTW?

  12. The fundamental flaw in pay-as-you-go is that it assumes tax revenues correlate with tax rates.

    Since that’s not true, you wind up with more spending, and lower revenues from less economic growth.

    A party that is in power is obligated to push its own agenda, because this party will be punished if things don’t go well. It’s only reasonable that if the party in power be judged, it should be for the results of its desired policy, not for some cobbled-together compromise.

    Bush won’t get a pass by saying this or that failed policy was only in place because he was compromising with the Dems, and vice versa.

    No matter how small your majority, you simply must implement your own policies.

    Part of this may stem from my observation that often there are two right answers, but combining the two is a woeful failure.

  13. That will be an expensive reform, and Rangel wants to reinstate the “pay-as-you-go” system that requires new spending to be covered by revenue increases.

    I remember hearing Republicans talk about it as if new tax cuts would be offset by spending decreases. …gosh, I like the sound of that better.

  14. “Don’t suppose anyone’s noticed that the deficit is way down, BTW?”

    Yes, thanks in no small part to “AMT bracket creep.”

  15. In what way can I make the leaders of the major political parties suffer the most? Give me a list of votes that will cause them the most pain, and I’ll vote it. That’s how the LP should position itself: “Say ‘Fuck You’. . .Vote Libertarian”.

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