Politics

Pay Quarterly Taxes, Become a Republican?

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Interesting. Check out these charts showing trends in Republican voting, set against the national average:

professional voting charts

Doctors and lawyers, plus clerks and other wearers of the white collar have fled screaming from the Republican party in the last several decades. Meanwhile, business owners, skilled workers, and unskilled workers have fled screaming to it. Business owners are obvious: Quarterly estimated taxes suck (I just wrote a check for my freelance income, and it hurts) and Republicans are the party of tax cuts. Has the changing economy given skilled and unskilled workers a more entrepreneurial sense of themselves and/or made them think more like business owners? Or is there something else going on?

Via Will Wilkinson

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  1. Unskilled workders as well? Thats odd . . .

  2. Maybe unskilled workers tend to be from more socially conservative regions* and it’s social, not economic, drivers driving the shift.

    * Think of the shift of the auto industry to the South.

  3. Think of the shift of the auto industry to the South.

    The auto industry moved south to escape the UAW in ‘Right to Work’ states… so it is most definitely economic.

  4. The auto industry moved south to escape the UAW in ‘Right to Work’ states… so it is most definitely economic.

    How does the auto-industry’s economic preference translate to being the rationale for their workers to join the GOP?

  5. Yeah, because everyone knows that republicans are good on taxes and the economy…

  6. Has the changing economy given skilled and unskilled workers a more entrepreneurial sense of themselves and/or made them think more like business owners? Or is there something else going on?

    Something else is going on. People climbing up in the world are transitioning from net beneficiary (getting essential support from greedy dishonest fat cats) to net supporter (busting my ass so some dead beat can sit on his ass all day and live of my hard earned).

    People with low paying jobs blame the Mexicans for their woes. Not to mention the Libruls and teh gays for their sinful ways.

  7. Hmmmm. . . . definitely possible Mo but cultural shifts are usually tied into an economic shift somewhere

  8. Interesting. I assume the trends are different for different industries as well. I work in oil and the wife works in pharma. The general feeling in both industries is that to vote democratic is to vote to cripple your industry.

  9. Trend I’d like to see: Active duty military.

  10. Haven’t you been watching the news? Those unskilled workers have been driven by economic desperation to cling bitterly to guns, religion, and xenophobia!

  11. Would a bartender be considered a skilled or unskilled laborer? I have difficulty believing my job is actually difficult.

  12. Naga, you’re declaring all of your tip income, right?

  13. Why are professionals heading towards the Democrats so strongly? The lawyerly profession can’t be propagating so quickly as to be the only reason for such a strong shift.

    So… doctors don’t mind being sued as much as they used to?

  14. I think the key factor is not taxes but regulation. Professionals mostly work in self-regulating industries: doctors, lawyers, accountants etc.

    Small business people run into government rules and regulations on a daily basis. Worse, the rules are imposed on them by outsiders, people with no detailed knowledge of how their business works. People watch their livelihoods destroyed by outsiders with no understanding of the challenges people in the business face.

    Professionals by contrast set their own rules by their professional organizations. It’s an old boys club. Outsiders have virtually no say at all. In short, the rules that really affect a professionals career and income are made by people in the same profession.

    As a society, we’re basically being divided into to groups: those who regulate themselves and those who are regulated by the state. The former vote democrat and the later republican.

  15. There have been a couple of posts recently about the GOP’s abandonment of its libertarian wing and renewing its focus on the social conservatives and foreign policy hawks.

    What scares the educated man more: an overbearing regulatory policy or the establishment of a state religion and perpetual war? Or maybe, as KMW suggests, people are voting based on more than pure personal economic interest.

    Perhaps doctors are smart enough to realize that getting sued (and paying more in insurance) ends up being passed through to the consumer.

  16. Of course not, Paul. Thats crazy talk!

  17. I don’t think it’s economics, I think it’s that (especially in the sun belt) Republicans are the Godly party and Democrats aren’t. If I may use an overbroad brush, uneducated, unsophisticated people really do care about keeping Mexicans and gays down, while educated, sophisticated people care more about opposing them.

  18. Unskilled workders as well? Thats odd . . .

    It is the bitterness.

  19. How does the auto-industry’s economic preference translate to being the rationale for their workers to join the GOP?

    Because many Dem-voting UAW members no longer work for the auto industry, their plant having been moved to Alabama and currently being staffed with bitter, racist, Repub-leaning religious gun nuts.

  20. If I may use an overbroad brush, uneducated, unsophisticated people really do care about keeping Mexicans and gays down, while educated, sophisticated people care more about opposing them.

    Is that you, Barack Obama?

  21. So… doctors don’t mind being sued as much as they used to?

    Maybe they’d rather be sued than arrested.

    I think the key factor is not taxes but regulation. Professionals mostly work in self-regulating industries: doctors, lawyers, accountants etc.

    Doctors and accountants are self-regulating? Hahahahahahahahahahaha. I want what you’re smoking. Especially when you consider that most doctors, lawyers and accountants are small business owners as well.

    Or maybe professionals, who are disproportionately in urban areas are tired of being called immoral and elitist by Republicans. 🙂

  22. Shouldn’t a bartender have to declare the prostitute-equivalent value of all the chicks/dudes they pick up at the bar? All the bartenders I know are gloriously promiscuous. It’s not fair that their fringe benefits aren’t taxed. Not fair, I say!

  23. Mo,

    Doctors and accountants are self-regulating? Hahahahahahahahahahaha. I want what you’re smoking. Especially when you consider that most doctors, lawyers and accountants are small business owners as well.

    It’s a relative measure of course but I think it safe to say that professions are far more self-regulating than a small business working in a non-professional area. While professionals do qualify as small businesses, the ration between earnings and the size of the business is much better for professionals than retailers or manufacturers. A doctor pulling in $500,000 a year might have only a dozen employees. A manufacturer pulling in that much would probably have 50+ or more. That means that regulations such as labor laws affect the manufacturer much more strongly than the professional.

  24. Warty,

    Fair? I don’t know. But as for the prostitute value . . . I work in a casino in Biloxi. Management frowns on us picking up customers while at work but the cocktail waitresses and hotel staff are fair game.

  25. This is all because our country is stupid and gullabble. Professionals see the left as a heaven of lattes and intellectualisim; while blue collar “born-again” christains see the republicans as a way to enforce their extreme religous “conviction”.

  26. Naga,
    You are declaring all of your credit card tip income, right? Just askin’, ’cause that stuff actually leaves a paper trail.

  27. Never mind. I see you work in a (basically) all cash bar.

  28. Scooby,

    I signed a compliance agreement when I began working at my casino. I’m basically taxed as if I make 5.25 an hour in tips. Credit card tips are taxed at their full value unfortunately by payroll . . . bastards.

    *sigh*

  29. It’s a relative measure of course but I think it safe to say that professions are far more self-regulating than a small business working in a non-professional area.

    I can’t speak to doctors and accountants, but engineers are pretty much self-regulating. Depending on what you do, you may have to build equipment to meet certain codes, but the profession is self-governing. Professional Engineers especially are more concerned with the liability issues than regulatory ones.

  30. Couldn’t the explanation for the professionals and white collar workers turning pinko have to do with the lack of economics knowledge by the population at large and that it has spilled over into the professional world where they are supposedly more educated?

  31. Professionals include teachers, social workers, psycologists, university professors as well. The link says professionals earning over 75K lean GOP (doctors, engineers) while those under (teachers, social workers etc.) lean democrat.

  32. Simple: professions that benefit from cronyism vote Democrat…professions that do not benefit or are harmed by it vote Republican.

  33. Don’t quite a lot of doctors and lawyers pay taxes quarterly? If they are solo or are partners in a practice I would think they would.

  34. I’ve been self-employed since 1993. I wish all Americans had to pay quarterly estimated taxes like I do. That would elevate govt spending to the top domestic issue.

  35. CharlieFoxtrot,

    When the conversation ever turns to what degree I’m pursuing, people always cringe when I tell them economics. I should emphasize the word CRINGE. I think the trouble isn’t that knowledge of economics is drying up. I believe it is that now that the concept of supply and demand is prevalent everyone pretends to know something about economics. People tend to take an active position about things they know nothing about when it concerns economics these days. The housing bubble is a good example.

  36. Has Shannon Love ever offered a grand theory that survived an encounter with facts?

  37. “I’ve been self-employed since 1993. I wish all Americans had to pay quarterly estimated taxes like I do. That would elevate govt spending to the top domestic issue.”

    I think you’re underestimating how much faith people have in “domestic spending” programs. People love the idea of “totally awesome free health care!” and “totally awesome free higher educations!” by paying their “fair share” (half their salary) and “doing the right thing” (quitting tobacco and taking the subway to work).

    Most people are apparently content with living a mediocre life under the thumb of “the experts” if it means their bills are basically paid and they get a 40 hour work weeks and 4 weeks vacation a year.

    I guess I’m an idealist.

  38. Has Shannon Love ever offered a grand theory that survived an encounter with facts?

    Has anyone?

    Its the nature of grand theories to be magisterial, and facts to be messy. That doesn’t make grand theories any less entertaining or informative.

  39. Most people are apparently content with living a mediocre life under the thumb of “the experts” if it means their bills are basically paid and they get a 40 hour work weeks and 4 weeks vacation a year.

    Damn! Who’s getting 4 weeks vacation a year?

  40. I dont pay quarterly payments. I guess I take advantage of enough deductions and credits.

  41. Also many business owners are not “self employed.” They just happen to work as employees for a company they own. I do both.

  42. Blue collar people vote republican because (in approximate order):

    1) Liberals are going to take away their guns
    2) Liberals are going to take away their God
    3) GWB is a cowboy because he putters around a ranch in Texas, and they find that really impressive.
    4) Rush told them to (the talk radio asshole, not the band)
    5) The war on terror, and they really love the idea that the military is overseas kicking Arab/Islamic ass right now. (Turn on CMT, and see how long it is before you see a soldier.)

  43. There’d be far less Republicans or Democrats if everybody had to write a check on April 15.

    Having to write a 20K check every year to the federal government really makes you question what all that money is buying you.

    Want to lower taxes? End payroll witholdings. Make everyone write the checks themselves. Besides, why is everyone basically mandated to give the government interest free loans all year long (whether paying through withholdings or quarterly estimated payments).

    I’d be real curious to see just how much free money should be generated by the interest free loans the government gets off of withholdings/quarterlies.

  44. The issue relating to doctors is largely a filtering issue. A generation or two ago, doctors were entrepreneurs of sorts. Now, in part because of who is chosen to enter medical school, they are mostly bureaucratically oriented. More and more are employees; less and less run their own businesses. Guaranteed hours and better pay via having their organizations lobby Washington is what they seek, not making a fortune by always being available to their patients (who are only *their* patients during their shifts.)

    Not surprisingly, the large majority of AMA members now support universal health care. They already have the bureaucracy, and they think this will help them get paid for taking care of uninsured patients (which they already do).

  45. The time series for professionals basically consists of two flat lines: one for before 1972, and one for after 1972 (and one more sharp drop in 2004). The real question should be: what happened around 1972 (plus or minus a couple of years) to cause the shift? Maybe the professionals were hugely turned off by Nixon, but that doesn’t explain why they never went back.

  46. The real question should be: what happened around 1972 (plus or minus a couple of years) to cause the shift?

    Women entering the workforce, specifically in the professional ranks.

  47. Kolohe beat me to it. Used to be very few female doctors, now lots of them, and women tend to be more likely to vote for Democrats than men. Note that these are changes from prior levels — professionals are still more likely to vote for Republicans than unskilled workers, just not as much so as in the past.

  48. “Blue collar people vote republican because (in approximate order):

    1) Liberals are going to take away their guns”

    That is a valid point. Liberals do what to take away my guns.

  49. First rule of American politics: Americans hate big government in general but loved it specfically. That explains divided government. They vote GOP for executive and vote Dems in Congress to keep GOP from actually cutting government. When Dems are in the White House, they vote GOP to keep the Dems from going hog wild on spending.

  50. Republicans are the party of tax cuts? Why does the total amount of taxes taken from us keep going up then?

    You can’t just blame a growing economy or population, either — the percentage going to government has been increasing as well.

    Real tax cuts would reduce the amount of money the government takes, not try to take more by lowering rates a little.

    If government has a few Constitutionally defined functions, the percentage of income taken by the government should decline over time, not stay the same, as those functions become a smaller and smaller slice of the overall economy.

  51. My guess is that the white collar shift away from the Republicans has little to do with tax policy, and a lot to do with the war, the assault on civil liberties, and the retreat from science and toward faith based logic.

  52. The real question should be: what happened around 1972 (plus or minus a couple of years) to cause the shift? Maybe the professionals were hugely turned off by Nixon, but that doesn’t explain why they never went back.

    Isn’t that about when ERISA kicked in, and the HMO Act? I recall Ron Paul mentioning these as big factors in the decline of American health care — when the government started getting involved.

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