Friday, January 20, 2006

Open Forum

Aldon posted a nice summary of the Ned Lamont Q&A yesterday--well worth checking out, much easier to follow than the actual conversation (which admittedly was tough to follow).

Republican SOTS candidate and president of the Registrars of Voters Association Richard Abbate wrote an opinion piece in the Courant about the possibility of getting new voting machines to comply with HAVA by this Election Day. If he or anyone else expects Susan Bysiewicz to do anything close to what he suggests, they should prepare to be disappointed.

A legislative committee is studying ways to relieve the property tax burden. There are a couple of interesting ideas in the article.

And lastly, CTKeith has suggested a technology upgrade for the site. While I don't think the design around here is too terrible, he had a point about the failure of the comment system and the difficult-to-follow conversation Wednesday night. Taking suggestions (note: I'd like to avoid Haloscan-style pop-up comment windows).

What else is happening?

48 comments:

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!) said...

GC:

FWIW - and bear in mind I'm pretty new to the site and the phenomenon in general - I like the look and feel of the place. I do, I do.

mod.dem.like.jfk said...

GC- I've only been reading for about four months or so, but I really enjoy the format and look. Its refreshingly easier to look at than most other blogs. Good job!

Chris MC said...

This has the potential for being a technical conversation that few of us can meaningfully contribute to. Not that this will keep Keith from pontificating about what we all must think, do, and believe.

The main concern is performance. There is something to be said for threaded posts, to be sure. But at its current scale, and with people increasingly selecting ID's, it isn't unworkable as-is.

Were the performance problems server related, or was it certainly a limitation of blogger?

Anonymous said...

Branford Boy said..

I like the look of the site. My only gripe is that I have yet to figure out how to "register" so I don't have to type in "BranfordBoy said" every time I want to make a comment.

Genghis, I'd also be interested in your take on the Forward story about Joe Lieberman and the Brooklyn Bundler.

Do you think anyone in CT will care?

Eddie said...

1. I noticed that the Courant didn't identify Abbate as the Republican SotS candidate.

2. You think Abbate might like to do a Connecticut Local Politics meet-and-greet?

3. Blog software isn't chat room software. And with Blogger, you aren't exactly getting a dedicated server :) . So if events like the LaMont conversation continue, we'll probably have to get used to a few missteps.

Gabe said...

RE: Republican SOTS candidate and president of the Registrars of Voters Association Richard Abbate -

I agree with everything he said except for the last sentance when he referred to the elections as being next November. They are this November, and while the SOTS should do everything possible to get the machines by then, in reality, and assuming that time will not be suspended, it doesn't seem realistic.

Also, threaded comments are awesome and would relieve the confusion when we have live questioning of candidates. And the confusion when you are responding to the wrong Anonymouse

daffy duck said...

G.C.: I thought you performed a great service to your blog community but also Ned Lamont's burgeoning candidiacy with your Q and A. But I have to wonder how far it is incumbent on you to take it from there. If Lamont is going to run seriously he can set up his own high tech blog and have an interview.

And if for some reason we don't like the candidate;s format we can come back here and just speak our peace or piece as it may be. I just posted an observation, complaint really, over on Aldon's site, about how Lamont tried to link General Casey's statement on our presence in Iraq to Murtha's strategy. Casey does not want to do what Murtha wants. Lamont used Casey's comments out of context. As I think I've said before, Murtha's real goal was to begin a conversation about change in Iraq; and he did. Shortly thereafter 79 US Senators,many Republicans but not CT Joe, voted a non-binding res calling for significant change in Iraq in '06, i.e.this year.

I sort of like the 'local' flavor of your site so if you do go national please think of us little guys, too.

And as my colleague on the lot at Warner Brothers would say: Be deep,Be deep,Be deep,Be deep,,,,,That's all folks. I won't be back as daffy as I'm probably infringing on some property rights of the WB.

Chris MC said...

Richard J. Abbate is president of the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut.

That is a serious omission on the part of the editors of the Courant. It absolutely should have included "He is a Republican candidate for Secretary of the State."

Since he has put it out there so clearly, how exactly does he plan to complete a bid process, acquire the equipment, and deploy it and train the professional and volunteer people in 169 municipalities by November? Is he seriously suggesting, "Ms. Bysiewicz must seek out and help voting-machine manufacturers who are willing to comply with federal law and our state requirements. Once new systems are certified in our state, she should release the federal funds that will enable municipalities to buy these machines. That the money be given in some type of block grant to each municipality and that they each go their own way? Practical considerations aside, how would oversight be conducted? What mechanisms are there for enforcement action if a given municipality fails to comply? Would a single failure open the State to federal enforcement action?

As an active supporter of True Vote's education effort last year, I have to say this appears to be much more complicated than Mr. Abbate suggests.

Genghis Conn said...

I did create the site to have a ton of white space, and to be mostly just text. I also kind of like the look, but I'm open to the possibility of upgrades or a redesign at some point.

I'd love threaded comments. But for now, since we're stuck on Blogger, there's not much we can do. If anyone knows of a way to get them to work with Blogger, I'd love to hear about it.

As for having Abbate on, I think it's a good idea. I also found it odd that he wasn't identified as the GOP candidate... I haven't heard that he dropped out, so I think he's still in. He has commented here once or twice before.

I think that we've spent a lot of time talking about Lamont lately (sort of the big story of the week), and I expect that will die down as the legislative session nears and legislative campaigns start to get underway. Still waiting to hear from the Lieberman campaign...

Genghis Conn said...

Branford Boy,

I created a page on this not long ago. I'm going to put a link to it on the front page, and I'll put the link here, too: HTML/Usernames Help

Aldon Hynes said...

Random Stuff:

Thanks for highlighting my summary of the Lamont Q&A yesterday. Conversations on a blog are, IMHO, a nice way of getting general information about a candidate, but that information then needs to be sorted and sifted to make it readable to people who are not regular bloggers.

As to Abbate's op-ed, I'm glad he is raising those issues. I ran into John Nussbaum last night at a fundraiser for Diane Farrell. We didn't talk much about the voting machine issues other than express concern about how the voting machines are being addressed.

I'm glad that the legislative committee is looking at relieving the property tax burden. The article didn't have a lot of information about what is being considered. I worry that it sounds like more patches instead of a comprehensive review.

As to upgrading the technology, it probably makes sense at some point. I don't think it is really a big issue. Yeah, there are all kinds of things that could be done to make the server faster, more reliable, etc., and I'ld love to talk about that at some point, but the content is really what matters.

A few other things: I went to hear Secretary Albright at a fundraiser for Diane Farrell. Check out my blog for my comments.

Also, Ned Lamont was there and I was very impressed. I'll write more about that later.

Chris MC said...

Lieberman has already ventured into the lions' den as it were when he took the interview with the Advocate. And he showed real respect for the respectfully executed statement of the Manchester DTC by going to meet with their chairman.

Given the ridiculously vitriolic behavior on the part of Keith and others around here, it's probably a bit optimistic to expect him to do Q & A on CT Local, but we can hope...

Aldon Hynes said...

Random thoughts to Daffy:

Thanks for stopping by on my blog. I posted my comment there about Lamont's reference to Casey. The short version is that it seems that you are taking Lamont's comments out of context and not that Lamont is taking Casey's comments out of context.

My understanding about a technological upgrade of this site isn't about changing content (the Connecticut focus), but on presentation.

As to Lamont, I spoke with him last night and I hope that there will be a good campaign website up soon.

Proud Moderate Dem said...

I really enjoy banter, differing opinions and even the occosional barb sent my way, but i have to take a stand and say that ctkeith goes too far in his unconstructive criticism of this site. i am not a professional blogger, dont have an 'i'd rather be blogging' bumper sticker on my car, however, i do enjoy thoughtful political discussions and have found this site to be a great forum. and i dont think that one has to be a 'professional' blogger to contribute to stimulating conversation. you do however have to be respectful to a certain degree. differing opinions are what makes this world go round, if everyone thought like me i would be bored stiff, but the continuous inappropriate comments by ctkeith are unproductive and unwarranted. one could say he is a RAT - Raving Antagonistic Tyrant. maybe i should make that into a sign and follow him around the state. i apologize for my harshness genghis but you do us all a great service and had to respond in defense of not only this blog, but the people who constructively contribute.

Joe Sixpack said...

Property tax reforms? This is just political speech for putting a bigger burden on the wealthy. You want property tax reform? Why not run the big municipalities in a fiscally responsible fashion without kowtowing to the unions. Why not do away with the prevailing wage laws for municipal projects. The money "saved" in reforming property taxes will have to be made up elsewhere, most likely in hiking the income tax rates on the upper and middle classes. It will result in the largely ineffective state legislature to hand out a larger pool of money to cities (and not small towns) for education. The point of families moving to towns with good schools will be moot, as those people will pay MORE in taxes than they currently do in order to get less services and a poorer education. Want reform? Try running the cities properly and responsibly.

CGG said...

I'd take Haloscan over Blogger comments simply because Blogger refuses to save my information. Haloscan seems to be the easiest system I've run across for commenting, though my blog uses Typekey. Are you looking at moving your entire blog, or just upgrading your comments?

Weicker Liker said...

Richard Abbate is not a registered candidate with the Secretary of the State's Office.

So he is not an official candidate.

The Courant did not make an error!

Anonymous said...

ALDON...please do not attempt to be involved in LaMont's race...you already are a chair of CCD and involved as a paid staffer to DeStefano....

If you got a job with LaMOnt it could be perceived by folks as a "tie in" to DeStefano..

I think LaMont is good man and you are too Aldon..and i dont wanna see any potential Malloy supporters shy away from LaMont because of your involvement...and because you are a true progressive and good guy im sure you see my point.

Brass Anon said...

Joe Sixpack:

What do you mean by "kowtowing to the unions."? If you mean paying a fair wage and benefits to working class people who otherwise do not possess the power to negotiate a fair standard of living as individuals, then I suspect that the majority would be in favor of "kowtowing," since the majority still remain working class.

It strikes me that "property tax reform," is a synonym for "tax fairness." The debate should center on tax fairness, with tax reform, whether property, sales, income, or estate being the focus. If the system of taxing property in this state results in inequitable treatment to the middle class, and if it creates a greater class disparity, then certainly all of us should be in favor of tax reform, and the hopefully resultant tax fairness.

Tax reform does not necessitate a "soak the rich" ideology. The debate should occur. It should not be stifled.

Regarding your "running the cities properly and responsibly" comment, you must admit that cities face greater demands upon services and resources than small towns do. You must also admit that cities provide a great service to small towns by keeping the poor, the substance abusers, the criminal class, and the uneducatable out of our communities. That service obviously provides we small-town dwellers with great value in terms of increased property values, as well as with an ability to focus our resources upon needs different from cities, which ultimately raise our community standards of living. The service these urban areas provide us, are valuable, yet come with no cost to those of us who have the economic well-being to move out of urban areas. Tax reform, I suspect, is a means of causing suburbanites to pay for the value provided by cities. And that seems fair to me.

Aldon Hynes said...

While I believe that Anon(12:58)’s comments are well intentioned, I am a little disappointed to see one reader of this blog publicly discourage the involvement of another reader from political involvement.

I understand the concern that Malloy supporters might shy away from a candidate because a staffer from one campaign is supporting some other candidate. Perhaps I am a tad too idealistic for politics, but I hope that that is the exception rather than the rule. I met Ned Lamont for the first time face to face last night at a campaign event for Diane Farrell. Diane, Dan and Joe are all using Roy’s political consulting firm, Dan’s wife Kathy was at the event last night, and Diane has endorsed Dan. Yet that will not stop me from doing everything I can to help get Diane elected.

Likewise, I will do everything I can to get the most progressive candidate elected to the U.S. Senate. I do not know if this will mean working for Ned as a staffer, working as a volunteer, or even working for someone else. I do not know what my relationship with the Farrell campaign, with whatever Senate campaign, and who knows what other races will mean for my staff position at the DeStefano campaign.

Yet I do know two things. One is that I will work as hard as I can to get the best candidates elected across the board. The other is that I need to pay my bills and I need to find sources of income, whether it be in campaigns or in the private sector.

Personally, I hope that everyone who reads this blog will find it in themselves to get much more involved with campaigns that matter to them, even if it means working for a candidate I oppose. I also hope that everyone has a financially successful new year.

Aldon Hynes said...

Brass Anon has done a good job in addressing Joe Sixpack’s comments, yet I cannot resist adding my own comment.

Joe has presented a false dichotomy in suggesting that changes to the tax structure are synonymous with inefficient government services. We do need a tax structure that is fair and will encourage smart growth in our state. We also need efficient government services.

Working to improve the efficiency and quality of government services can help reduce the amount of taxes that need to be collected, but we also need to work to make sure the taxes that are collected are as fair as possible and are structured in a way that will promote the sort of growth that will make Connecticut better. To suggest that we address one of the problems at the expense of the other will not bring about good policies.

DeanFan84 said...

Hi All!

I just wanted to add my own two cents about the site. First, I really like the layout Genghis has chosen. It is easy to read and navigate, and pleasantly uncluttered.

Certainly I had technical difficulties during the Q & A with Ned Lamont. My screen wouldn't refresh in real time, and sometimes it took ten minutes plus for a comment to appear. Did we exceed our bandwith? Who knows?

Please no haloscan. That is the worst, and I won't comment on a blog that uses it. However, I like MyLeftNutmeg's nested comments. Perhaps at some point GC might want to switch platforms.

I've always been curious how much a blogger account costs on an annual basis. Is it free? If so, how does blogger make their money? (hopefully not by selling my information.) If Genghis has any out-of-pocket expenses, I for one would be happy to chip in towards them. This site yields me much enjoyment.

In terms of blogger ads, I think Genghis is mistaken when he doesn't think anyone would pay for them. My suggestion is to go ahead and allow them, and if GC doesn't want the money he is entitled to, donate it to Common Cause!

A quick two final points. One, is the word verification necessary? No other blog I visit makes me go through that hoop. Second is registration. It's nice that so many people have had the courtesy to adopt a consistent handle. It really helps to know where the comments are coming from. For instance I have no idea who Proud Moderate Dem is, but his/her comments always ring true to form.

Again, happy anniversary Genghis!

Brass Anon said...

Does anybody out there have concerns about the Justice Dept. subpoenaing Google's search records? A colleague of mine joined the ACLU today because of the subpoena.
I see an erosion of individual rights occurring at a faster and faster pace, and nobody, especially not our minority Democrat party, is taking any steps to put a stop to it. When we lose our individual rights to freedom from government incursion, our property and our liberty rights will soon follow. Osama couldn't threaten us with much worse.

Franks said...

Weather events in Connecticut have often had some impact on an election, Meskill and Grasso reactions are still recalled frequently, so Gov. Rell's response to this week's storm damage, her suggested use of the National Guard" and her singling out Greenwich are noteworthy.

Asking CL&P to devote more resources and effort in a particular areas of Greenwich, when other areas of the State are similiarly in need, questions her leadership.

This storm's impact also exposes weaknesses the State readiness.

A Different Anonymous (No! Really!) said...

I enjoy yanking DF84's chain long and hard, but I agree with him on this one: The site is clean and uncluttered, easy to read and - also importantly - easy to catch up when one has been away.

And I further agree (I know, I'm scared, too) that I'd make a contribution to the financial support of the site. There's no other site on the Web - of any kind - I read so assiduously.

I would quibble, however, on the ad question. Please don't, GC. Call me a purist, but ... ugh.

And aren't the nonsense words to avoid spam posts hawkers of Viagra and porn sites?

Aldon Hynes said...

Brass Anon, yes, I am concerned about the Fed’s Googling Google. I wrote a some what whimsical blog entry about it yesterday morning. I am also particularly concerned that unlike Google, other search companies have handed over records.

Jimmy Hoffa said...

Who are working class people? Every time I hear this phase it is always tied to union workers. Are business owners working class people? What about those who work in the private sector? Are the only "working class" people union members?

Genghis Conn said...

The site space, so far, is free. I spend perhaps $25/year for image hosting, and that's it. Honestly, I have no expenses, which means you'll never see advertisements here. Even if there were more expenses, I wouldn't be comfortable having ads; (so don't worry, Different Anonymous).

Fortunately, this blog is done on the cheap, and I have no plans to expand to a more expensive platform any time soon.

I have a feeling that Blogger (which is Google) makes its money from the ads, but very thoughtfully gives bloggers the option of not having them. Google, fortunately, has enough money to not require ads yet.

I'm glad to see so many like the layout. I have tried to keep it simple.

As for the word verification, that is indeed to prevent spam comments. I would spend up to half an hour or more each day deleting them, and when I initiated word verification, they were getting worse. If I was to continue to allow anonymous posting (and I feel strongly that this should stay) I had to initiate comment verification. I remember this being discussed at the time and several said that this was the best way.

I'm very disturbed by the idea of people going through search records, and I worry where it will lead.

MikeCT said...

Jimmy,
Who are working class people?

Glad to see to back from the grave, and presumably working again!

Your question is interesting, and one compelling answer is from Michael Zweig, author of "The Working Class Majority, America's Best Kept Secret:"

The working class for me are people who are working and without a great deal of authority over the pace and the content of the work. The people who are working as cashiers, as truck drivers, white collar, blue collar. For me, class is a question of power more than it is a question of income and life style. Though of course, income and life style figure into the discussion. But I think at the heart of the matter is power.

So for Zweig, most of us are working class because we aren't in charge - we don't control most fundamental workplace decisions. It makes a lot more sense to me to talk about class in terms of power, since it is a relationship of power. Here are some stats on who falls into the working class if we focus on power rather than income or status. Also Zweig's site, his book (easy read), and a his brief article on campaign talk in 2000 about "working families".

DeanFan84 said...

Jimmy Hoffa my ass--

How can you read a political blog and not know what is meant by "working people"? Have you been listening to the class warfare of Rush Limbaugh who tries to create faux resentment against the lower rungs of the economic ladder?

In the case that you are at all sincere, let me help you out with a short "Economic Ladder for Dummies" lecture:

At the bottom you have the "working people", i.e. wage earners, or laborers,-- those Americans who get paid by the hour. Generally the term is applied to unskilled or semi-skilled labor, but occasionally skilled labor will wear it as a badge of pride. Other terms for these folks are, "blue collar", the working class. These people think of themselves as lower middle class, or sometimes simply lower class.

The next step up the rung is "pink collar". Some of these office workers remain hourly, but most are salaried. They are not earning a living through physical exertion. Most of these people think of themselves as middle class, or lower middle class.

Above the pink collar workers is middle management, who usually think of themselves as "white collar" and middle to upper middle class. These people almost always have a college degree.

Then you have upper management, or the executive class. Here we are starting to get into the country club set, and if you are a corporate V-P or CEO, you can make a small fortune from your position at the top of the food chain. At worst, the executive class considers themselves upper middle class.

Finally, you have the monied class, or investor class, i.e. the trust fund babies of the world. For these people working is optional, and as we all know, well, the Rich are different.

Outside of this hierarchy, you have the entreprenuerial sorts, i.e. the small business owner, and you also have the independent contractors which are generally skilled tradesmen and consultants. These people have the benefit of calling their own shots, setting their own hours, etc. Their take home pay is most directly tied to their efforts and results. Salespeople also often fall into this category.

And then of course you have the business professionals, lawyers, doctors, dentists, accountants, etc., all of which tend to require higher learning, and an additional degree. These people are never poor, but also never as rich as the successful small businessperson.

There, I am done. I hope this wasn't too foolish or pedantic.

P.S. I realize I left out the under-class, i.e. the minimum wage worker, day laborer, and undocumented aliens. sigh.

MikeCT said...

In case people missed it, Colin McEnroe paid homage to Genghis a couple days ago:

If there's a must-read in the Connecticut blogosphere, it's Connecticut Local Politics, which celebrated its first-year anniversary yesterday. My eyeballs are on it every single day, and it's nothing short of amazintg to see what a guy with relatively little experience in politics or journalism has been able to do in a year. Maybe it means this stuff is not as complicated as we pretend it is.

P.S. Just experienced more weirdness with making a different post that did not appear, even after refreshes - we'll see if it shows up eventually.

Anonymous said...

yeah, class warfare explains why Wolcott is Republican and Westport is Democratic

Chris MC said...

OK, Weicker Liker, thanks for the clarification. I stand corrected.

Abate is running, however, is he not?

Anonymous said...

If you want to know who makes what in CT just go here for the statistics and ignore DF's rant

Aldon Hynes said...

Working Class: To answer Jimmy Hoffa’s question, “Who are working class people?”, I would start off by referring to the Wikipedia definition: The working class is a social class often contrasted with middle class and upper class in terms of the nature of work undertaken (manual labor or skilled), the level of remuneration (typically low hourly rates although there are exceptions) and access to resources (limited access to capital, education and land). People in this class often rely on payment for their labour to survive. The defining characteristic is the dependence on wage-labor (or salaried employment).

The other classic definition of working class comes from these lyrics:
As soon as you're born they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of it all
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all



They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool
Till you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules


Based on this definition, I would argue that business owners are not working class, based primarily on the aspect of ‘access to capital’. Those working in the private sector may or may not be working class, dependent on the nature of work undertaken. And, no, not all working class people are represented by unions. For example, I would argue that Walmart employees a large number of non-unionized working class people.

With this as a typical definition of the working class, I would suggest that Brass Anon is wrong in suggesting that “the majority still remain working class.” Yet the myth that we are all in the working class actually underscores the affinity many people feel for the working class.

This brings us to the more important aspect of ‘class warfare’ or ‘classism’. I do believe that ‘class warfare’ is an important issue in the United States today. The sides that people take in ‘class warfare’ is not necessarily related to the class that people are in. For example, people in the middle class may take the side of the upper class because of their belief in the America dream and their hopes of some day being upper class. Members of the upper class may take the side of people in the working class because they remember what it was like for their grandparents working their way up or because of commitments to ideals of fairness, an underlying belief that no matter what social class a person is part of, that all people are created equal, etc.

I think this is why the rhetoric of ‘soaking the rich’ is so detrimental. America has been made strong on the belief that we are all in this together, and those that would promote divisions to make sure that their class doesn’t face greater tax increases than other classes are damaging our country.

However, I do not believe this should be used as an argument against a progressive tax structure. While I recognize that some people may not buy the argument about our religious heritage, I would expect at least conservatives to honor Jesus’ words in Luke 12:48, “to whom much is given, much is expected”. For me, my belief in a progressive tax structure is rooted in my Christian beliefs.

So, yes, I do believe that classism is a problem in our country. I believe it is driven mostly by greed and is damaging our country in many ways. It is a moral issue and we need to work to honor words like those of Jesus.

Independent1 said...

GC:

It's been a while, so, with the weekend, a new trivia question for you.

Which is the largest town (by population) in CT that is not the dominant town (also by population) in at least one House district?

Genghis Conn said...

Independent1,

I suspect it's New Britain, but I shall get back to you with the actual answer very shortly.

Genghis Conn said...

Nope, I was way off base. It's Stamford, with a 2000 population estimate of 117,083, second in its district (4th district) to Bridgeport, which clocks in at 139,529. Stamford is Connecticut's 4th largest city, and Bridgeport its largest: the second largest is Hartford, while the third largest is New Haven, both of which are the largest municipalities in their districts.

Independent1 said...

Well done! And speedy too. Last week's class must have been worthwhile!

Anonymous said...

Aldon classism isnt only just generated by greed..your anlaysis is wrong and sophmoric.

one main reason for income disperity is that we all have different IQ's and drives. A smart person with a good drive will generally make more than a average person with little drive...there have been many many studies to indicate that we all aren't born "equal"

Furthermore society places different values of types of work...a lawyer will make more than a street sweeper...

luck and "happenstance" also enters the picture Aldon...

please leave the critical thinking to the professions...

Anonymous said...

Annymous above: IQ is often a bunch of bull but educational opportunites (not necessarily formal schooling), personal drive as you say and sometimes mentoring or support do make the difference many times. There are a couple of homeless lawyers and deadbeats around too. it can happen o anyone.

MikeCT said...

one main reason for income disperity is that we all have different IQ's and drives.... please leave the critical thinking to the professions...

Clearly we should leave analysis of classism to the professional, condescending classists who have for centuries argued that people with wealth, power, and (preferably) white skin are simply smarter and harder working than the rest of us.

Aldon Hynes said...

Anon(1:00) Thank you for your comments. In spite of your numerous typos or spelling mistakes and your unnecessary personal attack, you do manage to bring up some important points. On the most basic biological aspects, we are not all equal. Some of us are male, and some of us are female. Some have lighter colored skin, and some of us have darker colored skin.

Yet one of our most important documents says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Part of this pursuit of happiness includes the opportunity to develop ones God given intelligence to ones highest ability. Unfortunately, as you note, too often people aren’t given this opportunity due to “happenstance”. Too often children go to school hungry, without adequate healthcare and ill prepared to learn. Too often the quality of education available at these schools is a function of “happenstance” instead of being driven by the ideals of our forefathers.

Yes, Anon, “happenstance” does play too large a role in whether or not people succeed, but those of us who believe in the ideals of our Christian heritage and the ideals of our forefathers will do all we can address this injustice.

Anonymous said...

Aldon Hayes,

I think its universally expected in America that the wealthier one person is, the more one is expected to give. However, it depends on your definition of more. Do you see more as a percent, or more as a total. I believe more as a total makes more sense, or a flat tax.

In the case of a flat tax, your contribution to Government is proportionally dependant on your income. Everybody shares the same burden according to their income. In this system, A wealthier person is still paying more than a poorer person, ie 33% of a million is larger than 33% of 50k. Plus this system is fairer, there is no discrimination, and no one is penalized for making more money or working harder.

Aldon Hynes said...

Anon(1:28) You are right. Even with a regressive tax structure, the rich pay more in an absolute dollar amounts than the poor pay.

Yet if we look at the story of the widow's mite (Luke 21:1-4), it would seem as if Jesus is more than the absolute dollar amounts.

Brass Anon said...

Anon 1:28

The problem with a flat tax is that it fails to recognize the marginal utility of each dollar earned. Marginal value is the reason why we have a progressive tax structure.
A dollar to a guy who earns $20 K per year is worth far more than a dollar to a guy who earns $100 K, hence the progressive tax structure. It makes sense - which is probably why we don't have a flat tax, and Steve Forbes is writing magazines.

MikeCT said...

Actually, even with a slightly progressive income tax in Connecticut, low-income and middle-income residents pay more than twice the percentage of their income in state and local taxes (9.5 - 10%) as wealthy CT residents (4.4%). This is because of the regressive nature of property and sales taxes. The wealthy have no reason to complain about the fairness of CT taxes, while the rest of us do.

And ditto on what Brass Anon said.

Chris MC said...

Brass Anon for Lieutenant Guv!

Sound arguments throughout.