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King Fondly Reminisces About the Good Old Days

Remember Matthew Vadum, the nut who thinks poor people shouldn’t be allowed to vote? Well he appears to have a supporter in Rep. Steve King, the prom king of Wingnuttia High School (Michele Bachmann is the queen, of course), who recently spent his allotted time during a hearing on a balanced budget amendment waxing eloquent about the good old days when only white male property owners could vote. And he told some big lies along the way too.

KING: As I roll this thing back and I think of American history, there was a time in American history when you had to be a male property owner in order to vote. The reason for that was, because they wanted the people who voted — that set the public policy, that decided on the taxes and the spending — to have some skin in the game.

Now we have data out there that shows that 47 percent of American households don’t pay taxes, 51 percent of American wage-earners don’t have an income tax liability. And it’s pretty clear that there are a lot of people who are not in the workforce at all. In fact, of our unemployment numbers — that run in the 13 or 14 million category — when you go to the Department of Labor Statistics and you look at that data, you can add up those that are simply not in the workforce of different age groups, but of working age, add that number to the number of those who are on unemployment and you come up with a number that was just a few months ago 80 million Americans. Just over a month ago that number went over 100 million Americans that aren’t working.

Now I don’t think they’re paying taxes. But many of them are voting. And when they vote, they vote for more government benefits.

Nearly all of that is a lie, of course. Some Americans don’t pay federal income taxes, but that doesn’t mean they don’t pay taxes. Everyone pays taxes. Every time you buy something, you’re paying a tax on it, often several different taxes. Then there are state and local taxes, property taxes, excise taxes, social security and medicare payroll taxes, and so forth. Everyone has “skin in the game.”

He tries to add a disclaimer in the middle of this conversation, saying “this is not a proposal, this is an historical observation,” but everything else he says makes clear that he thinks that was a good thing. He even asks the person testifying how it would change things if we went back to that system. Here’s the full video:

Comments

  1. Daniel Kolle says

    I am a white, male property owner. I own some farmland that has been in my family for several generations. I am also an unemployed science undergraduate student. Oops.

    Bring it on, you Tea Party loons. I will sell out square centimeter tracts of land to the rubes. if you fuckers really want to make this an issue.

  2. says

    The reason for that was, because they wanted the people who voted — that set the public policy, that decided on the taxes and the spending — to have some skin in the game.

    Yeah, that’s gotta be the reason why the white male property owners who had all the power decided to limit the franchise to white male property owners. It was a purely selfless act.

  3. says

    By the way, for those on the right who seem perpetually confused about what elitism means, this is it right here: The belief that those with wealth and power are inherently superior and deserve more rights than others.

  4. eric says

    Everyone pays taxes. Every time you buy something, you’re paying a tax on it, often several different taxes. Then there are state and local taxes, property taxes, excise taxes, social security and medicare payroll taxes, and so forth. Everyone has “skin in the game.”

    What’s really ironic is that it’s conservatives that are pushing for a shift from income to sales taxes. So evidently the conservative solution to the problem of ‘not enough skin in the game’ is to give everyone less skin in the game.

  5. Mr Ed says

    Seems when ever reality differs from the rights narrative they claim the wrong people are making the decisions. “Should be left up to the states,” except when states allow gay marriage then we need a federal law. If a legislature passes a law -New York and gay marriage- then the say it should have been by referendum. Loose a referendum then people were confused, didn’t vote or now the wrong people voted. It is never because they are the minority opinion it is always some one else’s fault that they didn’t win (they never loose they just didn’t win.)

  6. kosk11348 says

    If only property owners were allowed to vote, a HUGE chunk of the population of major cities like New York would be denied their rights since city residents most often rent, not own, their place of habitation.

  7. Dennis N says

    If only property owners were allowed to vote, a HUGE chunk of the population of major cities like New York would be denied their rights since city residents most often rent, not own, their place of habitation.

    Right, and which way do those voters tend to lean? This is a feature, not a bug.

  8. Aquaria says

    I’m trying to decide if we’re at 1783 before the French Revolution, or 1856 before the Civil War.

  9. d cwilson says

    “have some skin in the game.”

    I’ve heard this phrase so many times this past month that I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t some kind of committee that chooses which bumper sticker catch phrase wingnuts are supposed to be using. This must have replaced the previous mantra about “voter fraud” being the source of all evil in the nation (ie, whenever the GOP loses an election).

    What I really want to know, however, is when exactly did we become the only industrialized nation that worries about too many people being able to vote?

  10. d cwilson says

    What’s really ironic is that it’s conservatives that are pushing for a shift from income to sales taxes. So evidently the conservative solution to the problem of ‘not enough skin in the game’ is to give everyone less skin in the game.

    Nothing ironic about that. They know that sales taxes are far more regressive than income taxes as they mean that the poor will end up paying a much higher percentage of their income in taxes than the wealthy would. As Dennis N said, this is a feature, not a bug.

  11. d cwilson says

    I’m trying to decide if we’re at 1783 before the French Revolution, or 1856 before the Civil War.

    Fifth century Rome, with the “bread and circuses” (ie, Dancing with the Stars and Keeping up with the Kardashians) being used to distract the masses from the fact that the barbarians are already at the gates.

  12. says

    Nearly all of that is a lie, of course. Some Americans don’t pay federal income taxes, but that doesn’t mean they don’t pay taxes. Everyone pays taxes.

    It’s also worth pointing out that the 47% number that the right is so enamored with is bogus, or at least grossly misleading.

    It’s true that 47% of filers in 2009 didn’t have a net income tax burden. But that was not a typical year. A combination of underemployment and stimulus-related tax cuts pushed a lot of people below the threshold. In a typical year, it’s around 30%. So when the economy returns to normal and the tax cuts expire, we expect the numbers to fall accordingly.

    Just as important, a large fraction of filers are students, retired people, and others who aren’t in the workforce full-time but still earn some money. These are people who you don’t expect to pay taxes to begin with. I don’t know what percentage of filers this is, but even if it’s only 10%, that would account for 1/3rd of people who don’t have a net income tax liability in a typical year.

    When you take both of these things into account, it’s probably about 15-20% of full-time workers who don’t have a net income tax liability in a normal year. In other words, a combination of those who are temporarily unemployed and those who are truly poor.

  13. fastlane says

    When you take both of these things into account, it’s probably about 15-20% of full-time workers who don’t have a net income tax liability in a normal year. In other words, a combination of those who are temporarily unemployed and those who are truly poor.

    Right. I just wish these wingnuts would have the balls to come right out and say poor people shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

    It’s what they mean, but if they couch it enough mealy mouthed word salad, they can say that’s not what they mean.

    Fuckers, the lot of them.

  14. Brain Hertz says

    I’m trying to decide if we’re at 1783 before the French Revolution, or 1856 before the Civil War.

    1265, right before Simon de Montfort’s parliament.

  15. Pierce R. Butler says

    Aquaria @ # 8: I’m trying to decide if we’re at 1783 before the French Revolution, or 1856 before the Civil War.

    Respectively, whether we have six years or five before the diarrhea hits the whirligig?

    How uncharacteristically optimistic of you…

  16. abb3w says

    How would it change the game if we went back to that system? It’s possible Daniel Kolle’s elegant suggestion would be deployed by liberals to hasten a reversion to the norm; presumably, the stupid reactionaries who managed to achieve such idiocy would counter by modifying the law to set a non-token threshold amount of land to own.

    So, at a first approximation, I would expect the mass disenfranchisement of circa 30% of the population would cause mass riots, lynch mobs, and assassinations targeting every politician who had voted for that reactionary change. Any replacement candidates for deceased officeholders who did not pledge to seek a reversion back to our contemporary system of enfranchisement would also face such lethal reaction, making it highly unlikely they would survive to election day. Significant fractions of major landowners who supported the policy would probably also be targeted for violence, as would their property.

    All in all, it’s the stupidest political proposal I can recall hearing from the last 20 years, which includes both Herman Cain’s pizza deal and a suggestion by a member of the SCA to amend the US Constitution to make the nation a monarchy. An election is a mock war. If the are enough people who are sufficiently dissatisfied with the results — or the quality of the simulation — they will proceed to actual experimental testing.

  17. lofgren says

    Apparently in wingnut world, anybody who rents is a freeloader? What the hell am I paying for then?

  18. says

    The way I see it:

    I (and every civilized person) see the government as something created by the people, of the people, and important for this issue, for the people.

    These barbarians see the government as a servant to their Authority, and anyone not blessed with the divine providence (wealth) to become an Authority is mere property. Property exists to be used so the Authority can perpetuate itself. The Authority has no responsibility to its property. The government exists only to keep the slaves in line, not for any higher ideals. Wear out one slave, just get another to take his place.

    And since fundies hate democracy, freedom, and the value of personhood, and because they love blind adulation of arbitrary Authorities, that’s how they get the fundies to vote for the decay of civilization.

  19. eric says

    Do condo owners count as legitimate voters?

    Maybe voting rights are analog rather than digital – the slightly brown and women who wear pants can vote if they at least own a condo.

  20. robb says

    he says 100 million Americans aren’t working. that is 1/3 of the population. does he think unemployment is 33%? a quick google search shows it is about 9%.

  21. JustaTech says

    This line right here: “you can add up those that are simply not in the workforce of different age groups, but of working age” struck me as a big fat dog whistle for stay-at-home moms (because stay-at-home dads don’t exist). See, they’re not working (at a paying job), so they shouldn’t get to vote. Because those womenfolk should never have gotten the vote in the first place, and that place is staying home and keeping their mouths shut.

    Damn fundie.

  22. fifthdentist says

    I thought they were going for a return to 1950. Apparently plans are proceeding to crank the wayback machine up to 11 and shoot for 1800.
    What would you call that, the “full teabag?”

  23. naturalcynic says

    There’s a really easy solution to all of those who are fully employed but don’t get enough to pay income taxes … pay them enough so that they have to pay some tax and buy some property.
    But what the same fuckers want to do is eliminate minimum wages and unions to increase the working poor. Yeah, it’s a feature.

  24. fifthdentist says

    @ Robb
    “he says 100 million Americans aren’t working. that is 1/3 of the population.”

    Just think of the children. … All those freeloading children of poors who are doing nothing useful for society but soaking up government services by going to school.
    There are many jobs they can perform. Their hands are tiny and suited for use working in small industrial applications with lots of sharp, moving parts.
    The smaller ones can be used as scrubbers in coal plant chimneys. Toddler fat is ideal for soaking up concentrations of hyrcarbon soot.

  25. says

    he says 100 million Americans aren’t working. that is 1/3 of the population. does he think unemployment is 33%? a quick google search shows it is about 9%.

    That 100 million number includes people who are retired, who are too young, who are housewives, etc. In most societies where women work, about 1/3rd of the population at any given time is of non-working status. People cycle in and out of that status throughout their lives.

    It’s just another example of inflating the number of “freeloaders” by including people who one does not reasonably expect to work or pay taxes. If Republicans want to depict elderly grandmothers as parasites who should be forced to pay more taxes or be disenfranchised, that would be fine by me. Heck, I’ll even help pay for the commercials. But the point is to create resentment among working people by making them think they’re surrounded by welfare queens and deadbeats.

  26. matty1 says

    you can add up those that are simply not in the workforce of different age groups, but of working age, add that number to the number of those who are on unemployment

    Um, aren’t those on unemployment a subset of those not working? Looks like some double counting to me.

  27. says

    As I roll this thing back and I think of American history, there was a time in American history when you had to be a male property owner in order to vote. The reason for that was, because they wanted the people who voted — that set the public policy, that decided on the taxes and the spending — to have some skin in the game.

    Why does he think real estate, alone, “skin in the game”? There was no property tax. There was no income tax, allegedly paid by the rich, but not the poor. There was a variety of taxes and duties on different products that everyone used. Everyone had skin in the game.

  28. DaveL says

    There’s a whole other angle to this idea of “having skin in the game” that I don’t think Steve King and other conservatives care very much to think about. Rather than ask what someone has paid into the government to justify having their voice heard, we might ask what they’ve been offered as an incentive to accept, support, and participate in the existing social order. Enforcement through force or violence only works when the number of outlaws is sufficiently small. When too many people find they have no reason to accept the way things are, you naturally must have secession or revolution.

    In America, there traditionally have been several reasons for people on the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder to “buy in” to the system. There’s the democratic process, there’s the social safety net provided at public expense, and there’s the prospect of social and economic advancement and opportunity. In the current economic climate a lot of people are starting to express serious doubts about their prospects of ever moving up in the world, and conservatives seem hell-bent on dismantling the social safety net. Now comes Steve King’s thinly veiled proposal to deny lower income people the vote, for the trifecta.

  29. Pierce R. Butler says

    Why do I get the suspicion that msangeljohn has posted the exact same comment all over blogtopia?

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