Mike the Mad Biologist

I think Republicans want to be cast as cartoon villains. In California, Republicans have twice prevented a Democratic measure (supported by Republican governor Schwarzenegger) that would fix a loophole that allows yacht owners to avoid paying their sales tax.

Really. Keep in mind this isn’t an additional tax (a luxury tax), but simply applying the same sales tax that most people who can’t afford yachts pay on other goods. Dday writes:

You have the Republican Party prioritizing the interests of yacht owners. Is there any better expression of the conservative movement in our new Gilded Age? Government must be limited, welfare must be limited, but the wealthy must get tax breaks and wealth must be distributed upwards. It’s worthless to even list their tired arguments (rich people would leave the state! We’ll bankrupt the yacht business! Uh, no.), but it’s crucial to understand why the Republicans think they can get away with this. After all, the constituency of yacht-owning tax cheats is relatively small, and the constituency of people who would be outraged at yacht-owning tax cheats is somewhat larger, even in supposedly Republican districts.

This is crux of the problem:

It is generally understood that the average citizen has been fed enough unanswered anti-tax and anti-government propaganda that they reflexively oppose taxes. (The operative word there is “unanswered.”) But this is a very different thing. This is a special exclusion, just for rich people, that one way or another has to be made up for by the rest of us! Why aren’t the people of California more upset about this?

The only conclusion I can reach is that the Republicans understand that regular people are not going to find out about this! And they may well be correct.

Try as we may, at some point active citizens can’t fill the ‘responsibility gap.’ We can’t mobilize for every issue. We have jobs, some of which are even important in their own way. There’s a reason we elect politicians to run the government: it’s a full time job. What the Democrats fail to comprehend (and dday notes this) is that they not only have to do the business of governing, they also have to do the business of promoting a party agenda by mobilizing their supporters. Republicans get this; the Democrats still do not.

At the very least, the professional Democrats have to stop denigrating those rank-and-file Democrats who are essentially giving them promotion for free*. Speaking of which, I leave you with this video by dday:

Seriously, tax loopholes for yacht owners? If a politician can’t make something of that, he or she needs to get out of politics.

*This is one of several reasons why the Democratic Party is the Stupidest Political Party in Recorded Historyâ„¢.

Comments

  1. #1 Dunc
    February 22, 2008

    What the Democrats fail to comprehend (and dday notes this) is that they not only have to do the business of governing, they also have to do the business of promoting a party agenda by mobilizing their supporters.

    Or it could be that the people they regard as their supporters (well, the important ones anyway) are not the people you think they should regard as their supporters. They are promoting a party agenda and mobilizing their supporters – amongst the CEO and investor classes. You know – the yacht-owning classes.

    Remind me – what percentage of Senators and Congressmen are millionaires again? And where does the Democratic Party receive the bulk of its funding from?

    I’ve said this here before: as long as they know they’ve got your work and your votes anyway, why should they give a damn what you think? Who else are you gonna vote for – Republicans? You’ve got no leverage.

  2. #2 natural cynic
    February 22, 2008

    One other thing that the R’s depend on for anti-tax-the-rich thinking[?] is that an many people think that they, too, might become rich and then would want to have all the tax breaks that the rich have. You know, win the lottery, write a best-seller, have their kid sign a pro sports contract, make some invention, discover that their oak tree is now putting out $100′s instead of leaves …

  3. #3 Joshua Zelinsky
    February 22, 2008

    While I agree with you at some level, the claim that this is “this isn’t an additional tax (a luxury tax), but simply applying the same sales tax that most people who can’t afford yachts pay on other goods” is somewhat misleading; this is a tax increase for yachts. Framing aside, from an economic perspective closing a “loophole” and raising taxes are essentially identical. So this is a tax-increase, it is just one that makes a lot of sense.

  4. #4 QrazyQat
    February 25, 2008

    “Framing aside”? That’s pure spin, not just framing. Making someone pay the sales tax same as everybody else is not a tax increase in any meaningful sense. Letting people off the tax hook that everybody else has to pay just because they’re buying an expensive vehicle (it’s not just yachts, but also RVs and airplanes) isn’t right, it’s letting them cheat because they managed to sneak it unto the books, and fixing the problem isn’t a tax increase, unless you are the kind of bloviating rightwinger who claims that going after tax cheats is also a tax increase (and they do it).

  5. #5 yurek
    August 21, 2009

    very thanks for article

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