Politics

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phxcat
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Re: Politics

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ztonyg wrote:
phxcat wrote:We don't have the level of confirmed corruption of the Meacham/ Symington era (which was before I was here) but the Arizona state government gives Kansas a run for its money on bad legislation, and not even two months into their terms, the Tea Party governor and Tea Party Superintendent of Public Instruction got into it about the superintendent firing two school board members who disagree with her (and who she can't fire). The governor, who has refused to pay the schools the money that the courts ruled the state owes, further cut education in his proposed budget, and then used his donors to retaliate against school superintendents who spoke out against his budget.
As an Arizonan, I have to say (even though it pains me to say it), I miss Jan Brewer. She was a traditional conservative as opposed to a "tea party" conservative and she blunted a lot of potential "tea party" damage. That's why, with a legislature that gives Kansas's and Missouri's a run for its money in terms of conservatism, Brewer was able to get a temporary sales tax hike in place. Arizona also has enacted Medicaid expansion that even the current "tea party" legislature will probably not undo.

It's a shame that the Republican party has gotten too extreme. I long for the days of someone like Bob Dole.
Me too. She was much more pragmatic, and, despite signing SB1070 (which probably made her political career) she would stand in the way of the far extreme right.

ztonyg
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Re: Politics

Post by ztonyg »

phxcat wrote:
ztonyg wrote:
phxcat wrote:We don't have the level of confirmed corruption of the Meacham/ Symington era (which was before I was here) but the Arizona state government gives Kansas a run for its money on bad legislation, and not even two months into their terms, the Tea Party governor and Tea Party Superintendent of Public Instruction got into it about the superintendent firing two school board members who disagree with her (and who she can't fire). The governor, who has refused to pay the schools the money that the courts ruled the state owes, further cut education in his proposed budget, and then used his donors to retaliate against school superintendents who spoke out against his budget.
As an Arizonan, I have to say (even though it pains me to say it), I miss Jan Brewer. She was a traditional conservative as opposed to a "tea party" conservative and she blunted a lot of potential "tea party" damage. That's why, with a legislature that gives Kansas's and Missouri's a run for its money in terms of conservatism, Brewer was able to get a temporary sales tax hike in place. Arizona also has enacted Medicaid expansion that even the current "tea party" legislature will probably not undo.

It's a shame that the Republican party has gotten too extreme. I long for the days of someone like Bob Dole.
Me too. She was much more pragmatic, and, despite signing SB1070 (which probably made her political career) she would stand in the way of the far extreme right.
Mark my words. Doug Deucy won't stand in the way of the far extreme right. Pretty soon Arizona will start passing some of the more extreme pieces of legislation that Kansas has in the past few years.

I don't fault her for SB1070. In retrospect, an additional 4 years of her even with the SB1070 fallout was much better than the most likely alternative (a Brownbeckian governor).

ztonyg
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Re: Politics

Post by ztonyg »

shinatoo wrote:
flyingember wrote: Yeah, the tea party isn't conservative, they're a group of well meaning and scared people being toyed with by a extremists politicians backed by corporate money that want their way no matter who it ends up hurting

and it's hurting the very people that vote them in. That's what makes it really sad.
Yeah, the AMERICAN PEOPLE arn't WELL INFORMED, they're a group of well meaning and scared people being toyed with by a extremists politicians backed by corporate money that want their way no matter who it ends up hurting
I'll buy that. However, due to the collapse of investigative journalism and the rise of social media (as well as the Citizens United ruling) the quality of politicians as well as the legislation passed on both sides of the aisle has exponentially declined. The worst is the complete and total reluctance to compromise. Hundreds of politicians keep screaming "stop Obamacare" but I've yet to hear of any sort of compromise legislation that can provide most of the benefits of Obamacare but still reduce its pitfalls.

What's also especially troubling is that assault on teachers and public education at the state level almost everywhere. Between massive school funding cuts, salary cuts and/or pay freezes, reductions of eliminations in collective bargaining, reductions or elimination of tenure, the introduction and now opposition of Common Core, and now restrictions as to what can and can't be taught in classrooms public education in this country (in most states except for New England) is pretty much destined fail students. Quality teachers will retire and/or leave the profession in droves (many already are) and the profession won't be able to attract new teachers. Already, I've read that we're starting to import K-12 teachers from foreign countries. What was once a pillar of American society (a decent K-12 public school education) is on the verge of extinction. The repercussions of this will be disastrous.

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Re: Politics

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This Billionaire Governor Taxed the Rich and Increased the Minimum Wage -- Now, His State's Economy Is One of the Best in the Country
Between 2011 and 2015, Gov. Dayton added 172,000 new jobs to Minnesota's economy -- that's 165,800 more jobs in Dayton's first term than Pawlenty added in both of his terms combined. Even though Minnesota's top income tax rate is the 4th-highest in the country, it has the 5th-lowest unemployment rate in the country at 3.6 percent. According to 2012-2013 U.S. census figures, Minnesotans had a median income that was $10,000 larger than the U.S. average, and their median income is still $8,000 more than the U.S. average today.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carl-gibs ... 37786.html

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Re: Politics

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Re: Politics

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That story gets more and more bizarre.

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Re: Politics

Post by mean »

Is it in poor taste to put an over/under on the odds that these two were secret lovers?

phuqueue
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Re: Politics

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Word on the street is they were secretly Jewish

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Re: Politics

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Re: Politics

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HEY KCMO VOTE TODAY!

earthling
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Re: Politics

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KCMO ballot...
https://www.kceb.org/useruploads/SAMPLE ... .07.15.pdf

They could get much higher participation if doing mail in voting.

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Re: Politics

Post by taxi »

Thanks for posting that, I was just about to search for it.

flyingember
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Re: Politics

Post by flyingember »

Platte and Clay look similar, just with different in district choices

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FangKC
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Re: Politics

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The Kansas legislature has passed a law limiting what welfare recipients can spend benefits on. Included in the banned list are things like movies, sports events, concerts, casinos, cruises and strip joints, or any business where minors are not allowed. I assume thing includes drinking establishments.

This raises a question. Will the state legislature, and the governor, also put the same restrictions on spending on businesses, companies, corporations, sports facilities and their ownership, and their executive staff, who receive state incentives, or any type of "corporate welfare" from taxpayers? We know some of the types of incentives--like paying for their building construction, office furnishing allowances, machinery, etc. The type of things that keep a corporation like AMC or the Dairy Farmers of America from going broke, and their executives from going hungry and homeless.

So, under this line of thinking, the CEOs, and other executives can no longer take clients to sports events, bars, casinos, etc.? Does this mean Gary Patterson can't take clients to Sporting KC events? Should he not be able to do this? Cerner was on a list recently as one of the top companies that benefit from government incentives.

What about deductions on state taxes that businesses claim for "entertainment purposes?" Deducting these types of things reduces their claimed income, and deprives the state of tax revenue. These entertainment expenses might be seen as frivolous by the residents of the State of Kansas.

How do taxpayers know that the money these companies save from benefiting from tax incentives won't be spent on these unnecessary things?

Shouldn't the same rule apply? Discuss.

http://www.kmbc.com/money/kansas-wants- ... g/32229378

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Re: Politics

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With individual welfare if the state makes it less generous then maybe the individual either gets a job or moves to another state. With corporate welfare you hope to lure a company into the state or expand within the state.
On one hand your are trying to get rid of something. With the other you are trying to get more of something.

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Re: Politics

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I'm always bewildered by the idea that there's a job out there for everybody who wants one, and that people who don't work must just be lazy parasites. And I'm also intrigued by the proposition that poor people have the means to just pick up and move to another state.

And then of course there is the assumption that the only people receiving "individual welfare" are the poor. WaPo actually just posted a column about this the other day:
We rarely make similar demands of other recipients of government aid. We don't drug-test farmers who receive agriculture subsidies (lest they think about plowing while high!). We don't require Pell Grant recipients to prove that they're pursuing a degree that will get them a real job one day (sorry, no poetry!). We don't require wealthy families who cash in on the home mortgage interest deduction to prove that they don't use their homes as brothels (because surely someone out there does this). The strings that we attach to government aid are attached uniquely for the poor.

That leads us to the third problem, which is a political one. Many, many Americans who do receive these other kinds of government benefits — farm subsidies, student loans, mortgage tax breaks — don't recognize that, like the poor, they get something from government, too. That's because government gives money directly to poor people, but it gives benefits to the rest of us in ways that allow us to tell ourselves that we get nothing from government at all.

* * *

Mettler's research has shown that a remarkable number of people who don't think they get anything from government in fact benefit from one of these programs. This explains why we get election-season soundbites from confused voters who want policymakers to "keep your government hands off my Medicare!" This is also what enables politicians to gin up indignation among small-government supporters who don't realize they rely on government themselves.

* * *

But one result of this reality is that we have even less tolerance for programs that help the poor: We begrudge them their housing vouchers, for instance, even though government spends about four times as much subsidizing housing for upper-income homeowners.

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grovester
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Re: Politics

Post by grovester »

fuck yes, I want people getting tax breaks on their vacation homes to piss in a cup.

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Re: Politics

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I also want to point out that the restrictions placed on welfare recipient spending do not include the purchase of guns or ammunition. :lol: Ah, Kansas.

It appears Kansas feels that residents are responsible with guns, but not poor people spending money.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/1 ... 38642.html

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Re: Politics

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AKP, I acknowledge the distinctions you make. However, in many cases, one could also make the argument that the companies that are being giving incentives--like Cerner, could easily afford to build their office buildings without incentives of any kind, and they would still be quite profitable. Yet, they have no problem seeking public handouts.

One could make the argument that these incentive programs are not really about creating jobs so much, but enriching the companies. Many of the same jobs that have moved between Missouri and Kansas would still exist for metro residents. In fact, it's not really that big a deal to many whether their job is in Missouri or Kansas. To move 600 jobs from KCMO to Overland Park is not really creating jobs, but allowing politicians to say that there are 600 new jobs in the state because of incentives. In most cases, they aren't jobs that were created from scratch. The same people are still working at the jobs in Kansas that used to be in Missouri for the most part, so you aren't really seeing lots of new jobs that reduce unemployment. Just because you move 600 jobs from Missouri to Kansas doesn't mean that Kansas is going to reap a lot of tax revenue either because not all the workers are going to move to Kansas, but stay in Missouri and do most of their spending there. Many are still going to pay income taxes to Missouri on their salaries, and property taxes to Missouri cities and counties. And some of the workers might already live in Kansas, so they aren't really creating new sales, income, and property taxes with new spending because their company moved. I wish someone would do a study about how many local workers actually change their residence after their job moves across the state border.

The companies that move may also still purchase goods and services in Missouri, so there may not be that big a net economic benefit as say having a company move from Missouri to Texas, and Texas reaping more taxes from purchases there. Many of these companies will not pay that much in property taxes, or state taxes either, since Kansas is trying to reduce and eliminate corporate and business taxes, and the companies get to pay less in property and sales taxes as part of the incentives package. So is there really a huge benefit to Kansas residents to give out big incentives to a company to move to Kansas, if a large percentage of their employee base still lives in Missouri, and pays most of their taxes there? When you take all of these things into account, aren't these incentives--especially in our Metro--really just about enriching more powerful companies, their shareholders, and owners? You don't see that many reports of these same incentives being given out to small, less politically-connected employers who really might create a lot of new jobs.

The same thing applies when a company moves from Overland Park to KCMO.

The politicians handing them out have no problem disparaging the poor out of one side of their mouth, but remain mum when it comes to the wealthy owners of these companies and their spending habits. Politicians themselves can be guilty of poor judgement, bad choices, or taking advantage of their position. We regularly see articles about politicians and elected officials in both parties being given free rides on private luxury jets owned by their donors, and going on expensive vacations with their families in tow on someone else's dime.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/03/nyreg ... .html?_r=0

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 00913.html

The point I was trying to make is that all sorts of demands are made on poor people--getting very little assistance for the most part, and we really don't make any of the same demands on already wealthy individuals and companies that get them--despite the specific reasons they get them. Does Neal Patterson have to be drug-tested to get state or local incentives? No. Does the state look at how he spends money on entertainment expenses in his company? No. Is the money his company saves on building an office building at Village West, Kansas,--with state incentives--end up being spent on cocaine- and booze-fueled gambling trips to Las Vegas, and transsexual hookers? Is anyone keeping an eye on this?

People also forget than many on public assistance are working people in low-paying jobs--often full-time. Or that people need public assistance is because they have become unemployed due to mergers, layoffs, economic downturns, etc.--things that might have been beyond their control. Sometimes they are let go so the business can remain profitable. And in some situations, these very businesses--that lay off to remain profitable--just end up paying their higher management even higher salaries to boot. Some workers are thrown into poverty simply because of medical bills, because they lose jobs and have no insurance. If they also become disabled and cannot work, they can go 18 months without income before getting disability. Sometimes longer. In those instances, they often end up eligible for welfare benefits while waiting for disability. If they get disability, it's often a fraction of what they earned before. Workmen's compensation has also been gutted in many states, and workers injured on the job have difficulty getting compensation, and are forced onto welfare roles. Many military families are on welfare of some kind, and a lot of returning veterans who have left the military end up applying for welfare benefits of some kind because they cannot find jobs, or suffer from illnesses related to their service. Poor families with a new baby and another small child often can't have the mother seek work because child care costs more than the mother could earn.

If a person ever had to go on disability for a chronic mental illness, and it's commonly-known in their work-life, or profession, that they did, it becomes very difficult for them to find a job after they recover. They often never regain their former position, or income--even if they regain their health. If they can find work again, they are often relegated to job that pays much less. If it was prolonged and they suffered a lot of financial problems, their credit scores get very low. Many employers are now checking the credit scores of applicants before they consider hiring them, and some employers won't if the applicant has bad credit. I personally think this should be illegal. This is another form of vetting that is a form of class warfare--that punishes people who have had financial problems or fallen on hard times.

And phuqueue makes a good point about there being a job for everyone that wants one. We all know that because of tax policies and trade agreements--many of which were pushed by big corporations that benefit from them, many American workers have lost jobs, and entire industries that employed them have now been shipped overseas. If you are over 50, and have lost a job, you are basically unemployable in the view of many companies, or if you find a job, it's at a much reduced salary. There are also many college graduates still living at home because they can't find a good enough paying job to get an apartment of their own, or because of student loan debt. If the didn't have living parents, they would probably be on public assistance as well.

Let's take Walmart, a company that has benefited greatly because of these trade deals since it buys many of its' products from China, and other low-cost countries. We all know that Walmart is often accused of paying low wages, and scheduling worker hours so that can never be considered full-time, receive benefits, make a stable living because of lack of hours, or inconsistent hours so they can't take second jobs. Walmart employees are often the very people that are forced into welfare programs to survive. Yet they are among the most profitable companies in the world, and they also often get public incentives to build their stores. So there are structural reasons that many people cannot find jobs, regular employment, or a livelihood in which to maintain a stable financial condition for their families.

It also needs to be acknowledged that more and more people are becoming low-income in this country, or falling into poverty in general. Many who are working. But for some reason, citizens are being convinced that it's wrong to help poor people, and completely okay to assist already-rich people. It's our lazy neighbors who are the problem. If a person falls on hard times, and has to get public assistance, they must immediately trade their dignity, and lose the respect of their fellow citizens. This to me just seems wrong, and mean-spirited. And no one is calling these politicians out on being mean-spirited.

Yet, it's somehow anti-American now to point the finger at very rich and powerful people who are gaming the system to their advantage--usually through the political process. They enjoy tax benefits to send jobs overseas. They pay very low taxes on their investment income. Inherited wealth is protected, and no one casts aspersions on trust fund kids who never hold a job in their life, or earned their wealth. Yet some of these people who were born wealthy benefit from the fact that the companies that generated their wealth get huge public subsidies--even though they would be profitable without them. Their companies often pay no taxes at all. They get taxpayers to fund their corporate headquarters. They get public financing to "modernize," even when they are enjoying huge profits, and sometimes the modernization involves technology that causes existing employed people out of jobs.

Yet poor people cannot get adequate public education, health care, achieve higher learning, or retrained for new jobs. Some employers now require a college degree to even apply for a job--even though some people without degrees could do it. You have to have a degree to just get an interview. I have had personal experience with this. I knew many already-employed people who couldn't apply for jobs within their organization, because they didn't have a formal college degree. They certainly had more job experience than the person with a degree whom was ultimately hired. I've seen it again and again in my life. This is an unspoken type of class warfare being practiced that is rarely discussed. I've also seen those same jobs filled with recent college graduates simply because of their connections--and not merit.

Yet it's the powerless that are becoming the villains in this country.

In many respects, the incentives are free money for these companies because they are already profitable and probably don't need extra money to build a new corporate campus or headquarters. The money they save because of these incentives is then available to them to pay even higher salaries to their executives--if they want--because they aren't spending it on building construction. Yet, no one is asking them to prove what they are spending that money on. How do conservative Kansas taxpayers know that Cerner, AMC, or the Dairy Farmers of America, now having more money, might spend it on taking clients to strip bars, casinos, golfing, Caribbean cruises, and alcohol-fueled sporting events?

Why can rich people taking taxpayers subsidies be able to spend money on those things, and poor people cannot? Well, for the most part, poor people most likely wouldn't because they are meeting very basic needs.

The point was made in the KMBC article by one of the supporters of the welfare law that 99 percent of the recipients don't spend their benefits on these things anyway.
Michael O'Donnell, the Republican state senator who introduced the bill, told CNNMoney the goal is to "codify in law" existing policies put in place under Governor Sam Brownback.

Brownback, a Republican, is expected to sign the bill, which passed both houses of the Republican-controlled legislature last week.

O'Donnell argues that the aim is to make it harder for people to game the system, as opposed to punishing families that have fallen on hard times.

"I feel that 99% of the people who use TANF benefits, do it within boundaries that are set up," said O'Donnell. "But there are bad actors."
I tend to agree that when a mother with two kids is only getting $300-$400 a month to survive, the vast majority of welfare recipients are probably going to spend the money on food, utilities, and rent.

These restrictive policies seem to me more about punishing all poor people who receive welfare benefits, and making life harder for them, than it is about trying to root out "bad actors."

I grew up in a small farming community. Many people I know there get farm subsidies, and a good percentage of those don't really need them. I know several farmers that get an average of $80,000 annually just from farm subsidies alone. This is certainly above the average salary of a working person in Missouri or Kansas. This income is also over and above the profit they are making from their farm without the subsidies. Farm subsidies are not means-tested. That means you get them whether you are a millionaire many times over, or a small farmer with 40 acres. They aren't just given out only in years when a farmer can prove he made no profit.

In many agricultural states, farm subsidies are the biggest form of welfare paid out by the federal government. In states like Missouri and Kansas, where we get back about $1.29 in federal money for every dollar state taxpayers send to Washington, farm subsidies make up a huge part of that. I also know that some of these farmers who get subsidies, also spend their money going to casinos, movies, taverns, taking foreign vacations, and cruises, and attending sporting events. I also know that these same farmers buy an expensive new pickup truck every year or two, and a new car for their wife every year or two. Not just an ordinary pickup to use for farm-related tasks, but a high-end luxury model. Now they are getting $60,000-$80,000 annually from subsides that they most likely don't need, and are buying expensive vehicles regularly; and more often than an average resident making that amount of money alone by salary working a regular job, and maybe only buying an average- or lower-priced vehicle every 5-8 years. That's not really fair, but because farm subsidies are not means-tested, it goes on all the time.

Now if someone receiving food stamps, SSI, housing assitance, Medicaid, or TANF spent money so flagrantly on luxury items, there would be an uproar.

I have gone on websites to see the amounts these farmers get in subsidies, because it's public information. I also get my hometown newspaper, and I regularly see articles about these same people returning from trips abroad, enjoying a casino outing or Chiefs football game, or taking cruises. I also know that the very farmers who get these subsidies are the most likely to disparage poor people who get any form of welfare. I grew up hearing this daily. The assumption that all farmers work really hard is also untrue in many respects. Some farmers who get subsidies don't actually work on their farms. They hire other people to do that, and pay them minimum wage with no health insurance or other benefits--and often as part-time help. Their workers are often on food stamps, and the worker's kids on Medicaid and school lunch subsidies.

Many modern farmers also don't work everyday. They no longer keep livestock, so their busy times of the year are spring at planting, and autumn at harvest. With modern pesticides and herbicides, there is very little work to do in the summer. Farmers don't have to cultivate their fields to remove weeds, or hire workers to manually do it. Yes, some small farmers do work very hard--especially if they are raising livestock or run a dairy operation for example. But a high percentage don't work as hard many perceive, and they have many months of the year with little to do but sit in the town restaurant and disparage poor people on food stamps. I know this because my cousin runs the town restaurant, and she hears it all day. She has also said they leave minimal tips, or no tip at all. She however works 6 days a week year-round, and 12 hour days on average, and barely makes a living, and has to listen to them bitch all day.

My sister used to be married to a farmer. When I lived in New York City, and was working an average of 60-80 hours a week all year-long, my brother-in-law was making almost twice my salary alone from farm subsidies, and working "hard" only a few weeks out of the year. We are not talking about throwing hay bales on a wagon, scooping manure from stalls, walking behind a mule pulling a plow, but riding in an air-conditioned tractor and combine with a DVD player, power steering, and electric adjustable seats a few weeks out of the year. Farm subsidies were only a part of his income. The farm was profitable on its' own with no subsidy. I knew what his schedule was because my sister complained that he was home most of the time doing nothing, and driving her nuts. I recall holidays spent at home listening to him drone on about how everyone should pull themselves up by their boot straps; that most poor people were lazy, etc. Now this is a guy who inherited his farm from his dad, who inherited from his dad, who inherited from his dad. Every vehicle the family owned whether it be his truck, my sister's car, and the cars their children drove were all "farm-related" vehicles for tax purposes. Now, I'm from a family whose grandmother was truly poor, had nine children and no husband, working three jobs a day, raising her own food, etc. I knew listening to my brother-in-law's lectures that poor people weren't lazy as a general rule.

There are many arguments to be made for means-testing farm subsidies so only farmers with lower incomes, and small farms that aren't filed as corporations, are getting them. Regardless of this, most wealthy farmers getting farm subsidies--that are paid for by other taxpayers in other states--don't think for a second that it is "welfare," or that it's a form of wealth redistribution.

I also know several rich farmers, who by legal transfer of their farmland and assets from their parents, basically disinherit their aging mothers years before they need nursing home care, so that when they do, they basically show no assets and Medicare and Medicaid pay for their nursing home care. And they don't think twice about doing it, or that it's morally wrong, or taking advantage of the system in any way.

The point I'm making about the Kansas law is the message it sends. People are not being treated equally and fairly. Despite what the benefits are for, if you receive any benefit from government, the same rules should apply. I have less problem with the restrictions themselves than the fact that they don't apply to everyone whether it be a mother with two kids, a suburban family getting mortgage interest deductions on their taxes, a farmer, or a CEO or upper management in a company getting subsidies.

Some people have this twisted idea that if we punish poor people it will result in them not being poor any longer. And how are they going to be able to move somewhere else is they don't have enough money to eat and pay rent?

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Re: Politics

Post by aknowledgeableperson »

Don't get me wrong, I was not advocating what the Kansas law is requiring. Just pointing out what the differences that some see with regards to "incentives" or "public handouts".
I do have a point to make on one of your statements though.
"To move 600 jobs from KCMO to Overland Park is not really creating jobs, but allowing politicians to say that there are 600 new jobs in the state because of incentives. In most cases, they aren't jobs that were created from scratch."
True, for the metro area. But the pols in each state, at all levels of government, it is job creation within that political entity. Jobs are there, and a new building or two, that did not exist before. For them stealing jobs back and forth between KS and MO in the metro area is no different than, say, having a company relocate from Iowa or California or Washington state. It doesn't matter where the jobs came from, what does matter (to the pols) is there are jobs there that did not exist before. Jobs that may give "my" residents a shorter commute time, more people that may support "my" local businesses, and an increase of "my" tax revenue whether from "my" residents who no longer have to pay taxes to another state or from residents from another state who now pay "my" taxes.

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