Invictus here, gang, with a little pre-election number crunching.

I posted recently on the explosive growth in the use of food stamps, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). BR asked some very relevant questions, and commenter Kort provided some interesting linkage that gave a history of the program, including various changes made along the way (which helped explain the recent surge). That post generated a fair amount of commentary.

I’ve been (as always) rooting around the various features of the website (interesting life, eh?), and dug deeply into this set of interactive maps. As I have a strong curiosity about how people vote against their own self-interest, I’ve spent a fair amount of time exploring Personal Current Transfer Receipts (PCTR) — government largesse to those in need (specifically defined as: “Consists of income payments to persons for which no current services are performed and net insurance settlements.” Emphasis added.)  It would seem to me fairly straightforward that those who rely – or may – on any portion of PCTR would be loathe to see its various programs gutted.

Other areas within PCTR that I’ve been examining in addition to SNAP, on a state-by-state basis, are the usual targets of the Cutback Crowd, such as Medicare, Family Assistance, Unemployment Insurance. I’ve even begun to analyze the data on a county basis (more on that below). The results are fascinating.

But back to SNAP, as that’s what got me started with this follow-up post. Below are the year-by-year levels (000′s) of SNAP dollars by state for the period from 2000 through 2009. A Google search on “where is Tea Party strongest” returns this Rasmussen report from June among its results. At 45 seconds in we learn that Tea Party affiliation is strongest in CO, KY, AL, AZ and GA. Interestingly, the growth in SNAP in three of those states — AZ, CO and GA — exceeds the national average over the period from 2000 – 2009.

(Click through for entire table, which can also be seen at its source here.)

A similar pattern for these five states, i.e. higher than the national average in various sub-components of PCTR, is evident in Medicare, Family Assistance, and Unemployment Insurance, to name three:

Source Tables:  MedicareFamily AssistanceUnemployment Insurance

This pattern is not confined to the five states that Rasmussen reports identify most closely with the tea baggers. Indeed, I see it over and over again in the data.

The county level is truly fascinating, and I’ve only just begun to explore it.

According to data I’ve compiled from USA Today and the BEA, there were eight counties in 2004 (and with the benefit of data since then) that met the following criteria:

  • Cast more than 10,000 votes for Bush (in 2004) which
  • Gave Bush more than 80% of the vote, AND
  • For the subsequent period from 2005 through 2008, these counties exceeded the average annual national growth rate in:
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Medicare
  • SNAP

Three are in Alabama: Blount, Shelby and St. Clair. Three are in Utah: Cache, Iron and Washington. One is in Georgia: Forsyth. And the winner — giving astounding 93% of its vote to Bush in 2004 and 85% to McCain in 2008, all the while sucking on the public teat big time — is Madison, ID. These counties would seem to be the poster children for COPB — Cutting Other People’s Benefits — because the numbers clearly indicate that they’re sure not cutting their own.

I hope to spend a bit more time analyzing the seeming hypocrisy of voting for small government, cutbacks, deficit reductions, “personal responsibility,” etc., while simultaneously milking the very system against which one rails. Is it really all about social issues (gay marriage, abortion, guns, etc.?).  Is that even possible?

Whether or not you vote your self-interest, please do exercise your right to vote tomorrow.

(Interestingly, Paul Krugman’s Nov. 1 column touches tangentially on this issue.)

And a plea for help: I’ve still not figured out how to easily insert an Excel table into WordPress. If anyone could offer a hand with that, perhaps you could ping BR and let him know, or alternatively drop a note in comments? I’m familiar with the HTML (<td>, <tr>, etc.), but it still seems like too much damn work, and frequently seems to bomb out on me and not produce the intended result. I had a couple of tables for this post that I simply scrapped because the job became too onerous; they were very illustrative, informative, and would have added much to the message. And yes, I’ve tried Tableizer, without much success.

Category: Current Affairs, Data Analysis, Economy, Politics, Psychology

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

105 Responses to “Voting: In Your Self-Interest, Or Against It?”

  1. krice2001 says:

    I think people do vote against their economic self-interest… clearly. But as you note ,social issues can overwhelm economics. I recall listening to a report where two brothers went cross-country (one conservative, one liberal) during the middle of the Bush Administration to see how people were feeling. The liberal brother was suprised to note that even in poor rural counties, were the Bush Administration had seemingly been working to reduce some of their benefits – the people in those “conservative” areas general felt comfortable with their votes and with how things were going.

    He determined that that comfort with the social direction and tone of the administration was more important to these voters than specific economic policies.

    Economists may believe people vote primarily out of economic self-interest – and in the agregate maybe that’s true, but I feel social issues can definitely outweigh the economic. And let’s face it, other people’s benefits can easily be made to seem much more unreasonable than yours. And if someone comes along to convince you that you deserve yours and “they” don’t deserve “theirs”. Well, that’s really appealing.

  2. stonedwino says:

    Unfortunately there are millions of Americans who seem totally ignorant & uneducated and do vote against their own interests. Then there are many more millions who have “cognitive dissonance”… We can actually prove to them with real facts that they are voting against their own interests, yet they will turn to their ideology and discredit the facts. It is astounding, yet proves how ignorant and yes, stupid so many Americans are. One of my favorite sayings is “You can’t fix stupid” and your really can’t…no matter what we say or do, we can basically write of millions upon millions of Americans, because they are too ignorant and stupid to realize what is reality and what is perception and the difference between the two. The fact that the main stream media is so corrupt does not help in painting the real picture for those who actually pay attention to the media…

  3. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Behold the power of social marketing.

    Ever wonder how so many folks were enticed to sign a note for a mortgage they knew they could not afford? Social marketing.

    Ever wonder why pedophile priests continue to walk free among us? Social marketing.

    Ever wonder how the VP of the US could commit treason without repercussion? Social marketing.

    Social marketing allows a person to hold two contradictory ideas in their heads as being equally valid. The most glaring example is that the USA is a “free” country.

  4. NickAthens says:

    Here is an article from teh 1994 elections regarding public pension liability. Wish someone woudl update this view…

  5. jgfields says:

    Invictus: In Excel, chose Save As from the file menu and select .htm format, then cut and paste the contents of that file into WordPress in “HTML” edit mode. Another option is to cut and paste the table from Excel into Word, tweak anything that needs it, then cut and paste that into WordPress using the “Paste from Word” button in “Visual” edit mode.

  6. Invictus says:


    Thank you. I’ll check it out…have not tried either of those methods.

  7. Raleighwood says:

    People do vote against their self-interest, I am genetically related to a fair number of them and work with a boat-load more – and while I’ve said it hear before I feel it bears repeating.

    Single issue voters who would like abortions outlawed have voted themselves (and the rest of us) into a downwardly mobile lifestyle. Our economy takes a backseat to their “spiritual” needs. The endless fear-mongering and military machine necessary to maintain our empire (and who voted to be an empire?) doesn’t help either but voting along God, guns and gays is about the life in the hereafter – not the temporal world we endure for the time-being. We are a nation held hostage by the pro-life crowd – how big a leap is it from voting against your self interest to the Stockholm syndrome?

    But then again – maybe it has something to do with proximity – if all around you are the recipients and to your eye they appear undeserving – or you yourself are undeserving because isn’t this the boot-strap Nation and if you are not successful there is only you to blame – then how hard is it to vote against self-interest?

    The kids and I were at the Sanity Rally in DC on Sat and my take away from John’s closing was this.

    “..we live now in hard times, not end times”. Unfortunately a great number of people would prefer these to be the End Times, if anything, just to be validated.

    (If the link doesn’t work it’s because I don’t know how to format, much less include a spread sheet!)

  8. wally says:

    Perhaps you should add a column for intelligence or level of education… that might well explain the situation.

  9. ella says:

    Handy web site shows federal spending by state.

    Take a look at Alabama.

    Remember it is the Republican Charge and Spend crowd who will likely control Congress. And both parties are rushing into the abyss on tax cuts. Really tax cuts before the report of the deficit reduction commission? Ever heard of the income / revenue side of the balance sheet? No, well both sides of the balance should be considered before extending any of the Bush tax cuts. Let’s not forget that Bush almost doubled the federal debt by adding almost 5 trillion.

    The only people who vote for their own self interest are the Ubers and the big Corps. And the spend big convincing the rest of us to vote for their agenda, government spending for them but not for you, outsourcing jobs and insourcing visa or illegal workers to dumb down American wages and benefits. Using 2 trillion in SS reserves to fund their tax cuts and cutting your SS benefits. It just goes on and on. More wars to fatten their profits and more cost for you. More private government contracts for them, less taxes for them and more cost for you. Anonymous unlimited campaign spending for them, but not for you… your contributions are recorded and made public. Sanctity of contract for them, but not for you … their employment contracts, CDS all paid at 100% but violating contracts on mortgages (securitization and foreclosures). Rule of law for you (personal responsibility), but not for them. Raising prices for them but no increases for you.

  10. tower says:

    what’s the matter with kansas.
    the way people vote is diffcult to understand unless one realizes how the public is misinformed/uneducated.
    thks for the all the analyses provided here. on this subject i wonder what the voter turnout
    numbers are with this demographic .

    ps your (occasional) appearance on cnbc lends much needed credibility to that station.

  11. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    ella Says:

    “And the spend big convincing the rest of us to vote for their agenda”

    Social marketing.

  12. ella says:

    Petey Wheatstraw, is no one for the middle class? Can’t someone deliver a message that counters their (ubers and big Corps.) social marketing?

  13. tenaciousd says:

    The book “Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State” (Gelman et al.) addresses these issues in detail.

    “He crunched U.S. survey and election data as far back as 1952; compared his data where appropriate to similar data from Mexico, Canada, and other countries; and discovered that the economic status of individuals and the economic conditions of each state as a whole lead to two different conclusions: on the one hand, the less wealthy a voter is, the more likely the voter is to cast a ballot for a Democrat; the better-off the voter, the more likely he or she is to vote Republican. Yet states with a higher average income are more likely to support a Democratic presidential candidate. He discovered that wealthy voters in a poor state (e.g., Mississippi, with many poor) consistently support Republicans, while Connecticut, with many wealthy, regularly backs Democrats. Ohio is near the center of income distribution and alternates between the parties. This seeming paradox is lost on the media’s talking heads because they focus only on the state-level data, leading them to the simplistic red-blue paradigm, ignoring the importance of individual voters’ decisions. Gelman finds that the above relationships hold on a county level as well. After examining other factors such as religiosity and cultural values for clues to explain voting behavior, he offers suggestions about how the Democratic Party can improve its chances in the 2008 election.”

  14. Gator81 says:


    Thank you for your truly outstanding work.

    Two thoughts.
    1) In states or counties where you see both high rates of public assistance and high rates of Tea-Partyish anti-gov’t sentiment, my observations are that the second is a reaction to the first. Folks of a conservative bent and, perhaps, less well educated (OK, my bias) seem likely to react to what they see around them, viewing all that public assistance as an affront to their own hard-working, money-saving ways. Never mind whether the assistance is, in fact, justified or not, and whether it, in fact, helps support the local economy in which they all interact and upon which they all depend
    2) Can you simply print your Excel tables into Adobe so as to create a .pdf? Then you’ve just got what amounts to a picture to post.

  15. Petey Wheatstraw says:


    The blogs are trying, but Luddites don’t read blogs, and the middle class has lots of Luddites. Consider that the MSM was falsely and successfully branded as being controlled by liberal interests. Consider that both Christianity and our nation were founded by flaming liberals, yet their most vocal supporters claim to hate liberalism.

    You can’t teach someone something they don’t want to learn.

  16. VennData says:

    I do not want the gov’t to take over Medicare, so I do vote in my own interest. The government would ruin Medicare just like they ruined the Gulf of Mexico. And why wouldn’t I want Donald Trump’s taxes cut? I love his TV show, would he do that show without lower marginal rates? No. Absolutely not.

    — “Swing” Voter

  17. call me ahab says:

    as of July 2010:

    State-by-State Trends

    Increases in SNAP/Food Stamps caseloads between July 2009 and July 2010 occurred in all parts of the country. Nine states experienced over-the-prior July percentage caseload increases above 25 percent: Idaho (40.1%); Nevada (30.9%); Rhode Island (29.8%); Connecticut (29.1%); Utah (28.0%); New Jersey (27.5%); Florida (27.2%); New Hampshire (25.7%); and Texas (25.7%).

    no doubt Invictus- as shown above- all those damn tea baggers in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey-

    tea baggers appear to be everywhere-

    and also (because of your incredible intellect) you must understand that folk’s on public assistance must always want more of the same-

    because it’s in their self interest-

    Invictus = Genius


  18. Transor Z says:

    American People Hire High-Powered Lobbyist To Push Interests In Congress,18204/

    Whoa. First, you have to be able to evaluate how legislation and policy impacts your economic interests. For example, TARP is turning a profit (cough) so folks should vote back in everyone in Congress who voted in favor of that. Also, lowering taxes on the wealthy saved jobs; things would have been MUCH WORSE (cough) if not for the brave congresspersons and GWB who championed those cuts.

    So there’s certainly ideology/”social marketing” but there’s also flat-out lying.

  19. constantnormal says:

    I care not a whit about the various Congressional contests, I figure those are all lost causes to begin with.

    But I AM mightily interested in how the people of Washington state will vote on their referendum to adopt a state income tax, imposing a teeny-tiny tax bite on the millionaires and billionaires, and cutting a wide swath of taxes on everyone else. It seems to obvious a choice, I wonder, can the people of Washington state be as dumb as the rest of the Bananamericans, and reject it?

    And in my own state referendum circus, I will be voting against the measure to lock low fixed property tax rates into the state constitution, because making it that difficult to change the rates is a stoopid thing to do — I can easily recall the summer of 2006, when sky-high fuel costs were bankrupting school districts (due to insane costs of operating school buses).

    And the legislators were insane to adopt a property tax overhaul that continued to base them on assessed real estate valuation, at a time when the collapse in real estate values was just beginning. To cast those rates into the state constitution is madness. Therefore, it will win in a landslide, continuing my unerring history of picking losers at the ballot box.

    And at the same time, I will be voting against a school district measure to create a surtax to the property tax system to fund schools — if this comes to pass, then there will be nothing to stop schools from raising their own taxes willy-nilly, and turning the state tax landscape into an unpredictable roiling sea of taxation, that will surely discourage business from coming here.

    Why it is this much easier to cut taxes than spending is beyond my understanding. Are people REALLY this dumb, that they cannot resist spending their own and OPM on various wastrel projects, and yet can easily resist taxing others (and themselves) to pay for it? What do they think is the eventual outcome from this mindset?

  20. Of the five states mentioned as high-growth states for receiving public assistance, how many are also high-growth states in terms of population? I think all five are relatively high-growth states in terms of population.

    If the correlation is strong between growth in public assistance and growth in population, then that might be a plausible causative factor, independent of the manner in which the states vote.

    An argument can also be made that there is precious little difference, or has been, in the economic policies of either Republicans or Democrats. In other words, if each party is touting the same basic economic paradigm (and frankly, in my view, as George Wallace famously observed forty years ago, “there ain’t a nickel’s worth of difference between Republicans and Democrats”), then economic policies can’t be compelling people to vote one way or another. During the financial crisis, there was a certain seamlessness to the Bush and Obama Administration’s approach. Bush rescued the banks. Presumably given what he’s done since being elected, so too would have the Obama Administration. It certainly didn’t repudiate what came before it, except as a talking point for the mess that was inherited.

    It is clear to me from looking at what they do, not what they say, that both parties profoundly believe in the efficacy of government to solve society’s problems. Considering that governments in the US are still elected, the assumption of governmental efficacy must reflect something of the beliefs of the voters. So, even if the Republican “tea-baggers” sweep to victory in the House, I don’t expect to see much real difference in the actual policies enacted on the ground. There may be some changes around the margins, but there’ll not be much change in the meat and potatoes of governance. The new boss will be much the same as the old boss.

  21. Invictus says:


    1) I looked at more than just SNAP, so why are you confining your comment to only that program? The pattern runs throughout the data. Have a look and you can see for yourself.
    2) The folks in RI, CT and NJ cast votes in favor of politicians/policies that support SNAP and the other PCTR programs. So, not sure WTF your point is.

  22. Invictus says:


    Care to do some of the heavy lifting and see if your thesis holds? Here you go. Would love to know what you find.

  23. ashpelham2 says:

    Invictus: thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to research this and publish the information. I am not astounded by your results, but the confirmation in actual hard numbers is as good as gold. It tells me all I need to know about the Birmingham, Alabama metro area, where I live and work. All three of those Alabama counties lie within the Birmingham MSA. I live in one of those counties: Shelby.

    This state has been staunchly Republican in it’s national elections now for some time. Richard Shelby has been a Senator since Moby Dick was a minnow. We voted overwhelmingly for Bush both times, and McCain/Palin this past time. Local elections tend to be more split among racial lines. I don’t know if it’s possible to know this from voting stats, but I wonder if the Rep/Dem split could be shown with respect to race? It seems that people in the state of Alabama have forgotten that it was a Democrat that spearheaded programs to give the people of this state light and electricity. People in Alabama associate Democrat with Liberal. If we learn nothing from the Bush legacy, it should be that Conservative doesn’t mean anything when it comes to spending other people’s money.

    Thank you again, Invictus, for this awesome information!!

  24. Rescission says:

    This blog must not be happy with what’s coming down tomorrow. I see a lot of whining and blaming from this crowd for sure.
    In reading the comments, I see the following themes:
    – people are stupid and uneducated
    – blame people who are pro-life and against abortions. It’s their fault for the shape we are in.
    – people were all “enticed” to put themselves over their heads in debt.
    – conservatives are less well educated.
    – people should take hand outs whether they want them or not.

    I have news for you. People DO vote for their own self-interest. Every time. It’s you who are the ignorant ones.
    People don’t want handouts, they want to earn their own way, and they want government to leave them the f**k alone. Paychecks instead of Food Stamps. Opportunity and Liberty instead of central planning and control.

    This election is a big-ass statement that goes something like this:
    “Get out of my face, get out of my life and leave me alone so I can get on with my life and figure out how we can solve these problems without some dumb-ass elitist telling me how he’s gonna take care of me”. It’s all about a slap to the face of the elites in Washington who have gone after the big power grab and centralization of control.

    The majority of readers and commenters on this blog do not understand this, so they have to vilify and blame people, call them names, insult them or whatever, because most of the readers here are collectivists and prefer central government control and planning vs. Liberty and freedom. I don’t expect to get published. The host usually censors comments he doesn’t agree with.

  25. Mannwich says:

    It’s all about “belonging” to a tribe. Politics are almost completely tribal for many people (a sense of belonging to a given group trumps nearly all), as it allows them the convenience to not have to think about the issues too much. Even in my own social group, there’s an avoidance of conflict so people simply try not to discuss issues for the sake of being “agreeable” and not rocking one’s place in that social order.

  26. Invictus says:


    Did your homework for you. For the period from 2001 – 2009, here’s how things look population-wise. It’s a mixed bag:

    United States 0.93%
    Alabama 0.67%
    Arizona 2.76%
    Colorado 1.58%
    Georgia 1.95%
    Kentucky 0.73%

  27. call me ahab says:

    no Invictus- what’s your point?

    stripping your thought process down its barest element- those that are in the “tea bagging” states have no right to vote for libertarian causes because there are people on “public assistance” in those states-

    or- the flip side- those on public assistance- who are the least likely to go to the polls- if they are to vote- it is to vote for more public assistance- because it’s in their interests-

    I guess if a person is living in LA, since there is such a high preponderance of motorists- it would be wrong to propose other ways for people to get around-

    best to just buy a car and shut up

  28. Mannwich says:

    @ahab: I think this article about sums it up. People are full of shit.

  29. call me ahab says:


    I guess my point is-

    you can own a gun- and still be for gun laws-

    one doesn’t negate the other

  30. crjdriver says:

    While I concede your point Invictus, you also make my argument. Given the chance,(no matter what your political ideology) if something is free, then the population will take it. Damn the long term consequences. The more Federalist we become the farther removed the population is from living with the consequences of thier choices. Pandering politicians both blue (unfunded spending plans and mandates) or red (unfunded wars and tax cuts) are destroying the financial future of this country.

    One thing they share in common, more power concentrated in Washington is not making us a safer, more financially secure, or guarenting our personal liberty just the opposite.

  31. Invictus says:


    Read that story in its entirety. Quite illuminating.


    From the article to which Mannwich refers (emphasis in original):

    The average Tea Partier is sincerely against government spending — with the exception of the money spent on them. In fact, their lack of embarrassment when it comes to collecting government largesse is key to understanding what this movement is all about — and nowhere do we see that dynamic as clearly as here in Kentucky, where Rand Paul is barreling toward the Senate with the aid of conservative icons like Palin.

    This is exactly what the data support, and I’ll add that it was, in part, the first sentence of that graf that stoked my interest in exploring the data.

  32. ashpelham2 says:

    Let me add one more thing that is worth watching in Alabama tomorrow: the vote to accept Amendment #3 or nay:,_Amendment_3_(2010)

    And some differing opinions, including a dissenter, outgoing Governor, Republican Bob Riley:

    Yeah, Riley is the guy who’s been shuttering all of the Bingo gambling halls across the state. I see him as a guy who was popular because of his conservative status, so he got elected, but then when we all saw what “conservative” really means, we didn’t agree with it. He’s not straddled the fence on conservativism, but the people of Alabama, as Invictus demonstrates, are perhaps some of the most hypocritical in the entire nation. Many of them support gambling in this state, but allowing gambling or casinos now in this state, is a wasted effort as ALL of the neighboring states have had either lottery, casinos, or some variation for years now, robbing Alabama of serious revenue collections.

    Mannwich: agreed. People in Alabama are full of shit. I’m one of the only people I know that is in favor of women’s rights when it comes to abortion. But I consider myself very conservative with regard to social spending. So, maybe I’m the hypocrite here?

    All I know is I have never voted a straight ticket, and I’ve been voting since 1994. I vote for the candidates who are looking for a LONG TERM SOLUTION. Sustainability. Not short term fixes. Those people don’t usually win.

  33. kdruff says:

    Invictus — I’d be happy to help you learn how to clean up tables for WP. However, the easiest option, IMO is to export to a Google Doc. You can them get embed code straight from Google, no need to worry about tables, etc.

    If you’re on twitter, you can get me @kmdric or email me: kevin(a)

  34. Thanks for the info on pop demographics, Invictus. It seems only my state (Alabama) doesn’t meet the “relatively high growth” criteria.

    Of course, really nothing about Alabama ever makes sense, as AshPelham pointed out, so just throw it out. Then at least some of the increase might be attributed to population growth. But probably not all. It’s a real challenge to tease any truth out of data when there are so many variables to consider.

    But I think Manny hit the nail on the head. The saying is that all politics is local. It should be added that it’s tribal, as well, which in a lot of cases, is saying the same thing. Tribes tend to cluster together locally.

  35. ashpelham2 says:

    I know I’ve already done my “oh one more thing” post, but one thing I can speak of in those states and the counties that you’ve mentioned: The hispanic populations in those places is a major driver in your data. In Alabama, Shelby, St. Clair, and Blount counties have all had tremendous influx of hispanics during that time period. I have to presume, judging by their education levels generally speaking, and the fact that latinos tend to vote republican, that it’s possible those stats could be slightly skewed due to that. However, bearing in mind that many in that hispanic growth did not enter legally and may still be here illegally, that argument might be nullified.

    Again, a breakdown by race, if at all possible, from those voting stats, would probably tell us all of the rest of the story that we need to know.

  36. savoiea says:

    This is a good example of a form of false reasoning known as the “ecological fallacy”:

  37. Mannwich says:

    Exactly Invictus, but what the average tea partier fails to note is that sometimes spending on other priorities outside of their own obvious direct interests can actually benefit them as well in a bigger picture sense. That’s what many of these folks are missing – - a sense of the bigger picture. I have these arguments with my brother all the time. What’s in his best personal interests may not be in the interests of his community or country and vice versa. The key as a functioning society is to be able to find that balance between both. Not always easy, obviously, especially in these crazy times, but too many peoples’ idea of the “big picture” is them, their families, and maybe their direct friends, and oftentimes not even that wide. That’s the problem with the libertarian mindset. It simply doesn’t work in a large, complicated societal structure with FLAWED human beings running the show. As much as I sympathize with it, it’s simply way idealistic to truly work. If we can’t accept that by now, we never will.

  38. formerlawyer says:

    Altruism with a dose of reality.

    Invictus did you consider that some “other people” might want to vote against their economic self-interest because it is the “best” for the country?

    Peoples motivations are more complex than any single metric (for example the argument over Greg Mankiw’s column.)

  39. Mannwich says:

    @formerlawyer: Great point but funny how the elites don’t EVER vote agains their own best interests in the name of what’s “best for our country”. I guess going to black tie charity events suffices.

  40. formerlawyer says:

    Thats because whats “best for the country” is best for the elites.

    However more seriously, look to Washington State where an income tax is backed by Mr. Gates. Sr. that is although he does say his famous son is okay with it.

  41. Invictus says:


    Interesting. And thank you. In my defense, contrary to the I.Q. example given at your link, voting is (generally, anyway) binary — you choose one candidate or the other. Beyond that, at least on the county level I set the bar pretty high — at least 80% had to vote for Bush in 2004. Consequently, there’s little to infer about the will of the voters — the vote count is what it is. On the state level, clearly your argument holds much more water. Thanks again.

  42. ashpelham2 says:

    Formerlawyer, I highly doubt that most people who vote against their own interests based that vote on their own guilt for taking those benefits, even though they need them to feed their family. Rather, it’s a case of those “other” people who get benefits that don’t “deserve” them. It’s a sign that our nation is more divided as a Republic than ever before. We have a lot of pols to blame for some of that, but we also have national media outlets in TV, print, and radio for allowing the dumbest of our populace to be force fed bullshit. Amerikins will believe whatever they are told on TV or on the internet, because if it’s on the TV or on the internet, then “it must be true”.

    Forgive the overuse of quotes…I like them. :D

  43. Braden says:

    Tower already brought it up, and I’m really surprised to see no evidence of its consideration by the OP; what about voter turnout in the demographic? Anecdotaly, I understand that the lower income brackets have a lower turnout, but I don’t actually know. Poll access and felony convictions could be mitigating factors in many jurisdictions.
    Keep up the good work, Invictus.

  44. Mannwich says:

    @formerlawyer: Oh really? What in the past 8-10 years gives you that idea that what’s been done has been “best for the country”? Wow, I really don’t know what to say.

  45. formerlawyer says:

    I put the quotes in deliberately.

    It still does not change my point: economic self-interest does not rate highly on national politics.

    Local politics on the other hand….

  46. Mannwich says:

    Gotcha formerlawyer, and I don’t disagree. Economic self-interest only rates with the elites. It’s how they got rich in the first place. Otherwise, it’s mostly a tribal thing and the emotional yearning to belong to your tribe.

  47. VRWC says:

    Very hard to take your analysis seriously as thoughtful and unbiased when you use the pejoritive “tea baggers” to describe those who think that spending trillions of our grandchildren’s money is perhaps not the way to go.

    Apparently you have ruled out the possibility that some Americans who receive assistance from the government would prefer an economy where they did not have to…. an economy where government spending is not rising from 20 to 30% of GDP…. or a government that doesn’t impose over a trillion dollars in regulatory compliance costs annually.

  48. frodo1314 says:

    I think it’s possible you may be drawing an erroneous or non-existent correlation between those “on the teet” and those voting to cut off the milk.

    It would really be interesting if we could tease out of the statistics the % of those voting eligible “on the teet” that actually voted, versus overal % of elegible voters that actually voted. I think that might tell you something.

    In other words – I think the voters looked around them, saw others not carrying their weight and instead living off the handouts, and voted to stop them. That’s how I interpret your report. Something tells my gut that “teet suckers” don’t vote as much as milk providers do. But that’s just my gut talking, I have no data or facts to back it up. Anyone?

  49. Lariat1 says:

    Balance is the key in everything. I try to tell my teenager that he has to find the balance: school work, xbox, concerts and limited partying. I’m a realist here. And be ready for the times that you played and have to pay. But most people live there lives with blinders on. It’s ok for their their grown child to be out of work and the kids on food stamps but not the rest of those low life good for nothings. Many years ago , very early 80′s, I found myself single again with a toddler and no job, for 4 months I was on public assistance, food stamps and all. Well it was temporary and I had paid into the systems for years before, so I got a return on my investment. Got hired back at a previous employer and within 5 months was on my way to being self sufficient. And by working again I was reinvesting in a social program for the greater good. But later that fall I received a heating subsidy check and I went down to the county social services to return it because i was working and didn’t need it and there was no system in place for a check to be returned due to an error. They did not know how to handle the situation that I was trying to return money that wasn’t owed me. They told me to give up and just take it. Which I did but again no checks and balances in these programs. So do people look at a candidate and take a Balanced view? NO!

  50. Mannwich says:

    @frodo1314: But many of them who are clearly on the teet are quite easily able to rationalize THEIR existence on that teet but not others who are on that same teet or maybe a different one on the cow. How do you reconcile that?

  51. NormanB says:

    BR: ” interested on how people vote against their own self-interest.” How about this one. African-Americans vote 90% Democratic but the Dems have driven them into the ground. The 1960′s War on Poverty was supposed to help them but instead their illegitimate rate went from 25% to 75%, incarceration went from 10% to 35% and education is still in the pits. It was only until welfare was reformed by the GOP that things started to get better and its the GOP which has been trying to get education reformed but the Democrats fight it all of the way because of the teachers unions. Truth be known, African-Americans should be voting for the Republicans.

  52. frodo1314 says:

    Mannwich – I don’t, I’m just saying I don’t think either of those groups are the ones voting is my point.

  53. You can go a lot longer without food or water (never mind sex, as they were discussing in the Big Chill) than you can without rationalization. Rationalization drives the universe. Or, it drives the universe as we see it. Which is itself a rationalization.

  54. Mannwich says:

    @NormanB: Truth be known, most of us shouldn’t be voting for either party or any of these clowns.

  55. Lariat1 says:

    I’m an election worker, small town and tomorrow I will watch as the people come in and I will know the ones who will vote straight party lines , have their whole lives because their parents did. It doesn’t even matter who the candidates are. That still happens big time here, Mannwich is right, it is a sense of belonging. And there will be that certain old guy who always has to be the first one to vote. And we have new voting machines here in New York, I have been bombarded with mail every day from Board of Elections with tips and reminders and corrections for tomorrow. And the old people are very resistant and pissed and untrusting of the new machines. They think it is a way to get them to just give up their vote because it will be too complicated for them.

  56. JT23456 says:

    Interesting juxtaposition – the strongest tea party areas are taking the highest rates of socialized assistance.

    So what’s the explanation? Is it that psychologically they resent having to take the the public assistance and this resentment manifests itself as a protest movement, or is the tea party really the teat party and they couldn’t spell.

  57. Mannwich says:

    @JT: A dash of self-loathing along with a sprinkle of Stockholm Syndrome?

  58. Basilisc says:

    I’d reiterate the points made above by gator81 and frodo1314, namely that people who live in places where others are getting a lot of public assistance may be more likely to see them as freeloaders and vote consistently to cut public assistance. While to people in wealthy areas, it all sounds good in the abstract so they’re more likely to support it.

    It’s a similar phenomenon to the way that purported social “ills” – divorce, teen pregnancy, etc – are highest in red states, and provoke a reaction by voters who support candidates that are very conservative on these issues.

    The other thing that could be going on here, Invictus, is that you’re actually just picking up the age gap. The 2008 election highlighted the growing divergence in views between older and younger voters, with the latter more tolerant of gays, muslims, immigrants & more willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt. The main reason tomorrow’s election result is likely to differ from 2008 is that the voting population in midterms is skewed towards older voters, who these days (though not always) tend to be more conservative. So your counties with high levels of “public assistance” could actually be dominated by counties with high levels of Medicare recipients, which in turn are counties with older populations.

  59. Transor Z says:

    Well… if you voted for Reagan and thought you were voting for Morning in America, with revitalized industry to strengthen the country’s backbone… you got hosed*. And Greenspan.

    And if you voted for Bush Sr., you voted for a moderate who got hosed by his own party. So you got hosed again.

    And if you voted for Clinton, you got Rubin, Summers, repeal of Glass-Steagall, Brooksley Born getting the shaft. You definitely got hosed.

    If you voted for Gore, you got hosed.

    If you voted for GWB/Cheney, God have mercy on your soul. You got hosed.

    If you voted for Obama, you got half-assed health reform and financial reform. You got hosed.

    This list doesn’t include local or congressional elections. If in doubt, you got hosed.

    So pretty much we’ve been collectively voting against economic interest for 30+ years. Any questions?

    *Unless you are in the top 1%-2% income bracket. Then you probably didn’t get hosed under any regime.

  60. Mannwich says:

    LOL Transor. There you go making my argument for not voting for any of these clowns.

  61. Thor says:

    Transor – Well said!

    I’ve always thought it was odd – People voting in elected officials that will in turn ship your jobs overseas. They’re “Strong on Terror” though garsh darn it!

  62. wtrent says:

    It seems to me that the initial premise is overcomplicating things. States with higher growth in people requiring assistance are likely to be states with growing disaffection and thus more prone to a protest vote.

  63. This hypothesis, however, gets more complicated when you consider both spending and taxes together. What do you say about states such as Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts (all deep blue states) that pay more in federal taxes than they receive in federal spending? Are they irrational? Those states have lots of representation, why don’t they level the playing field?

    They could start with this: the income tax code punishes high (nominal) income states because income tax brackets do not adjust for differences in the cost-of-living. You can live a like a king on $200,000 in Alabama, but barely make your bills in New York City. Yet, the graduated income tax rate punishes the residents of NYC by taxing their higher nominal income at higher tax rates.

    The last time I checked, liberals favor graduated income tax rates . . . so they must be irrational, eh? Shouldn’t liberals instead embrace a flat tax? Surely they don’t like redistributing their hard-earned dollars to red states . . . gasp!

  64. lineside says:

    Was this some kind of IQ test (which, judging from the comments, most folks failed)?

    Let me see if i get this right: because a subset of a population of a state or county taps into public assistance at a greater-than-average rate, it means that anyone in that same state or county who is critical of runaway government spending is a hypocrite?

    Anybody think they could run this nonsense past a fifth grader?

  65. Braden says:

    Invictus finally struck an interesting chord surrounding politics – data based and observational with just the right amount of real-world interest – and all that ensues is a red v. blue clusterfuck. What a world. No wonder nobody tries to make political posts worth reading anymore. I can’t wait until this election is over.

  66. Herb2 says:

    I trust that the billionaires in favor of an income tax in Washington state have all had access to tax lawyers and estate planning that will mostly exempt them from any taxes. Similarly, I trust that the 2-year restrictions on how the funds can be spent, to say nothing of who will become eligible to pay the tax, will be modified. Two weeks of having a mail box full of glossy ads plus 4 or 5 phone messages every day tells me that the dollars are voting Republican.

  67. ashpelham2 says:

    I’ll speak for myself by saying that I’m not tooting the horn(or teet, if you’re into that kind of stuff) for any political party. I know, at my age, 35, that they are all bought and paid for by some special interest somewhere. Now, some of those special interests are truly doing some good, just don’t ask me to name any. I’m a fan of people who want to uphold our constitution, but not tie our religions into every part of government. I’m a fan of social programs that help veterans and the truly disabled (for whatever reason), but I’m also in favor of MUCH stricter requirements to prove you are eligible for any benefits at all. No internet quizzes here.

    So, I hope my posts don’t show a bias toward one of our recognized parties in this country, because I certainly do not. I cannot align my beliefs personally, with any one party because there are differing opinions throughout. My thoughts actually aligned pretty closely with McCain last election, but his choice of VP was a black mark I can not forgive him for. The democratic party made a poor choice as it’s candidate, as did the people who voted, for someone to lead the western world with ZERO experience in things a President should know about. He’s not been effective at bringing about non-partisan progress, he’s not been effectice in doing ANYTHING overseas. Nothing. What he has been good at is spending money on lavish lobster-eating trips to the eastern seaboard.

    What an absolute CLUSTER. Someone asked above, “who is for the middle class”? I’m for the middle class. I’m in the middle class, but barely, and hanging on only by means of my education and decision making, NOT by my income. I’ve watched my own salary go nowhere in 10 years, essentially since I graduated with a degree in accounting. So, I keep up with this stuff. Want someone to hold government accountable for it’s expenditures, and hold politicians accountable for their votes? What about someone who has at least as much experience in foreign relations as our current leader (which would be zero)? What about someone who’s not been bought and paid for by the big banks?

    You can write me in, in 2012. I don’t want to hear what I want to hear. I want to hear what America NEEDS to hear, and wants to say.

    ps. obviously I’m being sarcastic here…..

  68. Invictus says:


    Let’s look at the real world example of Madison, ID (which I find very intriguing). They voted 93% for Bush in 2004 (and 85% for McCain in 2008). From 2005 – 2008 several of their entitlements rose (spreadsheet is not at the ready right now, but could certainly follow up later) at a rate greater than the national average. Is it your suggestion that perhaps it was the 7% who voted for Kerry accounted for the larger-than-average increase in entitlements? Or is it more likely that it was members of the remaining 93%? I’d really like to kick it around a bit. What can we infer from Madison, ID?

  69. Mannwich says:

    @WealthAlchemy: Ah, but making $200K in AL is likely no easy feat either.

  70. frodo1314 says:

    No, what I’m saying is who accounted for the larger-than-average increase in entitlements weren’t the ones who voted. Why do you assume they are the ones who did????? It seems pretty intuitive to me.

  71. call me ahab says:


    your point in a nutshell-

    animals in a zoo should love the zoo- because they get fed daily

  72. lineside says:

    @ Invictus:

    Although you can’t infer much from your cherry-picked county of 37, 456 people in a country of over 300 million, you could surely expect a greater-than-average increase in $ benefits paid in a county whose population growth during the period you referenced was 4x that of the national average. I’m sure you thought of that.

  73. Invictus says:


    Actually, I did. And we could go per capita if you’d like.

    According to the BEA, Madison, ID had a population in 2005 of 35,200. That year it received $96.3MM in PCTR. In 2008, its population had risen to 38,235, while its PCTR rose to $126,341MM. I would respectfully suggest that its increase in entitlements outstripped its increase in population.

  74. dss says:


    Contrary to popular opinion, low income voters have the worst voting record:

    Furthermore, there are enormous disparities that exist in America across income levels in all forms of participation, particularly voting. A study on these disparities found that 86% of people with incomes above $75,000 claim to have voted in presidential elections as compared with only 52% of people with incomes under $15,000. As a result of the participation disparity across demographic lines, politicians are more responsive to the opinions of high-income constituents. A study of roll call votes under the 107th and 108th Congresses reported that legislators were three times more responsive to high-income constituents than middle-income constituents and were the least responsive to the needs of low-income constituents.

  75. Andy T says:

    “VRWC Says@11.58

    Very hard to take your analysis seriously as thoughtful and unbiased when you use the pejoritive “tea baggers” to describe those who think that spending trillions of our grandchildren’s money is perhaps not the way to go.

    Apparently you have ruled out the possibility that some Americans who receive assistance from the government would prefer an economy where they did not have to…. an economy where government spending is not rising from 20 to 30% of GDP…. or a government that doesn’t impose over a trillion dollars in regulatory compliance costs annually.”

    Very well stated.

  76. lineside says:

    @ Invictus

    According to your numbers above, PCTR growth for Madison 2005-2008 was 31%, vs population growth of 8.6%.

    But according to the BEA links you provided, for the US as a whole, SNAP, Medicare, Family Assistance and Unemployment together grew at a greater rate (39%) even though the population growth rate was much lower (2.9%).

    It seems, then, that the per capita data do not support your argument either.

    p.s., you can have the last word if you want it because I’m moving along now.

  77. Mannwich says:

    @Andy T: But maybe if people didn’t continually support and vote for policies (and politicians) that went directly against THEIR intersts (e.g. outsourcing, etc.), we wouldn’t be at this point today? Not saying it’s necessarily a political party thing either, but people have been asleep at the switch and willfully ignorant all these years, believing the lie that certain policies would benefit the country, while instead it hollowed out our country’s industrial base, thereby making larger swaths of people poorer, while only making those few at the top richer. Understanding HOW we got here is important too.

  78. Andy T says:

    “Contrary to popular opinion, low income voters have the worst voting record….A study on these disparities found that 86% of people with incomes above $75,000 claim to have voted in presidential elections as compared with only 52% of people with incomes under $15,000.”

    If that’s true, that would go along way towards refuting some of these loose assertions from Invictus. e.g. the folks receiving the public assistance may not even be voting. And, given that they (lower income people) are voting in much lower numbers than the rest of the voting populace, it’s difficult to know exactly how their votes might be breaking, one way or another.

    I suppose if you had exit polls that asked the question: Do you receive Federal Assistance? Who did you vote for? Then, maybe we might have more accurate information on this argument

    With that said, it’s pretty friggin’ bold of Invictus to call people hypocritical because they might vote contrary to their interests on a single issue. Please see VRWC@11.58 for another explanation as to why people might vote they way they do….

    Other than that, pretty good “comment-bait” post I suppose….well done.

  79. Thor says:

    I find it shocking that there are any intelligent people left who actually believe the Tea Party is about runaway spending in DC. Where the hell were all these people 4 years ago?

    The Tea Party is overwhelmingly far right conservative republican, the numbers are the numbers so let’s dispense with the foolishness that their movement is a movement sweeping the nation. No, it’s a movement sweeping Conservative America.

  80. frodo1314 says:

    Outsourcing = Bad, Protectionism = Good? Maybe not… it’s just not that simple folks…

    Shipping out jobs
    Last Updated: 12:37 AM, October 27, 2010 AP

    With campaign season comes predictable charges that Candidate X favors “tax breaks for corporations that ship US jobs overseas.” It’s a bogus claim.

    With unemployment still stubbornly high, Americans are rightly worried about the economy. And politicians of both parties — from President Obama on down — have seized on US multinational companies as a convenient scapegoat.

    The charge sounds logical: Under the US corporate tax code, US-based companies aren’t taxed on profits that their affiliates abroad earn until those profits are returned here. Supposedly, this “tax break” gives firms an incentive to create jobs overseas rather than at home, so any candidate who doesn’t want to impose higher taxes on those foreign operations is guilty of “shipping jobs overseas.”

    In fact, American companies have quite valid reasons beyond any tax advantage to establish overseas affiliates: That’s how they reach foreign customers with US-branded goods and services.

    Those affiliates allow US companies to sell services that can only be delivered where the customer lives (such as fast food and retail) or to customize their products, such as automobiles, to better reflect the taste of customers in foreign markets.

    In 2008, US companies sold more than $6 trillion worth of goods and services through overseas affiliates — three times what US companies exported from America. And, no, those affiliates aren’t mainly “export platforms,” set up to ship goods back to the United States: Almost 90 percent of what they produce abroad is sold abroad.

    It’s not about access to “cheap labor,” either: More than three-quarters of outward US manufacturing investment goes to other rich, developed economies like Canada and the European Union. That’s where they find the wealthy customers, skilled workers, open markets, efficient infrastructure and political stability to operate profitably.

    Indeed, US manufacturing companies invest a modest $2 billion a year in China, compared to $30 billion a year in Europe.

    Nor do jobs created by those investments come at the expense of American workers. In fact, the more workers US multinationals hire abroad, the more they tend to hire at their parent operations in America. Ramped up production at affiliates stimulates demand at home for managers, accountants, engineers and sales reps. It also stokes demand for the export of higher-end components and services from the US-based parent.
    But the charge is worse yet — because if Congress were to repeal the tax exemption for income earned abroad, it would kill American jobs. Affiliates would have to pay the relatively high US corporate income-tax rate, rather than the usually lower rate imposed by the host country — putting US affiliates at a competitive disadvantage with their foreign counterparts, which would still be paying the lower domestic rate.

    Without the ability to defer taxes on income earned and kept abroad, US multinationals would be forced to cut back their foreign operations, ceding important markets to their competitors from Japan, Korea or the European Union. That would mean fewer foreign sales and fewer jobs created by their US operations.

    But it’s the big picture that really shows how absurd these claims are. Year after year, the rest of the world invests more in their affiliates here in the United States than American companies invest in operations outside our country.

    From 2005 to 2009, foreign manufacturers invested an average of $87 billion a year in US factories, such as the Russian-owned Severstal steel plant in Mississippi and the German-owned BMW plant in South Carolina, while US manufacturing companies were investing an average of $45 billion a year abroad.

    In other words, by the populists’ flawed logic, the world has been shipping more jobs to America than US companies have been shipping abroad. The real fear behind those desperate political ads isn’t that American workers are having their jobs “shipped overseas.” It’s the fear of incumbent politicians that they’ll soon be losing their jobs because of the economic downturn they’ve created here in America.

    Daniel Griswold, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Trade Policy Studies, is author of “Mad About Trade: Why Main Street America Should Embrace Global ization.”

  81. Andy T says:

    @Mannwich – 4.39. I’ll take a pass on engaging with either you/dss/ Thor on any arguments. Peace out.

  82. call me ahab says:


    going back in time- at the onset of the American Revolution- there were many in America who sided with the British-

    can we then say that the American Revolution didn’t sweep all of America- but just the malcontents?

    (I am by no means equating the two- just using it as an example)


    where did I indicate that the poor were more likely to go to the polls? please see my 11:00 where I say just the opposite-

    regarding the poor- they are safely placated by programs that keep them from rioting in the streets-

    if there is to be any dramatic change- violent or otherwise- it won’t be coming from the poor

  83. willid3 says:

    maybe its anecdotal, but i have had heard many conversations where some say they are voting for party XYZ, even though they don’t agree with their economic views, but because of their view on social cause ABC. but does that mean they are voting against their interest. in a way (economically any way) yes, but in a social way, no.

  84. Thor says:

    Ahab – Possibly. If we were talking about the Perot movement in the early 90′s I might concede your point. I just personally think the Tea Party movement is not at all representative of the nation, they’re loud, and their “principles” sound like something most of us could get behind. Peal away the window dressing though, and I think what you have left is a bunch of angry white people pining for the 50′s.

  85. soloduff says:

    Criticizing Ma and Pa Kettle–both on social security, and both rooting for the gutting of social security–is like criticizing an X-aholic (X = alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, food, corpses, profit, etc.)–for his compulsion. Your criticism expresses only your lack of understanding of what makes such folks “tick,” and of their usual outcomes. Good social psychologists long ago anatomized the phenomenon, which Erich Fromm called the Escape From Freedom. (I’ll save you a “read”: The story ends with fascism and war.) And it is no aberration: Our system absolutely requires such irrational compulsiveness–what on earth do you think nationalism, the dollar sign, and religious immortality are all about?–sanity, even for a day, would mean the utter destruction of America As We Know It. And we couldn’t have that, now could we?

  86. call me ahab says:


    the way I see it- the riots around the world now appear to be happening because the governments of the world are removing or reducing “popular” programs for the middle class such as increasing the retirement age or “austerity” programs-

    people aren’t rioting because they are starving- they are rioting becasue they don’t think they are getting what they are entitled t0 (as if anyone is entitled to anything)-

    [just like that scene from Unforgiven- where Clint Eastwood is going to kill the sheriff- and the sheriff said he didn't deserve to die- and Clint Eastwood said- "deserving got nothin' to do with it"]


    the middle class “welfare” program known as the mortgage interest deduction- why is that allowed? Why don’t politicians kill it?

    because it is very popular with the middle class- and my libertarian senses tell me that the government shouldn’t be involved in a person’s choice of living arrangements-

    whether that be renting, owning or living in a tent in the hills-

    but because the governement had to meddle- people now have the sense they are entitled to it- that it is somehow owed to them-

    so when governments try to scale back these programs (because they’re broke or are being proactive so they don’t become broke)-


  87. Andy T says:

    One wonders what any of this has to do with “Macro Perspectives on the Capital Markets, Economy, Technology & Digital Media.”

  88. call me ahab says:

    and my last sentence on my last post should read-

    “people start whining”

  89. Thor says:

    Ahab – People have felt entitled since the beginning of time, it’s human nature to take what is “free”. The biggest difference now is that entitlement has been institutionalized.

    I’d be more sympathetic to the Tea Party movement if it didn’t have so much of a “US vs THEM” feel to it. I think they’re dangerous, very very dangerous, I find a lot of similarities between the Tea Party movement in America today and the very beginnings of the Nazi Party in Germany.

    I’m not equating the two, but it doesn’t take much imagination to see the Tea Party going in that direction if they don’t get the most reactionary wing of their movement reigned in soon.

  90. Mannwich says:

    LOL AT. I guess I need to get snarky and personal in order for you to respond. It’s just all too much, man.

    I’ll stick to the issues no matter who’s commenting though, thank you very much.

  91. Mannwich says:

    @ahab: So the wealthy don’t feel entitled to what they have and have taken in these bailouts? I mean, c’mon, get real here. I would argue the real entitlement class and mentality resides at the TOP of food chain, not the middle or bottom.

  92. Thor says:

    Manny – Absolutely! – Agribusiness, the Pharmaceutical industry, The Military Industrial Complex, The Banking Industry, on and on and on. The social welfare programs in this country PALE in comparison to the corporate welfare system.

    Would we be having any of these problems today were it not for all the subsidies being given to wealthy business leaders.

  93. dss says:


    Yes, exactly. I was agreeing with you. Sorry if that was not clear.

  94. dss says:


    Andy, with regard to: @Mannwich – 4.39. I’ll take a pass on engaging with either you/dss/ Thor on any arguments. Peace out.

    I can only speak for myself, but it is obvious I did not address you in any way, much less try to engage you personally on any issue. On the contrary it was you who responded to something that I wrote specifically to someone else and then tried to make something out of nothing. Just trying to keep the record straight. Peace out.

    My post to Ahab wasn’t comment bait, I was agreeing with him and posted something that proved what he was saying. Can you give it a rest, just even for a day?

  95. call me ahab says:


    the uber rich aren’t going to be rioting in the streets- but the middle class and the somewhat wealthy just may- if they feel what they are entitled to slip away-

    the uber rich- plenty of places they can retire to- no-one the wiser

    going back to my Revolutionary War analogy- the true titans of wealth and land were on the losing end of that war-

    since supposedly it was all the property of the British-

    so in the end it was a land grab by some opportunists in the colonies- but it wasn’t the poor and down trodden starting that fight-

    was it?

  96. Andy T says:


    Agree with all that. I was just reiterating (in as nice a way as possible) to Mannwich my commitment/vow not to engage in any discussion/argument with the Mannwich/dss/Thor triumvirate.

    You posted some good data in one your comments- a piece of data that shoots holes in some of what Invictus is asserting here. Apologies for not giving you proper attribution with my 4.46 comment.

    “Other than that, pretty good “comment-bait” post I suppose….well done.” That comment was definitely directed towards Mr. Invictus, thus the term “post” was referenced, as in the person who posted the thread. Rest assured, I’m not responding anything you’ve uttered here.

    I suppose I’ll “give it a rest?” ……Good night.

  97. jimbonita says:

    Assets $(000s)

    SouthShore Community Bank

    Paradise Bank

    Cortez Community Bank

    Gulf State Community Bank

    Old Harbor Bank

    Sunrise Bank

    Bank of Coral Gables

    Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust Co.

    Great Florida Bank

    The Bank of Miami, National Association

    First National Bank of Crestview

    GulfSouth Private Bank

    CBC National Bank

    Landmark Bank, National Association

  98. jimbonita says:

    Well, that try didn’t work. I was trying to insert an excel sheet which had been converted to html using Kompozer from mozilla. It will get you good html using the source view quickly from a cut and paste spreadsheet. Maybe that’s a starting least each line of the 5 columns comes out separately.

  99. adamj says:

    I don’t think that this shows people are voting against their self interest. Just because a higher % of people are on medicare or the SNAP program in a certain area does not mean a higher % of people in the overall area will support it….and it doesn’t mean those people on those programs are the ones voting against it.

    It is important to remember the people on those programs are still in the MINORITY. The very fact that those NOT on the program are seeing an increase of people on the program could cause those people not on the program to have a greater negative response to it (they may feel if they can get by without it why can’t those around them…the why do they have to support them attitude). People that otherwise may have been indifferent (or even supportive) may develop a negative view of it as more use it and those people are more likely to then become outspoken about it. And since more people are NOT on the programs there are on the programs there are a lot of people who will now vote according to that issue who may not have before.

  100. dss says:


    Thank you. I can see now that you were referring to Invictus, sorry for the confusion. I thought that the data posed an interesting counter point to the argument.