Sunday, July 2, 2017

Some Tough Love for Trump's Basket Case Red States

How the Oligarchs Intend to Cripple Democracy
"Don't worry about this. Just pass "health care"
so we can get our multi-billion dollar tax cut."
[It's always been their money anyway, right?]

The years of Republican deception which have unraveled from the inauguration of Ronald Reagan to the present offer an unavoidable, ugly narrative of the long term strategy of the US billionaires to establish a permanent oligarchy. The first decades produced a nasty little clutch of dynastic fortunes distributed fairly evenly between Wall Street crooks, massive, billion dollar inheritances and complicit Congressional "repaid favors" as 400 American families ingloriously ascended to become members of the US nine digit "cash club."

Only the most addled citizen is not painfully familiar with the antics of the crowd. However "sequestered" this economic coup d'etat may have been during these earlier years, it has become shockingly brazen by this time.

In the US There Are THREE Things That "Go Together."
1. Federal Spending [for all causes]
2. Paying Taxes [or purchasing Congress]
3. Voting to Elect the Government

Distorting Federal Spending to Pay For Favors

Golly, it looks like a map of
 the Trump states.
[chart source]
It's not a mystery that the red states languishing just below the Mason Dixon Line are sucking up Federal tax money quite beyond what they are contributing. In fact, at this moment, the Confederacy has a throat hold on all Congressional "money levers," and Federal spending -- still -- reflects this. Granted, The Trumpy intends to divert hundreds of billions of dollars from a variety of Federally subsidized health programs to his billionaire friends, but even if this particular, huge pile of money were to be "set aside" from the "basket case" economic calculations of his base voter states, the Confederate "drain" on the US General Fund would still continue in full force.

Exactly what the "President" shared with the country was a clear statement that "those paying taxes" had rights, too, when considered in comparison with those who needed health care. Of course Trump was referring to his fellow oligarchs who were "suffering" under the 3% tax on their capital gains income which had been imposed to fund the Affordable Care Act. 

[The ACA was finally passed in the Senate as a "reconciliation" measure. To do this the bill being considered has to be revenue neutral. The ACA cost all kinds of money, but it still qualified as revenue neutral because it didn't cause an increase in the Federal Budget deficit. Read more here/ The current plan in the GOP Senate is to pass the TrumpCare bill by the same mechanism.]

The important point here is that as Federal tax money is allocated to the states through Congressional action, the amounts of money available is very much a function of the number of citizens -- and in the words of Trump, himself -- the number of tax payers who reside the the receiving state. There are, of course, necessary exceptions to this general rule such as in the case of Federal disaster relief for which amounts are generally based on the cost of mitigating the disaster.

Nonetheless, there is a "fly in the ointment." Actually, there are two more "flies in the ointment."

Distorting the Electoral Mechanisms
 Which Guarantee the Vote

The first "fly:" gerrymandering
It won't matter how they vote -- we'll still win.
Below is the resulting map, showing the relative “Gerrymandered-ness” of each state, for its districts in the US House of Representatives. A “Gerrymander Index” (GI) from 0 – 100 (where 100 is a perfect circle, or the least gerrymandered shape possible) was calculated for each district, using the following formula: GI = 100 * 4πa/p2, where a is area and p is perimeter. A badly gerrymandered district will have a low GI, meaning its convoluted shape requires a long perimeter in proportion to its area. The GIs for each district were averaged together for each state, and divided into four levels of GI as seen on the map. With an average GI of 14.19, (again, on a scale from 0 to 100) the most gerrymandered state in the country (putting aside low GIs due to geography, more on that later) is North Carolina, which also happens to have the most gerrymandered district in the whole country, North Carolina’s twelfth, with a GI of only 3.35.

The second "fly:" voter suppression
There's nothing better than just going back home without voting.
Let them wait in line for six hours before
 they find out that they're not registered or can't identify themselves.

Voter ID laws suppress Democrats and minorities, researchers find
By Daniel Wheaton, The San Diego Union-Tribune

SAN DIEGO — Researchers from the University of California, San Diego have created a new statistical model indicating that voter identification laws do what detractors claim — reduce turnout for minorities and those on the political left.

Overall, the researchers found, strict ID laws cause a reduction in Democratic turnout by 8.8 percentage points, compared with a reduction of 3.6 percentage points for Republicans.

The study focused on the 11 states with the strictest voter ID laws, generally requiring photo identification to cast a ballot. Researchers used a large voter survey database to compare turnout in those states to those in states with lesser or no ID requirements.

MeanMesa's Solution
Federal Tax Money Allocated By Registered Voters,
 Not By General Population

Given this unpleasant reality, MeanMesa actually heard Donald Trump utter something that made sense -- possibly, of course, an utterance made by mistake. Trump said that the responsibilities of the Federal Government go first to those paying taxes and only secondly to those who need assistance. Of course this is nothing more than even more evidence of the "America First" madness he's been spewing to the trailer park crowd.

However, MeanMesa sees a possible advantage to this "Presidential Guffaw."

There has been an unrelenting effort to strip voters away from legal registration and a healthy number of other schemes designed to keep them from voting or to keep them from actually electing candidates from the party which attracted the majority of votes. [Republicans in Congress Got a "Seat Bonus" in This Election [Again]/BROOKINGS]

So, what can be done? [Of course the answer is "nothing" as long as the oligarchs control the government.] The states -- especially the red states which are determined to steal elections from majority voters -- need an incentive. A new incentive.

Why not allocate Federal funding by the number of voters who participated in the election instead of the current scheme relying on the total general populations of those states?

Such a change would motivate states to increase poll availability to voters to its maximum possible level. Federal taxes are collected in these states based on the income of tax payers [at least in theory...]. It is not possible for states to "suspiciously discriminate" [14th Amendment due process style...] with respect to Federal taxation, so why should it be possible -- or legal -- for states to maneuver poll accessibility or election integrity by state gerrymandering or voter suppression schemes?

Nothing similar to the two maps presented [above] can be formulated on Federal tax policy. It is generally legislated to be uniform for all areas in all the states in the union. 

Likewise, nothing similar to those two charts can legally be derived from the numbers of voters who were denied ballots. It turns out that voting poll access has been thrashed by state legislatures with voter suppression and gerrymandering while the Federal "cash stream" remains solidly tilted in favor the Confederacy and other economic "basket case" states.

Even if you happen to be a red state where "business as usual" has been to twist local elections to your favor for decades, once you started to lose Federal money as a result of these anti-democracy schemes, you might have an...uh...epiphany.

Are you listening, Confederacy?

Additional Reading

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