How should progressives react to this type of news?


Iowa voters may be wrong about Cain’s famous tax plan: In this post, Digby links to an interesting news report about Herman Cain’s famous tax plan.

In a detailed news report, Jason Clayworth of the Des Moines Register reports that many Iowa voters may be misinformed about the effects of this plan.

Clayworth’s report is much smarter, and much more dutiful, than anything comparable you’ll ever see in the glorious New York Times. Here are some basic chunks:
CLAYWORTH (11/4/11): Two-thirds of likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers earning less than $50,000 a year believe they personally would be better off or in the same situation under Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan, The Des Moines Register’s new Iowa Poll shows.

Research-group reviews of the plan have found that most families making $100,000 or less would pay thousands of dollars more each year.

“The larger point is that people don’t really understand what the 9-9-9 plan actually is, and they’re assuming incorrectly that they may not pay one or any of these taxes,” said Joe Rosenberg, a research associate for the Tax Policy Center, a group based in Washington, D.C., that bills itself as a nonpartisan economic research institute.


The bottom line: A family with an income level of $40,000 to $50,000 would pay $3,407 more a year in taxes, while families making $500,000 to $1 million a year would pay on average $80,315 less, according to the Tax Policy Center.

A separate review from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal-leaning research and policy group with expertise on low-income programs, shows that the bottom 80 percent of taxpayers would pay more, while the wealthiest 20 percent would see a decrease.

Among the 400 likely Republican caucus-goers polled, 29 percent think they would be better off under Cain’s plan, and 31 percent think things would be the same, for a combined 60 percent. Eighteen percent think they would be worse off, and 22 percent aren’t sure.

But among those making less than $50,000 a year, the percentages rise to 34 percent who think they would be better off and 33 percent who think things would be the same, or 67 percent combined. Fourteen percent say they would fare worse, and 19 percent aren’t sure.
It’s hardly surprising that people may be misinformed about the effects of this proposal. Cain is an effective salesman; he has strongly suggested—may even believe—that his plan will lower the tax burden for most people. Meanwhile, our nation’s press corps has devoted about twenty times as much attention to their thrill-filled Herman Cain sex chase as to any attempt to discuss his tax proposal, which is of course very boring.

Sorry: The press has devoted the bulk of its time to a principled effort to examine the rights of women in the work place. (If you believe that characterization, we’ve got a bridge to the Clintons’ underwear drawer we are prepared to sell you.)

Back to Cain’s tax plan. Many voters may be misinformed about its effects. How should progressives react to that fact? If you’re Digby, you will of course react by rolling your eyes at how stupid those people in the other tribe are. You will close with some pleasing snark about how hard it will be to get those people to believe the actual facts:

“There is a very long way to go to get people to believe that. It's like telling them that God didn't write the Constitution.”

Ha ha ha ha ha. Then, you’ll link to a second news report in which a right-wing radio host makes some weird complaints about Cain’s alleged behavior toward two female employees. As you can see if you read the report, this nut-cake’s complaints don’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. But who cares? He said something negative!

(No one’s conservative radio hosts are quite as kooky as Iowa’s. But we’ll link to them when it feels good, even if what they’re saying doesn’t seem to make sense.)

Clayworth did a detailed news report. Digby rolled out the therapeutic snark.

In our view, real progressives would want to find ways to establish forums in which they might be able communicate the facts to these misled voters.
But Digby isn’t mainly progressive. Like so many of us dumb-asses, she mainly likes to dislike.

Are we trying to build a wider political movement? Or is this really therapy—pleasing therapy aimed at the weaker souls on our side? Over and over, the answer is clear. And yes, it’s one of the ways we lose.

Portrait of a Cain supporter: Clayworth interviewed a Cain supporter. Given the points we have highlighted, how much should we enlightened liberals hate and despise this guy?
CLAYWORTH: Cain supporter and poll participant Joseph Sandvick, 31, of Sioux City said he hadn’t had a lot of time to review the 9-9-9 tax plan but would shift his support to another candidate if after further review he discovers his family would pay more.

It’s possible employers would pay employees more if the employer pays less in taxes, Sandvick said, and tangible goods could cost less because of lower corporate taxes.

Sandvick, an Army veteran of the Iraq war, works in the safety department of a trucking company in Le Mars and attends school at Buena Vista University in pursuit of a degree in organizational leadership. His annual income is less than $50,000.

“I think the upper percentage of Americans can pay a little more than they do currently,” Sandvick said.
Granted, the others are always less than fully human. That said, how much should we enlightened liberals hate this particular guy?

What’s the matter with Santa Monica: As she has often shown in the past, Digby couldn’t explain Social Security if her life were at stake. It’s like being misinformed about Cain’s tax plan, except in this case she’s had thirty years to get her knowledge in order.


Is that a reason to snark and roll one’s eyes at Digby? To amuse ourselves by asking what’s the matter with Santa Monica?

And of course the inevitable comments: Those people are so stoopid! Why can’t they be more like us?
COMMENT: more future lottery winners

COMMENT: Innumeracy—that's why we have to stop funding public education.

COMMENT: It's like I tell my wife—we have a Stupidity Problem in this country.

COMMENT: We have long since devolved into a nation where at least half the population holds knowledge in utter contempt.
So it goes over here on ours, the enlightened side.


  1. In addition to people not understanding Cain's plan, his plan is irrelevant, because it couldn't be passed. Cain's promise to lower taxes for most is fantasy. Perry's promise to lower taxes for most and raise nobody's taxes is greater fantasy. It's sad that people can get elected to the highest office in the country by making promises they can't possible keep.

    Ah, well, these Republican tax cut fantasies are just the mirror image of Democratic candidate fantasies that they're going to uwe the government to fix all our problems. Pick your poison.

  2. That's why we need to get rid of both parties.
    Then, you ask?
    We regulate and tax businesses, and have the government provide equal opportunity and justice for ALL. It won't solve all our problems, but it will go a long way in doing so.

  3. TheOnePercentFlyswatterNovember 6, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    All their plans are all irrelevant, says our self-appointed guru.

    Republicans can't pass tax cuts. That taxes have been cut before, I'm sure our guru'd say, is irrelevant.

    Democrats, by contrast, imagine big government will "fix all our problems."

    So, your guru asks who will you vote for? The guy who sez he'll try to cut your taxes, or the guy who thinks government should fix all problems?

    Our guru knows which poison's best.

    So? Drink up, Davey.


    Can we be serious now, David?

    Of course Cain's plan matters. It matters greatly that he puts forward a plan. And it matters what the content of the plan is. If Cain plans to raise taxes on many people, we should know that. What's irrelevant is your judgement of its likelihood of enactment.

    We should know if Cain plans to cut government revenue at the same time as handing huge tax cuts primarily to the wealthiest 1% of our society. What's irrelevant is whether you think he could actually do it.

    You say, glibly and stupidly, that one party's fantasies are "just" the mirror of the other.

    Sorry, but no. It actually matters what someone proposes. You don't get to just claim Democrats have said they want "government to fix all our problems."

    Why not?

    Well, because everyone can see you're naked! You've got no pol you can point to saying "I think we Democrats can solve all our problems with big government." You've made it up.

    That's a thing people sometimes do, so you can be forgiven. But don't think we're not noticing the pattern, DavidinCA.

  4. Still another week goes by without Chapter 6 of
    "How He Got There" This is getting worse than Robert Caro and his books on LBJ.

  5. "We regulate and tax businesses, and have the government provide equal opportunity and justice for ALL. It won't solve all our problems, but it will go a long way in doing so."

    LOL fucking idiot...

    And every kid was above average

  6. LOL, love my guy Alan Snipes.

    Hey, on the one hand, there's a lot to agree with: why claim it's nearly on the way when it isn't? It's very frustrating to be told something's imminent, only to have that thing delayed constantly with no explanation.

    On the flip side, though I've been frustrated, I never find the heart to complain, because Bob has made the book available for free, and has continued to produce Howlers daily -in fact, if anything, the Howlers have increased in content recently.

    So, I don't know; I have a hard time complaining about the HHGT stuff, but at the same time -shit or get off the pot, so to speak. Even if you plan to put the project on hold, I'm fine with it, but just let us know, or at least stop claiming the next installment is imminent. I am one of those who donated to the project, and while I went in knowing my donation gave me no claim to any finished product, my hope with the donation would be that such a product would exist and I could direct others to it. I very much agree with the aims, and feel that the further we go on in years, the less relevant others will find the material.