Dems == welfare state?

A “Republican from Idaho“ says: “The biggest problem that Dems have over here is that losts of poeple are small buz owners, not employees. The main industry in this state is agriculture and most people live in small towns. Those are all spots where dems have not been able to reach.

And, out here the consensus is: less government is good government. We support the military, not the welfare state.”

As a self-employed person who now lives in a small town who believes the best gov is that which governs least and who supports the military and not the welfare state, I honestly have a hard time comprehending how those things add up to Republican support in 2004. In 1968, yeah.

The thing to me about small business and politics is that I've been generic-ramen-noodles-four-days-a-week poor and I've been six-figure-salary comfortable. The idea that our country coddles the poor and the just-getting-by working class is one of the few things I probably can't keep a civil tone about -- it just infuriates me. Being poor sucks. The idea of shifting more of the tax burden onto the just-getting-by working class (and convincing them to ask for it!) is just fucking evil. I don't care what you say about “fairness“ -- if you're grossing more than \\(200K, the financial difficulty of paying your taxes is less than if you're making \\)20K. Period. Most of the just-getting-by probably don't even know that you stop paying additional Social Security taxes once you make...what is it this year? \$90K? That's a huge effective tax-rate decrease for the doing-better-than-average.

The absolute size of the government and the welfare state -- I'm insanely less ambivalent about being liberal now that the Democrats are more economically restrained than the Republicans. As a person who's both been poor and been comfortable, I know how dangerous debt is. I look at the national debt and see a credit card statement that says “Minimum payment due“ of \\(350B on \\)1,800B in revenue. When you're paying 1/6 of your income to the credit card companies and you're falling behind really fast, you're in a bad situation. Debt can be used and managed wisely, but we're clearly not doing that right now -- what people are hoping for is cutting the annual increase in our debt in half. In my opinion, we should have a general policy of paying down the debt, which would have huge long-term benefits.

Also, is it fair to point out that Idaho receives \\(1.34 in Federal spending for every \\)1.00 in taxes paid? Another thing I've heard is a lot of indignity about, for instance, the cost of illegal immigrants to the state (this is a big deal in California -- maybe a littl less so in Idaho?). I'd be much more sympathetic to that complaint if ag and service industries were willing to say “And we will not use illegal immigrants to keep our costs down.“ But they aren't, not even close. The entire rhetoric of illegal immigration is pure hypocrisy.

Finally, “supporting the military.“ That might be the one place where my beliefs clash with your characterization of the Idaho perspective. Maybe. I think of the Pentagon as the ultimate Washington bureaucracy and pork trough (although I'm going to guess that Homeland Security is going to give them a run for their money). Clearly, the DoD is third-rail stuff, especially for Democrats (Kerry was excoriated for supporting cuts that came from Cheney!). But if it weren't for that third rail, I'd like to see some real pressure put on the Pentagon to control their budget. And as part of that pressure, I'd like to skew the dollars spent towards personnel and basic equipment rather than weapons systems. Although I'm all for not giving bad guys any kind of target, I think you have to look at things like the Joint Strike Fighter and ask “Do we really need to spend this money to do the job?” And when it comes to armor and artillery, we seem so far ahead of any emerging threat that it just seems like there must be some amount of belt tightening that could be done.

So that's the way that your Idaho perspective looks through my liberal goggles. What am I missing or seeing in a distorted way?