One simple graphic cuts through spin: why Labour must not go ‘full referendum’ | The SKWAWKBOX


Inevitably, the media – and a coterie of remain-supporting MPs in and out of the Labour Party – have spun last night’s European Parliament election results to support a claim that results for pro-referendum parties, primarily the LibDems, mean Labour must abandon its manifesto commitment to enacting the 2016 Brexit result and commit to a ‘new referendum with remain on the ballot paper’.

But if a picture paints a thousand words, the one below speaks volumes. Taken from the BBC’s EU vote results page, it combines two colour-coded results maps, one showing the density of LibDem votes across the country – and the other the density of Brexit party support in the same election:

 

Source: One simple graphic cuts through spin: why Labour must not go ‘full referendum’ | The SKWAWKBOX

New EU election poll underlines: Labour must drop referendum talk | The SKWAWKBOX


The latest YouGov polling gives a clear indication to Labour of the impact of the continued attempts by centrist MPs, MEPs and candidates to push a new referendum in spite of the NEC’s decision this week to reject any commitment to a public vote in the party’s European election manifesto.

YouGov polling usually understates Labour support, but the headline figures show the new Brexit party leading strongly:

  • Brexit Party 30%
  • Labour 21%
  • Tory 13%
  • Fib Dems 10%
  • Greens 9%
  • Change UK 9%
  • UKIP 4%

Anti-Brexit and pro-referendum campaigners are already attempting to spin away the significance of the results, claiming that the Brexit party’s strong showing is a result of a cannibalised Tory vote. However, the detailed results do not bear that out.

According to YouGov’s data, the Brexit party:

 

Source: New EU election poll underlines: Labour must drop referendum talk | The SKWAWKBOX

Friedrich Engels: Principles of Communism


Beastrabban\'s Weblog

Engels Communism Pamphlet

Looking through one of the secondhand bookshops in Cheltenham last wee, I found a copy of Friedrich Engels’ Principles of Communism, published by Pluto Press. It was written in 1847, and is a very short introduction to Marx and Engels’ ideas of what constituted Communism. It’s 20 pages in length, and is written in the form of a catechism, Engels presenting their ideas as answers to the following questions: What is Communism? What is the proletariat? Proletarians, then, have not always existed? How did the proletariat originate? Under what conditions does this sale of the labour of the proletarians to the bourgeoisie take place? What working classes were there before the industrial revolution? In what way do proletarians differ from slaves? In what way do proletarians differ from serfs? In what way do proletarians differ from handicraftsmen? In what way do proletarians differ from manufacturing workers? What were the…

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Secular Talk on Trump’s Vagueness as Successful Rhetorical Strategy


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This is a very interesting piece from Secular Talk, in which Kyle Kulinski discusses a piece in Reuters analysing the immense appeal of what looks like Trump’s poor rhetorical ability. Trump contradicts himself, he cuts himself off early, and he uses vague words instead of better, more descriptive vocabulary. The article cites as an example a sentence from Trump’s speech demanding that Muslims should be stopped from entering America. He stated ‘We need to do something, because something’s going on’. Or something like that.

Now instead of being the mark of a poor speaker, it’s actually a very persuasive rhetorical tactic with its own technical term: enthememe. It’s convincing because it makes the orators hearers persuade themselves by filling in the blanks in the speech with what they want to hear. And Trump throws contradictory statements about policy issues out willy-nilly. At one point, Trump will state he supports a…

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Health Provision before the NHS


Beastrabban\'s Weblog

I’ve been having a debate here with a critic, who objected to my description of Nye Bevan as the architect of the NHS. His contention appears to be that there was no private healthcare in Britain even before the establishment of the NHS, and that no-one really suffered through the charges that were made for some essentially services, as the poor were already treated free of charge on the Poor Law. I’ve made it very plain to this critic that I believe he has a very rosy view of healthcare before the NHS.

My mother was told by one of her friends, a staunch Tory, that her father was a pharmacist, who also voted Tory. However, at the 1945 election, he called his family together to say that he was voting Labour, because the NHS was needed. He was tired of having to supply drugs on credit, because the working…

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Meme on Why Black and White Working Class People Should Reject Racism


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I also found this meme on why the White working class should reject racism and distrust politicians, who are trying to stir up hatred against Blacks, from 1000 Natural Shocks. The originals at http://greybeard55.tumblr.com/image/136630560625. Be warned – it’s an over 18 site.

Working Class Anti-Racism

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Kansas lawmakers want the poor to pay for tax cuts for the rich


Original post from The Washington Post

‘…………..By Max Ehrenfreund

Wealthier Kansans are paying much less in taxes after Republican Gov. Sam Brownback overhauled the state’s income tax a few years ago. Brownback and other Republican officials hoped that more generous policies would stimulate the economy, bringing more revenue into the state’s coffers and making up the difference on the bottom line.

It didn’t work. Kansas’s economy has kept expanding at more or less same plodding pace as the rest of the country. And now, according to official estimates released Monday, the state will have at least a $143 million budget shortfall in 2016, and likely more. Lawmakers are looking for a way to plug the hole.

One thing they’re not considering: asking the wealthy to chip in. Instead, in a legislature that last week barred welfare recipients from using their benefits to go swimming or watch movies, the proposals that look most likely to succeed are sales and excise taxes that would be paid disproportionately by Kansas’s poor and working class.

“You’ve got policymakers at this point who are unable to embrace the fact that there was a mistake made,” said Annie McKay, the executive director of the left-leaning Kansas Center for Economic Growth. The think tank in Topeka argues that the state’s deficit can’t be eliminated without reversing some of the income tax cuts Brownback made in 2012.

[VIDEO: 3 ways making the poor prove they’re worthy of benefits is problematic]

Poor and working-class Kansans already carry a heavy burden under the state’s tax system, compared to people of modest incomes in most other states. Among the fifth of the Kansas population with the lowest incomes, the average person pays 11.1 percent of what they make in state and local taxes, including sales taxes. Among the wealthiest one in every 100 Kansans, the average tax bill is just 3.6 percent of annual income, according to a recent report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

People who make less are more vulnerable to increases in sales and excise taxes, since they spend more of their money buying basic goods and services they need to get by. This is especially the case in Kansas, where food is subject to sales tax. Kansans can receive a tax rebate for their food purchases, but those who make nothing or too little to owe income tax aren’t eligible. They pay the sales tax on food in full.

The defense of the plan to raise sales and excise taxes — the sales tax would increase from 6.15 percent to 6.3 percent, under one proposal — is that people should be taxed on what they spend, not what they make, so as not to penalize them for earning more but instead to encourage them to save and invest their money.

“You’re moving from taxing a productive activity to taxing a consumption activity,” said Joseph Henchman of the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. “Most economists will say that it is good for economic growth.”

In practice, though, people who don’t have much money can’t save or invest it. They have to spend it to get along. The more you make, the smaller the fraction of your income you have to spend to cover the basics. And wealthier households, which spend more on luxuries and entertainment, can always give up some of their purchases and keep the money in the bank if they don’t want to pay the higher rate.

As a result, raising the sales tax equally for everyone means asking poorer households to pay significantly more, relative to what they earn.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy’s Meg Wiehe notes that in many states, average incomes have only increased among the richest groups in recent years. As a result, a system of taxation that depends more on the economic fortunes of the poor and the middle class might not produce increasing revenue in the future to meet the needs of growing states, unless the broad national trends change and incomes begin improving throughout the economy.

“Kansas has really shifted the responsibility for paying for taxes from those at the top with the most income, where income is growing, to those at the very bottom of the income spectrum, where incomes are stagnant or even declining,” Wiehe said.

Poorer residents are required to pay a larger share of their incomes than wealthier residents in state and local taxes across the country. That difference is even greater among some states that don’t have an income tax, such as Washington. There, the poorest fifth pay 16.8 percent of income in taxes on average, compared to just 2.4 percent among the very wealthiest, according to the report from the institute.

Brownback also has indicated he’s willing to slow — but not stop — the implementation of his proposed tax cuts for the wealthy. However, he still seeks to eliminate the income tax over time. And some Republicans in the state legislature say they are fiercely committed to the original tax cuts and might oppose attempts to slow their implementation.

Lori McMillan, a law professor at Washburn University in Topeka who has talked about tax policy with several state legislators, said she thought they had good intentions. “They’re not trying to break the backs of the poor,” she said. “They’re nice people.”

Yet McMillan, who describes herself as conservative politically, worries that policymakers have failed to reckon with the consequences of their reforms for taxpayers and for the state’s budget over the long term.

Even the proposed increases in sales and excise taxes would make up only a fraction of the deficit. To balance the budget for this year, Brownback and other policymakers have proposed temporary measures, such as transferring money out of the state’s highway fund.

Max Ehrenfreund is a blogger on the Financial desk and writes for Know More and Wonkblog.