Originally Posted by MrWookie
It's sarcastic. Sklansky's premise is definitely begging the question, but even if we grant that it's true, that liberal policies lower the average, then liberals aim for policies that raise the medium and minimum standards of living, even if the top end is reduced to a limited degree, thereby lowering the average.
But look at the GOP rhetoric and actions w.r.t. "job creators." They were going to the mat regarding tax cuts on the richest Americans but completely unwilling to cut payroll taxes for a while. The former probably helps the average standard of living more than the latter by making rich people hugely better off, but it does nothing for the median.
I think you are missing the point on why they do that and why they make those arguments. I also think you are missing first level and second level thinking. Look at the people who support the "job creators" tax breaks. They honestly believe they will be better off because of it. I think some of it is more people view themselves as that upper end and not one of the "leaches" than reality has, and part of it is they think that what's good for business is good for them. I don't think their completely off base, as making investment conditions poor enough will make the poor/middle class worse off. They aren't concerned with "average" or "median". They care about themselves and at most people very similar to them. It's as simple as that. You are overcomplicating it and thinking like a liberal when trying to understand how a conservative thinks.
Opposing the payroll taxes is the more interesting and perplexing decision. But it's not terribly hard to understand how people can easily be convinced of why it benefits them to keep the taxes higher (even when it doesn't). The whole reason the GOP can get so much support is because it's able to paint a huge number of people as "leaches". People are convinced that these "leaches" aren't paying their "fair share" (and the rich people pay HUUUUGE taxes, so they already pay their fair share). I suspect a large number of people who claim to be leached from really are the leaches, with child tax credits, earned income tax, etc... and actually come out ahead in many cases. Or they pay an incredibly low tax rate, yet consider themselves part of the highly taxed.
I wish I could find the exact chart I'm thinking of (it had like 6 different values, and the amount for each group out of conservatives, libertarians, and liberals). I know for sure it was posted here as a dig at libertarians for being heartless and selfish, but it was a really interesting piece and really explains a lot. Including why libertarianism is more popular among privileged young white males.
The mistake you are making is a common one. Conservatives and liberals and even libertarians tend to not really understand what makes the other groups tick. Which is why their debates with each other are laughably bad and terrible at convincing people otherwise. I noticed this at another forum when they had a typical "Ayn Rand" libertarian type arguing with mostly liberals, and basically came across as a heartless bastard (screw the poor, they are leaches!). I think you can come away with a wide variety of political beliefs with different arguments (I think you can convince someone with liberal values that limited government would be best as an example, and that would be much different than how you convert a conservative).
Edit: Found the article, or at least one of them with what I was talking about
1) Care/harm: This foundation is related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.
2) Fairness/cheating: This foundation is related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulated the theory in 2011 based on new data, we emphasize proportionality, which is endorsed by everyone, but is more strongly endorsed by conservatives]
3) Liberty/oppression: This foundation is about the feelings of reactance and resentment people feel toward those who dominate them and restrict their liberty. Its intuitions are often in tension with those of the authority foundation. The hatred of bullies and dominators motivates people to come together, in solidarity, to oppose or take down the oppressor.
4) Loyalty/betrayal: This foundation is related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. It underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it's "one for all, and all for one."
5) Authority/subversion: This foundation was shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. It underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.
6) Sanctity/degradation: This foundation was shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. It underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions).
“Libertarians share with liberals a distaste for the morality of Ingroup, Authority, and Purity characteristic of social conservatives, particularly those on the religious right,” notes the study. Libertarians scored slightly below conservatives on Harm and slightly above on Fairness. This suggests that libertarians “are therefore likely to be less responsive than liberals to moral appeals from groups who claim to be victimized, oppressed, or treated unfairly.”
Tons more good stuff here: http://www.yourmorals.org/blog/
This is the chart I think that was posted in another thread: