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Post 12 Oct 2017, 7:13 am

rayjay
A raise would be good. But have you explained to them that they may lose their jobs if the minimum wage increases as a result of automation or businesses going under


Well, this is the threat isn't it? (It was the standard threat used against unionized companies for decades. Its unionization that drove up the value of labor in the west and brought about the establishment of a solid working class. Its the standard threat whenever there is a drive for increased wages. So how often is the real threat real?)
Historically this doesn't happen that businesses downsize or close due to slightly increased labor costs. . And especially right now, it can't happen. Most of the minimum wage labor is service industries. And services industries need to provide "service".
Service industries that rely on cheap labor still rely on labor at a higher cost. If they decide to lay off people, they suffer in the quality of service they offer...

In the fast food industry, which relies on minimum wage employees, labor is typically 25% of operating costs. If minimum wage goes up 10%, then overall operating costs would go up 2.5%.
Presumably the cost of a $6.00 sandwich could go up to $6.25 to cover the expense and more...
Earth shattering adjustment?

Any business that demands a commitment to 35 hours a week or more from an employee, but doesn't value those 35 hours enough to pay them a living wage ..... needs to reevaluate why it exists.
If it is ONLY for profits, then it is simply there to exploit the workers.
When companies actually pay their employees more ... they get better employees. More committed to the company. Healthier. And that delivers a better service.
Apply that known principle across the entire work force working under $15 an hour and it says that the entire nation would benefit. Is that more important that a point or two extra in this quarters profits?
(Can't open the links you offered.)
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Post 12 Oct 2017, 7:17 am

rayjay
And why do the Republicans control most of the state houses?


At this point, primarily gerrymandering. (Although voter suppression and campaign finance laws also contributed).

In the past, when they achieved an electoral victory in a state (like Wisconsin) they abandoned any commitment to the principle of representative democracy (one man one vote) and gerrymandered.
I guess Democrats weren't either smart enough, or corrupt enough - depending on your point of view - to gerrymander when they were in power...
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Post 12 Oct 2017, 11:31 pm

rickyp wrote:rayjay
And why do the Republicans control most of the state houses?


At this point, primarily gerrymandering. (Although voter suppression and campaign finance laws also contributed).

In the past, when they achieved an electoral victory in a state (like Wisconsin) they abandoned any commitment to the principle of representative democracy (one man one vote) and gerrymandered.
I guess Democrats weren't either smart enough, or corrupt enough - depending on your point of view - to gerrymander when they were in power...


You can prove it’s primarily gerrymandering. So, go ahead. Prove it.

Show that if legitimate lines were drawn, the State legislatures would be Democratic.

Of course, when people say “state houses,” they often mean governors. So, how would gerrymandering affect that?
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Post 12 Oct 2017, 11:34 pm

freeman3 wrote:Brilliant article. Thanks Ricky for posting it.


Yup. What we all need are more fact-free editorials by the 0.01%. Clearly, the billionaires are our betters, but definitition.
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Post 13 Oct 2017, 5:46 am

Doctor Fate wrote:
rickyp wrote:rayjay
And why do the Republicans control most of the state houses?


At this point, primarily gerrymandering. (Although voter suppression and campaign finance laws also contributed).

In the past, when they achieved an electoral victory in a state (like Wisconsin) they abandoned any commitment to the principle of representative democracy (one man one vote) and gerrymandered.
I guess Democrats weren't either smart enough, or corrupt enough - depending on your point of view - to gerrymander when they were in power...


You can prove it’s primarily gerrymandering. So, go ahead. Prove it.

Show that if legitimate lines were drawn, the State legislatures would be Democratic.

Of course, when people say “state houses,” they often mean governors. So, how would gerrymandering affect that?


Yeah, I chose to ignore him for 2 reasons: 1) when the level of sophistication is that Democrats are moral and Republicans are corrupt, you realize that you are dealing with someone in complete denial about how politics really works. 2) when a foreigner doesn't understand the basic meaning of the term "state houses" you know that you are wasting your time. The only consolation is that when Freeman realizes that Ricky is arguing his case, he may reconsider his assumptions.
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Post 13 Oct 2017, 6:06 am

So, getting back to Trump's tax plan, the discussion of the state and local tax deduction is interesting. (By the way, as a Massachusetts resident I benefit from this deduction so what I am saying is not in my personal interest.) We all agree that simplification is good, and removing this deduction (along with many health care expenses, investment expense, personal interest expense, points, mortgage insurance expense, investment interest expense, casualty expense, job search expense, tax preparation expense, unreimbursed employee expense, safe deposit boxes, union dues, job education, etc.) would simplify the tax code. For my personal tax return it represents 7 pages out of 23.

The vast majority of these deductions favor the wealthy. For example, I have stats for state income tax and other state tax deductions. For the state income tax plus sales and personal property tax, deduction $49B goes to those earning more than $200,000; an additional $16B goes to those earning between $100,000 to $200,000. The remaining $4.6B goes to those making between $50,000 to $100,000. So this is clearly a deduction benefiting the wealthy. The deduction for real estate is not as extreme with $13B going to those making over $200,000 and $14B going to those making between $100,000 to $200,000, and $5B going to those making between $50,000 and $100,000. So in summary 61% goes to those making over $200,000 and 90% goes to those making over $100,000.

So clearly this is a deduction that creates complexity and favors the wealthy. Yet Democrats are fighting tooth and nail for it, as are Republicans from high tax states. Our friend Geo who I would describe as a centrist Democrat (fair?) is very wary of the tax deal because of it.

So who is the constituency here that is arguing for complexity of the tax code. Yes, it is the Representatives of the high tax states, which makes sense and in fact is how a representative democracy should work. But to figure out who else, you have to follow the money. I submit that businesses involved in residential property are one. The other would be teacher's unions who feed off of local taxes to fund their retirements, health care, and member salaries. That subsidy for their member payments is something that the special interest will naturally fight for.
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Post 13 Oct 2017, 8:19 am

rayjay
Yeah, I chose to ignore him for 2 reasons

for one reason. You had nothing to respond.
I obviously understand State Houses since I offered you the Wisconsin State election results as an example of gerrymandered state elections..
Since the State Houses set the election districts, in both State and Federal elections you get results like this Federally:
while Republicans, as of this writing, received a plurality of votes cast for Congress nationwide this year—49.9 percent, again according data from the Cook Political Report—they received a greater share, 55.2 percent, of the seats. Democrats, as a result, won a smaller share of seats than they did votes: 44.8 percent of seats as compared to 47.3 percent of the votes.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2 ... -congress/

fate
Show that if legitimate lines were drawn, the State legislatures would be Democratic

You are aware that SCOTUS is cuurently hearing this matter?
what I showed was that the representative seat results were not representative of voting results .
In the Wisconsin example:
[quotePartisan gerrymandering distorts democracy in a particularly pernicious way: When legislators draw maps that strongly favor their party, they create a majority that is both entrenched and endurable. Gill is a challenge to Wisconsin’s map, and the state provides an excellent example of this phenomenon. While drawing maps in 2010, Wisconsin Republicans engaged in “packing and cracking” – sticking most Democrats in a few safe Democratic districts and distributing the rest through safe Republican districts.
This gerrymander has given Republican legislators a massive unearned advantage. In 2012, Republicans won 48.6 percent of the statewide vote – and 60 out of 99 seats in the Wisconsin state assembly. In 2014, they received 52 percent of the vote and won 63 seats. In 2016, they received the same percentage of the statewide vote, and their majority crept up to 64 seats.
Under this map, Democrats have no real hope of regaining a legislative majority in Wisconsin. A huge number of state elections aren’t even contested anymore; everybody knows the outcome in advance[/quote]\
http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show ... r-politics
If you think this is democracy... explain how
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Post 13 Oct 2017, 8:48 am

Ricky: rayjay
Yeah, I chose to ignore him for 2 reasons

for one reason. You had nothing to respond.
I obviously understand State Houses since I offered you the Wisconsin State election results as an example of gerrymandered state elections..
Since the State Houses set the election districts, in both State and Federal elections you get results like this Federally:
while Republicans, as of this writing, received a plurality of votes cast for Congress nationwide this year—49.9 percent, again according data from the Cook Political Report—they received a greater share, 55.2 percent, of the seats. Democrats, as a result, won a smaller share of seats than they did votes: 44.8 percent of seats as compared to 47.3 percent of the votes


Yes, there is gerrymandering. But here's why you are so ridiculous. You are arguing that Democrats are more popular in the US than Republican and the only evidence that you cite (and it is barely intelligible) is that Democrats received 47.3% of the vote whereas Republicans received 49.9% of the vote.
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Post 13 Oct 2017, 10:12 am

Ray Jay wrote: For my personal tax return it represents 7 pages out of 23.


I'm at six out of 21 pages.

Ray Jay wrote:The vast majority of these deductions favor the wealthy.


No doubt about that.


Ray Jay wrote:So [the state & local tax deduction] creates complexity and favors the wealthy. Yet Democrats are fighting tooth and nail for it, as are Republicans from high tax states. Our friend Geo who I would describe as a centrist Democrat (fair?) is very wary of the tax deal because of it.


I am NOT a Democrat and never have been. I would consider joining the party if the members it elects stop being indicted. I'm also a big believer in tax reform, and I said in this thread that while it would likely be bad for me personally, general reform and simplification would be a good thing for the nation. But I also worry about Trump's role in this. He just wants a victory and any reform will be trumpeted as good reform if it is, or not. Content does not seem to matter to him, and so while reform could be good, it could also be bad, especially if you don't trust who's making the reforms.

But I've said it many, many times, Our federal system is crazy, and I only learned how crazy when I began studying my own situation and really paying attention. Here are some things I wrote:

Geo from 2016 wrote:The correlation coefficient (or "r") of total income to federal tax rate to my household income 2003-2015 is 0.42, which makes the R-squared 0.18! At least it's positive you might say!

The correlation coefficient (or "r") of my state/city tax rate to total income is 0.993!

In my case anyway, there really isn't that much correlation between household income and Federal tax rate, while state and local taxes track it nearly exactly. Crazy!


And

Geo from 2016 wrote:Why do some people who make X pay 30% of their income in tax, while others who also make X pay 10%, or less. In my mind, that's nuts. It's similar to our discussion on corporate taxes, which while the US has a very high marginal rate, some corps pay very little while others pay retail. One would think that a small standard deviation (at a graduated intervals) would be ideal, but it's not that way at all.
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Post 13 Oct 2017, 10:27 am

geojanes wrote:
Ray Jay wrote: For my personal tax return it represents 7 pages out of 23.


I'm at six out of 21 pages.

Ray Jay wrote:The vast majority of these deductions favor the wealthy.


No doubt about that.


Ray Jay wrote:So [the state & local tax deduction] creates complexity and favors the wealthy. Yet Democrats are fighting tooth and nail for it, as are Republicans from high tax states. Our friend Geo who I would describe as a centrist Democrat (fair?) is very wary of the tax deal because of it.


I am NOT a Democrat and never have been. I would consider joining the party if the members it elects stop being indicted. I'm also a big believer in tax reform, and I said in this thread that while it would likely be bad for me personally, general reform and simplification would be a good thing for the nation. But I also worry about Trump's role in this. He just wants a victory and any reform will be trumpeted as good reform if it is, or not. Content does not seem to matter to him, and so while reform could be good, it could also be bad, especially if you don't trust who's making the reforms.

But I've said it many, many times, Our federal system is crazy, and I only learned how crazy when I began studying my own situation and really paying attention. Here are some things I wrote:

Geo from 2016 wrote:The correlation coefficient (or "r") of total income to federal tax rate to my household income 2003-2015 is 0.42, which makes the R-squared 0.18! At least it's positive you might say!

The correlation coefficient (or "r") of my state/city tax rate to total income is 0.993!

In my case anyway, there really isn't that much correlation between household income and Federal tax rate, while state and local taxes track it nearly exactly. Crazy!


And

Geo from 2016 wrote:Why do some people who make X pay 30% of their income in tax, while others who also make X pay 10%, or less. In my mind, that's nuts. It's similar to our discussion on corporate taxes, which while the US has a very high marginal rate, some corps pay very little while others pay retail. One would think that a small standard deviation (at a graduated intervals) would be ideal, but it's not that way at all.


Got it -- that all makes sense to me and is very reasonable. I once was a Democrat but am an independent now that I am paying attention.

I agree on your perspective on Trump. My current thinking is that just about any tax reform that lowers corporate rates and simplifies would be very good for this country in spite of any other non-sense that may be in there. That's a lot of pages that each of us saves. I keep my tax info on a spreadsheet. Not including state taxes there are 12 worksheets; 4 of them would become unnecessary under Trump's plan.
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Post 13 Oct 2017, 10:37 am

Ray Jay wrote:My current thinking is that just about any tax reform that lowers corporate rates and simplifies would be very good for this country in spite of any other non-sense that may be in there. That's a lot of pages that each of us saves. I keep my tax info on a spreadsheet. Not including state taxes there are 12 worksheets; 4 of them would become unnecessary under Trump's plan.


More than simplicity, for me it's about fairness. The different rates individuals pay is crazy, but it's even worse for corporations. If I had to choose to reform corporate taxes or reform individual taxes, I would reform corporate taxes first, because it may very well be more broken. It would involve a large reduction of the statutory rate, but a removal of all the crazy credits that different corps can get. The goal would be to make them all pay the same rate. For corporations, Brad's devotion to a simple flat tax might be the right solution.
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Post 13 Oct 2017, 10:37 am

RJ: "The reason that the Democrats are out of power in the US federal government and over 30 of the states is because they are so callous to the real interests of businesses and laborers. Those of us who work in those businesses know how tough it is and how disastrous some of these socalled progressive policies can be."

First, this minimizes the identity politics that Republicans play. Who do evangelical Christians vote for? They vote for Republicans and that's due to social issues, not economic ones. The Southern culture also has an anti-government core that makes the Republican Party more appealing. There is the subtle and not so subtle racial politics Republicans have played since racist Southern Democrats switched parties in 1964 due to the role the Democratic Party played in championing civil rights. Republicans also use various means in suppressing voting by minority groups. Part (most?)) of the recent anti-immigration policies has to do with fear that Mexican immigrants will eventually become Democrats. And of course their policies are supported by business interests, Wall Street and the wealthy--whose influence vastly outweighs the average voter.

So I highly doubt that Republicans are more popular than Democrats because their economic policies are more popular. That would certainly make no economic sense as the majority of Americans did better under Democratic New Deal policies from the 30s to the 60s. Since 1980 we have seen wealth flow flow to the top and the average worker struggle based on Republican economic policies for the most part. Granted, the Democrats at the national level seem to be Republican-lite with regard to economic policies , not really confronting them on tax, trade, or trying to increase unionism or worker's wages, just mainly ensuring there is some sort of safety net. Democrats cannot afford to alienate Wall Street or big business too much or they will lose elections and that is why they are so reluctant to put forth a a more liberal candidate.

So, no, Republicans are not winning because they have better economic policies. I have no doubt that liberal Democratic policies would benefit the average person more than Republican policies if they were implemented. Why should the average person keep voting for economic policies that benefit the few? Why would they having their wages stay flat while most of the wealth that is created flows towards the top? That makes no sense based on an objective assessment of rational self-interest. But identity politics, social policy, powerful opposition of wealth/business interests, and a successful Republican propaganda win on things like free trade policies, anti-unionism, and lower taxes have allowed Republicans to win even though their economic policies favor the few. They started to putting think tanks together in the 70s to espouse their policies that favor the wealthy and they have been successful in getting theirs views to be accepted as mainstream thought.

But you can see from the popularity of Sanders and the Trump disaster that there is a lot of discontent out there. Trump got elected at least in large part because of economically discontented white voters who for some reason are not blaming Republican policies for their plight but instead are holding immigrants and other racial groups responsible.

Democrats have to do a better job of winning the war ideologically if we want more progressive policies which will surely benefit more Americans. You can't just say tax the rich or raise the minimum wage or promote unions. You have to show this is a fair way to set up a society. You need a lot of hard thinking to show why that is so and then able be to present it in a convincing fashion. Republicans have been winning on the argument that is fair for everyone to go out and compete, the winners get as much money as they can make, it is unfair for government to take too much of that, the government shouldn't regulate business too much, unions are bad, the unemployed are lazy, etc. I think there are convincing answers to these Neo-liberal economic policies and we need to start trying to win the ideological battle there if we want a more progressive agenda.
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Post 13 Oct 2017, 12:13 pm

Ray Jay wrote:So, getting back to Trump's tax plan, the discussion of the state and local tax deduction is interesting. (By the way, as a Massachusetts resident I benefit from this deduction so what I am saying is not in my personal interest.) We all agree that simplification is good, and removing this deduction (along with many health care expenses, investment expense, personal interest expense, points, mortgage insurance expense, investment interest expense, casualty expense, job search expense, tax preparation expense, unreimbursed employee expense, safe deposit boxes, union dues, job education, etc.) would simplify the tax code. For my personal tax return it represents 7 pages out of 23.

The vast majority of these deductions favor the wealthy. For example, I have stats for state income tax and other state tax deductions. For the state income tax plus sales and personal property tax, deduction $49B goes to those earning more than $200,000; an additional $16B goes to those earning between $100,000 to $200,000. The remaining $4.6B goes to those making between $50,000 to $100,000. So this is clearly a deduction benefiting the wealthy. The deduction for real estate is not as extreme with $13B going to those making over $200,000 and $14B going to those making between $100,000 to $200,000, and $5B going to those making between $50,000 and $100,000. So in summary 61% goes to those making over $200,000 and 90% goes to those making over $100,000.

So clearly this is a deduction that creates complexity and favors the wealthy. Yet Democrats are fighting tooth and nail for it, as are Republicans from high tax states. Our friend Geo who I would describe as a centrist Democrat (fair?) is very wary of the tax deal because of it.

So who is the constituency here that is arguing for complexity of the tax code. Yes, it is the Representatives of the high tax states, which makes sense and in fact is how a representative democracy should work. But to figure out who else, you have to follow the money. I submit that businesses involved in residential property are one. The other would be teacher's unions who feed off of local taxes to fund their retirements, health care, and member salaries. That subsidy for their member payments is something that the special interest will naturally fight for.


Yes, the rich and other special interests who can afford lobbyists are the ones fighting simplification. I fail to understand why simplification would be "bad" for the working and middle classes--and I know you aren't arguing against simplification.

Our liberal friends should be all-in for simplification. Complicated tax codes benefit the rich and the connected--not the rest of us.
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Post 13 Oct 2017, 12:18 pm

Ray Jay wrote:But here's why you are so ridiculous. You are arguing that Democrats are more popular in the US than Republican and the only evidence that you cite (and it is barely intelligible) is that Democrats received 47.3% of the vote whereas Republicans received 49.9% of the vote.


Yes, but if it wasn't for gerrymandering . . .

Oh. It would be even worse?

Never mind.

Being rickyp means never having to admit you're wrong. You either go silent or try to change the ground of the argument while denying doing so.
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Post 14 Oct 2017, 7:54 am

freeman3 wrote:RJ: "The reason that the Democrats are out of power in the US federal government and over 30 of the states is because they are so callous to the real interests of businesses and laborers. Those of us who work in those businesses know how tough it is and how disastrous some of these socalled progressive policies can be."

First, this minimizes the identity politics that Republicans play. Who do evangelical Christians vote for? They vote for Republicans and that's due to social issues, not economic ones. The Southern culture also has an anti-government core that makes the Republican Party more appealing. There is the subtle and not so subtle racial politics Republicans have played since racist Southern Democrats switched parties in 1964 due to the role the Democratic Party played in championing civil rights. Republicans also use various means in suppressing voting by minority groups. Part (most?)) of the recent anti-immigration policies has to do with fear that Mexican immigrants will eventually become Democrats. And of course their policies are supported by business interests, Wall Street and the wealthy--whose influence vastly outweighs the average voter.


First of all, thanks for the very reasonable reply. Yes, I agree with the vast majority of the above except for one quibble. My only quibble is that I don't think anti-immigration is supported by business interest, Wall Street, and the wealthy. Most business people want more hard working laborers and most business people want the best and the brightest from around the world to settle here to create businesses and prosperity.

But I do agree that Trump won the Republican primaries partially because he shamelessly played racial differences and most Republicans went for it. The fact that this disgusting man won the Republican primaries is a black spot on the GOP for ever. The fact that he won the general election serves as a condemnation of the methods and ideology of the Democratic Party.

So I highly doubt that Republicans are more popular than Democrats because their economic policies are more popular. That would certainly make no economic sense as the majority of Americans did better under Democratic New Deal policies from the 30s to the 60s.


Well, we are 50 years past the 60's. If the Democrats ate running on those policies in these times, you are making my point. A lot has changed since the 60's including the international competitive landscape and the explosion of labor saving technology.

Since 1980 we have seen wealth flow flow to the top and the average worker struggle based on Republican economic policies for the most part. Granted, the Democrats at the national level seem to be Republican-lite with regard to economic policies ,


Overall, the Reagan and Clinton years were very good. It's really been since 2000 that these trends have been negative. The stats that I've seen show that the rising tide of the Reagan years really did lift all boats.

not really confronting them on tax, trade, or trying to increase unionism or worker's wages, just mainly ensuring there is some sort of safety net. Democrats cannot afford to alienate Wall Street or big business too much or they will lose elections and that is why they are so reluctant to put forth a a more liberal candidate.


I know that you are a bright and reasonable guy, and I am a bright and reasonable guy, but this sounds to me like crazy-talk.

So, no, Republicans are not winning because they have better economic policies. I have no doubt that liberal Democratic policies would benefit the average person more than Republican policies if they were implemented.


Look at the Keystone pipeline. Look at restrictions on off shore drilling or coal mining. (it may be the right policy from a climate change perspective, but you are killing the livelihoods of the people you claim to care about in the process.) Look at your attitude if Brad's friend has to reduce shifts or go out of business because of minimum wage increases to $15. Look at the fact that building anything in this country takes 10 to 20 years of government hearings and approvals. And to get back on topic, our high corporate income tax rate that is driving business to other countries. The guys who lay the pipes are often not qualified to code computers. This is their livelihood, their family, their community, their kids, and Democrats are sometimes taking it away with their policies.

They [Republicans] started to putting think tanks together in the 70s to espouse their policies that favor the wealthy and they have been successful in getting theirs views to be accepted as mainstream thought.
Nothing wrong with trying to win the free flow of ideas. Isn't that what our country is all about? I coach a middle school soccer team and whenever we lose the kids say that the other team fouled too much, or the refs were unfair, or whatever. It's very hard to say we lost because the other team played better, or even is better.

Trump got elected at least in large part because of economically discontented white voters who for some reason are not blaming Republican policies for their plight but instead are holding immigrants and other racial groups responsible
. I'd say some part, not large part. There's also the economic stagnation of the Obama years. The US needs to grow at 3% a year. People intuitively understand that you need capitalism for that.

Democrats have to do a better job of winning the war ideologically if we want more progressive policies which will surely benefit more Americans. You can't just say tax the rich or raise the minimum wage or promote unions. You have to show this is a fair way to set up a society. You need a lot of hard thinking to show why that is so and then able be to present it in a convincing fashion. Republicans have been winning on the argument that is fair for everyone to go out and compete, the winners get as much money as they can make, it is unfair for government to take too much of that, the government shouldn't regulate business too much, unions are bad, the unemployed are lazy, etc. I think there are convincing answers to these Neo-liberal economic policies and we need to start trying to win the ideological battle there if we want a more progressive agenda.
Go for it. But listen to the reaction of the mainstream (e.g. the people of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio) as you put forth these policies, as it may be that the problem is the policies that you are recommending and not the way you are representing them.