Ron Paul’s early start in Harrisonburg

Brent Finnegan -- January 2nd, 2008

No, I’m not trying to start a discussion about presidential candidates here. I’m merely pointing out that while I’ve seen a few bumper stickers for other Democratic and Republican candidates, I’ve been noticing a lot of Ron Paul yard signs in Harrisonburg lately. Some of them actually in yards, others planted in medians illegally.

A few things I’ve read on the blogs and in the news lately confirm this observation. There’s even been reports of a promotional blimp possibly coming to town.

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45 Responses to “Ron Paul’s early start in Harrisonburg”

  1. Emmy says:

    I’ve noticed the same thing. Really, he’s about the only candidate that I’ve seen anyone display anything for. I saw one Hillary bumper sticker the other day. A co-worker and myself have Obama bumper stickers, but that’s about all I have seen.

  2. Bubby says:

    Now you’ve done it! Ron’s on-line army will be here in no time to tell you about “returning to the gold standard”.

  3. Justin says:

    I joined the “1,000,000 Strong for Stephen Colbert” Facebook group.

    I’ll put a sign in my yard soon.

    Because everyone drives through Grottoes.

  4. Kyle says:

    Ron’s interviews on Colbert’s show were great! He’s frustrating the GOP establishment by being so successful with his fundraising on the internet. To me his success speaks less of his strength as a candidate, but more to the public’s frustration and apathy toward the media-chosen “front runners.”

  5. Gxeremio says:

    I’m not part of Ron’s army, but the weak dollar/gold standard issue is one that most Americans don’t know enough about to support needed policies (along with infrastructure deterioration, climate change, peak oil, etc.). Even things that directly effect people are kind of mysteries to most, like rising higher ed costs, Social Security solvency, immigration, an antiquated education system, and health care reform. *sigh* I guess we’ll just keep patching these problems until they get too big to ignore…God help us if more than one of those teetering systems collapses at once.

  6. finnegan says:

    Comments from Ron’s “online army” will have to be approved first. And if they’re not local, I’m not interested.

  7. MF says:

    The guy is running an interesting and exciting campaign, but I think too many people support him on the fact that he is bucking the system and not what he actually stands for.

    If he where to somehow every get “elected” as president I think his policy’s would scary the living hell out of half of his supporters. And the fact that NO ONE in the Senate or the House would support any of his crazy ideas would pretty much guarantee that none of it would every get passed into law.

  8. Deb SF says:

    The DNR had an editorial sometime over the last week or so, praising his idea of getting rid of the income tax and the IRS. It neglected to mention that he wants to replace the income tax with “excise taxes” (what’s come to be known as the fair tax) that operate essentially as a national sales tax, collected at the point of purchase for goods and services. Estimates are that it would need to be between 23-35% to collect enough cash to be revenue neutral. Pretty regressive stuff. Take away your 10% income tax bracket, your FICA and Medicare taxes, and slap a 25% national sales tax on everything.

    Ron Paul appears to believe that the Federal Reserve is nothing more than a group of private bankers who secretly manipulate the U.S. Money Supply (without ANY form of government oversight or disclosure) to their own advantage. And that the Fed is the singe main reason for most of the economic distress we now face. And that the US should have private competing currencies and a return to “hard” currencies, to the extent of using actual gold and silver as legal tender.

    For someone who teaches econ, he’s a tremendous delight, because he’s hugely fun fodder for the classroom. The press provides tons of clippings on his most outrageous economic policy ideas, usually found just in the footnotes and sidebars of the textbooks.

    I for one hope he lasts through the political season awhile longer. At least till midterms. ;-)

  9. Draegn88 says:

    Deb SF,

    ” Take away your 10% income tax bracket, your FICA and Medicare taxes, and slap a 25% national sales tax on everything.”

    Your statement is not entirely true. An example: You buy a 1000$ HDTV, remove all the taxes that every company who had part in making, transporting, storing, selling that HDTV paid; the cost of that HDTV would be say 750$ The fairtax simple replaces that 250$ which isn’t paid before it reaches you. You still pay 1000$. What is the problem? You only pay tax if you buy something, rather than having it taken out of your paycheck regardless if you spend it or not.

    Note, I don’t support Ron Paul. I think he has a rather slim chance of winning. He is the “odd man out”, however anyone is better than Hillary.

  10. finnegan says:

    “anyone is better than Hillary”

    That’s one point you and Ralph Nader and Michael Moore can all agree on, since those two seem to be throwing their support behind Edwards.

    Deb, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, and the manner in which it was passed.

    And yes, I just realized I’m off topic.

  11. Deb SF says:

    “You only pay tax if you buy something, rather than having it taken out of your paycheck regardless if you spend it or not.”

    I don’t like the “fair tax” for a number of reasons. Suppose that the fair tax = 23%.

    First, somewhat conveyed in the quote above, is the sense that the fair tax is some kind of free lunch. You get to keep all of your paycheck, cuz withoholding disappears. You get a raise of 23%. And now you have to pay more for everything you buy. From your car to your haircut to the gallon of milk to the liter of gas. Everything.

    Whether you are better off or not depends on what your effective tax rate is under the current system. If your effective income tax rate is 23%, then the fair tax is a wash for you; you pay no more in income taxes under that system than the one we have now. But if you now pay less than 23% (and the vast majority of taxpayers do), you are clearly worse off. The price of everything you buy increases by 23%, but your income will increase by less.

    Yeah, I know there are lots of fairish tax proposals for rebates to people (ALL people, you and Bill Gates) to repay you the taxes you pay for basic necessities. Everyone would get a rebate check monthly for some minimum amount of $.
    That doesn’t negate the point. Children turn out to be another form of consumption to be taxed (yow, do childless couples benefit in this system). Young consumers who borrow heavily (first house, first car, first everything) are penalized especially heavily. You have to borrow 23% more and pay interest on it, too.

    Second, the true cost of government less visible to voters in this system. The income tax system at least gives taxpayers a fairly clear indication of what our total income tax liability is: every April you have to calculate it. We know (and endlessly complain) about how much we pay. In a sales tax system, by contrast, you don’t really know how much money you’re paying the federal government in all; you pay every time you walk up to a cash register.

    Finnegan, I’m not sure what you’re asking?

  12. MAW says:

    With the fair tax, there are no taxes taken out of our checks so the employer doesn’t have to match any taxes which saves them money. Is that right?

    If so, wouldn’t/couldn’t prices go down?

  13. DebSF says:

    Well, no. Not unless you want to exempt every firm everywhere from paying the same 23% tax you and I would pay.

  14. JGFitzgerald says:

    It’s an Ayn Rand thing.

    Ayn Rand was the patron saint of libertarians (Christina was already taken, if you’ll pardon the obscurity). Libertarians support the so-called fair tax, actually a sales tax, because, whether they can or not, they rarely count past zero and one.

    Ayn Rand believed that one of the greatest symbols of human freedom and creativity was the cigarette. She died of lung cancer.

    Any questions?

  15. Joe. Many Libertarians DO NOT support the Fair Tax.

    Deb, Your explanation of the Fair Tax is marginally weak and features many omitted several relevant facts that would bring your explanation into question…not the least of which is the prebate.

    Ever heard of it?

  16. MAW says:

    I’ve done bookkeeping for a business before and they were already tax exempt on the items they purchased to resell. Is that not the same for all businesses?

    But, no. If I’m bringing home more money and the prices are dropping, they don’t have to pay the same percent of tax I do. Unless of course, you can point out a reason I’m overlooking. I have not studied the issue thoroughly.

    I’m not trying to argue with anyone. I’m not concerned with libertarian, conservative, republican, or democrat. I’m concerned with a particular issue that I want to become more educated on.

  17. Tad says:

    Why is it called the Fair Tax? If I consume lots of goods and services then my total tax burden is much higher than someone who does not. Is that fair? Just because we are paying the same rate on goods and services does not automatically equal fairness. I propose a head tax. Each man, woman, and child will pay $100 (or whatever amount is needed to pay for government services) a year to the government. There won’t be any W-2 forms or 1099s. Just a count to see who has been alive this year. If you make it to Jan. 1st then you owe the entire head tax, no part-year reductions.

  18. Grozet says:

    Ron Paul is going to be great for Republicans. The number of Americans that identify themselves as Republicans rose 2% lately. This is huge!

    However, Paul will get no help from Iowa. Check out the Top Ten List for why the Iowa Caucus sucks!

    http://vacollegerepublicans.blogspot.com/2008/01/top-ten-list-why-iowa-caucus-sucks.html

  19. Deb SF says:

    No, Mr. Briggman, I didn’t discuss all the superduper reasons why some think that the fair tax is so terrific. Yes, I am aware that Fair Tax supporters intend to supplement their basic proposal with a complex system of rebates that would make the total tax burden even more difficult to calculate. The net result of the Fair Tax would be to make the true cost of government less visible to voters. That, I would argue, has been one of the effects of the somewhat similar value added tax (VAT) by which many European countries raise a large part of their revenue. The only reason I brought it up in this thread is because it’s become part of the Repub presidential campaign (Mike Huckabee this political season), temporarily out of the wilderness of wacko economic ideas.

    MAW, there are a lot of options on how a tax like this could hypothetically be implemented and I’m sure they vary on their treatment of firms. But if you don’t tax the business purchase of, say, a company car, computer, furniture, etc., then you introduce a huge level of complexity into the system that boosts transactions costs out of sight. Who decides if you’re a business or not? Scuze me while I go and incorporate myself.

    There are good reasons why no country has ever tried to collect all its revenue from national sales taxes.

  20. jesse says:

    deb,
    your ignorance of the fair tax makes me hesitant to even bother with you. the true cost of government is hidden in our current complicated system. also hidden is the huge bureacracy and compliance cost. under the fair tax the cost would be the 23%. if you think that 23% is too big than cut government spending in addition. either system the government will spend what it budgets to spend, plus the cost of the bureacracy. i majored in accounting and finance at college. i had to take federal taxes as part of that. it is a mess of a system. if we had a fair tax the best economic decisions people could make would be encouraged by a fair tax. the current tax encourages debt financing and spending. in addition a fair tax would capture a huge underground economy from people who don’t report income. a fair tax removes politicians from being able to buy votes by manipulating tax code. a fair tax removes the unconstitutional irs. in case you don’t get it, now when you pay your income tax and believe that you have calculated “your fair share” you haven’t counted that every dollar of your after tax income is paying corporate taxes on your every purchase. duh, learn before you try to teach.

  21. jesse says:

    deb, a business shows a profit and of course it would collect sales tax for the government under the fair tax. if you are not showing a profit than you have a “hobby” check the current definitions in the irs code. anyways if you where smart you would have already started a business, there are advantages to it under this CURRENT system.

  22. JGFitzgerald says:

    If I “where smart”
    Then I would start
    Not stumbling twice
    With a comma splice,

    I’d know grammar does
    Not stand a chance
    With this kind of major
    In high finance,

    I’d capitalize
    Just to surprise
    And else not waste
    My upper case,

    I’d know all things
    Began with me
    And taxes frozen
    At twenty-three,

    I’d gladly speak
    As if unique
    In knowing facts
    About the tax,

    And before demonstrating it with a rant,
    I’d check the dictionary for “ignorant.”

  23. jesse says:

    deb, if your business is making money, it’s a business. if you think that you can form a llc just to avoid taxes on computers and cars, it shows your ignorance. if your “business” doesn’t show profits (i think it’s 3 of 5 years) the current codes limit your ability to shelter other income. under a fair tax there would likely be some standard to determine legitimate businesses from your hypothetical fraudulent llc. but the thought that you naively think that you can calculate the cost of government by your income tax form is funny.

  24. Justin says:

    I love how the internet brings out the best in people.

    I hope you guys wouldn’t talk like this in person. It’s just shameful to read the way a community talks to each other like this.

    Very disappointing.

  25. JGFitzgerald says:

    All due respect, Justin, does one get a pass on criticizing one’s neighbors if the criticisms in questions are “shameful” and “disappointing”?

  26. Deb SF says:

    We’ve rapidly hit the point of diminishing returns for this discussion.

    Enough from me. I just don’t care about this odd marginal issue enough to wade through the personal attacks on my professional competence in order to try to make reasoned, substantive points.

    But it was fun while it lasted.

  27. Justin says:

    I’m just saying, the type of commenting going on hburgnews like this is keeping people away from participating in what should be a short civil discussion.

    I know I wouldn’t want to express my ideas, feelings, and knowledge about something if I’m going to be called “ignorant”, stupid, and unqualified for my job on a website for people within my community.

  28. Kyle says:

    Man up folks, this is a place for opinion, whether you agree with the blogger or not. If you’re looking for some sort of tea party full of platitudes and niceties then maybe the blogsphere isn’t for you. Deb shut it down and handled it superbly.

  29. MAW says:

    Thank you Deb, for your opinions and perspective of the issue. I haven’t agreed with you, but I also haven’t felt the need to criticize or call you names. It’s not needed and it doesn’t add anything to the conversation. You are just as entitled to your opinion as I am to mine and everyone else. It’s a shame some feel that is the only way to convey their point.

    I’m sorry I brought these attacks on you.

  30. JGFitzgerald says:

    No argument with your central point, Justin. But to me, those who think they’re John Galt crossed with e.e. cummings (and all their intellectual siblings) should only be given the last word once it’s established that they’re being intentionally ignored, and not that anyone is conceding to their arguments. Deb ends her participation in pointless discussions very explicitly. I like to do it with elliptical mockery. And you do a good job of expressing the frustration that a lot of people feel when a thread spins out of control. With that in mind, I probably shouldn’t have responded to you the way I did above.

  31. Justin says:

    You got me, that’s for sure.

    Sorry to make the thread all touchy-feely.

    That being said, I don’t think Ron will have much of a chance, though I haven’t seen any polls saying such. His campaign just starts out too viral for a presidential campaign.

    He’s an interesting “read”. I wonder how it will affect the race. Are republican’s treating him like one of their own?

  32. andy says:

    I’ve got ninety thousand pounds in my pajamas,
    I’ve got forty thousand French francs in my fridge.
    I’ve got lots of lovely lire,
    Now the Deutschemark’s getting dearer,
    And my dollar bills would buy the Brooklyn Bridge.

    Chorus:
    There is nothing quite as wonderful as money,
    There is nothing quite as beautiful as cash.
    Some people say it’s folly,
    But I’d rather have the lolly,
    With money you can ma-ake a splash.

    Finale:
    There is nothing quite wonderful as money, (money,money,money,money)
    There is nothing like a newly minted pound, (money,money,money,money)

    All: Everyone must hanker for the butchness of a banker,
    It’s accountancy that makes the world go round. (round,round,round)
    You can keep your Marxist ways
    For it’s only just a phase.
    For it’s money money money makes the world go round.
    (money,money,money,money money,money,money,money moneeeeeeeeeeeyyyy)

  33. JGFitzgerald says:

    I believe that particular type of hot dog is called a Liberty frank now.

    Ron Paul is presumably viewed by the Pubs the way Dems look at Kucinich: one of them, barely, but with all the core ideas carried to their logical extreme and requiring some extreme logic to embrace. UFOs on one side, national sales tax on the other.

  34. Jeff says:

    To go back to the thread’s original premise of candidate visibility, I saw a car the other day with the vanity license plate “F-Hilary” (sic). Surprises me it got past the DMV review.

  35. Kyle says:

    This is the most pathetic presidential field in recent memory.
    Hillary and Obama may be popular with the democrat power base but they are not electable. John Edwards is electable, and has some good plans, but isn’t getting much love from the media.

    The republican field is even worse as the candidates stumble over themselves trying to woo the ultra-right wing conservatives. Guliani is shamefully exploiting 9/11 and grandizing his role in the aftermath. Fflip-flop Romney is viewed as a cultist by some, and his religious beliefs have already played too big a role in this campaign.

    Ron Paul has a populist platform that scares the establishment, and Huckabee? Well, who in their right mind can vote for a man with a bad comb over named “Huckabee?” Besides, the current administration has demonstrated quite clearly that religion and government should not mix.

  36. Deb SF says:

    MAW, you didn’t bring on anything except a substantive comentary to an interesting conversation, for which I thank you.

    I get paid to talk about economics and statistics for a living, enough that I own my house outright, have no debt, and can afford to send my son and stepson to college without borrowing a dime. It would be irrational to allow myself to be insulted for free.

  37. jesse says:

    my grammar withstanding, my arguments for the fair tax go back ten years. this was before boortz made it popular. anyways a socialist economist makes about as much sense to me as listening to an elementary education major explaining supply and demand. neither one appreciates competition or freedom.

    mr. fitzgerald, you have long ago proved that arrogance and ignorance can exist in an educated man. i would still like to add though that the smartest minds in the world can not make millions of economic decisons for millions of people better than the decisions that i would like to make for myself and my family. the fair tax lets me decide my future, the current system enslaves me.

  38. Draegn88 says:

    Currently we have a progressive tax, wherein the more money you earn, the higher your tax rate is. Why should someone have to pay more in taxes, for, no other reason than having a high paying job, having gone to college for higher education, or simply working more than one job?

    A progressive tax is punitive against those who try to better themselves and it stiffles individual incentive to do better.

    I would prefer a fair tax/consumption tax, or a flat tax. With no refunds, deductions, credits or exemptions. This treats everyone equally.

  39. Bubby says:

    Why should someone have to pay more in taxes, for, no other reason than having a high paying job…

    Probably because they don’t pay higher taxes. There are plenty of ways that the tax code allows high earners to reduce their taxes – charitable deductions, tax-deferred investments, depreciated business investments, etc.

    Now on the other hand, if you want to want to buy up enough acreage to create a fiefdom, fill a garage with high-dollar automobiles, or watertoys, and build a home that looks like a re-creation of a French chateau…you can expect to be pay for your decision to not contribute to the commerce and job creation that is expected of the well off.

  40. Justin says:

    A percentage tax makes sense to me. If Ron is going to do away with it and have higher sales taxes, I wouldn’t complain (I think). I’d get more money in my paycheck and think twice before purchasing Transformers on HD DVD or eating out at Wendy’s. But I’m sure businesses and manufacturing people would have a lot to complain about.

    But I really don’t know all the facts. I’m just going by what’s being said on here.

    Consumerism is a pretty big issue these days anyway. Honestly, I really don’t think I mind it.

  41. JGFitzgerald says:

    Sounds fair, but …

    A friend is putting herself through school. She works at Food Lion. She probably makes $14K. She spends it all. She has to. When you spend, you pay the sales tax. She’d pay the “fair” tax on all her income. Every dime.

    In my household, we could easily save, each year, as much as our friend makes. The money we wouldn’t spend, we wouldn’t pay the “fair” tax on.

    Instead, a 19-year-old living paycheck-to-paycheck and trying to lift herself up by her bootstraps would pay the tax for us. And that’s “fair”?

    A flat income tax might be fair, in some ways. Everybody pays fifteen percent, starting at the poverty line. Our 19-year-old friend pays nothing, and Bill Gates’ taxes go up. It’s a better starting point than the national sales tax.

  42. Gxeremio says:

    I’m not a FairTax proponent (yet), but a key part of the plan is the “prebate” – by my understanding a check cut to every person to make up for the taxes on their first $15,000 or so of spending. The effect is that people under the poverty line actually come out ahead, by all the analyses I’ve seen. The burden also decreases for those making over $200,000 for the reasons Joe describes above. There is a marginal tax increase for those making $15,000-$200,000 (most of us, I would imagine).

    The trick is, the rate of the FairTax would probably have to be higher than proponents claim to make it truly revenue neutral (to bring in enough $$ to pay for current spending levels). Something like 30-34%. And it would be on every purchase – rent, doctor bills, buying a house, etc. Also, the effect on the million plus accountants and auditors remains to be seen. Would they find new jobs (or tasks in their current jobs) overnight?

    So the core question is, would you pay more in total taxes to not have income tax, to control the taxes you pay based on your consumption (encouraging saving), and to have a transparent tax system? I’m willing to look into it more closely, but I’m not sold on the idea yet.

  43. Draegn88 says:

    Bubby,

    You wrote:

    “Now on the other hand, if you want to want to buy up enough acreage to create a fiefdom, fill a garage with high-dollar automobiles, or watertoys, and build a home that looks like a re-creation of a French chateau…you can expect to be pay for your decision to not contribute to the commerce and job creation that is expected of the well off.”

    Are you saying that the wealthy are expected to pay more in taxes because they are wealthy? If so, then why?

    Joe,

    Your friend is working her way through school. That’s great, for, in the end, she will be in a better place than she currently is. Let’s say that her current total tax between federal and state is 20%. When she finishes school is it fair that her total tax go up to say 35% for no other reason than that she earned a degree and got a better career? I think not.

    In my view the progressive tax is punitive. It is one of the reasons that there are so many people who are functionally illiterate, so many who have not finish high school, etc etc. The progressive tax takes away a person’s incentive to do better and so they don’t.

  44. Gxeremio says:

    Are you kidding me? People don’t want to be rich because rich people pay more taxes, even though they also have more left over after taxes? Huh?

    From the things I’ve never overheard department:
    “Gee, I would take that million dollar lottery payout, but I don’t want to pay the taxes on it.”

    “That poor guy in the Porsche. He must be in the highest tax bracket.”

    “I ain’t gonna get no diploma. Educated people have to fill out long tax forms.”

    “I may clean the toilets instead of owning the building, but at least I don’t have enough money to need an accountant!”

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