Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern Blames “Sinners” For Recession – Not The Bankers

This is the same woman who made this statement about homosexuality in 2008:  “I honestly think it’s the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam.

Sally Kern’s, a self appointed moral guardian, drafted the “Oklahoma Citizens Morality Proclamation” in which she blames sinners – people with bad moral behavior – for the recession.  Here is a sample:

“We the People of Oklahoma, Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessing of Liberty…

WHEREAS, we believe our economic woes are consequences of our greater national moral crisis; and

WHEREAS, this nation has become a world leader in promoting abortion, pornography, same sex marriage, sex trafficking, divorce, illegitimate births, child abuse, and many other forms of debauchery; and

WHEREAS, alarmed that the Government of the United States of America is forsaking the rich Christian heritage upon which this nation was built; and

WHEREAS, grieved that the Office of the president of these United States has refused to uphold the long held tradition of past presidents in giving recognition to our National Day of Prayer; and

WHEREAS, deeply disturbed that the Office of the president of these United States disregards the biblical admonitions to live clean and pure lives by proclaiming an entire month to an immoral behavior;

I think she is trying to outdo Michele Bachmann on the most ridiculous statements made by a representative in Congress. I hope her constituents are duly appalled by her issued statements or shame on them for being just as narrow minded and utterly intolerant of other people.

29 thoughts on “Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern Blames “Sinners” For Recession – Not The Bankers

  1. I agree, sounds ridiculous at first. But when you think about it, our society has changed vastly over the last 10, 20, 50 years. Is it coincedence that we’ve started to crumble in this country? Maybe.

    It is a common consensus that kids born in the 80s and 90s lack work ethic and drive. This isn’t the same in other countries. My feeling is there is a relationship to our nation’s loosening of its collar and our struggling economy — not in the sense of recession, but in comparison to others.

    But I agree. This lady’s a bit kookey from what I’ve seen.

    • Welcome to the Zoo, LoudElf.

      I would attribute the decline in our society over the last decades to 1) an unrealistic view of the goodness of our prior society, 2) lack of equality and opportunity, 3) corporate and personal greed, 4) fundamentalist evangelical “christians,” and 5) television/videogames.

  2. LOUDElf,

    And I would put a start date on that decline in our society at Jan 20, 1981, the day Ronald Reagan took the oath of office (which he violated) and became president of the United States.

    I say that because almost from the beginning of his administration, Reagan worked to rid businesses of as many regulatory burdens as he could. There is a belief among Conservatives (a wrong belief, IMHO) that regulations on businesses are inherently bad because, ultimately, they cost businesses money and this takes away from profits. And to the Capitalist mind, anything that hurts profits is bad. This, unfortunately for the rest of us, includes paying taxes, which is why Reagan cut the corporate tax rates and expanded deductions (to the point where almost no corporation in the country pays the full tax rate they should.)

    With corporations now free to start screwing us any way they could, and profits being the motivation to stay in business (rather than the betterment of people’s lives), our society started accelerating in its decline. Greed suddenly became a good thing, and selfishness of the Ayn Rand variety was given a respectable place in society (especially with the appointment of Ayn Rand protoge Alan Greenspan as Chair of the Federal Reserve.) Reagan stood before his teleprompter and declared “Government isn’t the solution – government is the problem.” This was not accurate. As he and some of his successors would prove, government run by a Republican-conservative philosophy was the problem.

    When corporations run by men without morals were allowed to flourish, that’s when our society started to decline. That’s IMHO, of course.

    Thanks for visiting TheZoo. 🙂

  3. Also, On Topic, Rep Kern’s Morality Proclamation is a direct violation of Oklahoma’s State Constitution.

    Section I-2: Religious liberty – Polygamous or plural marriages.

    Perfect toleration of religious sentiment shall be secured, and no inhabitant of the State shall ever be molested in person or property on account of his or her mode of religious worship; and no religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights. Polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited.

  4. Hey Zooey,

    Thanks for the welcome!

    I’m puzzled by your points. How is there an unrealistic view of the goodness of our prior society? How is there a of equality and opportunity in the US? Is corporate and personal greed limited to the US? What about political greed? If the fundamentalist evangelicals have been around in the US were around for 100 years (prior to the real rise of the US), how can they be the reason for the fall?

    Just trying to gauge the thought process.

    I can see where you believe TV/Video Games has eroded, as they have supplanted some of the excercize and socialization our youth used to naturally get.

  5. Wayne,

    I find that most people that make the points you do have never owned a business. Try it sometime, even for a very small business, and for almost any one you go into, you’ll find lots of good regulations, and often just as many poorly-thought ones.

    Love your state, especially the upstate parts.

  6. Loud Elf,

    I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear. I strongly believe in regulating businesses, unlike Ronald Reagan lovers. I strongly oppose the de-regulation (and some of it was Clinton’s fault, too, as he signed Gramm-Leach-Bliley) that allowed corporations to, effectively, take over our lives. We are at their mercy, and now, because anti-monoploy laws were either scrapped or not enforced faithfully, we have corporations deemed “too big to fail.” This is bad, and it’s because of Republican policies and ideas.

    I hope that helps understand where I’m coming from. But I don’t see why I need to own a business to know that businesses cannot be trusted to operate fairly or ethically without strongly enforced regulations to punish those who cheat. They are there as much to protect the honest business owner from the dishonest ones, as they are to protect us from the same.

  7. Wayne,

    I think you’re confusing an issue with enforcement with an issue with regulation. There are many laws that are not enforced, and are regularly broken. Instead of new regulation, we need to first enforce what we have, and then see what we have.

    I understand what your point is, but until you have run a business, you may not be aware how in many cases the regulations, including the ones I deal with in your state can be smothering.

    Many believe that if you found a corporation, it will become some evil goliath. Corporations are owned by stockholders… many of which are people who invest in their 401k retirement plans. They just want their retirement to grow. This dictates to corporations that their owners (stockholders) need them to focus more on profit than some of the more rewarding parts of employment. Unfortunately, this results in many — like you — who view corporations as evil and greedy, yet when peoples 401ks drop dramatically, they would be up in arms.

    I’d like to see current regulations enforced, as many are necessary to protect both business and employee. After that, we can see what needs to be fixed.

  8. This woman’s statement is equally as absurd as Pat Robertson blaming the destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina on American immorality.

    LOUDelf June 30, 2009 at 9:42 am
    “But when you think about it, our society has changed vastly over the last 10, 20, 50 years. Is it coincedence that we’ve started to crumble in this country? Maybe.”

    The only thing that has harmed this country is unbridled greed. Those at the very top want to believe they are there by divine right, and that they are entitled to engage in any sort of predatory practice necessary to garner an ever larger share for themselves, while eliminating the possibility of anyone else ever having the opportunity to challenge them.

    “It is a common consensus that kids born in the 80s and 90s lack work ethic and drive. This isn’t the same in other countries.”

    I was born in the 50s, LOUDelf. I watched my parents be frugal, work hard, and accomplish wonderful things. They bought a nice house, at a very low interest rate, with a payment that was pretty high initially, but while my dad’s salary increased substantially over the years, that payment stayed the same. The house appreciated in value drastically, also. We had all the modern conveniences, dressed well and never went without.
    Kids born in the 80s, (just as the Reagan war on the middle class was gathering momentum), saw their parents BOTH have to work, work more hours, for less disposable income, and get stuck with high interest rates for mortgages. Corners had to be cut to make ends meet, but still they had to go into debt trying to live the American Dream their parents had lived.
    Of course they don’t have the work ethic or drive, they never saw it get their parents anywhere but deeper in a hole. The kids in these “other countries” still have drive and ambition because the system in those countries isn’t beating their parents down and leaving them devoid of hope.
    And yes, I have run a business, working full time for the first three years at another job while I built it up enough to do it full time on its own. Want to know why I gave it up? Healthcare insurance went up too much to afford it outside of a group plan as an employee of a big company.

    As far as regulations on businesses, they are only relevant here as the lynchpin for what got the US into this financial mess, that the crazy lady from Oklahoma wants to blame on the sinners.
    Despite the fact that he signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act into law, I don’t blame its passing on Clinton. Even if he had vetoed the bill, it would have come back a year later and Bush would have signed it in a heartbeat. The Republicans had the White House and both Houses of Congress for six years, which was just long enough to let Wall Street run amok without oversight and put us where we are today.

    We will have adequate regulations on the books, once we have rolled back Gramm-Leach Bliley, and they could reinforce the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and use it to return competition to the markets so taxes could actually be collected from corporations without the tax simply being passed on to the consumer.
    By the way, it has been the unrealistic expectations for return on investment, brought on by this financial casino mentality, that has caused capital to stop looking for real “brick and mortar” investments, and that has harmed the US economy also.
    And the 401Ks? It has been the “evil and greedy corporations” CAUSING the 401Ks to lose their value. Enron, Tyco, Global Crossing, Worldcom, and Healthsouth were all in the early part of the decade, and now we have Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, AIG, Citibank…..

  9. This dictates to corporations that their owners (stockholders) need them to focus more on profit than some of the more rewarding parts of employment.

    With all due respect, LOUDelf, this is not how it works in practice. Corporate Boards of Directors, frankly, do not give a shit about stockholders, unless they are the principle ones. That’s why they do not let stockholders have any say in executive compensation. My understanding is that, by law, a corporation’s primary objective is to maximize profits. This is actually bad for a society. There are a lot of theories about unfettered Free Markets that just don’t match the reality of the greed of the large corporations. And my concern is primarily with the large corporatiopns in this country, not the small businesses. They are entirely different things. (BTW, I believe that most “small businesses” are not really businesses at all, but people who have incorporated themselves tio take advantage of the fact that corporations pay less in taxes than individuals. This has to stop, too.)

  10. Wayne,

    In practice, the board is elected by the stockholders, so YES, they care about the stockholders… as a matter of fact, that is all too often most of their focus.

    There is no law stating that a corporation’s “primary objective is to maximize profits”. That is often the case, but isn’t that why people go into business? To put more of the profit into their pocket instead of someone else’s?

    Additionally, corporations pay 15-39% federal tax, compared to individuals that pay 10-35%. How is it that corporations pay less in taxes than individuals?

    I think you’ve been listening to too much rhetoric without investigating for yourself. I’d recommend a little more research on your part.

    Don’t get me wrong, is our system flawed? Yes, but not nearly as badly as most other countries. There is no perfect system used today. We don’t need more government involvement in business — something most politicians know little about. We need an honest and sensible look at many of the laws on the books, regulations, and taxes, and to look to simplification of codes, with more strict enforcement of them.

  11. houseofroberts,

    The high interest rates began in the 70s under Carter as the only real way to combat the rampant inflation (one of his best moves). You can blame other things on Reagan, but that was not one of the items.

    I agree with you that the GLBA allowed too much power to go to banking institutions. I firmly believe you can’t leave the power of so much in the hands of so few.

    ” taxes could actually be collected from corporations without the tax simply being passed on to the consumer” — Unfortunately, taxes are always part of the price. If the price gets too high, consumers back off, the businesses lose money, pay less tax, etc. It’s a vicious cycle. That’s what happens in a free-market. It’s better to simplify the tax, lower it, and collect it easily without all of the loopholes, shelters, and write-offs.

    Sure, there have been some greedy and self-centered corporate leaders that have caused dips in the market, and we need some moderate and better oversight for some of these things, but who should do this? Our honest and selfless politicians? We all know they haven’t done anything to cause this current situation at all.

    Blame has little short-term usefulness, and zero for the long-term. Focus on the simple and gradual solutions as they tend to be the most effective, and allow for further movement towards whatever the objective.

    I guess we swung way off topic here. Oops. Sorry Zooey.

  12. LOUDelf,
    I didn’t blame high interest rates ON Reagan, anyway, they were a result of debt coming due from the Vietnam war and higher energy costs. Reagan’s sin was to go after labor, which lowered the standard of living for the majority of Americans, despite productivity rising steadily through the near three decades since 1980.

    Corporate taxes are paid on PROFITS, so corporations not making a profit don’t pay them. There is zero excuse for lowering tax rates on PROFITS, as it is only a percentage of them. There is zero excuse for raising prices if there are already PROFITS being made. The problem is what Corporations get to define as profits. Individual taxes are a larger share of revenue COLLECTED than at any time in this country’s history.

    A NY Times article from 2000 shows how far back this goes. A CAP article from 2004 shows more data, and a Reuters article from 2008 brings us up to the present.

    One more point, if corporations are going to claim “personhood” for free speech rights equal to individuals, (until you factor in their undue influence on elections and legislation through political contributions and lobbying), they should at least have to pay a real fair share of taxes, when they are successful because of the infrastructure provided by this country’s government.

  13. houseofroberts,

    Individual taxes are also paid on “profits” or net income. After an individual claims deductions, etc. they too can pay zero tax.

    I discount the NYT and CAP as reasonable sources anymore, but quickly glanced at Reuters. If you notice, they mention one of the reasons that corporations didn’t pay tax is that they LOST money. Remember, there were some tough economic times at the turn of the millenium.

    Also remember corporations are double-taxed. Once on their income, and once on the income of the stockholders/owners.

  14. nwmuse,

    The article isn’t about double-taxation. It’s in the same thread as the Reuters article. Unfortunately, the one you site talks about sales. Taxes are based on the net, or profits. So, unfortunately, I think it’s point is lost a bit.

    However, the one point of the article is a very good one — about income transfer to offshore subsidiaries. This loophole needs to be closed.

  15. LOUDelf,
    Good morning! You may have guessed by now that I work second shift.

    “I discount the NYT and CAP as reasonable sources anymore, but quickly glanced at Reuters.”
    You don’t have to take their word verbatim, but they do give adequate info to perform independent verification of the facts they present.

    “Also remember corporations are double-taxed. Once on their income, and once on the income of the stockholders/owners.”

    Are corporations not beneficiaries of the country’s infrastructure? Do they not enjoy protection by the police, fire departments, the rule of law, which is administered through the court system? Where would corporations be without the enforcement of contracts, copyrights, and patent infringement protections? For corporations that must transport their products, shouldn’t they contribute to the road and highway systems over which those products travel? Do they not benefit from the public education that provides them with a labor pool of competent workers? Corporations as independent entities are endowed with the same rights of personhood as individuals, yet allowed liability limited to the assets only owned by the corporation, and not the assets of individuals who own pieces of it.
    Said individuals also benefit from the infrastructure of the country independently of their relationship with any corporation and therefore owe taxes on their own income separately for their use of the same protections above. If we are going to end “double taxation”, we should just end corporate status and limited liability altogether, and make ownership of a company mean putting your own neck on the line financially as well as criminally.
    As to “owners” in a small, private corporation, their income is usually a salary, which is only taxed once. Stockholders only are taxed when they recieve dividends, profits from selling shares are taxed as capital gains, which has nothing to do with corporate profits. Taxing profits at a relatively high rate encourages reinvestment in the company, paying better wages, salaries and benefits to employees, and reduction of debt, which too many corporations carry too much of anyway, because corporate bankruptcy is too easy, and not punitive enough to make it an action of last resort.
    Once again, taxes are only paid on profits. It is how the profits are calculated that is the reason the corporations are not paying. If we could get rid of exclusions and loopholes, and get compliance, maybe the rates could go lower. It has been the encouragment of taking money out of businesses and moving it into investment “schemes” like CDOs and credit default swaps, with unrealistic return on investment rates, that has weakened our economy. Could Madoff and Stanford have convinced anyone their scams were plausible otherwise?
    I am reminded of old John Houseman from “The Paper Chase” tv series, doing the Smith Barney ads, saying, “We make money the old fashioned way. We earn it.”
    We need to go back to those days.

  16. houseofroberts,

    That would explain it. I just thought you had insomnia!

    “Are corporations not beneficiaries of the country’s infrastructure?” Yes, and so are the citizens. Both pay taxes, tolls, fees, fines, etc. to have these services.

    “If we are going to end “double taxation”, we should just end corporate status and limited liability altogether, and make ownership of a company mean putting your own neck on the line financially as well as criminally.” So you’re saying we should hold stockholders criminally liable should a corporation knowingly or unknowingly break the law? This really isn’t sensible. Besides, who would you then not tax? The business or the individual?

    The corporate tax rate is at 35%, which is a high rate. Corporations avoid paying this tax by having deductions, such as wages, investment, research, etc. The system already accomplishes this.

    Our system was founded on little government interferance and capitalism. This is why people have come to this country for hundreds of years. The system needs some minor tweaks, not major change. I suggest for those who want a socialized system, there are other options.

    Solutions: Flattening and simplification of the tax code, repealing the GLBA, standardizing state laws and regulations for ease of enforcement and comliance. Those are some good tweaks to start and build from.

  17. “So you’re saying we should hold stockholders criminally liable should a corporation knowingly or unknowingly break the law?”

    Why not? If I’m a single proprietorship, it doesn’t limit my liability to the assets of my business, and if I’m in a partnership, the same thing happens. I can be sued for my personal assets based on the actions of my company. All a corporation is really, is a partnership with more partners, and if you were going to become one of those partners, wouldn’t you want to then know about all those partners and be sure they were honest and competent, and wouldn’t put you at risk for civil or criminal penalties?
    The point I am making is, we grant special privileges to corporations, they get unique status under the law, yet they get rights equal to individuals as separate entities.

    “Are corporations not beneficiaries of the country’s infrastructure?” Yes, and so are the citizens. Both pay taxes, tolls, fees, fines, etc. to have these services.”

    Bingo! So the corporation deserves to pay taxes to support the infrastructure it uses in pursuit of its profits. The individuals deserve to pay taxes to support the infrastructure they use to live their daily lives, in pursuit of their own prosperity.

    “The corporate tax rate is at 35%, which is a high rate. Corporations avoid paying this tax by having deductions, such as wages, investment, research, etc. The system already accomplishes this.”

    Corporations, once again, only pay taxes on profits, so of course wages and research are costs of doing business and are legitimate deductions, investments could be another matter. If they were capital improvements to expand the corporation, such as machinery or buildings, then they can be amortized and not counted as profits. If the funds are investments outside the corporation, I would believe the taxes must be paid on them, as I would have to pay taxes on earnings before I could go and buy shares of IBM, as an investment. I would use funds on which I had already paid personal income taxes. Then if I sold those shares, the profit or loss would affect my next year’s taxes accordingly. I am not certain on this regarding outside investments.

    Corporation spokespersons, and their political advocates, are always bemoaning the complexity of the tax code, and how they want it simpler, but if it were simpler, they wouldn’t be able to dodge paying taxes as easily as they do. Corporations have lobbied for tax breaks, and politicians have given them, then when revenues were too low, added new regulations to increase them again. Over the years, it has increased the complexity of the system, which hurts the small firms more than the large ones. The more money involved, the more cost-effective it becomes to hire an expert tax lawyer or CPA to minimize the amount of tax owed.

  18. Stockholders do not directly control the operations of a corporation as a rule, however single proprietors and partners do, hence the protection of stockholders from liability. Should you have it your way, many with 401ks could become criminally liable. This is not realistic. This is why they opted to grant immunity to stockholders of corporations, but in return the business had to be taxed, and then the owners (stockholders) could be taxed. This is not a special priveledge, it’s a trade-off.

    Corporations DO pay taxes in the US, billions of dollars worth, hence their justified use of the roads. In addition, transport companies pay far higher licensure, and other fees to operate on the roads. How many passenger cars have to pull into weigh stations? How many people have to pay for 6 axles at the tolls? In most cases, their fees are far higher than the individual.

    Just because a corporation can amortize an asset, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t claim it. This is the same as the deductions individuals claim on their property (houses, etc). You don’t have to pay taxes on income prior to purchasing IBM shares if you buy them through your 401k (or if you can’t at least your IRA). This is your tax shelter. But yes, businesses can claim more deductions than individuals, but if they’re the ones that create the jobs, isn’t that a wise move?

    It seems to me you are adept at pointing out what you feel are problems, but it would be more productive if you provided equal energy to solutions.

  19. “This is why they opted to grant immunity to stockholders of corporations, but in return the business had to be taxed, and then the owners (stockholders) could be taxed. This is not a special priveledge, it’s a trade-off.”

    Which makes the case that corporations deserve to pay taxes on profits first, then stockholders deserve to pay taxes on dividends paid to them also. Or else they shouldn’t have the protected status.

    “How many passenger cars have to pull into weigh stations? How many people have to pay for 6 axles at the tolls? In most cases, their fees are far higher than the individual.”

    And the wear and tear on the roads means the fees should be proportional to the weight transported. My old Porsche 944 weighs 2600 pounds, a 40 ton truck does far more damage to a road than I do. Weigh stations are there to verify compliance. They can tell my car’s weight doesn’t deviate drastically from the OEM specs, just by the limited weight it can carry.

    “Just because a corporation can amortize an asset, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t claim it.”

    I said: “If they were capital improvements to expand the corporation, such as machinery or buildings, then they can be amortized and not counted as profits.”
    I meant for depreciating the improvement over its class life. It wouldn’t be taxed.
    Also, I wasn’t considering 401K investments, just regular stock purchases to try to make money.

    I said: “If we could get rid of exclusions and loopholes, and get compliance, maybe the rates could go lower.”
    You said: “Flattening and simplification of the tax code, repealing the GLBA, standardizing state laws and regulations for ease of enforcement and comliance. Those are some good tweaks to start and build from.” Also: “However, the one point of the article is a very good one — about income transfer to offshore subsidiaries. This loophole needs to be closed.”

    We might not really be that far apart. The devil is always in the details.

    The real problem I want to see solved is the ratio of corporate taxes collected compared to individual taxes collected, with corporate taxes becoming a decreasing share of the total over the past three decades. I have proposed ways to reverse this, and defended them with reasons why the corporations should pay their fair share. I am at the end of my day, so my brain is starting to fog. What other problems did you feel I raised without offering solutions?

    I must crash now. Later.

  20. “Which makes the case that corporations deserve to pay taxes on profits first, then stockholders deserve to pay taxes on dividends paid to them also. Or else they shouldn’t have the protected status.”

    This is the same for wage-earners. It is a cost that does not go back into the company, and is therefor not counted as taxable profit. Unlike wage-earners, they do not get income tax rebates if they lose money at the end of the year as a wage-earner does. They can only carry forward the losses, and if the losses continue, the business ceases to exist. Individuals get protection from this that the businesses do not in the form of unemployment, welfare, and other programs.

    Truck pay more in tolls, fees, etc, so businesses ARE paying more for the unfrastructure they use. I’m not sure how you equate this to them not paying.

    You are correct, the devil is in the details. If we simplify the tax codes, they’re easier to enforce. Once enforced, we collect what is owed. We also need to reduce government spending so as to reduce the perceived need for so many taxes. We don’t need a shift towards socialism. Merely a closing of some loopholes, and enforcement of codes/laws could do a lot to improve things.

    I used to work your hours, and can empathize with you. Not fun.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s