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Look where your money goes

I posted this on a thread questioning the profit margin on tours, but few will see it there. I think everyone should see what Rick posted on his Facebook page yesterday.

If we took RS tours ( which we do not as we prefer independent travel and hiking trips), I would be happy to see my money being used for these charitable purposes.

"More money than many Americans make in their entire lifetime. That’s what Congressional Republicans are voting to give me as a tax break.

"That’s right: If Republicans in Congress get their way, I just saved a couple million dollars on the change in the inheritance tax alone. What about you?

"Our government already spends more than it takes in, and this tax giveaway will make it worse. But that plays right into Congressional Republicans' strategy to shrink the government: First, they cut taxes by $1.5 trillion (mostly benefiting the rich). Then, to balance the budget, they'll claim that the only solution is to gut programs (such as Social Security and Medicare) designed to protect America's poor and working class.

"I once asked my Swiss friend Olle, “How can you Swiss people be so docile about paying such high taxes?” Without missing a beat, he replied, “Well, what’s it worth to live in a country where there's no hunger, no homelessness, and where everyone — regardless of the wealth of their parents — has access to quality healthcare and education?”

"I believe a national budget is a moral document. It declares who we are as a nation. Decency requires compassion and help for our poor. Stability requires a healthy middle class. The Republican economic agenda both hurts the poor and further weakens our middle class — all to give wealthy people a windfall of cash they don’t need.

"So what am I going to do with all of the tax revenue Congressional Republicans want to save me? I'm choosing to provide, as an individual, what European societies would provide collectively: housing for otherwise homeless single mothers and their kids (www.ricksteves.com/about-rick/trinity-place), helping to build senior centers (http://myedmondsnews.com/2016/12/rick-steves-announces-2-million-gift-to-support-new-edmonds-waterfront-center), and paying the rent of our local symphony orchestra (https://blog.ricksteves.com/blog/arts-center-donation). These are basic services — not extravagances.

"While Republicans might argue that I’m proving their point — that charity from the wealthy will come to the rescue — I believe that such services should be paid for not by the odd millionaire who doesn’t have a taste for golf clubs and yachts, but collectively, through progressive taxation. While lowering my marginal tax rate from 39.6% to 37% will have no impact on my privileged standard of living, it will ultimately have a huge impact on millions of struggling people.

"As a proud American and a student of Europe, I care deeply about the cost to the fabric of our society that this windfall for the wealthy will bring. . . . .

"(By the way, our Christmas fundraiser for Bread for the World was a huge success this year, raising more money than ever. Thank you to the 2,376 who contributed, collectively raising $311,700. With my $250,000 match, together we raised $561,700 to empower Bread in its work — to speak up for those who don’t have private lobbyists driving our government to re-write laws in their favor.)"

Posted by
1859 posts

Well stated, Lola. I agree; I have taken several RS tours and I am very happy to see the profits from those tours being used in these ways.

Posted by
5910 posts

Because it is on Rick Steves’ website. He is the author of “Travel as a Political Act.” Rick is a very altruistic man, good for him!

Posted by
276 posts

RS is an ultra liberal socialist and he shares these opinions often. His choice and his right. It is one of the reasons why I cancelled my first tour with him. I've been so nervous about signing up again for one of his tours. I don't want to pay his very high tour prices and worry about him pushing a political agenda and watching political fighting.

Posted by
11 posts

Let's not let this forum turn into a political discussion.

Moderator, please remove this thread

Posted by
6241 posts

As usual, faux outrage reigns and people cannot discuss differing political opinions civilly. Pretty sad if you ask me. Lola is only re-posting what is right here on this website under Rick's blog.

Posted by
2489 posts

Good for Rick! There's another post running now that is wondering about RS's mark up. Here's at least information on what he does with his mark up and why. Too bad we didn't have more people with his generous position.

Posted by
3317 posts

And because, as Lola said, it's in response to someone questioning the profit made on Rick Steves Tours in this forum post.

I disagree that it's not relevant to travel. Pretty much anywhere you go in the UK, Europe or Scandinavia you will be in a culture where this comment is relevant:

"I once asked my Swiss friend Olle, “How can you Swiss people be so docile about paying such high taxes?” Without missing a beat, he replied, “Well, what’s it worth to live in a country where there's no hunger, no homelessness, and where everyone — regardless of the wealth of their parents — has access to quality healthcare and education?”

Recently, there was a forum post about healthcare for visitors to Europe. If I remember correctly the OP was concerned about the potential costs for an ER visit in Italy. The concern was based on the American way of doing things as opposed to the UK, European and Scandinavian way. There were many responses from Americans about how amazed they were at the low cost for dealing with their healthcare issues. There were many European responses that were aghast at learning how the USA deals with and charges for those same kinds of issues.

This is one of the recent discussions titled Italy ER Visit, then broadening. There's also one about tourists getting health care in the UK that is similar.

I don't see these radically different ways of doing things as political at all. I see them as cultural. Personally, I believe we can tell what's really important to people, as individuals or as societies, by how they spend their money and their time. There's a big cultural difference between having a health insurance system like we have in the USA and having a health care system like we see in the UK, Europe and Scandinavia.

Posted by
11683 posts

I do not see the statements about the windfall for the wealthy in the new tax plan as "political". It is simple math. Nor are the causes to which Rick chooses to donate his wealth ( a women's' shelter, civic orchestra, etc.) "political". I think people here are interested in knowing this is what he does with his money.

I did edit out a few sentences that were indeed "political" in tone and hope the Webmaster will let the rest remain.

Posted by
1413 posts

Go ahead. Spend your money as you wish. I will spend mine as I wish.

Posted by
2076 posts

Thank you Lola for reiterating Rick's posting from his Facebook page. I have traveled independently and have taken multiple RS tours. I am proud to know that the profits are used for these charitable purposes. I was also pleased to know that Rick donated all his royalties from the sale of his book "How to Travel as a Poltical Act" to Bread for the World.

I believe in Rick Steves' mission to "inspire, inform and equip us to have European trips that are fun, affordable and culturally broadening."

Posted by
6093 posts

"Overtly political and has no place on this forum." and "Why is this POLITICAL opinion even allowed to be posted on this TRAVEL forum?" and "Let's not let this forum turn into a political discussion. Moderator, please remove this thread"

I just reread the community guidelines and find there is no guideline that overtly or specifically forbids political posts. I believe it's when posts with a political 'bent' get a little contentious that the webmaster is likely to step in.

In this case Lola's original response to the OP's question in the other post was entirely relevant and appropriate. Her decision to repeat it as an Original Post may be questionable, but her reasoning that a lot of people wouldn't see it in the other thread was probably true. I can understand that as a stand-alone post without that other question it may seem a little inappropriate. I'm sure the webmaster will examine it.

Posted by
8715 posts

Everyone is free to do business and spend their money whichever way they please. Some don't want to give Rick any money because of his political views. Others won't buy Georgia Pacific products like Brawny paper towels or Dixie cups, or buy anything made of Codura, because those are all owned by the Koch Brothers.

Posted by
20718 posts

What is wrong with a little political discussion? There is a segment of the population that needs to hear and understand this discussion. It is nice to see people and family who have great wealth like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and many others who understand that great wealth means great responsibility and they act appropriately. Unfortunately we have the other side with the Koch Brothers and others who believe great wealth gives them the right to decide how others should lead their lives. A hundred plus years ago we went through that period - call the Robber Barrons - Vanderbilt, Mellon, Carnegie, Rockefeller. - The wealth and corruptions was staggering. Now there are some who would like see us return to that era because they see little wrong in using their wealth to take advantage of others. I believe the correct term now is - losers!

Fortunately we still have some choices left. If you don't like Rick's politics then take someone else tour especially if your concern is that the dollar you contributed to the bottom line is being spent on a cause you cannot support. It is a free country vote with your dollars. And for highlanderct you have made correct decision to avoid his tours especially because the tours have a policy against grumps.

Posted by
2777 posts

"very high tour prices" ? compared to what other tours? I have gone to Europe for 14 of the last 16 years and have first had experience in costs of traveling throughout Europe. When I pencil out the individual costs of a RS tour, I find them close to what my non-wealthy retired wife and I spend traveling on our own. I find the freedom from making all of the reservations alone that you get on a RS tour enabling for us. We have signed up for two RS tours in 2018.

Posted by
4104 posts

I've been so nervous about signing up again for one of his tours. I don't want to pay his very high tour prices and worry about him pushing a political agenda and watching political fighting.

Highlanderct, we've been on 11 RS tours, and have never had any political agendae pushed on us. Most of the tour guides will discuss the political and economic situation of the country we are visiting, since we are there to learn, and will answer specific questions. Our guides have been a mixed lot; some have been liberal, some very conservative, and often, it's pretty hard to tell!

There are valid reasons to take RS (or any) tours, and as many valid reasons not to. Please don't let your concern about Rick's politics keep you from trying one of his tours.

Posted by
6921 posts

So will the twitter army release their bots against RS for being a good human being?

Posted by
4012 posts

I don't find the post particularly political, not least because I have no particular interests in American politics however I would prefer to see comments of differing opinions rather than have the thread removed simply because someone disagrees with the content from a political view. There's nothing worse than living your life in an 'echo chamber', reading and absorbing views that only support your own political leanings.

Posted by
440 posts

I agree with Rick 100%. I am sure most wealthy people will keep the money they would be saving from tax breaks and give nothing back. Rick advocates good travel and good views IMO. You dont have to agree with him but understand his views as he would anybody elses.

Posted by
5861 posts

Anyone else find it slightly bizarre that the content of public statement made by the owner of a company is not deemed appropriate to be posted on the forum of his own website?

Perhaps if a bit more discussion was allowed it wouldnt be such a big thing and would be less likely to turn into a slanging match. Yes it's a travel site not a politics site but I don't think it is possible to discuss ine without the other.
The (hideous) political situations the US and UK find themselves in today can at least in part be blamed on people not listening to another view.

Posted by
1859 posts

Emma-In my opinion, you are right on target.

Posted by
9452 posts

Bravissima, Emma!

You may not agree with everything Rick Steves does or recommends, but he puts his money where his mouth is and is sincere about doing good in the world.

Posted by
23890 posts

can somebody pass the popcorn, please

Posted by
1043 posts

I have only taken one Rick Steves tour, but at no time did our tour guide discuss Rick’s view of the world. We did discuss the politics of the country we were visiting, but it was more of an educational discussion than a political statement. Also, our tour members were more into the sights and the history of what we were seeing than discussing politics back home. I would not be concerned that any political agenda is going to be pushed on any of his tours.

Posted by
434 posts

One of the things I have learned from European husband and his friends is you can have a political discussion, agree or not agree with each other and still be friends afterward. Maybe you even actually learn something.

Rick, Lola, and the people that don't want this here have a right to voice their opinions. To the people that don't want this post please put more thought into why you don't want the post, and express those view points, not just "this post doesn't belong here". That in of itself is abusive, you are trying to silence Lola and the rest of us because we do not agree with you.

I personally admire Rick Steves, he has found a way to make a lot of money doing something he loves to do. I am working at a job that I like but not love, put in a lot of hours and make good enough money, I wish I had his "hoospa". The fact that he is giving back to society says a lot about who he is as a person, to have that empathy. If more people were like him, the world would be a better place. He isn't perfect but he is trying to be the best person he can be and I think that is a good thing.

I like traveling on our own but sometimes it nice to have someone else to do the heavy lifting. One of the reason's I am willing to pay the extra cost of the RS is I am traveling with like minded people, people that can have different viewpoints, express them and still respect others. So to the people that do not like this post, please, for all of us that do take a RS tour, travel independently and I wish you well.

Posted by
712 posts

I am not on Facebook, so thanks for posting this. I was one of 2,376 and will continue to patronize RSE both because of the value and because of the political views of Rick Steves.

Posted by
11708 posts

I am not on Facebook...

vandrabrud, Rick's page is public so anyone can view what's posted; they just can't leave comments if not a FB member. (I'm not). Click on the blue "not now" text when the "See more of Rick Steves in FB" login panel pops up and you can view/scroll down the entries.

https://www.facebook.com/ricksteves/

This same piece is posted in his blog here on the RS website:

https://blog.ricksteves.com

Posted by
2466 posts

I'm way to the right of Rick, but see nothing wrong with someone posting his FB posting in his own forums. Why do any of us (this also applies to you, liberals) think that someone who doesn't agree with their opinions is a bad person? And while I certainly disagree with his political views, how can any of us argue with him giving to housing for homeless and senior citizens, bread for the world, and the symphony? We usually travel independently, but one of his tours is definitely on my bucket list and I'm not going to pass up a tour with a wonderful itinerary just because he might give some of his profits to a politician I don't like.

Posted by
609 posts

What a silly post. RS is as much a capitalist as anyone. He chooses personally to do with his money as he pleases. There is no correlation to RS tours and political rhetoric. RS provides jobs and this helps OUR economy as well as global economies. If RS wants to give all his money away.....good for him. If he wants to keep it for himself.....good for him. For those of you who think we have too many rich business owners that are selfish..........start up a competitive business and give all your profits away to whomever you choose or see if Switzerland will grant you citizenship (Good luck with that). Now let's get back to talking about travel.

Posted by
20718 posts

This my complaint, rant - the immediate labeling before any discussion -- liberal, way to the right. So ?? should I assume that someone from Alabama, way to the right, is a supporter, perhaps a strong support of the current political situation in Alabama. Is that reasonable to assume? I would hope not. But it seems to me that some are more interested in drawing a line in the sand and daring someone to cross it rather than explain why it might be a good idea to cross it. Political discussion in the US is mostly non-discussion. It is my party, my tribe before country. You are either a winner or a loser. And that is not a good way forward.

Posted by
869 posts

If I made it a policy to only purchase goods and services from people and businesses that I agree with politically and otherwise.......well, I am pretty sure i would never leave my house. While I don’t align politically with Rick Steves, I enjoy the tours. I spend my money on what I choose and on what enhances my life. Good for Rick if he makes a profit off of that.

Posted by
11437 posts

What Emma said - YES

I am frankly horrified that a few posters would want to remove a post that is only a repost of what the founder of this whole website wrote and believes !!

Posted by
3346 posts

Several observations (for what they are worth).
1. Profit is not a four letter word.
2. His company is privately owned and what he does with the profits is his business and his business alone.
3. He has every right to express whatever "political" views he wants on his Facebook page, blog, and web site.
4. If one disagrees with what he does with his profits, or his political outlook, one always has the option of not viewing those things on HIS Facebook page, blog, web site, and not taking one of his tours.
5. To paraphrase Rodney King (I don't think it's an exact quote) "Why can't we all just get along?"

Posted by
20718 posts

....it a policy to only purchase goods and services from people and businesses that I agree with politically and otherwise........ Actually it is the reverse. The right to sell goods and services to only people you agree with is working its way through the Supreme Court.

Posted by
406 posts

This was interesting thanks for reposting. This is Rick Steves's forum right? I love hearing different thoughts out of my bubble but if anyone doesn't know Rick's views they should not get upset by them.
No one is forcing anyone to post or read these. I love to hear different view points without labeling people. Travel on.

Posted by
3144 posts

Smart for RS to keep his Facebook presence and his business website separate.

A business person whose net worth is over $10 million according to Wikipedia is FAR removed from those of us who barely earn 1% of that figure each year.

It would be utterly foolish for RS to offend politically a segment of his clientele that keeps his business afloat, provides employment for the 51-200 people he employs (according to Glassdoor.com), and gives him a good living as a business owner. Hence the separation of his Facebook presence.

This tax plan is FANTASTIC for my family and our income. This proud American LOVES that we will be able to keep more of our income as we live paycheck to paycheck, a way of life those worth $10 million are far removed.

Posted by
1846 posts

Comment to "Continental's" post ....................all the while the deficit will continue to grow and grow and grow, kicking the can down the road. I guess those who voted for it figure their grandkids or great-grandkids will deal with it.

Please post back in 5-10 years, and let us know if you still think you've been "helped."

Note to Websmaster: Yes, I am guilty of having responded to a political post with a political post. Sorry!!! Delete it, if need be, but it HAD to be said.

Posted by
11708 posts

Smart for RS to keep his Facebook presence and his business website
separate.

But they're not "separate". The same piece posted on his blog here on the website was posted on the FB page. I imagine it's not the first time that material posted on one has been posted on the other, either.

This is what people with strong convictions do. Some will express those convictions more civilly than others (thank heavens) but they WILL express them regardless of personal cost

Activism is how we became a nation; it's how slavery was abolished; it's how women got the vote; it's how child labor laws were enacted; how our National Parks were created. Many, many things that benefit the Greater Good came about because people stood up for what they believed, sometimes at considerable risk or for the ultimate price.

So whether you agree or disagree with Mr. Steves' convictions, he should at least be respected for putting his deeply held beliefs out there for all to see, monetary gain be damned. If those convictions offend you you, you can choose or not to do business with him, just as I choose not to vote for individuals with convictions which run contrary to my own.

Posted by
11683 posts

I am pretty sure Rick learned what it was like to struggle with a shoestring budget when his business was just starting out, and he hasn't forgotten. Like many who have started with little and become successful, he understands and espouses the concept of "giving back". And apparently feels there is more need for that than ever, with this new tax plan.

Posted by
2762 posts

Somewhere I read that the "average" tax windfall to the super-wealthy will be around $850,000, per year, without expiration unless the law is amended.

And the "average" tax benefit to middle-income taxpayers is $850 per year, ( 0.1% of the rich people benefit) for the next 8 years. Then it expires.

Corporations will pay much less tax, putting more $$$ in the hands of the CEO's ( probably not the shareholders).

And in the meantime, programs that benefit everyone, but particularly the low-income (or no income) sectors, will be cut. Expect to see funding for the arts, CDC, NIH, social services, EPA, etc. all reduced. At least they dropped the effort to make graduate student tuition waivers taxable.

Posted by
11708 posts

I read this quote this morning from the latest "Star Wars" movie (which I haven't see yet):

"That’s how we’re gonna win. Not fighting what we hate, saving what we love.”

Has a ring to it in these divisive and difficult times, hmmm?

Posted by
2356 posts

High earners pay the bulk of income tax in this country and always will. Know why? they make more money. Most people will see a reduction of their income tax because of this bill. Here is how to calculate that https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/17/upshot/tax-calculator.html. Upset that these reductions sunset at a future date? Me too! So what do you object to really, the tax reduction bill or that fact that the reductions will expire? Can't have it both ways! Sort of like the guy who kills his parents then begs the court for mercy because he's an orphan!

Posted by
2762 posts

What I object to is the huge tax break for the super-rich, which will necessitate reduced spending on social and other important programs, and still will drive up the deficit.

And I object to the label "drivel".

Posted by
6093 posts

You may call it drivel if you like, but the truth of the matter is that, while the wealthiest 'owe' the most amount of taxes and may even pay the most in actual $$, after all the loop holes and finagling by their tax attorneys, they actually pay the least amount as a percentage of their income. Lower and middle income earners pay the most amount of taxes as a percentage of income. With the new tax bill increasing the standard deduction lower income earners will benefit. The middle income earners will still be left holding the bag, especially after the tax breaks expire. Wealthy individuals and corporations will be able to keep their tax breaks ad infinitum, unless it gets overturned next administration.

I agree with Sasha in that I also object to the tax breaks for the super rich and huge corporations - they don't need it and don't deserve it. And when they go after SS, medicare, and medicaid spending to pay for it, we'll all be in a lot of hurt.

And then there's also the matter of all those who will lose health insurance with the provisions in the bill that have nothing to do with taxes and shouldn't even be there. That is only going to add to the pain and suffering of millions and the expense of providing needed care to these will fall on us the taxpayers in the coming years.

Posted by
85 posts

Rick is apparently not aware that at least 3/4 of what the federal government spends is borrowed; and conversely at least 3/4 of what we pay in taxes covers only the interest on what's already been borrowed.

Posted by
2762 posts

Maybe Rick doesn't realize that because it is not so?

What are your sources?

According to this (scroll down to the chart near the bottom), in 2015, $583 billion of the total revenue of 3.8 Trillion was borrowed. That amounts to 16%, not 75%. And "conversely" as you say, $229 billion, or 6% of the spending, went to debt service.

https://www.nationalpriorities.org/budget-basics/federal-budget-101/spending/

This site has very similar figures for 2016.

https://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-budget/policy-basics-where-do-our-federal-tax-dollars-go

Posted by
2244 posts

It's also worth noting that while personal tax cuts will sunset, corporate rates are permanent. Priorities, I guess. The so-called tax reform is a reward to the donor class, pure and simple. Read "Dark Money" by Jane Mayer.

The Wordsmith Word of the Day today was corpocracy.

noun: A society in which corporations control the government.

Edit: after re-reading Nancy's post I see that she already mentioned the sunset/permanent aspect of these "tax cuts". Probably the fact that that is the most galling provision imho just got me typing...the shabby treatment of Puerto Rico's business incentives in the bill, and the killing of tax benefits for commuters, including bicyclists, is right behind.

Posted by
2356 posts

Well Nancy, we are all so fortunate that we live in a society where we can have these discussions. Also a country that rewards hard work and productivity, and where the individual, not the state and not others, determine an individuals wants and needs, and nobody, but nobody, has the right to say whether or not someone or some company "deserves" what they get, as long as they are on the right side of the law.

Posted by
2762 posts

Dear Alan, it is not a " discussion" when you label another person's comments as "pure drivel". If you are willing to have meaningful discourse on the subject of taxes, without the inflammatory or judgemental tone, let us know. I am sure others would be happy to weigh in.

Posted by
2356 posts

Sasha you are right. My apologies and I edited my post.

Posted by
17725 posts

where the individual, not the state and not others, determine an individual[']s wants and needs

If only that were true. Unfortunately, in our corpocracy, businesses and those with great wealth determine that for us.

Posted by
5547 posts

And only true libertarians refuse to call the fire department when their house is on fire. That said, really true libertarians live out in the bush where there is no community fire department.

Posted by
11708 posts

...and those with great wealth determine that for us.

Exactly. Do some reading about the ultra-wealthy donors who threatened to withhold - or already were withholding - financial support for the party unless a tax bill that met their agenda was passed.

Editing to add from Nancy's post (below this one) as it completes the thought above:

"In the end it was the party that decided that the donor support was more important to them than the support of those who elected them and whom they are supposed to represent."

Posted by
6093 posts

But in the end it was the party that decided that the donor support was more important to them than the support of those who elected them and whom they are supposed to represent. So it wasn't just the wealthy determining what we get to satisfy our wants and needs, it was the government. So, I guess we the people in this country really aren't in control of all that much after all.

Posted by
6241 posts

I stand with Rick. I believe in a progressive tax system that protects the most vulnerable, who should not have to rely exclusively on philanthropy or charity to barely tread water. I believe that is a societal obligation to others that is most fairly accomplished through the tax code, and I'm not ashamed to say that. Our tax system is wholly inadequate and skewed - it does not collect revenues that are in line with needs or expenses (since no one wants to pay for all things they demand collectively, and wars are typically treated offline as is they weren't real expenses) and it does so in the most distorted and inefficient of ways by picking winners and losers (eg. homeowners vs renters, families vs. singles, people who get health insurance through work vs those who buy it in the individual market). It does resemble Swiss cheese where there are gaps, holes, and loopholes that are used to drain it of revenue by those who are equipped to do so. What is "on the right side of the law" when a corporation (through lobbyists and other experts) writes pieces of tax legislation in its favor and the Congress implements it? It may be the law but it's a law that's narrowly protective of various interests, not the public.

The recent "tax reform" does not actually reform the tax system to make it simpler and more fair. It does not expand the tax base, which is necessary to deal with the growing deficit and funding both mandatory and discretionary programs. Instead, it takes the current broken tax code and makes it much more regressive, while creating a whole new set of loopholes (eg., incorporation as pass-through entities). It fails on every principle of good tax policy: equity (including intergenerational equity), fairness, neutrality, visibility (of tax calculation, etc), transparency, low administrative burden and ease, ability to generate revenues that meet expenses, while minimizing non-compliance. To be fair, the prior system failed on all of these criteria as well, but it was a more progressive system. The reason Obamacare was so reviled was because it did redistribute revenue to those who can least afford insurance. This latest iteration will not only perpetuate, but also increase wealth inequality which is probably its most destructive effect. It's really sad because no one (except for the corporate interests) asked for these tax breaks and there is no underlying economic or intellectual rationale for passing them (unless one rejects what the majority of policy experts and economists on both sides have written about this plan). This is an expensive giveaway that will make a lot of existing problems (like entitlement reform) even worse and harder to tackle in the future as there will be less revenue to play with, and even more painful tradeoffs need to be made which neither branch of Congress has been capable of doing.

Posted by
20718 posts

Sasha, you can get him to change his words but it will not change the attitude. That is fixed. Remember the cliche, "My mind is made up, don't confuse me with facts." It is worse today because it is easy to find alternate facts to fit any situation.

Posted by
2244 posts

The division is truly sad and unfortunate, and it may be our great undoing as a leading democracy. I was having a discussion (really) with an extremely conservative person the other day, and I asked him how he squared the strong support for the credibly accused Alabama judge from evangelical Christians, the GOP, and several well known Christian leaders. He replied that he just hadn't paid much attention to the story and didn't know if the accusations were credible. A few minutes later, he assured me that the last Democratic presidential nominee was absolutely "the most corrupt politician I have ever seen". He certainly paid attention to that topic.

Thanks for the discussion. I'm curious to ask Webmaster if the current roiling political and social climate in the country has changed or relaxed "editorial policy" for this site, and if Rick's views have had an influence on this of late?

Posted by
2356 posts

Tough crowd. I hope that you folks who object to the tax reduction (75% of you will see a decrease) will follow your convictions as Rick is saying he will and donate your savings to a charitable cause. If you think the government does a better job with your money than you can, send it to them. Make check payable to US Treasury. They will take it! Happy New Year!

Posted by
20718 posts

Not a tough crowd. A smart crowd. Most of the crowd just doesn't drink the kool-aid. Most tend to like hard facts and good logic. And that is often missing in the political discussions. So we have this great tax cut BUT at what cost???? I would liked to have seen some serious tax reform and true simplification but this neither.

Posted by
2356 posts

Well, I suppose. Anyway my New Years resolution will be to not respond to these sorts of posts and let my progressive friends who seem to know so much more about everything carry on. I will stick to those topics that really matter: spinners versus rollaboards, ATM's and how to use them, money belts or not, independent travel versus tours, etc. And, despite the fact that I do not share Rick Steve's political inclinations I look forward to my next RS tour (hopefully 2019-my wife had a real health challenge after we returned from Europe this past summer, so she should be better by then). Best wishes for a Happy Healthy New year my friends.

Posted by
2244 posts

Thanks, Alan, Merry Christmas from a liberal ;-))

Posted by
6093 posts

I'm glad to see this thread stay on a civil track. It really has been a discussion as opposed to an argument, no degrading name calling, etc. We will never all agree and, in the long run, it's probably better if we don't - I don't want to live in a 'Stepford' world. And, if everyone agrees, no progress gets made and nothing ever changes.

I hope everyone, no matter your political bent, has a wonderful Christmas. 2018 is shaping up to be a very interesting year.

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11708 posts

A safe and peaceful holiday, everyone, and many travels in 2018!