Cross Country at 200 MPH
Most people don’t care too much about math, but unfortunately, that doesn’t keep their math mistakes from coming back to haunt them. The fact of the matter is, Mitt Romney’s going to promise you that these tax cuts for the Wealthy that he’s planning won’t blow up the deficit, and then promise you that none of the cost of this new tax cut to revenues will have to be made up by you. Trouble is, even if you don’t care about the math, the math says he can’t keep either promise.
Suppose Governor Romney said that he wants to drive a car from Boston to Los Angeles in 15 hours. And suppose some analysts employed tools of arithmetic to conclude that "If Governor Romney wants to drive from Boston to LA in 15 hours, it is mathematically impossible to avoid speeding." After all, the drive from LA to Boston is about 3,000 miles, so to take only 15 hours would require an average of 200 miles per hour. Certainly other road trips are possible -- but the particular one proposed here is not.
That's from The Brookings Institution. The editorial goes on:
With a few substitutions, this is almost exactly how the tax debate has evolved. Substitute "the various tax cuts Romney has proposed" for "driving from Boston to LA;" substitute revenue-neutrality for "in 30 hours; substitute "tax increases on households with income below 200k and tax cuts for higher income households" for "speeding" and you have the basic story: Romney can't do all of the tax cut proposals he has advocated, remain revenue neutral, and avoid taxing households with income below $200,000 or cutting taxes for higher income households.
The thing is, we've tried this before. We've tried the magic trick. Reagan even proposed and enacted the same sort of base-broadening approach that Romney promises will make up the difference.
He failed. Deficits continued, and the unicorns of tax-cut motivated growth did not show up, any more than they did following Reagan's first tax cuts, or his second, or Bush's myriad of tax cuts and stimulus programs.
(Yes, there were plenty of fiscal stimuluses under Bush, but they were cutting revenue to increase the deficit, rather than funding jobs and employment generating projects, so that mean they didn't have to admit the additional borrowing was real.)
These programs were not successful in implementing Laffer's Curve, but they were successful increasing the amount of income people who are very rich got to take home, and I doubt that sort of tax cut is going to decrease the effective rates of today's wealthy.
It's a fantasy, a seductive one, but still a fantasy, and under Romney, it would generate greater deficits than Obama ever generated. Repealing the supposedly stolen 716 billion dollars in Medicare cost savings would also add more to the deficit, not to mention send the program into bankruptcy by the end of Romney's first term. Spending is spending, too, so if Romney wants to roll back the spending cuts affecting the Defense Department, well, that will widen the deficit, too. And the growth to recover this? I would like to see how Romney generates it, while his people are taking a wild ax to programs in the name of paying for more tax cuts. It's not about deficit closing, it's about a cynical justification to cut Liberal programs, even while conservative budget darlings remain unkilled.
So, expect higher deficits under Romney. It would follow the pattern of all the Republican Presidents who claimed they could hand you a bunch of money back from the treasury, have less money to pay the bills, yet still pay them better.
Part of my strongly negative response towards Romney in the last debate, what kept me from sharing people's sense that he had won it, is that I've heard people promise what he's done for my entire lifetime, and nobody's delivered. Nobody's reduced the deficit with tax cuts. Nobody's even kept the deficit neutral. Not even St. Reagan of the Supply Side managed it.
But you know what? A lot of rich people will save more money, and then, save more money. If they were interested in using their money to create jobs, without the prospect of having enough customers to justify those new positions, people in their income bracket would have done so by now. I mean, who would have believed it, given all the layoffs and chainsaw Al impersonations over the last couple decades?
There is a fundamentally naive set of beliefs underlying the appeal of these tax cuts, which would require rich people to act like they rarely do in real life as a group. The same people who are constantly edging other people out for advantage, constantly trimming the fat in their operations, are expected to use their surplus to fund other people's surpluses. But if you look at them right now, they have more cash on hand than ever, and they're simply not spending it. They're waiting for the market to recover so they can get return on investment.
They're not going to hire people, or start businesses simply because they have more cash on hand, because that's not the way it works. They're waiting for the rest of us to recover, and looking out for themselves in the meantime.
It's time for people like us to look out for ourselves, and part of that will involve not continuing to believe myths that have not worked out as folks have promised them to. Romney may be a great salesman, but so's the fellow who sticks you with the lemon at the used car lot despite your better judgment. Yes Virginia, not everybody uses their persuasive power to help you.
Some simply use it to help themselves. Just like Tax Cuts!
Posted by Stephen Daugherty at October 10, 2012 8:35 AM
A Republican pops up very four years promising this same thing. Sometimes he wins and gets to implement it, sometimes he doesn’t. Since magic isn’t real this plan has never worked yet. Instead of suggesting the plan is flawed they always blame Democrats. See, revenue was record high, but Democrats…they spent it all! Let’s get rid of Democrats and then it will work! Lather, rinse, repeat. Let’s hope Romney misses his chance to implement this failed idea again.
What strikes me is that so many of Republican political positions seem to be about ignoring ugly facts on the ground, and then brushing over a unhealthy helping of “Magic Confidence Factor” over everything. Their foreign policy, as spoken of, seems to be about making the national equivalent of superhero poses and hoping people get intimidated. The economy? Cut regulations and give tax cuts, and suddenly people will magically ignore the lack of customers, hire, pay people more, etc. Wall Street? cut their taxes, cut the rules restraining them, and no, the similar situations won’t end the same way they’ve ended several times in my lifetime.
I’m really sick of the BS. I’m not so ideological that I haven’t been willing to let policies like this work, but when we’re always getting knocked back down by these economic downturns as a result, there’s not much point to kidding ourselves that Wall Street has good impulse control, or that corporate America, when the tax code is charitable to them with no strings attach, suddenly gets altruistic and charitable back.
Somebody tell me who this sounds like to you:
“I exposed the polls for being very inaccurate,” Chambers told BuzzFeed. “I showed Romney leading in August and September when everyone thought Obama was ahead. Now pollsters are skewing less.”
On his website, unskewedpolls.com, Chambers did not alter, or re-weight, the new Pew poll at all. The poll is listed in his tracking table as having “0 Skew” — a first for the website.
Chambers attributes Romney’s rise in the polls to less unskewing — to taking a larger Republican sample size — and also to Romney’s solid debate performance. Pew says that it adjusted its Republican sample size because more voters are now identifying as Republicans, but Chambers dismisses that claim.
“I’m not buying that,” he said. “I think they polled a more balanced sample for the sake of being accurate. We’re getting closer to the election, and they’re all gonna claim their reputation based on their numbers in October.”
“I predicted this would happen,” Chambers said, who said he never believed any of the polls up until this week. “This so-called lead by Obama — I don’t think it ever really existed. It was an illusion and it was created by the skewed polls.”
Chambers expects to see larger Republican sample sizes in the four remaining weeks of the election. “The last CNN poll was only seven or eight points skewed in favor of Democrats, and the next CNN poll will probably be skewed even less,” he said.
I’m trying to decide who it is this Dean Chambers reminds me of but I just can’t put my finger on it. He never believed any of the polls up until this week! Funny stuff.
I’ll tell you what I find “Funny” Adam; I find it funny that the liberal media had Obama as absolute winner just 2 weeks ago based upon polls showing Obama with an undisputed 10-12 point lead al over the country. Now I find it “Funny” that Romney has “unexpectedly” jumped 10-12 points in the polls, based on what…a good debate? At the same time, all these liberal talking heads are predicting a possible temporary jump in the polls, based on the debate. From that logic, within a few days Romney should be back in the same place he was a week ago.
Something else I find “Funny” is AD’s claim to be some kind of specialist on polling and yet does not understand why the polls are all of a sudden giving Romney the edge.
Perhaps AD’s finger should be placed on Rush Limbaugh; since it was Rush Limbaugh would, several of months ago, made the same statements as Dean Chambers. Of course, Rush is a liar, and not to be listened too.
Frank: “I’ll tell you what I find ‘Funny’ Adam…”
What? Did those quotes resemble somebody you know?
“…based upon polls showing Obama with an undisputed 10-12 point lead al over the country.”
Obama has not lead by 10-12 points nationally, but he did surge in Ohio for a little while with a double digit lead. Romney’s debate gave him about a 3% bounce, enough to pull even with Obama last week and then slightly ahead this week. Both Rasmussen and Gallup show Romney’s lead fading this week a little but a strong Ryan debate could re-strengthen their standing.
“…AD’s claim to be some kind of specialist on polling…”
Don’t put words in my mouth. I’m no specialist. I like polls, I enjoy writing about them. That’s it.
“…and yet does not understand why the polls are all of a sudden giving Romney the edge.”
Please clue me in. I’d love to understand.
What I find funny is you talking about there being a 10 or 12 point lead. There were some polls where Obama approached being that good, but not that many.
Tell me, if folks in the liberal media were trying to defeat Romney, they could just downplay any improvements with their poll weighting, making it look like a flash in the pan.
Oh yes, but your heroic pollsters would reveal it for the fraud it was, right? Of course, this explanation will last about as long as Romney’s poll advantage does. If it fades, or Obama beats him in the next debate, taking the air out of him, you’ll be back to saying they’re covering something up.
So, we have your basic pattern: Good news for Romney: It was true all along! Good news for Obama: It was false all along!
And if Obama wins? Voter fraud!
The funniest thing of all is that you’re essentially saying that Romney’s debate performance moved no one, or fewer people than it might seems. So, for the sake of an argument that arguably talks of greater support earlier, you make your recent gains less significant.
Of course, since you’re supporting Romney despite his budget math, perhaps you’re applying the same logic to polling, somehow getting both the greater lead and the lesser earlier deficits at the same time.
The ad, yes. Additional mentions on the campaign trail, as Glen Doherty’s mother has requested? NO. His mother also added that she though Mitt Romney was untrustworthy, while the folks at PBS were quick to respond negatively to Mitt about his statement that he’d cut PBS funding.
I know you have a weakness for false equivalences, and I saw this one coming. But sadly for you, this is the second time your candidate has tried to exploit the memory of those State Department employees for his political benefit, and gotten slapped down for it. The Folks at Sesame Street simply told the Obama Campaign that they didn’t have a dog in the political fight.
The unemployment rate has been low only because government programs, especially Social Security disability, have effectively been buying people off the unemployment rolls and reclassifying them as not in the labor force.
In other words, the government has cooked the books. It has been a subtle manipulation. Unfortunately, underreporting unemployment has served the interests of Obama’s party.
What a bastard Romney is, calling her son remarkable and stating how his heart broke when he heard of his death.
Mr. Daugherty writes the usual liberal drivel about those with money not willing to invest it because there are not enough customers.
A little reasonable thought will inform him that no business begins with customers.
Using SD’s liberal theory of business, we would have no new business starts today…or ever.
There is an interesting TV show on CBS on Friday evening called “The Shark Tank”. Five very rich people are presented with business ideas in which they are asked to invest. Contrary to Mr. Daugherty’s belief, many of those seeking investment from the “Sharks” get it and become very successful employing many people. Hmmm…there must be some customers somewhere!
Many start-up businesses do so because they have an idea for a new product or service and many believe they can out perform an existing product or service. Give the people a reason to buy and they will.
Mr. Daugherty’s theory of business is designed to rationalize more government deficit spending…nothing more. A simple understanding of how “capital” works and why would help Mr. Daugherty understand better.
Interesting that you bring up workforce contraction, because the word on the recent unemployment reductions is that the workforce increased. But I don’t expect the facts to stop your negative narrative.
There are people who have had to take advantage of the social safety net. Because of Obama? He didn’t cause the economic crisis, which is at the root of the employment problems. No, because of conservatives and Tea Partiers, especially those in state government who have KILLED 750 thousand jobs in the name of job creation.
This is one of those situations where more people being employed means a quicker recovery, and rather than make sure people remained employed, Republicans embarked on a partisan, fiscally misguided, pro-cyclical policy, that has kept the hard times going longer. Republicans put winning this election over putting people back to work.
You talk about cooking the books, the Republicans have simply set fire to the system and lied their asses off about who’s responsible.
Mitt Romney never earned enough of a relationship with the man or his family to even begin to ask permission to use his acquaintance as a means to criticize the President’s policy, to mourn in public on his behalf while blaming the President for his death. He presumed much of what he was entitled to say.
I’ve been following business news since I was a kid, ironically thanks to PBS. I grew up with the Ivan Boesky-Michael Milken Insider Trading controversy going on, the Savings and Loan crisis, too. As time goes on, I’ve gotten a pretty good idea about how capitalism works in practice, rather than simply in theory.
Or, in your case, half a theory, apparently gleaned from a reality show. You’re so eager to exploit the suffering of the economically disadvantaged, but you fail to realize that their impoverishment costs other people their business. If they had jobs, they could bring demand to other people’s supply.
To use an old politically incorrect phrase, your ideologically imbalanced approach is all chiefs and no indians, all supply, but with no notion that creating supply doesn’t automatically create demand.
When people have money, they buy. If not, they do not. You could cut taxes for the rich a thousand times, but what they want, they’re buying already, and they can only buy so much. And really, the improvements based on middle class spending only go so far.
Folks need jobs, and good paying jobs at that. Then, once the system is moving faster on its own, then you can be more austere. Austerity that comes at the cost of putting hundreds of thousands of people out of work in bad economic times is really questionable as an economic theory. You may be obsessed with righting the fiscal ship now, but if you don’t create a foundation of economic growth, you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Capital that doesn’t get return on investment is wasted. I don’t know if your reality show tells you that, but that’s the truth. Businesses will have an easier time of things when people have disposable income once again.
Stephen Daugherty; the basis for the comments above were taken from Obama’s economic adviser Austan Goolsbee’s 2003 editorial making the comment that GWB’s BLS was “cooking the books” on unemployment numbers:
“In 2003, Obama economic adviser Goolsbee said government ‘cooked the books,’ producing lower unemployment rates”
Did you agree with Goolsbee then or do you agree with Jack Welch now? I bet you just hate facts.
Stephen Daugherty, do you believe the state governments should not cut the state work force, even when money is scarce and private industry is cutting jobs?
“No, because of conservatives and Tea Partiers, especially those in state government who have KILLED 750 thousand jobs in the name of job creation.
This is one of those situations where more people being employed means a quicker recovery, and rather than make sure people remained employed, Republicans embarked on a partisan, fiscally misguided, pro-cyclical policy, that has kept the hard times going longer. Republicans put winning this election over putting people back to work.”
So let me get this straight: the states should be hiring state employees in order to bring down unemployment numbers and make Obama look good?
By the way; it was Obama’s economic adviser who said the government was cooking the books.
Unlike in previous recessions, the share of government workers on the payroll has gone down. Has this job cutting had a positive effect on economic numbers?
You’ve latched onto whether the job numbers would have made Obama look good or not, but there are different issues that would affect us all. According to the report at the think-tank I linked to, we might have unemployment at 6.8-7.5% and growth at three points rather than two or one, if we just hadn’t ditched hundreds of thousands of workers.
It’s not simply about making work, either. Those were teachers, fire fighters, police officers, and other first responders among them. Those were also folks who kept libraries open longer for patrons, and other offices open for longer, with more people to serve citizens looking to get services.
Now, you can try and hit me with the Austan Goolsbee editorial, but his editorial talks about workforce contraction by shoving people onto disability rolls. Now, let’s start by saying that throwing this particular grenade into the conversation riddles your Conservative unemployment numbers since your people took over congress with shrapnel, since Goolsbee says it started in the late eighties and early nineties. That means all your gains you credit yourselves with would be suspect, subject to adjustment. Ours, too. But you would hardly escape damage, especially with your recent recessions.
But the other problem is, workforce expansion is a key element of recent unemployment drops. If you’re relying on Goolsbee’s mechanism, it doesn’t apply here, because more people are actually employed, rather than fewer people drawing unemployment.
So, if what Austan Goolsbee said is true, and he makes a reasonable case,
1) It doesn’t apply to these numbers, since workforce contraction was not involved, and that’s his mechanism.
2) Your side sustains a great deal of damage because it, too, benefitted from the adjustment to unemployment rates that the loosened standards provided.
All in all, you’ve latched onto one phrase “cooking the books”, and unfortunately, you’ve substituted an untouchable conspiracy theory, which I couldn’t disprove to you, since you would have to give no clear explanation as to how they manipulated the numbers, and substituted for it a well understood mechanism that unfortunately your great Republican majority finds itself the beneficiary of too.
This is what you get when you argue like a dittohead. You need to be the brains of the operation when it comes to promoting an argument.
Oh, and by the way, this Goolsbee charge you’re talking about hardly qualifies as the BLS cooking the books since:
A)This was Congress and the Social Security Administration doing this, and
B) The BLS has always defined those on SSI’s rolls as out of the workforce.
It provides you with no evidence that there is a conspiracy within the BLS to falsify job numbers for Obama’s benefit.
Stephen, we don’t need ‘permission’ in order to say a death has broken our heart or to question policy. I guarantee you that President Bush and President Obama also spoke about the grief they felt over the death of soldiers they barely knew, or didn’t know not at all.
You guys are so intent on convincing people that Romney is some kind of monster, that you have lost every shred of commonsense and decency. For no other reason than because Romney is a Republican and not a liberal.
And as far as your fear of us having low taxes as our founders layed out, government spending less means citizens pay less.
Mandating how much money people YOU consider to be wealthy are allowed to make or have won’t mean jack squat if we don’t get our spending under control.
We don’t have to start out in Boston, your just trying to convince people that we have to.
Stephen Daugherty, I believe you miss the whole point. While you are attacking the right for claiming the BSL cooked the numbers; you have no problem with the left saying the same thing when Bush was president. And now, holding true to your colors, you go off on a rant trying to defend what Goolsbee claimed.
Teachers, fire fighters, police officers, and other first responders are paid for by local and state taxes; not by federal taxes. If the state and local governments cannot afford these services, then they have to be cut. Money in money out; the states and local governments don’t have the option of just printing more money. If they did, the states would be in the same trouble as the feds.
I think what Goolsbee said is accurate but I agree with Stephen. You can make the charge that it’s cooking the books but it’s the same standard applied across multiple administrations so it hardly matters now.
My complaint is that folks have made up the idea that 8% is symbolic and then pretended that Obama would then have a reason to get unemployment below that even if he had to tell BLS to lie to the world in the process.
Meanwhile Gallup’s unadjusted unemployment value that I believe you yourself may have cited as better than BLS at one time now sits at 7.3%. It too sharply declined like BLS U-3. Today we saw a sharp drop in initial unemployment claims even beyond the week to week revision levels. Yesterday the Fed reported that the economy continued to grow at a modest pace. All signs point to BLS numbers not being fabricated but in line with many other economic indicators suggesting the economy is still improving. Or maybe they’re just all in it together!
Of course you don’t need permission. Free country, and all. It’s just going to make you look like a collossal opportunist if you mention an individual by name, say you knew them, and then tried to look like a more compassionate person off their backs.
Bush and Obama did not typically talk about the soldiers by name as they dealt with their deaths, but instead shared this nation’s generalized appreciation for their sacrifice.
It’s not merely about Romney being a Republican. You attempt the trick whereby you say I’m just saying this because I’m a Democrat, but then that doesn’t change the facts. Romney tried to exploit somebody’s death to get elected.
As for your other paragraph?
God what a word salad. The founders didn’t lay out how our taxes should be for all time. They gave us the choice by putting it under Congress’s authority. If they had wanted to set taxes a certain way for all time, they would have written the constitution to make it so.
I don’t fear low taxes, but I don’t fear higher taxes either. I don’t run my fiscal policy by fear, I run it by arithmetic, and as the numbers people have seen show, Romney’s plan fails that standard.
I have offered no proposals for arbitrary limits on how much money you can make, I just want for the rich to pay more, as they can afford to, so the country as a whole can resolve its fiscal problems without undermining the economy. As far as getting spending under control, Republicans have shown little ability to do so, as it seems like they’re blind to anything that works to their advantage. Just because you don’t think defense budget should count towards a deficit, doesn’t mean they won’t.
Look, mister, you can’t expect me to forfeit the game. I am going to look for holes in your argument.
Did I exonerate Obama? Actually, no. I will say that if Obama maintained the disability policies of the past that allow more people to make claims and exit the unemployment numbers, that Obama has likely seen a benefit in his unemployment numbers.
At the same time, though, the article itself has Goolsbee saying that so did the Bush and Clinton administration. Blame is spread equally around, making this a case of true equivalence, not false. Everybody has been “cooking the books” in this way.
But if we’re talking Sept. 2012 numbers?
First, though people did offer workforce reduction theories, the numbers did not bear these theories out. Workforce participation has increased this month.
Second, this was not the allegation that your people were making. Your people were making this allegation of misbehavior within the BLS. Austan’s allegation concerns policy choices beyond the BLS’s authority.
Third, just because somebody uses “cooked the books” in one allegation, which they support with facts and references to actually policy, doesn’t mean a bunch of hack conspiracy theorists can justify saying the same of numbers they haven’t factually proven to be suspicious, much less fake.
You’re looking for excuses not to believe something. You haven’t discovered or researched anything to come to your conclusion, you just followed your own hackish political instincts to simply deny whatever good news might make Obama look good. Austan Goolsbee backed his claim with research, and his facts are evenhandedly presented, so I’ll defend them. If he had made an accusation like yours, if I had not seen much in the way of factual justification for his claim, I would have agreed that his comments were unjustified.
You and I have different standards. I find it to be a weakness to depend on propaganda for support in my arguments. It’s much better to start with what can be supported with a plain language argument from the facts.
As for your next paragraph, you know damn well, or should, that the federal government provides much of the funding for things at a state level, and can inject funding into the states from their level.
The main reason states and local government were unable to afford these things on their own was the crappy economy. Fill in the budget gaps, and the next few years, as the economies recovered, state and local budgets would be strained less, and revenues there would recover with the economies. Instead, you choose to make the problem worse. it’s like choosing to leave a broken leg unset and without a cast on the basis of the belief that the leg should follow the natural path.
A little artificial help and support at the beginning can allow the natural forces of economic recovery to do the job better, and also prevent cuts from counteracting other economic stimuli.
No tricks, your attacks show it is ALL about Romney being a Republican and not a liberal. You hear Romney and you automatically attack with he couldn’t possibly care. You hear Romney and you automatically attack with he isn’t sincere. That there just has to be some ulterior motive.
How many soldiers did Bush or Obama meet and actually remember meeting them? Obama LOVES to throw names of poor, dying or dead people around to criticize policy, to get elected. No surprise that doesn’t ‘bother’ you.
This is just as unwarranted and silly as bashing Obama for not sending out letters to fallen soldiers personal or fast enough.
Not everything has to be political.
“If they had wanted to set taxes a certain way for all time, they would have written the constitution to make it so.”
They did, you guys just refuse to accept the importance of individual rights.
“I don’t run my fiscal policy by fear, I run it by arithmetic, and as the numbers people have seen show, Romney’s plan fails that standard.”
Arithmetic determined by your fear of what YOU think might happen if money is not spent how and where you say. This is why your desires lead up to your opinion that Republican policy always fails.
“I have offered no proposals for arbitrary limits on how much money you can make, I just want for the rich to pay more, as they can afford to, so the country as a whole can resolve its fiscal problems without undermining the economy.”
What makes the rich deserve such different treatment? Why do you think YOU have a clue as to what they can or cannot afford? In order to believe these things, you must have an arbitrary limit to start at.
IF you wanted the country “as a whole” to resolve its fiscal problems, you would promote personal responsibility by ALL Americans, instead of signaling out groups that YOU think owe more to everyone else.
“As far as getting spending under control…”
The ONLY way to lower debt is to spend less. Unlike you, I understand that is not possible by only targeting defense and people with more money than myself, while encouraging 300 million people to be dependent on government.
Once again those in the media snivel when they are needed, and that includes the conservative bloggers on this site. The President and his team call The Mittster out as a liar…because he is, was and will be.
The tax thing editorialists say is still in question…er…in whose mind? It is still the ever present mantra of conservatives, “tax cuts for the rich creates investment which in turn creates jobs”, blah, blah, blah. It was a lie during Hoover, during Reagan, during Bush I, and during Cheney/Bush there was even a net job loss, after the biggest tax cut of all. So Romney was lying, even about the potential good his tax plan would do, because as soon as it became apparent that it was not working, the Middle Class would catch the lion’s share of the taxation necessary to keep the nation from going under.
The Mittster was also lying when he said he would not tax the Middle Class, when he said he was going to send many federal obligations to the states. First, the states were not capable of handling them then, and are poorer now, plus many have fired or lost much of their work-force (causing unemployment figures to stagnate high?). Second, who pays the most state and local taxes…er…the rich? How silly. Those whose taxes will increase on the local and state levels are the Middle Class. He does not care a whit about the Middle Class, any more than he cares about that 47% he is so disdainful of.
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