Smallness of our politics

Saying that they have, “exhausted the use of Rush as an attention-getter,” Obama et. al. are hoping that an all out smear campaign against Republicans as willful obstructionists who are ‘playing politics’ will bring about the bi-partisan consensus and ‘coming togetherness’ that has so far eluded Obama’s grasp.

"[W]hat's troubling is the gap between the magnitude of our challenges and the smallness of our politics--the ease with which we are distracted by the petty and the trivial, our chronic avoidance of tough decisions, our seeming inability to build a working consensus to tackle any big problem." ~Barack Hussein Obama, The Audacity of Hope, 2006, pg 41.

Hope and change is so ephemeral these days.

Despite the fact that Obama does not need a single Republican vote to pass any of his massive spending programs and social engineering schemes, instead of getting to work, he and all the rest of elected Democrats and partisans want to focus on attacking any and all criticism of his plans. This is more like the one party governments we know and love from history than the one Obama promised, but then he is The One, who are we to question his plans?

Beginning Sunday, the White House will harness every part of the Democratic Party’s machinery to defend President Obama’s budget and portray Republicans as reflexively political, according to party strategists.

A participant in the planning meetings described the push as a successor to Democrats’ message that Rush Limbaugh is the Republican Party leader. “We have exhausted the use of Rush as an attention-getter,” the official said. ~news.yahoo.com


Demonizing Rush didn't seem to work so well for them so it's interesting that they are so agitated into going negative on all Republicans now. Maybe wholesale negativity will work better? But the bigger question is why, if Republicans are so irrelevant, is, "every part of the Democratic Party's machinery," going to go to war with a minority party with no power in any part of all three branches of government?

I do have a theory. The political ideology of Liberalism, as it has come to be held by so many on the left, views any dissenting ideas as an affront to their very reality. Far too many liberals express the view that the very questioning of Obama's plans is disturbing. Some go so far as to say conservatives are mentally deranged:

"The reason a person is a conservative republican is because something is wrong with them. Again, that’s science – that’s neuroscience. You cannot be well adjusted, open-minded, pluralistic, enlightened and be a republican. It’s counter-intuitive. And they revel in their anti-intellectualism. They revel in their cruelty. ~liveleak.com

Others hope that conservatives can just be completely silenced on the basis that conservatism is hate. A charge unsubstantiated with anything more than partisan libel. But there you have it. If conservatism were hate-speech then censoring it would be ok. What a relief that would be to the majority party.

Posted by Eric Simonson at March 15, 2009 1:52 AM
Comments
Comment #277703

Eric
Oh no! The Dems somehow got a copy of the Republican playbook!How dare them present a united front. How dare portray those propounding the policies of lunacy as lunatics! Democrats are just supposed to roll over and take the absurd and dangerious attacks on them by left over, out of touch kleptocrats and overly caffinated fat guys. The worm has turned. Whats left of the Republican Party can either face up to reality and constructively add to national policy or get out of Dodge.

Posted by: bills at March 15, 2009 8:32 AM
Comment #277704

Eric,
Rush needs to be taken down by His Peers. For just as the Democratic Leaders and Party told Mike Moore and others to shut up because they clearly stepped into the creek. So did Rush and Company when they called for the failure of the President of the United States of America. And why you can joke if you want to. What if in 2005 I was to have called out to My Democratic Opponents that the President of the United States of America is not about quitting and should be a reason for the removal of such person. Would have that been Politically Acceptable by Rushs’ own Principles and Standards? I do not think so!

For why I rarely agree with Newt Gingrich on about any subject. Are you going to tell me that Rush has more Authority over what it means to be a Die-Hard Republican than Newt Gingrich and the other Citizens willing to become Elected Political Leaders?

No, I still want to debate Rush about the 3rd Generational Discussion that should be going on now or as soon as My Peers stop living in the 1970’s. Because having talked to some of the sons whos Fathers helped shape this World I really would enjoy one of the Young Republican Leaders of America to explain to Rush and Company why their game no longer matters. For I doubt if Rush or almost any other American over the age of 30 that by Todays Political Principles and Standards the new Game coming to Washington and the rest of the World because I see no fear in their eyes.

Wonderment and Respect for that of what they have been told and a Strict code of justice for others not that well learned in the Debate of their Parents, but not one from the Left or Right of Society has backed down or off the willingness to take on the task of building a Sustainable Green Civilized Society where Every American Citizen has the opportunity to become Economically Viable and Financially Secured. Their only question to me is will Their Community Elders and Parents let them.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at March 15, 2009 8:35 AM
Comment #277711

Pajamasmedia?

A Politico ariticle citing an “unnamed participant,” and named people who “helped” and were “involved” in “plans”? More unnamed “private complaints”?

Proletariantblog?

Liveleak? A Fox “news” article about an outrageous statement by Janeane Garafolo which ends with a plug for Janeane Garafolo on a Fox network show? That’s priceless. Seriously. Priceless.

The alternet article is actually pretty good, and the statement that those dreaded “others” want to silence Rush Limbaugh and take away his right to free speech is higly misleading, at best.

All in all, unforgettable visit to the dark side of American politics, ranging from obscure, to phony, back to obscure, to a hilariously ham-fisted propaganda piece, and finishing with a little straightforward misrepresentation. Nice piece of conservative thinking. Good to know the GOP has not changed.


Posted by: phx8 at March 15, 2009 11:44 AM
Comment #277719

Eric when you say “demonizing Rush didn’t work so well” are you actually linking to and quoting your own article as proof it didn’t work?

Posted by: j2t2 at March 15, 2009 12:51 PM
Comment #277720

I guess it is the title “smallness of our politics” and this gesture that I found ironic.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 15, 2009 12:52 PM
Comment #277727

Eric,

Wow, it seems you left no stone unturned researching the “facts” for this article, including the always helpful “White House sources.

I, like phx8, wonder when opinion blogs took the place of actual facts to support your position.

I suspect that you had Smithers write this piece as we have seen better from you in the past.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at March 15, 2009 1:56 PM
Comment #277735

Eric-
I think we’ve pretty much proved who’s got the nuts of the Conservatives in Washington in his pocket in the moment. No need to belabor the point.

The Republicans, though, have demonstrated that they are serious about confounding any discussion at all of liberal methods and policy with their apocalyptic visions of America going down in flames with Obama in the pilot seat smiling all the way down.

Do you really think Democrats are just going to sit around and let you folks panic and misinform the public?

I think Republicans have a lot of nerve if they intend to blame us for this breakdown. We came in with a President willing to talk, willing to make concessions. You folks came in here expecting, despite two straight election losses to dictate terms. The least you could do is be consistent in your definitions of what a mandate is. Bush narrowly won, and you folks claimed he had a mandate. Obama wins with one hand on the steering wheel and his arm across the seat, and you folks treat him like he’s the one who has to compromises, above and beyond his quite voluntary, offered concessions.

Meanwhile, you play these games while critical events happen in our nations history. And what side are you on, what agenda are you trying to sell? The same one that lost your party it’s supremacy several decades ago.

The Republican Party seems incapable of moving on from a mistake, from discredited practices and philosophies. And they’ve become so insistent on it, that even a guy who campaigned on being a nice guy politician is forced into the position of being a hardass if he wants anything done.

I’m sorry, but the politics of spoiled brattery aren’t going to work anymore. Or, at the very least, we’re not going to let them work anymore, and the vast majority of Americans are going to cheer us on because they’re sick to death of the arrogant refusal of the GOP to correct the error of its ways.

You don’t have to stop being conservatives. You just got to recognize that browbeating the American Public about the correctness of your failed policy is not going to change anybody’s minds. All the Republicans are doing at this point is calcifying and fossilizing the policies and politics that got them kicked on in the first place. Y’all should be dealing with such stuff with radiation suits, tongs, and lead-lined containers, not glorifying it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 15, 2009 3:04 PM
Comment #277736

Republicans should be asking why Democrats are finding it so easy to smear their efforts as disjointed, negative, and obstructionist. What are Republicans doing to make it so easy? But, self-examination and self-improvement is SOOOO much less palatable and more difficult than to attack the messengers and define their critiques as smears, whether they objectively are smears or not.

I mean Republicans loading their own pork onto the Omnibus Bill at the same time they rail against the bill for pork and vote against it, knowing the votes are there for passage, is like the height of hypocrisy and disconnect between behavior and rhetoric, smashing credibility to smithereens, don’t you think?

And now these same Republicans like Mitch McConnel write their constituents proudly on how they brought home the bacon with this and that district projects funded by federal dollars, without mentioning in their literature that they VOTED AGAINST these projects, is just beyond the pale.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 15, 2009 3:20 PM
Comment #277745

My fave is Republican Governors railing against bailout funds, knowing full well their legislators will overide them.

More sulfurous gas emanating from some craggy fault in California.

Posted by: gergle at March 15, 2009 7:20 PM
Comment #277768

Eric,

The political ideology of Liberalism, as it has come to be held by so many on the left, views any dissenting ideas as an affront to their very reality. Far too many liberals express the view that the very questioning of Obama’s plans is disturbing.
Excellent! Pointing to reason is ignored as a kind of “anti-intellectual” smokescreen. This requires a redefining of the concept of intellectual, such that those who see two and two as four can be condemned as unenlightened. Parades of economists can say Democrat policies won’t work and Democrats claim “nearly every major economist” supports them. What I see them supporting is faith healing, faith healing that can’t point to a single foundational benefit (increased productivity, increased incentive to invest and risk capital, increased market transparency or market discipline, etc.) for the huge debt we take on for believing in their communal dancing and waving of feathered headresses.

True intellectuals discipline themselves to pointing to mechanisms by which things work in seeking solutions. Democrats today are not doing that. They say to trust them. They are smarter than we are. But when they act their actions are virtually unrelated to their stated goals on things like transparency and ethics. Their spending is little better than random.

It is not bigoted to point things like this out, nor is it anti-intellectual, or unreasoning opposition. Democrats will increase our debt more over the next four years than all the dominant regimes in our nation’s history combined, and excuse it by pointing to the spending of “Republicans” if we, as a people, do not stop them.

Stop them we must, for the sake of our children.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 16, 2009 1:30 PM
Comment #277769

The smallness appears to be all on the Republican side. Rush took on Obama. Obama made one public comment about Rush, and moved on. Rush still can’t get his fill of BamaBashing. So be it.

But, the Obama administration received several ovations today on its approaches to Small Businesses, and economists are increasingly seeing the multitude of parts the Obama administration has put in place in just 55 days, as containing the synergy and holistic benefit that this complex financial crises demands to be resolved and put behind us.

More and more, the business journalists (Kudlow excepted of course) are hedging their earlier bets that the Obama administration’s shotgun approach was doomed to fail, as they begin to see sector after sector in our economy shed fear and dismay in favor of hope and renewed confidence that they may just be able to weather this and prosper again thanks to the Obama administration’s efforts and multiple layered and targeted approach.

Thinking and acting fearful and shrinking, crying the sky is falling because a Democrat is in power, is small, indeed. Compared to Obama’s optimism, hope, determination and perseverance to work pragmatically to shore up this nation at the points of every pillar in need of repair, pretty much simultaneously, is beyond the grasp of those whose minds have been made small by fear and shrinking attitudes in the face of these crises.

Republicans only hope as a party to regain power is to work for and pray that the Democrats fail to address the crises that face our nation. Logic dictates, if Democrats succeed, Republicans avenue back to power shrinks further into the future. This is such a fundamental truth about the GOP, that it will not go away, or diminish, or fail to be acknowledged by the majority of Americans.

It is a lens through which, for the time being, Republicans in office and seeking office cannot avoid being viewed. Their actions are the only means by which they can alter the public’s view of them in contrast to the rest of their Party. Specter, Snowe, Collins, LaHood, and Gates get it. To avoid being viewed through the lens of American government haters and obstructionists, they are contributing to the only plans in town to get America back on her feet and keeping her there. They get it. But, they are, what was Eric’s word, oh, yes, small number indeed.

One more point, the reason Republicans can’t get a handle on Obama, pegging him as left winger on the campaign trail, then center-left in the post nomination period, and inclusive moderate centrist in the post-election period, and now radical left as president, is because Obama is a president in search of pragmatic solutions to real world problems, a president who will not conform to Democratic, Republican, or any other ideology in place of real world assessments and real world solutions.

Obama is not a typical anything. Which makes categorizing him by the likes of Rush and Hannity and Malkin an exercise in foolishness without credibility upon Obama’s taking actions in contradiction to such small minded labels.

Obama’s rolling back small business loss amortization from 2 years to 5 years, elimination of capital gains taxes on small businesses, and releasing TARP funds to be targeted directly to community banks to buy small business loans securitized assets to put more lending money in small community banks for more small business loans which are a good risk; all these actions defy the labels that Rush and Hannity and Malkin try to pin Obama with. These are the actions a Republican might take. But, Obama is taking these targeted actions not because ideology dictates they are always the correct response in all situations. No, he is taking these targeted actions because in this context, and limited to this scope, they will have a positive effect on the job creation engine of the Small Business Community. No ideological paradigm required, just a pragmatic appreciation of the real world at this time, and a pragmatic solution to achieve needed objectives regarding reversing the growth in unemployment in this country.

Obama is neither a Democratic nor Republican ideologue. The Independent voters were right on election day, he is no idealogue at all. He is a person with the education and intelligence to seek appropriate actions to real world challenges. Making him for all intents and purposes, neither a Democrat nor Republican, but, the right person for the job at this time in our history.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 16, 2009 1:41 PM
Comment #277778

Lee Jamison-
“Stop them we must, for the sake of our children.” You would think, with such a Statement, that Democrats were the ones running economic policy for the past few decades, setting the agenda. The coincidence here is, we think the same thing. The difference here is, we have good case for the Republicans ruining the economy.

240 economists signed up on that CATO ad, give or take a few. Think about that for a moment: all it logically says is, a few hundred economists out of the thousands of economists out there disagre with Obama. What are the true numbers? This ad cannot tell us. But that’s not the point of it. The point of the ad is to appeal, fallaciously, to the human instinct for safety in numbers. Folks are supposed to say “Gee, all those economists say Obama’s wrong, I guess I should agree with them, in light of that.”

This stimulus is the opposite of faith healing. It’s targeted. It pays for actual jobs, up front. The more faith-based measure is tax cuts aimed at upper registers of economic status. You have no idea whether those people actually create the promised jobs, or whether the companies they invest in won’t just downsize more people anyway.

This is not a matter of who’s smarter than who. This is a matter of Results. Republicans tried multiple tax cuts, and for their trouble, they got a net loss in employment. Democrats have some other ideas, but the Republicans, furious at the idea of Democrats in control, will have none of it. They are as certain that these methods will not work, as they are that their own would.

Which is where we find the problem. The Republicans still believe that they are economically authoritative, that the only conceivable outcomes are the ones they have been taught to expect, and the only possible outcome of any difference is failure. These, the people who have proved so disastrously wrong.

As for the Tea Party? God, we’re talking unclear on the historical concept. If taxes go through, they will be going through because taxpayer-elected representatives have okayed them.

Or in other words, Taxation With Representation. The point of the Boston Tea Party was protesting a government that levied taxes that colonials could not send people to Parliament to weigh in on, much less decide what the money would be going to.

Quite the opposite has occured here: People overwhelmingly sent the Democrats to Congress, knowing this might be on the Agenda.

Rather convenient: when people vote for Republicans, they’re representing their voice. When they vote for Democrats, they must be mistaken, must they? Give me a break. This is Democracy. At least have the decency to try legitimate avenues of argument rather than bull**** everybody into believing there’s some kind of mass uprising going on against Obama.

The Republicans will be held responsible for these deficits, and people won’t be wrong to!. At the very least, Obama’s being honest about it with his budget.

The time has come to face your failures, Republicans, or let them destroy your through your own denial of them. The inability to admit mistakes has been a hallmark of the past decade’s Republican rule, and a Cancer on the party’s credibility and the results of its policies. Without repudiating that legacy, the Republicans cannot help but again and again take up positions in contrariness to the facts, because to do otherwise would be to admit what was done wrong, to, horrors of horrors, begin to agree with Liberals and Democrats.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 16, 2009 3:32 PM
Comment #277791

From a link within the “conservative is hate” link

“Limbaugh has been plowing the field of moral outrage for decades, but unlike Billy Sunday and the other hot-headed radio preachers who cashed in on social resentment in the Great Depression, Limbaugh threw out God. With no religious tradition to anchor himself, he can swing wider. Anything Limbaugh judges against is condemned, not by scripture, but simply by him being pissed off. Whatever Limbaugh hates — however petty, personal, and arbitrary his animus — is ipso facto wrong.This represents a huge social shift in American values….The Limbaugh effect fueled the anti-morality of the Bush years. Under ordinary morality, the wretched plight of illegal immigrants, for example, must be considered along with the fact that they are breaking the law. Being poor, illiterate, and desperate, their human condition makes them more sympathetic than ruthless lawbreakers would be. But under anti-morality, if you hate immigrants because they are foreigners who don’t look American enough, the argument is over. Your anger strips away tolerance, sympathy, and regard for “the other.” Hence the almost imperial bearing of Limbaugh, the bland certainty that because he never stops being angry, he never stops being right.

The same goes for a wide range of “others” who mightily tick off Limbaugh’s listeners: Muslims, feminists, people of color, gays, and environmentalists. There’s no need to understand them or try and accommodate their views. Just put them through the wringer of Limbaugh’s perpetual judgment and, poof, there’s no problem anymore. Of course, the whole scheme is delusional. Problems aren’t solved by remaining perpetually ticked off. Accords can’t be reached when you demonize the other side.”

Too accurate

Posted by: bugger at March 16, 2009 5:29 PM
Comment #277793

I think Rush is great for the GOP. He’s my kind of guy.

The more Rush is in the news, the more we can drive out the ideological infidels who aren’t far enough right, i.e. anyone left of Rush.

Rock on, Rush.

Posted by: Dick Cheney at March 16, 2009 6:16 PM
Comment #277797

Stephen,

This stimulus is the opposite of faith healing. It’s targeted. It pays for actual jobs, up front. The more faith-based measure is tax cuts aimed at upper registers of economic status.
Actually, Stephen, this assertion is genuinely comical. I wrote a friend today that such government assistance is the equivalent of being pulled up by the bootstraps by people who stand on our shoulders.

Really it is truer to say that the pulling is being done by people who sit on the same shoulders we sit on. The economic activity we are supposed to benefit from is to be generated by the investments of the same people whose money is to be the root of the economic demand that is to stimulate the economic activity. What will really happen, then, is exactly ehat happened in the Great Depression- there will be jobs created by the spending of money, until the spending of money stops. Then the fact that the spending did not produce sufficient new productive capacity to sustain the new jobs meant that the vast majority of the new jobs were as ephemeral as their pretend ends.

Besides that, your faith in government mindlessly kicks the distrust of the private sector down the road a step. Catch up with the can and look around and an intelligent person will recognize that if the rich are not productive passing the responsibility of funding “recovery” or “stimulus” down to them will be an enterprise in self-aggrandizing futility. If they don’t start making a LOT more money than they make now, that is to say an even higher percentage than they do today, the top two, or three, or four, or even five percent of the people in this country will not be able to fund our government largesse fantasy.

Once the currently unthinking followers of this nonsense start recognizing these really very simple facts and realize the fairy dust sellers can’t weave gold out of straw we can start talking about really sustainable recovery.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 16, 2009 8:01 PM
Comment #277800

Stephen,

I respect your tenacity. However, I disagree. In fact your comment has a whole bushel of strawmen in it.

Excepting tax cuts, and welfare reform under Gingrich, Republicans have failed to enact conservative principles on economic matters. The economy that you say is completely a result of conservative/libertarian free market capitalism is actually the result of a lack of conservative values.

Did the GOP succeed in repealing any of the liberal programs, many of which still linger from since the last New Deal? The GOP failed in every respect in this matter.

Even (the god-king) Reagan promised to repeal the Dept. of Education. Did he?

The newly ‘fundamentally sound’ economy is the same ‘mixed economy,’ part capitalist free market and part welfare state programs and hodge-podge regulation enacted at the national legislative sausage factory we call congress, that you used to promote and extoll as the paradigm of virtue.

But let me ask you an important question about the smart people who are going to redesign our market system, fine tune capitalism, and make it ‘better’ so that it is more stable etc…

Is it possible that government planning can ever be wrong? (Not just when the GOP is in power mind you.) Can these planners ever cause a downturn, recession, or a depression?

Has government action ever contributed in any way to economic instability?

Posted by: eric simonson at March 16, 2009 9:05 PM
Comment #277801

“What will really happen, then, is exactly ehat happened in the Great Depression- there will be jobs created by the spending of money, until the spending of money stops.”

Lee hopefully by that time the economy will have come to the point where the top 1 to 5 % will in fact spend the money to create jobs, will it not? The large multi national corporations were shipping jobs overseas the past few decades. They are not creating jobs nor have they been creating jobs. As we speak they are intentionally on the side lines waiting for an opportunity to get their hands on the stimulus dollars in order to manipulate the economy to their benefit.

It seems the stock market starts out the day trending upward and then towards the end of the day these top 2% sell off their stocks causing the stock market to drop. If they are selling off their stocks do you think that they are interested in creating jobs that would put people back to work and stimulate demand? I don’t believe they have the national interest in mind but rather their own interests. Perhaps it is time for the government of the people to worry about the many and not the wealthy few as has been the case for years now.
To me the “smallness of our politics” simply means watching out for the few at the expense of the many. It has not served us well over the past 25 years and tells us it is time for a change.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 16, 2009 9:11 PM
Comment #277802

I have to admit that I find this article interesting. Both sides have made arguments that the other side is saying that the opposition is attacking their positions unfairly. Both sides are accusing the other of creating a situation where their opposition states, “they are saying that you can’t believe in my position because it is immoral or deficient in someway.”

It appears that we have the negative campaigning down even between the elections. But I have to ask is this helpful?

Posted by: Rob at March 16, 2009 9:12 PM
Comment #277804

Lee Jamison-
The central image of Bootstrapping is of somebody pulling themselves suspended into the air without outside support, merely by pulling on those loops that are at the top of boots to help get them on.

So, Ironically enough, the image you jokingly gave to your friend makes better sense!

Look, your tax cut might result in a job, if:

a) the person receiving the tax cut decides to employ somebody with that money, or at least supplement that position. (But, they’re free not to.)

b) the person person invests in a business or starts a business that creates jobs. (They’re free not to. Also, the Business might decide to cut jobs despite the added investment)

c) or maybe the person just spends the money. Which they’re entirely free not to.

Three layers of uncertainty as to whether stimulus occurs.

But if you fund the job, mandate direct investment, put spendable money in the hands of folks who do actually spend it as a matter of course, then you know it’s going somewhere.

You act as if I’m saying something silly by suggesting that if we don’t go through all the rigamarole, with all the uncertainty and the very real possibility that the person will just pocket the savings. I think if Governments wants the stimulus job done right, it does it itself!

You’re saying tax cuts and laissez faire economics has made the rich productive. I think it’s done the opposite. They’re sitting on more money now than they were before, and for that, we’ve got an economy in ruins. Good job.

I’m not opposed to these guys reaping their rewards, but they’ve tried to do that in a way that excludes other people from the proceeds, and which sheds obligations and burdens that were given to them to keep them off the backs of the poor, working, and middle class.

You’re right that we can’t sustain a recovery on the rich alone. Unfortunately, it seems your party’s ideas of how to stimulate the economy seem targeted to helping them, rather than everybody else. The Middle Class must profit relatively well from their productivity, or the system will always be unstable because the businesses that depend on the middle class will not make as great of a return on investment if any at all, if Americans don’t have money to spend.

That simple. You can’t run the entire economy from the top, conferring all the blessings, advantages and breaks to them. It’s wasted on them, not because rich folks are inherently evil, but because they’re working from surplus already. Those who need the money, will spend the money. Those who don’t, might not.

Does this qualify as common sense? I think it does. But I’ll have to wait to see whether it’s common sense in the world of the Republicans, because there seem to be a lot of plain truths and facts that get spun around and reinterpreted when they pass into that quadrant of the galaxy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 16, 2009 9:23 PM
Comment #277809

Eric asks:

Has government action ever contributed in any way to economic instability?

Yes, Eric, it has. So has free trade and capitalism. Are you saying all three of these things are therefor useless? Stupid strawman, Eric, but it’s typical of your completely ironic, if nonsensical, posts.

In fact your comment has a whole bushel of strawmen in it. Or something that doesn’t smell nearly as sweet as straw.

Posted by: gergle at March 16, 2009 9:57 PM
Comment #277812

Eric said: “Excepting tax cuts, and welfare reform under Gingrich, Republicans have failed to enact conservative principles on economic matters. The economy that you say is completely a result of conservative/libertarian free market capitalism is actually the result of a lack of conservative values.”

Red Herring. Nicely done Eric. You never seem to enumerate conservative values, and claim Republicans never put them to the test. FALSE!

Trickle down supply side economics was put to the test incrementally as Republicans took control of the House in 1995, then the Presidency in 2001 and the Senate in 2003 (If I recall correctly).

The result of the greatest concentration of wealth in the upper income groups, the greatest creation of millionaires and billionaires in history, the greatest record setting profits of corporations like Exxon/Mobil, was declining real wages for the middle class, dropping education quality and results compared to other modern nations, crumbling national infrastructure which killed Americans as they drove to their destination, and a leveraging by financial and many corporate entities to levels entirely unsustainable. All culminating in record federal deficits to amend the neglect, compensate for all those lost revenues via tax cuts for the wealthy over those years GDP growth, en route to GDP bust.

Trickle down, supply side economics got the greatest full blown test it will ever receive, and it failed horribly for 90% of Americans. And trickle down supply side economics is a cornerstone of conservative ideology and philosophy. Further, any attempts to argue that Republicans failed the test but supply side economics didn’t is a red herring. Economics does not exist outside of a political system unless you want to argue anarchy is also a conservative tenet.

Conservatives voted Republican. Republicans put supply side economics to the test. Their implementation failed, and there is no other conservative party waiting in the wings to garner a majority national vote for control of government. One can no more divorce conservative ideology from the Republican Party, and vice versa, than one can divorce a person from their brain and keep the body alive and functioning normally. There is no such thing as pure applied conservative ideology outside the context of the political party that implements it.

Your argument is specious and cleverly diverting from the topic it appears to address. Nice try. But, No RushBaugh Cigar.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 16, 2009 11:01 PM
Comment #277814

David,
With All Due Political Respect Be Nice to Eric. For with All Due Respect to Erics’ following the Republicans’ Political Point of View I do believe that the Political Slogan in the 80’s was “The One with the Most Toys at the End Wins” and happened to be agreed upon by both the Democratic and Republican at the time if I am correct.

No, Erica and Rush are not wrong because they want to stay Economically Viable and Financially Independent while others in Society suffer. The problem comes when the Right believes that it has the Authority to have it all. For Eric, thats My JOB as an Anti-Authoritarian! And though I may have had to promise GrandDad and GrandMom that I would not use it to harm My Peers or Their Children. David is Politically Correct to point out why he and others believe that the Pie should be divided equally.

For like AIG and others believe that they are to Big to Fail. At their Best, they cannot stand up to the Force of Nature and expect to survive. So, David and Eric how do “We the People” get out of the Political Strom that the Children of the 70’s and Their Children find themselve in?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at March 17, 2009 12:05 AM
Comment #277815

Eric Simonson-
Argue the Strawmen, don’t just suggest they are there.

You’re essentially arguing that unless Conservatism was allowed to do everything it wanted, then we could never be entirely sure its at fault for the events that occured during its watch. This argument is essentially unprovable as it would be unlikely in any Democracy for any party to rule unopposed, even by a token minority.

Thus, you could always claim that events went awry because those bad-ole Dems got in your way. Even though we didn’t, most of the the time!

The conservatives were not entirely unsuccessful, especially if you don’t define conservatism by just one faction of the Republican Party. They got a lot that they wished done, and a lot of those fulfilled wishes are coming back to haunt them.

My argument is, you didn’t have to get every tenet of conservatism to be tested in every way to have meaningful results that could determine acceptance or rejection by people.

I don’t see government as perfect, I see it as requiring eternal vigilance and constant supervision.

It cannot, however stay as it is. The principles your party pushed for years have lead to ruin. It’s time to try something new.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2009 12:11 AM
Comment #277818

Reagan did not ‘repeal’ the Department of Education, he merely gutted it. Republicans have not had to repeal anything except Glass, to have their way…all they had to do was short fund it until it self destructed. Short funding has been the game of conservative rule since ‘82…rob from the poor and give to the rich, and then blame the poor for all the ills and for the fact that programs for the poor do not work as well as expected…bah!

Posted by: Marysdude at March 17, 2009 1:56 AM
Comment #277820

>all out smear campaign against Republicans Democrats as willful obstructionists who are ‘playing politics’
Posted by Eric Simonson at March 15, 2009 01:52 AM

Did someone mention the multi-year, multimillion dollar investigation that resulted in the impeachment of a Democratic President over a stained dress?

Posted by: Marysdude at March 17, 2009 8:12 AM
Comment #277822

Why Eric and the rest of the Republicans including Rush are not wrong in all that they do. IMHO, the Party Leaders have been caught at their on game by the Democratic Leaders. For in the 90’s it was Welfare for the Poor that was bringing down the Country and costing the Taxpayer money. And I do believe that alomost every American can agree that the Welfare to Work Program worked out fairly well for all parties concerned as we saw employment raise to 97-98%.

Now, thanks to the likes of AIG and Company as well as some things I still cannot discuss in public. It seems that the Democratic Citizens and Leaders have found that it is time to change Corporate Welfare and the Republican Citizens and Leaders are not getting No Help from their Powers-that-Be in making their case to My Peers and Their Children.

For example, AIG could have fufilled their contract simply by defering the Retainer Bonuses until 2012 in the from of Stocks and Bonds could they not? However, now the Republicans are busy trying to provide Loyal Opposition against an Adminstration who is attempting to keep Public Outrage in check. Because does anyone want to take a stab at the Public Outrage if some of the Welfare Reciepants of the Poor would of declared they deserved $160 million dollars in bonouses in the 1990’s?

No Eric, you are not off the hook; however, I do see and understand that some folks on the Right need to go have a talk with their Children about what happens when they are taking around the corner by their peers. Because why I will not go so far as to say the Left and Right of Society are wrong to want to put an end to Corporate Welfare and the double standards that seem to exist between those Citizens lucky enough to still have Wealth by the Principles of My Peers.

For did you know that the quickest path out of this mess is to find a single task that each American Citizen could do to earn the money that would bypass the problem “We the Corporation” had in learning that Business and Society needs Authority in the form of Rules and Regulations. Yet, “We the People” are still watching Wall Street ask for handouts instead of the “Bootstraps” they required for the Working Poor in America to adhere to.

The question I think every Democratic and Independent Citizen would like to know is when are their Republican Citizens are going to agree to changing Corporate Welfare. Because shouldn’t Americas’ Policies reflect a Profit to Earnings Program for Labor and Management since Wealth can only be gained by saving money over time. For
I do believe that would bring real change to Washington.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at March 17, 2009 8:42 AM
Comment #277826

j2t2,

The large multi national corporations were shipping jobs overseas the past few decades. They are not creating jobs nor have they been creating jobs.
Large multinational corporations are not about CREATING jobs. They are now, and always have been, about consolidating maturing industries to reap advantages of scale. They are dinosaurs in the same sense the very successful dinosaurs were dinosaurs. They maximize the exploitation of an ecological niche and use their advantages to monopolize the niche. In our economy their purpose is not to create jobs but to maximize production while freeing labor for innovation and discretionary or “luxury” purposes (such as being a science fiction writer or an historical muralist).

Jobs are created by small, innovative, entrepreneurial firms. These also, in a healthy economy, are the wellspring of new products that become the focus of later generations of “large multinational corporations”. In an unhealthy, overgoverned, economy the growth rate in these new small firms is reduced and new jobs are not created unless they are the imaginary sort proffered by the government in “stimulus’ packages.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 17, 2009 11:09 AM
Comment #277827

Lee Jamison-
Imaginary. Hmmm. I guess phantom people will pick up phantom paychecks, and pay for phantom goods and services.

First, consolidation doesn not necessarily produce a more efficient business. Size always increases complication. Greater market share reduces competitive pressure. A tendency to acquire patents through merger pre-empts competition that might give the bigger corporations a run for their money.

The precious small businesses you talk about tend to get run over when other business have big enough market share. They never have the opportunity to grow and prosper as they should.

Additionally, mergers were sometimes encouraged not for the health of the business, but for the opposite reason. Those selling bonds in those companies would see the purchasing corporation take a hit on its balance sheets as it shouldered the costs of the purchase. That would lower the credit rating on the bonds, raising the interest rate on the debt: instant junk bond. No unstable company required. As the AOL merger with Time Warner, and the WorldCom Merger with MCI proved, sometimes these mergers were encouraged despite, not because of the interests of the investors in those companies.

The economy has become overgoverned, inefficient, poorly run, but not because of government, but because of the way big business was allowed to accrete more and more market share. You can’t create these huge eocnomic monsters and still have the lower divisions, often once companies of their own, move as agilely.

Look at Microsoft. They’re only just now coming out with an Operating System to answer the problems of Vista. Do you think they would have been so slow if somebody with market share approaching their own was nipping at their heels?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2009 11:58 AM
Comment #277829

Lee, in general your last comment is spot on.

When you say: “In our economy their purpose is not to create jobs but to maximize production while freeing labor for innovation and discretionary or “luxury” purposes (such as being a science fiction writer or an historical muralist).”, I have to differ as follows.

Who said this was their purpose in our economy? Where is that writ? If their motives reflect their purpose, then their purpose is to lower costs of production, and in today’s economic environment that often means replacing human labor with cost and time saving machines, maximizing profits while beating out competitors on price. Their purpose is not freeing humans to pursue loftier, more noble endeavors. There is no pursuit of loftier more noble endeavors from an unemployment line.

Ask the currently unemployed if they owe homage to their employers for setting them free to pursue loftier and more noble ends.

So, to get to the nub of my objection with this one sentence of yours, corporations exist to enrich themselves. Period. It is their overarching goal mandated by shareholders, and first and foremost priority. Greed is their purpose and satisfaction of that purpose is job #1. And, there is nothing wrong with that, IF sufficient external controls and checks are set in place to balance that unbridled greed keeping it on the path to enhancing civilization, instead of destroying it.

Thankfully, the American public now stands in opposition to a majority of economists who agree that unbridled free markets are best for the economy. The people get it. The economists live in a theoretical world of numbers and maximum utilization and distribution of goods and services yielding maximum returns. Few economists begin with Adam Smith’s assumption that first and foremost, interest in the well being of the civilization must be incorporated into what he termed: ‘enlightened self-interest’, as opposed to naked greed which drives corporations.

Adam Smith points out that personal gain without national benefit or preservation is short-sighted, selfish, and to be scorned by the society at large. You will find this reasoning of Adam Smith’s in his Theory of Moral Sentiments, the precursor and foundation work to The Wealth Of Nations.

This is not trivial quibble with what you wrote in that one sentence. My disagreement with your words in that one sentence quoted, goes to the heart of economic philosophy and the core of Amercia’s ability to survive corporatism.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 17, 2009 1:25 PM
Comment #277835

Mr. (notice how respectful I have become) Remer writes; “Trickle down, supply side economics got the greatest full blown test it will ever receive, and it failed horribly for 90% of Americans.

PO stated that he believes in trickle-down economics. He just has his own twist. If you give the money to a big city mayor, the funds spent will trickle down to us ordinary folks. To clarify the picture, increased taxes allow greater government spending which will trickle down to us for more jobs. So he believes the money should be controlled from the top — as long as he can control the top.

Posted by: Jim M at March 17, 2009 2:10 PM
Comment #277837

Jim M-
Obama’s never stated anything of the sort. You’ve just intepreted it that way and put the worst possible rhetorical spin on it to drive people off from agreement with Obama’s policies.

There’s no trickle down really involved. The stimulus money directly goes to the intended targets of the spending, rather than making their way down to the lower classes when the richer folks damn well feel like it.

As for tax dollars? Look, your party failed in its basic fiscal responsiblity, but will never admit to it. Is it preferable that we all pay what we pay today, or less? Of course. but is it also preferable that we go on spending more than we’re taking in? No. So who do we hit to fund this, if we’re not willing to spend less than a certain amount? Those who will feel the least economic pain.

I know. Your party’s intent on making this out to be some big injustice. But we’ll let the American people decide what’s just and unjust for themselves, our people debating the point. The Republicans aren’t doing themselves much good by taking an approach that makes Democrats like myself sound like we’re the reasonable ones.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2009 2:43 PM
Comment #277838

PO’s trickle down government spending will work about as well as it did for the Japanese.

The main accomplishment of the Japanese government in nearly 20 years of attempting to revive the Japanese economy is government indebtedness. Currently, Japan’s 170-percent debt-to-GDP ratio ranks third highest in the world behind Zimbabwe and Lebanon. The next highest developed country is Italy at 104 percent.

Given the eerie similarity between the current and promised policies of the U.S. government and those of the Japanese over the last 20 years, Japan’s experience bodes ill for our own future.

Posted by: Jim M at March 17, 2009 3:03 PM
Comment #277839

Jim M-
You should mention, if you bring up the Japanese, Their tentativeness in using stimulus (not enough, quickly enough), and their tendency to use all the money just for roads and bridges, instead of diversifying the use of the funds.

You can come up with all the rhetorically cute catchphrases that you want (if that one is actually yours) but it doesn’t change that Republicans are a primary force towards reducing the size of the initial stimulus and limiting the use of funds to just infrastructure projects.

The Republicans are willing to force us to repeat Japan’s mistakes and then turn around and tell us that a strong stimulus spread out around many industries is going to lead us down Japan’s road.

You’re overgeneralizing here. Not all stimulus plans will work the same. The general rule is, you push a lot of money, very fast. The alternative is the economy doesn’t rebound as fast as it might, and you end up in an endless series of stimulus packages, which is why Japan is in it’s L-shaped rescession (slow recovery).

If you’re going to suggest we learn the lessons of others who have pushed through stimulus packages, you might want to get the lessons straight.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2009 4:13 PM
Comment #277840

Jim M,
You are right about the terrible experience the Japanese suffered as a result of asset deflation. There is a very real chance the US could suffer the same. However, there are some big differences. The Japanese initially responded in a different way than we are today. They lowered interest rates and depended on that. We are already there, which is not a good thing. The Japanese saw a collapse of real estate prices and a big drop in the market. Again, we are already there. They suffered a lot of bank failures. Same here. The Japanese culture stressed savings, which contributed to the deflation. The US is seeing saving rates increase as a natural consumer response to bad conditions.

The big difference, the one thing that might save our bacon, is the way the government has responded. Unlike the Japanese, the US Federal Reserve quickly realized monetary policy would not solve the problem. Interest rates are already low.

If we are spared the same fate- and that’s a big if- it will be because of the stimulus package. It will be because of Obama and the Democrat’s response.

And before anyone gets all excited about partisanship, remember, the chances of failure are still high. Despite our best efforts, we may still end in the same place as the Japanese, with a decimated economy and an enormous debt.

So cheer up, conservatives. Root for Obama’s policy to fail. With any luck, we’ll have a decade of depression, and that will be great for Republicans.

Posted by: Phx8 at March 17, 2009 4:33 PM
Comment #277846

M. Daugherty writes; “If you’re going to suggest we learn the lessons of others who have pushed through stimulus packages, you might want to get the lessons straight.”

Hmmm, let’s see if I can wrap my simple mind around your statement. “Government indebtedness” resulting in Japan’s 170% debt to GDP is different than our government indebtedness of approximately 65 trillion (if we include unfunded mandates). Whew…now I understand, the difference is how the money was spent…our intentions are better than the Japanese ergo our results will be different.

PO and the liberal congress are creating mountains of “good debt” not to be confused with the Japanese mountain of “bad debt”.

Trickle down economics doesn’t work in the private sector but must work in government spending. We send money to governors and mayors to spend so that the money trickles down to you and me.

phx8 writes; “So cheer up, conservatives. Root for Obama’s policy to fail. With any luck, we’ll have a decade of depression, and that will be great for Republicans.

Thank you for understanding the difference between wanting faulty policies to fail and wanting PO personally to fail. The result of his policies will determine his personal failure or success. I reject your two choices; #1 PO’s policy succeed or #2 depression. That you don’t recognize any way to succeed other than massive government spending, massive additional government debt, and massive increases in future taxes is not surprising as that is the liberal mantra.

Posted by: Jim M at March 17, 2009 5:19 PM
Comment #277847

Jim M.,
See being respectful is not hard; however, I do understand that biting tongue does not come easy for most of us.

However, you are right about President Obama wanting to be the SOB-in-Charge for someone needs to be a Parent. And why you can say that he believes in a Trickle-Me-Down or Trickle-Me-Up Theory as the way forward. I am still waiting for the Top 20% of Society (The Poor Rich) to explain how “We the People” solve the problem of the Bottom 20% of Society (The Working Poor) needing their Personal Income increased by a factor of 4 to avoid becoming like Japan. Especially since raising wages so everyone has a job that pays over a million dollars a years is out of the question. For what would happen right here right now if all corporations had to pay millions in retainer bonuses to their Labor Force like AIG insist that is happening to them.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at March 17, 2009 5:24 PM
Comment #277848

Jim M,
“That you don’t recognize any way to succeed other than massive government spending, massive additional government debt, and massive increases in future taxes is not surprising as that is the liberal mantra.”

We can all see the direction we’re heading. No one likes it. If the GOP or conservatives have a better idea, then by all means! However, ‘do nothing’ is not an idea, because that just means we’ll end up where we’re heading: massive government spending, debt, and future tax increases.

The gamble that Obama and the Democrats are making- and I think it is worth trying, no matter the odds- the gamble is that fiscal policy (spending) will work. If targeted, stimulative spending works, we’ll climb out of the recession/depression next year. If not… well, we already know where we’re heading, and we can see how it went for the Japanese. If the plan works, we’ll still have problems with a massive debt and the need to raise taxes, but instead of a ten year recession/depression, we’ll only have three down years. And that’s the good news! That’s the upside! “Only” three down years. It’s ugly no matter how you cut it.

Posted by: phx8 at March 17, 2009 5:36 PM
Comment #277855

Phx8,
Why failure is not an option for America I do believe that Jim and other Conservatives fear what will happen to them if they agree that America can become more than Energy Independent by the spending of Government Investment.

For example; they oppose the bailout of the American Auto Makers even though they form the based of our military complex. Not over the fact that higher milage cars running on gasoline does nothing to help break America free of foreign oil, but on the fact that the American Auto Worker is making more money than their counterparts are being paid by the Foreign Companies in their State.

Yes, the Loyal Opposition to the Will of “We the People” are now trying to use the same Authority they rebel against to protect AIG Upper Management Bonuses; however, in a Deregulated World shouldn’t the one who has the money be able to make the rules.

Seems that Rushs’ School of Higher Learning has created a class that believes the Argument of Stupidity wins over the Unalienable Right to be Ignorant does it not?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at March 17, 2009 6:48 PM
Comment #277856

Henry,
Americans are slowly coming to the realization that something is very wrong with the distribution of wealth. Most can see how wrong it is for AIG executives to receive millions in ‘bonuses.’ However, it is almost as if people are wearing blinders. These kinds of bonuses have been going on for years. Conservatives will rail against increases in the minimum wage, and they will rage against unions, who represent working people who actually produce something, and demand the unions be busted and the contracts shot down; yet they will defend the concentration of wealth with additional tax breaks for the rich, as if an AIG derivatives trader had somehow ‘earned’ that ‘bonus.’

Americans are slowly waking up. Most have been living in a recession for the past eight years. Real wages have declined for 80% of the population, and that decline doesn’t even count the cost of health care or energy. (My old health care provider’s cost increased 37% for this coming year). Even conservatives are becoming aware something is very wrong.

Posted by: phx8 at March 17, 2009 7:03 PM
Comment #277859

Phx8,
Actually from My Personal Point of View something is right knowing that My Peers and Their Children are questioning the Authority of the Hierarchy of Society and Their Parents.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at March 17, 2009 7:09 PM
Comment #277861

Henry writes; “Jim M., See being respectful is not hard; however, I do understand that biting tongue does not come easy for most of us.”

Sorry Henry, adding a Mr., Ms., or Mrs. before a name hardly represents respect, I do it in “the spirit of fellowship”. Judges and elected politicians are addressed as “honorable” while many of them are simply reprobates, and unworthy of respect by anyone.

There are religious folk who have Reverend preceding their names and some of them are only worthy of being despised, not respected.

There are Medical Doctors who surely don’t deserve respect and many educators with PhD following their name who also don’t deserve respect.

The person who earns my respect is the one who understands and agrees that each of us is, to the extent possible, responsible for ourselves, that works to provide for themselves and their family, that obeys the rules (especially the Golden Rule), that understands God’s commandments which are the blueprint for life itself, that understands that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not to be gained at the expense of others.

Respect Henry, has to be earned if it is to have meaning.

Posted by: Jim M at March 17, 2009 7:21 PM
Comment #277863

I have read many of these comments and wonder what the individuals of these comments really hope to achieve by them. I am in my mid 20’s, have a college education, and help run a family business. I have attended both private and public schools so my education style and content have been very diverse. I do not really give myself a label of conservative or liberal, of republican or democrat. As my wife and I start our lives together and begin to build our life and future I ask myself a few questions. Do I trust the government to better my own life or do I trust my own ability and the value it brings to the market? Do I believe that the money I earn belongs to me or do I believe it belongs in the hands of elected officials? Do I subscribe to the idea that people should be given a hand out or a hand up? There are many other fundamental questions that require long and detailed explanations but I truly believe that the citizens of this country, and I do mean citizens not just those who live here, should start to have civil discourse instead of endless posturing that doesn’t get anything accomplished. Here are the fundamentals that I believe:

1) I believe that just by being born in our country you have the opportunity to become whatever you want. There are many individuals who are vilianized for their wealth that came from humble beginnings. If someone educates themselves, works hard, and then is rewarded by the market with wealth and prosperity that is what America is about. But don’t take from them and give to those who failed. Some people look to them and say they don’t have that wealth and they never had the chance to. Well they had the chance and some people do fail or chose not to do the things other did to succeed. I work 6 days a week and 9-11 hours a day. I have a home and some nice things while my friends still live with their parents. Is it fair that since they only work 40 hours a week or less that they should benefit from my efforts? I don’t think so. Now I am not saying that working 40 hours a week and having 2 days off is not respectable. But if you think you should be given the rewards of those who do more by doing less then you are wrong. It shouldn’t work that way. That leads me to:

2. I believe everyone should participate. By that I mean everyone should pay taxes. EVERYONE! My ideal situation would be a flat tax, whatever the percent is agreed upon that would be the percent. If it is 15% or 35% everyone would pay it. This would, in my opinion, do many things. First it seems that a good majority of people believe that those who earn more have the ability to carry more financial burden. A flat tax would accommodate for that. Also I believe that if everyone were to pay more people would be involved in politics and where their money is going. I also believe a flat tax would eliminate a lot of the complexity of the tax system that lets people who should be paying manipulate the system so they pay less then they are obligated to.

3. I believe there should be term limits on all government officials to 2 terms just like the president. This would virtually eliminate lobbying because people wouldn’t be in office long enough for lobbyists to really get any value out of them. Their wouldn’t be as many earmarks for that very same reason. I also believe that if representatives didn’t worry about life time tenure they would be more true to their constituents the the principles they campaigned on. I also believe that the presidential race should be limited to 90 days. Our economy relies heavily on consumer confidence so having 18 months of both sides telling us how horrible everything is and how they can fix it isn’t good for anyone.

I could go on and on about many different things but looking at the current economic situations this is some points I wanted to elaborate on. I just hope that some day Americans can realize that trading freedom for security is a horrible way to go and history shows it doesn’t work. I also hope that simply attacking those who disagree with you out of spite or aggression without any results or facts to back it up really doesn’t accomplish anything.

Posted by: Brandon at March 17, 2009 7:25 PM
Comment #277865

Jim M.,
Why I agree with you that respect must be earned. I do believe that My Elders and Powers-that-Be will agree that you must give respect to get respect. Why? I do not know, but telling someone to give you respect while you bash their Beliefs and Knowledge is wrong regardless. For if it is a Bully Society that “We the People” are looking to build than lets have an all out war between the Poor Rich and the Working Rich in the Country. Since history will show that the Poor Rich have nothning without the help of the Working Poor.

Now, President Obama has stated that he is willing to debate anybody (except probably me) over the Argument of Self-Suficient, yet the Right run from that debate. Is it because they still fear a Society where all citizens are given the opportunity to become Economically Viable and Financially Independent?

Brandon,
Welcome to Watchblog.com! I look forward to listening and debating you on the issues that will effect you and your grandchildren. However, do not think for a moment that your Youth limits your Ideas and Opinions. For even this Unlearned Unbridled Anti-Authoritarian Child of the 70’s by Freewill and Self-Nature has and looks forward to be taken to task by others.

For example; you put up an argument that those who work longer hours should get paid more than those who work 40 hours a week. However, you fail to show that there are citizens who work only minutes to earn more than both who work hours combined. So why should one believe that if they work longer harder hours for the Corporation should or will make more money when Reality shows that even the Idiots in Charge get paid millions in bonuses for running their comapny into the ground.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at March 17, 2009 8:46 PM
Comment #277868

Jim M-
Intentions? Intentions are what you get with Tax cuts. Bush intended to improve the economy with tax cut stimulus. Did it work? Well, he cut taxes from where they were under Clinton, who had net job gain like you wouldn’t believe, and ended up with net job loss, which is to say that job growth under him, even before the economic collapse was so anemic it didn’t keep up with new entrants to the workforce.

Intentions are what Bush had for what the tax cuts would do, and really, it’s all he could have. His tax cut couldn’t create a job, nor was it an investment in the standard sense of the word. There was no certainty that the money would go from being personal wealth to payroll dollar or capital funds. The Obama Stimulus package actually makes sure that somebody’s being hired, that an investment is being made, that the money is doing something, rather than hanging around in the bank account of somebody who already has plenty and isn’t spending it.

You keep on using the term “trickle-down”, but the programs, state, local, or otherwise are design not to be trickles of money, but a river of it, flowing right where it’s needed. It’s not hanging around in somebody’s stock portfolio or bank account, it’s doing something immediately. You’re trying to tar it with your political rhetoric, trying to make it seem as if Obama’s sitting up on high, dispensing it, with an arrogant nose upraised, waiting for the adulation of the masses.

The plain fact is, he’s dismantling a lot of the arrogant, imperialistic policies and doctrines of his predecessor, and he’s hard at work actually doing things, putting together initatives on just about everything under the sun. Rather than merely intending things, Obama’s actually doing things. Republicans feel such a need to be indirect that they inevitably render themselves aloof of the public, aloof of all those poor dolts that accept government money, that make themselves dependent. But the past few years have demonstrated quite nicely to most Americans what it’s like to have a government you can’t depend on, but which nevertheless feels free to intrude and be a busibody.

The First Difference with Japan is that we’re holding off a bit on any contraction of the money supply, which defeated the purpose of the stimulus. In deflationary scenarios, the lack of money out in the open is a cardinal problem that must be dealt with, and raising interest rates is not a good idea in that environment.

You also don’t want to raise taxes, but we forget that the taxes in question only go up next year, when we’ll hopefully be out of recession. More to the point, they’re not aimed at the segment of the economy put in the worst trouble by the unavailability of capital.

Another lesson from Japan include the fact that they didn’t really spend all of the stimulus that was given, and they used far too little for their purposes. If you’re going to deficit spend to get out of a deflationary scenario, easy doesn’t do it. You need to blow yourself clear of the hole with the money you spend.

Another factor is, the Japanese stimulus has basically been endless public works. Nice for a certain industry, but hardly a broad economic shot in the arm. We haven’t repeated that mistake, instead diversifying the stimulus package across multiple industries and sectors.

We’ve also made tax cuts for the Middle Class, an economic class that doesn’t mess around when it comes to spending what it’s got.

We’re under no illusions that this should go on forever. We’re doing it big and we’re trying to do it as few times as possible, because we don’t want to run into the opposite problem on the other side of this. We’re doing this heavy now so that things don’t get worse, and stick us in a situation where we’re endlessly stimulating and deficit spending to keep things from getting worse. We will have to pay for it, and pay for it we will.

Brandon-
1) People are not villainized for their wealth. They are villainized because of what they do to get it, and what they do with it. It doesn’t matter whether you have humble beginnings or great ones, if you’re costing people their jobs, their health, their peace of mind, their retirement, etc., folks will not like you.

The pressures on our wages are not merely downwards. I know folks in corporate America would like us to compete with Asian countries for cheap labor, but what makes a land of freedom and opportunity is in part that we reject forcing the sacrifices and hardships on people that permit such abjectly low wages from abroad. We have an economy here where these very same corporations try to extract their profit from us, and there’s a point where they can’t squeeze more blood from the stone.

Because labor became essentially a commodity, workers had to organize in order to bargain what they once could negotiate person to person. We’ve beaten organized labor down a lot in recent years, and for our troubles, our workplaces are a hell of a lot less friendlier to the needs of workers. We work more hours for effectively less wages, and then the consumer economy expects us to turn around and fund it. At some point, folks are going to have to start paying more for labor if they want more from labor. That’s Adam Smith economics for you, updated to the industrial and post-industrial ages.

2) The problem with a flat tax is that it’s actually going to cost you more per percentage point than the progressive tax will. Flat taxes are simple, of course, and that’s why they are appealing to many. But let me put it this way: what if somebody chop up your income into brackets, and charged a flat rate for each, the rate going down, as you went down your income.

for simplicities sake, let’s imagine three brackets: 1-10,000, 10,001-20,000, and 20,001 and above. Then imagine three rates: 10% for the first, 20% for the second, and 30% for the third.

For simplicity’s sake, we’ll put 30,000 dollars into the game. With a flat tax of 30%, you owe 9000. But, if you go by the progressive code, your first bracket will cost you 1000, your second 2000, and your final bracket 3000.

Which adds up to 6000. The benefits aren’t so great as you get richer, but even so, even the rich person will never see as tax liability as in the flat rate, simply because your tax liability under the current system is the sum of progressively smaller rates. There is no way on God’s green earth that a flat tax can be better for you than a progressive one. That is, unless you exclude a part of the population from taxation. That drives the effective percentage down.

But to do that, it effectively creates a progressive tax, with two brackets, which makes it unfair by the flat taxes rationale of making everybody pay the same rate.

Additionally, all flat taxes shift more of the burden on to those who have less money around to pay for it. So if Uncle Sam decides to raise taxes for some rational or irrational reason, the flat tax will increase faster as a margin of your necessary income, than it would for somebody who’s rich. It’s called marginal utility: if you get a million and you pay 50% (they’ve been saddled with worse!), you’re still pretty wealthy with what remains. But what if you make 50,000? Then you feel the pain worse.

A tax system that does not respond to that pain cannot be just. To blindly charge everybody the same rate and say that’s fair is to ignore that fairness isn’t some mathematical equation, it’s a measure of the relative equality of condition. How could being hit harderby the tax rate, in the sense of the cost of living than the other guy be fair? A greater percentage of taxes for the rich does not necessarily mean a greater percentage of the pain of dealing with those taxes. It will always hurt the middle and poor classes harder to pay the same rate than it will the rich.

3) Let me play Devil’s advocate on this one: former members of government, whether executive or legislative, often go into lobbying directly from their previous jobs. In principle, term limits limit corruption, In practice, they make the jobs stepping stones for the ambitious, who don’t devote as much attention and care to the system as they might if they were to have a long term interest in keeping constituents happy.

As for consumer confidence? It’s part of the equation, but I don’t think it’d be smart to forget that it’s only part.

Freedom is a tricky word. There’s freedom in the sense that there are not so many laws binding you, and then there’s freedom in the sense of your actual range of choices. The freedom offered by conservatives over the past few decades, in my view, have come at the cost of many of our options, in the marketplace, as well as in ordinary life. We traded Big Government for big corporations, and found that one could be as dense, corrupt, and uncaring as the other.

The key, I think, if you are not to have an ideology dominate your thinking is to deal with things on a pragmatic level. Quit asking what’s consistent with a principle, and start asking what works with a result, by means you can live with.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2009 10:28 PM
Comment #277869

stephen


“Intentions? Intentions are what you get with Tax cuts. Bush intended to improve the economy with tax cut stimulus. Did it work? Well, he cut taxes from where they were under Clinton, who had net job gain like you wouldn’t believe, and ended up with net job loss, which is to say that job growth under him, even before the economic collapse was so anemic it didn’t keep up with new entrants to the workforce.”


clinton presided over a republican controlled congress for most of his tenure. i also would mention a thing called the dot com boom. the economy started it’s decline before bush ever took office, oh, and that pesky little thing called 9-11.

Posted by: dbs at March 17, 2009 10:42 PM
Comment #277870

Henry,

Thank you for the welcome. The people who get paid millions to run their company into the ground wouldn’t get paid millions if we didn’t give them tax dollars to keep the company going. Now I am not ignorant to the fact that some did need support for now, but in normal economic times this would not be the case. Also I personally know many executives of fortune 500 companies who work the hours I do that do make millions, but I see them earn it by the value they bring to the market. I have also seen executives that I have know who made millions who’s companies went under because of mismanagement. Are we suppose to punish success because of class envy and the acts of so few? Taking the few multi-millionaires off the table what about people like myself who are trying to maintain and grow a family business who will be dramatically affected by tax increases? Entrepreneurs have accounted for about 70% of job creation in our economy. I want to give others the opportunity to be successful but I will be limited to do so if I am strapped with a higher tax burden. If a company makes $1 million dollars and you raise their taxes by lets say 3% you are taking $30,000 of operating capital away from that company to hire someone or purchase a new piece of equipment. I guess my question would be why don’t we audit government programs so we can see where our hard earned money is going and reduce waste? I think the same scrutiny that the private sector gets put under should be put on the government as well. I believe reality doesn’t show that hard work guarantees prosperity but it does more then it doesn’t. Some people do have to fail so other succeed, and some fail in order to learn so they can succeed. Look at President Lincoln. His businesses failed and most of his campaigns failed. But if hadn’t kept working hard and trying then he would have never been president and the world would be a much different place. So if people are more comfortable doing just enough to get by and see their free time as more valuable then opportunity to advance their career or personal lifestyle then I think that is perfectly fine with me. I just don’t want the individuals who work and and produce to be punished because others didn’t. I hope that makes sense.

Posted by: Brandon at March 17, 2009 11:01 PM
Comment #277872

dbs-
You’d better watch out. Obama’s tax policy is essentially a return to Clinton’s, and for all intents and purposes, the GOP Congress around at the time. So, you’re essentially conceding that explosive economic growth will not necessarily disappear from the planet, should we go with Obama’s plan.

As for the rest? Geez, man. Clinton had his own WTC attack at the first of his term, and a massive domestic attack midway through. 9/11 was bad, but it did not have pervasive economic effects, the way Enron’s misbehavior and collapse did, or the recent collapses did as well.

Economies do decline sometimes; that’s natural. It happens. Clinton Started his term on such a decline. What he did with the start given him is what’s important.

Brandon-

The people who get paid millions to run their company into the ground wouldn’t get paid millions if we didn’t give them tax dollars to keep the company going.

Tempting thought, but there’s one problem: the idiots in question made such high risk investments and loans between each other, that if we just let them fail, it would take a chunk of the economy with them.

You talk of punishing success, but that’s not our intent, even among many of the lefties. We’re simply tired of being told that we must bear the burdens why they’re making the profits, especially since so many of them are enjoying their own personal profit directly from us in the form of tax dollars.

We’re going to have to pay for this stimulus, and making the average person pay the most part of it will be counter productive. The Rich can bear the burden better, with less cost to their buying power, their lifestyle. It’s not class envy that shapes our policies, but class reality. You cannot fund an economic recovery on the backs of the people who are supposed to spend all their money to keep the system afloat.

Last, let me make a point: I have nothing against hard work, but people were not meant to operate like machines. At some point, you’re not making somebody more productive, and they’re not serving their own best interests by being a workaholic, they’re just straining themselves.

We’re the wealthiest country in the world, but we enjoy it the least. Many studies and experiments show that people who allow themselves rest, relaxation, and relate to others beyond work generally perform better, are healthier, and show better judgment. In the end, bad decisions, unhealthy lifestyles and poor performance brought on by stress and overwork all take back in their costs what was gained by the exertions.

Also, let me say one more thing: the world is not always just, and the system doesn’t always work best if we mete out that justice. Sometimes you have to let those you see as unworthy gain more than they should in order for you to gain as well. I mean, some people can talk about what a bad thing it is to have to pay somebody else’s mortgage in part, but isn’t that better than seeing neighborhoods going into decline, or economic conditions in a place getting worse on that account?

We have to consider what’s moral in a practical framework, not merely the outcomes we’d consider best.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 17, 2009 11:37 PM
Comment #277874

stephen

clinton raised taxes on social security recipients before the dems were booted from the majority. there’s nothing to suggest he wouldn’t have continued to do the same had he had the opportunity.

sorry, but as devistating as the attack in oklahoma city was it doesn’t begin to compare to the attack on the world trade center, either in scope, in terms of loss of life, or it’s affect on american society. the first world trade center bombing in comparison to either was hardly a blip on the radar screen.

“Economies do decline sometimes; that’s natural. It happens. Clinton Started his term on such a decline. What he did with the start given him is what’s important.”

actually he had the fortune of presiding over the dot com boom. with out that history may have been quite different, and he had had a democrat controlled congress the boom may not have been nearly as explosive as it was because of the taxes, and regulation the democrats would have more than likely imposed would have stifled much of the economic growth.

Posted by: dbs at March 18, 2009 12:34 AM
Comment #277875

stephen

“I mean, some people can talk about what a bad thing it is to have to pay somebody else’s mortgage in part, but isn’t that better than seeing neighborhoods going into decline, or economic conditions in a place getting worse on that account?”

the majority of subprime loans are not in forclosure, and in the long run it would be far better to let things run thier course, property values would drop, but once the forclosed properties had been depleted from stock the market would have corrected itself and home values would once again start to increase. bailing people out with tax dollars will only prolong the correction.

as far as neighborhoods falling into decline, or any other extreme doomsday scenario is nonsense.

Posted by: dbs at March 18, 2009 12:46 AM
Comment #277879

The 11 houses in my California neighborhood That had sold in the last six years all but three have gone into foreclosure and have resold, two of last three the person’s had worked it out with the bank, I can’t address the home equity loans or refi’s but i think they were low as the rest living in the area have been there 10-30 Years and they were either paid off or had a low payment.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at March 18, 2009 9:45 AM
Comment #277880

Brandon,
Why it would be nice to believe that ever American and Corporation would do what is Right Regardless the fact remains that a Few Bad Actors do make it harder for the rest of us to live free of the burden of Government and Society.

Take for example AIG; told by Congress a few months ago to deal with the bonus problem here we go again due to the fact that the CEO and top executives are willing to hide behind a set of rules (Law) that will see them spend millions on bonuses before they settle the Companies Debts owed by the same set of rules (Law).

Is that Right? Ask those top executives of the companies and individuals waiting on an AIG check for the last 3 months to a year. No, why most CEOs and top executives understand that the day of making and spending a million is going to have to be put on hold until they get their companies back on solid ground. However, due to the actions and words of a few I see no alternative as an Adult except to rewrite the set of rules (Law) so that it makes it CLEAR to the Idiots-in-Charge that Bonuses or any other Compensation except hourly wages are or can be demied by the Stockholders, Debtors, or the BoD for any reason. And to pay for the oversight necessary to ensure that the set of rules (Law) is followed “We the People” are forced to raise a 3% tax on ever million dollars paid in bonuses and other forms of compensations by corporations.

Extreme? Maybe, but given the problem of having AIG and its stockholders sued by a Lawyer from one of the millions of citizens and corporations they owe money. I think that $30,000.00 dollars is a small price to pay. For why it may be more that most Americans make a year. Seeing that a job created by that same amount is tax deductable and at best could only the pays less than $15,000.00/yr. In the form of taxes “We the People” would know going forward that the bonuses and compensation agreed to by the Corporation and Employee are real wages and not just a promise based on somebody idea of Stupidity.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at March 18, 2009 10:05 AM
Comment #277897

Stephen,

I understand that tiered tax system is the most beneficial to certain point in that in your example an individual would pay $6,000 instead of $9,000. But I think your point in that if the taxes where raised to 50% and someone making $30,000 had to pay $15,000 would motivate them to vote for someone who would lower the tax back down to a reasonable level. They would say, “Wait a minute I don’t want to pay that much! Where is all this money going? Why do you need it more then me?” This is my entire point. It is easy to raise taxes on a certain group if it doesn’t affect the majority of people voting for it directly. But when your vote will affect you directly you take more time in making your decision. And I know that the wealthy can handle more of a burden financially that is why they ultimately would pay more. As for people not being created to be machines, I completely agree. But if one decides to work more, educate themselves, and apply that effort and knowledge in a more aggressive way then someone else in order to further their personal wealth and opportunity I don’t believe they should be responsible for those who decided not to do the same. Although I think their are a group of people incapable or unable to produce in our country who need assistance, I don’t think you are entitled to anything just by being an American. Yes we are the wealthiest country in the world but we are so because we have earned it through hard work and dedication. Those who came before us understood how unique our opportunity was as Americans in that our possibilities were endless. Now that we are the most powerful and wealthiest country are we suppose to just throw that away out of complacency and a sense of entitlement? The American dream isn’t guaranteed. Those of us who are capable need to engage ourselves and earn it. Some people will benefit just be being here but they shouldn’t feel entitled to having what the high achievers have because they aren’t a high achiever. I also think that it is pretty much everyone’s fault for this economic collapse. You had government mandated programs that let people who couldn’t afford houses be able to buy them. You had unregulated predatory practices by certain mortgage broker and companies that took advantage of uneducated and unaware consumers. And you had individuals who didn’t care enough to educate themselves or ask the right questions who took short term gains for what is now a long term pain for everyone. I do appreciate the responses I have been getting. My intention for posting here and discussing this with the individuals on this blog is to better understand every perspective to help me challenge my own ideals and principles.

Posted by: Brandon at March 18, 2009 1:41 PM
Comment #277898

Jim M said: “PO stated that he believes in trickle-down economics.”

Doesn’t it get embarrassing when comments like this are known by the majority in our society to be blatantly false, since they heard with their own ears the exact opposite from Obama, on the campaign trail, in the acceptance speech, and as president.

Pres. Obama has reiterated time and again trickle down didn’t work, and bottom up is the justification for his tax cuts for the lower 95% of income earners, investment in education while increasing taxes on the top 2% earners, and making health care insurance available to the 48 million Americans who have done without. That is bottom up policy vs. the Republican’s top down.

And, man, listen to the hypocrisy of Republicans in Congress today. Screaming and yelling about the AIG bonuses. When previously their argued vociferously that the free market should determine compensation and if government interferes the sky would fall in. How quickly they tack with the populist winds.

Just so Democrats don’t feel left out, it was these Congressional Democrats who allocated the TARP funds last year WITH NO CONDITIONS. Which is why they are scurrying like rats on a sinking ship over how to recover this AIG Bonus money given their abject failure to condition money to known parties like motivated by greed and demonstrably irresponsible and incompetent.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 18, 2009 1:45 PM
Comment #277915

stephen / brandon

“for simplicities sake, let’s imagine three brackets: 1-10,000, 10,001-20,000, and 20,001 and above. Then imagine three rates: 10% for the first, 20% for the second, and 30% for the third.”

“For simplicity’s sake, we’ll put 30,000 dollars into the game. With a flat tax of 30%, you owe 9000. But, if you go by the progressive code, your first bracket will cost you 1000, your second 2000, and your final bracket 3000.”


stephen it’s interesting you picked a flat rate of 30%. could it be that it’s because it’s the only one that makes your math work? for example if the rate were 20% it would be a wash. if we make the rate 15% which is what brandon started with it would be a gain. now if we throw in an exemption for the first say 10k to account for the poverty level the flat tax looks even better. we would then 1st 10k exempt, 2nd 10k@ 10%, 3rd 10k @ 20%, and the 4th 10k @ 30%. either way you look at it the flat rate saves you $1500.

Posted by: dbs at March 18, 2009 3:22 PM
Comment #277922

DBS,

I noticed that the rate differences as well. But I wanted to focus more on the psychological impact of a flat tax that would get more people involved in government and tax use. I wonder what your take, or anyone else’s, on that perspective would be.

Posted by: Brandon at March 18, 2009 4:25 PM
Comment #277935

Brandon

i would be ok with a flat tax so long as the rate was fairly low. the priciple is pretty simple the more you earn the more you’ll pay, simple math. 15% of 100k is more than 15% of 20k. of course the problem is a sector of the general populace who feel it’s thier duty to redistribute wealth through force of gov’t, thus thier belief in punitive taxation.

before a flat tax would even be realistic IMO we’d need to eliminate all non esential gov’t funtions and waste. good luck with that!

this was posted by roy ellis in another thread, i think it deserves reposting.


“Sir Alex Tytlers (Scottish historian 1742 - 1813)”

““A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”

we have the makings of that now IMHO.

you sound like you have a good head on your shoulders. i wish i’de been as wise at your age. congratulations for taking responsibility for your own well being. unfortunately young people like you are becoming more of an exception than the rule. keep up the good work.

Posted by: dbs at March 18, 2009 5:54 PM
Comment #277939

dbs-

clinton raised taxes on social security recipients before the dems were booted from the majority. there’s nothing to suggest he wouldn’t have continued to do the same had he had the opportunity.

Democrats do not have magic immunity from the political consequences of raising taxes, much less raising them too much. It’s a deeply silly argument to suggest that they could just keep raising them without backlash.

sorry, but as devistating as the attack in oklahoma city was it doesn’t begin to compare to the attack on the world trade center, either in scope, in terms of loss of life, or it’s affect on american society. the first world trade center bombing in comparison to either was hardly a blip on the radar screen.

Well, we didn’t have 9/11 to compare it with at the time, now did we? My point was that 9/11 did not cause a steep economic decline, not that it didn’t have a greater effect historically.

actually he had the fortune of presiding over the dot com boom. with out that history may have been quite different, and he had had a democrat controlled congress the boom may not have been nearly as explosive as it was because of the taxes, and regulation the democrats would have more than likely imposed would have stifled much of the economic growth.

Easy to say, just about impossible to prove. What we can say, though, is that many of the troubles of our economy at this point might have been prevented if we hadn’t gone with the Republican’s economic reforms.

Much of the advances of that time came not from lower regulation, nor lower taxes, but from technology that originated in part because of Government support of technological development. Without DARPAnet, We don’t have the Internet. Without the Internet, we don’t have the personal computer’s killer app. It wasn’t purely government or purely business, but a positive combination of the two. That’s what Democrats are actually about. It’s arguable that if Democrats had been in control, they might have kept more of the safeguards in place, to where more of the growth was honest, real growth, rather than just financial trickery and speculation.

As for the housing market, what we’re talking about is declining property values, as well as dereliction of the upkeep on the properties, which further degrades things. If you subscribe to the broken windows theory of crime, then leaving big parts of a neighborhood in such shape only encourages rot of the community, crime, and further reductions in the value of the communities. You can talk in abstract about economic corrections, but this is no mere question of value on the market, but value in the real world. Nobody’s going to pay as much for the property when it looks like crap. Part of the stimulus, indeed, is aimed at funding the purchase, upkeep and reselling of these houses, so that the cycle of degradation doesn’t continue.

Finally, in my tax demonstration, I picked 30% because it was a nice, round number divisible by three. I already made the point that if you introduce a poverty exemption, it’s no longer a flat tax. You only validate the point of having different rates at different brackets.

So, let’s do the math over for your new tax brackets:

0-10,000, at 0%. 10,001 to 20,000 at 10%. 20,001 to 30,000 at 20%. 30,001 and up at 30%

Then the flat tax: 0-10,000 at 0%, 10,001-20,000 at 30%, 20,001-30,000 at 30%, 30,001 and up at 30%

Since we have four brackets, we’ll put 40,000 into the equation, which will divide up nice and equally.

Bracket tax goes like this 0 + 1,000 + 2000 + 3000

Flat tax (really a two bracket progressive tax) goes like this: 0 + 3000 + 3000 + 3000.

Let’s say you make 15,000. Only your last 5000 is taxable. 10% of 5000 is 500. 30%, of course, is 1500. The effective tax rate, given these equal treatments of the model progressive tax is about 3.3%. The flat tax is effectively 10%.

Either way, that person just lost 1000 dollars under your flat tax. The key is to remember that the brackets are taxed independently of one another, not at the top rate of the highest you’re qualified for.

The math works because a bracketed progressive tax system (that is, one where the brackets below the top bracket decline in rates, and each bracket’s money is only taxed at that rate) will by its nature always undercut the level that a flat rate would incur.

Now you can play games with that exemption, raising it or lowering it to elevate or lower the effective tax rate, but if you’re really a purist about a flat tax, you’ll remind yourself that this is effectively the point of a progressive tax code. The only difference, of course, is the addition of more control points on the curve.

Which is where we face the big problem of a flat tax: if you need to raise it, then God help you, because it will be felt first on those whose marginal utility for that dollar is greatest.

Additionally, that will be the fulcrum for the tax, especially if you have to have it high enough to cover the spending that this government actually does. Now lets assume, as typically happens, government spends the same or more. The flat tax will dump most of the burden, at a higher percent, at the lower end of the income curve. It will have to. Without brackets other than the poverty exemption, the rate will have to be set in such a way that it can make up the revenue on volume.

Which means, effectively, higher taxes will be necessary on the upper middle to median middle class. Now who was talking about punishing success?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 18, 2009 6:12 PM
Comment #277940

stephen

“Which is where we face the big problem of a flat tax: if you need to raise it, then God help you, because it will be felt first on those whose marginal utility for that dollar is greatest.”

exellent point. what an exellent way to limit the growth of gov’t. unanimous outrage over tax increases. this explains why soaking the rich is so poular with the left.

another improvement would be to eliminate mandatory witholding. this would force almost everyone to write a check on april 15th, thus making them aware of just how badly thier being soaked.

Posted by: dbs at March 18, 2009 6:37 PM
Comment #277942

stephen

“Bracket tax goes like this 0 + 1,000 + 2000 + 3000”

“Flat tax (really a two bracket progressive tax) goes like this: 0 + 3000 + 3000 + 3000.”

no it doesn’t. it would be 30k times 15% or $4500. everything over the exemption would be taxed at the same rate.

Posted by: dbs at March 18, 2009 6:45 PM
Comment #277952

dbs-
Isn’t it convenient that you use a rate that’s half of my top rate to critique what was a comparison of two systems with the same maximum rate? Of course you’ll win the race when pit a bicyclist against a motorcyclist.

I set the top rates the same in order to prove a point: A progressive tax increases its effective tax rate much more slowly than than a flat tax, given the same target top rate.

But I guess, if you want an apples/oranges comparison, be my guest. But you’ll miss the point, which is certainly valid if you’re trying to sell this as somehow a fair tax rate: the speed of the increasing of effective tax rate hits more people who can afford it less than the progressive tax does at the same rate. More to the point, there’s deep uncertainty as to whether we can maintain the tax rates at the low percentages often quoted by flat tax advocates. After everything is said and done, you still have to pay for a government.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 18, 2009 8:54 PM
Comment #277956

stephen

you chose the 30% flat rate IMO because it suited your purpose. i used the 15% rate and compared it to your progressive schedule of 10%,20%, and 30% respectively. why not go with the lower flat rate that brandon suggested? apples and oranges my arse. a 30% flat rate IMO is ridiculously high. if you want to adjust your #s to say 5%, 10%, and 15% respectively then your argument might hold water, otherwise you’re just picking a rate, and #s that suit your purpose. 30% isn’t far below the current marginal top income tax rate get real.

Posted by: dbs at March 18, 2009 9:45 PM
Comment #277958

stephen

“After everything is said and done, you still have to pay for a government.”

yes the devil is definitely in the details isn’t it? you’re right we definitely could not fund the large overbloated gov’t the left prefers at the lower rate, but we could fund the gov’t that just serves the functions our founders originaly intended it to.

Posted by: dbs at March 18, 2009 9:53 PM
Comment #277959

Stephen,

Someone will still have to pay for government that is absolutely true. But if you shrink the size of government, reduce wasteful spending, and only spend tax dollars on what voters prioritize as being the most important I think a flat tax would work. How come we never really fix the true root of a problem and just try and throw tax money at every problem even if it will work or not? And when we decide to invest tax dollars in an area where the representatives we elected decide we would get the most ROI on our tax dollars how come we allow them to tack on unrelated projects and spending in order to get the original idea passed? I wish we had more information in the media about government, the bills they pass, and what is really going on. I could care less if Chris Brown beat up his girlfriend or how Mrs. Obama keeps her arms toned. I want to know what the individuals we elect are doing and how that is going to affect my future, my kids futures, and my grand kids futures.

Posted by: Brandon at March 18, 2009 10:01 PM
Comment #277981

dbs-
Okay, lower rate: 15% Let’s posit that each 10,000 dollar bracket works the same way, and that we go down by five each time: 15 at top, 10, then 5. 1500+1000+500= 2000. The flat tax is 4500, which means a progressive system saves 2500 for the top taxpayer.

I used equal amounts of taxable income, equal brackets, equal maximum rates, so I could isolate the one important variable: the behavior of the tax systems’s rate structure. It’s not about finding the most attractive rate or making the other thing look bad, it’s about taking the same amount of money, the same maximum rate, the same divisions of the income, and using those to effectively demonstrate and model the liabilities.

The math holds up: Flat taxes cannot tax less on any part of the income. They must tax uniformly. By definition, the progressive tax MUST charge lower rates at each bracket as we go further down somebody’s income. Because the brackets essentially are filled up, until you get up to your tax bracket, it’s a good old fashioned addition problem.

And because the rates go down as we go down the brackets, a lower effective rate for the progressive tax is unavoidable by definition, given an equal top percentage. You have to drop yours to make it look better. You have to add this bracket of a poverty exemption. Otherwise, the people who get hit the hardest are the poor and middle class, instead of the upper middle class.

As for prefering an overbloated government? Give me a break. That’s toxic to our purposes. It’s not something most liberals want. But what liberals want is for the government to deal with the America of today, with its new complexities and new technologies, rather than trying to arbitrarily apply the government of yesteryear. The Founding fathers made a government inherently capable of change and entrusted that to us, to do with it what we will.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 19, 2009 12:43 AM
Comment #277988

Brandon,
Why shrinking the government may make a good sound bit for some I do believe that until the Private Sector can show it can employ more than 75% of the population the political leaders win the debate.

However, do not stop dreaming because why the Government and Society will always need money to operate once your generation becomes the Establishment you can eliminate taxes except for that which you which to control. Yes, My Peers may believe that they have to pay taxes due to the fact that their perants told them so; however, discover a way that every citizen can invest in the operation of the government and society than your generation once in power can repel the 16th Admendment.

Posted by: Henry Svhlatman at March 19, 2009 6:57 AM
Comment #277990

Brandon-
The point of a progressive tax is to shift the burden of income taxes higher in the income range, to keep the burden light on those who need the money. Flat taxes were introduced by wealth men, because as my model demonstrates, the burden rises faster on the lower classes.

We can talk about shrinking government, but it’s such an arbitrary goal, and I don’t think the reformers ever thought it out in a systematic way. Government performs functions for people. What private, state, or local entities could pick up the slack?

I don’t really have a dog in the big government or small government side of the fight. I want a lean, mean, efficient government, but one that does what we ask of it and does it well.

As for what the media shows? The media, unfortunately, trusts this old idea that people are idiots, that explaining things, rather than bombarding you with sensationalist stories, opinionation and analysis from pundits, and all that other kind of garbage, is a waste of time.

But its not far from the attitude that the GOP seems to be taking. Rather than offer cogent arguments, we get erroneous, sometimes self-contradictory ones. Republicans universally oppose a stimulus bill, then trumpet the local results of that bill to everybody in their district. They insert riders and earmarks into a spending bill they know will pass, then congratulate themselves on that, too. Democrats aren’t always better, they’re politicians. But let me tell you: our patience wears thinner, faster, and they hear about it from us. Democrats are not a silent majority, and we are sick of broken government.

This is not about simply throwing tax dollars at something. That’s what the Bush tax cuts did, essentially. We’re targeting. We’re looking to create specific economic effects. Whether we get them is an open question. But we’ll look for whether government is doing its job, and won’t rest until it does.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 19, 2009 7:59 AM
Comment #278014

Brandon,

Stephen’s answer to you contained the followint-

This is not about simply throwing tax dollars at something. That’s what the Bush tax cuts did, essentially.
That statement epitomizes modern “liberal” conceit. Allowing you to keep your money and use it as you think you should is the same as wasting government money by simply throwing it away. The jobs you create in spending it are irrelevant. The production you encourage by spending it is irrelevant.

You, in Stephen’s liberalism, are too stupid to use money properly, so you have no business keeping it.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at March 19, 2009 1:16 PM
Comment #278041

Lee Jamison-
It epitomizes a highly distorted rhetorical conceit on your part, nothing more.

It’s not about whether people are smart enough to use their own money. It’s whether you think people are smart enough to decide what their government does with their money.

The Right nowadays assumes that people can’t be allowed to decide that their government’s going to cover healthcare, or enact a stimulus plan, or push the emergence of a culture of sustainability. You’ve decided that if any of these “socialist” programs were initiated, we’d all become victims. Americans can’t tell corporations to pollute less, financiers to be more careful with their money or anything, because that would be telling the people who know what they’re doing what to do.. Yeah, like it’s not possible for government to employ its own experts.

Your political message is patronizing: Americans, if they use government to seek justice, seek what they want, that will invariably lead to disaster. We just have to help the rich and powerful become more so, and they’ll take care of us.

But maybe that’s not your message. But that’s how it feels to me. I don’t consider government something separate from the people. I consider it something accountable to us. I am not content to just let it dictate the course of my life. If I were that in love with that idea, I’d have voted for Bush, let him dictate the course of my life. I would have never started writing here.

I write here, in fact, because I believe in a long tradition of the press and public opinion moderating government, through revelation of the facts, and advocacy for change. My tradition is hardly one of just passively handing my money to the government. But that’s very convenient for those who want a quick and easy argument against a liberal, who they hope others will only see through the lens of stereotype and partisan rhetoric.

The Republicans are intent on driving our poll numbers down, rather than on doing the right thing and helping this country get back up on its feet. They think they’re the cure, if only the rest of us would realize it. Trouble is, we’ve been taking this kind of snake oil for a while, and we recognize its taste.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 19, 2009 4:26 PM
Comment #278093

M. Daugherty writes; “This is not about simply throwing tax dollars at something. That’s what the Bush tax cuts did, essentially.”

This simple statement reveals much about the writer’s thinking and the philosophy of liberals.

To be a true statement one must first assume that everything belongs to government. Otherwise how could one say government is “throwing” tax dollars at someone by not collecting the tax. You can not give to someone what they already possess…can you?

Posted by: Jim M at March 20, 2009 12:09 PM
Comment #278095

Jim M

and what thier not throwing thier printing. lets all pray this one doesn’t blow up in our faces.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/29781573


Posted by: dbs at March 20, 2009 12:36 PM
Comment #278172

Jim M.,
To be a true statement, you must first assume that the tax cuts were forever. And so with the Sunset of the Tax Cuts being in 2011, you can with logic and reason say that the government is “Throwing Money” instead of collecting it.

For did not “We the People” say it was ok to give tax cuts in 2001 and 2003?

Dbs,
Provided that the Idiots-in-Charge do not go around building swimming pools and god knows whatelse, I do believe that fixing up Americas’ Federal Buildings adds long term wealth does it not?

However, it should would have been nice if the Republicans stood up and demanded that more of those renovation funds went to fixing up Local and State Buildings instead of the Federal Government.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at March 21, 2009 1:21 AM
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