Third Party & Independents Archives

Pre-Intervention of the 'Fiscal Cliff'

Many expert economists will agree that the ‘Fiscal Cliff’ would be devastating bringing on another recession. If you ask me, we’re still in a recession, so bringing on another is simply toxic to our nation. Unemployment is still far from recovery and the Fiscal Cliff could potentially eliminate over 3 million more jobs.

The disagreements between the right and left aren't finding any resolve as the Fiscal Cliff approaches. Compromise seems so far off because if compromise is the 50-yard-line, Republicans and Democrats are both 10-yards past their end zones. The primary areas that will be directly affected by the Fiscal Cliff are Medicare, food safety, and other health related programs.

Clearly, the Republicans are still unsettled with Obamacare so they're happy see that take a hit, however the Democrats are only happy to see the nation's wealthiest taxed more. There are problems with both, so the fact that compromise is so difficult is what is most unsettling to me. For all of the directly affected programs would immediately cut over $1 trillion, but there would be SEVERE job loss as a result. Job loss is not something the U.S. can afford at this stage. The problems with taxing a percentage of Americans more than the rest are: How do you determine how much? And where do you draw the line?

If the wealthy are taxed just a few percentage points higher, the government is going to spend that and more faster than they can get their hands on it. So this by itself is pointless.

So what would happen if we do jump off this Fiscal Cliff? Taxes will go up for everyone instead of a select group. Spending cuts will be made. Maybe not optimal, but at least they're being cut. It could be disastrous initially, but in the long run it may get us back on track. We're in a position where we're trying to cut about 8% yet continuously spending about 50% more than what comes in. THAT is the fiscal cliff reality we live with everyday whether or not it's in Congress.

Posted by MichaelMears at November 29, 2012 7:29 PM
Comments
Comment #357902

Michael,
The fiscal ‘cliff’ is more like a ‘gently downward sloping driveway,’ but that doesn’t sound very dramatic, does it? Furthermore, going down that driveway does not mean a recession will occur. A recession is usually definied as two consecutive quarters of negative GDP. Currently, growth is projected to be @ 2% for 2013. Going over the so-called cliff would take away about 1.2%, leaving growth at a low, yet still positive, 0.8%

There are, no doubt, items that should be addressed, but at some point it will have to happen: the payroll tax holiday will end, as it should, and extended unemployment benefits will stop, and that should as well. There are other areas with various pluses and minuses. Defense cuts are desperately needed anyway.

The problem is putting everything into motion at the same time, including hikes in taxation rates. In 1993-94, the Democrats raised tax rates. The GOP warned of economic doom. The GOP was wrong. Dead wrong. They could not have been more wrong. A period of strong and steady growth followed, and by the end of Clinton’s second term, we were looking at budget surpluses, a stabilized national debt, and a ten year projected surplus of $10 trillion.

Think about that for a moment.

The Clinton administration actually initiated a study to determine whether it would be a good idea to comletely eliminate all debt. They determined it would not be a good idea, and that the country should maintain a national debt of about $3 trillion in order to keep a functioning Treasury Bond market.

In this case, we are not looking at merely raising the tax rates, as the Clinton did some 20 years ago. This time, a whole series of increases and reductions may come into play.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the economy, the ideas of the GOP are poisonous. They reject Keynesian economics, despite the fact we all just saw a practical demonstration of how Keynesian economics do, in fact, work.

Posted by: phx8 at November 30, 2012 11:59 PM
Comment #357903
The problem is putting everything into motion at the same time, including hikes in taxation rates. In 1993-94, the Democrats raised tax rates. The GOP warned of economic doom. The GOP was wrong. Dead wrong. They could not have been more wrong. A period of strong and steady growth followed, and by the end of Clinton’s second term, we were looking at budget surpluses, a stabilized national debt, and a ten year projected surplus of $10 trillion.

Think about that for a moment.

Talk about selective historic memory…

The strong growth that flourished was because several reasons, none of which had anything to do with taxation.

1) The tax revenues didn’t change much with the increased taxation. The increases during the Clinton Administration was increased at about the same small rate as before…
http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=203

2) Spending was held in check by the Republican congress fighting with the Clinton Administration during most of his presidency. This includes blocking a governmental takeover of the healthcare industry that was delayed just over a decade… Look at the spending that decreased during the latter part of the 1990s…
http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/past_spending

3) The Internet boom helped keep the economy strong, something that Clinton had nothing to do with btw, other than keeping out of it.

4) We ended the Clinton Administration with a recession (or near recession depending upon your definition of recession, we had several quarters of negative growth with a small increase during the holiday season of 2000). Much of this was due to the internet crash AND the end of Y2k spending.

5) At no time during the Clinton Administration did we every pay a cent against the national debt.

6) The increase in tax increases was accompanied by an elmimination of many deductions/loopholes/shelters. I don’t think many people are suggesting doing that now, are they? If you have one without the other, you will not get the effect of the Clinton tax increases that you are suggesting.

All in all, the suggestions from many progressives concerning the idea of ‘increasing taxes’ without understanding the entire facts surrounding that are mypoic at best. Dangerous is more like it…

BTW, how can we cut defense when we are involved in more wars/bombings than we have been in decades? We have a gung ho war monger running the country unchecked, that will be hard to continue without the funds to do so, wouldn’t it? (Mind you, I am all for cutting the military and bringing back out troops to defend the country, not fight other’s wars, but hey, I’m told I am an ‘extremist wacko’.)

we were looking at budget surpluses

Which never ACTUALLY happened

a stabilized national debt

That was built off of borrowing from the social security funds that were supposed to be put away for future baby boomer retirements

and a ten year projected surplus of $10 trillion.

Yeah, it’s a shame that they were based on a bubble that couldn’t continue (internet) and an optimistic view of the level of spending that was thrown and no one is looking back to…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 1, 2012 12:31 AM
Comment #357906

There’s only one way to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff’. And neither side of the isle is going to like it.
1. Taxes have to go up on everyone regardless of income.
2. Spending in ALL areas has to be drastically cut.
3. The budget MUST be balanced and STAY balanced.
4. The debt MUST be paid down and eventual paid off.
I don’t like the idea of my taxes going up any less than anyone else. But just raising taxes on the so called ‘1%’ only just ain’t gonna cut it. Even if they were taxed at 100% it wouldn’t generate enough revenue to even pay interest on the debt.
Just raising taxes without cutting spending ain’t gonna hit it either. And we sure as hell can’t keep spending more than is taken in.
Both sides are responsible for this problem, and both side have to do what is necessary to solve it.
But what I believe is going to happen is Obama is going to reject anything the Republicans offer. At the last minute the Republicans are going to be forced to cave. Obama is then going to blame the Republicans when his plan doesn’t work. And it won’t work because Obama is going keep spending in the red.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 1, 2012 1:05 AM
Comment #357907

Anyone thinking that we can just make a single debt in the debt we have on the books without cutting entitlements, especially SS and Medicare, should take a look at this when President Obama first got into office and said he was going to cut some wasteful spending from the budget…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWt8hTayupE&list=UUqcy4xPPVjmTnkg4kBaac2w&index=15&feature=plcp

Oh, and all of those who complained about Bush spending and defending Obama’s?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SV-xPS5-GxE&list=UUqcy4xPPVjmTnkg4kBaac2w&index=2&feature=plcp

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 1, 2012 1:18 AM
Comment #357912

Everybody’s taxes are going up. This is what Obama’s spending MUST give us. We can believe in the change Obama has wrought, but it is not a good thing.

phx8 & Rhinehold

Rhinehold has made many of my points and since he is a smarter guy, did it better. Let me add a few, however.

The Clinton times were good. Clinton was very pro-business compared with Obama. We indeed could use some of those Clinton policies.

Re the end of the good times, you guy continue to blame Bush years after he left. You seem to understand that much of what happens in the first couple of years of a new presidency is carry over from the last. So if you want to blame Bush completely for 2001-2, you need to blame Obama completely for 2009-10.

Re debt - I don’t think we need to worry about it going away.

Returning to Clinton - I have long advocated returning to the size of government we had in 1999 and then taxing at whatever level - no more or no less - that it takes to maintain that. None of you guys like that idea. In fact, it seems you love everything about Clinton except what he did. He reformed welfare, expanded NATO, signed NAFTA and told us that the era of big government was over.

Posted by: C&J at December 1, 2012 6:29 AM
Comment #357918

Ron,
I agree that taxes should go up for everyone. However, that’s not going to happen. Obama won the election on a platform that included raising taxes for the wealthiest, and maintaining current rates for everyone else. Elections have consequences. While I don’t think the Obama platform is the ideal solution, I do think it’s the best we can do for the time being- certainly better than tax cuts, which is just foolish, or reductions in tax deductions.

The debt will never be paid off completely, nor should it. We need to maintain about three trillion in debt to maintain functioning bond markets. Think of it as maintaining a line of credit.

It will be hard to be positive about the future in the coming weeks because we will see some very public, very ugly negotiating ploys. But it’s not hard to see how this will go. If the GOP is smart, they’ll cave before the deadline and cut a deal, because as painful as that will be, that will still be preferable to addressing the components of a deal piece by piece after the deadline.

Rhinehold & C&J,
Obviously there are differences between today and the Clinton era. But it’s not as different as you might think. Back then, the internet boomed, and the end of the Cold War allowed big reductions in the size of the military. Today, shopping by internet is growing fast, and still has a long way to go; meanwhile, drawing down in Iraq and Afghanistan has allowed big reductions in military spending.

We have another benefit today- the booming natural gas industry will make the US a net exporter of energy by as early as 2020, and that in turn will have far reaching repercussions. There won’t be much point in the US engaging in wars in the Middle East if we don’t need the oil. Perhaps our future perception of the region will become similar to our current perception of Africa.

Posted by: phx8 at December 1, 2012 12:45 PM
Comment #357919

phx8
While Obama ran on a platform of raising taxes on the wealthiest he needs forget about that foolishness. There are times when breaking a campaign promise is the best thing for the nation. And this is one of them.
The very rich can afford the loopholes that keep their taxes below what you or me will pay. That is unless your in the 1%.
When Mitt Romney can get by with paying 14% of his income in taxes, I’m sure the rest can manage that. Even being in business I can’t manage to pay less than 19%.
Both the Republicans and Democrats need to some giving. Maybe it won’t be a cure all but it’ll be better than what’s ahead if neither are willing to compromise, or one party is forced to cave in completely.
Obama’s plan ain’t gonna work any more than the GOP’s plan will. Maybe somewhere in between will at least soften the blow some.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 1, 2012 1:24 PM
Comment #357921

Phx8

“I agree that taxes should go up for everyone. However, that’s not going to happen. Obama won the election on a platform that included raising taxes for the wealthiest, and maintaining current rates for everyone else. Elections have consequences.”

Obama was not telling the truth. Either he and all his advisers are so innumerate that they cannot count beyond five, or they knew they were not telling the truth, but there is just not enough money among the “rich” to pay for all the spending.

Even a strong Obama supporter must understand that taxes will rise for all taxpayers.

Re Clinton - I don’t think the differences are that great. I want to go back to the levels of 1999. Tax to meet that need, no more and no less.

Re natural gas - I have written many posts on that here and on my own blog. I consider it a gift from God, a true stimulus, no thanks to Obama, BTW.

Re perceptions of the Middle East - I volunteer to give those Middle Eastern despots the middle finger as soon as possible. Let them all go to hell and take their narrow minded Wahhabism there with them. Or let the Chinese send their blood and treasure to protect THEIR oil supply.

God’s great joke on all of us was to put so much easily tapped oil wealth under some of the world’s biggest a-holes. The sooner this ends, they better.

Posted by: C&J at December 1, 2012 2:58 PM
Comment #357930

C&J,
You write: “Obama was not telling the truth. Either he and all his advisers are so innumerate that they cannot count beyond five, or they knew they were not telling the truth, but there is just not enough money among the “rich” to pay for all the spending.

Even a strong Obama supporter must understand that taxes will rise for all taxpayers.”

I do not understand this. Has anyone ever suggested taxing the rich- and yes, people with INCOMES of over $250,000 are rich- has anyone ever suggested that that alone would cover all spending? Part of this negotiation will include the payroll tax holiday, AMT reform, extended unemployment benefits, and more. Like I said, it would be better to address each facet one at a time, and phase in tax/revenue increases along with spending cuts, but if the GOP will not face the problem realistically, then off the ‘cliff’ we go.

I do not understand the GOP. The game they are playing is foolish. Gov Christie in NJ cooperated with Obama and now enjoys approval ratings of over 70%. Personally, I disagree with a lot of Christie’s politics, but I also approve of his cooperation. It doesn’t mean I agree with his ideology, just that I approve of the fact he’s doing his jop, and doing it right in the clutch. However, most Republicans seem so radicalized, so devoted to ideology, even when ideology clashes with reality, that they are incapable of doing their jobs. The smart move would be to cooperate, make differences clear and then compromise, and get the job done. It would benefit both themselves and the country. What a concept. Instead, I don’t think they’ll be able to get their act together, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the deadline passes without action. Politically, it’s a stupid move by the GOP, but when you have a party full of conspiracy nuts, Birthers, and Denialists, how surprising can it possibly be?

Posted by: phx8 at December 1, 2012 8:27 PM
Comment #357931

phx8

Obama said that taxes will not go up on the non-rich. He is mistaken or lying. It is that simple.

Re the $250,000 - this will end up biting the Democrats a bit more. $250,000 is big money in Texas or Nebraska, and in many red states. In place like NYC or San Francisco, it is not so much. A NYC teacher married to a cop and have an income upwards of $250,000, with a little overtime and working in the summer. These guys will be surprised to find out that they are “the rich.”

IMO - Republicans will need to compromise on the $250,000. They should just call the president’s bluff early rather than later.

I will repeat that we should go to the 1999 (Clinton) levels of taxing and spending. I know that many of today’s “progressives” find that unacceptable. I think Republicans should call the Democratic bluff on this too.

Democrats would not accept this victory.

Posted by: C&J at December 1, 2012 8:51 PM
Comment #357933
Re the $250,000 - this will end up biting the Democrats a bit more. $250,000 is big money in Texas or Nebraska, and in many red states. In place like NYC or San Francisco, it is not so much. A NYC teacher married to a cop and have an income upwards of $250,000, with a little overtime and working in the summer. These guys will be surprised to find out that they are “the rich.”

The tax increases start on the first dollar OVER $250k. So if people make $300,000, they’ll pay a whopping 3% more on the $50k that’s over $250k. Somehow I think those New Yorkers making over that amount will be able to swing the extra $1500. If they’re making $500k a year, they’ll have to pay an extra $7500 in taxes. These are not going to be life-ruining taxes even for those living in NYC.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 2, 2012 2:55 AM
Comment #357935

Adrienne

I am just saying that incomes and costs of living tend to be higher in blue states and more specifically in blue cities than in red ones. I am always surprised at the high cost of living in places like San Francisco. A little dump of a house that you could get for almost nothing in Virginia costs $1 million in San Francisco.

I looked it up it takes only $134,449 in Brownsville, Texas to support the lifestyle of $250,000 in San Francisco.

It is also very cute the way you really believe that taxes are going to hit only those making $250,000 a year.

Let me give you the concrete example (although I know you don’t like it when we use ourselves)

Chrissy and I together make LESS than $250k a year. But I was looking at the pay tables. If we were to move to San Francisco and do exactly the same work, we would have moved above the $250,000 and become “rich” by Obama standards. Such is the wonder of cost of living differentials.

Now consider the consequences. It already is nearly prohibitively expensive to live in San Francisco. Add the tax penalty and hello Houston.

Fine with me. I can retire tomorrow and live wherever taxes and cost of living are lower. But you poor guys who have to stay in high cost places like California will suffer mightily.

Posted by: C&J at December 2, 2012 7:43 AM
Comment #357940

In case anyone is wondering, the average salary for a NYC policeman is $52,000. The average salary for a schoolteacher is $72,000.

Posted by: phx8 at December 2, 2012 10:56 AM
Comment #357941

Jack,

“I looked it up it takes only $134,449 in Brownsville, Texas to support the lifestyle of $250,000 in San Francisco.”

Have you ever been to Brownsville?

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at December 2, 2012 11:18 AM
Comment #357945

C&J,
“Obama said that taxes will not go up on the non-rich. He is mistaken or lying. It is that simple.”

For the second time, I have to ask, what are you talking about? Please cite a source or, better yet, quote a statement by Obama to that effect.

Maybe this is one of those alternative reality beliefs so characteristic of conservatives… you know… Obama is ‘not that smart,’ there is no sustained legislative assault by conservatives against women’s issues aka the War on Women, a married cop and teacher working a little overtime and summertime in NYC make $250,000, that kind of thing.

Posted by: phx8 at December 2, 2012 1:23 PM
Comment #357946
the average salary for a NYC policeman is $52,000

You demand a cite but don’t give one yourself?

As with most occupations, the higher your rank, the higher your overall compensation. It is no different with the NYPD officers. According to the NYPD website, an officer with the rank of police officer earns a total compensation of $90,829 per year. Moving upward to the rank of detective, officers will earn $97,735 annually. After they have earned enough seniority and qualified to be sergeant, they’ll earn $109,016 per year. Total compensation for the rank of lieutenant is $125,163, and for the final rank of captain $160,000 a year.

Read more: The Average Salary of NYC Police | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5449349_average-salary-nyc-police.html#ixzz2DvA50Gby

And for teachers

Starting teacher salaries range from $45,530 (bachelor’s degree, no prior teaching experience) to $74,796 (bachelor’s degree, master’s degree plus 30 credits, 7.5+ years teaching experience). Teachers who have a master’s degree but no teaching experience will start at $51,425. With annual increases plus increases for additional coursework, teachers’ salaries will rise to the current maximum of $100,049 per year over time.

http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/EDDB658C-BE7F-4314-85C0-03F5A00B8A0B/0/salary.pdf

So, a NY seargant making 109,000 per annum and a teacher making 100,000 per annum is near that 250k amount… Factor in the taxable benefits of healthcare and and some overtime and 250k isn’t unreachable…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 2, 2012 1:42 PM
Comment #357947

http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/trillion-378859-spending-fiscal.html

When Bill Clinton so famously “balanced the budget” with the Internet boom and all the taxes from those stock sales, the GOP and Newt Gingrich passed a budget (yes, Congress used to do that) of $1.7 trillion in expenditures. Adjusted for inflation, our federal government would be spending $2.3 trillion today and collecting $2.5 trillion in “revenues,” resulting in a $200 billion surplus. But instead of increasing government spending in line with normal inflation, under Bush and Obama we are spending $3.8 trillion today. Democrats, who believe we have a “revenue” problem instead of a “spending” problem, must also think they have a bartender problem, not a drinking problem.

http://reason.com/blog/2012/11/30/the-bush-tax-cut-issue-in-one-chart

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 2, 2012 1:51 PM
Comment #357948

Oh and

http://media.reason.com/mc/_external/2012_12/b36ab3e403c75ea43d32363e419d1f65.jpg?h=336&w=500

“Federal Outlays PER CAPITA”

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 2, 2012 1:52 PM
Comment #357949
I am always surprised at the high cost of living in places like San Francisco. A little dump of a house that you could get for almost nothing in Virginia costs $1 million in San Francisco.

I don’t know why you’re so surprised. The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most desirable places to live in this entire country, and huge numbers of people who visit here end up wanting to stay permanently. I know I did.

The stunning natural beauty and fantastic weather, with the Pacific on one side, with skiing and snowboarding in Tahoe, or excellent hiking in Yosemite and many other places only minutes or hours away; gorgeous parks, beautiful trees and flowers all over the place, the laid back, inclusive, and warm attitude and creativity of the people, and the enormous multiethnic variety of them; a rainbow of high and low culture entertainment and intellectual pursuits to choose from; the environmental awareness and respect people show here; the absolutely amazing food, etc., etc…
Life is really incredibly good here — and those who stay are the kind of folks who consider these things worth the extra cost.
My husband and I live in a beautiful little Arts and Crafts Bungalow that was built in 1918 and we don’t consider it a dump. We have 1350 square feet of home living space and a couple of outdoor studios in the backyard — his for woodworking and music, mine for my art.

I looked it up it takes only $134,449 in Brownsville, Texas to support the lifestyle of $250,000 in San Francisco.

What Rocky said!
Look, I don’t mean to be rude, but there is really no true comparison between living there as opposed to here — well, unless ones whole goal in life is simply to achieve maximum square footage of living space for the lowest possible cost.

It is also very cute the way you really believe that taxes are going to hit only those making $250,000 a year.

I think it’s pretty cute that you don’t seem to understand that this bill needs to pass both the House and Senate. Typically on an issue like this the House will pass one bill and the Senate will pass another — with each one rejecting the others bill. Then the two houses have to sit down and merge the two bills into one that both can agree to pass. The Senate has already passed a bill with tax rates going up over $250,000. Now, if the House passes a bill with a rate that is higher — and I expect the GOP won’t want to go above a million dollars if they don’t want to seem like elitest jerks (although with the idiocy of the Bagger element, who can say?), then the next step will be the bicameral merging of the two bills. This means the final number will likely end up being higher.

Chrissy and I together make LESS than $250k a year. But I was looking at the pay tables. If we were to move to San Francisco and do exactly the same work, we would have moved above the $250,000 and become “rich” by Obama standards. Such is the wonder of cost of living differentials.

Now consider the consequences. It already is nearly prohibitively expensive to live in San Francisco. Add the tax penalty and hello Houston.

Sure, wages tend to be higher in order to accommodate the higher cost of living. And yes, it is quite a bit more expensive to buy a house in the city. Working class people who have always lived here often inherit homes from their family members, but those who move to SF from elsewhere in the country are usually either wealthy people who can afford to buy million+ homes in the city, or are young people who live in apartments or condos (or rent houses with lots and lots of roommates) because they want to be where the action is by living right within city limits. People who are more average earners and want to live in houses rather than apartments or condos will usually buy a home over here in the East Bay because it doesn’t cost as much, yet it’s still quick and easy to get over to the city for work (and play). It’s also a lot sunnier and warmer and less windy right across the bay — which is nice for growing flowers and veggies in the garden.

But I suspect you’d probably like it better living in a place like Houston, especially in the social and political sense, Jack. Because conservatives are definitely in the minority in Northern Cali, and you might feel very uncomfortable living with nothing but rampant glorious progressiveness all around you!

Fine with me. I can retire tomorrow and live wherever taxes and cost of living are lower.

Okay — it is after all your decision. But you should know that many other folks think that lowest cost of living isn’t the only factor that needs to be considered when making these kinds of life choices.

But you poor guys who have to stay in high cost places like California will suffer mightily.

Like I said, the tax increases will only start on the first dollar OVER $250k, so I’m sure we’ll all survive. Btw, my husband and I don’t make close to $250,000 a year, and we don’t view those who do as “poor” or “suffering” just because they’re going to start having to pay a higher tax rate on earnings above the 250k mark.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 2, 2012 1:56 PM
Comment #357950

Rhinehold,
No. $250k is not attainable by your numbers, even for cops and teachers nearing retirement; not even throwing in benefits or ‘total compensation’ baloney brings it close. Sorry. Nice try.

Oh wait. Not really.

Better try again.

Posted by: phx8 at December 2, 2012 2:22 PM
Comment #357951

The simple fact is that there is no way an NYC cop & teacher will ever make over $250,000 income. Not even with overtime and summer jobs. The fact is, only about 2% of all Americans make over $250,000 in income, and as Adrienne pointed out, additional taxes only apply to INCOME over $250,000. In other words, 98% of all Americans make LESS than $250,000 in income.

Google it.

Posted by: phx8 at December 2, 2012 2:27 PM
Comment #357952

Adrienne

It is nice in California. You think it is worth it and you may be right. So you enjoy it there and are willing to pay. But it costs more to live there. When taxes set in, your neighbors, if not you, are likely to pay more because you make more in that beautiful place.

My point is only that President Obama’s tax increases on “the rich” are going to strike a lot of people in your area whose disposable income is not really very high.

Re taxes going up - President Obama cannot find enough money among those making $250,000. It is just math. He will need to tax others. I hope he doesn’t, since it will mean that we pay more. I hope he finds enough of your California neighbors to pay for me. But I don’t think so.

Re living with “progressives” - I have lived with progressives all my life. I took one of those tests re what kind of car you drive (I have a Honda Civic), your favorite Radio (NPR) etc. I am culturally liberal. I like the liberal lifestyle. Locally liberalism is okay and I can talk the talk. I just don’t think that lots of liberal ideas are sustainable on the national scale.

Re making money - making lots of money was never one of my goals. I just pursued excellence in what I do and money followed. I was honestly surprised with my last couple of promotions. I never seek these things; others ask me to do things and everybody says I am just really lucky. You don’t have to be smart if you are lucky. I actually don’t understand why it is hard for some people. I concede to you that is a failure in my understanding, but I just figure things out and they work out for me … so far at least.

On the plus side, I think that a lot of success is just being nice to people and they help you.

Phx8

I saw the numbers too. A couple that makes more than $200K can easily get above the cutoff with overtime. On the site that Rhinehold uses, it even talks re all the ways teachers can make money by working in the summer etc. Cops make a lot of money with OT. And if Obama goes after benefits, these poor guys are toast.

Posted by: C&J at December 2, 2012 2:52 PM
Comment #357953

From fact check

Some facts to consider:

The scheduled tax increases, if allowed to take effect, would net an additional $536 billion in fiscal year 2013, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, raising more than $5 trillion in 10 years. Nearly 90 percent of Americans would pay more in taxes, TPC says, with the average increase being nearly $3,500.
The automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect would cut $1.2 trillion over 10 years, split roughly in half between domestic and military spending.
Obama’s plan calls for increasing revenue by $1.6 trillion over 10 years. Republican congressional leaders have not proposed a counter offer for revenues, but during the so-called “grand bargain” negotiations in the summer of 2011, Boehner reportedly had agreed to $800 billion worth of increased revenue.
As a percentage of the nation’s economy, the federal government now spends 22.7 percent and collects in revenue 15.7 percent — a large gap that has persisted for years and has contributed to four straight years of $1 trillion deficits.
A bipartisan fiscal commission created by Obama has proposed capping revenues at 21 percent by the year 2022, and getting spending below 22 percent.

Posted by: C&J at December 2, 2012 3:00 PM
Comment #357956

Does anyone really believe dems will be satisfied with just a one-time tax increase on the so-called wealthy? There are always new spending ideas to attract more voters which will always require more revenue.

When I read liberals talking about one-time tax increases I am reminded of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in his 1938 speech concerning the Munich agreement, waving the agreement and promising…”Peace in our time.”

Just as Hitler had an insatiable appetite for conquering nations, the dems have an insatiable appetite for more revenue to spend. I look soon for the headline…FISCAL CLIFF AVERTED and in the small print; for two years.

Anyone who watched the deal made by the politicians which brought us to this “fiscal cliff” point certainly understands that they are incapable of good governance. I do not expect anything good for the country to come out of this session of congress. Our political leaders are bereft of good ideas and can only fall back on their entrenched positions. The money will continue to flow to voting blocs of both parties, tax rates will increase, budgets will continue to be in the red, and before 2016 our national debt will exceed $20 Trillion.


Posted by: Royal Flush at December 2, 2012 6:09 PM
Comment #357959

“Spending was held in check by the Republican congress fighting with the Clinton Administration during most of his presidency….Look at the spending that decreased during the latter part of the 1990s…”

Contrary to your assertion, Rheinhold, the decrease in spending during the latter part of the 90s was due to the Deficit Reduction Act of 1993 which not only increased higher income taxes but significantly cut government spending over a five year period. The majority of those cuts were scheduled to take effect in 1997-98. It is not surprising that spending rates decreased in the latter 90s.

As for the Republican congress being responsible, consider that the Deficit Reduction Act of 1993, proposed by Clinton, was passed by a Democratic congress without one single Republican vote.

If you would like another example of effective deficit reduction, look to GH Bush and the 1990 Budget Reconciliation Act passed by a Democratic congress. GH Bush had the good sense to realize that the deficit could not be managed simply by cutting spending and that tax increases would be necessary. It may have cost him the 1992 election (read my lips problem with conservatives) but it began a process of deficit management.

Both GH Bush and Bill Clinton deserve much credit for supporting legislation that was unpopular with their respective parties. They did the right thing for the country.

That said, it should be recognized that we have not yet recovered from the Great Recession of 2008. Either tax increases or spending cuts will reduce the amount of money in the general economy. It is a delicate balancing act between the short and long term. We don’t want to cut off a recovery prematurely. Ultimately, we cannot tax or cut our way to a balanced budget. We are dependent upon a robust economy to provide the tax revenue. Fiscal policy directed at growing the economy should the focus.

Posted by: Rich at December 2, 2012 7:35 PM
Comment #357961

Rich

One Congress cannot bind another. It is very common to pass legislation that is supposed to make cuts and very uncommon to make those cuts. The Republican Congress made the cuts and deserves the credit.

Posted by: C&J at December 2, 2012 7:51 PM
Comment #357962

Rich
Clinton had the good sense to move to the right a bit when the democrats lost congress. Instead of fighting them Clinton compromised with the republicans and the economy did pretty good.
By compromising Clinton and congress even managed to balance the budget for the first and only time in my life.
The biggest fighting between congress and the president was when Reagan was in office. They were so busy fighting each other that they didn’t have time to screw things up and the economy did pretty good.
The problem came when Bush got a republican congress that rubber stamped everything he wanted. Obama had a democrat congress for the first two years and things really got worse fast.
The problem we have now is the republicans are controlling the house and the democrats are controlling the senate and the white house. Neither are willing to do any more than talk about how they’re willing to work with the other side while blaming the other side of not being willing to. And thing are getting out of control faster than a waitress can pick up a $100 tip.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 2, 2012 8:08 PM
Comment #357963

By the way, I doubt that Obama will either have the good sense, or be able to move right if he ends up with a republican congress.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 2, 2012 8:10 PM
Comment #357964

Rich, a few mistakes in your comments that I need to point out…

the decrease in spending during the latter part of the 90s was due to the Deficit Reduction Act of 1993 which not only increased higher income taxes

You forget the spending increases that Clinton WANTED to put in place in the late 1990s (healthcare being one of them) but was denied by the Republican congress. You also seem to think that the ‘tax increases’ were part of it, yet when I show the figures tax revenue hardly changed much during that time. That is because the tax increase was coupled with more deductions for things that the government wanted people to do.

The great thing is we can go back and look at what as actually going on, not listen to talking points put out from either side. It is so much more revealing…

The Republican leaders of Congress and Clinton wrangled over spending for most of last year. Many Republicans wanted to make across-the-board cuts in federal spending. Clinton and Congress eventually worked out a deal that whittled down the size of the cuts to 0.38 percent of each agency’s appropriation and gave the president some discretion on what to cut.

http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2000-01-10/news/0001090547_1_cuts-clinton-and-congress-linda-ricci

Hmmm, but if those cuts were already there, how did the congressional republicans, wanting a full across the board cuts, get MORE spending cuts?

What about the government shutdowns of 1995 and 1996? Do you even know the history there?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_United_States_federal_budget

By December 1, 1995, disagreements continued on the Republican plan to eliminate the deficit in seven years. The Clinton administration said that “The Republican budget plan fails to protect Medicare, Medicaid, education, the environment and tax fairness, and therefore, President Clinton will veto it.” There was also a disagreement on the Defense appropriations bill regarding funding for the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. By December 3, 1995, seven of the thirteen appropriations bills had been passed, including the Defense bill, but further negotiations were seen as having reached an impasse, and lawmakers were considering the implications of a second shutdown. Republicans favored reductions in Medicare, Medicaid and farm programs, which had been historically favored by Democrats, as well as a $245 billion tax cut. Democrats considered the funding of these social programs to be essential, and opposed the size of the tax cut saying it would mainly benefit the wealthy.

The second shutdown began after the most recent continuing resolution had expired. The affected agencies included the Departments of State and the Interior. President Clinton however ordered the National Christmas Tree to remain lit and said he would pay the lighting bill out of his own pocket. The shutdown ended after Clinton complied with Republican demands to submit a seven-year balanced budget plan. Clinton’s budget cut less from Medicare and Medicaid than the Republican plan and contained a smaller tax cut. Senate majority whip Trent Lott said, “Now, we feel like Charlie Brown, and Lucy has got the football, and every time you think you’re going to get a real budget it’s jerked away from you,” but characterized the President’s plan as a positive development despite the differences remaining between the parties. An additional appropriations bill was signed at the same time.

Republicans continually attempted to use a needed increase in the federal debt ceiling as a bargaining chip in the budget negotiations. The battle over the debt limit caused Moody’s to threaten to downgrade its credit rating. The debt ceiling was raised on March 29, 1996

You can attempt to rewrite history all you want, the fact is much of that history is still found by people who want the truth, not talking points.

but significantly cut government spending over a five year period.

Only it really didn’t, did it. Again, these are the total outlays for the federal government, 1993 to 2001…

1993 - 1,409,386
1994 - 1,461,753
1995 - 1,515,742
1996 - 1,560,484
1997 - 1,601,116
1998 - 1,652,458
1999 - 1,701,842
2000 - 1,788,950
2001 - 1,862,846

Now, which year did the spending get ‘dramatically’ cut?

Answer: NONE.

What did happen is that the requested increases by the Clinton administration were cut to smaller increases, but at no time did spending actually decrease during this time.

GH Bush had the good sense to realize that the deficit could not be managed simply by cutting spending and that tax increases would be necessary.

Again, no GH did *NOT* think that, he was told that the only way he could get the budget ‘cuts’ he needed were to agree to a tax increase, which the Democrats controlling congress wanted because of the increased power AND knowing it would put Bush on his heels.

BTW, the promised spending cuts never materialized.

AND do you remember the result of that tax increase? An economy that stagnated and allowed his approval rating of 90 percent to be cut by 2/3 and Clinton winning the WH. The going back on his pledge was bad, but that wasn’t why he didn’t get reelected. It was the faltering economy that resulted when he caved to Democratic Republicans.

Which is also why Obama didn’t do any of this BEFORE his re-election bid… Because he knows what is going to happen to the economy, we have history of this…

Ultimately, we cannot tax or cut our way to a balanced budget. We are dependent upon a robust economy to provide the tax revenue. Fiscal policy directed at growing the economy should the focus.

Even if we were growing at 4%, it wouldn’t be enough in increased revenues to overcome the increasing amount of money we are required, by law, to spend in the next decade. Until we do something about our spending problem, as I have already shown in the charts above, we are never going to be able to get our budget balanced, let alone pay back a penny of our debt, which we haven’t done for over 50 years…

We have been increasing our ‘intake’ pretty steadily since the Clinton recession of 2000 and the 9/11 recession, and yet we keep spending at record amounts…

Maybe this video will help?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SV-xPS5-GxE&list=UUqcy4xPPVjmTnkg4kBaac2w&index=2&feature=plcp

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 2, 2012 8:59 PM
Comment #357965

BTW, we haven’t had a TRUE surplus in the US since, oh, 1960 I think? And that one was very small. Perhaps it was in the 50s after WWII when we had our last real paying down of debt in the US.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 2, 2012 9:01 PM
Comment #357966

C&J,

Nonsense! Clinton proposed the spending cuts and a Democratic Congress passed those cuts without one single Republican vote. Why? Because the Deficit Reduction Act of 1993 also had a tax increase on higher incomes which Republicans opposed as if it was a cross to a werewolf, GH Bush excepted.

The spending cuts of the Deficit Reduction Act of Clinton were law and were not repealed by any subsequent Congress. Are you arguing that the Republicans repealed the spending cuts of the 1993 act?

Republicans want to perpetuate the myth that it was Republicans who disciplined Clinton fiscally. That is belied by the fact that it was Clinton who proposed and passed the deficit reduction plan before the Republicans regained congress in 1994.

That argument is further belied by what the Republicans did after Clinton and when they gained control of both the executive and legislative branches in 2001. Out came the credit card and huge tax cuts.

Posted by: Rich at December 2, 2012 9:05 PM
Comment #357975
Out came the credit card and huge tax cuts.

I won’t be defending the spending during the Bush years (It was atrocious) but aren’t those ‘huge tax cuts’ the same ones that the Democrats are screaming are still needed? Well MOST of them…

And the credit card used by the Bush Administration was a small limit kind compared to the platinum card used by the Obama Administration… If our spending were back under Bush spending the deficit issue might be able to be handled. In case you didn’t realize, the deficit was actually decreasing before the Democrats took over congress in January 2007…

Deficit Amounts

2004 - 412,727
2005 - 318,346
2006 - 248,1,1
2007 - 160,701
2008 - 458,553
2009 - 1,412,688
2010 - 1,293,489
2011 - 1,299,595
2012 - 1,326,948

As for the rest of your comments to C&J, I answered much of that about the same time you posted, so I doubt you saw it before shooting yourself in the foot. I figure that the 1993 thing is a talking point that the DNC has been floating out there and you’ve picked up on, but it just doesn’t square with the facts…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 3, 2012 6:38 AM
Comment #357978

phx8
Weren’t you listening to your boy during the elections? He spent most of his time say that he was only going to tax those that make $250,000 or better. And he’s still saying it.
If y’all [democrats and republicans] would take the partisan blinders off and listen to your candidates it would scare the be crap outta ya.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 3, 2012 9:15 AM
Comment #357979
Re taxes going up - President Obama cannot find enough money among those making $250,000. It is just math. He will need to tax others.

This is why it’s important to talk about whether or not Bush’s capital gains tax cuts are going to finally be allowed to expire. People who are rich really don’t care all that much about the tax rate on their ordinary income since only a small amount of their money is actually ordinary. It’s the capital gains or dividends that are taxed at 15% presently that need to go.

I suspect this is what is freaking the Republicans out most about the cliff — even though they obviously don’t want to mention this publicly. Because this isn’t a serious middle class problem, yet is in fact the issue that separates the $250K a year crowd from the truly wealthy.

On January 1, taxes on capital gains and dividends will to go up to around 20 percent, so those whose income has been coming mostly from investments will see a rise in the amount they pay. If the income that can be taxed at that special rate could be capped at $50,000 it would mean that average Americans with average incomes could grow their savings, while at the same time keep the wealthy from avoiding paying their fair share of taxes as they have been for far too many years.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 3, 2012 12:39 PM
Comment #357982
Because this isn’t a serious middle class problem

Actually, it is but the progressives don’t seem to get that for some reason.

Retirees, who get a large amount of their ‘income’ from investments will see less money to live on, small businesses and people trying to get the housing market going again will see a hit, etc.

The capital gains tax only hits long-term capital gains though, the short-term capital gains are taxed through the regular income tax rate.

The tax rate for individuals on “long-term capital gains”, which are gains on assets that have been held for over one year before being sold, is lower than the ordinary income tax rate, and in some tax brackets there is no tax due on such gains.

The real problem is why progressives seem to think that the ‘rich’ need to be punished for some reason, or bear the bulk of the cost of supporting their charitable desires? Not sure why they feel the need to be so selfish in thinking they have some right to dictate to others how to spend the result of their labor, if they want to help someone they can, but apparently putting a gun to someone else’s head is the only way they can feel like something is getting done…

I saw a great saying the other day… Progressives see a rich person and say ‘he doesn’t need all of that’. Libertarians see a rich person and say ‘everyone should have all of that’.

Give me the justification on why we don’t have just one income tax rate and everyone pay the same one. Why do we have a higher rate for those who earn more? Wouldn’t that be ‘fair’ to treat everyone the same?

Heck, wouldn’t it be even more fair to tell every citizen “Your cost for running the government is 20,000 a year (or whatever it is or should be). Here is your bill, pay every year. Why are people who earn more paying more? Yet you don’t think they are paying ‘their fair share’. What is their fair share? Please SOME progressive actually answer the question, I’ve asked it several times in the past with no actual responses… I don’t understand the logic (probably because there is none, it’s usually emotional).

BTW, as an aside that is most likely irrelevant to this discussion, in 1997 the capital gains tax was cut from 28% to 20%, and we saw a steady economic boom afterwards. Until the Clinton recession and 9/11. Then the rate was cut again in 2003 to 15% and we saw another economic recovery…

Just some facts to mull on I guess.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 3, 2012 2:12 PM
Comment #357983

Democracy has nothing to do with freedom. Democracy is a soft variant of communism, and rarely in the history of ideas has it been taken for anything else. — Hans-Hermann Hoppe

“the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society”. — James Madison

“A pure democracy can admit no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will be felt by a majority, and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party. Hence it is, that democracies have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths”. — James Madison

“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” — Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 3, 2012 2:22 PM
Comment #357984

Oh, and I forgot these gems…

“The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” — Winston Churchill

“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.” — Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 3, 2012 2:27 PM
Comment #357985

Ron, you have to remember that anything that President Obama says, on point and not off of the cuff, is carefully designed to be ‘technically correct’, but give the appearance of saying something else to most people…

A great example is the statement he made about private sector jobs and how the wording is ‘technically correct’, it isn’t what he is trying to make people believe with how he states it. Political doublespeak, in other words.

(for a video of this, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQLreUCRYXM&list=UUqcy4xPPVjmTnkg4kBaac2w&index=1&feature=plcp)

And sometimes he just out and out lies and no one calls him on it. Remember this quote from the 2008 election:

“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

Within months, he raised taxes on several groups of people, all making less than 250,000 a year… Smoking, tanners, uninsured individuals, etc. It’s just the way he convinces people to support him and vote for him while doing want he wants anyway.

He’s sold a whole group of people (progressives) on the idea of ‘250,000’ and ‘the rich’ and ‘fair share’ while ignoring property rights, rights of the minority, liberty and freedom. Those things just don’t register as valid concerns to any progressive I’ve ever talked to…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 3, 2012 2:35 PM
Comment #357988

LOL Rhinehold! Sounds like you need some cheese to go with that John Galt brand whine of yours!

Personally, I am really enjoying all this! Obama has really got the GOP by the shorthairs here. Anything the House Republicans do to broker a deal will be viewed as capitulation by their base, most especially the crying babies in the Tea Party; yet if they don’t do anything, they’re going to be blamed for whatever happens if we do go over the “cliff.”

Hilariously Boner just came out with a proposal today to the president asking for “a willing partner” to cut “entitlements!” Specifically he said he wants to extend the Bush era tax rates for ALL Americans; and proposes $800 billion via tax reform, $900 billion via “entitlements” and $300 billion in “other cuts.”

That’s right, Boner’s offer is the Romney plan!!!

Hahaha! They need to try to get real, but GOP just doesn’t seem able to. Obama is demanding that any deal absolutely MUST include the expiration of Bush era tax rates on the top 2%. And that is what Americans want. We voted to increase tax rates on the rich and totally rejected cutting Medicare and Social Security benefits.

I don’t see too much of down side for the Democrats here…
But wow, does the GOP really think that their grandstanding and holding the middle class hostage over tax benefits for the wealthy is a good thing for them? That this is going to go unnoticed by the American people? It seems as if they’re actually willing to gamble on this?

Well, if the sequester has to come there is one good thing to consider: there’s really no another scenario where we would ever see $600 billion in defense cuts.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 3, 2012 5:26 PM
Comment #357996

And that is what Americans want. We voted to increase tax rates on the rich and totally rejected cutting Medicare and Social Security benefits.

Right, you voted to pretty much end the chance of this country ever becoming fiscally responsible for the next couple of decades. I’m glad you are so happy about it, but it doesn’t change the reality.

I don’t see too much of down side for the Democrats here…

No, there really isn’t. Keep taking from the minority to make the majority happy, go against the ideals that this country was founded upon and guaranteed to us, doublespeak to make yourselves look like the heroes of the middle class while you systematically destroy it, all with their blessing.

In fact, there are many Democrats who WANT us to go ‘off the fiscal cliff’ because they will win political points, and as you have eloquently stated, that’s what this is all about, not what is best for the country…

there’s really no another scenario where we would ever see $600 billion in defense cuts.

Those will never happen in any scenario. Not with this warmongering president running the show and a capitulating opposing party who love to see innocent people being blown up as entertainment backing him up. They’ll just pass additional ‘off budget’ funding and keep the spending going.

Sounds like you need some cheese to go with that John Galt brand whine of yours!

It’s a shame you don’t know the words and ideals of our founding fathers, you might have recognized them in the words I use. Nothing I said had anything to do with John Galt, though I know you seem to think that throwing that name around means something to someone. It’s an irrelevant attack, really, only has any power in your own mind…

BTW, You do realize that Ayn Rand was not a libertarian, right? In fact, she loathed them… She was an objectivist. If you want to read an actual libertarian writer, you should read John Heinlein or maybe Philip K Dick. I’ve personally never read Rand myself…

Oh, and yeah, WHAT IS A ‘Fair Share’? Still unwilling to identify it? That’s some good Orwellian phrasing that means nothing that you like to throw around… Put up or shut up!

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 3, 2012 7:22 PM
Comment #357997

I was just watching the CBS news. The republicans have come up with a plan. They ain’t budging on their silly idea of cutting social security, medicare and closing loopholes.
But Obama ain’t doing any better with his refusing to give any on his ridiculous notion that he can solve all our financial problems just by raising taxes on the 1%. He’s also wanting to waste more money on another ‘stimulus’ bill. Something like 6 or 8 Billion. Like we can really afford that.
Whatever happened to all the big talk both sides were making about working with each other? Like anyone with a quarter of a brain ever believed that one.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 3, 2012 7:28 PM
Comment #358000

Haha! I knew the Baggers would soon start squealing, and already they are! File this one under ‘Kochs block Boner’!

Conservative group unhappy with GOP’s ‘fiscal cliff’ counteroffer

From the link:

“Speaker Boehner’s counteroffer today offers disappointingly small spending reductions,” AFP’s policy director James Valvo continued in the statement. “After immediately giving in to higher taxes following the election, the Speaker has now followed up by pulling the best parts of the House budget off the table. The only way to solve the nation’s fiscal woes is to reform the runaway entitlement programs and government spending. It is disturbing that this proposal may give up the entire FY2013 spending reductions agreed to in the BCA.”

They’re right — there are a few runaway entitlements that deserve some serious cutting. We can start with the military-industrial complex. They need to have their welfare entitlement program cut drastically. After that, the oil and coal industries need their own welfare entitlement programs to be considerably reduced. With just those two entitlement cuts to these welfare programs, the budget could be balanced almost immediately!

Posted by: Adrienne at December 3, 2012 10:11 PM
Comment #358006

Adrienne
You do realize that the ‘wealthy’ your talking about are mostly liberals don’t you?
You also realize that the 2% that Obama claims he wants to raise taxes on can afford the loopholes the republicans want to close don’t you?
I hope you also realize that Romney paid only 14% of his income in taxes in 2008. If he can do it what makes you think that the rest of the 2% can’t? When was the last time you only paid 14% of your income in taxes?
If you really want the rich to pay their ‘fair share’ then get behind a flat tax rate with no deductions. Until I see liberals backing the flat tax I’ll have to consider all their loud talk about the rich paying their ‘fair share’ just what it is. A big old pile of cow hockey.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 3, 2012 11:57 PM
Comment #358011

Fair share. The rich need to pay it. Period.

I don’t know who Rhinehold and Ron think they’re fooling, but it sure isn’t me. I know that the current top tax rate is close to an all-time low. It is a fact that since 1917, the bracket on the wealthy has only been lower two times in our history. From 1925-1931, it fell between 24% and 25%, and from 1988 to 1992 it fell between 28% and 31%. For the majority of the 20th century however, the top rate was 50% or higher, and during World War II, reached a high of 94%.

The wealthy have had their tax holiday for far too long and it’s hurt this nation severely.

Elections have consequences and the people have spoken.

Even if we go over the “fiscal cliff” it is the wealthy who stand to lose far more than the rest of us — and they all KNOW IT. Time for these spoiled brats to grow up and stop acting like greedy idiots and wailing babies. The top needs to start carrying their share of the nation’s tax burden, and even if we go over the cliff because of their despicable and mean-spirited temper tantrums against people who are far, far poorer than they are and will ever be, they’re going to pay more anyway.

And, you’re also going to another heavy price for that despicable mean-spiritedness in the future. Know that.
The American people know exactly what the wealthy and their GOP ridiculous protectors are doing now more than ever, and they’re watching this temper tantrum play out VERY closely.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 4, 2012 12:30 AM
Comment #358033

Why Adrienne, I do believe your jealous. Others have money and you don’t. How dare them.
If your so worried about those ‘spoiled brats’ paying their ‘fair share’, and I agree they need to, then start supporting the flat tax. The way our currant tax system is set up those that can afford the tax loopholes will always pay less than the middle class. And maybe in some cases less than the lower class.
The only way to correct this is a flat tax with no deductions. To keep it simple lets use a 10% tax. If you make $10,000 you pay $100. If you make $100,000 you pay $10,000. If you make $1,000,000 you pay $100,000. The more you make the more you pay.
So get behind the flat tax girl. Let’s force congress to make ‘these spoiled brats’ pay their fair share.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 4, 2012 2:04 AM
Comment #358098

“Fair share. The rich need to pay it. Period.”

How can they pay it if you can’t define it?

Posted by: kctim at December 4, 2012 10:01 AM
Comment #358099
I hope you also realize that Romney paid only 14% of his income in taxes in 2008. If he can do it what makes you think that the rest of the 2% can’t? When was the last time you only paid 14% of your income in taxes?

The majority paid less of a percentage of their income in taxes than Romney did, Ron…

http://www.factcheck.org/2012/08/does-romney-pay-a-lower-rate-in-taxes-than-you/

The question, though, is whether Romney paying 14 percent is “probably less than you.”

It’s not if you look strictly at the income tax paid to the IRS. Scott Hodge, president of the business-backed Tax Foundation, released a report based on 2009 IRS tax data that found 97 percent of American tax filers paid a lower rate of income tax than Romney did. The bottom 40 percent of tax filers pay no income tax at all, or receive a refund, Hodge told us in a phone interview, and so “by definition, those people are paying less than Mitt Romney.” On average, Hodge said, people making between $100,000 and $200,000 paid about 12 percent in federal income taxes. That’s less than Romney’s 13.9 percent, and people making less than $200,000 represent more than 97 percent of all tax filers.

Maybe you think that this is too low, and Adrienne seems to agree. But the notion that Romney paid less of a percentage of his income in taxes than most Americans is jut not factual.

Fair share. The rich need to pay it. Period.

And what is that Fair Share!? I am going to ask the question every time you say it, Adrienne. If you want to keep spouting rhetoric, I am going to call you on it every time I see it. So… get used to it or answer the question.

I know that the current top tax rate is close to an all-time low.

And is irrelevant. When the rates were higher, the top tax rate had many tax loopholes to use to shelter their money. The EFFECTIVE tax rate has been relatively stable over the past several decades. And the top effective tax rate on the top percentile has always been the highest of the groups. You can see the numbers yourself.

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=456

So, what is their ‘fair share’ again?

Let’s look at the chart for the past several years. The LOWEST quintile in the ‘dreamy 90s’ was between 6 and 8 percent. In 2007 that dropped to 1 percent. Why aren’t they paying ‘their fair share’?

The fact is that you want to use emotional rhetoric to ‘get your way’, like a petulant 13 year old kid.

The fact is that we have the smallest number of ‘tiers’ in the tax rate than we have in a hundred years. So the people who would be affected by increasing the CURRENT top tax bracket are people that historically have paid less of a percentage of their income than they would if they go up. This is inclusive of small businesses and upper middle class.

Of course, you could also call for a new ‘uber top tier’ since these are the people you seem to despise, hate and are jealous of, the people who you want to be greedy and take money from by use of force. But don’t try to pretend that everyone that you want to tax are paying less of a percentage of their income in taxes than they historically have.

So, the lower brackets are paying less of an effective rate than they have before, the upper brackets are about the same, the middle brackets are about the same, and we are seeing increases in the amount we bring in for taxes every year…

Of course, SPENDING is now an order of magnitude than it was even under the irresponsible (and Obama put it) Bush. Yet we don’t want to touch spending? Brilliant!

The way our currant tax system is set up those that can afford the tax loopholes will always pay less than the middle class.

Ron, in now way is this accurate. Look at the posted effective tax rates and the factcheck article, you are just wrong. I know you THINK you are right, just as Adrienne thinks she is right that the rich don’t ‘pay their fair share’, but the reality is different when you look at the actual numbers.

My question, still unanswered as well, is why should anyone pay more than anyone else? If the cost of running the government, per capita, is XXXX dollars, why isn’t everyone expected to pay the exact same amount? Isn’t that the most ‘fair’?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 4, 2012 10:18 AM
Comment #358100
We can start with the military-industrial complex. They need to have their welfare entitlement program cut drastically.

While I am all for this, it will not happen. The reason? People like you who have been supporting this warmongering president who seems to like killing innocent people for the chance to get a potential terrorist or two.

When you denounce the actions of this president, I might take you seriously. Until then, it is just noise…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 4, 2012 10:21 AM
Comment #358101

So, let’s say you are out to dinner with a bunch of friends. You are at a restraunt that has the policy of combining the check into one with parties of over 6 people. The bill comes and you start splitting the checks… Do you split it by what people used, by an even amount by everyone, or by who makes the most money?

Of the three options, which one of those is the least fair? Which is the most?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 4, 2012 10:25 AM
Comment #358103

Rienhold
When I say the2% are paying less than the middle class I’m talking about the percentage rate. Maybe I should be a little clearer on that.
All I know is the best rate I can get is 19% of an income of $58,000. And that’s only if business is slow and cost are high. Romney paid only 14%. And you say the others are paying less. It seems to me that the 2% are paying a lower rate than I am. So it would only seem right to say that they’re paying a lower rate than most of the rest of the middle class. Maybe I need to hire their tax accountant.
I’m in favor of a flat rate income tax with no loopholes and no deductions. Everyone is paying the same percentage. The more you make, the more you pay. I don’t mind paying 19% if everyone else is.
And why should a married couple pay more than a single person in the same income bracket?

Of the three options, which one is the least fair? Which one is the most?
It depends on the agreement they come to. But most of the time folks just naturally figure that they’ll pay for what they eat. But then maybe liberals think the person with the most money should pay for everything. Posted by: Ron Brown at December 4, 2012 12:07 PM
Comment #358104

This link explains in detail why taxes on the rich have to go up in order to make them pay their fair share of the burden.

Libertarians and Republicans can keep trying to lie about this issue, but you’re not fooling the majority of Americans any longer. We’re aware that the system is completely rigged. We know that the top is the only segment of our society that continues to see growth in their income while everyone else has seen theirs fall — for a VERY LONG TIME. We want that to stop, and we want them to start carrying more of the burden than they have been.

As for Obama’s policies on the wars, you won’t see me defending them. I’m against those policies and very disappointed that he has refused to listen to his base.
That being said, they aren’t quite as extreme as Romney and the Republicans positions — which are totally batsh*t crazy.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 4, 2012 12:14 PM
Comment #358106
When I say the2% are paying less than the middle class I’m talking about the percentage rate

So am I, read what I wrote about the effective tax rates…

All I know is the best rate I can get is 19% of an income of $58,000

According to the IRS Tax Data, you could do better, the majority of other people are…

It seems to me that the 2% are paying a lower rate than I am

Except that in reality they aren’t. It may ‘seem’ that way, but it isn’t when you actually look at the numbers.

I’m in favor of a flat rate income tax with no loopholes and no deductions

I’m in favor of no income tax at all, I think that the 16th amendment that was passed to allow it should be repealed.

The more you make, the more you pay.

Why? Shouldn’t it be the more services you get, the more you pay? Or since everyone in the US is supposed to be treated equally, shouldn’t it simply be that everyone pays the exact same amount for the cost of the government?

But then maybe liberals think the person with the most money should pay for everything.

But Ron, you want people to pay more just because they earned more, how is that different than the liberals?

BTW, from the latest tax tables, married filing jointly 58,000 is a 15% marginal rate, before any deductions, etc.

Single is 25%, again before deductions, etc.

Those are NOMINAL rates. EFFECTIVE tax rates put it under 14%…

The Historical EFFECTIVE tax rats are located here:

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=456

You can see that in 2009 (the latest year they have atm) the following effective tax rates:

lowest quintile = 1.0%
second quintile = 6.8%
middle quintile = 11.1%
fourth quintile = 15.1%
highest quintile = 23.2%


You can say that someone’s tax rate is 100%, but if they are effectively paying 10%, is it really 100%?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 4, 2012 12:28 PM
Comment #358107
Government is the great fiction through which everyone endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else.

— Frederic Bastiat

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 4, 2012 12:31 PM
Comment #358124

If ya want to see the top 2% carry more of the tax burden Adrienne then stop the blame game and start supporting a flat rate no deductions no loopholes income tax.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 4, 2012 6:54 PM
Comment #358132

Ron, I’m against the flat tax concept. It’s just another idea by the rich, for the rich.

Flat Tax Is Class Warfare
System’s simplicity hides the further shifting of the tax burden to the poor and middle class

Posted by: Adrienne at December 5, 2012 12:29 AM
Comment #358133

So Adrienne, you’d rather keep the system we have and let the rich you claim you hate keep their loopholes and effectively pay a lower percentage than you.
Is that because you know that most of the ‘spoiled brats’ you claim you don’t like are liberals just like you?
Funny, I’m agreeing with you that ‘these spoiled brats’ need to pay their ‘fair share’, and I’m telling you how to get it done. But you refuse to support the flat tax that will make all ‘these spoiled brats’ pay their ‘fair share’.
Just how is the flat tax going to help the rich? They ain’t going to be able to hide their money in loopholes any more.
And just how much do you call the ‘spoiled brats’ fair share?
Get on board! I’m trying to help y’all make the ‘spoiled brats’ pay their fair share.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 5, 2012 1:34 AM
Comment #358141

Ron, unfortunately Adrienne is really not aware of the issues involved. This can be evidenced by her use of a Suzie Orman advice vlog which tells a woman that she shouldn’t have to pay as much for the family bills as her husband because she doesn’t make as much as a defense for national taxation policy. Then she decries a ‘flat tax’ as ‘class warfare’, when that is exactly what her previous link discussed…

Of course, it takes a special kind of mental gymnastics to somehow see NOT making people pay different percentages based on their ‘class’ is an attack on one class over another, yet making people pay differently isn’t…

Adrienne still cannot answer the question ‘what is someone’s fair share’, because the views she displays here are emotional rhetoric based in a faith-based political view. A religion of sorts. Facts and figures cannot sway a religious person because their faith, by definition, requires that they believe something without having facts backing up that view…

So as you can see, I bring out the actual numbers to disprove her assertions and they are dismissed out of hand, with no attempt to even admit they exist, because they just don’t match with her faith. Not much different than trying to convince a Christian that humans history is more than 4000 years old and evolution is a proven fact, they just dismiss it and figure you must just somehow be either wrong or intentionally trying to trip them up.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 5, 2012 10:27 AM
Comment #358144

So, you equate economics professors with Suze Ormond? Whatever.
I believe in progressive taxation and you’ll never see me apologize for that.
I know that the problem is that the way the system is being run currently is not nearly progressive enough. I also know that taxation was far more progressive in the past, and that this worked better for everyone in the nation and our economy was healthy as a result. The wealthy need to pay more the way they were once required to, it’s that simple. The Flat Tax is not the way to make things fairer and more equitable, instead it is just another way to let the middle class and the poor carry the burden.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 5, 2012 11:22 AM
Comment #358145
Adrienne still cannot answer the question ‘what is someone’s fair share’

I think the tax rate on the wealthy should be at least 50% — the way it was for most of the 20th century.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 5, 2012 11:27 AM
Comment #358146
So, you equate economics professors with Suze Ormond?

No, YOU are the one who posted the Suzie Orman video… Did you not even watch it?

I think the tax rate on the wealthy should be at least 50% — the way it was for most of the 20th century.

And during that time the EFFECTIVE tax rate, because of the amount of deductions that were in the system that have been removed, is about the same as it is now with the 35% tax rate… I’ve shown you the actual numbers as you simply don’t care. It doesn’t add up to your hatred of anyone who earns more than you.

So, what you want is to tax them at 50%, not put back in the deductions, and up their EFFECTIVE tax rate to 50%? (Which, btw, it NEVER has been)

And you don’t see this as an attack on those people?

Like I said, you can’t see the facts in this case because you are all in with a faith based emotional view of the situation. You admit that there is nothing that will change your mind.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 5, 2012 11:36 AM
Comment #358147

BTW, this is the same mentality that wants to tax corporations at a higher rate, even though it has been proven that corporate taxes are passed on to the consumer and unfairly paid for by the poorest Americans as a hidden tax.

It is also the same mentality that is decrying the suggestion by the Republicans that we make changes to SS and Medicare, as you have done in these comments, when those changes are simply MEANS TESTING so that the rich aren’t getting more of the poor’s money. You don’t mention that, do you? SO, in that case you are defending allowing the rich 1% to keep money that could be going to the poorest 50%…

You can call any of that logic if you want, but it isn’t…

http://reason.com/archives/2012/12/05/why-do-progressives-support-welfare-for

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 5, 2012 11:40 AM
Comment #358148

Ron, contrary to what Rhinehold said, I can explain to you why I know that a flat tax would be good for the rich, and bad for the middle class and the poor.
Look at this Congressional Budget Office Study

It shows that the top 1 percent earned 275 percent more in 2007 than they did in 1979, adjusted for inflation — a period of time when the earnings of middle-income people grew by less than 40 percent. A flat tax would only increase inequality by substantially reducing rates on the rich, while increasing them on low and middle-income households.
This is very simple and easy for anyone to grasp, yes?

Such unequal effects are very common under every single flat-tax plan I have ever seen floated. And contrary to what Rhinehold claims, my view on flat tax schemes is not based on “emotional rhetoric based in a faith-based political view” but simple, basic common sense.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 5, 2012 12:04 PM
Comment #358149
No, YOU are the one who posted the Suzie Orman video… Did you not even watch it?

I don’t what the hell you’re talking about. I linked to an article, not a video.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 5, 2012 12:09 PM
Comment #358152

Weird, when I clicked on the link last night on my phone while I was driving to the hospital, it was a Suzie Orman video that played. Now, when I click on the link, it is a link to ‘mediamatters’ (progressive biased site). I’ll have to figure out how that happened. Very strange…

So, now that I have the correct link, let me explain what is wrong with the article in question.

It attempts to shift the discussion from income taxes (which is what is being discussed) to include ‘payroll’ taxes’, which the Progressives say is OFF THE TABLE. What are ‘payroll taxes’? These are forced payments into the systems of SS, Medicare and Unemployment Insurance. These are three things that people should be paying for on their own, making choices of the best provider for those services, like they do car insurance, house insurance, etc. Yet, we are supposedly HELPING the poor by taxing them for their usage of these programs.

These programs were meant to be separate for a reason. But now the progressives, because their numbers are not adding up very well, since now 47% of Americans no longer pay any INCOME tax, they want to include those into their tax burden. Yet, when people try to talk about ending that tax burden on the poor, they are rebuked as ‘cruel’…

When others want to use means testing to stop paying medicare, SS and unemployment insurance to the richest of us, the progressives scream bloody murder.

The problem is not that the rich are not paying ‘their fair share’, the problem is that we have programs that don’t help the poor as they were designed. The working poor would be better off having the money they are forced to pay into programs that don’t work well (like SS) and choose to put it into services that DO work well.

Of course, this takes the decision making on what people do away from the progressives and gives it back to the people themselves, no progressive can acquiesce to that option, can they Adrienne?

BTW, none of this would change under a ‘flat tax’ plan that Ron is suggesting. Those tax plans wouldn’t be touching SS, Medicare and Unemployment Insurance. Again, you don’t truly understand what is being discussed.

Of course, the problem is, according to progressives, is that while ‘top 20%’ earn 60% of the income in this country, they are paying only 70% of the taxes… Obviously that is not enough, they should be paying 100%!

BTW, I have long since said that we should only have one tax bracket, starting at say 250,000, and they are the only ones who pay income taxes. Say 50%. Does that sound good to you Adrienne? Will you accept that? The only caveat… We can only spend up to the amount we bring in. No deficit spending. I think we would be in a much better position at that point, do you agree or not?

(actually, we shouldn’t be paying income taxes at all, not because we shouldn’t have governmental services, we should. But those funds should come from fees and duties directly related to the services, like the gas tax paying for roads. But by basing it to ‘income’, you create a class system that we were TRYING to get away from in Europe… And as the rhetoric of the past 30 years has proven that to be true)

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 5, 2012 12:44 PM
Comment #358153

BTW, from the same site you linked the class warfare article is another article saying the exact opposite.

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2010/04/12/eliminate-tax-brackets-and-complicated-forms-with-a-flat-tax

So, tell me, why is one right and the other wrong, other than your faith?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 5, 2012 12:49 PM
Comment #358154

F*ck you and your endlessly abusive debating style, Rhinehold.

The fact of the matter is, we’re clearly not moving from progressive taxation to a flat tax system. Libertarians got 1% of the vote in the last election, so your railing on and on seems like an exercise in ongoing pointlessness.

You may hate it, but the people in this nation have spoken. They voted for Obama and the Democrats and they want the rich to start carrying more of the load than they have been. The middle class is tired of carrying too much of the tax burden while their wages only fall or stagnate, and while the 1% gets all the money and all the growth, hires lobbyists to write legislation that specifically benefits them, hides sh*tloads of their moneiy in off shore tax havens and shelters, and pays at far lower tax rates than the majority.

Maybe for a change you could try talking about what is actually going on, rather than flinging insults because others are just not into your fantasy economic plans.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 5, 2012 1:15 PM
Comment #358157
F*ck you and your endlessly abusive debating style, Rhinehold

*MY* abusive debating style? I may debate hard and push facts hard, but I don’t recall ever cursing anyone out or demeaning them as you do in every single post… But, again, do as I say and not as I do is a pretty long term progressive trait…

The problem here is that I will not back down to being bullied by someone who just expects that their view be taken as gospel without question.

The fact of the matter is, we’re clearly not moving from progressive taxation to a flat tax system.

Interestingly, I have NEVER suggested we should. Again, facts aren’t that interesting…

You may hate it, but the people in this nation have spoken. They voted for Obama and the Democrats and they want the rich to start carrying more of the load than they have been.

Interesting talking point, yet very hollow considering as no one on the left was saying that ‘this nation has spoken’ when they swept Democrats out of office in 2010 because of the passage of Obamacare (which national polls still say the majority of people want repealed).

I guess that its just another hypocrisy moment of the left.

The middle class is tired of carrying too much of the tax burden while their wages only fall or stagnate, and while the 1% gets all the money and all the growth, hires lobbyists to write legislation that specifically benefits them, hides sh*tloads of their moneiy in off shore tax havens and shelters, and pays at far lower tax rates than the majority.

And when people try to actually address those issues, we find that these aren’t the real issues that progressives are upset about. What they want is the rich not to be so rich. Simple as that. Any means necessary.

Maybe for a change you could try talking about what is actually going on

Maybe you should start?

We were talking about effective tax rates and you tried to counter that with ‘tax burden’, which are apples and oranges. You ignore that the effective income tax rates in this country have been relatively stable, have always favored the poor, and today WILDLY favor them as I pointed out in the actual numbers. You say you want the total tax burden to be taken off of the poor, but when attempts to do so are introduced you reject them because they don’t attack the rich enough. When we say we could lower the tax burden for everyone, that’s not good because it doesn’t attack the rich enough. When we try to spend less so we don’t have as much of a debt hanging over our children’s heads, you reject it because it won’t attack the rich enough…

There is only one thing here that you want to do, attack the rich. That’s all you have ever offered up and supported… When I suggest eliminating ALL TAX burden on the poor, you simply ignore it…

Yes, it is easier to control people with emotion than logic and reason, so the authoritarian progressives like yourself are currently convincing people that they are right. But the facts, as much as you want to hide from them, do not back you up. We have a spending problem, yet the progressives don’t care, they just want to raise more taxes on the rich, their eternal answer to all things broken.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 5, 2012 1:27 PM
Comment #358158

BTW, a great example of the ‘rhetoric’…

The middle class is tired of carrying too much of the tax burden while their wages only fall or stagnate

Tax policy is not to blame for wages stagnating on people who are not in control of businesses. Suggesting that it can somehow change that historical fact is the great lie of the left…

and while the 1% gets all the money and all the growth

Not ‘all’, just a large proportion. Something that happens during most economic down times like we saw during the Clinton Recession and 9/11. During that time most middle class families will not take risks, better their position, etc because of the uncertainty. However, those who are willing to take large risks because they know of the potential return on investment do so. So they are rewarded for that risk (those that succeed, many fail) and end up being the ones who actually get us OUT of the recessions and downturns. Those very same people you want to ‘get’.

hires lobbyists to write legislation that specifically benefits them

As opposed to democrats who hires lobbyists to write legislation that specifically benefits them? I forgot, the only lobbyists in the US are lobbying for rich people… *rolls eyes*

hides sh*tloads of their moneiy in off shore tax havens and shelters

Which they can’t do and is illegal, yet you say they do it anyway with absolutely no proof. In fact

“The United States, unlike many other countries, taxes its citizens (with some exceptions [25]) on their worldwide income no matter where in the world they reside.”

and pays at far lower tax rates than the majority.

Again, disproven time and time again…

http://www.factcheck.org/2012/08/does-romney-pay-a-lower-rate-in-taxes-than-you/

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 5, 2012 1:35 PM
Comment #358161

We were talking about effective tax rates and you tried to counter that with ‘tax burden’, which are apples and oranges.

No, it’s not apples and oranges. It is in fact the entire tax picture. But I realize that you have to ignore that, because this is what those who continually try to defend the rich always do in order to appear as if their argument has a solid leg to stand on. But in fact, it doesn’t.

You ignore that the effective income tax rates in this country have been relatively stable, have always favored the poor, and today WILDLY favor them as I pointed out in the actual numbers.

The effective tax rate was 29% before the Bush Tax Cuts, it was 21% afterward. Effective rates were cut by Bush (considering capital gains and dividend income treatment) from an initial 29% effective rate to 21% effective rate (or lower if we include adjustments to AGI). What has this nation gotten out of that lower rate from the top 1&2%? Did it avert the recession? No. Did it energize the economy? No. Was it enough to justify borrowing money to pay for the cuts? No.
You harp on the effective rate — but it is an incredibly weak argument.

Re: the rich hiding lots of money in off shore tax havens and shelters.

Which they can’t do and is illegal, yet you say they do it anyway with absolutely no proof.

Bwahahahaha!

Yeah, it is happening, and lots of people here and all around the world know it is happening. But I guess denying that people have been investigating this is something that makes you feel better as a veteran defender of the filthy rich?

Posted by: Adrienne at December 5, 2012 3:31 PM
Comment #358162

One of my links didn’t work, here it is again.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 5, 2012 3:38 PM
Comment #358163
It is in fact the entire tax picture.

No, it isn’t. You are ignoring a lot of tax burden that people have on them at that point, including federal taxes on gas, cigarettes, travel, etc and also embedded taxation due to corporate taxes…

The effective tax rate was 29% before the Bush Tax Cuts, it was 21% afterward.

I’m not sure where you are getting these numbers from, could you provide a link as they don’t mesh with what I am seeing from the CBO here

http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/ftpdocs/88xx/doc8885/appendix_wtoc.pdf

Did it avert the recession?

Yes, it did actually. Do you not know of the Clinton Recession of 2000?

“As the Dot Com bubble occurred in the mid and late 1990s, assorted predictions that eventually the bubble would burst emerged frequently. Because of the October 27, 1997 mini-crash in the wake of the Asian crisis, the predictions about a future burst increased, causing an uncertain climate on economy during the first months of 1998, while the Federal Reserve raised interest rates six times between June 1999 and May 2000 in an effort to cool the economy to a soft landing. The actual burst of the stock market bubble occurred in the form of the NASDAQ crash in March 2000. Growth in gross domestic product slowed considerably in the third quarter of 2000 to the lowest rate since a contraction in the first quarter of 1991.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_2000s_recession

We were in dire economic straights in 2000 when Bush was elected, promising to cut taxes on everyone, which he did. And now, 12 years later, the Democrats AGREE that the majority of those taxes are still needed, yet you still decry them? Odd…

Did it energize the economy?

Again, yes it did. And we were even closing in on balancing the budget again… Until Democrats took over congress in 2007.

Deficit Amounts

2004 - 412,727
2005 - 318,346
2006 - 248,1,1
2007 - 160,701
2008 - 458,553
2009 - 1,412,688
2010 - 1,293,489
2011 - 1,299,595
2012 - 1,326,948

Yeah, it is happening, and lots of people here and all around the world know it is happening.

Not sure why you posted a link to a UK article talking about ‘WORLD’ rich using offshore havens to support US citizens doing it… The fact is that that is legal in most other parts of the world, like the UK and Middle East countries, but not in the US. In the US, anyone caught doing so is fined pretty heavily. And trying to bring that money BACK into the US requires a hit of over 50% of the money being brought back in, so people really don’t have much choice. The banks that are called ‘tax havens’, such as Swiss banks, have agreed to report all deposits on US depositors in order to allow the IRS to ensure those funds are taxed, an agreement made during the Bush Administration.

As the article states:

Oil-rich states with an internationally mobile elite have been especially prone to watching their wealth disappear into offshore bank accounts instead of being invested at home, the research suggests.

Name one American that has ‘illegal offshore accounts’ and hasn’t been reporting the income from those accounts… Better yet, tell the IRS. They would love to get their hands on an American running afoul of the laws…

I’ll state it again, it is ILLEGAL for US Citizens to not pay taxes on income you have no matter where it is. This is NOT THE CASE for other countries, such as the UK. In fact, is why as the article states

Groups such as UK Uncut have focused attention on the paltry tax bills of some highly wealthy individuals, such as Topshop owner Sir Philip Green, with campaigners at one recent protest shouting: “Where did all the money go? He took it off to Monaco!” Much of Green’s retail empire is owned by his wife, Tina, who lives in the low-tax principality.

They can identify this because what Sir Philip Green is doing is NOT ILLEGAL in the UK.

veteran defender of the filthy rich?

I defend everyone, whether they be filthy rich or not. Unlike progressives, I am not a player in the class warfare bullshit that has taken over our way of life for the past 50 years and destroyed just about everything this country once believed in.


Posted by: Rhinehold at December 5, 2012 3:54 PM
Comment #358165

BTW, I forgot to go into more detail on the effective tax rates. I’ve already posted them once, but will do so again…

You can see that in 2009 (the latest year they have atm) the following effective tax rates:

lowest quintile = 1.0%
second quintile = 6.8%
middle quintile = 11.1%
fourth quintile = 15.1%
highest quintile = 23.2%

In 1979?

lowest quintile = 8.0%
second quintile = 14.3%
middle quintile = 18.6%
fourth quintile = 21.2%
highest quintile = 27.5%

I guess if you want to cherry pick, you can find some numbers that might match up to what you have posted, but I am using the CBO numbers and comparing 1979 with 2009. The lowest quintile is now paying 800% less than they were in 1979 while the highest quintile is paying a few percentage points more. In fact, only the highest quintile is paying more than they were then.

From the CBO in 2006:

http://www.cbo.gov/publication/24881

“The overall federal tax system is progressive that is, effective tax rates generally rise with income. Households in the bottom fifth of the income distribution paid 4.3 percent of their income in federal taxes, while the middle quintile paid 14.2 percent, and the highest quintile paid 25.8 percent. Average rates continued to rise within the top quintile, with the top 1 percent facing an effective rate of 31.2 percent.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 5, 2012 4:06 PM
Comment #358173

Adrienne
Just checked you link. Now I get it. Y’all don’t want them ‘spoiled brats’ to have any after tax income. Thanks for clearing that up for me.
Then in that case let’s just tax them at 100%. That ought to fix them ‘spoiled brats’.
O wait a minute. They still have all them pesky loopholes to hide there money in because the currant system allows them too. Well back to the drawing board.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 5, 2012 5:10 PM
Comment #358176

I was looking at the CBO figures too, however I made a mistake in reading it. The top 1% saw their effective individual tax rates go from from 24.2 percent in 2000 and drop to 19.4 percent by 2005. The wealthy got an expensive tax holiday under the Bush Tax Cuts. And, as Warren Buffet pointed out, he ended up paying a lower effective tax rate than his secretary largely due to his capital gains tax rate.
And of course let’s not forget the estate tax. In 2001, Congress phased out and eliminated the federal estate tax, which had been the nation’s only tax on inherited wealth. That has been a trillion+ tax break for multi-millionaires and billionaires over the last decade. Congress let the estate tax expire at the end of 2009, then passed a deal at the end of 2010 to reinstate the estate tax at a rate of 35 percent. However, they then exempted estates worth as much as $5 million or $10 million for a couple. That is absurd. Instead we need a progressive estate tax that establishes graduated tax rates, with low tax or none at all on estates worth under $3 to 4 million, and gradually heavier taxes until we reach estates worth above $500 million to 1 billion.

You are ignoring a lot of tax burden that people have on them at that point, including federal taxes on gas, cigarettes, travel, etc and also embedded taxation due to corporate taxes…

No, I was not ignoring those kinds of taxes at all. In fact, the numerous high taxes paid by lower earning Americans was the whole point in my posting that Media Matters link. It is in fact stupid to just look at federal taxes that everyone pays and then claim that the wealthy are paying their share. They’re not. This is why we have to look at the entire tax picture, and when we do it becomes obvious that there really isn’t any reason not to increase the tax burden of the wealthy.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 5, 2012 5:47 PM
Comment #358178
Just checked you link. Now I get it. Y’all don’t want them ‘spoiled brats’ to have any after tax income. Thanks for clearing that up for me. Then in that case let’s just tax them at 100%. That ought to fix them ‘spoiled brats’.

No Ron, I’d like to see millionaires taxed at least 50% the way they were for a very long time. We had a stronger economy and not nearly as much severe economic inequality as we do now.

O wait a minute. They still have all them pesky loopholes to hide there money in because the currant system allows them too. Well back to the drawing board.

Oh, I’m all for closing those loopholes. too.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 5, 2012 5:58 PM
Comment #358206

Do you use any of them loopholes Adrienne? Like the standard deductions? Interest payments? Charitable contributions? Stock investments? Dependent deductions?
I’ll bet you use at least one or more. So your saying you in favor of you not having them loopholes anymore just so those ‘spoiled brats’ will have to pay their ‘fair share’, right.
Instead of a flat tax how about a national sales tax? The more you buy the more you pay. That’ll get them there pesky ‘spoiled brats’ paying their ‘fair share’.
I’ll bet if you were in the 2% you wouldn’t want your taxes to go up. You wouldn’t want to be taxed at 50%.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 6, 2012 12:08 AM
Comment #358213
The top 1% saw their effective individual tax rates go from from 24.2 percent in 2000 and drop to 19.4 percent by 2005.

And the bottom 20% saw their effective individual tax rates go from -4.6% to -6.5%, every other group saw their individual tax rates drop as well. And, interestingly enough, we still see INCREASES in the amount of money brought in through taxation.

And the Democrats are willing to keep the MAJORITY of the Bush Tax Cuts, so while they constantly denigrate them, they sure are backing up the need for them, aren’t they? Seems a bit duplicitous.

And, as Warren Buffet pointed out, he ended up paying a lower effective tax rate than his secretary largely due to his capital gains tax rate.

No, Warren Buffet never mentioned ‘effective’ tax rate, he talked strictly about the stated tax rates. It is also completely irrelevant since no one is discussing raising taxes on capital gains, only on income. The proposed changes wouldn’t alter this situation in the least.

As for the actual effective tax rates, as the CBO report you are looking at state, there is no group paying a higher actual total tax OR effective tax rate than anyone making more than them. Please point that out to me.

Receipts to the treasury have gone up most years (except during the Clinton recession and 9/11 recession), we don’t have an INCOME problem, we have a SPENDING problem. Just as this president stated in 2006 when he attacked then president Bush on the very issue.

“I would characterize Buffet’s remark about his secretary as a misrepresentation because she (the secretary) is in a bracket – a 25 percent bracket, but her effective rate because of the way brackets work is only 14.08 percent. And so I would say it’s a misrepresentation it’s spin, it’s not telling the whole story.”

That is absurd

Yes, it is absurd that we double-tax people on wealth that they have gained, it is an established fact that allowing families to accumulate wealth and pass it on to their children upon their death is one of the main requirements for a free and prosperous country to exist. Taking ANY of that already taxed money and giving it to the state is absurd… Unless you just don’t think people should be ALLOWED to have any kind of wealth like that, then I guess it makes sense…

It is in fact stupid to just look at federal taxes that everyone pays and then claim that the wealthy are paying their share. They’re not.

Then what would their ‘fair share’ be? You keep saying it and I’ll keep asking. We’ve established or know already that ‘the rich’

* Pay a higher effective tax rate than any other group
* Pay a higher percentage of tax compared to the amount of wealth that they hold than any other group (70% of the taxes while holding 60% of the wealth)
* Pay a higher tax on nearly all other federal taxation (travel, luxuries, estate, capital gains, etc)

We also know that the lowest income individuals actually MAKE money from taxation, not just pay at a 0% rate.

The only other way to lower THEIR burden would be to get rid of the income tax all together and institute the fair tax, in which all retail sales are taxed and everyone is refunded the taxes that they would pay if they were at the poverty level. Then the poor would not only be making money off of the tax system but they would also no longer have to pay the 23% hidden embedded taxes that everyone has to pay on any good or service they need to obtain.

But even though it is more progressive than our current tax system, the democrats are against it…

Because it doesn’t involve the class warfare that they perpetuate for political gain and is the only way their party can obtain and wield the authoritarian power that they crave…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 6, 2012 9:02 AM
Comment #358214
Oh, I’m all for closing those loopholes. too.

So, like I pointed out, you want to raise the tax rate to ‘what it was before’, yet you don’t want the rest of the tax code to be ‘what it was before’. SO instead of paying a 25-30% effective tax rate, as the rich was paying during the ‘golden years’ as well as today, you want them to pay a 50% EFFECTIVE tax rate, something they have never been asked or expected to do (except during the Great Depression when FDR attempted to get them to pay 100%).

And you say you aren’t involved in any ‘class warfare’? Please… You are the poster child for the war.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 6, 2012 9:05 AM
Comment #358226

So, in the first link Warren Buffet states that his effective tax rate was 17.4%

Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income

Remember, effective tax rate is tax paid/taxable income. According to Buffet, his was 17.4%.

Then, when we see his tax return, someone calculates the percentage based off of his ADJUSTED GROSS income, which obviously comes up to a different amount.

So… who is right? Buffet who says his effective tax was 17.4% or Janet Novack, who took Buffet’s released tax return and calculated some number and CALLED it the effective tax rate?

Effective Tax Rate is:

determined by dividing the tax paid by the taxable income in a particular year. For example, if a taxpayer with a taxable income of $100,000 owes $30,000 in a year, he has an effective tax rate of 30%.

Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/effective-tax-rate-1#ixzz2EJRKtZ2Z

Adjusted Gross Income != Taxable Income

Therefore, Buffet’s Effective Tax Rate was NOT 11%. It was 17.4%, which is more than 97% of all taxpayers pay.

I’m sorry Adrienne, but I’m just stating the facts here…

Janet Novack even admits that what she is doing is computing ‘effective tax rate of AGI’, which is not the same thing…

the billionaire had adjusted gross income in 2010 of $62,855,038, taxable income of $39,814,784, and a federal income tax bill of$6,923,494. That makes his effective tax rate, as a percentage of AGI, just 11.06%
Posted by: Rhinehold at December 6, 2012 5:22 PM
Comment #358232

More on Warren Buffett…

Warren Buffett: Baptist and Bootlegger - How America’s favorite billionaire plays politics to make money

In 19th-century America, there was a concerted effort to ban alcohol sales on Sunday. “Blue laws,” intended to protect the sanctity and sobriety of the Sabbath, were pushed by what seemed like an odd alliance: Baptists and bootleggers. Baptists backed the ban publicly on moral and religious grounds, while the bootleggers lobbied for the ban privately to boost their own bottom lines. Blocking legal alcohol purchases for even one day each week meant more opportunities for their illegal sales.

The old paradox continues in modern-day Washington. Politicians enrich their friends and allies—and sometimes themselves—by coming off as earnest “Baptists” for a worthy cause. Lobbyists for big corporate interests, by contrast, are widely considered bootleggers, no matter how nobly they cloak their arguments. This arrangement has created an opening for a third way: What if a capitalist could somehow manage to sound like a Baptist?

Consider Warren Buffett. Often seen as a grandfatherly figure above the rough-and-tumble of politics, Buffett appears to be immune to the folly and excess of finance as well. He lives in Omaha, Nebraska, in a house he purchased in 1958 for $31,000. He made a fortune for himself and his investors at the business conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway through the humble-sounding approach of value-based investing. He uses folksy expressions: “You don’t know who’s swimming naked,” he said during the height of the financial crisis, “until the tide goes out.” He frequently takes to the nation’s op-ed pages with populist-sounding arguments, such as his August 2010 plea in The New York Times for the government to stop “coddling” the “super-rich” and start raising their taxes.

But this image does not always reflect reality. Warren Buffett is very much a political entrepreneur; his best investments are often in political relationships. In recent years, Buffett has used taxpayer money as a vehicle to even greater profit and wealth. Indeed, the success of some of his biggest bets and the profitability of some of his largest investments rely on government largesse and “coddling” with taxpayer money.

Wall Street was on fire, and Buffett was running toward the flames. But he was doing so with the expectation that the fire department (that is, the federal government) was right behind him with buckets of bailout money. As he admitted on CNBC at the time, “If I didn’t think the government was going to act, I wouldn’t be doing anything this week.”

Buffett needed the bailout. In addition to Goldman Sachs, which was not as badly leveraged as some of its competitors, Buffett was heavily invested in several other banks, such as Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp, that were also at risk and in need of federal cash.

So it’s no surprise that Buffett began campaigning for the $700 billion Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP) that was being hammered out in Washington. The first vote on the bill failed in the House of Representatives on September 29. But Buffett was in a unique position to help reverse its fate.

Publicly, Buffett struck a posture of cheering on the bailout from the sidelines. “I’m not brave enough to try to influence the Congress,” he told The New York Times in a September 24 article. But Buffett’s actions directly contradicted his words. Days later, he participated in a conference call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other House Democrats during which he pushed them to pass the bill, warning that otherwise the country faces “the biggest financial meltdown in American history.”

The stakes were high for Buffett as well. If the bailout went through, it would be a windfall for Goldman. If it failed, it would be disastrous for Berkshire Hathaway.

The first vote failed, as Congress faced enormous heat from voters angry about the prospect of aiding Wall Street. On the eve of the second TARP vote in the House, Buffett moved toward the fire again, buying a $3 billion stake in corporate giant General Electric (GE). As with Goldman, he was able to negotiate advantageous terms, receiving a 10 percent dividend on his shares. He also purchased the option to buy $3 billion in stock at discounted terms. GE was in even worse financial shape than Goldman, thanks to its financial arm, GE Capital. Eventually it would receive $140 billion in taxpayer capital to stay afloat.

An April 2011 working paper by researchers at the University of Michigan School of Business found that “firms with political connections” were much more likely to get TARP funds than firms that were not well connected. The study looked at how much money companies contributed to election campaigns through PAC contributions and donations by executives as well as how much companies spent on lobbyists. Finance professors Ran Duchin and Denis Sosyura found that politically connected firms, despite the infusion of federal funds, were outperformed by unconnected firms. In other words, poorly run but well-connected companies got the loot.

The fact that politically connected banks got good deals from the Treasury was not lost on the banking industry. Robert Wilmers, the chairman and CEO of M&T Bank, told shareholders in April 2009, “The pattern is clear: The bailout money and the perks are concentrated among the big banks, the ones who pay the lobbyists and make the campaign contributions, while the healthy banks pay the freight.”

Buffett needed the TARP bailout more than most. In all, Berkshire Hathaway firms received $95 billion in TARP money. Berkshire held stock in Wells Fargo, Bank of America, American Express, and Goldman Sachs, which received not only TARP money but also Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) backing for their debt, worth a total of $130 billion. All told, TARP-assisted companies constituted a whopping 30 percent of Buffett’s publicly disclosed stock portfolio. The folksy outsider with his home-spun investment wisdom, the Houston Chronicle concluded in an April 2009 investigative piece, was “one of the top beneficiaries of the banking bailout.”

Buffett received better terms for his Goldman investment than the government got for its bailout. His dividend was set at 10 percent, while the government’s was 5 percent. Had the bailout not gone through, and had Goldman not been given such generous terms under TARP, things would have been very different for Buffett. As it stood, the arrangement with Goldman Sachs earned Berkshire about $500 million a year in dividends. “We love the investment!” he exclaimed to Berkshire investors. The General Electric deal also was profitable. As Reuters business columnist Rolfe Winkler noted on his blog in August 2009: “Were it not for government bailouts, for which Buffett lobbied hard, many of his company’s stock holdings would have been wiped out.”

By April 2009, Goldman share prices had more than doubled. By July 2009, Buffett had already received a return of $2.5 billion from his investment.

What I find the most depressing is that the left, trying to sound like they are against ‘crony capitalism’, defer to the one person who is the biggest practitioner of it over the past four years…

“when did American voters agree to turn one of the richest men in America into one of the biggest recipients of taxpayer subsidies?”

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 6, 2012 6:42 PM
Comment #358238

Rhinehold
Now just why don’t is surprise me that one of the richest and biggest liberals is on the government dole. The left talks about corporate welfare like it’s all the right’s fault. But when you consider that the wealthiest folks in this country, the ones running the corporations, are liberal. The hypocrisy of it all would be almost laughable if it wasn’t so sad. The liberals are so blinded by their hatred for anything, and anyone they disagree with that they can’t see the hypocrisy of their leaders.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 7, 2012 1:12 AM
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