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Reconciliation

I thought the Senate should keep debating financial regulation today, but I lost that argument. Blame the increasingly serious problem of insufficient Senate floor time.

1) "There is no such thing as 'private' discrimination with respect to a public accommodation. Like any other claimed property right, it could not exist without government support."

2) Deportations are up under Obama.

3) Think you can balance the budget?

4) A good way to think about inflation.

Recipe of the day: Smoking salmon without a smoker.

By Ezra Klein  |  May 20, 2010; 6:31 PM ET
 
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Comments

Is it me, or is this blog seeing an abnormal amount of comment activity (not to mention spelling and grammar mistakes) on the Rand Paul posts?

Posted by: MadIrishFrog | May 20, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

The budget calculator didn't allow for the three most logical revenue enhancers. A financial transactions tax that targets high frequency computer day trading, a tax on all derivative contracts, and a very modest wealth tax similar to the current property tax. With these, I could make better choices to increase some good programs and more than balance the budget.

Posted by: srw3 | May 20, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

" "There is no such thing as 'private' discrimination with respect to a public accommodation. Like any other claimed property right, it could not exist without government support."
"

Well, that's not exactly true. The business owner could just let the customer stand there or sit there until he gave up and left. No particular need for police involvement unless violence ensues.

Posted by: tjk1 | May 20, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

The tax thing didn't let me let all tax cuts expire. It forces you to adjust the AMT!! We should all be paying the AMT. Tax code reform to eliminate all deductions could help make the economy more rational. Changes so that everyone pays taxes could force all to directly feel the impact of rising taxes, and reduce the demand for "free" services.

I also think this item "Replace Traditional Medicare with Insurance Vouchers" is vastly mispriced. That would turn the providers on their heads and make them compete on value, which is worth way more than $120B.

Also, getting rid of biofuels support would save $110B? Do that tomorrow!

I got things down to 51% of GDP by 2018. I guess I should throw my hat in the ring for an election if I ever sell my company.

Posted by: staticvars | May 20, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

A little off topic, but I loved your "Incredible Hulk" analogy on "Countdown" last night. Not only awesomely geeky, but really helpful. Too bad the Senate didn't work harder to "Hulk Smash!" Wall Street.

Posted by: Spekkio | May 20, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

""The business owner could just let the customer stand there or sit there until he gave up and left. No particular need for police involvement unless violence ensues.""

The business is stuck between a rock and a hard place, there, because their job is to sell stuff to make money to pay their rent. If they refuse to sell to the patrons inside the store, then there's no room for customers they are willing to sell to, and every moment that goes buy is a moment they don't make money unless they start selling to blacks or kick them out to make room for the whites.

Business owners were aware of this as well: when they didn't want to serve blacks, they didn't let "the free market" take care of it. They called up the people with the guns who were paid with taxpayer money to use force against blacks who wanted to be served.

Posted by: tyromania | May 21, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

The tax thingy from Pete Petersen's team also doesn't let you engage in additional stimulus now to grow the economy and then cut federal spending LATER. (See link to Inflation in the same Reconciliation post).

Right now about 60 percent of stimulus spending will be recaptured in taxes (immediate), reduced counter-cyclical government payments, and taxes on a grown economy (lagged).

Pete Petersen and his 'non-partisan think tank' (lobbying) groups want to kill the entitlements.

Posted by: grooft | May 21, 2010 3:24 AM | Report abuse

That budget toy is infuriating. In addition to the revenue-side problems that the other commenters mentioned, it only let me reduce the non-war defense budget by $220 billion over the entire budget horizon. I could lop $220 billion a YEAR off of Defense if I had my way, and that would still leave NATO with a higher defence budget than all the other nations of the planet combined.

Posted by: tomveiltomveil | May 21, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

The budget calculator allows only very limited defense budget cuts. Basically aside from missile defense and a small reduction in ship building, the procurement budget was off limits. I am forced to commit to full scheduled spending for the F35. In contrast I can cut foreign aid as part of cutting "defense."

Expanding TANF is just unthinkable. Why would we want any more ? Are there no workhouses (well actually there aren't any).

There is no option to tax the incomes of the rich significantly above 43 (49% for payroll income). No option to tax estates under 7 million. No option to raise the capital gains tax.

The priorities of the people who made the calculator are very clear indeed. They want to convince us that it is necessary to cut social security, because it is assumed to be impossible to soak the rich or to stop buying the weapons systems we need to keep ahead of the Soviet Union and win the cold war.

I don't think they deserve a link.

Posted by: rjw88 | May 21, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

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