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Posted at 6:59 PM ET, 02/ 8/2011

Reconciliation

By Ezra Klein

Recap: Mitch Daniels's health-care proposal (and an update); why Democrats should welcome reform of their reforms; and the Obama administration should stop being so terrified of taxes.

1) This is true, but boy is it a low bar to clear.

2) "Taxes too high? Actually, as a share of the nation's economy, Uncle Sam's take this year will be the lowest since 1950, when the Korean War was just getting under way."

3) The White House's big high-speed rail plan.

4) The State of Working America, with lots of cool graphs.

By Ezra Klein  | February 8, 2011; 6:59 PM ET
 
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Next: Wonkbook: White House throws states a lifeline. But will the GOP let them catch it?

Comments

Could I make a request? I think I need some guidance on that high speed rail plan. How much of that is already authorized, and how much needs to get past Congress? If any significant fractions need Congressional authorization, is there any point at all to taking it seriously?

Also, how did the infamous NY-NJ tunnel spring back to life after Christie eliminated it?

I'm confused about what's actually going on beyond the press releases. Thanks.

Posted by: CarlosXL | February 8, 2011 7:22 PM | Report abuse

In the annals of the 21st century just beginning to be written, high speed rail is dollar for dollar virtually unmatched as a boondoggle, even by ethanol.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 8, 2011 8:45 PM | Report abuse

--*Uncle Sam's take this year will be the lowest since 1950*--

Too bad Uncle Sam's expenditures will be almost double what it takes in.

Posted by: msoja | February 8, 2011 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Before you read anything by Mr. Klein, you should read this:

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/the_fix_was_in_gImIPWyKJdEWhZasJmFIUO

Posted by: vonmiseswasright | February 8, 2011 9:39 PM | Report abuse

"Actually, as a share of the nation's economy, Uncle Sam's take this year will be the lowest since 1950"

Include state and local taxes, and the share of GDP jumps from 14.8% to just over 27% in 2010Q3, with the most recent recession seeing the lowest percentage since 1967.

$4,019 trillion / $14,745 trillion = 27.26%.

http://www.bea.gov/national/nipaweb/TableView.asp?SelectedTable=86&Freq=Qtr&FirstYear=2008&LastYear=2010

Total revenue of all types was 29.3% of GDP in 2010, down from 37.2% in 2007.

http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com/downchart_gr.php?year=1995_2015&view=1&expand=&units=p&fy=fy11&chart=F0-total&bar=1&stack=1&size=m&title=&state=US&color=c&local=s

Total spending was estimated at 43.09% of GDP for 2010 (state and local actuals still unknown). Since a given year's spending must be paid for by current and future taxes, the level of spending is an important measure of the tax burden as it includes future tax bills.

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/downchart_gs.php?year=1995_2015&view=1&expand=&units=p&fy=fy11&chart=F0-total&bar=1&stack=1&size=m&title=&state=US&color=c&local=s

Posted by: justin84 | February 8, 2011 10:15 PM | Report abuse

"2) Taxes too high? Actually, as a share of the nation's economy, Uncle Sam's take this year will be the lowest since 1950, when the Korean War was just getting under way."

Tax rates and tax revenue are two very different things, Ezra. Ask Jimmy Carter. Reason #1,376 not to listen to the "journolist" founder:


http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/the_fix_was_in_gImIPWyKJdEWhZasJmFIUO

Posted by: vonmiseswasright | February 8, 2011 10:52 PM | Report abuse

The country functioned just fine in 1950 before the enactment of the Social Security Act of 1965.

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 8, 2011 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Will Klein put a smiley on the story of government shill Jonathan Gruber penning text for a comic book DeathCare primer? For the children?

http://trib.com/news/national/article_29769e4e-c1c5-553d-80ec-49697abbb1db.html

Posted by: msoja | February 9, 2011 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Average Americans don't care about JUST the fed portion of taxes.

They care about ALL taxes.

And when ALL taxes are too high, then they want ALL taxes lowered.

I suspect property taxes are the main culprit for tax hatred by Average Americans. At least that's my own concern.

It used to be you could buy a house and live in it forever even if you had no income. Not today. Property taxes are way too high everywhere. It's almost like you are renting your house from the county and/or city.

Property taxes ought not be used to pay for anything other than basic costs to the county/city to support the existence of your home. And once a house is built, I don't see justification for annual tax increases in perpetuity, even if a house is sold.

And this also means such things as medicaid ought not be paid for with property taxes. Medicaid, for example, should go away and instead all Americans should be covered with private insurance or through subsidized single payer for those who can't buy private health care.

States/counties/cities need to redo the way property taxes are calculated and levied. People need to actually OWN their own homes again, and even if they have no income, they ought be able to nonetheless keep their own home if they own it outright, and that means we should have LOW property taxes.

If local gvmts want to fund local things not relating to the existence of a home, then they have that right, but they need to find a different way to fund those things, a way where the costs of those things are more transparent and obvious and where voters can then decide whether to keep those things.

If property taxes were under control, we would be less worried about fed taxes because our overall tax burden would be smaller and a lot less wasteful programs would exist.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 9, 2011 5:26 AM | Report abuse

--*Property taxes ought not be used to pay for anything other than basic costs to the county/city to support the existence of your home.*--

Do you hate children???

Why do you want to deprive them of a quality government education?

Posted by: msoja | February 9, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

"States/counties/cities need to redo the way property taxes are calculated and levied. People need to actually OWN their own homes again, and even if they have no income, they ought be able to nonetheless keep their own home if they own it outright, and that means we should have LOW property taxes."

I broadly agree with this sentiment (people should be allowed to actually *own* the homes they purchase), although I'll note that if someone has zero income, even very low property taxes will eventually force him/her out of the home.

Having to pay taxes (or rent, or ransom) to stay in a house suggests one doesn't actually own it.

I know several people who pay more in property taxes than I pay in rent. And, like me, there are certain things they cannot do with their "property" without getting permission first.

Posted by: justin84 | February 9, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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