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Inside GOP's strategy on unemployment

I wanted to expand a bit on the point I made earlier: Republicans are hoping there's a political silver lining for them in the standoff over unemployment, even though polls clearly show that majorities favor extending benefits even if it increases the deficit.

The GOP game plan: Amid the debate over benefits, point to "chronic" joblessness -- that's a word you'll be hearing more often -- in order to illustrate that Dem economic policies are failing. Republicans hope that even if the unemployment standoff gives Dems a short term advantage, any discussion about joblessness will continue to sow doubts over time about the efficacy of the Dems' big-spending approach.

Two Republicans made this case explicitly today. Here's Mitch McConnell, on the floor of the Senate today, slamming Obama's presser yesterday with three unemployed Americans:

"If ever there was an indictment of this administration's economic agenda it was yesterday's press conference. The administration asked taxpayers to foot the bill on a trillion dollar stimulus that he claimed would create 4 million jobs. A year and a half later the President is standing with three chronically unemployed Americans, some of the victims of a 9.5 percent unemployment rate, asking taxpayers for $34 billion more in deficit spending to continue paying their unemployed benefits."

And here's what Eric Cantor said to reporters today:

"What Republicans are about: Unemployment benefits, Yes. Deficits, No. Surely out of a $3 trillion budget here in this town we can find a way to pay for these unemployment benefits. Republicans are about trying to figure out how to pay for things around here.

"The real issue for those people that are unemployed: How are we going to get them back to work? How do we see that there are jobs created again?...We have got to stop the programs that are being pushed by this White House and the Majority and start getting back to a program that can actually get people back to work."

Maybe Republicans know they have a political loser on their hands and are trying to make the best of it. But if I were a Democratic strategist, I'd want to have a response ready for this that goes beyond saying that heartless Republicans are hell bent on making sure the unemployed starve to death.

By Greg Sargent  |  July 20, 2010; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  Economy / unemployment , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Next: Two more GOPers say unemployment benefits encourage folks to stay unemployed

Comments

It just decimates their own argument.

Chronic unemployment is MORE of a reason to extend emergency benefits, not less.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 20, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are about "no deficits" and "figuring out how to pay for things" ? Since when?

Posted by: AdamantiumBeta | July 20, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

If you want to talk jobs, there's this:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/speakerpelosi/4756211992/sizes/l/in/set-72157623367757714/

Since Obama became POTUS the private sector has been hiring people in vastly higher numbers than under Bush.

Republicans who suggest we go back to the Bush policies are as irrational as those who say we should not extend emergency unemployment benefits during a period of chronic unemployment.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 20, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

KISS,

Greg you are getting two wonky and inside baseball on this topic. Also, I wish you would stop creating new threads, on the same subject. All it does is leave the original comments back on the previous thread on the same subject.

Again KISS.

Republicans do not want to offset the Hundreds Of Billions Of Dollars In Bush Tax Cuts for the Very Wealthy. They want to renew them, without providing offsetting revenues.

Republicans want to make minor budget savings on the backs of the out of work struggling poor, while still wanting to accumulate hundreds of billions in increased budget deficits, just to make the super rich, even richer.

Frame The Debate, and keep on repeating the message.

Republicans do not want to pay for massive tax cuts for the super rich.

Posted by: Liam-still | July 20, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I think there has been a little nibbling around the Republicans are filibustering the entire U.S. into failure so they can win some more seats meme, so I imagine that is what the response has to be.

Posted by: flounder2 | July 20, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

You must have to be brain dead or incredibly wealthy to be a Republican. Golden Boy Marco Rubio the Florida crook who more than quintupled his personal income after a stint as leader of the Florida House where he gave away our state to special interests in return for great paying no bid jobs like the one Rubio took "teaching" at a community college where he directed millions of dollars.

But enough of scumbag Rubio it's his policy positions which resemble and are endorsed by the GOP...read today's St Pete Times article to realize what charlatans the republicans are and what morons they must have as supporters.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/article1109897.ece

Rubio opposes extending unemployment benefits without spending cuts.

"While stressing his concern about the debt, Rubio is not calling on Congress to identify specific spending cuts to offset tax cuts he proposes or the cost, $1.6 trillion over 10 years, to extend the Bush administration's tax cuts due to expire at the end of this year."

You Republicans are the worst kind of aholes. Gripe about the deficit when it means 33billion to the working men and women of this nation...but NOT ONE FREAKING GREEDY REPUBLICAN has mentioned how they plan to cover the cost, 1.6 TRILLION DOLLARS, of continuing tax cuts for the wealth. Oh yeah bright R's I definitely want to make sure some Wall Street ahole who made two billion last year gets a tax cut because according to you brain dead BS giving the wealthy big breaks means some of it might trickle down to we regular serfs.

Bite me loser R's. YOU HAVE ZERO FACTS BEHIND YOU!!! Even Bruce Bartlett, a key REAGAN ECONOMIC advisor has written entensively about the FAILURE OF trickle down. He also wrote extensively about how our current disaster is the result of GW's policies. This is a freaking REPUBLICAN conservative economist not some libtard from Huffington Post.

The only thing trickling down on us from the R's is the urine they spread upon us with their horrid and failed polices. CAn you say Great Depression? 3 R prezes Harding,Coolidge and Hoover with the same failed policies as G.W....less regulation let the Wall Street Bankers run our country's finance...amazingly coincidental isn't it that a repeat of these policies under G.W. led to the same result...the GREAT BUSH/CHENEY RECESSION! How many times must you ignorant righties keep doing the same thing over and over again..repeatedly wrecking our economy for the majority of Americans and then insanely once again supporting some brain dead thief like Rubio who calling for EXACTLY THE SAME CRAP THAT GOT US INTO THIS MESS. Watching the R's right now is a bit like falling down Alice's rabbit hole...it's all jabberwocky and lunacy from intellectual pygmies like Sarah Palin and Marco Rubio. Refudiate that!

BTW Greg...please get your techies at work...refudiate shows up as a misspelling!
Do you not recognize the creative genius that is Sister Sarah?

Posted by: rukidding7 | July 20, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Off topic but this USDA official being forced to resign over a character assassination hit from Brietbart and being echoed by Fox and the right wing is a bunch of crap.

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/36784_Resigned_USDA_Official-_Breitbarts_Video_Was_a_Lie

I hope this puts an end to ever giving any credence to anything that is produced by him or his faux news group.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 20, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I think the contrast between helping unemployed people with UI benefits which add to the deficit as a one time expense vs ending the estate tax and continuing the tax cuts for the above 250k/yr crowd which ADDS ADDS MUCH MORE TO THE DEFICIT AND WOULD CONTINUE TO ADD TO THE DEFICIT FOR YEARS TO COME needs to be hammered several times a day every day. Funny how I haven't heard this comparison from the MSM...

Posted by: srw3 | July 20, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who says republicans really do favor UI benefits but just want to pay for them should listen to Steve King

"Two years of unemployment extended by the United States Congress, the tab picked up by the taxpayers of America, money coming from where? Well, let's just say the Chinese, for want of a better source. As long as they keep loaning us money, we'll borrow it, and we'll borrow money to pay people not to work to the tune of 99 weeks of unemployment."

Yes he mentions having to borrow, but the sarcasm of "paying people not to work" for two years just shows the mindset of the typical republican in congress.

Posted by: SDJeff | July 20, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

the Democrats/liberals still don't understand the problem here.

Think of the American economy like a living organism. High unemployment is a SYMPTOM of some other physiological issue. Just as a fever is a SYMPTOM of some disease process at work.

the Democrats are demanding that we cure the symptom, but those of us who understand the issues also understand that addressing the symptom without also addressing the underlying disease won't cure us.

and yes, there is the political aspect of this, as there should be. In today's environment everything is becoming politicized.

The Republicans have two sticks with which to beat their opponents:

(1) there are no jobs. The jobs just aren't there for people. Giving them more benefits is just a sop. What they want is jobs and the Democrat agenda isn't producing any.

(2) The people are unhappy with the size and scope of government and this translates nicely into spending. so spending proclivities are being carefully scrutinized.

Along come the Democrats who make an emotional appeal to help out the folks they've screwed via their inept policies. And they don't want demonstrate any kind of fiscal restraint to do so. It ain't selling well, hence the bluster.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 20, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Democrats need to talk to the working class people in working class language. Too often Democrats, and Left leaning bloggers, think that if they can score some debating points, with the intelligentsia, by using arcane wonk speak, then they are communicating. They are not.

There are a hell of a lot more working class voters, than there are connoisseurs of wonk speak.

Talk straight to the working class voters. That is the only way Democrats can retain a majority, or the White House.

Never forget the appeal of the affable oaf, who they would like to have a beer with, because he sounds just like the people they hang out with. He got a second term, and so did Ronnie, with that act.

What the hell is wrong with speaking in language that the working stiff can grasp, and relate to? If they do not understand what the hell you are talking about, then they will not have any reason to vote for you.

Truman knew that. Regan knew that. Bush/Rove knew that.

Why do Democrats never grasp that. Is it because they no longer have people in office who emerged from the working class, and understand how to talk to the struggling working class.

Tip O'Neill understood how to talk to those voters, because he came from them.

This is not rocket science. It is the politics of the masses. Speak it, or get trounced.


Republicans are refusing to help the out of work single mother of two children, while she does not know how she is going to feed her children.

Republicans love the Super Rich, and are willing to bust the budget to make them richer, but they are willing to let the children of people who lost their jobs just starve, and go homeless.

Tell it like it is Democrats, in language that the little guy and gal can easily grasp.

I wish President Obama would adopt more of the speaking style of Harry Truman.

Plain speak, for the plain speaking voters. They are the majority, so talk to them.


Posted by: Liam-still | July 20, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Don't feed the ss28 troll...nuff said.

Its too bad, because I think that an actual thinking, rational, conservative makes the thread better, by challenging assumptions and making counter arguments. Mindless repetition of recycled talking points ala ss28 does not a reasoned argument make.

The temptation is great when I read lines like "And they [dems] don't want demonstrate any kind of fiscal restraint to do so." when the republicans exploded the deficit throughout the bush years and "didn't pay for a lot of things back then" (Orrin Hatch) and actually state that "tax cuts never need to be paid for, while spending always has to be paid for" like cutting revenue doesn't add to the deficit. Its like a bizzaro economic reality where the magical tax fairy makes revenue losses irrelevant to the deficit.

But I must resist the temptation....Don't feed the troll.

Posted by: srw3 | July 20, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

the response is clear: tie rightwing republican obstructionism of ui to their general obstructionism on measures to fix the mess created by the previous administration by improving the economy and creating jobs.

show how they've used parliamentary procedures to block every attempt to make things better. the ui obstructionism is the foot in the door to bringing the continued party of no strategy to the fore of public discourse.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 20, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Lots of bellyaching about "the tax cuts for the rich." I'm in the 10% of the people that currently pay 70% of the taxes--not in the 47% that pays ZERO tax--you tell me, what fraction of taxes should the 10% of the people pay?? 80%, 90%, 100%? Don't be greedy, or I'll fire the staff and close the doors.

Posted by: mark31 | July 20, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

But Liam=still, don't the Democrats actually have to, you know, um, like, totally tell the truth?

Plain speaking isn't lying and your statement that Republicans love the super rich is simply false on its face. I guess you haven't kept up with the demographic facts of life.

Want to see super rich? Visit Connecticut. For whom do those super rich folks vote? Oh yeah, Obama. And to whom do they contribute? Oh yeah, Democrats.

the lore of republicans = rich folks will be hard to eradicate, especially since it is clear that liberals are more than willing to lie if it advanced their agenda.

the journolist revelations will be very damaging to the liberal propaganda organs in this country. How nice is that!

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 20, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey skippy ... what is your GOP cure for the disease?

More tax cuts for the rich?

In the meantime, you know the symptoms, like fever, vomit, etc, need to be treated ... right?

Posted by: cmccauley60 | July 20, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

srw3 just threw in the towel. It is far easier to engage in name calling than to respond to the issues at hand.

Facts are stubborn things and the fact is there are no jobs. The fact is that the Democrats don't think it is necessary to control the amount of our money they spend.

the fact is that the liberal agenda is failing in a dramatic fashion and the American people are hip to it now.

I really love the "Republicans spent too much" crapola. Of course they did. That's why we conservatives don't trust them

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 20, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

And here's what Eric Cantor said to reporters today:

"What Republicans are about: Unemployment benefits, Yes. Deficits, No. Surely out of a $3 trillion budget here in this town we can find a way to pay for these unemployment benefits. Republicans are about trying to figure out how to pay for things around here."

Yet when republican leaders were on Meet the Press they could not name one program to cut in order to offset extending unemployment benefits.

Today's WaPo

The high cost of defense spending in the U.S.

There are at least four reasons why David S. Broder should have included defense spending in his July 15 op-ed column, "Glimmers of hope on the budget crisis."
First, the baseline defense budget (not including war costs) has grown in inflation-adjusted terms for 13 straight years. Between fiscal 1998 and 2011, it rose from $271 billion to $580 billion, an increase of 114 percent (63 percent in inflation-adjusted terms), and the U.S. share of global military spending jumped from one-third to one-half.
Second, total defense spending in inflation-adjusted terms is now higher than at any time in our history except for World War II, and in inflation-adjusted terms, the base budget exceeds the peak of the Reagan build-up by $42 billion, or 8 percent

Third, defense spending is responsible for about two-thirds of the annual increase in federal discretionary spending over the past decade.
Fourth, U.S. military spending has vastly outpaced spending by the country's potential adversaries. For example, in 1986, the United States accounted for 28.2 percent of global military spending, while potential adversaries accounted for 42.4 percent. Two decades later, in 2006, the United States accounted for 41.2 percent of global military spending, while potential adversaries accounted for only 16 percent.
If the 2011 baseline defense budget were reduced by $100 billion, as recommended by a group put together by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), it would still be $40 billion higher in inflation-adjusted terms than President George W. Bush's fiscal 2002 budget.
Lawrence Korb, Alexandria


Posted by: knjincvc | July 20, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Skip, you want the truth?

There are about 18 comments on the previous thread that completely eviscerate your comments.

These include one I posted with 2 Politifact articles showing that your argument is wholly fraudulent.

Nice way to ignore the facts then go elsewhere "seek the truth."

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 20, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Resist temptation...don't feed the troll...barfing up the same tired, refuted, talking points is just boring at this point.

Posted by: srw3 | July 20, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

When poor people are going hungry and homeless, and their children are being set adrift on The Sea Of Despair, I will always opt for not further enriching the haves, in order to take care of the downtrodden.

Republicans see it the other way.

Posted by: Liam-still | July 20, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

"Lots of bellyaching about "the tax cuts for the rich." I'm in the 10% of the people that currently pay 70% of the taxes--not in the 47% that pays ZERO tax--you tell me, what fraction of taxes should the 10% of the people pay?? 80%, 90%, 100%? Don't be greedy, or I'll fire the staff and close the doors."

Oh, so you're in the 10% that owns 70% of the wealth? I think your tax rate ought to be commensurate with that. Right now you pay about half that amount, and when the Bush tax cuts expire, you'll pay about $3000 more on every additional $100,000 of income you earn over the cutoff for the lower rate. You think it's worth it to shut down your business and forgo ALL your income to save $3,000 on taxes (or less)? By all means, GO GALT. There are plenty of people who aren't greedy who'd be happy to take over your segment of the market and pay those taxes without complaint.

Clearly, someone who's as bad at math (and logic) as you claim to be is destined for business failure anyway - so cut your losses and go out of business now. Create opportunity for someone more deserving.

Posted by: JennOfArk | July 20, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

My cure for the disease:

Rational taxation schemes, not the behavior modification social engineering scheme we have now.

Even handled enforcement of regulation. Corruption is a problem. Let's look at the signal failures of Wall Street and BP's oil well. In both cases the regulators had been inattentive and subverted. We must have some regulation, but businesses must be able to count on it being applied in a rational and even handed way.

it is no accident that Sherrod at USDA did what she did. That's the current status of the regulatory regime. The mistake she made was admitting to it in public.


Elimination of unnecessary regulation. There are several huge and not well understood giants looming on the horizon. Businesses will be reluctant to expand and invest until the workings of these monstrosities are better understood. Who is going to engage in massive hiring when they don't know what Obama care has in store? Who is going to make major investments in America when even Chris Dodd the crook who authored finreg admits that he doesn't know what impact it will have?

the lowest taxes consistent with the minimal duties of the government. Who will work hard and grow thier business when Obama and his henchman are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to sieze the results? No one.

I could offer more, but that's enough to get more name calling going here, of that I'm certain.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 20, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing28 writes
"Facts are stubborn things and the fact is there are no jobs. The fact is that the Democrats don't think it is necessary to control the amount of our money they spend."


skipsailing, your first fact is essentially true, while the second is opinion, not fact. But rather than arguing about what Dems allegedly think, I'm curious to hear what the Repub alternative is?

The Dem argument for extending UE benefits, as I understand it, is that it helps keep cash flowing through the economy; so as deficit spending its at least still performing a stimulative effect, while also helping people pay their bills, put food on the table, maybe forestall foreclosure.

The Repubs, on the other hand, are backing themselves into a corner. Sure, complaining about jobs is valid - but how are Repubs proposing to create jobs & stimulate the economy? Why, tax cuts, of course. Nevermind that cutting taxes even more will exacerbate the budget/deficit problems they claim are their primary concern in cutting off UE benefits. Nevermind that tax cuts return less to the economy (i.e. stimulate less) than direct payments like UE benefits. No - they insist on the faith-based claim that tax cuts boost tax revenue & insist that tax cuts will create jobs - the anemic job growth of the Bush admininstration after the Bush tax cuts notwithstanding.

So... The Repubs may have a stick with which to beat the Dems; but they lack a credible alternative proposal. Are voters stupid enough to miss this?

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 20, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

It is simple Ethan, just answer the question: Where are the jobs? Why are you demanding an extension of the unemployment benefit? If jobs were plentiful (i.e. if the liberal agenda actually worked) there would be no need for an extension wouldn't you say Ethan?

Eviscerate that pal.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 20, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Sorry skippy, that's not an answer, it's political gobbledegook.

Let's start with the easy one --

What, exactly, are "rational taxation schemes"?

Posted by: cmccauley60 | July 20, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Shorter skip: Republicans spent 8 years breaking the economy, and the next 1.5 years obstructing attempts to fix it.

Therefore, vote Republican!

P.S. Here's GOBP Party Boss Limbaugh:

http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201007200041

Limbaugh says "unemployment" is a new "entitlement" and "welfare program"
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | July 20, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

What do the Republican's want people who have been looking for work without success for months on end to do? Starve, become homeless?? The social and economic impact of turning people out onto the streets will cost far more than the simple extension of benefits. Republican strategy is blocking any action that will improve the economy in light of upcoming elections and in light of their pernicious drive to stop all forward movement by the Obama administration. The Party of No Way No How is again proving itself an enemy of the people.

Posted by: jeffl240 | July 20, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

And your little comment that "it is no accident that Sherrod at USDA did what she did...." is more gobbledegook since your pal breitbart took a story of clear regulatory success, bastardized it with his editing wand and created another lie that your other friends at FOX made into a "fair and balanced" report.

Posted by: cmccauley60 | July 20, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

mark31 posts July 20, 2010 1:35 PM

“Lots of bellyaching about "the tax cuts for the rich." I'm in the 10% of the people that currently pay 70% of the taxes--not in the 47% that pays ZERO tax--you tell me, what fraction of taxes should the 10% of the people pay?? 80%, 90%, 100%? Don't be greedy, or I'll fire the staff and close the doors.”

Sooo … Go Ahead, close the doors and fire the staff. If your business is truly viable someone else will expand their business to pick-up your former customers or someone will start a new business.

And those 47% supposedly not paying income taxes … eliminate GWB’s child tax credits along with Obama’s tax cuts for those earning < $250K … how’s that work for YA?

Posted by: knjincvc | July 20, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Jenn of Ark, I'm paying MORE of my income than my share of the wealth or the income, proportionately. I'd fight by your side to end the carveouts and loopholes and deductions bought with lobbyists--but I still want to know: what fraction of taxes should the top 10% pay, if the current 70% of total income taxes is not enough?

I'm not rich (yet) by the way, just another one of those hardworking families the president is always talking about. (Except he never seems to be thinking of us when he talks).

Posted by: mark31 | July 20, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

It is very simple.

We tried it The Republican's way, for twenty of the twenty eight years between 1981 and 2008.

Only during the eight years when a Democrat was n President did the Budget Deficit get turned into an annual surplus, and many millions of jobs added.

Under the Bush/Cheney reign of terror. Massive budget deficits were run up, The Economy was destroyed, and many millions thrown out of work, and not one net job was created during their entire eight years of Vodoo Economics.

That is why:


When poor people are going hungry and homeless, and their children are being set adrift on The Sea Of Despair, I will always opt for not further enriching the haves, in order to take care of the downtrodden.

Republicans see it the other way.


Posted by: Liam-still | July 20, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

"Where are the jobs? Why are you demanding an extension of the unemployment benefit? "

skip, why do you keep pointing out that Bush left the economy in shambles and it's taking a long time to dig us out of his mess? Yes there are no jobs, the economic policies of Bush and the GOP screwed us big time, to the point where there are 5 people for each job opening. Jobs are not created overnight. Any economist can tell you we're moving in the right direction, but it comes slowly. I know you've seen the charts....from almost the moment Obama came into office, job losses slowed and now we're gaining jobs every month.

Any economist will also tell you that unemployment benefits give a high rate of return because it gives a direct jolt to the economy. It is one of the most efficient job creators we have, along with cutting payroll taxes for companies who are hiring. I know others have pointed out these facts and you've continued to ignore them, so I'll just leave it at that.

Posted by: SDJeff | July 20, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

on weigel's old blog, skip once threatened me, lied and said i threatened him and denied threatening me.

i produced his quote threatening me and challenged him to show one where i said anything close to a threat to him.

of course, he couldn't produce anything i said that was a threat and he ignored his own threat and slunk away.

he will lie and, when confronted with proof of his lies, he will shamelessly ignore it and move on to throw bombs another day.

anyone can see that the rightwing republican's policies benefit the super rich. their insistence on offsets for the relatively small ui extensions while forgoing such offsets for the comparatively ginormous taxt cuts for the wealthy are but one example.

but attempting to reason with people like skip is counter productive.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 20, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Uh oh, two more Republicans caught making the Sharron Angle argument about unemployment benefits:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/07/two_more_republicans_say_unemp.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 20, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

knjincvc, why no answer to my question? If the top tenth is paying 70% of the taxes (far more than their percentage of total income) and that is not enough, what fraction of total taxes should it be? 80%, 90%, 100%? Y'all are pounding me, but nobody will answer the question.

Posted by: mark31 | July 20, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

In 2008, when Bush sent out stimulus checks to Americans, by putting money back into the economy it would stimulate spending, bolstering the economy! Nobody yelled “socialism” and economically it was the right thing to do! Now since Obama has been in office,any money spent is called “socialism”, “no” has been the republican answer to most programs.Republicans crying we can’t afford it after they ran up the biggest debt ever 11 trillion dollars! America needs a third party, the republicans don’t want to spend a dime on unemployment benefits, any program that might enhance the economy, so its so broken they can fix it! And regain political power at any cost to the economy! Pulling out of two wars which are sapping our treasure and lives, starting projects to repair Americas infrastructure, is the only hope to reduce debt and stimulate economy! Republicans who caused the problem, want to use that "vodoo" economic policy to cut taxes for the rich and save our economy!

Posted by: roosboys | July 20, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Is this the story you want to talk about skippy?

The 82-year-old wife of the white Georgia farmer who was supposedly discriminated against some quarter century ago by the black USDA official forced to resign this week -- if the video released by Andrew Breitbart's Big Government and re-run by Fox is to be believed -- is now confirming that in fact Shirley Sherrod saved her and her husband's farm from bankruptcy and is a "friend for life."

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/07/not_looking_good_for_breitbart.php?ref=fpblg

Posted by: cmccauley60 | July 20, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

@cmccauley60 : a friendly warning...don't feed the troll...I didn't throw in the towel on him, I used the towel to wipe his litany of barfed up talking points off my monitor...;-) I am sure that "rational" is some kind of flat tax that allows the plutocrats to pay even less than they do now while raising the tax burden on everyone else. See Ryan's tax scheme for a modified example of this...He might also go for the consumption tax which really hits people who have to spend almost all of their income on day to day living expenses while the >250k crowd pay a much smaller % of their income on daily living expenses.

The republican party, screwing poor people since 1929...

Posted by: srw3 | July 20, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

yeah, yeah. I'll get to the name callers in just a minute. First I want to deal with this little bit of envy:
==============
Oh, so you're in the 10% that owns 70% of the wealth?
=================

Your envy is showing Jenn. Let me try the vulcan mind meld on ya honey. the rest of the your statement, the part you deny even to yourself is this: whatever it is that someone else has you want. But you don't want to work as hard as they did to get it. So rather than do what the successful do you'll just demand that the government use its coercive power to take it from them.

Sure, liberals, keep punishing success then wonder out loud why you can't answer my simple question: where are the jobs?

The guy who wrote the original comment is exactly right. The uber progressive nature of the American tax system insures that successful people are hammered constantly and yet the liberals never get enough.

Questions for Jenn: what is it like to be both lazy and insatiable at the same time? At what point will even the liberals admit that they are destroying the incentives to hard work?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 20, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"I'm in the 10% of the people that currently pay 70% of the taxes"

And those in the top 10% own 70% of the wealth. So, what exactly are you complaining about? Are you upset because you don't own 80 or 90 or 100% of the wealth?

"not in the 47% that pays ZERO tax"

Find me ONE person in this country who pays ZERO tax. Just one. Someone who doesn't contribute to society by paying sales taxes when they shop, property taxes through their rent payments, gas taxes when they fill up their gas tanks or federal, state, and local taxes tacked on to their phone bills.

I'm sorry you're feeling so persecuted by the tyrannical government that provides you with roads, education, electricity, phone and internet service as well as safe food and drinking water. Go Galt, if you'd like....I hear Somalia is nice this time of year.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | July 20, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"Where are the jobs?"

I answered that yesterday, you just ignored it. Jobs that are eliminated are GONE. It takes investment to create new jobs in their place. Obama/Dem investment is being matched by the private sector and jobs are being created.

See this chart:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/speakerpelosi/4756211992/sizes/l/in/set-72157623367757714/

"Why are you demanding an extension of the unemployment benefit?"

As I've said repeatedly -- and you've ignored repeatedly -- this is a fiscal emergency which calls for immediate action to support the millions of Americans who are unemployed. Unemployment benefits help not only those families but are a direct injection of money into the economy, helping stabilize a weak market (which in turn helps the private sector create jobs). All of this is public knowledge, and if you are not aware of these facts then you should wake up and do some research before posting.

"If jobs were plentiful (i.e. if the liberal agenda actually worked) there would be no need for an extension wouldn't you say Ethan?"

As I've posted, it is a FACT that jobs are being created thanks to Obama/Dem policies. You only have to go here to see it:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/speakerpelosi/4756211992/sizes/l/in/set-72157623367757714/

By the way, have you checked the PolitiFact articles yet? They're on the last thread. I'd be interested to hear your take on them, as there are TWO articles (one from 2009 and one from 2010) which eviscerate the argument that Obama "promised" that the stimulus would keep unemployment under 8%.

Will you respond to any of these comments directly? Or will you change the topic again?

The facts clearly show that the American people rightly support extending emergency unemployment benefits.

They also show that the American people rightly place the blame on Bush/Republican policies for the current economic situation.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 20, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

In A Nutshell.

When Republicans see a poor person drowning, they rush to throw a lifeline to the guy on board his yacht, who is not even in the water.

Posted by: Liam-still | July 20, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing, what you wrote is pure genius. Thank you.
======================
yeah, yeah. I'll get to the name callers in just a minute. First I want to deal with this little bit of envy:
==============
Oh, so you're in the 10% that owns 70% of the wealth?
=================

Your envy is showing Jenn. Let me try the vulcan mind meld on ya honey. the rest of the your statement, the part you deny even to yourself is this: whatever it is that someone else has you want. But you don't want to work as hard as they did to get it. So rather than do what the successful do you'll just demand that the government use its coercive power to take it from them.

Sure, liberals, keep punishing success then wonder out loud why you can't answer my simple question: where are the jobs?

The guy who wrote the original comment is exactly right. The uber progressive nature of the American tax system insures that successful people are hammered constantly and yet the liberals never get enough.

Questions for Jenn: what is it like to be both lazy and insatiable at the same time? At what point will even the liberals admit that they are destroying the incentives to hard work?
===============================
At what point, indeed!

Posted by: mark31 | July 20, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

The liberals just keep missing the point: Obama made promises he hasn't kept. The liberal agenda isn't going over well with the American public.

The corruption and double dealing that got us where we are is now being exposed almost daily it seems.

And yet the question remains: where are the jobs?

One wag says that my position about the Democrats not wanting to demonstrate fiscal probity is opinion. Sorry, its not. Actions speak louder than words. If the Democrats really believed in Paygo, why don't they adhere to it and find a way to fund the unemployment extension? Where's the plan?

If Democrats don't really believe in Paygo, then why don't they just be honest and repeal it? Or was that just political show?

So all the ranting and ravings come to naught unless you can prove to the American people that you're nostrums will cure the problem. Thus far the liberal agenda has failed miserably. Blaming Bush won't win you any votes in November.

Remember "its the economy stupid"? When did that change? Where are the jobs Obama promised?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 20, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Rational taxation schemes, not the behavior modification social engineering scheme we have now.
What, exactly, are "rational taxation schemes"?”

A rational tax scheme would be a “Automated Payments/Transaction Tax”.
Get rid of the current income tax fiasco.

“Capitalizing on financial data processing technology, it is possible to create a tax code for the 21st century-- one that is astonishingly easy for all citizens to understand, that is easy to administer and to comply with because it eliminates the need to file tax or information returns. The system, developed by University of Wisconsin Professor of Economics Edgar L. Feige, is known as the APT or Automated Payments/Transaction Tax.
You can find Professor Feige's original papers detailing the Automated Payment Transaction (APT) tax http://www.apttax.com/. The papers describe a simple plan to replace our current complex system of federal and state income, sales, excise and estate taxes. It's not rocket science; it's actually just simple arithmetic.
In order to raise the same amount of revenue as our current tax system, a "revenue neutral" APT tax would impose a *****single tiny tax rate on each and every transaction in the economy.**** All deductions and exemptions would be eliminated. By declaring a "zero tolerance" policy for any exemption, we wipe out every special interest loophole that now riddles our overly complex tax code. Since the volume of all transactions is estimated to be 100 times larger than the current tax base, the flat tax rate needed to raise the same amount of revenues is just a hundredth of the current average tax rate of roughly 30%. So if transactions stayed at their current level, the APT tax rate would be three tenths of one percent (0.3% or .003) on each transaction. Even if total transactions fell by 50%, the revenue neutral APT tax rate would only be six tenths of one percent (0.6%) split equally between the buyer and seller in each transaction so each would pay 0.3%. Feige details how the replacement of our current tax system with an APT tax could save the government and its citizens as much as $500 billion annually by eliminating the compliance, collection, enforcement and inefficiency costs of our current tax system**** (meaning … eliminating 95% of the IRS). ****** Additional savings would accrue society in general, which are impossible to compute. Just think of all those beautiful trees that will be left standing when we stop printing the 17,000 page Tax Code and the millions (maybe billions) of copies of forms with instructions still being used at both federal and state levels.”
http://www.apttax.com/

Posted by: knjincvc | July 20, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

But at least we all got our laugh of the day from good ole skipper....

"those of us who understand the issues also understand that addressing the symptom without also addressing the underlying disease won't cure us."

Skip counts himself among the gifted who understand the issues...yet he has yet to list a link or even speak in factual terms.

His childish rant of where are the jobs...
And so Skipper simply look at this graph...it's not right or left...Republican or Democrat it simply shows job loss and job creation over the past two years as DOCUMENTED by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/documents/2010/02/house-speaker-nancy-pelosi-compares-job-losses-under-presidents-obama-and-bush.php?page=1

And so Skip...WHERE ARE THE JOBS.

Bush lost TWO MILLION JOBS IN JUST HIS LAST FOUR MONTHS OF OFFICE!!!! OBAMA ACTUALLY MANAGED TO GET SOME JOB GROWTH BY JANUARY OF THIS YEAR..THE FIRST TIME IN TWO YEARS JOBS INCREASED INSTEAD OF DECREASING.

Skip are you a moron who failed reading comprehension and Math class.

Specifically can you enlighten us as to WHY you think Bush was a success for our economy when he presided over the first decade of job losses SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION. Can you explain away those facts Skip.

Where are the jobs?..the Republicans and their cronies used the last decade to send them overseas. Yes Skip where are the jobs? The Republicans do not believe in jobs...or working people...they like the guy who used the crisis to earn 2 billion last year...BILLION...and we know how hard those Wall Stree Bankers worked for us and how much employment THEY CREATED!!!

And so Skip...perhaps in your infinite wisdom as someone who understands the issues...explain the chart for us. Why did all those job losses peak during the Bush administration and then begin to recede until we actually had some minimal growth by the end of Obama's first year.
In other words Skip in Obama's first year he has already created more jobs than Bush in his entire term. Remember the facts Skip. The decade from 12/31/99 to 12/31/09
was the first time since THE GREAT DEPRESSION OUR COUNTRY ACTUALLY LOST PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS!!!!! THE FIRST FREAKIN TIME SKIP.

Skip perhaps you'd like to tell us how Clinton left with a surplus and Bush created a humongous deficit and then left us with an economy so on the brink that we had to engage in even more deficity spending to avoid disaster...the opinion of the MAJORITY of economists from both sides of the spectrum. But I forgot skip you probably watch Faux news and listen to Liar Limberger and get your talking points from the rest of the uber wealthy corporatists.

Posted by: rukidding7 | July 20, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Where Are The Jobs:

They are in China, where Republicans, starting with Nixon, and then under twenty years of Reagan Bush One, and Bush Two, rule, sent them.

You have to love how Republicans have turned the largest communist country in the world, into an economic powerhouse, that has taken most of America's factory jobs, while at the same time, those same Republicans keep wetting their beds over feeble Cuba.

Posted by: Liam-still | July 20, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

"Obama made promises he hasn't kept. "

At this point, Skip, are just a liar.

Your lies have been debunked here:

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2009/jul/09/eric-cantor/Cantor-and-other-republicans-say-obama-promised-s/

and:

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/jul/13/george-will/will-obama-said-stimulus-would-cap-unemployment-8-/

You can't claim ignorance. The facts are right in front of you. And you willingly lie. Sad.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 20, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

"The uber progressive nature of the American tax system insures that successful people are hammered constantly and yet the liberals never get enough."

Spare us. Warren buffet pays a smaller percentage of tax on his income than his secretary. That's hardly uber-progressive. You all on the right are just in the midst of a perpetual temper tantrum.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | July 20, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Look, if you morons are going to continue claiming that an additional $3000 in taxes on an extra $100,000 in income is going to stop people from "producing", you've been eating too much of your own garbage for too long.

Go ahead - ask anyone at median income if they'd forego another $100K in income if it meant that they'd have to pay an extra $3000 in taxes on it. See how many takers you get.

As for "lazy and insatiable", I think that's a question best left to mark and his ilk - the people at the top of the pyramid rarely work harder than those at the bottom. They just make 500 times as much money. And for someone who gets so butthurt over "name-calling", skip, I'd think you'd refrain from it yourself. Then again, that would only happen if you weren't a hypocrite. As for your question, I wouldn't know how to answer it, since I'm neither of the descriptors, which, as I said, more nearly describe those poor abused people who own 3 x as much as the bottom 90% combined. Me personally - I started a new business back in January in the hopes of making a reasonable income (one that pays the mortgage and allows some saving for retirement) since most US businesses no longer see the utility in paying people enough to live. I guess taking the initiative to start a business counts as "lazy" and the bit about wanting enough to pay the bills as "insatiable".

Jerks.

Posted by: JennOfArk | July 20, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

let me reply to this:
===============
And your little comment that "it is no accident that Sherrod at USDA did what she did...." is more gobbledegook since your pal breitbart took a story of clear regulatory success, bastardized it with his editing wand and created another lie that your other friends at FOX made into a "fair and balanced" report.

=========================

A story of clear regulatory success? That's just too funny.

the lady admitted in public that she didn't do her job because the client she confronted was WHITE. Where's the success in that?

Now imagine that you're a business person looking to open a factory somewhere in the world. What's the difference between the corruption of some third world toilet and the behavior of Ms Sherrod? From the perspective of a business there is none.

When Bobby Jindal set about resurecting Louisianna among his top priorities was the end of the corruption. It was important Mr Jindal said, because businesses need to know that they are working in an ethical environment.

the city of Cleveland, and the county in which it resides has been a Democrat stronghold for decades. The Feds have been investigating corruption there for years. Now the investigation is spreading to neighboring counties. The pattern is clear, the elected officials used their positions to strong arm businesses. these shake downs helped to create one of the most toxic business climates in America.

it is not an accident that Ohio's economy is in the tank. It is not an accident that Cleveland is now 50% of the size it was in its heyday. corruption is killing jobs. And Ms Sherrod gave us a perfect example. The next question, the one that the guys on the journolist are hoping no one asks is this: how rampant is this in the Obama admin?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 20, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

i'll just say again that the dems should rightwing republican obstructionism on ui as a way to hammer home the truth that rightwing republicans are obstructing *every* measure to improve the economy and improve jobs.

they have calculated that they can escape the blame and lay it all at democrats' feet.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 20, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

What makes your lies even worse, Skip, is that despite the fact that you frequently write disingenuous posts, I gave you direct answers to your questions at 2:12 PM.

You ignored my responses to YOUR QUESTIONS...

...and then proceeded to lie in full view of the facts.

It is truly sad that you have stooped to this level. I have to come to the conclusion that you have issues comprehending what facts mean or what the truth means.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 20, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

What's in a name: "Skip".

Why not just do just that, instead of feeding him.

Posted by: Liam-still | July 20, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I have never voted for a Republican candidate for either the U.S. House of Representatives or Senate. And I have never voted for a GOP candidate for POTUS.

I've put instructions in my will to have this fact noted prominently in my eulogy.

Posted by: dldbug | July 20, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

“The liberals just keep missing the point: Obama made promises he hasn't kept.”

Tell us again what Obama’s promises were?
OH Yeah ... Close GITMO but republicans ginned up the fear factor.

Posted by: knjincvc | July 20, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Mark31 I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume your not as ignorant as old skipper on the issues even though you obviously slept through your math classes.
Your question...

"If the top tenth is paying 70% of the taxes (far more than their percentage of total income) and that is not enough, what fraction of total taxes should it be? 80%, 90%, 100%"

Mark you obviously are unable to conceptualize a math problem so lets put some hard numbers and eliminate the need to understand something as arcane as a concept.

In your example 70% which is actually very low and off base...in reality the top 10% of our nation possess 90% of the wealth not 70%..we have btw the worst income distribution in our nation since..bingo you guessed right before the Great Depression. Again these income disparity equivalencies must just be a COINCIDENCE to our economic failure.

But back to your question Mark. Take a mythical island nation...one resident earns 70,000/year the other three earn $10,000/year. If the nation determined that it needed 35,000 a year in taxes and the first wealthy guy paid the entire amount...he'd still have 3.5 X more than the rest of the nation...and if that nation was like the U.S. he'd get to call all the shots because we all know the wealthy corporatists own our government.

Now you ask what is fair Mark. How about dropping your Faux News BS and harken back to reality. I'm one progressive voice who would love to harken back to that great Republican Dwight D Eisenhower. Are you opposed to going back to the tax rates we had then. Do you suppose the America I grew up in the 50's was secretly a bastion of socialist uprising? Corporations paid 25% of our tax burden back then now they pay less than 8%. I'm just like that ole lady protesting at one of the HCR meetings this past summer..."I want my country back'

And btw Mark...if you are even suggesting that any wealthy person pays 70% of their income in taxes you are so full of sheeit that your eyes are turning brown. You do realize that folks as wealthy as Warren Buffet have pointed out that he pays LESS % on his taxes than his secretary pays.
So I conclude with you question Mark...is that fair. Would it be fair if we relaxed our laws to let the physically dominant take from we weaker individuals..like neanderthals. What is the difference in letting exceptionally gifted intellectual people game our system and buy our politicians so they can outsmart all of us and again the top 10% possess the same wealth as the bottom 90%. And Mark are you really stupid enough to believe 90% of our wealth going to just 10% is a good thing...something they deserve?

Posted by: rukidding7 | July 20, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Still blaming Bush I see. that's of no value. Obama promised us that unemployment would not exceed 8% it is holding in the mid nines with no relief in sight. that's going to result in punishment at the polls.

The people who vote are hopping mad and the only vent for that anger is the Democrats up for election this cycle.

Mr Sargent's advice is good: better get a darned good argument for your policies because what you're peddling right now ain't selling.

and Jenn, baby, you're simply a marxist at heart. you know, probably because some union teacher told you, that everyone who is successful in American became that way by screwing you and people like you right? You firmly believe that prosperity is a zero sum game, that for person A to be successful person B must be exploited, right?

I mean Marx explained all that to you, didn't he?

congrats on the business. But who will suffer so you can achieve your goals? What person or group in America must go to bed hungry tonight because you wanted to make a buck? Hmmm?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 20, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

You know what's REALLY funny?

skip here continues ranting on about Mrs. Sherrod, and the farmer she referred to in that (heavily edited) clip pimped by Breitfart was on CNN today talking about what a great job she did helping them...sorry, it was the farmer's wife.

See, if not for the editing, skip here would have seen Mrs. Sherrod talking about how she quickly realized that race wasn't an issue - it was an issue of the have-nots vs. the haves. In other words, the farmer who she initially decided not to help as much as she could have - she DID end up helping as much as she could have, and changed her whole outlook as a result.

Also, this happened 25 years ago before she was employed by USDA - a job she lost yesterday due to the faux "scandal" drummed up by Breitfart and swallowed hook line and sinker as usual by idiots like skip here. I hope she sues the crap out of Breitfart.

Posted by: JennOfArk | July 20, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Unemployment pays a small fraction of what most people were netting from when they received paychecks. To argue that it kills the incentive to look for and obtain regular work is ridiculous and sounds like something said by a Charles Dickens character.

Posted by: dldbug | July 20, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I'd say the belief that democratic government exists only for the purpose of making sure that a few people get to own everything, for removing all barriers to make sure that is possible, that they should be able to own everything there is to own unencumbered by cares about the health or security of their fellow citizens, is a far more radical idea than anything ever put forward by Marx, skip.

And yet this is what you believe. That a form of government that was explicitly designed to protect the interests of all should instead protect the interests of the very few and powerful.

Posted by: JennOfArk | July 20, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

JennOfArk Congratulations and good luck on starting your new business. I have been in charge of a small business for the past 12 years.

It's funny to me that morons would call you a socialist, Marxist or whatever and then turn around and start chanting it's the small businessmen who will have to lead this recovery...that's you Jenn...but then the R's will pass incredible policies that provide all the advantage to huge multinationals...can you say big oil...big finance...

It's really pathetic and Skip and Mark have now revealed themselves among the most pathetic. What Skip and Mark have in common with Fox, limberger, beck and the other aholes...is that when they have NO FREAKING FACTS TO BACK THEM UP...when they have failed so abysmally as to be historic in their disasters...all they can do is resort to "marxist, socialist, libtard, whatever...But then it must be hard to really live as unhappy lives as mark and skip. They are among that crowd who claims to love America...yea that's fine..it's too bad they hate Americans.

Again I would love to have someone address this question with a simple yes or no...forget the right/left repub/dem

Do you believe the United States is better off now that our wealth disparity has returned to the days of 1929 just before the Great Depression.

Do you really believe it's the "American Way' to let the 10% smart enough, crooked enough, lucky enough, and yes in some cases industrious enough..to possess 90% of our wealth while the remaining 90% get to fight over the remaining 10%?

Posted by: rukidding7 | July 20, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Liam and Ethan, ss28 has proven he has no interest in rational debate...just treat his rants like the dogsh*t they are and step over them. At least he avoids the slave prefix like old bilgey.At least bilgey was able to put together a reasoned argument once in a while. This seems to totally elude SS28. Don' feed the troll...

@mark31 : Sorry you don't like progressive taxation. It is still the case that if you are in the top 10% of all income earners, you probably pay a smaller % of your income in taxes (income+state+real estate+sales+gas+...) than a family making the median income (~50k/yr). If you are in the top 5% or the top 1% the disparity in the % of income paid in total taxes is even larger. Warren Buffett has stated that he pays a smaller % of his income in taxes than his secretary. It is also the case that you received far more money from the bush tax cuts than our 50k/year family. It is probably also the case that you have interest and dividend income that is taxed at a far lower rate (and no payroll tax) than the salary of that 50k/yr family. And since we have marginal taxation in this country, you pay no more in taxes on that first 50k of income than the family that only earns 50k/yr. So, my concern is more focused on not adding adding to the tax burden of that 50k/yr family barely getting than on the supposed unfairness of the tax code for someone with a 6 figure income.

Posted by: srw3 | July 20, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Didbug...thanks for pointing out the fact about the amount U.E. actually pays.

Of course you'll offend the righties because they HATE FACTS.

Posted by: rukidding7 | July 20, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Skip is just a liar. The proof is right here on this thread.

Sadly, he's an even worse liar than the old trolls who used to frequent this site.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 20, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

RUKidding...and others...thanks for your responses. Let's help each other fix our arithmetic errors, shall we?

Of the total income in the country in 2007, just under 50% went to the top 10% earners.

Of the federal income taxes paid in 2007, 70% was paid in by the top 10% of earners.

Please note that that top 10% of earners includes people who are NOT rich, not millionaires. I'm not talking about Bill Gates, although to be honest I'd like to--he's done more for the rest of mankind than any other person on the planet. Anyway...

If having 70% of total income taxes paid by the top 10% of earners is not enough, again, you tell me: what is the right number, in your opinion? 80%? 90%? 100%?

Please answer the question. I hated the ecomomic policies of George Bush, too. Now answer the question. The Eepublican Party includes plenty of people with faults. Now answer the question. People should not starve or freeze to death. Now answer the question. Won't any of you just answer the question?

Posted by: mark31 | July 20, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Here's my answer mark: the top 10% aren't paying the bottom 90% enough in wages.

Pay them more, and their share of the tax burden will go up.

Otherwise, you're just continually complaining about the futility of trying to get blood out of turnips. You can't get money from people who don't have it. You have it - you're lucky, in addition to whatever work you do. Plenty of people work as hard or harder than you do and have far less. Pay them more, and they can pay more taxes. Of course, that means you'll make a little less, but one way or another, the money is only going to come from people who have it. Sorry reality gets in the way of that utopia in which you get to own everything and pay nothing. The real world doesn't work that way, no matter how much you wish it would.

Posted by: JennOfArk | July 20, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

And of course the deep dark secret that no one in media nor politics dares to give voice to is...the economy really can't improve without some substantial redress of wealth inequality. Consumer economies rise and fall on the ability of people being able to participate in them. About half of the people in this country don't have discretionary income - after they pay for the rent, utilities, groceries, gasoline or bus fare, etc, they don't have anything left over. There's a finite number of consumer goods (televisions, refrigerators, couches, cars, etc) that will be purchased by those with the means to buy - right now, half of the people in the country lack that means. If skip and mark had their way, we could increase that number to 90%, but I doubt it would do good things for the economy, or even skip and mark.

Posted by: JennOfArk | July 20, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

"Obama "promised" us that unemployment would not exceed 8%"

HE DID! Oh my ... you are such a tool for talk radio.

But still no comments on my earlier post citing "Automated payment transaction tax" to replace the current income tax Mark rails against.

http://www.apttax.com/

Posted by: knjincvc | July 20, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

srw3 As always I love your comments. You are dead right in all that you assert. May I add just one thing which you implied but did not state explicitly.

While mark is whining about his good fortune at having enough income to pay taxes....how unfair are the very regressive FICA taxes.
If someone earns $100,000 they pay 7.65% of their income in TAXES. If they earn $1,000,000 they only pay .00765% of their income!!! If they are really lucky and make 10,000,000 they pay .000765% of their income. ELMINATE THE FICA CAP ASAP. The wealth have made out like bandits for two and a half decades beginning with St. Ronnie...they can afford to pay more and they SHOULD pay more!

And JennofArk you are totally correct to point out how absurd mark's points are...do we really think somebody going to shut it down because making an additional 100,000 in income will cost them and additional 3,000. Remember of course they pay ZERO FICA on that amount.

But actually Jenn there is historical precedent to back up your opinion. I'm not talking about creating a confiscatory police state and redistributing everybody's income. What I AM TALKING ABOUT is simply returning to Eisnehower days...A REPUBLICAN president and the tax code we had then. And not just for wealthy individuals. Again Corporations paid 25% of our national tax debt...now they pay less than 8%. The wealthy didn't quit clipping their coupons and shuffling their money in and out of Wall Street.

Today's Republicans have become incredible extremists. Which is why they have to resort to such extremist language...every idea for fairer taxation is called marxist or socialist.

Again is it really a good thing for this nation morally, intrinsically, and economically for 90% of the wealth to be held by 10% with the remaining 90% left to scramble for the remaining 10%?

Posted by: rukidding7 | July 20, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

JennofArkansas,

You get an incomplete. You did not answer the question. I'll respond to your point anyway.

I don't know how to break this to you, but each one of us, whatever our station in life, is getting paid about what we are worth. It is not possible to provide a sustainable job that pays more than the job is worth (I think GM proved that). It is equally impossible to pay less than what the job is worth, or no one will show up for work.

The good news is that each one of us is free to improve our value to employers, through skills development, education, improvements in work ethic or attitude or performance--or by moving to where the jobs are. One is always free to go into business for one's self, if he or she can figure out some way to create or produce value for others to purchase.

Nobody is assailing the worth of any individual. I am speaking in an economic sense. Some people gain skills that through no fault of their own, become obsolete. Others live in areas that have suffered economically, and jobs are tough to find. By and large, the "haves" have overcome obstacles and challenges.

By the way, I never said anything about paying nothing. We are living in the greatest country on the planet, and there is some overhead to pay.

Again, if having the top ten percent of earners paying 70% of the total of income taxes collected is not enough, what do you thnk the number should be? Those who lack reading comprehension skills, please note that I have not once lodged any complaint about paying 70% of the total income tax, nor have I said that my taxes should be cut.

Answer the question, please.

Posted by: mark31 | July 20, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

rukidding - well, and also what most of the talking-points regurgitators who show up here have never grasped is this: a tax cut that takes the top marginal rate from 91% to 70% (as Kennedy did) means that for a person with earnings in that bracket, each additional dollar earned in that bracket is now worth over three times as much. (Formerly they got to keep 9 cents; now they get to keep 30 cents.) Yes, that's a pretty powerful stimulant to earn more. When the top rate went from 70% to 50% under Reagan, instead of keeping 30 cents of each dollar, they got to keep 50 cents - every dollar earned in that bracket was worth another 66%. Not as great as 300+%, but still a pretty healthy incentive.

But these idiots think that applies to a 3% change in the top marginal rate? I mean, if you were paying 40% under Clinton, and it went all the way down to 37% under Bush, instead of keeping 60 cents out of every dollar earned in the bracket, you now get to keep 63%. Whoo-hoo! Every dollar is worth a whopping 5% more to you! That's some powerful incentive to invest, isn't it? In actuality, a change that piddling ends up as pocket change to folks in that bracket. It doesn't change their behavoir w/r/t starting new businesses, expanding existing ones, or investing. It just means they get to buy an extra Lexus every year.

Posted by: JennOfArk | July 20, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Mark since you replied in good faith I'll try to respond similarly.

First off we are talking past each other. You state that 50% of our earnings went to the top 10%. Earnings our not wealth. Wealth includes everything one possess AFTER all the tax breaks.

%'s are not really revelatory in this argument. Even leaving wealth aside and accepting your numbers of the top 10% of earners paying 70% of the taxes while earning only 50% of the pie. Again you exclude wealth but even based on earnings...think Mark. If the top 20% in our nation earn over $100,000 and the bottom 20% earn less than $20,000 (Wikipedia) that is a disparity factor of five. But it's absurd to say the 100,000 person should only pay 5X as much tax.
Should a man (actually happened) earn 2 BILLION dollars last year speculating on Wall Street (I agree about Gates contribution to society..you can enlighten me Mark about what the scumbag Goldman Sachs bankers did for our economy..yet they are all walking away with millions..
If someone earns 2 billion through speculation I have no problem taking the 70-80 or even 90% to which you refer. That would leave the poor bloke with a pitiful 20 million annual take home pay. If he's not careful taxes will dump him into Lebron James territory.

Again Mark time for you to man up. As has been mentioned several times Warren Buffet has repeatedly pointed out the inequity of our taxation system...he literally pays a smaller % of his income in tax than does his secretary. You think this is a good thing Mark.

We're not talking Sweden,Finland or Denmark here (even though survey after survey shows them to have far happier citizens than us...why not..medical care..higher education for their children...more than six weeks a year in vacation...what a drudge that must be...and they pay a whopping 38% of their income in taxes while the U.S. hovers between 25-27%) We are simply talking about returning to that days of that great REPUBLICAN Dwight Eisenhower...nothing dramatic simply FAIR!!!

And as a fiscally prudent progressive I'm for fixing S.S. instantly by abolishing the ceiling for FICA taxes on earned income.

Posted by: rukidding7 | July 20, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"I don't know how to break this to you, but each one of us, whatever our station in life, is getting paid about what we are worth."

As defined by the people who own the businesses we work for. Pretty convenient, that. In a lot of cases, we get paid just the amount they're willing to pay, now that the pesky unions are out of the way. Their goal is always to generate maximum profit for the owners - often at the expense of workers' wages. It's no big secret that as wages have stagnated, profits and dividends have gone up.

"It is not possible to provide a sustainable job that pays more than the job is worth (I think GM proved that)."

Hmmm. Toyota was paying about the same hourly wage in their TN plant as GM was paying in its plants. The wages actually aren't disparate - GM got into trouble because so much of its "labor cost" was going to health care for both current and retired workers. If we had a functional health care system, that wouldn't have happened. But we can't have one of those, because it would be SOCIALIST if the top 10% weren't allowed unlimited profits on human misery.

"It is equally impossible to pay less than what the job is worth, or no one will show up for work."

Tell that to the illegal immigrants you folks like to screech about, who now provide the labor force at pretty much every meat-packing plant in the country - often for wages much less than minimum. There's another job that used to be unionized and used to provide living wages to the people who did the hard, dirty, dangerous work. Now we just import slaves to do it. And that top 10% pockets the difference in the labor cost.

Sorry, but wealth disparity is at the root of every economic problem we have, pretty much. The government can address it in really only 2 ways: higher taxation for higher incomes/levels of wealth or higher mandatory wages. You're moaning about #1 while at the same time insisting that #2 is impossible, though somehow, it used to be possible. Your "prescription" here is that this is a problem that SHOULD NOT be addressed, even as it pulls our economy further and further down. You'll feel the pinch too at some point. So, yes, I HAVE answered your question - but it's not what you want to hear, which is that things can work just fine if a handful of people own everything, and the vast majority have nothing. Sorry, not gonna happen.

Posted by: JennOfArk | July 20, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Nah, not even a nice try here guys. Obama promised us that unemployment would not exceed 8%. He failed. If you don't agree with my assessment, why not read Richard Cohen's op ed right here on the WaPo web site?

And the abyssal ignorance of simple economics continues to be displayed here.

BTW gang, businesses don't pay taxes, their customers do. If you don't believe me, well I suggest a trip to the IRS web site wherein this simple fact of life is described in language designed to overcome even the meanest intellect.

so when liberals yammer about taking it to businesses, what they are really doing is demanding still more of our money.

And no one has answered Mark's question either: when will the liberals have enough? His argument is based on readily available IRS data. There are spreadsheets galore there that prove his point: the amount of tax paid by high earners is disproportionately higher than the amount of income the recieve.

Taxing the rich is a silly game. What was it that Bloomberg said? Oh yeah, 40,000 families in NYC pay half the taxes. Raise that and they'll leave. Then what?

As the confiscation of the results of success becomes more common, as the insatiable appetite that liberals have for other people's money continue to result in depredations on the American public the urge to succeed will die. Niall Ferguson just said as much out in Aspen.

So Jenn, how's that success envy thing going for you? If you hit it big with your business, do you think your tune will change? When the government snatches a large portion of your hard earned and money to use as they see fit will you resent it even a little? Here comes a test of your true liberality honey.

don't disappoint the likes of srw3 and rukidding. Be true to you school sweetie. Smile and pony up. Millions on section 8 housing allowances are counting on you!

Posted by: skipsailing28 | July 20, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

@RUK: Thanks for the complement.

"Again is it really a good thing for this nation morally, intrinsically, and economically for 90% of the wealth to be held by 10% with the remaining 90% left to scramble for the remaining 10%?"

This is the kind of wealth distribution that existed during the Roaring 20's, just before the great depression.

But at least the plutocrats and oligarchs obey the golden rule...Those that have the gold make the rules.

The idea that the wealthy (<200k/year), the rich (<1,000,000/yr), and the plutocrats (<5,000,000) are going to act in the interests of the greater society and their own long term interest (an impoverished populace can't buy enough to keep the plutocrats rolling in money) by promoting policies that help the vast majority of people is not consistent with the economic history of the US. The greater the wealth inequality in a society, the less stable it becomes and that is not good for anyone. If present trends continue, the US will look more and more like the banana republics with a tiny class of plutocrats and oligarchs and a mostly impoverished population barely scraping by.

Posted by: srw3 | July 20, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

skip - I've been in the top 10% bracket before. During the Clinton years, when the rates were higher than they are now. I was just happy to be earning that much, so no, my "tune" didn't change.

Not all of us are little Gollums like yourself, obsessing over your precious.

Posted by: JennOfArk | July 20, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

srw3: "The greater the wealth inequality in a society, the less stable it becomes and that is not good for anyone."

It's not just the stability - under your scenario the wealthy end up with LESS WEALTH than they would have had in a system with a broader sharing of wealth. Which they seem to think they'd be ok with, as long as it means they've got 10,000 times more than anyone else instead of just 1,000 times more.

Posted by: JennOfArk | July 20, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

JennofArk....I LOVE you past few posts. You should have taken on Blanche in Arkansas!

You have captured the very essence of what is killing America.

I've linked more times than I care to remember to a site that pointed out what you have just said. And the ominous conclusion of that site is that...forget Mark's fairness arguments although you have done a masterful job deflating them...
forget everything except one essential fact...research shows that when economies(research done in a variety of countries with a variety of governments) of nations start featuring bad wealth distribution the economy falters. That's correct Mark...forget fairness...when the rich keep too much pie for themselves the economy becomes less productive and it's bad for EVERYONE..rich, middle class, and poor alike. And that is the real tragedy of what the R's are trying to peddle. They are literally destroying our country.

And we haven't even addressed what happens when a few in the oligarchy become very very weathy when their nation goes to war.
FACT. Cheney and Rumsfeld grew mind numblingly wealthy thanks to organizations and positions they created for THEMSELVES that arose out of the Iraq conflict.

I realize the apologists like Skip will simply say Cheney and Rumsfeld worked hard and EARNED THAT MONEY...I say Skip and the other "informed" R's should have paid more attention...yes again to that great Republican Eisenhower who are warned of the growing Military Industrial Complex.
Ike was a prescient as Nostradamus and Cheney/Haliburton and Rummy and his company are the exact proof of Ike's pudding.

Posted by: rukidding7 | July 20, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

RUK and Jenn, thank you again for the dialogue.

35 years ago, a college student working part-time and an entry level clerk married, and filed a joint federal tax return for the first time. On $11,000 of income, the federal tax was $1,000. These young folks were not happy about the tax, but they felt like they had a stake in what was going on--they were stakeholders.

Now, a huge fraction of the people pay no tax. And, as you folks point out, the income and wealth disparities have rarely been so wide. And everybody hates the multimmillion Wall Street bonus babies.

I'm concerned about the disparities. I'm more concerned about maintaining the incentives that made this the most prosperous society on the planet. You can fry up the goose that lays golden eggs and have a one-time banquet for the poor. A better way might be to rebuild our education system to make it more true than ever before, that each one of us has the opportunity to unlock the highest fraction of our own potential.

I'm not positive about the best way forward. But I do know, if you raise the cost of labor arbitrarily, there will be less jobs. If you attack investors of capital, there will be less capital investment (you know, the stuff that builds the stores and offices and factories we work in, and equips our plants, and buys airplanes and trucks for FedEx.) And if you launch too much burdensome and costly legislation at employers, there will be less economic vitality. These are facts, not opinions.

Been interesting, thank you. Back to serving the rest of society (they pay me money because I provide them with value). I'll have a chance later to catch up.

Posted by: mark31 | July 20, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Is that the braying of the beasts in the field or did ss28 post again?

Don't feed the trolls.

@RUK: good luck with your business. My wife is a small business owner as well. Still above water (not by much) after 9 years, and yet she is as committed to progressive causes as I am, so I don't fear for your economic soul. ;-)

Posted by: srw3 | July 20, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Mark31 Thank you as well for the dialogue.
I've often wondered if I could find more thoughtful ideas from the right if I went to blogs like RedState or Drudge. By my cursory visits there certainly didn't feed my inquisitive mind. And in fairness I can see where comments on HuffPo are anathema to conservatives.

However Mark on this blog I have enjoyed the good fortune of engaging a few from the "other" side who actually tried reason.

You made a couple of points that are very reasonable and so I'd like to address them.

"I'm not positive about the best way forward. But I do know, if you raise the cost of labor arbitrarily, there will be less jobs. If you attack investors of capital, there will be less capital investment (you know, the stuff that builds the stores and offices and factories we work in, and equips our plants, and buys airplanes and trucks for FedEx.) "

Nobody is looking to raise the cost of labor arbitrarily...the key word being ARBITRARY. We now have a world economy and the reality is that any addressing of fair wages and working conditions will now rest on the ability of the rest of the world...not just US...trying to convince China, India and others to start observing conventions the West has been living by since WWII. Like you Mark I do not know the way forward but it's hard to believe we haven't been sold out by everybody...yes including many Dems if not most.

As for your second point about "attacking" the investors of capital...might have had SOME validity in the 50's...through perhaps the 70's...but we now live in a global economy and the "investors of capital" have shown they have zero patriotism or could care squat about "regular" Americans. Our investor class is a huge part of the problem. The ends justifies the means. So if moving a factory to China makes the wealthy investors even MORE wealthy...who give a rat's arse about the Americans who have lost those jobs. I guess where we might differ Mark is you want to limit what we do for the workers in our country out of fear of their being priced out of their jobs by the international labor force...that is a valid point..however my solution would be to spend more time jawboning China, India and others into spreading their wealth as well and paying their workers. I wish U.S. "investors' "business owners" cared as much about their employees than their bottom line. I realize that at some point companies have to do whatever to survive...but we have really tilted the economy to the wealthy and the corporations in a manner that is only matched by the "Gilded Age" of the late 1800's and their "Gospel of Wealth"...yes they actually used their Christianity to proclaim that the wealthy were blessed by God and that the poor were suffering because of God's disfavor. That preceded 1929 and Great Depression.
I think perhaps we'd agree Mark that what we are really discussing is the "balance' in the choices we make...and I appreciate you for not being black and white.

Posted by: rukidding7 | July 20, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

@mark31: Now, a huge fraction of the people pay no tax.

This is totally false. In fact, people at less than or at the median income +20% PAY A HIGHER SHARE OF THEIR INCOME IN TOTAL TAXES THAN MOST PEOPLE MAKING 6 FIGURES OR MORE! Please stop repeating this transparent falsehood.

There are poor and working poor people that pay no federal income tax because the earned income tax credit and/or the standard deduction equals or exceeds their federal income tax burden, but those are people making far less than the median income. Since the recession has been the more devastating for them than for any other income group, I can't see trying to squeeze more taxes out of them, especially since they pay the same payroll tax rate as warren buffett.

" If you attack investors of capital, there will be less capital investment (you know, the stuff that builds the stores and offices and factories we work in, and equips our plants, and buys airplanes and trucks for FedEx.)"

I don't believe anyone on this site has advocated "attacking" anyone. Having those making over 200K go back to paying what they did during the Clinton years (I would rather go back to what they paid at the middle of the Reagan admin ~45% for the top rate) isn't attacking anyone. I think the problem with the tax code is that it isn't progressive enough. Why should someone at 500k pay the same rate as someone at 5000k? As incomes climb into the stratosphere, I can see raising those marginal tax rates a bit.

And if you launch too much burdensome and costly legislation at employers, there will be less economic vitality.

How much regulation is "too burdensome"? Every single regulation has been predicted to end capitalism as we know it by industry advocates. That is what banks said when the FDIC was brought into existence. That is what business said when OSHA regulations were put in place. That is what power companies said when the clean air and water acts were passed. Somehow, we have managed to avoid the end of capitalism as we know it, even with regulations.

These are facts, not opinions.

No, they are your opinions. You are welcome to them, but don't confuse them with objective economic realities. The facts are that income and wealth disparities are as as large now as they were during the 20's, just before the great depression. That is a fact.

Posted by: srw3 | July 20, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

@RUK: Thank you for being civil to mark 31. It really does help the dialog to have a more conservative poster here, as long as they don't just repeat talking points with no actual arguments to back them up.

@mark31: Thank you for responding. We do differ on many matters, but I appreciate your tone and at least the willingness to address the subject of the thread in an adult manner. I do wish you would stop repeating the meme about people not paying taxes, as it is not true. Still, compared to some other posters who shall remain nameless, you are like an Aristotle of the right.

Posted by: srw3 | July 20, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

@RUK: Thank you for being civil to mark 31. It really does help the dialog to have a more conservative poster here, as long as they don't just repeat talking points with no actual arguments to back them up.

@mark31: Thank you for responding. We do differ on many matters, but I appreciate your tone and at least the willingness to address the subject of the thread in an adult manner. I do wish you would stop repeating the meme about people not paying taxes, as it is not true. Still, compared to some other posters who shall remain nameless, you are like an Aristotle of the right.

Posted by: srw3 | July 20, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

sorry for the double post...

Posted by: srw3 | July 20, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I am pretty sure that all Republicans asked was that Democrats abide by the rules they themselves just put into place, requiring all spending bills to designate from where the money is coming, AKA "Pay-Go," which Dems appear to have abandoned the instant they passed it, preferring to borrow from the Chinese and pass on the debt for additional pocket money now to our great-grandkids decades on end. I even recall that they suggested President Obama could use money from the much-maligned "stimulus," (which hasn't stimulated anything except the national debt) that hasn't even been spent yet, and simply redirect it.

But it appears to me that Democrats are more interested in spending the republic into oblivion than finding real solutions to a debt that is spiralling out of control faster than a payday lending customer's. And that, ultimately, is what concerns the middle class, more than whether this 4-month extension passed.

Posted by: INTJ | July 20, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

SRW/RUK, you are welcome.

Yes, I was talking narrowly about the federal income tax and did not give credit to the wide variety of other (sometimes regressive) taxes that everybody pays.

The point about regulation is acknowledged. I fell for the idea that the Clean Air Act would wipe out industry, then watched very dramatic environmental improvements unfold while industry survived. That's why I try to be civil--I know I am not always right. (But sometimes I write like an @hole). At the same time, the costs sometimes outweight the benefits--and we all pay the costs.

We could argue the fine points all night long, but let me say the exchange of views has been enjoyable. Thanks.

And just for the record, Beck and Hannity annoy me, I do not listen to Rush or watch Fox news. Our differences are deep and fundamental, but they do not spring from a shallow well.

Posted by: mark31 | July 20, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

To Liam, JennofArk, and others, a few facts, which are as John Adams said, stubborn things:

1. Clinton did not produce 8 surpluses, his budgets produced three, from 1998-2000 (4 if you count the FY 2001 budget which Bush also touched), and those all occurred from 1998 on, after Republicans took over both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years. In fact, a Democrat President with a Democrat Congress had only produced one balanced budget during that entire period (FY 1969, a transition year involving both Johnson and Nixon), and that had more to do with reduced spending on Vietnam than anything else. So don't go there.

2. Bush was far from fiscally restrained, but he, too, inherited a recession from Clinton/Gore, which was followed by the economic meltdown after 9/11, so there were some challenges. But his tax cuts benefited everyone, not just "the rich," his economy held steady (in spite of two wars, the tax cuts you hate, and the paranoia of 9/11) until - coincidentally? -after Dems took both houses of Congress again.

3. People at the top of the marginal rates (which, by the by, isn't me) do NOT pay less than people at the bottom. There are even people at the bottom who get a "refund" of more than they had withheld, which is confusing, to say the least. It is certainly possible to deduct much of their income to pay less than you think they should, but that is the fault of a tax code which invites abuse through its own complexity, not of the marginal tax rate itself. And it makes no earthly sense to tax "wealth," as that is merely income + capital gains which have been previously taxed, and certainly is a disincentive to savings.

4. A progressive tax is certainly not a fair tax. The ONLY tax which is completely fair is a flat tax. Why should someone who pays 10 times what I earn pay 50 times what I pay? That doesn't fit any definition of "fairness" that I ever heard (least of all the Bible's, which is 10% across the board).

You can congratulate yourselves all you want for "deflating" arguments and using "logic," but it is clear you have no clue what those terms really mean.

Posted by: INTJ | July 20, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

@intj:But his tax cuts benefited everyone, not just "the rich,"

True, everyone who pays federal income tax did get a benefit, but all benefits are not equal. The pesky detail is that:

"Based on an exhaustive analysis of tax records and census data, the study reinforced the sense that while Mr. Bush’s tax cuts reduced rates for people at every income level, they offered the biggest benefits by far to people at the very top — especially the top 1 percent of income earners."--nyt

"This year the top 1% of wage earners got 52% of the bush tax cuts....Over the ten-year period, the richest Americans—the best-off one percent—are slated to receive tax cuts totaling almost half a trillion dollars. The $477 billion in tax breaks the Bush administration has targeted to this elite group will average $342,000 each over the decade."--ctj

his economy held steady

His economy was running higher deficits than any previous administration in history, so its not surprising that the economy was doing OK. Of course, when the economy is good, that is the time to lower deficits or even run surpluses as Clinton did for the last 3 years of his admin, but instead, Bush just kept piling up debt, by not paying for
2 wars
2 rounds of tax cuts
medicare d.

My personal balance sheet would look pretty good too, if I just put all my spending on the national credit card and not pay it off.

(in spite of two wars,

Hard to feel sorry for Bush on this since he abandoned Afghanistan before it was stable and launched the US into a war of choice under false pretenses. Any bad things, like the trillion in debt the Iraq debacle has cost, belong solely to Bush.


the tax cuts you hate, (see above)

and the paranoia of 9/11)

And who exactly created, nurtured, and grew that paranoia? That would be Bush and the republicans, who used support for the war as a litmus test of a person's loyalty to the country as opposed to conceding that an american who (it turns out correctly) thought that the war was a mistake could also be a loyal american. It was the height of demagoguery.

until - coincidentally? -after Dems took both houses of Congress again.

So during the "great run" the economy had during the Bush years, what was happening to the deficit? And lets not forget the housing bubble, spurred on by lax regulation of the mortgage industry during the Bush administration. And the building crisis on Wall st, brought on by Bush's appointees allowing wall st to "self-regulate". Its too bad that all those chickens came home to roost in the form of the biggest economic crisis since 1929 before Bush could go back to Texas and blame it all on the dems, as you are trying (unsuccessfully, it turns out) to do.

Posted by: srw3 | July 20, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

INTJ - I'm well aware of how many surplusses Clinton produced - please cut and paste anything that even hinted otherwise.

As for the garbage about crediting the GOP Congress for those surplusses, don't YOU go there. The surplusses resulted from both budget-cutting measures AND tax hikes implemented by Clinton in his 1993 budget package - tax hikes that Republicans swore would stop the economy dead in its tracks. Who was wrong there?

Bush inheirited an economy going into recession, but don't even try to make 9/11 the fall guy for his deficits. He had us back in deficits by August of 2001, BEFORE 9/11, thanks to his tax giveaways to the wealthiest Americans. He then proceeded to start 2 wars and push a huge Medicare prescription drug plan WITHOUT making any attempt to pay for any of them. And the GOP Congress supported him in all of those. As for how his tax cuts "benefitted" everyone, go take a look at the charts - employment under Bush didn't reach the level of Dec. 2000 until late 2005, and then it was all built on a real estate bubble the Republicans failed to notice or address. Meanwhile, rich people had their tax cuts. If by "the economy held steady" you mean "the economy continued to suck for everyone who wasn't rich", that's accurate, but it's hardly a point in his favor.

People at the top don't pay LESS than people at the bottom, they pay less as a PERCENTAGE OF INCOME as those at the bottom. Feel free to cut and paste where anyone claimed differently. You seem to argue that it would be unfair if they did, in fact, pay a higher percentage (most of them do not, thanks to helpful tax code loopholes), which merely illustrates how infantile your thinking is.

Suppose I own a trucking company. I have 20 employees whom I pay $40K per year each. My company makes a $2 million profit every year over and above expenses, which is what I'm paid. I pay out about $650K in federal income tax because I haven't taken advantage of any loopholes. But, my trucks create $3 million worth of damage to the highways each year.

Now, according to you geniuses, it's MORE FAIR to tax my employees more heavily to pay for damages to public infrastructure caused in service of making ME rich. Meanwhile, my $1.35 million per year after-tax income is being entirely subsidized by the public whose roads I destroyed to get that money.

So...hells yes I should expect to pay more. Even if I paid twice as much, someone else would still be picking up part of the tab for the damage to public property I've created.

And examples of this type abound. So stop whining.

Posted by: JennOfArk | July 20, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

@intj: Democrat President with a Democrat Congress had only produced one balanced budget during that entire period.

That's a good one! How many balanced budgets did the republicans under bush pass? 0!!! Ouch!!!

" And it makes no earthly sense to tax "wealth," as that is merely income + capital gains which have been previously taxed, and certainly is a disincentive to savings."

There is only 1 asset class that people outside the top 5% of wage earners have by and large, real estate in the form of a family's home. And guess what asset class is taxed while all other asset classes are tax free? Real estate. Why should other asset classes be left untaxed when the only taxed asset class happens to be the only one that non wealthy people might have?

"Why should someone who pays 10 times what I earn pay 50 times what I pay?"

Aside from the fact that your statement is nonsensical (I think you meant someone who earns 10 times what I earn) I will try to type slowly so you can grasp this concept. Marginal tax rates.

someone making 50K pays about $8700 in taxes about 17%

Someone making 100k pays about 21k or about 21%.

Someone making 500K pays about 150k or about 30%.

So someone with double the income pays only about 4% more in taxes as a % of income.

Someone with 10x as much income pays less than double in taxes as a % of income.

The horrible unfairness of it all. That 100k guy probably has to go to the food pantry with that evil extra tax he has to pay.

Sorry you don't like progressive taxation. Every industrialized democracy has a more progressive tax structure than the US and somehow they all are able to survive. In fact, the countries with the most progressive taxation, the nordic countries, actually are in better shape than other european countries with less progressive systems. Imagine that...But by all means, try to make the case for a flat tax. I don't think that most americans will agree that the wealthiest among us should get another huge tax cut, but that is what elections are for. Steve Forbes did great in his runs for president promoting the flat tax. I am sure that it will be equally popular now...Should we also have a flat payroll tax so that warren buffett pays the same % of his income in payroll taxes as I do?

Posted by: srw3 | July 20, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

2intj: I should add re: taxes, that most of the >$250k crowd pay far less than this rough calculation because:

this doesn't include the regressive payroll tax

some or most of their income is from dividends and interest which are taxed at a lower rate

and they can afford tax accountants to work the system. So in practice, rich people do pay a smaller % of their income in taxes.

This does not include state, local, gas, reale state, etc. taxes which make the system even more regressive.

I would happily pay twice the tax rate on 10 times the income. Any rich people want to switch and take advantage of my groovy lower income and tax rate?

And the bible as your guidance for tax policy...really???? I guess I can smite my neighbor for working on sunday and stone David Vitter for being an adulterer as well. Good times!!!

Posted by: srw3 | July 20, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

"Should we also have a flat payroll tax so that warren buffett pays the same % of his income in payroll taxes as I do?"

srw3 - I think you just solved the problem! That would pay for free universal healthcare and reasonable retirement benefits for everyone, as well as safety-net funding for unemployment. We could even start getting some child care benefits up in here!

Posted by: JennOfArk | July 20, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

This is another extension of jobless benefits. This is a terrible sign for the state of the economy. All these people commenting about how this is a good move for the dems or repubs are really living in a bubble. The gov't has pumped an unprecedented amount of money into the economy to no effect. This is a huge red flag and everyone is carrying on like idiots acting like it's some sort of chess game. You people should be really worried about your future. By the way liberals tax cuts don't add to the deficit, you're not entitled to someone else's money despite the brainwashing you've undergone. Spending adds to the deficit. Spending can be cut overnight.

Posted by: peterg73 | July 20, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

"By the way liberals tax cuts don't add to the deficit, you're not entitled to someone else's money despite the brainwashing you've undergone. Spending adds to the deficit."

That's pretty asinine, actually, since it sums up Republican game policy: cut taxes, when it causes inevitable deficits, insist that the tax cuts for rich people are inviolable and the only way to do things are to cut the things the rest of us have been paying into all along - like unemployment, and social security, and medicare. This is like finding you have a household budget deficit due to a cutback in hours at the plant, and deciding that you should stop paying the mortgage so you can keep the shiny new boat you just bought.

The irony in all of this is, wealthy people actually were making MORE money under Clinton with his higher tax rates than they ever made under Bush with his tax dispensations. It's got nothing to do with what makes sense from even the point of a healthy invigorated economy and everything to do with the GOP's continuing campaign to destroy any type of safety net for people whose lives don't always run perfectly smoothly due to the cushion of vast wealth.

Posted by: JennOfArk | July 20, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Ethan2010...

Being a leftist means "a good crises (or a good lie) is too valuable to waste".

Your statement, "Since Obama became POTUS the private sector has been hiring people in vastly higher numbers than under Bush."

Obama promised unemployment would not pass 8% is he was authorized to spend billions of "stimulus" dollars. Of course he knew it was a lie when he made the promise. Claiming the bill was a "success" and that the "recovery" created 4 million new jobs proved to be a lie.

It's an old universal tactic in politics. "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it". Problem is, people are beginning to see through it.

My advice to you, and others from the far left, is to tone it down a little. John Q. Public, small business owners and those that are out of work simply aren't buying it.

Posted by: avatar666 | July 21, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

"Majorities favor extending benefits even if it increases the deficit."

That's a problem, but nanny-state policies are always popular, i.e., everyone loves something for nothing. California is learning the hard way "nothing is free". It won't be long before we too will learn the same lesson. It has nothing to do with compassion and empathy for one another and everything to do with common sense.

Posted by: avatar666 | July 21, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

"Everyone has a stake in needs and functions of government, so everyone should pay. Once you’ve removed huge sections of people from paying anything, what incentive do they have to demand controlled spending? None. After that, they’ll always vote for the candidate who gives them the most handouts — after all, they’re not paying for it."

Posted by: avatar666 | July 21, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Can we put one of these panaceas to rest?

Eliminating the payroll tax cap has this effect on the marginal tax rates of a self-employed person or S corp small businessperson, (not a rich one):

income tax rate 28%
state inc. tax 6% (depends on where you live)
payroll taxes 15.3%

Total: about 50%, up from 34% without the payroll tax.

You won't have the tax revenue because economic activity will choke at those rates.

Profit is the source of 100% of the wealth in the country. It is derived by free people trading for their mutual benefit. A little more respect for this concept would go a long way towards getting to solutions.

Posted by: mark31 | July 21, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

WAPO, why not report as ABC did that a provision was slipped into the health care bill that will allow the government to tax and register physical gold transactions. Google "abc gold coin sellers angered by new law". I believe this is more than a little newsworthy no?

Posted by: thebink | July 21, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

i like how sargent operates from the assumption that taking 35 billion from the wildly unpopular stimulus bill and putting it to better more stimulative use is simply out of the question. why do that when you can just borrow the money? brain-dead.

Posted by: dummypants | July 21, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Barak Obama and Hilary Clinton,The Bilderberg Group, are war mongering to start World War III with Iran! American and Israeli ships are sitting off-shore of Iran, Sabre rattling and war mongering, to the orders of Obama, Hilary Clinton and the Global Elitist Bilderberg Group!
They are also Expanding the war with Pakistan greatly!
A former senior advisor to President Bill Clinton says that the only thing which can rescue Barack Obama’s increasingly tenuous grip on power as his approval figures continue to plunge is a terror attack on the scale of Oklahoma City or 9/11, another startling reminder that such events only ever serve to benefit those in authority.
Buried in a Financial Times article about Obama’s “growing credibility crisis” and fears on behalf of Democrats that they could lose not only the White House but also the Senate to Republicans, Robert Shapiro makes it clear that Obama is relying on an October surprise in the form of a terror attack to rescue his presidency.
“The bottom line here is that Americans don’t believe in President Obama’s leadership,” said Shapiro, adding, “He has to find some way between now and November of demonstrating that he is a leader who can command confidence and, short of a 9/11 event or an Oklahoma City bombing, I can’t think of how he could do that.”
Shapiro’s veiled warning should not be dismissed lightly. He was undersecretary of commerce for economic affairs dung Clinton’s tenure in the Oval Office and also acted as principal economic adviser to Clinton in his 1991-1992 campaign. Shapiro is now Director of the Globalization Initiative of NDN and also Chair of the Climate Task Force. He is a prominent globalist who has attended numerous Bilderberg Group meetings over the past decade.
Complete article at: http://my.auburnjournal.com/detail/154412.html
Two minute Newsclip - TWO Party Paradyne System News clip:
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/2824363/the_obama_deception_extra_part_2/

Posted by: PaulRevere4 | July 28, 2010 11:22 PM | Report abuse

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