Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Even with tax cuts, GOP appears willing to shoot the hostage

By Adam Serwer

Adam Serwer is a staff writer at The American Prospect, where he writes his own blog.

The debate on ABC's This Week between former Reagan Office of Management and Budget director David Stockman and Indiana Rep. Mike Pence (R) was instructive in how Republicans view their immediate policy priorities. While Stockman was urging expiration of the Bush tax cuts to reduce the deficit, Pence insisted that they should be extended, because Republicans aren't so much interested in reducing the deficit as they are cutting taxes for the wealthy, and they've done an excellent job of convincing the media to avoid noting the contradiction. 

On 60 Minutes, President Obama indicated he'd be willing to compromise with Republicans by extending the tax cuts for the middle class permanently while possibly agreeing to a temporary extension of the cuts for the wealthy. House Republican Whip Eric Cantor, meanwhile, said Republicans would refuse the White House proposal to "decouple" the rates in such a manner.

A comment from an anonymous GOP operative reinforces the political dynamic I described last week:

Republicans, meanwhile, have been less accommodating, with some suggesting that they could simply hold off until January, when they will control the House and hold a stronger hand in the Senate. That would set the stage for a more powerful push to permanently extend all the cuts -- the preferred GOP alternative.

"They might blame GOP obstructionism. But, you know, people are going to start missing a lot of money in their weekly paychecks in January. And there's only going to be one person in the White House," said a Republican House aide, speaking on condition of anonymity to describe party thinking.

Republicans win if the Bush tax cuts get made permanent, and they win if the tax cuts expire. If its the former, Republicans get their preferred policy option. If it's the latter, they get to accuse Obama of raising taxes. The way the White House really loses politically is if the tax cuts simply expire, since even if the White House capitulates to Republicans on making all the tax cuts permanent the administration gets to claim they worked with Republicans to cut taxes.

But because Republicans win either way, they have no incentive to compromise, and can simply hold out for whatever they want. The more willing to negotiate the White House appears, the more likely Republicans are to move the goal posts. As with health-care reform, Republicans are left with the stronger negotiating position because they're willing to shoot the hostage. The deficit doesn't matter, and even preserving tax cuts for the wealthy comes second to the Republicans' primary goal, which is to destroy the president

By Adam Serwer  | November 8, 2010; 10:49 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, House GOPers, Senate Republicans  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Morning Plum
Next: Minority leader Nancy Pelosi would play rough with GOP

Comments

If Obama vetoes the middle class tax cut extension, he will (rightly) be portrayed as shooting the hostage.

Posted by: clawrence12 | November 8, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

The way the White House really loses politically is if the tax cuts simply expire.

*****

I disagree. There is, imo, NO way for the Dems to win on this issue politically. No matter what they do, they lose. That being the case the best thing for Dems to do is let them all expire for the sake of the economy.

Why will Dems lose this no matter what? Several reasons:

1) 95% of the population got a huge tax cut as part of the stimulus, but roughly 2/3 of people think taxes went up. What makes anyone think Obama and the Dems will get credit for another tax cut when they didn't get credit for the last one? Here is an interesting link on what happened with the last round of tax cuts: http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-11-06/obamas-tax-cut-how-rush-limbaugh-misled-the-country/?cid=hp:mainpromo2

2) The tax cuts up for extension are and will always be the "Bush Tax Cuts." Any credit for passing such extensions will go to the GOP.

Posted by: nisleib | November 8, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Obama is on a slipperly slope in this lame duck session.

Remember unemployment insurance still has to be extended - so that is going to be there.

Obama is on a slipperly slope in the next Congress too. Obama himself is a lame duck if he has not defined a relevant role for himself. That means compromise. If Obama compromises, he has a role. If Obama does not compromise, Obama has a dramatically diminished role.

Posted by: BeautifulBeginning | November 8, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

The obscene spending by government bureaucrats is to blame for our troubles. Impose an immediate hiring freeze for federal workers. Eliminate unecessary federal agencies. Cut, cut , cut it to the bone and then cut some more.

You've got to cut so deep it hurts. Then and only then will we start seeing black again without bleeding the citizenry dry.

More taxes are the last resort of political scoundrels. It is tantamount to stealing and extortion. Look at the shameful condition of places like California. It's finacial bedlam.

Posted by: battleground51 | November 8, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

The issue is the issue.

The democrats should not take on a "class struggle" issue - and Obama especially should not play into the hands of those who have portrayed him as a socialist.


Obama's supporters argue Obama is not a socialist, and then Obama goes on television and starts his "250,000" tax bracket thing.

Obama doesn't realize how much that hurts him. Obama has too much Black Liberation Theology in him to care.

The other thing, is two-income households on both coasts - they don't see 250K family income as really, really rich.


Obama doesn't get it.

Posted by: BeautifulBeginning | November 8, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

"Willing to shoot the hostage" is exactly the right terminology for the insane, unethical, inhumane approach of the GOP.

It's just shocking to see it in print.

Posted by: benintn | November 8, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Great post, Adam.

Summary:

When the GOP controls the WH the President's word is sacred and you are a traitor if you don't support him. Dems hunker down and try to keep the GOP from wrecking the gov't. They try to govern from the minority.

When the Dems control the WH it's all hands on deck for the GOP to attack everything the Pres does and all policies are opposed. No interest whatsoever in governance. Minority party's job, for the GOP, is total blitzkrieg opposition. No governance since they don't believe in it anyway.

Posted by: BGinCHI | November 8, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I have no sympathy for the Dems on this one. They were in power for four years and they knew about this expiration date the entire time. They are guilty of political malpractice. Trying to accuse the GOP now of being heartless is just whining because you played the game poorly and got backed into a corner.

Posted by: sbj3 | November 8, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

"Cut, cut , cut it to the bone and then cut some more."

Oh, good grief, that's just crazy talk. Laid off federal and state workers don't spend money.

On the tax cuts, this makes me crazy - the dems should have forced a vote BEFORE the recess. Instead, we had lily-livered centrists wringing their hands over the prospect of republican attack ads. Well, they got the attacks anyway, and now the country is going to get reamed by $700 billion in checks to people who don't need them. What a disaster.

Posted by: lcrider1 | November 8, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

A hopelessly naive scenario:

The House passes a bill extending all of the Bush-era tax cuts. The Senate passes a bill extending just those for people making less than $250k. They go to conference committee and something looking like a bargain emerges.

What will probably happen:

Senate Republicans filibuster and the tax cuts expire.

Posted by: klautsack | November 8, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

lcrider1 -

Nobody screws up a sure thing like the Democrats.

Posted by: klautsack | November 8, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Adam Sewer needs to check his facts and be honest before pretending that he or the feckless Democrat leadership really care about deficits.

The tax cuts Obama wants to keep will cost 2.2 TRILLION over 10 years.

The tax cuts for "the rich" will cost $700 BILLION over 10 years.

Ergo, it is impossible for Obama to keep the middle class tax rate AND claim to want deficit reduction.

Posted by: BoiledFrog | November 8, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Of course, tax cuts don't "cost" anything. Tax cuts are simply letting people keep more of the money they earned - this is a point that will forever elude Democrat apologists like Adam Sewer.

Posted by: BoiledFrog | November 8, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"I have no sympathy for the Dems on this one. They were in power for four years and they knew about this expiration date the entire time. They are guilty of political malpractice. Trying to accuse the GOP now of being heartless is just whining because you played the game poorly and got backed into a corner."

You must be dizzy after that spin sbj3.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | November 8, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

BoiledFrog -

Deficits don't matter. Rinse. Repeat.

Oh, wait, it's a Democrat in office??

Deficits are killing us!! This is how Hitler got started!! With deficits!! Our once great nation is torn asunder!!

Nov. 3, 2010.

Deficits don't matter. Rinse. Repeat.

Posted by: klautsack | November 8, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

The problem with Republicans is that they like to max out the federal credit card.

The problem with Democrats is that they like to max out the federal credit card and then print up more credit cards with higher limits.

You got to pick the least of the two evils and the choice has become obvious.

Give us a better choice and we'll take it.

Posted by: battleground51 | November 8, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

"Of course, tax cuts don't "cost" anything."

When we've got a massive budget deficit they do. Why should 95% of Americans kids and grand-kids have to pay for tax cuts to the top 5%?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | November 8, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

klaut-

Bingo! We have a winner.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | November 8, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@BeautifulBeginning:The other thing, is two-income households on both coasts - they don't see 250K family income as really, really rich.


well, that just means that those couples are unaware of the reality that they are in thetop 2% of all income earners. talk about false consciousness!

and the solution is simple. allow the income tax rates to reset and propose a payroll tax holiday that gives back the amount that the 100k and less people lost. let the repubs campaign against that.

Posted by: srw3 | November 8, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@Mike: "You must be dizzy after that spin sbj3."

Truth hurts sometimes. The Dems planned all along to use this issue against the GOP - they waited too long and got burned by circumstances. There's no spin involved here. This is a problem entirely of the Dems' own making. Adam is accusing the GOP of playing politics - stop the presses!

(I *am* a bit dizzy, though - eustachian tube problem. Hope you are in good health.)

Posted by: sbj3 | November 8, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

So destroying the President is Job One, and if the United States is destroyed in the process...well, that's just unfortunate collateral damage.

Not to worry though, ALL of the Republicans making this calculation, will not personally be harmed by the total destruction of the "other 9/10" of the country.

Posted by: bcinaz | November 8, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Adam:

WHO is the hostage? The American People? The Economy???


or is it Obama's attempt at class warfare?


A little confused at who is shooting who.

Posted by: BeautifulBeginning | November 8, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Battleground

It was the GOP who killed Paygo.

The Dems at least try to set up dedicated funding streams for their key legislation like HCR, the GOP does no such thing (see Medicare Part D and Iraq / Afgan wars.) The GOP cut taxes in a time of war; that just isn't done.

Democrats, for better or worse, are now the party of the fiscally sane, conservatives are the party of "Tax cuts for Paris Hilton pay for themselves."

Posted by: nisleib | November 8, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

battleground51 -

So, that is, what will the Republicans cut in order to keep us within our credit card limits? Let's forget about the Bush tax cuts for a moment. What will the Republicans be cutting in order to get the debt and deficit under control?

Posted by: klautsack | November 8, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

BginChi

did you start another bar fight this weekend? you sound unusually combative

Posted by: BeautifulBeginning | November 8, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Ah Christ. I can't wait for the next two years of arguing about tax cuts and cutting government.

What about climate change? Oh, wait-Rove said "climate is over". In more ways than one.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | November 8, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

battleground51, take a look at this:

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/252715/palin-bernanke-cease-and-desist-robert-costa#

Did you see my link the the Heritage Foundation on the previous thread with $343 billion in proposed cuts?

Posted by: clawrence12 | November 8, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Ron Paul has the right idea: cut everything we don't really need.

Leave SS and Medicare.

but cut everything else.

it would be useful to put some Libertarians in charge of drawing up the list of cuts.


.

Posted by: BeautifulBeginning | November 8, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/10/how-to-cut-343-billion-from-the-federal-budget

Posted by: clawrence12 | November 8, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Gibbs is in the tank for the press.

Even so much, Gibbs offered to sacrifice his foot for the press.

Journolist loyalty has NOTHING on Gibbs.


.

Posted by: BeautifulBeginning | November 8, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

The democrats need a better message

And they need a better image than the Three Horsemen of the democrats' demise Pelosi, Reid and Obama.


The three have them are causing the complete destruction of the democratic party, not just its agenda, but the party itself.

What will be left at the end?

Posted by: BeautifulBeginning | November 8, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

@bf:Of course, tax cuts don't "cost" anything. Tax cuts are simply letting people keep more of the money they earned - this is a point that will forever elude Democrat apologists like Adam Sewer.

Basic accounting is lost on repubs. a govt like a business has income (taxes royalties, etc) and expenses (spending). both things affect the deficit. Saying that tax cuts don't affect the deficit is just stupid and wrong.

Why is letting the law that republicans wrote and passed take effect somehow the dems fault?

Why do the tax rates expire? because they used reconciliation and reconciliation requires budget neutrality after 10 yrars, since repubs DIDN'T PAY FOR THE TAX CUTS WITH SPENDING CUTS WHEN THEY PASSED THE LAW THEY HAVE TO EXPIRE. THIS IS A PROBLEM COMPLETELY CREATED BY THE FISCALLY IRRESPONSIBLE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

Posted by: srw3 | November 8, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

@nisleib: "I disagree. There is, imo, NO way for the Dems to win on this issue politically. No matter what they do, they lose."

Sure there is. Propose a temp extension for high end and a permanent extension, plus a steep further reduction (also permanent) in middle class tax cuts, and make the Republicans vote on that. Then, not only would Republicans be arguing that they are willing to have the middle class paying more in taxes in order to prevent the rich from paying higher marginal tax rates, the Republicans would have to defend holding putting more money in the pockets of middle class citizens hostage to maintaining small reductions in the top marginal rates for rich people.

There's ways for the Democrats to play this that wins the argument, and wins over middle class voters, but it doesn't look like they are particularly interested in doing that.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 8, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

@kw: You're saying that dems be even more fiscally irrresponsible than repubs (tough to do). Its not a win for dems if revenues continue to decrease.

Posted by: srw3 | November 8, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Kevin_Willis - You are missing my point. Is there a tactical route that would give Dems a potential political advantage? Sure, maybe there is. But if the Dems were to follow that route and pass, "A temp extension for high end and a permanent extension, plus a steep further reduction (also permanent) in middle class tax cuts," the GOP would say that Dems are increasing taxes.

And the media would go along with what the Republicans told them to just like the last time Dems passed a huge tax cut.

That being the case the question is, "What is the best policy for the future of this country." In my opinion letting the Bush tax cuts expire is wiser than extending them. The multiplier for the Bush tax cuts, per Mark Zandi, is .32. There are plenty of far more stimulative things the Government could do for a lot less than what the tax cuts are costing.

Posted by: nisleib | November 8, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

All, my take on Nancy Pelosi for minority leader:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/11/nancy_pelosi_is_well_suited_to.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 8, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Mr Serwer has the full throated whiney boy thing going on this morning. My concern for Mr Serwer's well being is based on the fact that if he's this depressed on MONDAY how will he ever survive until Friday? the news ain't gonna get any better.

It is interesting that the liberals here simply never get around to discussing spending cuts (unless they're talking defense of course) but insist on tax hikes to fund the "deficit".

What they don't seem to understand is that Americans understand whence the deficit: out of control government spending. So basically the Democrats are asking the American public to fund the profligacy of the past decade.

I don't think so. some tax hikes are probably in the offing. Frankly I wouldn't mind a move to a more rational tax code and this would be a decent time to forward that idea (never let a crisis go to waste, eh?) but even more important, politically, is a move to dramatically reduce Federal spending.

In fact the performance of the federal government is very much under review by the people. Just today comes news that the Fed's stopped state bank regulators from confronting the big national banks about the foreclosure problem. The feds wouldn't let the state regulators deal with the problem and yet the Feds did nothing about it themselves. Sorta sounds like Mr Obama's approach to the Arizona Mexico border.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 8, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

@nisleib: "the GOP would say that Dems are increasing taxes."

First, the goal (politically) would be to put the GOP on the position of fighting a real cut in middle class taxes that folks would see in their paychecks next year. I already don't think they look great, and that would make them look worse.

2nd, the resonance of that ("dems are increasing taxes") is very different when it comes attached to a big tax cut for the lion's share of voters.

"There are plenty of far more stimulative things the Government could do for a lot less than what the tax cuts are costing."

Letting the Bush tax cuts on the middle class expire will not serve the Democrats politically, and losing the Whitehouse, or more seats, in 2012 and 2014 won't help pass a more stimulative agenda. And I'm not convinced that more money in the hands of the middle class isn't stimulative, and haven't seen much evidence that it's not. The middle class isn't going to hoard new money--they'll pay down existing debt and buy stuff. Take classes. Learn new skills. Etc. If food stamps are one of the most stimulative forms of government spending available, then why? Because those are people who are going to spend the money. At places that then buy more product. And so on.

A bigger middle class tax cut that really puts more money into the pockets of all middle class Americans might actually prove to be economically stimulative. Someone from some party might actually want to try it.

BTW, this is also an opportunity for Republicans to take the middle-class tax cut issue and beat the Democrats up with it. They won't do that, either. It's like they don't think that maybe a big middle class tax cut in a down economy might be a good idea.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 8, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

It is interesting that the liberals here simply never get around to discussing spending cuts

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 8, 2010 12:41 PM

Wasn't it the Dems that passed health care reform, including $500 billion in cuts to Medicare? What was the response of the GOP to these cuts?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | November 8, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

@srw3: "You're saying that dems be even more fiscally irrresponsible than repubs (tough to do). Its not a win for dems if revenues continue to decrease."

Presuming it would be fiscally irresponsible to put more money into the consumer economy by letting middle class people keep more of what they earn. I don't think that's necessarily true.

Past that, if the Democrats could make an argument for more progressive taxation of higher incomes, I don't have a problem with that, I'm just not sure they could get that, right now. What I'm suggesting is they consider owning the middle class tax cut. Right now, they don't. Extending it and calling it "the Obama tax cut" doesn't let them own it, either. Doubling-down on it--then they own it. And Republicans can own tax cuts for the rich.

Maybe that's really bad political advice, but it seems like a no-brainer to me.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 8, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

And what about the tax cut for 95% of taxpayers from the stimulus ... wasn't that a Democratic tax cut?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | November 8, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Kevin - I don't think you are understanding my point at all.

"2nd, the resonance of that ("dems are increasing taxes") is very different when it comes attached to a big tax cut for the lion's share of voters."

Only that has been shown inaccurate already, the stimulus had a big tax cut for 95% of the American people and Republicans managed to convince 2/3 of America that their taxes went up.

"And I'm not convinced that more money in the hands of the middle class isn't stimulative, and haven't seen much evidence that it's not."

Nobody is saying that. Of course it is stimulative, but just not AS stimulative as other forms of stimulus. Indeed, compared to a Job Tax Credit (multiplier of $1.60) or foodstamps (multiplier of $1.74) or extending unemployment it is far less stimulative.

"A bigger middle class tax cut that really puts more money into the pockets of all middle class Americans might actually prove to be economically stimulative. Someone from some party might actually want to try it."

Again, it has been tried already with the stimulus and it DID help, but politically the Dems got painted as "Tax Increasers" for their efforts.

Posted by: nisleib | November 8, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Kevin:

"BTW, this is also an opportunity for Republicans to take the middle-class tax cut issue and beat the Democrats up with it. They won't do that, either. It's like they don't think that maybe a big middle class tax cut in a down economy might be a good idea."

Perhaps, although it's more like they think that while a big middle class tax cut in a down economy is a good idea, a big all class tax cut in a down economy is a significantly better idea.

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 8, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps, although it's more like they think that while a big middle class tax cut in a down economy is a good idea, a big all class tax cut in a down economy is a significantly better idea.

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 8, 2010 1:24 PM


Why do they (you) think that is "a significantly better idea," Scott?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | November 8, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

come now my renamed pragmatic one. Few in America believe that Obamacare will result in any cost savings at all. The CBO supports the fact that the bill will cause costs for the government to rise.

Will congress act on the SGR initiative this year when it has kicked that can down the road at every opportunity in the past?

Will Medicare actually pay out 500 billion less this year? or over the next 10 years? I don't think so

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 8, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

@nisleib: "Again, it has been tried already with the stimulus and it DID help, but politically the Dems got painted as 'Tax Increasers' for their efforts."

Well, all I can say to that is more, better, harder, faster. (A) folks need to be able to feel it and (B) tax cuts aren't a dirty word. Democrats could have emphasized what they did there a little more.

(C) Those tax cuts were also temporary (most were temporary credits), and most will be expiring at the same time the Bush tax cuts are expiring, and nobody (as far as I know) is talking about extending them. So even if the Bush tax cuts are extended, middle class folks (who qualified) will see their taxes go up, because the tax credits that were part of the stimulus plan are expiring. Unless there was some permanent tax reduction there that I'm missing.

@ScottC3: "Perhaps, although it's more like they think that while a big middle class tax cut in a down economy is a good idea, a big all class tax cut in a down economy is a significantly better idea."

Well, I'm sure. I don't know that I agree, necessarily, but, even if true, if there's a really good argument for cutting taxes on people making $250k or over, they should be able to make that argument on its own merits, and not hold a middld class tax cut (or avoidance of tax hike) hostage to that principle.

And even so they (the Republicans) could be pushing for deeper, permanent tax cuts on the middle class, and they aren't. So I continue to regard the GOP with a look of rueful skepticism.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 8, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Which is it then, skip ... was the GOP lying when they campaigned on protecting seniors from the Medicare cuts in "Obamacare" or is the GOP lying when it claims that "Obamacare" won't result in the cuts to Medicare?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | November 8, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Kevin says, "Democrats could have emphasized what they did there a little more."

Well, sure, in fact they said it quite often, but the media didn't report it and decided to go with the "Dems raised taxes," mantra as per the GOPs wish. Which is one of the reasons why I maintain that POLITICALLY there is no way for Dems to win on this.

Posted by: nisleib | November 8, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

@nisleib: "Well, sure, in fact they said it quite often, but the media didn't report it and decided to go with the 'Dems raised taxes,' mantra as per the GOPs wish. Which is one of the reasons why I maintain that POLITICALLY there is no way for Dems to win on this."

I disagree, but let's say that's true. Then, what should they do? Give up, let the Bush tax cuts expire, perhaps just go ahead and raise taxes across the board and flip the middle class the bird? Or just focus on foodstamps and extending unemployment benefits?

I'm not sure that the only problem here is having a non-compliant media.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 8, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

pragmatic:

"Why do they (you) think that is "a significantly better idea," Scott?"

Because if more money in the pocket of one demographic will produce spending and investment, more money in the pocket of a bigger demographic will produce even more spending and investment.

Kevin:

"if there's a really good argument for cutting taxes on people making $250k or over, they should be able to make that argument on its own merits"

But its the same argument regardless. There is nothing magical about $250k which requires an argument on different "merits" than under $250k. Unless the argument is strictly a class warfare argument...demographic X "needs" it more than demographic Y.

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 8, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

How very Keynesian of you Scott.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | November 8, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

But its the same argument regardless. There is nothing magical about $250k which requires an argument on different "merits" than under $250k. Unless the argument is strictly a class warfare argument...demographic X "needs" it more than demographic Y.

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 8, 2010 2:49 PM

From a Keynesian perspective (which you've now endorsed) tax cuts to lower income folks is more stimulative because there is a much higher probability that they will spend the money.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | November 8, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

prag:

"From a Keynesian perspective (which you've now endorsed)...."

No. I was simply applying the logic of the arguments currently being made in congress. As I think you are aware, my perspective is that all income should be taxed at the same, flat rate, regardless of how much one makes. I don't think the government should be discriminating against people based on the size of their wallet.

Besides which, you'll note, if you read carefully, that I specifically said "spending and investment." And, even if we assume that only spending matters to the economy (a foolish assumption, of course), the greater probablity of a lower income person spending an extra dollar is offset by the greater number of dollars that the higher income person has.

If a person making $20k per year will spend 95% of every extra dollar not taxed, and a person making $500k will spend only 10% of every extra dollar not taxed, and we grant a 1% reduction in taxes to each, the higher income person will spend $500, while the lower income person will spend $190. Which is more "stimulative" (if that is your goal)?

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 8, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Except that guy making $500k will probably not change his spending habits by even 1% based on a 1% tax cut. And since tax cuts are based on marginal rates, Obama's plan will still give your guy a cut that he can spend. Finally, the guy making $20K won't see any more money in his pocket under any of these options.

Reality still has a liberal bias, but nice try Scott.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | November 8, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Kevin - I answered your last question in my first post on this thread.

Posted by: nisleib | November 8, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I didn't say that obamacare won't cut medicare. I said that Obamacare won't result in lower government spending.

Further, I don't think that the SGR will actually be allowed to operate. Congress has thwarted it every year thus far.

the 500 bil under discussion is the amount that Obama wants to take from the very popular medicare advantage program. The net result of that will be an exit from that market by insurance firms. That will mean that medicare bennies currently on a medicare hmo will be forced back to the traditional plan. I understand Obama's desire to snatch this money from the insurance companies. Liberals hate success.

In one sense Republicans demagogued the issue. Only specific legislation can change the basic benefits a Medicare bennie enjoys. so protecting bennies from cuts really amounts to keeping the advantage program as is. I don't know how viable that is long term. Perhaps the method used to arrive at the AAPCC needs to be ratcheted down.

But on the whole obamacare won't bend the cost curve at all. As long as there is a divide between the people deciding on the care and the people funding the care, cost will never decline.

So yeah, its both. I believe that the republicans are right to say that Obamacare won't cut costs in general, including medicare. Republicans were right that Obamacare would devastate a popular program. But I don't believe that Obamacare, as I understand it, will result in less defined benefit for Medicare patients. In other words a medicare patient will still be eligible for X number of days of inpatient care. What that care amounts to in a socialized world is part of the debate that's raging still.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 8, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

So, skip, Medicare recipients will still get all the same benefits but insurance companies will not be able to profit from Medicare Advantage and the government will save money. What is your problem with that?

And when you say "extremely popular" Medicare Advantage, that means extremely popular with insurance companies that are making money providing the same care at higher cost than traditional Medicare.

Kinda like the "extremely popular" student loan program where banks make free profits by loaning the government's money.

What's with you righties and corporate welfare? I thought we were trying to CUT spending.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | November 8, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Greg, if you are just being a conduit for news-ok. But I wish someday you would actually act like a thinking human being. The rebuplicans got elected by getting their base excited about the size of the deficit and and the size of government. Instead of pointing out their parlimentary advantage, why not make Mr. Boehnor explain how extending the tax cuts follows their mandate? Ask the republicans how extending tax cuts, that turned a surplus into a deficit, cuts the deficit? Why are you letting them change the subject? Their party started 2 wars and did not have the moral honesty to put the costs on the budget. Remember? They called it 'emwrgency spending'. How is Mr. Bohneor going to pay for these wars? By ignoring the costs? Makehim accept the responsibility of the ' mandate' he says the American people gave him-balance the budget, pay for the Bush war of choice in Iraq, the war of revenge in Afgahanistan and pay for the tax cuts your party started in 2000. The Health care bill pays for itself and has the potential to lower the deficit. How are the republicans actions to repeal it going to affect the budget? Keep asking them to tell us how their 'new' policies fix the errors of their last policies. Why is it that unwed mothers and drug addicts (Rush excluded)have to except the responsibility for their actions, but the republicans don't? Be a force of change Greg, not a 'Blackboard'.

Posted by: mg11231 | November 8, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Yep, sure enough. When you can't win an argument, make hyperbolic statements like "shoot the hostage".

That whole "unAmerican, Nazi" tactic did wonders for the out in left field liberals in this last election. Remember the Tea party was just "Astroturf"?

Just keep working it, Americans are fed up with your crap.

Posted by: NelsonMuntz | November 9, 2010 1:10 AM | Report abuse


The money that you save by refinancing every month can be sensibly used to repay your unique loan or to upsurge your savings. Do not forget to search online for "123 Mortgage Refinance" they found 3.17% rate for me.

Posted by: davinnick | November 9, 2010 4:25 AM | Report abuse

I am surprised and deeply troubled by many of the posters here. Bush did not cut taxes, he defered them. A tax cut means that spending is also cut, Bush and the republicans NEVER CUT SPENDING!

Bush and his republican congress waged the only two wars in American history paid for entirely on credit.

As Dick Cheney said "You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don't matter." Here is the link: http://www.ontheissues.org/2004/Dick_Cheney_Budget_+_Economy.htm

I would appreciate if the posters on this forum would at least try to remember recent history.
Thank you.

Posted by: mynameismelissa | November 9, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Let all Bush tax cuts expire and then propose a new middle class tax cut. If the Republicans oppose it they are blocking a tax cut.

Bush tax cuts were never meant to be permanent and they have done nothing but add to the deficit. Democrats should stand up and grow a pair. You have the presidency and a Senate majority. Enact bold Job creating ideas and stop bending over to the GOP. Compromise on taxes, drilling and nuclear power only made the GOP and FAUX news attack you even more whey they bent over themselves apologizing to BP. Stop compromising and end the farce. The GOP wants nothing more than high unemployment in order to boost their political and financial fortunes. Stop their Goose-stepping on American job growth in favor of Tax cuts for Billionaires.

Bending over for, and kowtowing to the GOP is why less voters went to the polls. Fighting for the Rich at the expense of the middle class and poor betrays their trust in you and other Democrats who do the same. If you support tax cuts for the rich, the middle class and poor will not bother to vote and canvass. Look at the facts: most young voters didn’t even bother to vote this election cycle. They are too busy looking for jobs that don’t exist because the wealthiest are paying little to nothing in taxes, which would otherwise be invested in job creation.

Millionaires and Billionaires pay $0.00 in estate taxes in 2010. Americans are paying historically low taxes that are the lowest since 1950. No one pays their tax bracket rate as write off allow everyone’s federal, state and local income taxes to average less than 9%/year and for the more wealthy landowners it’s often less than that.

The wealthy have already declared war, won it, and planted their flags in your backsides. Buck up, man up, and cowboy up!!

Posted by: Airborne82 | November 9, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

All Bush era tax cuts, along with oil and agricultural subsidies should end, with the Trillions saved used to pay down the deficit, and invest in domestic jobs and infrastructure.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/26/AR2010062600222.html

“The Bush tax cuts are really expensive. The tax cuts expire this year. If lawmakers renew all of them, they'd add $6 trillion to the deficit from 2012 to 2022.”

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/

2010 USA Federal Revenues are $2.4 Trillion and federal spending is $3.57 Trillion. Mandatory Spending (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, plus) is $2.2 Trillion, and Discretionary spending (defense, $722 billion), two wars ($108 billion), education, homeland security (immigration), NASA, art, culture, manufacturing incentives, agricultural subsidies, government services, etc.,) is $1.37 Trillion. Of that $1.37 Trillion, defense and wars is $830 billion for 2010 and everything else put together is $540 billion.

GOP deciding which direction to go with new authority after midterm victory

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/04/AR2010110407685.html

"eager to thwart President Obama's every move...Republicans "ended up being viewed as failures, sellouts or both.""

Let all Bush tax cuts expire and then propose a new middle class tax cut. If the Republicans oppose it they will be blocking a tax cut. Bush tax cuts were never meant to be permanent and the premise they were based on, that industry would create jobs and revenue to offset them has not materialized. They have done nothing but add trillions to the deficit.

Posted by: Airborne82 | November 9, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Democrats have had control of Congress since 2007. Since that time, the number of Federal Workers who are paid over $150,000 has skyrocketed., and that doesn't include the benefits, pension, etc.!
If Democrats had not spent soooooo much, they wouldn't need to Increase taxes.
Tax & Spend, Tax & Spend.... BUY VOTES...
give-away, entitlement, so that they have the little people under their thumb...that's the Democrats' mantra.
The sooner people realize it, the better.
Democrats are Holding you down, everytime they give you something.

Posted by: ohioan | November 11, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company