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The crux of the issue

By Greg Sargent

With the war continuing to rage this morning over David Axelrod's comments about possibly giving in on the Bush tax cuts, it's important to establish what the core question is here: Is the White House going to stand fast behind Obama's call for a permanent extension of the middle class cuts?

Here's how this has unfolded. In his weekly address last Saturday, the President said: "I believe we should permanently extend the Bush tax cuts for all families making less than $250,000 a year." Obama also said that "middle class families need permanent tax relief."

In that same weekly address, Obama signaled openness to a compromise with Republicans, by seeming to suggest he could support a temporary extension of the high end cuts. But in speaking of the middle class cuts, he used the word "permanent" twice.

Since then, Republicans have said they are not open to extending both categories for different durations. That's because extending only the middle class cuts permanently could force them to try to extend only the high end ones later, which could be politically disastrous.

Yesterday, Axelrod seemed to concede to HuffPo that Dems would probably not be able to extend the middle class cuts permanently and would have to extend both temporarily, because it's the only way of ensuring that the middle class cuts don't expire. "We have to deal with the world as we find it," Axelrod said. "The world of what it takes to get this done."

In subsequently statements, Axelrod and White House comm director Dan Pfeiffer strongly denied that this amounted to giving in, adamantly asserted that the White House position had not changed, and repeated the call for a middle class tax cut extension.

But neither Axelrod's statement nor Pfeiffer's statement reiterated Obama's call for making the middle class cuts permanent, a demand that has been at the core of the White House's brinkmanship with Republicans. This is the crux of the issue right now -- whether the White House will stick with that goal, or not.


UPDATE, 12:26 p.m.: A third White House statement also doesn't include the word "permanent" to describe the middle class cuts:

"The president has been clear that extending tax cuts for middle class families is his top priority and he is open to compromise to get that done," White House Deputy Communications Director Jen Psaki said in a written statement Thursday morning.

By Greg Sargent  | November 11, 2010; 11:47 AM ET
Categories:  deficit, economy, taxes  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Will GOP's fiscal fraudulence save America from the deficit commission?
Next: People don't really care about "compromise"

Comments

Compromise is against all Obama stands for - Obama's irrational behavior will not allow him to compromise.

So, the alternative is to give in completely to the Republicans.


Obama is acting irrationally - it is time for the democrats to admit that.


.

Posted by: OrangeForces | November 11, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

How creepy, the whole argument is about supply side economics. Less taxes = no more jobs lost overseas? Less taxes = an end to the unemployment/foreclosure cycle?

Posted by: shrink2 | November 11, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

@greg: "Obama's call for making the middle class cuts permanent... This is the crux of the issue right now -- whether the White House will stick with that goal, or not."

If they stick with that goal, how can they win the argument?

Posted by: sbj3 | November 11, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Can one of the republicans politicans or someone here explain why the tax cuts for the wealthy can't be passed at a later time?
Is it possibly because they know such a measure would be unpopular?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 11, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Obama should let them all expire and blame the republican's unwillingness to compromise.

If he once again caves to the GOP he will go down is the weakest president in history. The republican's have this guy afraid of his own shadow....

Posted by: soapm | November 11, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Obama and the Dems had better tie the Unemployment extentions to this massive give-away to the Rich. The Workers should at least get something for the give-away.

Posted by: SmileySam | November 11, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Is the White House going to stand fast behind Obama's call for a permanent extension of the middle class cuts?

~~~~~

I hope not. We never could afford them.

I lived through the nineties, there was nothing wrong with the tax structure under Clinton. There was nothing wrong with the surplus it created.

If you believe in the Laffer Curve then you believe that not only can taxes be too high, but that they can also be too low. Republicans tend to ignore that last bit.

Posted by: HansSolo | November 11, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2... You should have been on the deficit commission. That was their logic. We need to to fix the deficit so lets start by cutting taxes on the rich....

Posted by: soapm | November 11, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Greg

You tried really hard to make Obama's position on the campaign finance issue make sense - somehow.

You turned it around, twisted it and finally settled on disclosure - which is something that Obama never really said - and something the democratic groups have abandoned this week already.


Now we are here with the tax bracket issue - and you might as well write five more posts, twist it around - and try to find some aspect of it that makes sense, somehow.


But that is really not it.


The truth is Obama is acting irrationally. These things are not adding up. The facts do not support the positions. The positions do not make sense, they do not stack up next to the actions of the parties involved. Obama is irrational - that is the ONLY way to explain any of this.

The only remaining question is how much damage Obama will do by the time this whole episode is done.


Obama's decision-making now has to be under close scrutiny. It just does not make sense anymore. Too much damage has already been done which could have been avoided for anyone to have any confidence that anything is being done correctly.


.

Posted by: OrangeForces | November 11, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Nancy can push the middle class cuts through the house. Why can't the senate then do it through reconciliation?

They can put the same dumb time frame on it that the GOP did. And then let the GOP try to force through cuts for the rich later.

And that would be that.

Posted by: lcrider1 | November 11, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

If this administration goes along with borrowed-money tax cuts for the rich, I honestly ask why on earth anyone would bother to be, much less vote for, a democrat. They talk about differences, but they govern exactly like the paid employees of big money that they are. Just like the Republicans do.

Posted by: Bullsmith1 | November 11, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

How creepy, the whole argument is about supply side economics. Less taxes = no more jobs lost overseas? Less taxes = an end to the unemployment/foreclosure cycle?

Posted by: shrink2
--------------------------------------

That's how it worked the first time we passed the Bush tax cuts. We didn't lose anymore jobs overseas and there was no housing bubble that burst.

What do you mean the Bush tax cuts are still in place?

What do you mean there was no job or wage growth and the income disparity increased?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 11, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

New York Times is reporting essentially the same about Axelrod
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/11/aides-comments-cause-stir-as-white-house-discusses-tax-strategy/?src=twt&twt=thecaucus

Posted by: reach4astar2 | November 11, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

This is about the first time I have wished Obama would stick to an agenda. The wealthiest have no need of tax cuts and Republicans are being jerks just because they can. Obama needs to stand the line and remind Republicans that we need some tax revenue coming in to pay down that huge deficit. Heavens do we need to move Slick Willy into the White House to get something accomplished by this administration? American voters can force Republicans to back down on the issue with a public thumping in the press. Right now America's most wealthy rank right under banks as our least favorite group. Use that to your advantage. How are Republicans going to stand when it's a public display of standing against the American people. Grow a flipping backbone will you?

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | November 11, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

For supply side (making rich people richer) to "work", a rising tide must float all boats. There must be a transmission, a hard mechanism by which concentrated wealth is re-invested in the economy which produced it. This mechanism does not exist.

In fact, the downward mobility of the middle class can be a mechanism for even more concentration of wealth in fewer hands. This is known as selling a country short, or looting its economy.

With investment in commodities, casinos in Macau, so many opportunities for short term bets (that is what investment is after all)...there is no clear reason for rich people to invest or to "go long", on the very sketchy prospect of creating jobs in the USofA.

Obama went to bed with the supply siders the day after he was elected. He married his Presidency to them and now he needs to get primaried.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 11, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I feel like a T partier. If Obama folds to the Republicans on this I will be as furious as any T partier ever was. If he is going to waffle on his position it would be better to let all the tax cuts expire.

Posted by: sauerkraut | November 11, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"Middle class Americans probably don’t want their taxes to go up just to prove a point."

http://www.mediaite.com/online/report-white-house-to-agree-to-extend-bush-tax-cuts-right-call-at-the-wrong-time/

Posted by: sbj3 | November 11, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Two very informative comment threads thus far today. Both demonstrate the same critical aspect of the liberal world view. That is, class warfare.

Reading the stalwart liberals here it seems that the major concern is that the "rich" won't get hammered with a new tax burden to fund the government.

Given all the options available to us it is interesting that taxing the rich gets so much attention here.

This speaks volumes about the priorities of liberalism.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 11, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

ashot, exactly.

@Hans
"If you believe in the Laffer Curve then you believe that not only can taxes be too high, but that they can also be too low. Republicans tend to ignore that last bit."

Yes, what tf is wrong with this country? Yesterday Tim Geithner declared the massive investment capital flows into Asia were understandable and etc., he couldn't bring himself to cry for America I guess.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 11, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I think we first have to admit the obvious – the GOP doesn’t care about 95% of this country. They cynically use parts of the electorate (whether it’s the evangelicals or the Tea Party crowd) during election cycles for their end means, which is to keep their
secret donors from multi-national companies hip deep in dough, and screw the rest of us.
The GOP knows damn well that extending tax cuts to the wealthy doesn’t create more jobs. However, by corralling Obama to accept it will further deepen the deficit and keep job growth stagnant – hence deny Obama a chance at re-election. Why the WH can’t just come out and say the GOP is dealing in bad faith, and finally play some hardball, is beyond me. Maybe Obama has become bored with the job. How this tax issue is resolved in the next few months will determine Obama’s fate come 2012. Anything that happens after that won’t matter, imo.

Posted by: filmnoia | November 11, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing28

There is a reason liberals are concerned about class warfare: The war is over and the rich won.

In 2007, the share of after-tax income going to the top 1 percent hit its highest level (17.1 percent) since 1979, while the share going to the middle one-fifth of Americans shrank to its lowest level during this period (14.1 percent).

Between 1979 and 2007, average after-tax incomes for the top 1 percent rose by 281 percent after adjusting for inflation — an increase in income of $973,100 per household — compared to increases of 25 percent ($11,200 per household) for the middle fifth of households and 16 percent ($2,400 per household) for the bottom fifth.

If all groups’ after-tax incomes had grown at the same percentage rate over the 1979-2007 period, middle-income households would have received an additional $13,042 in 2007 and families in the bottom fifth would have received an additional $6,010.

In 2007, the average household in the top 1 percent had an income of $1.3 million, up $88,800 just from the prior year; this $88,800 gain is well above the total 2007 income of the average middle-income household ($55,300).

http://www.cbpp.org/files/6-25-10inc.pdf

~~~~~~

Given these facts the idea of giving the richest 1 percent a tax cut is not pleasant to those of us who care about fairness and the middle class.

Posted by: HansSolo | November 11, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Hey skip, tell us again about the "nerve" of rich people. We are just jealous right? We just want to take down our betters. We don't really care about America and jobs, we don't care about freedom and family.

Tell us again about how some day the rich will smile on America and "create" some jobs for the miserable ingrates. On a personal note, I'd like to know what you know about class war. You talk about it like it is a bad thing.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 11, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Look, reality check here. The nation cannot afford permenant Bush tax cuts. If we could somehow, curtail government spending to the 2008 levels for the next two years. Can we not afford using the added $300 billion per year of expiring Bush tax cuts after those two years to lower the nationa's deficit?

I mean, are we really in a position to "permenantly" do anything?

ex animo
http://nolp.blogspot.com
davidfarrar

Posted by: davidfarrar1 | November 11, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

"That is, class warfare."

This idiotic canard is constantly thrown around by the Right. In debate, it's called "poisoning the well."
There is no class warfare in this country, other than what Hans Solo refers to as the "rich have won." The class warfare is top/down. The US working classes are essentially supine, self satisfied peasants when it comes to really indulging in class warfare. Look at the UK college students or French trade unionists if you want to see what class warfare really is, so stop with the Right Wing cliches.

Posted by: filmnoia | November 11, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Without all the Washington lie-machine disturbance, this means the White House and all of the WH staff and now the whole of the remaining democratic party has shown - "Look ma, NO BALLS!!"

This has turned into a whine fest, I sick of it... go back home..have a BBQ..forget all this bickering, bribes and bozos.... They'll still be here are the swearing in ceremony next year.. Oh you not coming back? To bad... all you would bring to the party is just more limpness of the spine anyway... AMF!

Posted by: rbaldwin2 | November 11, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

The gap in income between the wealthiest Americans and all others has grown strikingly in recent decades, the CBO data show. In 1979, when the data begin, the average after-tax incomes of the top 1 percent of households were 7.9 times higher than those of the middle fifth of households. By
2007, top incomes were 23.9 times higher than those of the middle fifth — a more than tripling of the income gap.

The gap between the top 1 percent and the poorest fifth of Americans widened even more sharply. In 1979, the incomes of the top 1 percent were 22.7 times higher than those of the bottom fifth. By 2007, top incomes were 74.6 times higher than those at the bottom — more than tripling the richpoor gap in 28 years.

~~~

The CBO figures show that the nation’s income has grown substantially since 1979; if this growth had been shared more broadly, most groups would have seen much larger gains. For the nation as a whole, after-tax household income increased 55 percent from 1979 to 2007,
adjusted for inflation. If all groups’ incomes had grown by 55 percent, the average income of the bottom fifth of households would have been $23,710 in 2007 (rather than $17,700) and the average income of the middle fifth would have been $68,342 (rather than $55,300).

Instead, the wealthiest households reaped a sharply growing share of the nation’s income, while the share going to middleand lower-income households shrank. Between 1979 and 2007:

The top 1 percent’s share of the nation’s total after-tax household income more than doubled, from 7.5 percent to 17.1 percent. The share of income going to the middle three-fifths (or 60 percent) of households shrank from 51.1 percent to 43.5 percent.

The share going to the bottom fifth of households declined from 6.8 percent to 4.9 percent.

The share going to the bottom four-fifths (80 percent) of the population declined from 58
percent to 48 percent.

Posted by: HansSolo | November 11, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

There is no way in hell will extending tax cuts for the wealthy will increase or decrease jobs for Americans. For sure, the only benefit is for the already wealthy to become more wealthy so the John Boehner's dream of chasing the American dream is realized....while Americans of less financial status continue to have American nightmares. American Republicans and Democrats let the American dream fade when they allowed major and minor industries move their companies out of America. Until American companies are FORCED to return to America there will be no 30 year mortgage paying jobs. And, Republicans won't allow much needed infrastructure projects that will provide JOBS IN AMERICA to take place. This Idea that Americans can't make anything or build major projects in America such as high speed rail systems is bunk! The only reason this idea prevails is this: Moving American companies off shore allows the top twenty percent of company owners and their CEOs to become enormously wealthy from third world countries cheap no health care labor, in turn these enormous greed profits are allowed to return to the U.S. and influence election outcomes and of course increase dividends for the ever greedy investor, in essence, votes cast by Americans whom want change get short changed by corporations who run this country. People like John Boehner, Micth McConnel and Eric Cantor, whom still have jobs and HEALTH CARE, PAID FOR BY YOU AND I, are tools of off shore American companies. The tax break for Americas already wealthy MUST end in January 2011. Health care adjustments may and will be made, however health care must remain for all Americans and not just for John Boehner. The midterm election was not a mandate for Republicans to eliminate social good and responsibility for all Americans, it was a mandate to PRODUCE JOBS FOR AMERICANS and not jobs for the lucky whom work in congress.

Posted by: Rlupodimare | November 11, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

The rich get the attention here skip because we should not add to our deficit. I would be willing to let all the tax cuts expire, but I'm sure there are many people out there that would not like that. If the rich were "true patriots" (like the tea partyers) they would be fighting for the tax cuts to expire for the benefit of our country.

The middle class has carried them long enough with their deductions and loopholes. It's time they supported us.

Posted by: DinOH | November 11, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Okay, here's the deal: Both sides get a temporary extension of the Bush tax cuts for at least two years. On the condition, the Republican agree to reauthorize UI benefits for those same two years.

By that time, unemployment levels should be down below 7.5% benchmark, reflecting a recovered economy, thereby allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for everyone.

Now if government spending can be limited to 2008 levels and the entire increased revenue created by the new expiration of the Bush tax cuts can be dedicated to reducing the nation's deficit, we can probably clear this matter up by 2020.

ex animo
http://nolp.blogspot.com
davidfarrar

Posted by: davidfarrar1 | November 11, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Of course it means giving in. Obama negotiates with himself and caves to the GOP on everything. If he ever stood up to them we would all die of shock. What we should do is forget the tax cuts and let them all expire. And you get deficit reduction in the bargain. The impact is much greater on the wealthy. Go for it.

Posted by: samson1 | November 11, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

All, my take on the folly of "compromise":

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

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 11, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

let me turn Mr Solo's math around a bit.

Isn't it just possible hans, that the income flows to the rich BECAUSE THEY EARNED IT? I mean how startling is that revelation to you?

Further, what of it? The rich earned their income as you've noted. How do the "facts" you offer provide a moral right for the government to snatch a larger percentage of their earnings? What are the moral and ethical underpinnings of a massively "progressive" tax structure that results in the top 5% of earners earning 37 % of the total national AGI, but paying 59% of the tax?

http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/250.html

Let me repeat that. The top 5% of wage earners pay 59% of the taxes to the IRS.

The facts just prove you wrong.

The "rich" have lost on this one and they will continue to lose to liberals unless rational Americans change the direction of the country.

I've heard of the southern poverty law center. I've never heard of an analogous organization that exists solely to extract money from the taxpayers for the use of the rich. Did ACORN exist for the benefit of the "rich"? H word no. Organizations like this exist to extract tax money that was confiscated from productive people.

The following simple facts of life were written in 1917. They remain true today:

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong

You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.

You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.

You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.

You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.

You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.

You cannot establish security on borrowed money.

You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.


You have a truly perverse sense of "fair" if you think the current skewed tax system doesn't take enough from those Americans upon whom you make war.


Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 11, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Apparently in the higher elite circles of the Democratic Party, it is considered right and honorable to cave in to your opponents.

They must think they're being reasonable or something. Not so much. This is how they blew the election.

Posted by: ANDYO1 | November 11, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Has Pres. Obama really stood up for any of his convictions or principles--- from the Health Care Bill to off-shore drilling to gays in the military to upper class taxs cuts--- and he wonders why the Dems got crushed in the House.

Posted by: jmfromdc | November 11, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"I've heard of the southern poverty law center. I've never heard of an analogous organization that exists solely to extract money from the taxpayers for the use of the rich. "

Do you have any idea what the SPLC actually does? It doesn't have anything to do with extracting money from taxpayers for anything - they're a civil rights organization - and they receive absolutely NO government funds.

You should try educating yourself before you start throwing good organizations under your Galtian fantasy bus.

http://www.splcenter.org/?ref=logo

Posted by: schrodingerscat | November 11, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"The top 5% of wage earners pay 59% of the taxes to the IRS."

No, Skip, you are thinking of Income tax. There are lots of other kinds of taxes. Poor people pay a much higher percentage of their income for sales tax, payroll tax, real estate tax, licensing, and various other types of tax than rich people do. Also too, the very wealthy are not wage earners; they tend to make their money via unearned income like interest, dividends and capital gains.

"I've heard of the southern poverty law center. I've never heard of an analogous organization that exists solely to extract money from the taxpayers for the use of the rich."

You haven't? There is one, it is called the Republican Party.

By the way, I suggest you read the article you linked to.

"Each year from 2005 to 2007, the top 1 percent's constantly growing share of income earned and taxes paid set a record. That trend reversed in 2008. In fact, the income share for the top 1 percent of tax returns was lower in 2008 than in 2000, largely due to differences in capital gains."

Posted by: HansSolo | November 11, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"By that time, unemployment levels should be down below 7.5% benchmark, reflecting a recovered economy, thereby allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for everyone. "

Davidfarrar -

If the unemployment level is below 7.5 in two years it would probably assure Obama's re-election. That's not part of the GOP game plan. They are bad faith players who want the overall economy to suffer so anyone of their empty suits can defeat Obama.

Posted by: filmnoia | November 11, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

The correct thing to do is propose, immediately, a law that makes permanent the the current tax rates for incomes less than $250,000. Let the Republicans vote against it or filibuster it.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | November 11, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Pres. Obama has finally become the Charlie Brown character ... endlessly trying to kick the football while Lucy (the Repubs) endlessly jerk it away at the last minute

To add insult to absurdity, the fans of Charlie Brown who are trying to point out the folly of it all are the only ones who are attacked by the Obama Adm.

This is one fan that has just given up- any idea of 'a commonweal' died somewhere along the way, we are a nation of loosely aligned multinationals and a hostile financial sector stacked with the very rich, the extremely rich, the legacy rich, the obscenely rich, and the new rich "I got mine, screw you and the future'

We have substituted our country once known for building things and being innovative for a small group of Praying Mantis' playing Texas Hold-Em with other people's money leveraged 30:1. These financial geniuses are rapidly destroying the wealth of the middle and working class.

Way to go.

Enjoy the funnies-
http://www.christinaquick.com/blog/wp-content/uploads//2009/04/1107charlie_brown_lucy_football.jpg

Posted by: Gracefulboomer | November 11, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift."

You cannot deplete the retirement accounts, home equity, job stability and health care of the middle class and expect them to prosper.

"You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong"

You cannot expect a beaten man to thank-you for the beating.

"You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich."

You cannot become rich on the back of the poor man and if you do you haven't learned the lesson that money doesn't buy happiness or a place in heaven.

"You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred."

You cannot further the brotherhood of man by reaping all the benefits of the economy, and when you do, you cannot expect the brotherhood of man to love you for it.

"You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence."

You cannot build character and courage by sending young men and women to fight a war you will not fight yourself or pay for.

"You cannot help small men by tearing down big men."

You cannot look at those beneath you as small men and still consider yourself a big man.

"You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer."

You cannot decimate the income of the wage earner and expect them to buy the product or services the wage payer sells.

"You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income."

Tell that to the Republicans.

"You cannot establish security on borrowed money."

You cannot establish security by starting two wars and not raise revenue to pay for them, forcing you to borrow money.

"You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves."

You cannot take away a man's livelihood and then accuse him of being lazy.

Posted by: lmsinca | November 11, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Just wondering if the democrats want taxes revenues from the rich so badly....Why don't they offer a new structure of the return to the higher rates for the rich for overseas holdings and current extended rates for US holdings and middle class extended? This would split the concerns and promote US commerce. How could argue about keeping cash in the US to promote jobs and returning revenue to country from oversees. Then maybe some of these companies will move back, jobs created and worker tax revenue rolls in and deficit is reduced. win-win

Posted by: mark_kidwell | November 11, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

"Isn't it just possible hans, that the income flows to the rich BECAUSE THEY EARNED IT? I mean how startling is that revelation to you?"

Please pursue this as the new Conservative slogan. Hey middle class, worried about the lack of income growth over the last decade? It's because you didn't earn it.
See how that goes over.

And as an aside, how do you know the rich earned it? I'm just curious as to how you came to that conclusion.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 11, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Always knew they would cave... same as the public option. Not sure why we have two political parties when they are all the same.

Posted by: WmLaney | November 11, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

so filmnonia says it isn't class warfare and that settles it? I hardly think so. You can try the "because I said so" crapola on your children, but that won't work on rational adults.

What the liberals are spouting here over the past few days is nothing short of class warfare. the left seeks to confiscate the money earned by those it deems unworthy of wealth. The only thing worse than this fraud of a robbery is their plans for disposing of it: transfering it to non productive people and funding over paid regulators in diminish the wealth making prospects of everyone in the country.

and DinOH, please, please follow the link I provided. It is a shame to be so terribly misinformed. The IRS data is both clear and unequivocal. The middle class isn't carrying the rich. Quite the other way around. As I noted, the top 5% of wage earners pay 59% of the taxes to the IRS.

the top 10% of wage earners pay 70% of the tax, according to IRS data. The top 50% pays 97.3% of the tax to the IRS. We have already created a system that hammers the "rich" quite thoroughly. that the liberals can't think of anything else to do relative to the problem of debt and deficit is a real shame.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 11, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Rescinding the tax incentives & tariff breaks to companies that take American jobs overseas, should be the next step. Followed by the reenactment of The Glass-Steagall Act would be a great place to start.

But that will not happen ......... both political parties would have to go against their large contributors in order to help this country & the American people.

Since we are no longer a Democracy but a Cashrarocy, neither of these two things will happen.

Might be getting time to clean our hunting rifles.

Posted by: bkarpus | November 11, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"And as an aside, how do you know the rich earned it? I'm just curious as to how you came to that conclusion. "

According to Forbes, approximately 1/3 of the 400 richest Americans inherited all or a portion of their wealth. Out of the top 10, though, 6 of them did - they're either Waltons or Kochs.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | November 11, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Just repeal all of the cuts. My memory is that the 1990's were a pretty good time economically. We even ran a temporary surplus!!! (That should not be a problem today)

Posted by: pbassjbass | November 11, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton was all ears at a fundraiser Tuesday evening when famed billionaire investor Warren Buffett suggested ramping up the tax code on big businesses and the super rich.

...

"The people that earn their living doing that should be subject to taxes that reflect their labors," he said in the gathering at a hotel in midtown Manhattan.

Recently private equity firms have become targets of Congress, who claim that fund managers benefit from unfair tax advantages. One Senate committee has proposed raising taxes on publicly traded private equity firms such asBlackstone Group (Charts).

Speaking to several hundred supporters of the U.S. Senator from New York, Buffett revealed his puzzlement that he was taxed at a lower rate than many of the lesser-paid individuals working for his company.

Buffett said he makes $46 million a year in income and is only taxed at a 17.7 percent rate on his federal income taxes. By contrast, those who work for him, and make considerably less, pay on average about 32.9 percent in taxes - with the highest rate being 39.7 percent.

To emphasize his point, Buffett offered $1 million to the audience member who could show that one of the nation's wealthiest individuals pays a higher tax rate than one of their subordinates.

"I'm willing to bet anyone in this room $1 million that those rates are less than the secretary has to pay," said Buffett.

http://money.cnn.com/2007/06/26/news/newsmakers/clinton_buffett/index.htm

~~~~~~

Yeah, he offered, not bet, a million dollars to a room full of uber wealthy people, the only catch? They had to show that their effective tax rate is higher than their secretaries...

Skip - Cry for the rich all you'd like, they are laughing at you.

And you really should learn the difference between INCOME TAX and tax in general.

Posted by: HansSolo | November 11, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Axelrod suggesting the President will cave in on giving tax cuts to the wealthiest? I cant believe how spineless the White House is. Anything to avoid a fight. What about standingup for your principles? What about not enlarging the deficit by $600B for tax cuts to the wealthiest, who dont need it.

The President is inept. He is spineless and people like me who supported him, will not support him in the future. The Republicans are worse than Obama.
We need for the Democratic Party to have a Democrat compete with the President for the White House in 2012 or better yet, we needa fically conservative, social progressive to run as an Independent in 2012. Michael bloomberg where are you when we need you?

If the president was dissapointed with the results from the mid-term elections, wait till 2012 comes around, because not only has he lost Independents, he has lost his core Democratic supporters.

Posted by: jamesangone | November 11, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

it's kind of ironic that Republicans are forcing Obama to compromise a tax break for 95% of Americans.

Posted by: JoeT1 | November 11, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Hans, you offer absolutely NO justification for taking a larger share of the total tax burden from the "rich". NONE.

I have yet to see a moral and ethical support for the hammering of the succesful of which the American left is so fond.

Frankly it all boils down to a quote from Mr Obama himself: "I do think at a certain point you've made enough money,..."

And yes Hans, I am thinking of the income tax because THAT'S WHAT'S BEING DEBATED IN DC NOW.

I've provided proof of my contention. Clear and unequivocal proof directly from the Federal Taxation agency, the IRS.

You've provided nothing similar. Even your contention that those who pay the most income tax aren't actually "wage earners" is without any substantiation at all.

If you have proof that these folks make their money some way other than earning it, why by all means provide it. If you have no such proof ( and I'm confident you don't) then I suggest that you rethink the myths you've sold yourself.

And ashot, I'll gladly espouse that as a slogan: "if you want to be rich in America, what's holding you back?" I've asked the question here and no liberal can provide an answer the proves a contention that the rich are somehow preventing the non rich from acumulating wealth. NONE.

I used the SPLC for a specific reason: it is focused on the poor! Duh kids. I know that it is important to look for nefarious meta messages in everything a conservative says but come now, how silly can you be? The southern poverty law center is about poor people not about rich people. If it were about rich people it would be the southern wealthy law center.

Anyone who thinks that the Republican party exists based on contributions from the wealthy is demonstrating an amazing lack of access to real facts. I've posted lists of campaign contributions here several times. For example Little Chucky Schumer has done quite well gathering donations from the folks you guys like to call wall street fat cats. This demonstration of ignorance also illustrates the sad truth that liberalism in America today isn't based on fact at all. It is based, as all mass movements are, on dogma, myth, a set of beliefs that explain everything to the true believer.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 11, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Skip- That's not the slogan I proposed and I have repeatedly shown you studies that prove your slogan is, sadly, not true. As I recall the last time I showed you the study you said, studies can be abused. Yet, you have failed to come up with a study that supports the position that social mobility in the United States exists in any meaningful way. Rather you rely on familial anecdotes, discuss how America makes lots of millionaires and then shout about a war on the rich, class warfare, jealousy etc.

Your argument seems largely circular and self-serving. The rich are wealthy because they earned it. How do we know they earned it? Because they are wealthy.

Is the reverse true?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 11, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

"I have yet to see a moral and ethical support for the hammering of the succesful of which the American left is so fond."

Maybe because no one agrees with your framing of the issue. I'm sorry, but a 4.6% increase in the MARGINAL tax rate is not "hammering" anyone. It's insane to describe it that way and your use of hyperbole does your side no favors.

"If you have proof that these folks make their money some way other than earning it, why by all means provide it. "

I did - above. Six of the top 10 richest americans INHERITED their fortune. Then again, I guess it's hard work being born with a silver spoon in your mouth.

"The southern poverty law center is about poor people not about rich people. If it were about rich people it would be the southern wealthy law center."

Seriously - you need help.

I'm pretty sure that if Paris Hilton gets treated unjustly the next time she's caught with a little nose candy, she can afford her own lawyer.

And you still haven't acknowledged that you were WRONG about the SPLC being supported by taxpayer funds.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | November 11, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I have always been a believer that somehow and someday that I will make it up the income scale and become one of the socalled rich. I also know that since I am in tourism sales and make my income strictly from commissions, I have to have clients and businesses that make enough to take vacations and enjoy finer things in life. If the economy continues to sputter and people are unsure about their financial situation, they are more likely not to spent their money on vacations, etc. Lets make no mistake. The administration is talking continued Bush tax cuts for under $250,000 for one reason only and is that they would quickly be out of a job if they raised taxes on the masses. I sincerely believe that most Democrats would like to see higher taxes on everybody if they could get away with it.

Posted by: sales7 | November 11, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

No ashot, I've not seen anything offered by you that supports a contention that those who are currently wealthy are acting in a way that prevents those who aren't from being successful.

Unlike third world banana republics Americans can still shoot the moon here. You have not proven that a disparity in income is:
(1) fundamentally bad for the society
(2) The result of a codification of law or social structure that mandates "castes"
(3) the result of wealthy people "exploiting" others to amass their fortunes.

I live in a country where the son of a single mom who was raised in relative obscurity can achieve his dream of occupying the white house. If it is possible for Mr Obama to do that, what is NOT possible for Americans with talent, ambition and perseverance?

One of the basic tenants of liberalism is that the world is filled with victims. It seems that many on the left have convinced themselves that poverty in America is the result of a poorly designed society, rather than things like bad personal choices or spiritual poverty.

the debate about taxing the rich offers a clear illustration of this underlying theme. Folks like Hanssolo fly into a spluttering rage when I just ask for a moral platform that supports the notion that the rich should pay a larger share of the cost of government than others.

I speculate that this is because such an idea, that the rich should pay more, is simply an accepted part of his dogma. He doesn't have to prove this to himself. He believes it and that settles it.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 11, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

skip doesn't know anything about being rich

My neighbor, right next door, owns too many houses, two helicopters, three airplanes (I've flown in them, this is reality). He just sold his stake in a company that makes electrical inverters(?), he got $18m for that. He at least, is still investing in this country, we are friends. He does not care about his taxes, he rolls his eyes about taxes, just like everyone else, happy people are happy anyway.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 11, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

s cat, it was not my intention to state that the SPLC is supported by tax dollars. Whether it is or isn't wasn't relevant to the point I sought to make. Cumbersome wording on my part no doubt led to the impression you recieved. My point was only that America has organizations whose purpose is the support of the "poor" and no analagous organizations for the rich. Therefore the liberals can hammer away at them without having to ask themselves about morals or ethics. Witness hanssolo for example.

Sooo, six of the top ten richest people in America inherited their fortunes. The question still remains: what are the moral supports for taking more from them than from others? Isn't the money still theirs?

I will not soon forget the spluttering rage of Ruth Marcus. She was thermonuclear about the sad fact that Mr Steinbrenner had the unmitigated gall to die while the Bush tax cuts were in effect. She missed the opportunity to be philanthropic with his money (as opposed to hers!) and resented it bitterly. A more fitting example of liberalism's ugliness can scarcely be imagined.

And now let's talk some facts. I mentioned that the top 10% of wage earners paid 70% of the taxes. Liberals here replied with mythological tales of Paris Hilton and Warren Buffet. But let's look at the IRS data for a moment. The cut off AGI income for inclusion in that top 10% in 2008 was 113,799!

For inclusion in the top 5% one must have an AGI of 159,619!

And to be included in the top 1% the AGI cut off value is 380,354.

that's not Bill Gates, that a hard working dentist, or a travel agent or an Ace hardware franchise owner. These are the merchants and practioners that we welcome in our communities because we need their goods and services.

Liberals here seem to view the "rich" as wealthy rotters living on trust funds while the reality is far different. For example the commenter names sales7 may well make it to the top 5% in a good year. Does that make that person the object of scorn from the liberals? If so, why? Did the person exploit the poor by selling them cruise packages?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 11, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Unlike third world banana republics Americans can still shoot the moon here. You have not proven that a disparity in income is:
(1) fundamentally bad for the society
(2) The result of a codification of law or social structure that mandates "castes"
(3) the result of wealthy people "exploiting" others to amass their fortunes.

1) Nor have you proven that it's good. In support of it being bad, I would point to our current economic position.

2)I've never claimed that it was which explains why I have failed to prove that point.

3)I'm not sure how I would prove that, particularly to your satisfaction, but you're basically just repeating the same thing over and over again without addressing my points. I guess I would point to the lack of wage and job growth over the last 10 years while corporations posted nice profits. Where is the profit going if its not to the workers that help the companies make that profit?


"One of the basic tenants of liberalism is that the world is filled with victims."

No, my basic tenant is that unless you are born a rich American, you are highly unlikely to end up a rich American. You have failed to show anything to indicate that is false. What is your explanation for the lack of social mobility?

I completely agree that unless you are born wealthy, you have to work very hard to become rich. I just also happen to think that it takes a lot more than just hard work.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 11, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

"Hans, you offer absolutely NO justification for taking a larger share of the total tax burden from the "rich". NONE."

You aren't paying attention. I've provided plenty of material, provided by the non-partisan CBO, that shows that over the last 30 years the wealthy have grown much wealthier while the middle income and poor people have stagnated or actually gone down hill. You provided one link that shows that the rich got hurt in 2008 when the economy went south. Big whoop. If you do the math you'll find that the middle class stagnation and the rich getting richer started with Reagan and Trickle Down/Voodoo economics.

And before you get in tax debates with tax experts maybe you should look up the term "unearned income."

PS - Your understanding of what the Southern Poverty Law Center does is just as faulty as your understanding of economics and tax law.

PSS - Taxes aren't punishment.

Posted by: HansSolo | November 11, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know where I can find a spine? Not looking for a stiff one necessarily. Any kind of spine will do.

Posted by: kishorgala | November 11, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"I live in a country where the son of a single mom who was raised in relative obscurity can achieve his dream of occupying the white house. If it is possible for Mr Obama to do that, what is NOT possible for Americans with talent, ambition and perseverance?"

Anecdotal evidence does not provide proof of what is "typical".

Here's proof of what is typical:

"By international standards, the United States has an unusually low level of intergenerational mobility: our parents’ income is highly predictive of our incomes as adults. Intergenerational mobility in the United States is lower than in France, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Norway and Denmark. Among high-income countries for which comparable estimates are available, only the United Kingdom had a lower rate of mobility than the United States."

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2006/04/b1579981.html

"It seems that many on the left have convinced themselves that poverty in America is the result of a poorly designed society, rather than things like bad personal choices or spiritual poverty."

No doubt that what you say is true in many cases, but you seem to lack the ability to understand that success is not just a matter of hard work and perseverence - it can require some or all of the following: good timing, luck, family support, and a societal framework that provides tools such as clean water, roads, a quality educational system, healthcare, and a level playing field.

"You have not proven that a disparity in income is:
(1) fundamentally bad for the society"

You ever heard of the French Revolution? How about the Bolshevik Revolution? Do you think that the lack of a middle class is really healthy for a society?

"Folks like Hanssolo fly into a spluttering rage when I just ask for a moral platform that supports the notion that the rich should pay a larger share of the cost of government than others. "

I think the moral reasons are obvious - as a Catholic I believe that those of us who are able should help those less fortunate. Simple. My husband and I are doing well - and we recognize that we are able to contribute more than, say, the neighbor down the street who is struggling to keep his business open during this economic downturn.

But why does it have to be a moral argument? I believe that there are practical reasons why a progressive tax system benefits society such as the propensity to spend decreases with income. The rich tend to save their tax cuts; the poor and middle class tend to spend which positively stimulates the economy.

In short, try using the google. You'd be amazed at what you can actually learn.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | November 11, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

"Liberals here seem to view the "rich" as wealthy rotters living on trust funds while the reality is far different."

Actually I agree here, it is hard to be rich.

You end up employing all kinds of hangers on. You have to operate a business whether you like it or not. The gardeners, the people handling your kids' horses, everyone wants to take you. Meg Whitman was brought down by that ingracious illegal toilet cleaner. From bimbos to aircraft mechanics to unctuous restaurant servers all they want is your money.

Once you get identified as rich, you have to hire people just to protect you from the people who work for you. It is a vicious cycle and this is just one more reason why rich people need to not get too rich.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 11, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

OK, so I'll agree that getting rich in America is tough. Shouldn't it be? I'll further stipulate that poor kids have less of a chance at being rich than kids who were smart enough to chose better parents. It was ever thus.

None of this proves that the currently wealthy are preventing others from becoming wealthy.

Nor does it provide any moral or ethical support for massive taxation of the "rich". As I noted earlier you can't improve the lot of the poor people by tearing down the rich. Yet this is exactly what liberals here are demanding.

Hanssolo you are saying that the rich should pay more because of what? Because the CBO said something or other about income distribution? How does that justify steeply progressive tax rates? You still have not proved that you have a valid moral standing to demand more from those making a whopping 113K a year than you do from others who make less.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 11, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Actually I agree here, it is hard to be rich.

You end up employing all kinds of hangers on. You have to operate a business whether you like it or not. The gardeners, the people handling your kids' horses, everyone wants to take you. Meg Whitman was brought down by that ingracious illegal toilet cleaner. From bimbos to aircraft mechanics to unctuous restaurant servers all they want is your money.

Once you get identified as rich, you have to hire people just to protect you from the people who work for you. It is a vicious cycle and this is just one more reason why rich people need to not get too rich.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 11, 2010 4:38 PM
========================================
Oh yeah!

And who is going to put up with the Chefs and Chauffeurs and Wine Connoisseurs and the armies of Stock Brokers, Lawyers and Tax Break Advisers? You think it is easy to eat Caviar with an improper wine?

It's Hell being up there!

Posted by: kishorgala | November 11, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

So, the issue is "intergenerational mobility"? Let's think about that for a moment.

For example the now outcast Juan Williams wrote the book "Enough" that describes the ugly dynamics that are retarding economic and social progress among America's blacks.

Let me agree that a single anecdote doesn't a trend prove by saying that Mr Williams states that children born to a single mom have a much higher probability of remaining in poverty than children born to an intact family.

Yet 70% of the black children born in America today are born to a single mom. does the american progress article speak to this?

And it is not only blacks. The percentage of children born to single moms has risen steadily. We have data that proves that this is a clear precursor to a life of poverty but rather than confront this root cause, liberals want to tax the "rich" because they were, apparently, careful to be born well.

What nonsense. Doesn't it make more sense to get back to basics, restore the honor and respect of American families and elimated th welfare system's impetus to poverty stemming from the incentive package from hades?

all the material things you mention are adequately funded in America. The water is clear, the roads are manageable and the funding for schools rises yearly. What excuses for "failure" remain?

I'm a devout catholic myself. I understand my duty clearly. I also understand that the Lord said "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. Render unto God that which is God's." but he didn't define these two categories. He left that to us.

It is my impression that liberals seek to combine God and Caesar by massively taxing everyone with an income over a specific, and variable, value and transfering that money to others. That's not charity. Its not rendering unto God. It is bowing to the coercive power of the government. I cannot be jailed for failing to contribute to the basket on Sunday. I can be jailed for failing to pay my taxes. Therefore, this is NOT charity and I have not been relieved of my duty simply because I demand that others pay more than I do.

further, the Lord said that "Wisdom is proved right by her deeds" which means that we should judge based on results. We've had decades of the welfare state experiment. Yet the liberals continue to decry the fact that the "poor" are somehow mired in poverty. Witness the responses to my comments here for proof. After trillions of transfer payments a rational judgement of the entire experiment is that if failed. If we are to judge wisdom by results it seems foolish to continue to demand that we retain the same approach that has already failed us. Further, the welfare state in Europe is unravelling. We can see their future. Why would we share it?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 11, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Skip - Your problem is that you think taxes are immoral. You keep saying things like, "You still have not proved that you have a valid moral standing..."

That is silly. This has nothing to do with morals; it is about economics. If you were to squeeze a rock for 1 hour, how much tomato juice would come out? How about if you squeezed the same rock for 2 hours? None. You'd get none because there is no tomato juice inside of rocks. Why should the rich pay more? Because they have more! The concentration of wealth, as I've already demonstrated, has tilted sharply to the rich since Voodoo/Trickle Down/Supply Side economics became popular with Reagan. A switch to a more progressive tax structure would bring the middle class a greater percentage of the countries wealth. Now before you start screaming "Redistribution" you should keep in mind that the "Redistribution" you so oppose is more in line with historical norms than the tax structure we currently have.

In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2007, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 34.6% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.5%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 85%, leaving only 15% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers).

As to justifying progressive rates, well, the progressive tax concept was first pushed by a Republican President(thought these days I doubt he would choose that political party) named Lincoln. The concept, and "morality" behind it usually traced back to Adam Smith's seminal work "The Wealth of Nations."

Below is Smith's reasoning:

"The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion."

Posted by: HansSolo | November 11, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

kishorgala, you have no idea. Once we were up in Canada and one of the original cell phone guys (McCaw, MaCaw, I forgot) came up and landed his helicopter right next to ours. Pretty women in pumps got out on the beach...

Well we were heli-snowboarding and heli-surfing there and even though he was tons richer, he saw we were having more fun. He was about to die, right there on Vancouver Island. It was a little tragedy, kinda like Shakespeare only declasse.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 11, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

One way or another all bush tax cuts will be extended, it is already dry ink.

Obama is not a person who like fights, he doesn't relish in the game of hard-nose politics, his personality is one of confrontation-avoidance and his governance philosophy is a quick-trigger pragmatism so as to avoid those "long wars".

His foreseeable cave-in on tax cuts for the rich is a tune you better learn to like (over the next 2 years) or turn off the radio or take to the street and stand up for yourself, because you can't count on Obama watching your back.

Posted by: yarbrougharts | November 11, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

two more things for S cat:

First, I do not believe that the French and Russian revolutions were sparked because there was no middle class. Rather I believe that both were caused by the a class of "nobles" who oppressed everyone else. Those earning the money that the nobles gladly wasted reached the end of their tolerance.

And I enjoyed your reasoning around "morals". Let me paraphrase: the rich should pay more in taxes because others, such as liberal politicians, think they can use the money more wisely than the folks that earned it.

That's truly an amoral position. You demand the money that others earned because what they chose to do with it doesn't meet your standards? How dare those who make money decide for themselves what is best?
Well," you say, "If they aren't going to spend this money they earned, then let's take it from them and spend it ourselves."

How is this different from ordinary every day theft?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 11, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

S cat is one of thousands of criminal minds on the Left. His/her reasoning on both French & Russian revolutions demonstrate a level of ignorance commensurate with his/her moral depravity.

Posted by: djman1141 | November 11, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"Rather I believe that both were caused by the a class of "nobles" who oppressed everyone else."

Really? Wow. Amazing insight. I think that falls under the "No s**t, Sherlock".

"Let me paraphrase: the rich should pay more in taxes because others, such as liberal politicians, think they can use the money more wisely than the folks that earned it."

I don't think "paraphrase" means what you obviously think it means: distorting the position of your opponent in order to argue against a strawman. I said:

"as a Catholic I believe that those of us who are able should help those less fortunate."

Try again.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | November 11, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

The rich take care of themselves. The funny thing, pathos, I won't say tragedy, is when people who can never be rich conflate their dreams with the way the world works.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 11, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Axelrod may have been some sort of a campaign genius while the President was beating the pants of McCain, but he and the rest of the White house political team are incompetent when it come to legislating. They have no idea how to negotiate anything. They compromise before the other side even presents them with a position. Their goal is always to make a deal as opposed to standing on principle.

Obama is a pragmatist, meaning he will be wedded to policies that actually accomplish their objectives, which is fine in theory.

Bush was all about principles, most of which I didn't agree with and didn't lead to policies that worked. But, he refused to compromise until forced to at the last minute and then only minimally. Obama should stick to whatever principles he can commit to and compromise only when the other side moves his way. Moving their way before negotiations even begin may look like a "bi-partisan" approach, but ultimately leads to failure.

The health care bill could have been much more effective had they not negotiated for over a year and then gotten no votes from the other side even though they incorporated hundreds of the Republican ideas.

And to top it off, Axelrod blames Obama's biggest supporters for his failures.

Posted by: wildcat1 | November 11, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

YOu know what? I get tired just watching it. President Obama cleans and cleans and cleans up one mess after another, and then there it is again -- the stupid that you thought you just cleaned shows up again.

Posted by: jakrdy | November 11, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans have a lot of nerve - they left a huge smelly mess, and when President Obama didn't clean up after them fast enough they faulted him for it.

Roger Ailes, your mess is even smellier.

Fat pig.

Posted by: jakrdy | November 11, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Do not give in to the Republicans. Let the public know that the high end cuts the Republicans give bigger tax cuts to the following families:

Christy Walton (22.5 billion)
Needs more? Seriously??!
When did stupid become synonymous with patriotic?

Jim Walton (20.7 billion)
Needs more? Seriously??!

Alice Walton (20.6 billion)
Needs more? Really??

S. Robson Walton (19.8 billon)
More needed? Are you joking?

Micheal Bloomberg (18 billion)
More needed? Are you mental?

Charles Koch (17.5 billon)
More? Is that the word? More? Is that it?

Michael Dell (13.5 billion)
More? Why.

John Paulson (12 billion)
More? Think it will ever be enough?
No guess it never will be.

Donald Bren (12 billion)
More money as well as liver spots needed - never enough.

Abigail Johnson (11.5 billion)
Nees more? How about throwing in a solid gold toilet seat while you're at it, Republicans.

Forrest Mars, Jr. (11 billion)
Republicans, I wish you would move to Mars.

Jacqueline Mars (another 11 billion)
Republicans say she must have another tax cut - why? Because they said so, that's why.

John Mars (yet another 11 billion)
Republicans say more.

Ronald Perelman (11 billion)
Computer says no, Republicans say more.

Carl Icahn (10.5 billion).
Republicans say more and then cough in your face.

Sheldon Adelson (9.3 billion).
Guess what Republicans say.
More.

When did stupid become synonymous with patriotic.

When Roger Ailes could get away with being president of a channel that refers to itself as a "news" station, it couldn't get any more stupid than that.

America, WAKE UP.


David Koch (17.5 billion) MORE NEEDED.

Posted by: jakrdy | November 11, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

PEOPLE ARE FULL OF FEAR AND MISINFORMATION. IN FIVE YEARS AFTER THE PEOPLE ACTUALLY HAVE HEALTH CARE THEY WILL STOP MALIGNING IT AND WILL LOOK AT ROGER AILES AND REALIZE A FAT PIG TRIED TO MISLEAD HIM ALONG WITH ALL OF HIS LUNATIC LACKIES. DON'T LET THESE VENAL PIGS RULE THIS COUNTRY, WE ELECTED PRESIDENT OBAMA AS OUR PRESIDENT. BACKHAND THESE VENAL HACKS.

Posted by: jakrdy | November 11, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

jakrdy, no one is listening.
The TV baggers vote against their interests.
It is hard to keep caring about people who can not care for themselves.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 11, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

There should be no tax cuts for anyone, IF we are serious about the deficit, which we are not.

So instead unemployment benefit extensions will be denied because of the deficit, while the rich get ANOTHER tax avoidance scheme.

Where do I go to throw up?

Posted by: sufi66 | November 12, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Hanssolo provides what can only be described as the willie Sutton excuse.

When asked why he kept robbing banks Mr Sutton famously said, "Because that's where the money is!"

Hanssolo offers the same unique excuse for progressive taxes. He believes that we should tax the rich because, well, that's where the money is. No moral or ethical support for this, just good old practicality. Let's take money from them, because, well, they have some.

Just too funny.

And Mr Solo you provided an emotional appeal for income transfer, an pretty poor one at that. I asked for an ethical and moral prop for your insistence on taking more for the rich.

We can argue the validity of transfer payments, but that's not the question I asked.

Clearly you can't find an ethical support for your position. Don't feel bad no other liberal I've asked could develop one either.

Now to Scat. You should read your own words. I'll repeat them here for you:
"But why does it have to be a moral argument? I believe that there are practical reasons why a progressive tax system benefits society such as the propensity to spend decreases with income. The rich tend to save their tax cuts; the poor and middle class tend to spend which positively stimulates the economy."

Try again, indeed. Those were the words to which I responded. So spare me the catholic guilt for a while. You clearly advanced the proposition I characterized. You believe that people other than those who earned their money have a better idea about how to use it. Those income earners will just save it (darn them) whereas others will spend it (bless them) so let's confiscate the money from those that earned it and give it those who'll spend it. In the deep south they called this slavery.


Shame on you for that. And shame on you for trying to hammer me with our mutual faith. It is completely possible for devoutly faithful people to disagree about how to discharge the obligations we voluntarily accept. I find your approach unsatisfactory for the reasons I've stated.

try reading your own words. "You'd be amazed at what you can actually learn."


Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 12, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

ashotinthedark wrote: Can one of the republicans politicans or someone here explain why the tax cuts for the wealthy can't be passed at a later time?
______________________________________
Because these "rich" business owners are the one's keeping our country employed! We are already nearing 10% unemployment, not including people no longer eligible for unemployment! If they take more of the business owners money, it cannot be good for the current or future unemployed.

Posted by: ssol4569 | November 12, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

By capitulating on the tax issue, President Obama makes it easier for republicans to demand cuts in Medicare and Social Security in order to balance the budget. He will be ill advised to extend the Bush tax cuts. Better to let the cuts expire for everyone until the budget is in surplus.
Why not pull our troops out of Europe, Korea, Japan etc as a cost saving measure?
Why not cut congressional salaries and benefits as a cost saving measure?
Why not negotiate with drug companies for lower prices as a cost saving measure?
Why not get a president with guts--H. Clinton in 2012!!!

Posted by: patentech | November 12, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

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