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Feb 27, 2009

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RBM

From the link:

Frankly, the White House ought to put out a comprehensive list of the countless explicit statements made by candidate Obama, from stump speeches and debates, to town halls and interviews, listing exactly what and when Obama said about changes to Republican tax policy he intended to make if elected. They ought to count the number of times Obama spoke on the tax issue and drum that number home.

Yup, in the information age, this should be second nature behavior.

Either Obama said it or he didn't.

FWIW, long term, I think the effort of saving the economy will fail ( see Depression), but for reasons other than this argument.

Kirk Ross

The thing is there was a class war — or whatever you want to call it. It started in 1980 and the poor and middle class lost.
Look at the income charts for the past three decades. The wealthy and corporations won had their thirst for tax cuts slaked by those with lower incomes bearing more of the cost of government.
The idea that a wealthy individual will take tax savings and use it create jobs for the poor and middle class is absurd.

cheripickr

"The thing is there was a class war — or whatever you want to call it. It started in 1980 and the poor and middle class lost."

Liberals love class divisions, class wars and class envy. I have to laugh when they say "more wealth has been CONCENTRATED with the rich....etc, etc" Who exactly did all this "concentrating"? Isn't concentrating some act of resisting what would happen naturally without interference? Isn't it more correct that they grew what they had or what they inherited do a greater degree than those who did not become similarly as wealthy, the government's efforts to take more from those who made more along the way not withstanding?

Any argument made by the propagators of class division, envy and warfare seems to be rooted in a perversion of the phrase in the constitution "all men are created equal" interpreting it as not just a right to equality of opportunity, but to some approximation of outcome as well. In other words, they recognize no constitutional or natural right to private ownership or pursuit of wealth should the government arbitrarily decide otherwise. That is simply an ideological socialist argument, not an economic one. You guys are arguing nothing less than an ideological overthrow of the type of government our founders established.
Class division are abstract exercise with arbitrary divisions. Individuals are real. Try looking at right and wrong as it pertains to the individual sometimes. It can bring often bring clarity to a lot of things.

Thomas

CP-"You guys are arguing nothing less than an ideological overthrow of the type of government our founders established."

I think we're talking about tax rates here. Please tell us what specific percentages are ok from the founders' point of view. How does moving to a tax structure which was in place ten years ago and seemed to work well spell doom for the republic? If I follow your logic, the only tax system that would be fair is a flat tax. Has that ever been done is this Great Experiment's history? Is that what the founders wanted?

Dave Dobson

Well, OK, if we're supposed to live in the Nietzchean triumph of individual prowess society you describe, then that should jive well with a 100% mandatory estate tax, should it not?

Ed Cone

The person famous for saying (paraphrase) "the class war is over, and my class won" is that noted anti-capitalist Warren Buffett.

Ged

The idea that the migration of the majority of wealth to a few people is a good thing is laughable. This is how kingdoms came into being eons ago, how the notion of surfs and royalty evolved and what the founding fathers rebelled against to form this country. Capitalism is great to an extent but when government's laws and practices concentrates wealth and power in the hands of a few, society suffers, withers and dies.

cheripickr


"I think we're talking about tax rates here".
Well maybe. What I was mainly addressing was "class warfare" and the dedicated soldiers who like to stew in it.

"If I follow your logic, the only tax system that would be fair is a flat tax."
No,this would be better.

cheripickr

"migration" here we go again--like concentration. Tell me please, who did Bill Gates' wealth migrate from? Who dd Oprah Winfrey's wealth migrate from? Was it a forced migration?

cheripickr

The only thing that is laughable is the irony of your analogy. In kingdoms, serfdoms, etc the rich villains that took the nation's wealth and committed the poor to the purpose of perpetuating the wealth gap was the government! You couldn't make this stuff up.

Doug H

CP, do I understand from your statements that you believe there to be a level playing field? That the top 5% are subject to the same rules that govern the rest? To argue the semantics of whether wealth is "concentrated" or "migrated" to the rich ignore the fact that the rich lobby the government very hard to see that the rules are made in their favor.

Bill Gates' wealth migrated to him because Microsoft bullied and bought out anyone who looked like competition. And the anti-trust laws did nothing but protect him in doing so.

I'm reminded of a friend's favorite saying regarding The Golden Rule: "The one with the gold makes the rules."

Fred Gregory

Ged: "Capitalism is great to an extent but when government's laws and practices concentrates wealth and power in the hands of a few, society suffers, withers and dies."

Yes Ged too much power in the government is a bad thin.

"Bitter experience has shown that when people turn ridiculous amounts of power and money over to government, the results tend to be regrettable. That lesson has been absorbed, especially, here in the U.S."

Hence Rasmussen's recent poll shows 59 percent of Americans agree with the proposition that "government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." That is consistent with a lot of other recent poll data. My sense is that a great many Americans are rather sullen as they watch the government gleefully plotting to expropriate more of their wealth and take ever greater control over their lives. What the Democrats are doing is fundamentally unAmerican. That may not have been obvious in 1932, but it is pretty clear now. "

John Hinderaker

cheripickr

"To argue the semantics of whether wealth is "concentrated" or "migrated" to the rich ignore the fact that the rich lobby the government very hard to see that the rules are made in their favor."

Don't worry. Our current administration appears highly capable and motivated to resist such lobbying to maintain that particular end. I don't see the rich holding the cards of rulemaking at the moment. So Gates never really created anything of value, huh, never lost in court either, And was protected in his reprehensible competitiveness by a consensus of allies and worshippers along the way? Lucky guy.

Doug H

Of course the rich are holding the cards. As much as I hope Obama is able to succeed in helping the middle class, he got to power somehow. Elections usually just change which group of rich people are in power at the time.

Gates went to court to protect the monopoly he had. I'm not saying he was a shrewd businessman, just that I think he had advantages not given to others.

Back to my question: Do you think that the top 5% in terms of income have to play by the same rules as the other 95%?

cheripickr

"Back to my question: Do you think that the top 5% in terms of income have to play by the same rules as the other 95%?"
Which rules are you referring to?

Jeffrey Sykes

Income redistribution by any other name is still income redistribution.

And it is still wrong.

Doug H

"Which rules are you referring to?"

Tax law and the lobbying system are two things that come to mind. Gaming both requires money, and the majority of Americans don't have the resources to play.

That is a good question, though, and I'd like to think on it longer and so to give a more complete answer.

JC

"Elections usually just change which group of rich people are in power at the time".

Great quote Doug.

So now we see new "rich" people, (or should we substitute "people with influence" because wealth can be measured in different ways) making new and different decisions that will positively affect certain constituencies and may negatively affect others.

Are we naive enough to believe that those now deciding where TARP dollars are going, or voting on Card-Check legislation, or where new federal health care dollars are being spent, are all voting based on some new, heartfelt goodness towards the governed?

Or, more probably, can we agree that we just have a different set of "rich" people making the decisions for their own self serving benefit? Interesting.

justcorbly

...Rasmussen's recent poll shows 59 percent of Americans agree with the proposition that "government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.

One, Rasmussen tilts right.

Two, government becomes the solution when it is trying to solve your problem.

Third, it's time to give up on that Reagan nonsense. Why don't we ask people how they would choose between the government and incompetent, corrupt rich people?

Spag

Did Obama "pledge" to raise taxes in the way he is now? Did Obama "pledge" to implement record spending resulting in record deficits? Did Obama "pledge" to eliminate many tax deductions?

I don't think so. At least not that he would have admitted.

Obama did "pledge" to implement a small business tax credit in response to the Joe the Plumber issue, but after he won the election, he reneged on that "pledge".

I wonder why you (Ed) aren't at least as equally upset by the record spending and projected deficit under Obama as you were the spending and deficits under Bush. Do you have an answer for that? Are you going to post about that or do Democratic record spending and deficits "not interest" you and therefore posting criticism of them is "not useful"?

Liberal journalist Kirk Ross writes "The thing is there was a class war — or whatever you want to call it. It started in 1980 and the poor and middle class lost." The assumption being of course that the "rich" somehow "took" their money from the poor and middle class. Hard to understand considering the "rich" have paid a higher tax rate all along, and further because tax rates refer to how the government collects money, not how people earn it.

Liberal Ged writes "The idea that the migration of the majority of wealth to a few people is a good thing is laughable." What is laughable is the idea that wealth just happens to "migrate" to anyone- even those who pay higher tax rates. The wealth comes from somewhere, it isn't just dropped on certain people from migrating birds. A better question to ask is why do some people get wealthier than others? It can't be because of tax rates, because the wealthy pay more in terms of the rates and in terms of the revenue generated from those higher rates.

You guys are advocating the principles of Marxism through the use of the tax code whether you admit it or not. From each according to his means, to each according to his needs. What would be really refreshing is if any of you would have the courage to just come out and admit it.

cheripickr

What is the mechanism for the tilt? Do they ask questions like "you don't like what Obama's doing, do you"?

cheripickr

I thought this was sufficiently on-topic, given the title of this thread, and given all the recent discussion about double standards and hypocrisy.
Wonder why TPM anf Thinkprogress didn't pick up this scoop?
For the complete articles from those beacons of journalistic objectivity from sea to shining sea, click here

justcorbly

Income redistribution by any other name is still income redistribution.
And it is still wrong.

All taxation is income redistribution because money is collected from some people and spent on other people.

A lot of the taxes I pay -- and the taxes you pay -- don't come back to me, or you.. The money goes elsewhere. The share of my taxes that help pay for the war in Iraq represents income redistribution. The share of my taxes that represents fixing a highway in Buncombe County that I'll never drive on represents income redistribution.

What you're really saying is that you think reducing taxes on the wealthy to benefit the wealthy is morally preferable to taxing the wealthy to benefit the non-wealthy.


cheripickr

JC (with apologies to the other JP),
You once said that my arguments about taxation presupposed some sort of default original ownership right by individuals to money that comes their way as the starting point from where discussion of tax matters should proceed, that you disagreed, and that coming from those opposite positions, further discussion between us was futile.

On further reflection, you were kind of right. Therefore I will leave it to others to respond to your post.

Also on further reflection, I have also come to appreciate you and the way you express your opinions because I believe they are sincere,carefully considered and are stated clearly and without hesitation, apology or disguise. I apologize for the "skin crawl" comment, or am at least transfering it from you to your positions on the matter in question, which I nonetheless respect and defend your right to express. (I do sometimes think you would be happier in another country). In saying all that I know I may be coming across as the nicest asshole you've ever met, or if that's giving me too much credit, then simply a guy who is full of $#!+ and of himself.

Spag

"What you're really saying is that you think reducing taxes on the wealthy to benefit the wealthy is morally preferable to taxing the wealthy to benefit the non-wealthy."

Who said anything about REDUCING taxes on the wealthy? The discussion is about INCREASING taxes on the "wealthy".

confused

"I wonder why you (Ed) aren't at least as equally upset by the record spending and projected deficit under Obama as you were the spending and deficits under Bush."

You're kidding me, right?

The world is in a different place today then it was when Bush took over (in no small part thanks to him). Have you checked your IRAs lately?

Bush was sitting pretty when he took over (although if you remember in Aug '01, it was very clear that his policies were going to take us back to deficits... altho he was spared that embarrassment).

So don't you think that different times call for different measures?

Sticking to the same practices no matter the situation is ideology...

Changing practices depending on circumstance is often (when sensible) pragmatism.

Obama has always struck me as pragmatic (which is sure to upset the ideologues).

Sorry you're upset Spag

justcorbly

CP: Thanks for the honest comment. I appreciate it.

I've lived in Europe, southern Africa, and the Arab middle east. No way would I trade living in any of those locations for living in this country. (Although if I could afford it, a flat in London's west end would be tempting for part of the year. London is a great city, the UK is a beautiful nation, and the Brits-- contrary to their image -- are delightfully unstuffy middle class people.)

I have figured out that people in all those countries are trying to solve the same basic problems, sometimes in different ways. A single mother in South Africa whose native tongue is Xhosa and who works in a department store has more in common with a single American mother who works at Walmart than either will ever know. A Palestinian father in Amman who hopes his daughter can go to Al-Quds University in Jerusalem has more in common with the Durham father who hopes his kid can go to Carolina than either will ever know. That adolescent Afrikaner border guard who shoved a rifle in my face and grabbed my passport when I parked in the wrong spot at an apartheid-era South Afrcian border crossing has more in common with every teenaged Marine at Camp Lejeune than any of them will ever know.

I formed my political opinions in my own adolesence, stretching from JFK's presidency through his murder and that of his brother and Martin Luther King. I admired the contributions that folks a few years older than me made in the early 1960's, and looked with disdain and contempt on the efforts of many in the latter part of that decade to turn it all into a self-serving party. Along the way I read a lot of Jefferson. (Not just people on Jefferson. Jefferson.) A lot of events and a lot of people have challenged my beliefs over the years, but, if anything, they are stronger today than ever.


Ged

Neocon Spag wrote:

"The wealth comes from somewhere, it isn't just dropped on certain people from migrating birds."

Actually it does. Wealth is handed down from generation to generation and concentrated in the hands of a few. Eventually these few wealthy individuals tend to own monopolies, control media empires, or use their vast influence to sway the electorate. This happens on both the right and left, money and power corrupt no matter who you are.

It is naive to think that the majority of the wealthy in this country just "come into it" over night. They don't. Many of them earn it the old fashion way, they inherit it. Which is one reason why Paris Hilton's parents have barred her from collecting on the vast sums her family owns and instead will be giving a huge chunk to charity. They recognize the danger of consolidated wealth, unlike some people in this forum.

cheripickr

"A lot of events and a lot of people have challenged my beliefs over the years, but, if anything, they are stronger today than ever."
That is exactly why I am crash-testing my beliefs in here everyday (for at least a little while longer). If exposing yours similarly has only strengthened them, then more power to you. That's what it's all about, isn't it?

Disclaimer: I've never lived anywhere else and have had a pretty easy life, which may or may not explain a lot in your eyes. However, it is what it is.

(If any smartass pipes in with comments about "getting a room" or "group hug" I'm gonna come down hard)

Spag

" Wealth is handed down from generation to generation and concentrated in the hands of a few."

So that is how people get wealthy, huh? How did their ancestors get wealthy, and how do you explain the self made man?

Get the chip off your shoulder. You won't find happiness going through life jealous and angry of what others have.

And also, I am NOT a neocon. The record reflects that.

Confused, we also fought a war under Bush that cost money, so that situation called for more money if that is the hair you are trying to split. Record spending and deficits is not "pragmatic" especially when so much of the money is being spent on ideologically driven projects.

I knew there would have to be some distorted rationale to justify spending and deficits under Obama by the same people who trashed Bush over those things, but I expected something better.

I really wish you all would just come clean and say you were full of shit back then and that your criticism was simply because you wanted to win an election. At least then I might have more respect for you than the painstaking hair splitting that I predicted you would engage in even before Obama won.

justcorbly

...I am crash-testing my beliefs in here everyday (for at least a little while longer).

Stick around, CP. Mr. Cone runs a nice place.

Ged

"So that is how people get wealthy, huh? How did their ancestors get wealthy, and how do you explain the self made man?"

There are many individuals who pull up their boot straps and turn what little they have into a self-made fortune. I didn't say there weren't and I'd like to think I'll be one myself one day through the hard work and determination of owning my own successful business. But there are *far* more individuals out there who didn't make their fortunes, they were given to them. We all know wealth stays "in the family", and over time, and across generations that becomes a dangerous thing. Those who did nothing to earn it eventually have it, don't know the meaning of where it came from or the value of an honest day's work.

For the record this has nothing to do with jealously either. I'm quite comfortable in my lifestyle and how much I make. I don't have a chip on my shoulder or take offense at being labeled unfairly like you do Sam. This is simply about why the wealthy deserved to be taxed more than the middle class. Warren Buffet agrees and so do the American People which is one of the reasons why the elected Barack Obama the 44th President of the United States and not John McCain.

Get over it.

Spag

"But there are *far* more individuals out there who didn't make their fortunes, they were given to them."

So? Why is that your concern?

The wealthy are taxed more than the middle class, so I don't know what your point there is either.

cheripickr

Spag, have you not noticed, that if they talk long enough, and it usually doesn't take too long, whatever facade of reasoned argument they can briefly muster collapses, revealing the pure petty jealousy and contempt for others' success,self-sufficiency or good fortune that is the real driving force behind their agenda?

cheripickr

Ged, if you think it required the election of Obama to achieve the goal of taxing the rich more than the middle class, I suggest you obtain some basic education about the existing and historical tax structure in this country prior to resuming your lessons about kingdoms, serfdom and withering societies (your examples of which all illustrate oppessive government, not excessive private wealth--I'm still a bit puzzled about what these kingdoms had to do with the excesses of capitalism). Take your time, we'll be here.

Kim

Spag, CP, you guys are great. How dare these "rich" people put their capital at risk, run small busines, and create about 70% of new jobs. They SHOULD be punished.

cheripickr

"You won't find happiness going through life jealous and angry of what others have."--SPAG

There is a lot of useful wisdom in that advice. Those who need to would do well to heed it.

justcorbly

... the pure petty jealousy and contempt for others' success,self-sufficiency or good fortune that is the real driving force behind their agenda...

As an explanation of the motivation behind tax policy, that is simply not true. I'm certainly not wealthy. Never have been near that status. Ditto everyone I know. We aren't suffused with rage and jealousy. We don't think the accumulation of wealth is as much a measure individual success as the right seems to think it is, but that's another story. (Rich bastards remain bastards.)

Tax rates on the wealthy are higher because that's where all the money is concentrated. If their tax rates go back to what they were before the Bush tax cuts, or even higher, the rich will still be rich.

I know many on the right seem to think all government is an unadorned evil, and that, hence, all taxes are theft. But the constant decades-long rant on the evils of government and taxes long ago began to turn people off. Whether or not you intend it, the message you are delivering is that the wealthy must be protected even if that means damaging eveyone else and that you are their handmaidens.

Obama sprung no surprises with his tax policy, What he's proposing he outlined during the campaign. The guy and the party who disagreed lost. The right should ponder that, because they are preaching to a shrinking choir.

Steve Harrison

"whatever facade of reasoned argument they can briefly muster collapses"

As opposed to being unreasonable from the very start. Your first foray into this thread began with:

"Liberals love class divisions, class wars and class envy."

Every thread here is an invitation to attack liberals, and every thread here is another example of how Ed does or does not take a stand on issues. To say that it's become tiresome would be a gross understatement.

Spag

"Tax rates on the wealthy are higher because that's where all the money is concentrated. If their tax rates go back to what they were before the Bush tax cuts, or even higher, the rich will still be rich."

So what is the point then? What are we arguing over? The fact that the government should tax them at such a rate that they won't be rich anymore (apparently Ged's argument)?

"Every thread here is an invitation to attack liberals"

How about every post here is a not so subtle invitation to attack Republicans/conservatives? Much of what you complain about Steve involves the refusal by some to admit that reality. I also notice how you exempted the actual arguments about class divisions, class wars and class envy that were IN FACT advanced here thus proving CP's point. You just didn't want to hear it.

cheripickr

"Every thread here is an invitation to attack liberals"

That is a literally dead-on accurate statement.

Butonly in as much as the way in which he slants, packages and introduces the threads with such embedded liberal preassumptions (rarely in his own words) that it poisons the atmosphere for honest debate from the outset, literally baiting anyone with any semblance of a bullshit detector to call him on it. When he does this, he makes a mockery of his own blog and the people who have chosen it as a forum for education and honest discussion of important issues. Do you see any other local blogger employing a similar "style"? For those reasons you will not be having to put up with me much longer.

"every thread here is another example of how Ed does or does not take a stand on issues. To say that it's become tiresome would be a gross understatement."

I agree that Ed's failure to take a stand on issues is tiresome, but is it untrue?

justcorbly

You know, every blogger has his or her own style. Ed's style -- little snippets with a link -- is identical to some of the earliest blogs 10 years or so ago.

I come here because Ed's posts are interesting. I don't come here -- or go to any other blog for that matter -- to be educated or discuss important things. Frankly, almost every comment in the political threads, including any from me, is just so much repackaged dogma. None of us say anything that would catch anyone by surprise. It's a lot of fun, but let's face it, comment threads on political blogs are tiresomely predictable and uninformative.

cheripickr

"I don't come here -- or go to any other blog for that matter -- to be educated or discuss important things."

I don't mean this in an argumentative way, but what do you come here for then?

Ed Cone

I am highly concerned with the size of the deficits we have been running, and those projected into the future.

Some spending, though, is needed now to offset the impact of the recession. I think Obama is taking a responsible course by attempting to pay for at least some of his spending with tax increases. I understand that Sam does not believe this tax policy to be an effective one; that is a rare area where we disagree.

In terms of additional spending for health care, etc., the idea is to recoup benefits over time. I support much of it, I am nervous about all of it.

Ged overstates the role of inherited wealth in terms of great fortunes, which tend to shift over time due to taxes, multiple heirs, and diminished ambitions. However, there is an opportunity gap between those from more comfortable backgrounds and those who lack access to basic education and resources.

I remain puzzled as to my alleged lack of opinions, which is often twinned with disagreements with my opinions.

I don't have a well-formed opinion on every issue under discussion, which seems healthy to me, and I don't stop to label every item with "I Concur!" or "No Way!," which seems normal to me. Sometimes I am faced with challenges (e.g., Defend something you never said!, Admit your opinion is wrong!) that don't inspire a response, and I try to avoid bumper-sticker answers, but I think my views tend to be pretty clear.

Steve Harrison

Sam, I read your blog and many other (local) ones, and I have to say: every blogger has a different approach to how they present the issues from which they want to generate discussion.

Although our ideological positions are (sometimes) stellar opposites, you and I have a very similar blogging technique. We approach an issue in a "translative" fashion, by (attempting to) demonstrate the wrongness or rightness of it, and how it will impact people's lives. We utilize persuasive and sometimes emotional language. It's the way we roll, but it's not the only way it can/should be done.

And Cheri, you really need to start your own blog, if you haven't already done it. Choosing the method of airing your views ain't easy, pal. If you're not careful, you can end up with one really bored neurotic shut-in as a back-patting acolyte, and the learning process deteriorates down to the equivalent of texting your paranoid cousin Ralphie. Remember what I said about why we do this? Taking a crap on the carpet in your favorite room sort of throws off the Feng-Shui, if you know what I mean.

Okay, I've totally lost my way, here. I'm going to grab a bite to eat in Greensboro before the crimelords and the Simkins PAC usher in an age of anarchy...

cheripickr

Steve, that was all very well-stated, not to mention entertaining. I have learned much from you during this brief journey (seriously). Given the similarities between yourself and Spag (which I can see now that you mention it), I'll bet you dollars to donuts that if you ever came across a conservative who otherwise shared Ed's exact same blogging style, he would irritate the shit out of you. :)
No way I could do my own blog though. My wife has already tried to amputate my single typing finger.

bobthesurgeon

....heres the thing...making 300000 a year does not make you rich most people who make this much work very hard for it, 10,000,000 yes, a different issue...if the republicans have anyone to blame its themselves..all the wall streeters , rappers, baLL PLAYERS and ceos making 10, 20 , 30 100 million a year, that SHOULD have been taxed higher back then.there would be far less blood lust now..i mean how many private jets, servants and vacation homes does one need? An additional 5 percent on incomes over 10,000,000? who would be hurt? Oprah, AROD, p-diddy? Lets see if they put their money where their mouth is.... and for those who say an athletes career is short etc etc bullcrap...

Ged

If you are making $300,000 a year, you're pulling down over $5,700 a week before taxes. I'll repeat that - $5,700 a week. To most people's definition, that makes you "rich". And as a brief reminder to Cheri, if John McCain had been elected, we wouldn't be raising taxes on the richest 1%, we'd be cutting them, again. Going further into debt. Again. Elections do matter, in many, many ways.

cheripickr

"I'll repeat that - $5,700 a week."

Is that supposed to have some kind of shock value, as if $5700 is a different amount than 300,000 divided by 52?

"If John McCain had been elected,... we'd be...Going further into debt"

Thank God we elected Obama!

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