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Nov 14, 2012

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Spag

I'm sure both can be scored to remove the "vagueness".

Andrew Brod

The scoring is the vagueness.

Spag

Money Honey:

"Much of the discussion over the last few weeks has been about broadening the base of taxpayers by eliminating loopholes and exemptions. Sources tell me, if done right, this would far exceed the revenues a tax "rate" hike would generate. But even if you do raise rates on top earners and limit deductions, that barely moves the needle on our national debt and deficit. Entitlement spending is the main issue, yet so far there has been no discussion of spending cuts...

...What's truly alarming is we are stuck on this petty "tax the rich more" fight, even though we know that revenue would not be enough to make a dent in our massive debt and deficit."

Worst person on the internet

Sam, I didn't know you were both a catastrophic global warming AND tax the rich denier. Next thing you know you will be claiming that the rich didn't get that way by taking theirs from the poor.

Spag

I'm anti-science, CP. It's part of being a conservative these days. It's right up there with being a racist and hating people. Otherwise there would be no legitimate reason to oppose the Left on anything.

Andrew Brod

"We know that revenue would not be enough to make a dent in our massive debt and deficit."

We don't know that, or rather, it depends what's considered a dent. Moving tax rates for everyone back to Clinton-era rates would reduce the 2013 deficit by $221 billion, or 39% of the total reduction if we let the "fiscal cliff" happen (scroll down to Table 1 in that link).

But that's everyone, not the richest 2%. Moving only their taxes back up to Clinton-era rates would reduce the deficit by about $58 billion, or about 10% of the total reduction. (I've seen figures in the media that go as high as $120 billion.) Maybe $58 billion is only a dent, but it's certainly not less than a dent, and it's the best damned dent we're likely to get in a depressed economy. As Europe has shown, government austerity makes deficits worse.

In the medium-to-long run, the Bush tax cuts need to be repealed for everyone (not just the rich) and the payroll (Social Security) tax needs to go back to its usual level. But in a depression, the only smart move is to leave taxes on the middle class and below untouched. As the 2001-07 expansion showed, the "job creators" don't create many jobs, so there's no cause to worry that taxing them a bit more will hurt the economy. And it'll get us some deficit reduction.

Spag

The projected deficit for 2013 is $901 billion. If we spend that $58 billion, then there is no reduction.

I think conservatives might be willing to give on taxes if the spending cuts occur first.

Andrew Brod

Much of the deficit is essentially untouchable, and I'm not talking about entitlements. A huge chunk of the increase in the deficit from the Bush 43 years (when conservatives thought deficits were kewl) is explained by increased usage of automatic stabilizers (i.e. safety-net programs) like food stamps. Those expenditures will decrease as the economy continues to improve, but unless we're going to renege on that portion of the social contract, we've got to let it run its course.

Andrew Brod

Also, that $58 billion figure may well be too low. I keep seeing in the media references to $1 trillion of new tax revenue over 10 years (assuming companion changes such as indexing the AMT to inflation), which is obviously an average of about $100 billion per year.

Roch,

Wouldn't it be cheaper to renege on the social contract and just issue everybody a gun or a coffin as their preference may be?

Spag

Sounds like a vague promise of revenue to me.

Regarding Food Stamps: they are actually increasing, and reached a record high in August. A fine recovery there.

Nothing is truly untouchable. Americans need to accept that.

Andrew Brod

Yes, food stamps are needed when you have so much long-term unemployment (see Table A-12). That's what happens when you're struggling to recover from a financial-crisis-induced recession.

If we continue to do little about that, it might increase further. But as unemployment recedes, the spending on food stamps will decline as well.

Andrew Brod

"...do little about that..."

That = long-term unemployment.

Spag

And all of this time I thought it was a Bush tax cut induced recession.

Andrew Brod

That's your straw man, no one else's.

bubba

"That's your straw man, no one else's."

He's just reminiscing about the times when people like you insisted it was true.

Spag

The center piece of Obama's campaign was that the rich didn't pay their fair share. That had nothing to do with unemployment, but morons bought it anyway.

MojoNixon

(snicker)

Andrew Brod

It's because the "morons" care about more than just unemployment. They also care about tax fairness and, to some degree, deficit reduction.

bubba

"They also care about tax fairness."

This favorite intellectually bankrupt fantasy you hold never strays far from your overwrought mind, does it? It IS to be expected from committed central planners like you, however.

Andrew Brod

Actually, comrade, I've never been a central planner. But it sounds like fun.

In any case, my statement is simply an observation, based for example on exit polls, in which 47% of voters said that income tax rates should be increased for those earning more than $250K per year. Another 13% said they should be increased for everyone. If you don't like that, complain to the voters, not me.

Spag

The "rich" already pay a higher marginal tax rate than everyone else and pay a disproportionate amount of the tax burden. But paying more isn't "fair" for some reason. Seems backwards to me.

None the less, enough morons bought it.

bubba

"None the less, enough morons bought it."

And as we've seen, any number prevaricate and distort the information in favor of several worldview item talking points. We see some examples above.

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