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Are Higher Taxes in Our Future?

Flickr/David Reber's Hammer Photography

Tax day, April 15th, is upon us now.

It’s never fun preparing or paying. But it’s the price we pay for all we share. 

That price may be going up – substantially and soon. 

America’s deficit has grown so large that talk of higher taxes is all over the place now. Letting old tax cuts lapse. Bringing in new taxes. Maybe a “V.A.T.” – a “value added tax – on everything we buy. 

Former Fed chief under Ronald Reagan, Paul Volcker, is saying if we need it, we need it.  

This Hour, On Point:  Are we going to have to pay up to bring down the deficit? Are higher American taxes now inevitable?

Guests:

Bill Frenzel, scholar of economic studies at the Brookings Institution and a former Republican Congressman from Minnesota. He advised President George W. Bush on social security and taxes.

Alan Auerbach, professor of economics and law – and director of the Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance – at U.C. Berkeley. He served as deputy chief-of-staff of the U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation in 1992.

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  • Gary

    :::Begin Rant

    Higher taxes?…News flash…we are already paying higher taxes. My home value has steadily dropped and my property tax (value tax?) bill continues to rise.

    We have to repay the tax cuts and big government spending of the Bush years?

    We must keep all those government pensions, salaries, and benefits funded to the max, lest they feel some discomfort from the current depression. (IMO the real unemployment rate is likely closer to 23%).

    How many states ACTUALLY used the stimulus funds to create jobs? If what I have been reading is correct, the funds went directly to state pensions and to keep jobs for state employees.

    I can think of many things that should be done before raiding the working mans savings account in support of government.

    -Cap Credit Card interest rates to no more than 5% over prime rate.

    -Stop printing so much currency.

    -Open state pension plans to all state citizens (It’s the PEOPLES money).

    -Break up monopolies.

    -Reinstate Glass-Steagall, and eliminate the IB’s

    -Regulate Wall Street, and home mortgages (Mortgage cannot leave the county of origin).

    -Cap state and federal salaries by bringing them back to the real world, most notably Teachers, Police, and Firemen.

    -Open the federal pension to US citizens (It’s the PEOPLES money).

    - Open the federal Health Care Plans to US citizens (It’s the PEOPLES money).

    Look around the center of your town and you will see that the biggest and most expensive buildings belong to the three biggest social parasites (religion, government, and banking)!

    :::End Rant (Sorry, but that felt good!)

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    I’d be glad to pay higher taxes if I got something like Medicare for all back from it.

    I refuse to pay higher taxes to pay for the Bush tax cuts, bailing out Wall Street and the auto industry and to give jerk congresspeople and senators free healthcare.

    The people who are deciding these things feel none of the pain, for them its strictly a political decision.

  • Kenny

    As a society, we need to finally come to terms with paying taxes, especially when it comes to education. We’ve spent thirty years slashing government spending and all we’ve gotten for it is more dysfunctional government. It’s a downward spiral that only leads to poor education, poor law enforcement, poor emergency services and much more — or should I say less. The idea of doing more for less is very appealing to most Americans, but it has its limits. Until we accept the costs of a civil society, we are doomed to watching our American institutions fail.

  • Alex

    I agree with Richard. To me it is not the taxes that is a problem. It is where the money is going. The reality is we will pay a lot in taxes no matter who’s in power and the money is going to be spent away no matter who’s in power. Given that I would rather have Medicare for all American people than drop a trillion in Iraq and another trillion on AIG and bankers and another somewhere in Pakistan and Afghanistan. All unaccounted for and with no supervision.

  • cory

    Eat the rich.

    1. Stop idolizing them

    2. Stop listening to them (Limbaugh, tea baggers)

    3. Don’t believe their hype (socialism!)

    4. Stop imperialist wars

    5. Bring back unionization

    EAT THE RICH!

  • John

    If taxes need to go up, fine, but I don’t want a VAT. Taxing consumption is regressive. Close the corporate loopholes and go after offshore fraud first.

  • Alex

    I’d rather they taxed consumption than incomes. It discourages waste.

  • Bryan

    I think higher taxes could be part of the budget solution but only after spending and regulatory reforms are in place. End “Too Big to Fail” taxpayers continually bailing out institutions run by billionaires doesn’t build public trust in government.
    Military spending is out of control and has been since the fall of the Soviet Union.

  • Lindsey Batchelder

    In 1980, if your income was $40,000, you were in a 50% tax bracket. In today’s dollars, that is about $112,000, which at today’s tax rates, puts you in a 25% tax bracket. That is before the thousands of deductions available to almost every American.

  • jeffe

    Gary I agree with most of what you’re saying in the post.
    Except that teachers do not make as much as police or firemen/women. I don’t see police making double overtime from sitting in their car while work is being done on a road. In this case a dead end street where I live.
    Why is there need for a cop on a dead end street with no traffic?

    Teachers do not make 100k plus a year with overtime from traffic duty.

    It was already stated that taxes are needed but are going to wrong things or are misspent.

    I just watched as a city of Boston worker sweeping the streets missed the area in front of mu house because he could not bother to turn machine a few feet to clean up the mess from the last storm. Now I have to phone up the Department of Public works and get someone to lie to me about how they will send someone around to clean it up.

    I go through this every spring and unless I clean it up myself nothing gets done. I’m paying the same city taxes as the people next door and yet I’m not getting the same service. If I withheld the tax you bet they would put a lean on my house. Can I put a lean on the city for theft of services? I can go on how the badly the city of Boston is run. How to many brothers, sisters and uncles are in jobs they are not qualified for. These jobs are notorious for their waste.

    Case in point: In the 90′s I was working as a web designer and freelancing at this large ad agency. They guy next to me was also a freelancer and he use to brag how he was going to get job with the city as a web designer and how he would only have to work 4 hours a day and collect pay for 8. Plus all the perks. This is the mind set of a lot of city and state workers. Not all of them but enough that there is a huge amount of waste of our tax dollars.

  • Steve V

    Ditto Richard!!!!!!!!

  • Rob lerman

    Please address not just the question of higher taxes, but of higher taxes for whom? The tax rates on the wealthiest have dropped dramatically in the last few decades. Might it not be possible to address the deficit by merely restoring the tax rates of the top 10% to 1970s levels?

  • http://bgardnersmith@gmail.com Brent Gardner-Smith

    Why is the gigantic defense budget so far off the table?

  • Larry

    If we slashed the $738 billion a year military budget we could maybe survive as a first world country.

    Since that won’t happen, you are going to be part of a declining empire Americans.

  • Andrew Farkas

    We need to focus on what we spend our taxes on. Let’s take the long view for once, and invest in education. We could probably fill the gap AND have enough to increase education spending by limiting our military actions to defensive wars only.

  • http://www.lit.org/author/fritzwilliam F. William Bracy
    If taxes need to go up, fine, but I don’t want a VAT. Taxing consumption is regressive. Close the corporate loopholes and go after offshore fraud first.
    Posted by John

    Of course, John. The poor, you see, just aren’t pulling their weight in this country. Ask any Republican (including the one on this panel).

  • jeffe

    I think we might see a value added tax in this country soon. Get ready for the VAT on everything.

    One thing needs to be discussed, the wars. We have been at it for 9 years and there is no end in site. How do we pay for this folly without raising taxes.

    The Republicans just want to cut taxes. It seems to me none of us want to pay for anything. I include myself in this as I don’t like paying taxes and seeing all the waste I see just on the local level, let alone on the federal.

  • alexandra moffat

    You opened up On Point by suggesting what needs to be done to fix the US financial crisis, debt,deficit: reduce entitlements, raise taxes etc etc but YOU MADE NO MENTION OF WHAT OUR WARS, THE PENTAGON, OUR 800 BASES AROUND THE WORLD cost us. That should be in the conversation and I blame the media for doing what you are: ignoring the costs of wars.

    (You might ALOS REFER TO THE BILLIONS OF CORP PROFITS OFF SHORE NOT TAXED)

  • Adam W

    There are some valid concerns here that I think come down to what can only be called Taxpayer Confidence. Our economists are ever aware of Consumer Confidence and make adjustments to appease the consumer to increase consumption. What we need is a government that is concerned with Taxpayer Confidence. Tell them where their money goes and put it there.

  • Ray

    The problem is that we want a lot back from the government, but we aren’t willing to pay for it in taxes. And I don’t think that anyone in Congress can really make hard choices on spending, because they will be hammered by their political opponents.

  • Maggie John

    I am a full-time student and a single mom on several government programs. I can’t wait to get a full time job so that I can pay taxes and help other people in this situation.

    I would gladly pay more money so that other people can go to school, have safe places to live, good food to eat and all the opportunities that I have been blessed to receive.

    ~”Entitlement Spending” Spender

  • M Brown

    Entitlement programs are getting blamed for out of control costs and I have yet to hear about what we are spending on two wars. At any other time in history, the rich have been taxed more during times of war – not given breaks under the guise of the “stimulating the economy”. History has shown what “trickles down” and it’s not pretty. I’ll pay taxes in proportion to what I have, as long as the wealthy do the same. I’m all for more regulation on Wall Street and reigning in the credit card companies.

  • Wait one minute…

    War is expensive.

  • Marc

    This is pathetic. Bush and the Republican legislature cut taxes on the richest among us which dramatically reduced the government’s income. Then they engaged in outrageously expensive wars. The entire time, no one said one word about the deficit. Now they lost and all we hear is how Republicans – who caused the problem – are lamenting the big government of Obama.

    Put people back to work (increases payroll taxes) and restore taxes on the richest. Close the loopholes that let Exxon get away with not paying any taxes at all. Finally, bring manufacturing back to the US which will provide good jobs. The US economy is strong when Americans are working, not when multi-national companies are building plants in other countries so Wall Street makes money.

    As much as I support bringing all troops around the world back inside US borders and I believe the War Dept (it’s not defense when you are always starting it) budget is far too high, the truth is that it is not what’s causing trouble. If companies and the wealthy paid their share and employment was up, this would not be a problem.

  • Wait one minute…

    If you don’t support entitlement spending, do you then favor strong unions, particularly in the service sector, so that workers can bargain for higher wages and pensions?

    If you don’t pay it in taxes, you’ll pay it at the cashiers’ counters unless you institute caps on pay and profits.

  • Andrew Farkas

    It would be nice if some of the people who profited on the economic collapse decided to contribute to the solution. Our government could use one of those golden parachutes right about now.

  • David W Riccardi

    I’m willing to pay high taxes if the money is spent efficiently. Government employees (including the Congress) need to be held to high performance standards so that the money isn’t funneled to corporate interests and away from effective services for the American People.

  • Nick

    Dropping the over-55 year olds from Medicare coverage is a terrible idea: ageism; only the upper middle class + the wealthy will be able to comfortably afford private healthcare in older age.

    Healthcare rights for ALL, not just the rich.

  • sandy linfert

    If we are going to get more taxes, let’s go back to the tax rates under that beloved republican, Dwight Eisenhower, with 70% as the highest rate

    Also, if we’re cutting “entitlements” that effect people, how about cutting corporate entitlements such as:
    1. tax benefits for sending jobs off shore,
    2. L-1b visas that put american taxpayers out of work,
    3. low and rebated royalties on outnatural resources such as oil
    4. no royalties on mining or our precious

    And finally, end the wars and cut defense budges by 50%.

  • Patrick

    Tom,

    Why don’t we talk about the amount of money we pour into Defense. There is no need to cut safety net programs or raise taxes on the middle class. The increase in our national debt is directly related to the explosive growth of spending on Defense.

    For a visual, please review the fourth graph on the following page: http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2010031330/dear-deficit-commission-its-not-hard

    Why is the knee-jerk reaction to cut programs or raise taxes?

  • Larry

    War is expensive.
    Posted by Wait one minute…

    War is unaffordable.

  • Wait one minute…

    Marc,

    The reason why we engage in warfare, much of it covert through indirect support of brutal dictators, is to make way for export-oriented transnational corporations. So the loss of manufacturing is in part military spending, unless of course you work for a firm who supplies the military, our and theirs.

  • Gary

    Vanishing point – I will see EVERY program for which I have been taxed all my life vaporize in front of me as I age. Cheney and friends will retire in luxury.

    …So is it time to tax peoples diminishing wages under the pressure of higher costs from Government and Corporate America?

    Lets not die as the Romans died. Close every military base outside the US, and shut down these wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/04/12

    It is interesting to hear the guests discuss how the ONLY option is increased taxes. Feudal thinking gets feudal results.

  • Larry

    L-1b visas that put american taxpayers out of work,
    sandy linfert

    What are those Sandy?

    Do you mean H1-B visas?

  • jeffe

    Hedge fund CEO’s and managers only pay 15% tax.

  • Larry

    Why do we need a VAT???????

    Cut the outrageous $738 BILLION DOLLAR A YEAR Military Budget that is devouring us!!!!!!

  • Larry

    Oh yes, let’s tax food 20% with 1 out of 10 people already on food stamps in this country.

    Tom, you just causally toss that off your tongue as I’m sure you never go hungry.

  • David

    The conversation continues to center on the “BIG GOVERNMENT” tax yet property tax is a MAJOR drain for most of us.

  • Robert

    A progressive tax scheme may be necessary folks -
    but why not also open the opportunity for individuals to help pay down the debt by giving them the options to save; earn some decent interest; and ‘invest’ in things they want the government to do?…

    “National Security Savings Bonds”- to finance anti-terror
    “Energy Independence Savings Bonds”…
    “Educational Opportunity Savings Bonds”…

  • cory

    It’s un-patriotic to cut defense spending or to be against our foreign wars, isn’t it?!

  • http://www.lit.org/author/fritzwilliam F. William Bracy

    This is unbelievable. Both of these supposed economic heavyweights are talking as if they think “entitlements” are nothing more than government handouts. They need to be placed on Medicare, quickly! … then watch their expressions drop when they find out that they’ll be paying PREMIUMS! … OUT OF THEIR OWN POCKETS!

    Medicare can be saved in exactly the same way that the insurance industry has gone about saving itself — BY RAISING THE PREMIUM RATE! Is this a tax increase? Well, of course! But why don’t people ask themselves what they are getting in return for the increase? THESE ARE MARGINAL INCREASES THAT AFFECT THE BASIC QUALITY OF LIFE for those who have the least to give. But just watch. The well off will be getting in line just as quickly as the indigent just to collect their “fair share” at the government trough.

  • Jason

    Tom,

    Will a VAT tax cause multiple taxation in the example below. Company A purchases metal (pays VAT) and forms the metal into a widget (pays VAT)who sells it to a distributer (pays VAT)who sells it to a retailer (pays VAT)who sells it to the consumer.

    Would the product have 4x VAT built into the pice?

    Jason from Iowa

  • Tim C.

    A one percent Tobin tax should be implemented to raise revenue and to discourage the excessive speculation in the financial markets that was largely responsible for bringing on the recession. Just as consumers are charged a sales tax, the financial manipulators should pay their fair share. This tax would raise hundreds of billions of dollars of badly needed revenue.

    Ending our disastrous adventures in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and drastically cutting the defense budget would also help to restore financial sanity and would help avoid cutting programs that are vital to the well-being of people.

  • Larry

    That’s called disparity of wealth.

    The rich have gotten so much richer than the rest of us while wages have been falling over the last 30 years even as women entered the workforce and now families depend on two wage earners to survive.

  • cory

    Gary,

    Love your post at 1026hrs. Bases in Japan, Germany, Korea, etc. We can’t afford it any more.

  • ed flynn

    There was a big transference of wealth from the middle class to the already rich, through draconian tax cuts during the Bush administration. With the wealthiest 1% of the population now owning 90% of the countries assets, it is time to raise the top income rate back to what it was during President Eisenhower’s administration. Let the selfish wealthy that spent us into this fiscal hole pay our way out of it.

    The middle class has already been abused enough and they won’t tolerate any more economic thievery. A federal sales tax (Vat)is just another attempt by the wealthy to transfer more of the tax burden to the middle class and would be the final step to taking away whatever disposable income left to the American middle class. A federal sales tax would be the death blow to the American economy ever recovering to what it was.

  • David
  • cristina bucksbaum

    Instead of rasing taxes…how about doing away with mortgage interest expense deduction on schedule A of the 1040? By doing away with this “entitlement” you raise a significant amount of revenue. Less than 10% of all people who file 1040 returns also file a Sch. A.

    Thank you.

    Cristina from Davenport, Iowa

  • Jason

    Wouldn’t a flat tax be superior in every way. No chance of double taxation and the tax would be transparent and not hidden away like a VAT.

    Plus politicians wouldn’t be able to write special loopholes for special interests and it would replace the income tax so we wouldn’t be double taxed.

    Jason from Iowa

  • Jason

    Cristina from Davenport,

    While I am not opposed to doing away with the mortgage interest deduction, it would penalize people for owning a home which seems to be the opposite of what we should try to do to the US population. Not to mention I seem to remember what happened to the US economy the last time the housing industry was killed and we are there now. If you do this now house prices across the US will decrease by 2-5% which will in turn reduce local property taxes decreases hurting schools and local governments.

    Jason

  • Adele Gladstone-Gilbert

    Cut the military budget! I don’t think most Americans realize what proportion of our taxes goes to military expenditures. No other country spends a percentage anywhere close to what the US spends on the military. It’s outrageous.

    And tax the rich. Fifty years ago the rich paid a much greater percentage of earnings and the economy was booming. Capital gains have to be taxed at a much higher rate. It’s a matter of fairness, a moral issue. I don’t know how the rich sleep at night, when so many people are suffering.

  • ed flynn

    My apologies for the grammatical errors in the previous post. I was in a hurry to post while the show was still on the air.

  • Wait one minute…

    Paraphrasing:

    Alan Auerbach: the wealth polarization has little to do with policy but rather the evolution of the global economy.

    @Alan, Neo-liberalism AKA “the Washington Consensus” was not part of natural evolution. Stop disguising agency.

    Bill Frenzel: we go to war, much as we regret it.

    @Bill, If we regret it, why do we keep doing it?

  • Jacob

    First point: we do need to raise revenues. This can be done through taxes or fees, but most fees and some taxes are regressive and hurt the poor, who can least afford it, the most. VAT is unfortunately regressive – it’s a sales tax. A surtax of a few percent on all private income over $1 million a year, earned or unearned, would be progressive and should not send anybody it affects into the poor house.
    Also, corporate taxes as a percentage of government revenue have dropped precipitously. They used to pay somewhere between 1/4 to 1/3rd of Federal tax receipts. In this age of record-setting profits, meaning money from average people is going into company coffers, their share of the tax burden has gone *down* to about 8%.
    A fair amount of our Federal budget is spent on outsourcing to private companies that in many cases charge more to do less, such as Blackwater as private US military in Iraq and Halliburton as private emergency management in post-Katrina New Orleans. It is time to bring overpriced, less effective and in some cases counter-productive private sector propping up back in-house to government, which has demonstrably done it better for less money.

    Oh, I would support higher taxes for single payer. It would be a cost savings on most people’s paychecks and an end to headaches dealing with medical billing and insurance companies.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com ulTRAX

    It’s one thing to have tax cuts where we’re not in debt and have a rainy day fund. But since 1981 the GOP has been taken over by a radical fringe which has now gone as mainstream as they are toxic. They devised a new political strategy to undercut the Democratic agenda not through debate, but by sabotaging revenues with irresponsible tax cuts funded with BORROWED MONEY! And why not… it also brought home the bacon to the GOP’s main constituencies: the wealthy and large corporations. The Orwellian Right dutifully concocted the Big Lie that these tax cuts brought in a bonanza in revenues but those irresponsible Democrats pissed it all away.

    Since 1981 We The People have now spent some $11.5 TRILLION on ourselves for things WE REFUSE TO PAY FOR. The sane amongst us know we’ve entered a time where we MUST make up for this insanity by paying more taxes and receiving less. Yet the Tax Cut Psychos on the Right, ever-determined to create MORE debt, are still screaming for MORE tax cuts.

    The solution is clear. We ran up much of this debt because of these irresponsible tax cuts for the wealthy. Merely reverting to the Clinton 39.6% top marginal rate is not sufficient. We must recoup this money from those who benefited most from this unconscionable raid on the Treasury. I suggest going back to Reagan’s 1981 ERTA top rate of 50% for about 10-15 years. The Orwellian Right will, of course, scream bloody murder. But what will be their argument? That the tax rate Reagan first passed into law in 1981 is now unacceptable?

  • Greg

    CitiGroup contends that the economic trend in the United States is toward “plutonomy,” where consumption is mostly done by the rich. If greed isn’t going out of fashion anytime soon I’m inclined to say tax them till it hurts, though I know this is no kind of remedy.

    I’m appalled at the idea of higher taxes. Maybe I’m spoiled but I can’t help but look around and wonder what I’m getting for my money. Naked body scanners and rude TSA workers at the airport, Federal police trucks driving around downtown, too-big-to-fail bailouts to the tune of trillions and the bankers keep getting bonuses. Meanwhile roads are in disrepair, community projects get stalled or defunded, credit is tight, and people/businesses just aren’t spending money.

    We need new policies. Less entitlement, some restoration of social darwinism. The radicalizing effect of our expansionism needs to be factored into national security, lest we find ourselves in an expensive, top heavy police state.

    Yet if the rich are the ones making the rules, lining the pockets of our lawmakers and distorting the democratic process, how can we expect to change this trajectory?

  • dave eger

    I heard of a program that sounded interesting in Minnisota that had an innovative way to raise funds torepair roads. I unfortunately don’t remember the details enough even to google it, but perhaps the former senator know what I mean.

  • Steve Cotton

    Tom,

    I am 26, and graduated from college several years ago — and, pay half of my health insurance (my employer pays the other half).

    Having studied in Denmark as an undergraduate, I am very aware of the benefits of their ‘Welfare State’ – whereby both health care and college are covered by their income tax (which I believe is close to ~49% compared to our ~29%).

    That said, if I were to consider my student loans and my healthcare as ‘tax’ in addition to what I already pay in income tax– this would represent better than 65% of my earned income. This does not even include other benefits of the Danish system, such as public transportation, daycare, etc.

    Said in another way, paying out of pocket for education, healthcare, day care, public transportation in addition our income tax, this amount of money is likely more than what most Europeans pay in their 50% income tax which covers the cost of those items.

  • Larry

    The oligarchs put us in this “situation”.

    They need to pay much higher taxes.

  • Alex G.

    Good topic. My opinion is we need to scale back some of these free payments for certain filers. If you are married filing jointly, your family made about $30,000 from working, and you have 3 kids, currently you will get about $8,000 paid directly to you. It’s a maximum of about a $5,000 Earned Income Tax Credit and up to a $3,000 child tax credit if you have three kids you are taking care of who are all under 17 years old. While I am for giving a boost to low-income parents who don’t earn much money, I think these amounts of money are absurd and need to be scaled back some. As a single person who gets no special credits and is among the 53% of taxpayers who actually has to pay a federal income tax, I think the thousands of dollars we are paying some households with kids is inherently unfair. Maybe we can pay these folks a maximum of, say, a $2,500 earned income credit and no more than about $2,000 of a child tax credit.

  • Chavan

    Why isn’t anyone talking closing the tax gap to help balance the budget? There’s at least half a trillion dollars in taxes that are due but have not been paid either by underreporting income or hiding income.

  • Ray

    The flat tax is a joke. Either the poor pay way more, or the rich pay way less. I work two jobs to just scrape by, but I should pay the same tax rate that pro athletes and Wall Street executives pay? Either the rate is high and destroys the poor financially, or it is low and the social safety net is decimated. That’s a fast track to a being a third world nation.

  • Don

    The VAT tax doesn’t have to be regressive, it can be limited to luxury items. You can have a targeted VAT on excessive spending like on Yachts, homes over $1 mill, etc.

  • Greg

    p.s. I fully expect us to get sucked into a real war in the next 10 years.

  • Larry

    Defense is NOT 4 PERCENT of GDP.

    That is a lie.

    When you take into account all of the benefits of the military, present and retired and the military contractors it is more than half of our budget!

  • Gary

    Cut Social Security Benefits? It would be unnecessary if the government had not raided the trust fund over and over again: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100314/ap_on_bi_ge/us_social_security_ious

    The IOU’s are taxes due to cover government theft.

  • Rick

    Tom-

    Please ask your guests what the effect of getting both Social Security and Medicare recipients to comply with their ends of the social contract as it was originally written.

    Both SS and MC were instituted as support for those who had aged to a a point at which they could no longer work productively. They were not made to provide for a long comfortable retirement of leisure.

    The recipients have dropped their end of the contract by living much longer.

    With increased lifespan and better health at older ages, it would seem to make sense to raise retirement (SS and MC) to 70 at least (note- I myself am in my mid 50′s, and would be willing to do this).

    Rick

  • Wait one minute…

    the loss of jobs in the manufacturing sector is related to our imperial policy of making the world open for foreign investment. So it is not just the 4% of GDP, it is the loss of income.

    My clothing is made in Egypt and Jordan. Strange, no?

  • http://www.lit.org/author/fritzwilliam F. William Bracy

    As I said earlier, “The poor in America just aren’t pulling their weight.” Bring on the VAT! Increase the sales tax on food! Raise personal property taxes! Oh, and by the way, tax Internet sales! So what if vendors from places like California, India and (OMG) CHINA could pull tax money from the poor in places like Idaho or Montana. GO FOR IT!

  • Kathryn

    Ask all the past bailed out institutions (S & L, Insurance and Financial companies) to pay back our tax dollars to reduce the load.

    One can also ask all living pensioned Congress, Senators, past Presidents to reduce their pensions as well as their Cadillac health care plans to feed our deficit.

  • Steve Wisth

    Pensions have basically been eliminated in favor of the 401k.

    Eventually, the gorvernment will come after the next big pot of gold and start taxing these “tax free” accounts.

  • Dave Eger

    Its not just about cutting defence spending, but finding ways to welcome those soldiers into positions in the economy where they can start to producing value rather than just protecting it.

    There is so much work that needs to be done in this country and so many people willing and able to do it. We just need a fair economy for us all to participate in.

  • Ray

    Sales tax on food? Really? How can you morally justify taxing the absolute basic necessities of life?

  • John

    Reform the farm subsidies too. We are subsidizing the obesity epidemic.

  • susan j gill

    why is there a cap on social security? it won’t be a huge help but it will be a help especially if lock boxed to just social security

  • Larry

    Marginal rates are high! JOKE.

    TRUTH2/3s of all US Corporations PAY NO FEDERAL INCOME TAX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://marrciahammond.com Marcia Hammond

    I think we indeed should pay down a good bit of the deficit- and a lot of it should be paid with the hedge funds scandalous profits – which should be taxed at oh – maybe 95% —made off the backs of American taxpayers- who are now losing their homes !!! as well as incurring this debt!

  • Steve

    I am so, so sick of hearing x% of people pay y% of the taxes. This is completely irrelevant !!!

    We do not pay a head tax … we pay an income tax !!!

    I would rather know if x% of the income taxes are taken from x% of the income.

    Steve from Nashville

  • Jason

    We could also have a 1-3% flat tax on income, that can not be withheld by employers. With this every taxpayer would see a little of the pain and they would have to pay out of pocket. I bet if this was added without any exemptions, the government would see a great push to cut spending within 4 years which is what is truly needed anyway.

    Jason in Iowa

  • Bonnie Mapes

    Why is no one discussing substantial cuts to military spending? Entitlements are considered discretionary spending. Military spending–which directly and indirectly chews up nearly 50% of the fedral budget– seems to be held harmless. When will we come to the realization that we can no longer afford to use our armed forces to police the world?

  • Bob

    Steve from Nashville,

    Since more than 50% of people pay no taxes, and I am guessing you are one of them, those people don’t care how much the govt spends and on what because it doesn’t come out of their pocket. Anyone making more than 20K should pay some taxes.

    Bob

  • Wait one minute…

    WBUR must be making a big play for some big corporate donors-they obviously want to swim in a narrow channel of debate.

    Maybe the don’t need my contribution then.

  • Sean

    Tax American companies that manufacture out of the USA as foreign . Bring back jobs here. Import taxes are only fair if the goods are made outside the country and are not made by american in the US.

  • bob

    Bonnie Mapes,

    Military spending is only 24% of the budget and is scheduled to stay flat so it is sustainable. Entitlements are the problem and they are growing uncontrollably.

    http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/us_budget_pie_chart

  • Gary

    How about when those additional taxes are due we each attach a IOU to the form, just like the government does for what they owe us.

  • Ray

    Bob,

    Your assertion that half of people pay no taxes is not true. There may be 40 something percent that pay no federal income tax, but there are property taxes, sales taxes, gas taxes, social security, state income tax. Am I forgetting anything?

  • Bob

    US Corporations SHOULD PAY NO TAX!

    Corporations only pass taxes on to consumers just like all other costs of doing business. If we eliminated all corporate taxes our businesses would be much more competitive internationally and we would have more jobs.

    Bob

  • Dennis Kerr

    The best solution is including a progressive tax-deduction scale. As it is now, we have to pay the difference of tax expenses of large deductions that work against the national interests.

    People who buy a home, also buy alot of stuff to put in them. They help build the economy directly. Therefore, the homeowner interest deduction is easy to argue for a main domicile.

    However, the expenses to make and ship polluting slave labor goods, (while we should be free to make those expenses) is against the interest of our nation and the whole world, and should not be taken off of our taxes.

    The largest corporations, who centralize the economy around themselves, are holding our economy down. They misuse the power of the government when they write down their expenses.

    By having a progressive deduction scale, we help create a decentralized economy.

    Also, exceptions could be made for those expenses deemed in the national interests. Such as deductions for increasing energy sources that resist attack of terrorism, such as wind and solar. Full deductions for the costs related to cleaning the environment and processing water and sewage. Full deductions, no matter how large the company, for the expenses of worker safety.

    While corporations should be free to make political speech, it should not be able to take those expenses off of their taxes.

  • Wait one minute…

    Sean,

    When it was the industrialists in the nineteenth century pushing for protectionism it was considered patriotic.

    Today, when workers wants protection of labor rights in trade deals, they are told free trade is patriotic. (see Mitt Romney)

  • Alex

    The Country needs (1) flat tax of not more than 10-15% irrespective of incomes and with no deductions or credits for anything (like mortgages, education, etc.); (2)consumption tax; (3) stop foreign military presence immediately; (4) stop no-bid no oversight contracts; (5) stop subsidizing housing market, education market, farming (6) basic healthcare for everyone with the ability to supplement on the free insurance market (key word “free,” and not what we have now).

  • Larry

    US Corporations SHOULD PAY NO TAX!

    Corporations only pass taxes on to consumers just like all other costs of doing business. If we eliminated all corporate taxes our businesses would be much more competitive internationally and we would have more jobs.

    Bob
    Posted by Bob

    Well your wish has come true since 2/3s PAY NO FEDERAL INCOME TAX AT ALL.

    And then of course there is the off shore tax havens for the big boys like Citigroup which has over 140 offshore subsidiaries set up in the tax free countries in the Caribbean.

  • Elizabeth

    Bravo to NPR for doing this show. The looming deficit is an enormous and confusing problem that does not get enough play on media outlets such as NPR and gets into overheated hyperbole elsewhere. As a fiscal conservative and social liberal, I am glad to see a program that did an excellent job of laying out the problem and educating the listener. Now we can all argue (heatedly) about how to fix the problem.

  • jeffe

    Steve Cotton made some very good points in regards to the real cost of living in this country. The Danes pay a high rate of tax and yet they have a large return in services and education. I have read that students graduating this spring have an average of 23K in debt.

    Mind you a pint of beer in Denmark over $8. Eating out there is also very, very expensive. So there’s the rub how far does it go?

    I don’t see this country ever going down the road that Denmark or any other European country for that matter. We have this mindset of “being different” and “rugged individualism” that is in the our collective psyches.
    We see this attitude in the Tea party movement and the recent states rights movement on health care and gun laws.

    “We have met the enemy and it is us”

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    Here’s some damning evidence that the Bush2 tax cuts were more of a disaster than even the first round of Reagan tax cuts. During Bush’s eight years, in REAL dollars (inflation corrected 2000 dollars) individual income tax receipts never reached Clinton’s 2000 levels.

    SOURCES: Individual Income Tax Revenues In Billons from Table 2.1—RECEIPTS BY SOURCE: 1934–2015
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2011/assets/hist.pdf converted to Constant 2000 dollars using this inflation calculator: http://www.westegg.com/inflation/

    CURRENT $ CONSTANT 2000 $
    2000: 1,004.462…..1,004.462
    2001: 994.339………978.680
    2002: 858.345………825.027
    2003: 793.699………748.665
    2004: 808.959………738.683
    2005: 927.222………818.83
    2006: 1,043.908…….899.39
    2007: 1,163.472…….975.10
    2008: 1,145.747…….925.09
    2009: 915.308………742.00

  • Susan Harrison

    A personal story – My mother and I used to do our taxes together, sitting at her dining room table.

    I was a single mother, working in an office, just above a secretarial level. I was not eligible for any assistance. I paid my own child care. I did not receive any child support or alimony.

    She was a psychotherapist, who ran a small non-profit counseling agency, saw some clients in an office at home, as well as at the agency. She was married, and my father was a regional sales manager with a national company. They had a beautiful home, an indoor pool, new cars. I had a 4 room apartment, a 10 year old car with a slipping clutch, and lived paycheck to paycheck.

    When the Regan tax cuts went through, she and my father, as a couple, paid less tax than I did. Not as a percentage – dollar for dollar. This was my first lesson in the unfairness of the tax system. Not much has changed.

  • http://stuckinstowe.com Kevin

    Might as well call this episode of On Point “the Red Herring.”

    Not one mention of inflation. That’s a tax the government can pass without a vote. It also hurts poor people much more than rich people.

    It’s also a done deal. All this talk of raising taxes on rich people, on a VAT tax, on the eventuality of raising taxes on everyone is window dressing. Inflation is already here. In the next 18 months, the US Treasury has to roll over an additional $4 trillion in debt.

    That’s a fact. It’s also a historic amount of debt. Who will buy this much debt? The Chinese? Japan? Europe? No one will be foolish enough to take on this much debt without MUCH higher interest rates. Higher interest rates will shock most people and bring on higher prices across the board. People think that CPI is all that counts, but CPI is a lagging indicator. Inflation at its core is the expansion of money supply: a power the Federal Reserve and the Treasury have granted themselves. CPI increases are the wages of increased money supply. One begets the other, but most people – as is evidenced by today’s broadcast and most of the comments on this page – don’t know the difference.

  • Ralph

    Some time ago I sent suggesting that there should be a constitutional amendment to remove the constitutional authority to borrow money. My justification for this is that no one has ever been able to convince me that borrowing money is any less inflationary than printing it. That the federal government’s financial responsibility is to provide a monetary system that facilitates commerce and governmental services, not to support those that make money on money. And that the purpose of taxes/fees is not to fund government programs, but to minimize inflation by discouraging inflationary actions by individuals and organizations. A VAT is one form of tax that can do that. Income tax deductions for for mortgage interest does just the opposite, i.e., it makes higher mortgage rates less onerous and higher mortgage rates are more inflationary that lower ones. At the same time we don’t allow deductions for income that is not spent, except in limited retirement savings. This encourages more short term spending rather than saving, which is implicitly more inflationary.

    Of course I got the usual canned/boilerplate responses that made it obvious that my representatives never had any idea of the significance of what I was proposing, i.e., that their perspective is 180 from what it should be.

  • ThresherK

    Did I actually hear one of the guests refer to letting the Bush tax cuts sunset (as we were promised would happen, as was actually written into the law) an “Obama tax increase”? Har de har. Don’t invite him back.

    Dean Baker? Brad de Long? Did nobody else answer the phone when inviting guests for this episode?

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    Regurgitating one of the Right’s Big Lies told since the Reagan era, Bob wrote, US Corporations SHOULD PAY NO TAX! Corporations only pass taxes on to consumers just like all other costs of doing business.

    What planet do you live on Bob? Aren’t market pressures supposed to govern prices? Since when can corporations pass on any costs they want?

    And left out of your naive view of economics is the reverse argument. Why should INDIVIDUALS pay taxes? All they do is pass on those taxes to employers in the form of higher pay demands!

    See how this game is played?

    Didn’t think so.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    Jason wrote Wouldn’t a flat tax be superior in every way. No chance of double taxation and the tax would be transparent and not hidden away like a VAT.
    Plus politicians wouldn’t be able to write special loopholes for special interests and it would replace the income tax so we wouldn’t be double taxed.

    Everything sounds good in principle but in 5 years the lapdogs of the special interests will riddle ANY tax scheme, be it a flat tax OR a VAT, with new loopholes.

  • Sam E.

    I would hope they are because less spending isn’t.

  • kung fu

    Are higher taxes in our future? That’s obviously a rhetorial question since Barack Obama is America’s first Marxist-American president.

  • http://stuckinstowe.com Kevin

    Hey UlTrax- the question really is: should corporations and individuals pay taxes?

    If you support economic growth and prosperity in America (or any country) the answer is, “no.”

    If you support the biggest corporation in the world, the US Government, then I suppose your answer is yes.

    And like all corporations, the US Government has stock, it’s called the US dollar. And like all stock – no one has to buy it. You’ll find out sooner or later that the US Government is a terribly bankrupt corporation, with worthless stock that’s going to fall precipitously.

    Of course, like all US Government shills, you will probably call for more taxation, regulation, imprisonment, and war before the end.

  • Judy Burnett

    We got into this mess because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, why can’t we get a portion of the oil revenues from Iraq to help pay for our help over there and as Afghanistan becomes more viable find a way to recoup from them.

  • Alex

    “Are higher taxes in our future? That’s obviously a rhetorial question since Barack Obama is America’s first Marxist-American president.”

    I would support constitutional debt restrictions and a balanced budget amendment and slashing income tax by half, but I am afraid the “spend till you drop” Republicans will oppose it. How else are they going to finance their war contracts?

  • jeffe

    Are higher taxes in our future? That’s obviously a rhetorial question since Barack Obama is America’s first Marxist-American president.
    Posted by kung fu

    When people post comments like this it just makes me think that we do truly live in a country fool of uneducated fools. Look up Carl Marx, not Groucho. Although your comment is comedic.

  • jeffe

    Are higher taxes in our future? That’s obviously a rhetorial question since Barack Obama is America’s first Marxist-American president.
    Posted by kung fu

    When people post comments like this it just makes me think that we do truly live in a country full of uneducated fools. Look up Carl Marx, not Groucho. Although your comment is comedic.

  • jeffe

    Sorry typo… my head is full of antihistamines, the pollen count is off the charts right now..

  • Joe

    Two guys talking about what color to paint a burning barn!

  • Matt Carlson

    20%? At present when I combine Federal Income Tax, FICA, Medicare and State Income Tax I am being taxed at 15% of my gross pay. So I would be taxed at 35%? I say vive la revolucion!

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    Ignoring my last point kEvIn moves on to make another: Hey UlTrax- the question really is: should corporations and individuals pay taxes?
    If you support economic growth and prosperity in America (or any country) the answer is, “no.”

    ROTF You obviously have NO clue about the dynamic interplay between the public and private sectors… how they bootstrap each other economically. If you did, you’d not spout such utter nonsense.

    Let’s get down to basics. What good is a killer idea in an impoverished 4th world nation?

    Think business would prosper if not for an educated workforce? Think business would prosper if not for socialist public health measures like clean water, sewer systems, and vaccination programs that keep the population healthy? Think business would prosper if not for the highly developed infrastructure we have… like our socialist interstate highway system?

    Tax dollars in the hands of a competent and sane government can do wonders. Tax dollars in the hands of shills for the special interests or politicians who have contempt for the very NEED of government, spells disaster. And even if you get your wish Kevin, since 1981 We The People have now pissed away some $11.5 TRILLION on ourselves that WE REFUSE TO PAY FOR. That debt is not going to get paid down by WITHOUT taxation AND getting less in return.

    So if you’re determined NOT to face such simple realties, perhaps you might find a more sympathetic audience at some Tea Party forum.

  • Janet

    It is already happening where I live with the local and state agencies raising fees and taxes on everything.

  • Linda M

    Higher taxes are fine as long as what they are being spent on is reasonable and beneficial to the people. I think we could lower the spending by not paying obscene amounts of money to military contractors and the military in general. If we focus on investing in our country…education,health care, economic stimulation…we will all benefit and our country would be a stronger nation.

  • JP

    Posted by Ray:

    “Bob,
    Your assertion that half of people pay no taxes is not true. There may be 40 something percent that pay no federal income tax, but there are property taxes, sales taxes, gas taxes, social security, state income tax. Am I forgetting anything?”

    Yes, Ray, you’re forgetting a few more:
    “… vehicle and other DMV registration fees, Licensing fees of all kinds, including driver’s license, Utility tax fees (don’t forget to include wastewater and solid waste fees), phone tax fees (don’t forget to include FCC usage fees), Cable/ISP taxes and fees… there are myriad other tax fees people don’t consider… special disposal fees when you change your oil or a car battery, for example.

    Bob is in conservative looney land in his typical assertion that half the population pays no taxes… both Republicans and Dems of the past have seen to it quite well that we all pay plenty in taxes, so that corporations and the rich don’t have to pay the hidden societal cost of their disgusting profits… after all, we want to maximize their booty in the name of Capitalism.

  • Steve

    Tax increases are inevitable and necessary. Here is what we need to do:
    1. Tax Churches. They use govt. services just like everyone else.
    2. New V.A.T.
    3. Change the income tax laws to increase taxes for people who have more than 2 children. The more children you have the more taxes you pay. Increase rates for everyone. Eliminate all tax deductions.

  • wavre

    War is unaffordable.

    Posted by Larry, on April 13th, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    War is very profitable for the few in power

    50% of the people don’t pay taxes at all??!!

    WRONG!!Income tax is not all taxes. We pay payroll taxes, property taxes, all kind of sales taxes,

    social security+medicare= entitlments????my foot!,we pay into it and it was running surpluses. The main media rarely talk about that. They’re selling the narrative that it’s the poors fault and social security and that the richs are the ones keeping the country together by paying too much taxes. That the actual economical crisis is the poor men’s fault( they took mortgages they could not afford)People are loosing their homes and wall street is having bonuses by the trillions,poor kids are dying in useless wars but Haly-burton,exxon, GE, Black water ect…$$$$.

    Folks, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that the economical system in this country is a sophisticated machinery, made to channel the productivity and hard labor of the majority into the hands of a few entrenched oligarchies at the top.

  • Zack

    Why should we raise federal taxes when we seem to get nothing back for the money we currently pay?

    Most of the money is being spent on one boondoggle or another. Whether its corporate welfare or welfare for individual moochers, unlimited warfare and empire, it all stinks.

  • ER

    Posted by Ray:

    “Bob,
    Your assertion that half of people pay no taxes is not true. There may be 40 something percent that pay no federal income tax, but there are property taxes, sales taxes, gas taxes, social security, state income tax. Am I forgetting anything?”

    Yes, Ray, you’re forgetting a few more:
    “… vehicle and other DMV registration fees, Licensing fees of all kinds, including driver’s license, Utility tax fees (don’t forget to include wastewater and solid waste fees), phone tax fees (don’t forget to include FCC usage fees), Cable/ISP taxes and fees… there are myriad other tax fees people don’t consider… special disposal fees when you change your oil or a car battery, for example.

    Bob is in conservative looney land in his typical assertion that half the population pays no taxes… both Republicans and Dems of the past have seen to it quite well that we all pay plenty in taxes, so that corporations and the rich don’t have to pay the hidden societal cost of their disgusting profits… after all, we want to maximize their booty in the name of Capitalism.

  • ER

    All in all, that means that the poor likely pay much more of a percentage of their income in taxes than is typical of the wealthy… or corporations.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    Zack wrote: Why should we raise federal taxes when we seem to get nothing back for the money we currently pay?

    The answer SHOULD be obvious. Since 1981 WE THE PEOPLE have pissed away some $11.5 TRILLION on things, wise and wasteful, we have NOT YET PAID FOR. In fact the Free Lunch Right that sabotaged our Treasury with irresponsible tax cuts/spending think all we need more tax CUTS! Clearly the Right in the US has is well past being toxic and into the realm of the insane.
    So who will pay for our irresponsibility? Our kids?

    You can thank Reagan and all the others who supported the “starve the beast” strategy. Ya it seemed such a good idea at the time to deprive the Democrats of money while bringing home the bacon to the GOP’s own constituents.

    But it was irresponsible in the extreme… something that could never be admitted. So to cover their tracks the Orwellian Right concocted all sorts of fairy tales about the benefits of tax cuts. But such a course always has unintended consequence.

    All these lies and distortions can gain a momentum of their own… eventually leading to a group of True Believers I call the Free Lunch Right. They believe tax cuts are the cure for everything. This leads to cynically opportunistic politicians that feed the fire, and some politicians who actually believe the lies.

    The GOP has now been completely taken over by this irrational dynamic and has become toxic to the nation. Rather than face the disaster they created, they have upped the ante with MORE lies and distortions giving rise to an even more irrational gun tottin’, Free Lunch Tea Party.

    Sadly WE are simply now going to have to face reality, pay the piper, and go through a period where we pay higher taxes to pay that debt down and NOT get much in return.

    Who should pay? To start it should be those who benefited most by the GOP’s raid on the Treasury… those who got those big tax cuts for which we had to BORROW. After all, when we’re in debt… ALL tax cuts are nothing but future borrowing plus interest.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    Matt Carlson wrote 20%? At present when I combine Federal Income Tax, FICA, Medicare and State Income Tax I am being taxed at 15% of my gross pay. So I would be taxed at 35%? I say vive la revolucion!

    What the hell you griping about????

    Since 1981 We The People have paid in taxes about $11.5 Trillion LESS than what we actually spent on ourselves.
    Yet you actually think living off a credit card has been TOUGH?

    What the hell you going to think when We The People have to start paying down debt for things spent on ourselves?

  • jeffe

    “Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work. And then get elected and prove it.”
    - P.J. O’Rourke

  • Jennifer

    The Obama administration has included tax deductions for middle income Americans that are making a big difference. This year was the first in our adult lives when we weren’t writing a check to the IRS on top of all the money taken out of our paychecks–and like many middle Americans, we’re barely making it. We’re thankful that for the first time tax-payers who are not home-owners are getting a bit of a break.

  • david

    Wow!!! the pro-Obama On point finally does a program on taxes. I believe this is the first time I have heard any concern about tax increases from here. We talk about SS and Medicare as drains but nobody mentions the behemoth revenue draining Healthcare law. You people somehow have bought into the lie that this will not add a massive new expense to the ever increasing deficit.
    Taxes are fixing to go way,way up!!! The middle-class will be taxed big time, Obama said middle-class would not see taxes rise 1 dime in any form. That promise went down in flames.
    Everyone is pointing fingers, passing the buck, but Obama and the Dems. own this chapter. You can deny it all you want, but in a couple more years reality will set in that Obama will go down in history as a spend trift.
    47% of the people pay no taxes in this country and they reap all the benefits. A free ride on all federally funded programs.
    10 percent of earners — the evil rich who do not pay their fair share, paid about 73 percent of the income taxes collected by the federal government.
    Beware folks you are sounding alot like moochers.

  • Jennifer

    High tax rates reach down into middle income families. We’re paying above 27% and we’re well below $250k.

    I’m all for a flat tax at a lower rate because it would potentially eliminate all the subsidies property owners gain. Everyone should be paying in so that everyone feels responsible for the taxes and expenditures.

    The perverse distortions in income distribution are part of the problem. We certainly don’t want a system in which the billionaires feel entitled to run our domestic and foreign policy to serve their interests.

  • Lon C Ponschock

    This book is very insightful:

    http://www.andrewblechman.com/leisureville/index.html

    It’s called Leisureville and it documents life inside a retirement and age-segregated subdivision.

    I’m coming to the point presently. The author found that this group would act together as a voting block against any tax increases that didn’t affect them personally; the schools and necessities of public safety were always voted down. They were voting against the servants and caregivers that made up the staff of these Leisurevilles who were younger and had school age children.

    If the word “Libertarian” were simply understood as the shortened form of saying “Small, Petty and Mean” these tax discussions would become much shorter. As it is, the discussions are about selfishness and narcissism vs the social contract.

  • twenty-niner

    Some back of the napkin calculations:

    Fed. spending: $3.55 Million Million
    Fed. revenue: $2.12 Million Million
    Fed. deficit (Spending – Revenue): $1.43 Million Million

    Number of tax-paying households: 109 Million
    Fed. spending/household = (3.55 x 10^6)/109 = $32.5 K

    If we were to tax households making $250K or more to cover the $1.43T shortfall:

    Number of $250K+ households: 1.7 Million
    Required tax/$250K+ household = (1.43 x 10^6)/1.7 = $841 K

    So, if we tax the $250K+ households at close to $1 million per year, we can cover the deficit. Of course, this is only the deficit. Taxes would have to go up from there to actually pay down the $12.8 T national debt and cover the looming $108 T in unfunded liabilities. Further, don’t forget the $14.1 T in mortgage debt, $2.4 T in consumer debt, and $.83 T in credit card debt, which also must be serviced. And on top of this, tack on a $.7 T trade deficit (2008 figure), which also must be paid with borrowed/printed money.

  • mulp

    No body seems to be saying the 90s were a terrible time because the economy was growing steadily and taxes were high enough to begin paying off the debt.

    No body seems to be saying the tax cuts that cut taxes 25% from over 20% of GDP to less than 15% of GDP delivered on the promise of higher growth, faster wealth creation, and a more fiscally conservative budget.

    Yet letting the tax cuts expire and return to the taxes of 2000 is considered unthinkable, presumably because working hard for a living, earning a great income, and then paying more in taxes on the higher income is just too painful, because the government should be paying us all not to work.

    Or else, not paying us not to work, and I guess that leaves becoming homeless beggars. If you are old and have a job and are buddies with the boss who is old, you are both going to hang onto that job for dear life and keep out the kids. Let the kids be homeless beggars. But if you are a kid, once you get the job, you are going want to see all the old people fired so they can die on the street because they are just a burden on society.

    What we really need is Soylent Green to make the old, sick, disabled, poor, unemployed useful for something.

  • free thinker

    Keep raising taxes all you America hating liberals, the wealthy will take their money and leave the country, then who is going to pay for your failed Obamacare, food stamps, welfare, H.U.D., medicaid, Head Start, etc. etc?

  • Jennifer

    It’s pretty hard to stomach the person claiming that 47% of the people in this country pay no taxes without giving any context. Who is the 47% he’s referring to? Children? Retirees living off of dividends? It’s certainly not wage and salary earners. What really needs to be questioned is why a CEO might earn $49 billion. Yeah, if he pays 50% that’s $24.5 billion, but he’s still got $24.5 billion left. Our uneven tax system is a reflection of uneven income distribution and that’s a function of globalization and winner-take-all policies that are weakening our country.

  • Jennifer

    Got carried away. I meant $49 million and that was the CEO of HP this past year.

  • Marc

    I don’t trust this government to do anything remotely intelligent with additional taxes. We’re fighting two wars, sending billions to Egypt, Israel, dozens of countries in S America, Africa and elsewhere, will be paying billions for a health care bill that has almost nothing in it to curb costs. We have governments at all levels that are bought by wall street, unions, lawyers, drug companies and whoever else needs favors. We’re going to try to give a pathway to citizenship (which sounds like amnesty) to 12 million non-citizens, which will then tell the rest of the world they should come here as well. I can’t wait to pay for that.

    They’ve played us for a bunch of suckers. They set up this system that puts us massively into debt, then tell us we have no choice but to trust them with more of our money cause if we don’t, the country will go under. Sounds like a protection racket. And now we fall over each other to figure out how to give these leaders more of our money … or in, I’m guessing, most cases, the money of others.

  • cory

    Free thinker,

    Where will they go? Most of the civilized first-world nations have much higher taxes than us. I guess they could all cram themselves into Belize or the Cayman Islands.

    I’m pretty liberal, but I don’t love or hate America. Assigning those sorts of feelings to a nation state seems kind of silly.

    Maybe when you and all the rich folks migrate to Belize, those of us who remain will be able to create a more enlightened, transparent, and equitable society.

  • twenty-niner

    “I don’t trust this government to do anything remotely intelligent with additional taxes.”

    Agree. I saw this first hand when I was in the Navy. The last command I was at spent 10 of millions building a state-of-the-art data center, which operated for about 18 months until the entire operation was boxed up and moved to a different state (that had a powerful senator). The Navy then spent several million dismantling the state-of-the-art data center and converting it to office space. As far as I know, none of the brilliant planners in the Pentagon lost a job or was even reprimanded for having wasted an incredible amount of tax-payer money.

    The other thing that turned my stomach was the vast amount of contractor palm greasing that I saw and have heard about from fiends who are still in the service.

  • cory

    David,

    1. What exactly is middle class in America these days?

    2. Those beloved 10% you refer to who you say pay 73% of the taxes also control something like 90% of the wealth and assets. 73% seems like a bargain.

  • kharris

    We have heard on this show that we should consider taxes other than the federal income tax when looking at tax burdens, and then we are told that it is a problem that nearly half of workers don’t pay income tax. Every legitimate worker pays FICA, and FICA is not progressive. It is, in fact, regressive. Households in most states pay state sales taxes. Everyone who owns a car pays license fees and gasoline taxes. The largest asset for middle income folk is real estate, which is the only asset on which taxes are assessed simply for owning the asset. Those who can’t afford a home still pay property tax through rent. It is mighty disingenuous to argue that low-wage workers are somehow not participating in government or not sharing the burden of the cost of government. Mr. Frenzel, in particular, made a fuss about the progressiveness of US taxation, with a mere whisper of FICA and no mention of any other tax. Funny how that happened, given his political stance.

  • ericf

    if you revisit this topic i’d like to hear less about marginal income tax rates and more about what is considered taxable income. some of the wealthiest individuals in the U.S. have substantial amounts of income from capital gains, royalities, etc, that is not classified as “earned income”. how is this currently taxed and should that change?

  • Scott

    The partisan politics of the budget are pretty clear, and they don’t appear to be what Bill Frenzel say. Democrats are more concerned about balanced budgets than Republicans. Republicans, in office, lower taxes and maintain or increase spending. Democrats maintain or increase spending but try to balance budgets or even put them into surplus. This has been the case at least since Reagan. The mere fact that Republicans *talk* incessantly about balanced budgets and lower spending is irrelevant. S

  • Bush’s fault

    Who ya gonna tax? Ghostbusters? Here in central New York State the physical infrastructure is crumbling, teacher layoffs are increasing exponentially, public service employment is weeks away from crashing, the state has missed the budget deadline, the governor has defaulted on education payments and will probably do so again in June, local property taxes are projected to increase up to 75%. And there’s no work in sight.

  • gary

    What a fair tax and eliminate the tax code as we know it today.

  • david

    jennifer,
    “About 47 percent will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability.
    The result is a tax system that exempts almost half the country from paying for programs that benefit everyone, including national defense, public safety, infrastructure and education. It is a system in which the top 10 percent of earners — paid about 73 percent of the income taxes collected by the federal government.
    The bottom 40 percent, on average, make a profit from the federal income tax, meaning they get more money in tax credits than they would otherwise owe in taxes. For those people, the government sends them a payment.”
    That’s according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization.
    What is wrong with a person who has an idea, works hard towards it and gets rich???? The moochers attitude is one that is driven purely by jealousy. I can’t come up with great ideas in order to get rich, so I hate those who can.
    I would ask Jennifer, What if that evil CEO of HP were your boss. You worked for this company making $60,000 a year. Would you go to the boss who created a job for you and tell him, it’s unfair that you are being taxed at 50%, it should be 70% you evil CEO!!!!
    Free-thinker,
    I agree with you 100% If I were rich I would take my money and my company and move out and let the 47% who don’t pay their fair taxes create the jobs.
    I make $60,000 a year on a 45 hr. a week job. I pay on avg. $8,000 a year in taxes, I get very little if none back, I am middle-class. If I were taxed at 50% that would be robbery. If a rich man gets taxed at 50% it still is robbery. Iam not jealous of the rich, Iam thankful they have it. Our country is the better because of them.
    I would rather have trickle-down economics than
    trickle-up poverty. That is where we are headed.

  • Michael

    david,

    this is really going to make you mad,

    “Russia, which also maintains a military base in Kyrgyzstan, had pushed Bakiyev’s government to evict the U.S. military. But after announcing that American forces would have to leave the Manas base, Kyrgyzstan agreed to allow them to stay after the U.S. raised the annual rent to about $63 million from $17 million.”

    17million to 63million close to 4 times the amount for the same space of our tax payers dollars. It was Piss you off our defense budget is growing, 1.5 years of government spending on defense would pay for the health care bill passed.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125836301&plckFindCommentKey=CommentKey:03964e69-1271-4ba8-9f53-44232d553ed6

  • ER

    Well,

    I just figured out all of the taxes I pay during the year, including income, SS, medicare, property tax (high in Austin), sales tax, DMV registration and license fees, Utilities taxes and fees (electric, water, wastewater, solid waste, phone, cable, gas)… I added another $300 for misc. taxes I might have missed.

    My above total taxes for the year: $15,500.00

    My and my wife’s income: 59,000

    That means all taxes from all areas are 26.27% of our total income.

    Not too bad when one considers the benefits of living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, owning property in one of the best cities in the country (Austin, Tx.)!!!!!

    What exactly are all these conservative whiners complaining about?

    They didn’t have a problem under Bush and his spending, but now they have a problem with a president who inherited Bush’s upside-down economy and bloated budget?

    Get a grip and learn to leave the blame where it belongs, or America is once again going to get stuck with crooked, spend-happy Republicans driving our country back into the sewers!

  • Michael

    david,

    you musted be equally pissed (though Loopholes) 2/3 Companies pay no Taxes, that even higher than citizens who don’t and are actually making a profit as well off of our tax dollars

    “the top 10 percent of earners — paid about 73 percent of the income taxes collected by the federal government.”

    but hey that top 10% income received 40% in increase wealth

    “The gap between the rich and poor in the United States grew at the same pace as the economic growth. Statistics show that the richest 1 percent of the US citizens own 40 percent of the total property of the country, while 80 percent of US citizens own just 16 percent.

    Since the 1990s, 40 percent of the increased wealth went into the pockets of the rich minority, while only 1 percent went to the poor majority.

    From 1977 to 1999, the after-tax income of the richest 20 percent of American families increased by 43 percent, while that of the poorest 20 percent decreased 9 percent, allowing for inflation. The actual income of those living on the lowest salaries was even less than 30 years ago.

    An article in the February 21, 2000 issue of US News and World Report pointed out that the average income of the richest 5 percent of families in 1979 was 10 times of that of the poorest 20 percent of families. In 1999, the income gap had been enlarged to 19 times, ranking first among the developed countries, and setting a record since the Bureau of Census of the United States began studying the situation in 1947.

    The income of the executives of the largest US companies in 1992 was 100 times that of ordinary workers, and 475 times higher in 2000.

    According to an assessment by the US journal Business Week in August 2000, the income of chief executive officers was 84 times that of employees in 1990, 140 times in 1995, and 416 times in 1999.

    A survey shows that the real income of the one-fifth richest of the families in Silicon Valley has increased 29 percent since 1992, while the real income of the one-fifth poorest of the families in the valley decreased during most of the 1990s, and the current income for the poorest has bounced back to the same level in 1992, with the employees at the lowest rank now earning 10 percent less than a decade age.

    A great number of Americans suffer from poverty and hunger. According to the statistics of the US government, over 32 million citizens, or 12.7 percent of the total population of the country, live under the poverty line. The incidence of poverty is higher than in the 1970s, and higher than in most other industrialized countries.

    http://academic.udayton.edu/race/06hrights/georegions/NorthAmerica/china03.htm

    So your solution is to tax the poor more, and tax the rich less, what do tell do you think if you allow more tax cuts, wouldn’t that burden for the ones who pay become greater?

  • Bob Earnest

    One of the guests quipped that when we have the money we don’t put it away.

    Well actually we did. Bill handed GW a pile of cash. And what happened to it?

    Where did it go? Where did it go? To those very ones who are now crying that they’re paying too much and are insisting that the poor class they’ve created pay more.

    Makes me ill.

    And Tom, you let us down on this one.

  • ER

    Great Dialy Show tonight, putting the above conservative stupidities into proper perspective.

    Check it out online if you missed it on air.

    Air date: 4/13/10

  • ulTRAX

    David wrote I agree with you 100% If I were rich I would take my money and my company and move out and let the 47% who don’t pay their fair taxes create the jobs.

    While there may be some emotional satisfaction in your taking that view, it’s really not helpful in ANY discussion on taxation to have some participants so divorced from reality.

    Your claim is an Orwellian Right lie where when convenient they try to portray the rich as victims… then when convenient they also cite a litany of taxes we all pay. That half the people who you claim don’t pay taxes… DO pay taxes.

    INCOME TAXES ARE ONLY ONE FORM OF TAX. And if you look at my numbers from an earlier post… during all the Bush2 years in constant dollars THERE’S BEEN NO GROWTH IN PERSONAL INCOME TAX REVENUES since 2000. That SHOULD be shocking… and proof that those 47% or whatever are hardly getting soaked… and also proof that that low rate (along with Bush’s other tax cuts for the rich and all that irresponsible GOP spending) are the major causes of deficits.

    As for job creation… again your claim is divorced from reality. If your claim were true then there would have been NO job creation when the top marginal rate was in the 90% range… or even at 70% after the so-called JFK tax cuts, or even after the first Reagan tax cut which lowered that top rate to 50%.

    So you’re saying that going up from 35% back to about 39.6% would be a disaster? ROTF!!

  • ER

    Daily Show, that is…

  • david

    A flat 10% across the board for everyone
    I suppose none of you are P— off that the national debt is 12.8 Trillion and that the unfunded liabilities is 108 Trillion.
    •In 2010, Washington will spend a record $31,406 per household.
    •In 2010, Washington will collect $18,276 per household in taxes.
    •The $13,130 difference between spending and revenue is our budget deficit per household … on top of all prior government debt.
    •Since 2008, government spending has increased by $5,000 per household. That’s in just two years folks.
    Who cares who is in charge!!!!!! GOVERNMENT is getting bigger and bigger and taking on more and more debt and most of you don’t seem to care that one day somebody is going to pay for this. You think businesses or the rich should foot the bill and the rest ride free???
    Nobody is fussing about sport’s heros making millions to entertain us!!!
    A sad fact, the poor can never create wealth or jobs, only those who have the money that it takes to build the multi-million dollar businesses that we work at.
    ER, I hope you are just as happy when your taxes increase next year and the years after that.

  • MS

    We need to renegotiate pension obligations for government workers at all levels. It is criminal how much these plans are costing us.

  • ulTRAX

    Kung fu wrote: Are higher taxes in our future?

    Is reverting back to the Clinton era tax rates really a tax hike?

    And isn’t the bigger question what’s the baseline?

    Is it Eisenhower’s 90% top rate? Is it JFK’s 70% top rate? Reagan’s 1981 50% top rate? Reagan’s 1986 28% top rate? Bush1’s 1990 top tax rate of 31%? Is it Clinton’s 1993 top rate of 39.6%?

    The Orwellian Right plays a cynically dishonest game when it comes to tax policy. It likes to focus on the annual tax cycle, not how much revenue was lost to tax cuts.

    Does reverting to the old Clinton era tax rates actually recoup any of the revenue lost because of Bush2’s irresponsible tax cuts?

    Hardly.

    The trillions in revenue lost to these tax cuts and the resulting hundreds of billions in interest expenses are still in the system as debt that has to be repaid. Going back to the Clinton tax levels only stops some of the hemorrhaging. I believe we need to recoup that money lost to these irresponsible tax cuts by at least going back to the Reagan ERTA top tax rate of 50% for about 10-15 years.

  • Fran Wincek

    Why not take the wage cap off the Social Security tax. It is now at just under $100k. why not take OFF the first $15k of wages and remove the cap for earners (but keep it for the matching contributions of employers) This seems like it would take care of the low income earners by giving them a 7.65% they can keep, get tax from those most able to pay and protect employers with a cap for matching past $100k

  • ulTRAX

    Continuing his unbridled worship of the wealthy, David wrote: A sad fact, the poor can never create wealth or jobs, only those who have the money that it takes to build the multi-million dollar businesses that we work at.

    I guess you never heard of worker co-ops, or people with good ideas getting loans from credit unions, or even funding through venture capital. How about small businesses that thrive and grow?

    If your ONLY plan for job creation is to allow the rich to continue to plunder the Treasury hoping some crumbs trickle down for the rest of us, then it’s not acceptable.

  • ulTRAX

    David wrote: GOVERNMENT is getting bigger and bigger and taking on more and more debt and most of you don’t seem to care that one day somebody is going to pay for this. You think businesses or the rich should foot the bill and the rest ride free???

    I guess it’s never occurred to you that perhaps it IS business and the wealthy that are the culprit?
    In a pluralistic democracy most of what is passed off as great principle is really a cynical smokescreen for some special interest. You seem to have bought into these lies.

    Are you blind to how the rich and special interests have bought politicians of both major parties to grant irresponsible tax breaks for the rich when we were already trillions in debt? Are you blind to how these politicians spend billions on these special interests? For example do you REALLY believe the US has to spend as much as the rest of the world on the military? Or is this a cynically disguised raid on the Treasury?

  • JH

    I’d like to see healthy dose of competition applied to the federal government. We would be better served if we had a number of competing federal governments each with their own currency and governmental branches. Each year citizens would pay taxes to their (single) government of choice. This would force government to become efficient or die. How would this work? I leave that up to the creative heads at onpointradio.

  • ulTRAX

    JH wrote: We would be better served if we had a number of competing federal governments each with their own currency and governmental branches.

    I’m not even sure whether to take your suggestion as serious.

    While I believe much of our government’s dysfunctionality is based in our Constitution, are you suggesting our inalienable human rights are to be sold on the market? So if one of your governments decides it can sell its people rights to corporations, and becomes a market success… then those other governments that protect our rights will be at a competitive disadvantage?

    Competition has its place but it’s hardly a panacea. I’d much prefer a single government run by competent people who understand that government has as central role in our lives… one perhaps bigger than the market. Unfortunately the GOP has become a toxic party which sees its mission to both plunder the Treasury and destroy government effeictiveness.

  • http://FlusterCucked.blogspot.com Frank the Underemployed Professional

    To solve our nation’s economic and national debt problems we need to fix our nation’s economy which will decrease the need for entitlements while increasing tax revenue. We need to do the following:

    (1.) Raise tax revenue by raising tariffs on foreign goods. This will raise revenue while also encouraging job creation in the United States, which will increase the number of Americans paying taxes and decrease the number of Americans who need government help.

    (2.) End the H-1B and L-1 visa program which displaces Americans from often college-education-requiring jobs. This will decrease the number of Americans who need government help.

    (3.) End illegal immigration and mass legal immigration. Mass immigration displaces Americans from poverty-wage jobs and decreases wages for those jobs. Ending mass immigration will decrease the amount by which many Americans need government help, removing the need that many of them have overall.

    Frank the Underemployed Professional
    http://FlusterCucked.blogspot.com

  • Gary

    I guess it should be pointed out that DEBT is a TAX. It is still something that will have to be repaid, unless China does a complete turnaround and forgives our debt.

    The Republican method (since Reagan) of cut taxes, borrow, and print gobs of currency is the TAX we are burdened with now. The Dems do now as well… but why not!

    Once a ship is taking on more water than can be pumped out, and you know that there is no way its going to make it to shore. There are only enough rafts for the wealthiest 5% and they are already boarding with all of your wealth in their pockets.

    I heard Rush Limbaugh was going to paddle his raft away from this liberal Socialist cesspool to a smaller socialist utopia in central America where he as one of his many palaces?

  • David

    I believe Americans should be taxed based on how vehemently opposed to taxation they are. The more strongly you oppose paying taxes, the more you should be taxed. If you hate taxes and government so much I’ve got the perfect place for you to live: Somalia.

  • http://www.maketempeh.org betsy shipley

    We do not need to cut social security! I would urge all readers to read Dean Baker’s column in today’s (4/14/10) in CounterPunch. We do not need the likes of the Peter Institute to rob us of our benefits; in fact, the social security trust fund is always being robbed for whatever the government needs at the moment.
    How about putting a stop to the pentagon spending??? This is a sacred institution that no one wants to touch and yet, it is eating us alive.

  • ulTRAX

    I asked earlier what a killer idea would be worth in an impoverished 4th world nation.

    Obviously nothing.

    Our ability to prosper is in large part built upon the foundation knowledge, law, law enforcement, public infrastructure, public health, technology etc created by the interplay between the public and private sectors. While most conservatives would deny this, one sector bootstraps the other. THIS is the tide that floats all boats… not dependence on the wealthy.

    So, perhaps a better name for the Income Tax would be the Opportunity Tax. It’s paying for the use of that publically funded infrastructure which provided the basis for one to profit from their hard work and ideas.

  • Brett

    Thanks, ulTRAX, for returning to post here. You’ve been missed!

  • JH

    ulTRAX: “I’m not even sure whether to take your suggestion as serious.”

    ha.. yeah, it was sort of was a joke. Anyway, every country has its own ‘inalienable human rights’ so it’s not like set in stone – the UN’s universal declaration declares 30. How much do they cost? Rights are paid for by force; if person A violates person B’s rights, what is B (or his government) going to do about it? But if there somehow were choice of gov’t then people would pay taxes to the one that benefited them most or, conversely, the gov’t would have to cater to the things the citizens want. We wouldn’t have a situation where 70% of citizens dislike the policy yet the monopolistic gov’t ignores that and continues doing whatever it wants.

    Both parties spend money like they own it.. That’s why I think Ron (the libertarian masquerading as a republican) would be beneficial to the country right now.

  • ulTRAX

    JH wrote: Both parties spend money like they own it.. That’s why I think Ron (the libertarian masquerading as a republican) would be beneficial to the country right now.

    Ron Paul… Libertarians generally, don’t understand or appreciate the government’s role in promoting the general welfare. They delude themselves into believing that all social needs can be met through the market… or charity. The gaping hole in that theory is, of course, that without government intervention the market only serves the needs of those with money. That’s one hell of an ideological blind spot.

    Libertarians are also dangerous in that they a blind to economic realities outside the market. For instance one might think that they’d say one’s right to make money ends where they may harm or inconvenience some third party. I’m a Progressive and I can agree with that principle. Yet Libertarians seem to place their love for the economic rights of corporations over those harmed by corporations.

    While I think Ron Paul is a breath of fresh air in a sea of Right wing lies and disinformation, I believe his radical ideology disqualifies him to be President.

  • JH

    ulTRAX: “..without government intervention the market only serves the needs of those with money.”

    Free market is the place where something of value (cash, labor..) is freely (not forcibly) exchanged for another in a win-win scenario for both parties involved. If it weren’t win-win then the transaction would not complete – that’s how it works when I buy stuff and when I work (labor for cash). Those without money still have their labor. The problem, sometimes, is finding a market for that labor. If there is no market then gov’t can give handouts and/or create artificial jobs (bridge to Never Never Land).. Libertarians often advocate removing the low-skill work barrier – minimum wage.

    Your second paragraph reminded me of an interview where libertarian milton friedman acknowledged that individuals harmed by industrial pollution should be compensated – sort of opposite of what I was reading.

    Paul’s ideas are definitely radical compared to the ideology of today’s politics, but perhaps in some good ways.

  • SK

    Since part of the spending problem are the 2 wars we’re fighting, why doesn’t the fed issue war bonds? For families that don’t have soldiers involved in the war, it’d be a way to get involved.

  • larz

    This show greatly underplayed the corruption, graft, and war spending in our country. My last comment was deleted though it was hardly a long winded ad hominem attack I made many good points and had one short sentence where I used the word “poor excuse for a progressive” and that was apparently enough to remove my comment which was no where near as obscene as what goes on on wall street ..

  • Janet

    The feds take in more than enough in taxes, but they spend it poorly.

  • Doug Carr

    Sooner or later, we are going to have to decide whether we want the American Military Empire or Social Security/Healthcare. We can’t afford both. We have a military larger than the next 16 combined, 700 military bases around the world. We can’t afford it anymore.

  • ulTRAX

    Janet wrote: The feds take in more than enough in taxes, but they spend it poorly.

    Thanks Einstein for a classic one-variable analysis to what most would consider a complex issue.

    And what is “more than enough” revenue when thanks largely to the fiscal irresponsibility if the Right, we’re already $12.5 Trillion in debt? No, it wasn’t mere irresponsibility. That implies stupidity as opposed to a DELIBERATE sabotage of the US Treasury for political reasons.

  • Allen

    I’m sure there’s a lot of heated discussion in the above comments… I haven’t the time right now to read it. I just wanted to thank On-Point for another good show. We all know that tax/fiscal issues are difficult, and I’m glad to have a show that’s focused on intelligent discussion of the problem and a view towards possible solutions. I appriciate the fact that this show seems genuinely to be focused on helping listeners learn and move closer to answers.

  • http://www.pricebonus.com/ Michelle

    JH wrote: We would be better served if we had a number of competing federal governments each with their own currency and governmental branches.

    I’m not even sure whether to take your suggestion as serious.

    While I believe much of our government’s dysfunctionality is based in our Constitution, are you suggesting our inalienable human rights are to be sold on the market? So if one of your governments decides it can sell its people rights to corporations, and becomes a market success… then those other governments that protect our rights will be at a competitive disadvantage?

    Competition has its place but it’s hardly a panacea. I’d much prefer a single government run by competent people who understand that government has as central role in our lives… one perhaps bigger than the market. Unfortunately the GOP has become a toxic party which sees its mission to both plunder the Treasury and destroy government effeictiveness.

  • ulTRAX

    To ON POINT MODS….

    PLEASE delete the post

    Posted by Michelle, on April 20th, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    It is a repost of MY words… and the link leads to what looks like an unfinished business site. No doubt someone’s trying to create links to boost search ratings.

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