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Deficit, Taxes and the Middle Class

We’ll talk about the back and forth over the deficit and taxes, and what it means for the middle class.

The Internal Revenue Service processed 142,196,000 individual income tax returns last year. (AP)

The Internal Revenue Service processed 142,196,000 individual income tax returns last year. (AP)

Bad to worse yesterday on the debt ceiling front, on the rising crisis in Washington.

The President and Republicans part ways, again, at the White House. The Fed chief is forced to warn of “calamity” and say he may again try throwing rescue cash at the economy. Moody’s said it’s reviewing America’s triple-A bond rating for a possible historic downgrade.

The agenda today for White House summitry: taxes.

The GOP says no way. The President says revenue belongs on the table. My guest today says we’ve had a free lunch, and the bill is coming.

This hour On Point: debt, and taxes.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guest:

David Leonhardt, Economic Scene columnist and staff writer for The New York Times Magazine. His latest column is “Why Taxes Will Rise in the End.”
Sara Murray, economics reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Read her article “Budget Solution: Squeeze the Middle” (WSJ subscription only).

Peter Coy, economics editor of Bloomberg Business Week.

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  • Bob from Burlington.

    I have heard on talk shows: According to IRS records, the 400 wealthiest people in the US pay an average of 17% for federal taxes. If this is true, no more needs to be said about how “fair” our tax system is.

    • Anonymous

      … and much of that income is “earned” through the use of professional gamblers on Wall Street… so why is gambling promoted through our tax codes rather than labor? Why are we promoting volatility, lack of stability and thus uncertainty in the markets by doing so?

      One might think that domestic job creation might have been tied to any extension of Bush-like tax cuts, but alas, either impracticle or not in their personal interests , the Right said no, No, NO! Even though the will of the people is clear 60-70% favor raising taxes on the wealthy. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/apr/25/paul-krugman/paul-krugman-said-large-majorities-favor-higher-ta/

      • MoniqueDC

        Very good and central question, Mad Mark.  Why do we allow oil speculators, as example?  Why does the SEC/Fed allow Wall Street Banks to investigate themselves (see recent show by Fresh Air, journalist from Wall Street Journal)?  

        I think it comes down to some kind of cultural blindness that we naive Americans have.   We do not want, fundamentally, to believe that people would intentionally cheat and defraud others despite all the many examples we have.    We will put a poor man of color into prison for 20 years for small infractions, but reward the Wall Street power broker with bail outs and continued excessive bonuses. 

        MMmm…….

    • kathyah

      I’m so tired of hearing what % of federal taxes the wealthiest americans pay.  Can we hear stats on absolute % of INCOME people pay in taxes? Mean, median & mode stats.  This is more meaningful to me.

  • JimmyKl

    Our tax system is designed to encourage people to save and invest with lower tax rates on interest, dividends and capital gains.  Unfortunately too few people follow this lesson. 

    Our tax system is entirely too complicated, incorporating too many efforts at social engineering.  However, the system is also designed to feed the ever-growing spending by the government. 

    Americans should be allowed to keep more of what they earn, no matter what they earn and no matter how they earn it. The government spending has to be cut dramatically and across the board.  It’s no surprise that those who want to grow the government constantly want to tax us more.  Starve the beast, free the people from oppressive taxation.

    • Michael

      Simple tax code creates more cheats. Since if it’s not entirely stated people will pretend to not know about paying.

      “Americans should be allowed to keep more of what they earn, no matter what they earn and no matter how they earn it”

      Nice, I’m sure drug dealers and fraudster would also agree as well.

      “It’s no surprise that those who want to grow the government constantly want to tax us more.”

      Yet under every republican administration of the pass 30yrs the government grew(along with spending) while constantly wanting to cut taxes not increase.

      P.S.

      Name a time frame when “Republicans” actually reduced total overall spending for the year?

      • Gregg

        “Name a time frame when “Republicans” actually reduced total overall spending for the year?”

        Newt Gingrich, John Kasich and company pulled Clinton dragging and screaming the whole way to a balanced budget.

    • Dpweber83

      “Americans should be allowed to keep more of what they earn, no matter what they earn and no matter how they earn it.”

      You’re aware that federal tax receipts as a percentage of GDP are at their lowest point in 61 years, right? http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2012/assets/hist01z2.xlsYou ARE aware of that basic fact…right?

      -dan
      Boston, MA 

      • Jeffreysc

        sounds like a good start, now let’s get the spending down

        • ThresherK

          Do you really know what the middle class is based on in this country?

    • Margbi

      The lower tax rates on interest, dividends, etc., are matched by the lower interest rates on savings. When your “interest-paying” savings account earns a measly 15 cents/month, it really does discourage savings.

      The complicated tax system is complicated because of special provisions made for a few entities, mainly specific corporations who lobby (successfully) for reduction of rates. 

      Would Americans, if allowed to keep more of their earnings, also be able to provide infrastructure, security, etc., even within their own communities? I doubt it.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      JimmyKl,   Please feel free to spend the next twenty years SHOWING us how to get by on minimum wage, and keep more of it, and invest it!! 

  • Anonymous

    I hope you discuss the fact that total federal revenue as a share of Gross Domestic Product is the lowest it’s been since 1950:

    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/06/pdf/low_tax_graphs.pdf

    We have a revenue problem, but Republicans refuse to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans and insist that the deficit be cut in ways that will hurt the poorest.

    It has gotten so absurd that yesterday EVERY Republican senator voted against a resolution that said this:

    “It is the sense of the Senate that any agreement to reduce the budget deficit should require that those earning $1,000,000 or more per year make a more meaningful contribution to the deficit reduction effort.”

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/07/05/harry_reid_moves_forward_with_shared_sacrifice_bill.html

    Some ultra wealthy Americans like Warren Buffett have argued that the rich pay too little in taxes. Conservative Ben Stein agrees with him, but writes: 

    “Even though I agreed with him, I warned that whenever someone tried to raise the issue, he or she was accused of fomenting class warfare.
    “There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/26/business/yourmoney/26every.html

    The primary purpose of our tax code is to raise the revenue necessary to provide for the common welfare, and to do it in a way that fairly reflects the benefits we each derive from being able to live and work in this  country.

    The simple fact of the matter is that the wealthy benefit vastly more from our society and should pay more than they do for those benefits.

    • Michael
    • Gregg

      Take a look at spending levels as a percentage of GDP of debt. It seems to me that is rellevant. Revenues are low because the economy is in the tank and people are out of work. Raising taxes will make no difference to revenue and will hurt any alleged recovery we are seeing. As Marco Rubio said, we need more taxpayers. The math works far better.

      You wrote: “… insist that the deficit be cut in ways that will hurt the poorest.”

      Please give me an example.

      • Michael

        What?

        So we can’t raise taxes but we need more tax payers? Remember republicans pledge to never raise taxes on anyone(including rubio)

        Talk about a oxymoron.

        • Gregg

          Oxymoron?

          To raise revenue the math works far better with more taxpayers paying less in taxes than it does with fewer taxpayers paying more in taxes. It’s an algebra thing.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Gregg,  How many $Billions are you trying to keep?  How many $Billions is enough?  If you can’t get by on a few $Billion, what makes you think you can get by on a few more $Billions?

      • Dpweber83

        “Revenues are low because the economy is in the tank and people are out of work.”

        That’s only partially true.  Marginal rates, particularly on high-end earners, are at the lowest levels we’ve seen in the post-World War II era.

        -dan
        Boston, MA

        • Gregg

          But that is not why revenues are down. Look at Newton Whale’s chart in his first link and you will see a sharp spike i revenue corresponding to the lower tax rates.

          • Anonymous

            The charts show no such thing.
            The idea that tax cuts have increased revenues is a myth:

            Time: “Tax Cuts Don’t Boost Revenues.”

            If there’s one thing that Republican politicians agree on, it’s that slashing taxes brings the government more money. If there’s one thing that economists agree on, it’s that these claims are false.

            http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1692027,00.html

            Bush CEA Chair Mankiw: Claim That Broad-Based Income Tax Cuts Increase Revenue Is Not “Credible.” 

            I used the phrase “charlatans and cranks” in the first edition of my principles textbook to describe some of the economic advisers to Ronald Reagan, who told him that broad-based income tax cuts would have such large supply-side effects that the tax cuts would raise tax revenue. I did not find such a claim credible, based on the available evidence. I never have, and I still don’t.

            http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2007/07/on-charlatons-and-cranks.html

          • Gregg

            Yes it does. Look at it again. Revenue as a percentage of GDP fell sharply after the bursting dot com bubble (Mar.10,2000) through 9/11. After rates were lowered in 2003 there is a spike and now it’s back down. It’s right there, it’s your link, how can you deny it. Go to OMB and look at Table 1.3 and revenue in constant 2005 numbers and you will see the same thing. It is beyond question and documented in stone. You can deny causation but you cannot deny revenue went up.

            The time article is misleading. It says: “Virtually every economics Ph.D. who has worked in a prominent role in
            the Bush Administration acknowledges that the tax cuts enacted during
            the past six years have not paid for themselves–and were never intended
            to.”

            The first glaring journalistic malpractice is there is only one Ph.D. cited but the claim is “virtually every”. Mankiw wrote a book and was the darling of the media for criticizing Bush from within. That’s a sure way to gain the adulation of the press. Did Colon Powell and Dick Cheney ever agree on anything? How about Condi and Rumsfeld? The point being Bush surrounded himself with a variety of opinion so it does not surprise me there wasn’t universal agreement. Where is the diversity of opinion in Obama’s “yes men” staff?

            Next, you’ll notice the wording, “have not paid for themselves” is a far different claim than “they did not bring in more revenue”. If the concept of “paying” for tax cuts isn’t enough to make you want to curl up in a fetal position and cry (it is for me) then what about the absurdity of projecting one less dollar in revenue for every dollar in tax cuts?
             

          • Robb

            Gregg is back to his Orwellian Math… that decreased revenue = a revenue boom. As I demonstrated to him over and over, in constant dollars Bush revenues only exceeded Clinton’s last year in 2 of Bush’s 8 years. THAT in the mind of an Orwellian Rightist is “proof” tax cuts bring in loads of cash.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Gregg,  One less dollar, due to tax-cut dollar, doesn’t add up to one less dollar of revenue?  Why not?    A short spike, while those that got huge tax-cuts buy another yatch, doesn’t equal tax cuts creating jobs!   Talk about absurd!

          • Robb

            Arguing the same red herring that was put to rest weeks ago, Gregg repeats his same argument about Bush: “You can deny causation but you cannot deny revenue went up.”

            Revenues were “up” over what? What’s your baseline? I use Clinton’s last year since after that we see the change in tax law under Bush. You like IGNORE the huge DROP in Bush’s revenues AFTER Bush slashes revenues, then use that low point as your starting point. If they rise from that pit, that to you is some sort of Orwellian “proof” that the Bush tax cuts “raised revenues”… even if in constant dollars they never exceeded Clinton’s last year except for 2 of Bush’s eight years. Gee, if Bush said his first tax cut was going to cost $1.6 trillion over 10 years… why don’t you believe HIM?

            And for the record again, NO ONE said that after tax cuts revenues will  never grow again. They tend grow naturally from population growth, inflation, and the health of the economy.

            What tax cuts do is slash revenues so that new upward curve is years (and tens, perhaps hundreds of billions of dollars) behind the old revenue curve. The Bush tax cuts fall into a category of their own. They were so severe that in constant dollars revenues have been virtually FLAT for a decade.

            Please give it up Gregg. The only person that doesn’t know you’ve lost this argument is you.
             

             

          • Robb

            NW’s source said: “some of the economic advisers to Ronald Reagan, who told him that
            broad-based income tax cuts would have such large supply-side effects
            that the tax cuts would raise tax revenue.”

            Yes, Reagan bought into this absurd notion, or pretended to. In his July 1981 address to the nation he claimed he’d balance the budget in a “few years” and even claimed he could pay down debt… as Bush did in 2000.


            For 19 out of the last 20 years, the Federal Government has spent more than
            it took in. There will be another large deficit in this present year which ends
            September 30th, but with our program in place, it won’t be quite as big as it
            might have been. And starting next year, the deficits will get smaller until in
            just a few years the budget can be balanced. And we hope we can begin whittling
            at that almost $1 trillion debt that hangs over the future of our children.

            source: http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1981/72781d.htm

      • Anonymous

        Either your question was rhetorical or you’re the Man Who Fell From Space:

        One of the programs on the House Republicans’ target list for deep cuts in federal fiscal year (FFY) 2012 and beyond is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the nation’s primary anti-hunger program formerly known as food stamps. 
        http://californiabudgetbites.org/2011/04/12/house-republicans-propose-to-cut-and-cap-food-assistance-for-low-income-californians/

        In a bill released Monday, Republicans proposed cutting $832 million — or 11 percent — from this year’s budget for the Women, Infants and Children program, which provides foodfor low-income mothers and children. 

        http://sayanythingblog.com/entry/republicans-propose-cuts-to-food-stamps/

        The House majority leader, who did most of the talking for the Republican side, said those taking out student loans should start paying interest right away, rather than being able to defer payments until after graduation.

        http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/07/11/debt-crisis-deepens-as-eric-cantor-gop-propose-new-cuts.html

        Low-income Medicaid beneficiaries will lose their guaranteed benefits altogether. 

        http://themoderatevoice.com/105703/more-for-the-pentagon-less-for-children-the-poor-and-the-elderly/

        House Republicans unveiled plans Tuesday to slash the federal budget deficit by $5 trillion or more over the upcoming decade, blending unprecedented spending cuts with a fundamental restructuring of taxpayer-financed health care for the elderly and the poor.

        http://www.toledoblade.com/Politics/2011/04/06/GOP-10-year-plan-slashes-5-trillion.html

        I could go on with more examples, but if you give a man a fish you feed him for a day, if you teach a man to fish, he can feed himself for a lifetime.

        The internet is your friend. Learn how to use it.

        BTW, the reason we have the internet is because it was created by DARPA, a government agency, and the first successful internet browser, Mosaic, was developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications with funding from Sen. Al Gore’s High Performance Computer Act of 1991. 

        It is now a part of IE, Firefox, and Google Chrome.

        http://www.cybertelecom.org/notes/www.htm

        So all those internet billionaires, and everybody who earns any income from the internet, has profited from government investment on infrastructure.

        • Gregg

          When Bill Clinton took 6 million off of welfare it was a good thing. You are assuming theses programs are efficient without the downside of creating a dependency class. Are any of these things on the chopping block now in the debt ceiling debate? It was Obama that cut Medicare by $500 billion. It is he that wants to end charitable deductions (he calls it a “loophole”). I just don’t think the emotional rhetoric is helpful.

    • Gary

      To my knowledge, there is no law preventing Obama from paying more taxes, if that is his choice.  Buffett is free to contribute more as well if he chooses.

  • Jay

    General Electric pays no taxes at all and makes $3.2 billion from the rest of us.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1370001/General-Electric-avoids-paying-tax-entirely-dodges-incentives.html

    General Electric C.E.O. Jeffrey Immelt was hired this year by President Obama to advise on future corporate tax changes.

    How convenient, General Electric C.E.O. Immelt advises Obama that G.E. shouldn’t pay any federal taxes at all, and they don’t!

    Jeffrey Immelt’s and General Electric’s “special” relationship with the Obama Administration is living proof that crime really does pay.

    • Anonymous

      Re-hash – let’s try to come up with something original

      • Jay

        Yeah, let’s just overlook the fact that the C.E.O. of G.E. is also a member of the Obama Administration, who is able to get his company out of paying any federal taxes on the $14.2 billion that G.E. made in 2010.

        It seems that you’ve never heard of the term “Collusion”.  Which is against the law.

        • Anonymous

          You posted the same exact thing yesterday – can you only think in the limited soundbites Fox feeds you??

          • Jay

            Can you stop swallowing all of Obama’s lies?

          • Vtcheflw

            It is all lies Jay.  Not just Obama.

          • Anonymous

            The only lies I see here are the ones you keep propagating

          • Jay

            You’re definitely one Obama’s “sheeple”.

          • Anonymous

            Nope – didn’t vote for him – sorry does that ruin your fun?

          • Anonymous

            If you think Obama is the leading edge, you are wrong.  It’s been going on for years and made infinitely worse in the late 90′s and early 00′s.  Go listen to this expose of the corruption:

            http://www.npr.org/2011/07/13/137789065/why-prosecutors-dont-go-after-wall-street

             

          • Anonymous

            Jimino, I think all politicians lie and I also don’t think any one of them can think beyond their own best interests – not one member of Congress is not wealthy and beholden to their wealthy donors. And they cannot understand life on not-so-easy street for most Americans. But for Jay to say GE gets away from not paying taxes because the CEO is an “advisor” to Obama is ludacrist as this has been going on for a very long time, a lot longer than Obama has even been in politics. It is party-baiting pure & simple. 2-Party system will be our death-knoll

          • Vtcheflw

            Obama is perptuating the lies of the narative that is and was been push by many sources for a long time.

        • Anonymous

          Jeffrey Imelt is a Republican.

          Obama makes a habit of appointing Republicans so he can hear diverging views.

          Bob Gates at Defense, Ray Lahood at Transportation, Jon Huntsman as Amb. to China. Judd Gregg at Commerce, who first expressed interest in the job, then declined, saying of Obama: “I especially admire his willingness to reach across the aisle.”

          http://www.katu.com/news/39518612.html

          So now we have a president who actually appoints people from your side of the aisle and you attack him for listening to Republicans.

          • Jay

            Immelt was a Republican, now that he and the company that he heads (G.E.) is getting rich thanks to his “special” relationship with the Obama Whitehouse, Immelt is going to be Obama’s biggest supporter in 2012.

          • Anonymous

            It’s got little to do with whether you support Obama or the tea party candidate.  The corruption is endemic and you, if you support the Republican leadership, are making it worse.  While you are yelling about Barney Frank, Fannie and Freddie, etc., the so-called conservatives are facilitating the literal theft of your country.  And the “moderate” Dems are standing side-by-side with them.

          • Matteasmom107

            Nonsense. GE is paying the same amount of taxes now as it did under Bush. They are not making more money because of any “special relationship”, just exploiting the same loopholes that corporations and the uber-wealthy have been for decades. If you have a problem with that (which you should) then direct your anger at the GOP because they are the ones who relentlessly protect our criminal corporate tax policy.

        • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

          He’s not a member of the administration, he’s on an advisory board. While I’m no fan of GE I am a fan of Obama attempting to get diverging views.

          It’s up to Congress to close the tax loopholes that allow GE and anyone with knowledge of the tax code to keep their taxes low. I doubt anyone reading this pays more taxes to be patriotic, including you Jay.

    • Dpweber83

      “General Electric pays no taxes at all”

      That’s absolutely, objectively, and verifiably false. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/the-truth-about-ges-tax-bill/2011/04/05/AFZm0L9C_story.html

      -dan
      Boston, MA

    • Michael

      So congressional republicans have place a bill in congress to close such loop holes? haha of course not that be raising taxes. How about the people running for president? haha of course not that be raising taxes.

      oh where or oh is a responsible republican ready to take on companies like GE?………………congress? nope. the Senate? nope. how about presidential hopefuls? Hell No

      • Michael

        oh where or where is a responsible republican ready to take on companies
        like GE?………………congress? nope. the Senate? nope. how about
        presidential hopefuls? Hell No

    • Cory

      Ever hear of Halliburton?

      • Jay

        Halliburton didn’t get nowhere near the “special” and “unique” sweetheart deals that G.E. is getting because the C.E.O. of G.E. has an insider connection to the Obama Whitehouse. 

        • Anonymous

          wow talk about swallowing lies – watch out you might choke

          • Jay

            When did you decide that being ignorant is a virtue?

          • Anonymous

            if ignorance is bliss – you must be in heaven

        • ThresherK

          …like keeping Keith Olbermann on MSNBC.

  • Anonymous

    Some more data to back up Jay, NewtonWhale, Bob from Burlington & Mad Mark TCW:

     

    From Harlan Green- Popular Economics – SF FED on reduced
    consumption

     

    http://www­.frbsf.org­/publications/econom­ics/letter­/2011/el20­11-21.pdf. H Green

     

    Suppy/demand basics – from Popular Economics

     

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harlan-green/its-basic-economics-stupid_b_895141.html

     

     

    David Cay Johnston on tax expenditures [tax rate cuts]  & tax deductions – From WNYC radio/ Brian
    Lehrer Show  – 12 July 2011

     

    bl071211dpod.mp3

     

    Government Revenue ##S from 1950-2010 – note Ike still wins
    for consistently high receipts despite smaller population, lower CEO/Exec
    salaries & marginal  tax rates in
    the90% range.

     

    http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com/downchart_gr.php?year=1950_2010&view=1&expand&units=p&fy=fy12&chart=F1-fed&bar=0&stack=1&size=m&title&state=US&color=c&local=s

  • Jeffe68

    The middle class is toast in this country, period.

    • Gary

      It’s true.  Much of the “middle class” is now upper-middle class.

      • Anonymous

        you apparently live in opposite world with George Costanza

  • Dpweber83

    We all need to suck it up and pay more in taxes, period.  I can think of no other countries that chose to embark on not one but two expeditionary wars AND cut taxes simultaneously.  We broke it, we bought it, and it’s time to quit whining.

    Anyone who says that the American public is overtaxed is simply unfamiliar with the history of taxation in this country.  Federal tax receipts are at their lowest point in 61 years, and while I’m sure that’s inconvenient for people making the argument that we’re overtaxed, it is a fact, and fact’s don’t really care whether they inconvenience you.

    -dan
    Boston, MA

  • nobodysgirl

    Tom, am looking forward to today’s show.

    I hope it’s pointed out WHEN this downward slide began.  I’m weary of hearing President Obama being blamed for this economy, when he inherited a nation on the verge of financial collapse, 2 unpaid wars, a couple of unpatriotic tax breaks for the fatcats, and don’t forget the pharma bill, TARP, and the list is endless.  He’s dealt with the most unpatriotic congress in history who are determined to make him a one-term administration – and the state of the country be damned.

    Americans – it’s time to pull together and let congress know we’re watching – and we’re not all totally ignorant of what you’re doing to this country of ours.

    • ThresherK

      Plenty of polls line up with your thinking. But you likely won’t hear those factualities affect the narrative of today’s show.

  • kathyah

    This debate has been unconsiounable. If anyone in the ‘real world’ waited until the umpteenth hour to do their job, it would not be tolerated.

    Eric Cantor had an opinion posted in USA today.  One of his comments (about Obama’s commitments re: SS reform) was ‘Likewise, promises of cuts 10 years from now mean little without a way to enforce them’.  Kind of like the Bush tax cuts in reverse?

    Also, and I’m not one to bring up prior administration, but republicans say tax cuts lead to jobs.  It seems to me that bush tax cuts lead to upper echelon corporate  big wigs pocketing more money for themselves, NOT hiring people.

    • Ray from VT

      I’m sure that some of them hired extra maids and groundskeepers.  They’re your jobs in the trickle down economy.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Ray,  Illegal aliens, most likely, so they can abuse them!

    • leah

      And democrats say spending leads to jobs, but obviously the debt you mention disproves that.

  • Yar

    India has a caste system, in America we have tax brackets.  There is so much class warfare and emotion surrounding our tax system that it is difficult to even hear what people are talking about.
    I try to look at our economy from a closed system point of view.  I include cost shifting  and taxes when trying to understand who pays what.  Healthcare is 18% of GDP, not all of that is spent from tax dollars, but every healthcare dollar spent includes some cost shifting.  By the time I make this statement usually the anger is so high that nothing else gets heard. 
    When a hospital covers an ER visit by someone who can’t pay by adding part of their bill onto yours, do you see that as a tax?  This happens all the time, I made a comment on air travel discussion next hour showing how the commercial airline traveler is subsidizing private and corporate air travel. We have little transparency to our tax system or our economy.  I propose an experiment that would show just how much federal spending is integrated into our economy.  The dollar coin is not very popular among businesses.  If everyone who got a government check went to the bank and got 100 dollar coins.  Then every time they made a purchase they include 1 coin to remind the business owner just where their tax dollar went.   We would understand that federal spending is the lid that keeps our economy from boiling dry.  

    • Scott B, Jamestown NY (WBFO)

      Actually, NPR had a recent story on how we have BILLIONS of dollars in unwanted dollar coins.  I think we should have a dollar coin, but so make billions of them because the law says we have to, and to have them doing nothing for the economy is shameful.

    • kathyah

      When a hospital covers an ER visit by someone who can’t pay by adding part of their bill onto yours, do you see that as a tax? —–> not precisely, but pretty much yes

  • Anonymous

    When will the Reaganomic Mythology finally collapse under the wieght of facts? How grand a preponderance is necessary for the Randians and Trickle Down Drunkenomicists to recognize that they have weakened the country, not strenghthened it. Even the Great Recession has not been enough. Do they really believe their own pie in the sky rhetoric?

  • Cory

    1% of the people in this country earn 25% of the income.  -from MSNBC last night.  THEY certainly can’t afford more taxes.

    • Gary

      Earn.  So true.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Gary,    CEO’s that run their company into bankruptcy,  Banksters that create and sell toxic assets, while betting against them,   Vulture Capitalists that buy a U.S.  company for the name, and send production, and customer service overseas, EARN?

        • Gary

          If the money they received did not involve coercion or use of force, then, yes, it was earned.  Your opposition to voluntary relationships between consenting adults is frightening.

    • Bill

      Income isn’t the issue it’s ASSETS. The Wealthy 1% own 90% of all the valuable assets (stocks, bonds, commercial real estate, patents copyrights) yet pay only 46% of the taxes. Capital gains and dividends are taxed at a maximum rate of 15% while income is taxed  at a top marginal rate of 35%. You don’t get rich earning a big paycheck, you get rich by collecting as many ASSETS as possible.

  • Cory

    We’ve all heard the arguments.  You can’t tax the rich because they’ll hide it anyway.  You can’t tax the rich more because they are the job creators.  Higher taxes on wealth will hurt our economy, wait for the trickle down.

    I’m afraid I don’t trust the folks saying these things.  I’d like to try it and see what happens for myself, thank you.

    • Robb

      When the GOP is saying you can’t have higher taxes because it will hurt recovery, and we can’t have higher taxes when times are good because it will cause a recession… then their bottom line is they are opposed to higher taxes period… and all their excuses are merely a smokescreen for an agenda they fear if they are honest about, will be roundly rejected by the public. We don’t have to look far to know what that agenda is… to irresponsibly sabotage the finances of government then use their own treachery as a pretense to go after Democratic programs they’ve always opposed while leaving their own intact.
       

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      Right, this is the same old “trickle down” in new clothing. The new clothing is “you can’t tax job creators.”

      I’m not sure the billionaires on wall street are job creators and the people who are creating jobs aren’t creating many right now.

      I’m with David Leonhardt on this.

  • Jeffreysc

    send more of your hard-earned dollars to DC and they’ll find a way to waste it; top to bottom, it’s all about increasing the size of their budget as a means to increasing their stature; we are sunk

    • ThresherK

      Hey, that’s what happens when you elect Republicans. Like asking arsonists to guard your pool of gasoline.

  • Ray from VT

    Why are cuts that mostly hurt the lowest income earners the only thing on the table for the GOP.  Top tier incomes have grown massively in the past 30 years, while federal tax rates have fallen and loopholes have grown.  The poor take a hit but the rich need more income.  What a joke.  Where is their pain?

  • Dennis

    As for the wealthy supposedly creating jobs when their tax rates are lower–they’ve now had lower rates for a couple of decades. Where are the jobs they’ve created? The US has nurtured their businesses, given them tax breaks and subsidies, and the jobs have gone overseas.  How much more time to they need to create the jobs here?

    It’s stupid to keep trying the same thing over and over when it’s been demonstrated not to work. Tinkle down doesn’t work. Time to raise their taxes. And by the way, the government’s revenue can ALSO create jobs–right here in the USA. We’ve got bridges falling down, schools falling apart, new industries that could really thrive with government subsidies and research.

  • Freeman

    Tom and Guest;
                           O.K. lets get down to the nitty-gritty. Why is America allowing OUR country to  become an Oligarchy.

  • Jane

    How can a person – our President – deal with a group of people who refuse to even talk about filling loopholes in the Tax Code. To me that means the tax code is incorrect and should include those loopholes. Correct?

    • Jeffreysc

      yeah, it’s really that simple, not

  • Klooze

    Why doesn’t anyone mention that the tax cuts for the wealthy haven’t created any jobs so far.  They have had 8 years.  What would an additional number of years change?

    • Jeffreysc

      tax cuts for the weathly, like the $1T stimulus, have saved millions of jobs; please keep up

  • Jeffreysc

    everyone pays too much in taxes; we need to focus on spending and cutting it drastically. 

    not taxing something is not lost revenue, that is pathetic thinking; not taxing health care benefits …

    • Jeffe68

      Oh please, we pay less than any other industrial nation.
      We just get less for it. The question should be about what we pay and for what. The taxes will go up, they have to. If you don’t think they will you’re mistaken.

      • Jeffreysc

        and yet we’re the greatest country on the planet with the largest immigration; gimme, gimme, gimme; i hear it, you love the freebies; we get waste, fraud and abuse for our taxes and not much else

        • Ray from VT

          Maybe not for long.  Why shouldn’t we expect to get a good return, like universal health care or education, in return for working hard and being productive?  Why should most of the workers work harder and longer for less benefits and less of a share of the economic pie?

    • Robb

      HOW, HOW, HOW can you make the claim that when We The People have ALREADY pissed away some $13.5 TRILLION on ourselves the past 30 years… and have REFUSED to pay for it… that we are somehow “overtaxed”?

      We are the Free Lunch generation and you’re just another spoiled brat wanting to pass the cost of OUR irresponsibility off to future taxpayers.

      How goddamn noble.  

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY (WBFO)

    The Right has had over 30 years to prove “trickle down” economics works and it’s clearly shown it doesn’t, and that the gap between rich and everyone else gets wider.  Under G.W. they cut taxes, deregulated and  privatized everything they
    could get away with and told American to go shopping and job growth was
    non-existent.

    These “job creators” that the Republicans keep referring businesses as?  What job creation?  the recession had employers drastically cutting jobs and finding ways to do more with less.  Lowering taxes on big business isn’t going to make them hire more now that they know they don’t have to.  And a recent report just showed that CEO’s salaries (and bonuses) are 20% higher than last year, and shareholders are getting more dividends.

    Study after study shows that the more money a person makes through investment them more they reply on stocks for income, as opposed to having a job or running a business. But these people that are in the top  1% of all money earners (like sitting on your ass and raking is bucks is “earning” money) are taxed at an absurdly low rate under “capital gains” tax rules, while working class people are taxed at a higher actual rate, and a much higher proportionate rate.

    Again, where’s the job creation? How is not paying your fair share patriotic?

  • Bill

    Why are you only talking about sticking it to the poor, children and the elderly? Over 700 U.S. Military installations overseas, 11 Aircraft carrier battle groups, obsolete nuclear weapons. The Military /Industrial Complex has this country in a stranglehold.

  • Elizabeth in RI

    Raise my taxes – PLEASE. The Bush era tax cuts should be ended for all Americans, and the portion of my healthcare paid for by my employer SHOULD be taxed – it is part of my compensation and should be taxed. It is time that we realize all of the services and benefits we receive and be willing to either pay for them or refuse to use them. Paying for what you receive is the American way – not whining about it the way so many of the Republican candidates (and publicity seeking “maybes”) and calling that patriotism!

  • Vtcheflw

    What happened to Van Jones?  Am I the only one that heard that advertized yesterday?  The Tea Party gets their voice heard, but progessives can’t.  What BS!

  • Robb

    With the GOP victims of their own Orwellian anti-tax psychosis used to justify their starve the beast strategy, and a cowardly Democratic party that even after 30 YEARS still can’t find a way to educate the public only what the GOP is up to… it’s about time SOMEONE tries to educate the public that we’re NOT overtaxed. In reality We The People have spent some $13.5 TRILLION on ourselves the past 30 years that WE REFUSE TO TAX OURSELVES FOR! Who’s making the moral argument that WE need to pay for what we spent? Instead both parties look to pass the cost of our irresponsibility on to our kids and grandkids… and the GOP is the worst offender. They were the ones who sabotaged debt paydown in 2001 and did everything they could to create more debt. The Paul Ryan Roadmap hopes to set that theft of $13.5 trillion in cement. It’s the biggest theft in history… from future generations to ours.

    • Robb

        The guest thinks the Paul Ryan plan I worthy of praise????
        So much for my thinking he might make the MORAL argument that our generation should pay for that $13.5 Trillion we spent on ourselves the past 30 years.
        To pretend the Free Lunch is somewhere in the margins and ignore this $13.5 Trillion intergenerational Free Lunch that Paul Ryan is trying to set in cement is shocking.
        Thom… can’t you find ANY intellectually honest guests willing to call a spade a spade?

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY (WBFO)

    Mortgage interest deduction is a great help for middle and working class homeowners.  Someone that can afford a $500K house probably isn’t too worried about that deduction.

  • mfc3

    Sara Murray sounds less like a reporter and more like a partisan repeating talking points.  One gets the sense listening to her that her mind is made up on this issue, and her goal in appearing on the show is to make a case for a poltical position (in the way that a political party operative will appear on cable news to make their party’s case).  Which is fine if you’re a pundit, but if you call yourself a reporter, you should report on (and weigh) both sides of the argument, not just one side

    Not surprising, given that she works for the conservative WSJ.

    • Jeffreysc

      cite one fact she had wrong

      • Vtcheflw

        that there is only one way to do things.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Vtcheflw,  Concise and short!  NICE.

  • kathyah

    I am not opposed to elimination of my mtg interest as a tax writeoff AS LONG AS some of the wealthier Americans contribute their fair share.  I’m hoping there is not discussion about elmination of the 401k/403b contributions.  I’m not sure what else is on the table.  What ARE all the ‘perks’ of tax writeoffs being considered for elmination?

    • Scott B, Jamestown NY (WBFO)

      My wife and I have a house under $50K. I’m not living in squalor, or a trailer. But my wife and I work hard to make ends meet and that interest deduction is HUGE for us. What we save (or get back) goes right back into the house for all the little things that come up in home ownership, and sometimes the big ones, or trying to make our house more efficient or avoid the big issues.  But if we had a $500K house we wouldn’t mind not having the deduction. 

      There’s a HUGE difference between people have to worry about budgeting in how much tax there is on their weekly grocery trip, trying to make ends meet  vs being someone that’s having to consider how much tax there is on that new Mercedes S-Class they’re going to park in their 2 1/2 car garage.

  • Camk

    Shift this paradigm Tom! Everything I hear is born from the right on this topic. If you want balance in this discussion, let’s hear from the left, not the center-right/right groups you have here. As an alternative could we introduce the Progressive Congressional Caucus proposal into this discussion. It seems that this discussion is so one-sided that you would believe that there is really only one way to tackle our severe budget issues and that the differences lie in whether or not we cut benefits for kids and old people now or later and it is simply a false choice. We have heard all of the worn out arguments we’re hearing here ad naseum. Perhaps we should acknowledge that there are other valid choices available to us by people who actually still represent the American people.

    • ThresherK

      Now, Camk, I’ve been listening to Nice Polite Republicans long enough to have sussed out that there’s no such thing as “left of a Democratic president” which has anything but marginal support (despite what poll after poll has told us). It simply doesn’t exist in the Beltway, it therefore doesn’t barely exist on NPR.

      But I agree with you.

    • Robb

      Didn’t Thom admit in a recent show he hadn’t even heard of the budget from the Progressive Caucus?

      Yes, the spectrum of On Point, sadly, seems to be center Right. 

    • nj

      They played a short clip of Bernie raising a bit of hell. I guess that is supposed to fulfill the NPR quota for “far left” input. 

      • ThresherK

        If they play too much Bernie Sanders, people might hear his plain-spoken words and lose their fear of electing the occaisional socialist.

  • J

    I am middle class and I say – TAX ME! Just so I can stop hearing about this and put an end to this never ending republican/democrat word battle.
    My GOD! It’s TIRING!

  • Anonymous

    Why is no one asking how Republicans can vote for  the Ryan budget, which doesn’t even purport to balance the budget until 2030 (i.e. require more debt in 2012), yet now want to NOT raise the debt ceiling?

  • Anonymous

    Obama should have let all of the Bush tax cuts expire instead of caving in to the Republicans.  No one was overtaxed during the Clinton years.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

    The only people eating those “free lunches” are the politicians. Sack ‘em all & hire some professional managers to do the work that these malingering clowns (both Repub & Dems) refuse to accomplish. Kick them to the curb where they can beg for crumbs with the rest of us. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Mari,   Professional managers like Rick Waggoner of GM bankruptcy fame?  The Enron executives?  The professional managers that created the toxic asset mess?  Which professional managers?

  • ThresherK

    Paul Ryan’s budget is deserving of praise?

    Please, get a real goddamn left-winger. Or even a non-beltway economist.

    • Jeffreysc

      at least it adds up, lefties can’t do that

      • Ray from VT

        Getting the numbers to add up didn’t seem like an issue for Ryan and the other Republicans when Bush was President.

        • Jeffreysc

          your post would have made more sense about 8 years ago; let me know when you get to the present

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Jeff,  The past created the present..  Republicans want to start with a clean slate, and keep any Democrats’ failings.  How about just paying it ALL back.  Then, maybe we can forget the past?

      • ThresherK

        It doesn’t add up, and it destroys Medicare. This has been proved. No point trying to talk reason to you.

        • Jeffreysc

          destroys Medicare, you don’t know what you’re talking about, clearly;

          • ThresherK

            Groupon Medicare–try it yourself, and see what it buys you.

  • camk

    David Leonhardt just stated that the Ryan budget was a good one because it states that people have to make a choice between benefits and taxes but I do believe that most people find tax increases acceptable. It is the right’s position that taxes shouldn’t go up, not the people’s choice.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY (WBFO)

    More wealthy need to be speaking up about being able to afford higher taxes.  Give me some of George Soros’ money and I’ll make some ads with Warren Buffet, Alan Simpson, David Stockman, David Brooks, and wheeler-dealers from all sides of the political spectrum.

    The Republican leaders in Congress say they’re speaking for the people. What people? The “people” that the Supreme Court said now exist in the form of Big Business?  Poll after poll says that far upward of 70%, even north of 80%, of real, actual people want the wealthiest 2% to be taxed as a even a slightly higher rate.

    • ThresherK

      How many of the Buffets and Gates’ do we need to make up for the Kochheads?

      • Scott B, Jamestown NY (WBFO)

        But that’s the point! Right now there’s a silent majority that isn’t having their point voiced. But we have the “Kockheads” being the tail wagging the dog.  The Tea Party has been co-opted by people like the Kochs that have led the to work against their own interest.

        The tea party was supposed about being “taxed enough already”, and was a grass-roots, middle and working class idea for middle and working class people that are paying higher tax rates than the wealthiest 2% or Americans and seeing tax money going to pay for millions of redundant government jobs and bridges to nowhere (the 2000′s version of the 1980′s $600 hammers) . But somehow the Kochs and the far right leaders have convinced them that by giving ever more tax breaks to the wealthy, doing away with even a minimum wage, letting business poison the environment, privatizing everything, deregulating business,  banning certain groups from having the same rights as everyone, and propping up every other straw man social agenda from abortion rights to voter fraud, is somehow in their best interest. 

  • Ellen Dibble

    If more have to start businesses of their own as opposed to having “jobs” with health insurance, then the health insurance deduction will be more of an issue.  It seems to me the poorer you are, the more it costs to keep you really well, because the effects of pollution and so forth are costly to prevent or counter.  So there is the interesting question:  If the cost of your lifetime care is greater than your lifetime income, what about that?  There is surely great profit for the medical providers along the way, and if we have private insurers, the taxpayer will not be on the line.  That “line” where profitability of health care confronts what we consider an American birthright is going to have to be argued.  I’m sure the cost will go up.  Capitalism guarantees it.

    • Scott B, Jamestown NY (WBFO)

      How much more money would there be for everyone if we had National Health Care?  The money a business pours into insuring workers could be split between workers, paying the nation insurance, and the business and its shareholders.  That would go a little ways to fixing the wage stagnation, everyone would be paying for healthcare, and business and investors would be happy.

      • Ellen Dibble

        Obama started out stating the position that the portion of health care costs that goes for paper pushing (the insurers) is too much, and we don’t need it and can’t afford it.  Then he did a 180.  Apparently the insurers weighed in.  It seems to me a national health care system is not that different than what we have, with mandated emergency room care for all, but would save us money in terms of public health management.  There would have to be lines.  Where the insurers offer a basket of plans and you can select what gamble you want to take (so to speak), it would make more sense for a basic level of care to be provided for all, and instead of taking a health insurance Deduction annually, we would pay a health care Premium to the government each year.  Then, outside of the tax code, we could buy additional coverage above and beyond that baseline.  And that would keep the insurance industry in business.  But the discussion Obama was kicking off had to do with how to retrain the clerks in each medium-size medical facility who deal with insurance issues, retrain them into health care providers or the various sorts we badly need.  Obama may have caved (IMHO), but I think the national budget will require a revisitation of that issue.

  • Jonathan

    We are two sixty-ish baby-boomers who have worked hard all our lives and are looking forward to frugal, yet comfortable, retirement.  The problem from our vantage point is not how much tax we will pay in the future (we assume it will be more), but how fair the system is that we end up with.  We don’t mind paying more if we feel we’re getting a fair deal. 

    Incidentally, we pay less in taxes than a co-worker who makes much less due to our real estate investments, deductions, and deferred income.  We have the flexibility to hire a CPA who can find us the best tax advantages; someone working a 40-hour work week with little or no real estate or other tax vehicles has very little of that flexibility.

  • http://abellia.myopenid.com/ Andrew

    Again, a silly discussion.  There is no reason tend toward to austerity.  The federal government is not a household.  The federal government MAKES the money, and it can make all it wants.  What’s the limiting factor?  Inflation.  We have none.  As inflation rises, we would need to tax or cut services, but that isn’t the current situation.

    We CAN keep getting the services we desire and not raise taxes.

    The US CANNOT go bankrupt.  Someone who gets to make money cannot run out.

  • OmaJanet

    All negotiation requires the ability to “see gray” in a world of “black and white” ideologues.  Can someone (conservative, republican)name ONE thing that they are willing to give up?  They are big on talking about          “shared sacrifice” but only look at decrease in spending and bullheadedly will not look at increases in revenue. Any person who has looked at a simple family budget knows that both are needed. Conservatives will decrease spending on anything that levels the playing field (PELL Grants, Headstart, etc.),close state and national parks, etc. and hurt everyone but themselves. There is nothing shared about this.

  • Gotermite

    The US needs customers, not budget balancing. They need to get off the latter and on the former.

    The rich are sitting on their money waiting for the the rest of us to demand goods and services so they can bet on a sure thing.

    The middle class is where the nation’s hard work gets done. But while they became the most productive work fore in the world, they have been losing ground since the seventies to Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton. Now the Republican deregulation recession seems to have selectively knocked out folks who supported their communities. What happened to jobs as job one?

  • Vtcheflw

    If we treat the “job creators” like third world countries do, when will the rest of us become sweat shop workers?

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY (WBFO)

    Privatize Medicare, Soc Sec, etc? And what happens when the same things that took us into this recession happen again? The rules are the same,nothing has changed. Banks and investment firms are still dong the exact same business as before. Not one rule was changed.  So what happens when all that privatized investment takes another 80% hit?

  • Eric from Brookline

    US corporations benefit greatly from the global stability that results from our large, extraordinarily expensive global military presence. It allows them to source and sell around the world. The have to help pay for that. We can tax them less if we are willing to have the military budget of France, not to the world’s largest by several orders of magnitude.

    It is time for an alternative minimum tax of 10% for corporations that do business in the U.S. That way every company pays something and no company pays nothing.

  • Freeman

    Tom;
           Why do your guest repeatedly attack the programs for the majority who pay the taxes. Fraud and Abuse in numerous Federal , State and County agencies. Perks they receive from the tax-payers that have NOTHING to do with their “mission statement”. Military;Education and many other institutions that have been subsidized way beyond their intent and purpose. They DO NOT live in the “REAL WORLD” and we( middle and lower class) foot the bill.

  • Gary

    I am disabled and live on 8K a year. Washington wants to put me out in the street sounds like to me. Eat the rich I say.

  • anon

    The Republican argument that “raising” taxes on the wealthy would kill job creation leaves an interesting opportunity. Why not raise taxes, but refund it if the person/entity actually creates a new job. The government would get the money from either the employer, or the employed.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Larry Summers, in a two-part interview with Charlie Rose in the last week – http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11777 – points to the necessity of creating demand.  He favors creating the need for more factories and so on in order to supply that demand.  And he doesn’t care if debt for infrastructure or policemen or teachers or unemployment benefits go towards creating that demand.  Or rather, he does care.  He is for it.
        I disagree with him on whether American Demand will cure everything.  American Demand I think could be another bubble.  And I think jobs will go overseas where cost of living is less.  Other than that, I like what he says.      

    • Robb

      So is Summers having second thoughts about the so-called free trade deals he favored in the 90s?

      • Ellen Dibble

        I don’t remember that specifically.  My doubts about America as the Great Consumer, which he seems to think anchors global well-being and which I think could create overpopulation, overpollution, and overheating if done at a growth rate he favors — those doubts switch off my antennae when he goes in that direction.  He said that a growth rate of 2% is not enough to keep this economy from falling out of the sky, comparing it to airplanes which need a certain speed to stay aloft.  That minimum growth rate applies to any economy, he says, and it seems to me that growth rate is suicidal unless we think of the consequences of our ballooning.

  • Vtcheflw

    shut this guy up!

    • Jeffreysc

      very open-minded of you

  • steph

     Thank you, David Leonhardt, for speaking so rationally about the reality of our situation. But, just looking at some of the comments here in response to your words, the American people are not interested in hearing the truth or making the tough choices. They want to continue to blame only the politicians, even though the people the politicians represent are just as extreme on either the left or the right. What will it take for people to admit we have been enjoying the free/cheap lunch lifestyle? Why do many think that we have an inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness in the form of non-stop entertainment, SUVs and big screen TVs? We need a change in our priorities.

  • Jecuran

    You missed caller Kevin’s point. It doesn’t matter that his $250k income is subject to increase. His point is that keeping the economy moving is important. He’s willing to contribute more. If the middle class is squeezed out his business has FEWER AND FEWER customers.

    • ThresherK

      That our host missed that says a lot about our mediascape. Such people,
      akin to Kevin, are described as “not acting in their own self interest”.

      We can’t see an economist on TV say something on this like “Wow, some not-poor people are willing to pay a touch more in taxes now”, with the kind of amazed vocal intonation we get when there’s footage of a two-headed calf.

      What would it take to get an expert or economist on On Point who knows this?

  • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

    David Leonhardt is brilliant. Full stop. I hope he’s on the NewsHour tonight, lots of people need to hear him.

  • kathyah

    I would also delay Soc Security & medicare. The cap of $106k as the limit taxable income for these needs to be changed.

    • Jeffreysc

      yes, should be lowered; these people will never get what they paid in

      • ThresherK

        Cite, please.

      • Robb

        Social Security is not an investment program… it’s a social INSURANCE program.

        And when that demographic bubble called the Baby Boomers start to cash in their stocks… and there are less GenXers to “invest” to keep stock prices high… do you think the Ponzi Scheme known as the stock market will give much return on investment?

        • Jeffreysc

          well given that boomers are going to live another 30 years from their retirement age, they’ll be holding on longer than you think.

          social insurance is income redistribution or tax, pure and simple

  • Tom G

    RE Republican claim of “job killing” tax increases on the wealthy.
    What this implies is that right now, with the wealthy being coddled, they are creating jobs. Really? Where are those jobs?

    • Jeffreysc

      millions of jobs have been saved by tax cuts, check gao data

      • mfc3

        Really?  Then why were the job creation numbers during George W. Bush’s  two terms so abysmal?

        From the not very liberal Wall Street Journal:

        President George W. Bush entered office in 2001 just
        as a recession was starting, and is preparing to leave in the middle of
        a long one. That’s almost 22 months of recession during his 96 months
        in office.

        His job-creation record won’t look much better. The Bush
        administration created about three million jobs (net) over its eight
        years, a fraction of the 23 million jobs created under President Bill Clinton‘s administration and only slightly better than President George H.W. Bush did in his four years in office.

        http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2009/01/09/bush-on-jobs-the-worst-track-record-on-record/

      • Jhsusak

        Why is the unemployment rate 9.2%?

        • Jhsusak

          And, before you say it, wasn’t the unemployment rate at the end of the Bush administration higher?

          • ThresherK

            When it comes to job creation, this is what they don’t want you to see: Eight years of Shrub (including 5 in “expansion”, whatever that means) gave us fewer jobs than 2 1/2 years of Obama (much in recession).

            http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/jobs_apr11.jpg

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Jeff,   Again, ‘W’ said those tax cuts would CREATE jobs!  Saving is not CREATING!  The jobs ‘saved’ you state, were NOT created, they already existed.  Twisting the lie, does not eliminate the lie, it just makes another.

    • Gary

      Republicans talking about “job killing” tax increases on the wealthy….pity the rich, who’s lot in life is to create jobs for all the little little people and what do they get in return? Why the ungrateful sots tax them…Richie Rich, the poor little taxed job creator…give me a break.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Gary,  WHERE ARE THE JOBS?  the rich have had Bush tax cuts for over ten years!  Jobs have left! 

  • The JS

    The ‘as yet to be mentioned’ Progressive Caucus Budget:

    The People’s Budget eliminates the deficit in 10 years, puts
    Americans back to work and restores our economic competitiveness. The
    People’s Budget recognizes that in order to compete, our nation needs
    every American to be productive, and in order to be productive we need
    to raise our skills to meet modern needs. Our Budget Eliminates the Deficit and Raises a $31 Billion Surplus In Ten Years
    Our budget protects Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and
    responsibly eliminates the deficit by targeting its main drivers: the
    Bush Tax Cuts, the wars overseas, and the causes and effects of the
    recent recession. Our Budget Puts America Back to Work & Restores America’s Competitiveness
    • Trains teachers and restores schools; rebuilds roads and bridges and ensures that users help pay for them • Invests in job creation, clean energy and broadband infrastructure, housing and R&D programs Our Budget Creates a Fairer Tax System
    • Ends the recently passed upper-income tax cuts and lets Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of 2012 • Extends tax credits for the middle class, families, and students • Creates new tax brackets that range from 45% starting at $1 million to 49% for $1 billion or more • Implements a progressive estate tax • Eliminates corporate welfare for oil, gas, and coal companies; closes loopholes for multinational corporations • Enacts a financial crisis responsibility fee and a financial speculation tax on derivatives and foreign exchange Our Budget Protects Health
    • Enacts a health care public option and negotiates prescription payments with pharmaceutical companies • Prevents any cuts to Medicare physician payments for a decade Our Budget Safeguards Social Security for the Next 75 Years • Eliminates the individual Social Security payroll cap to make sure upper income earners pay their fair share • Increases benefits based on higher contributions on the employee side
    Our Budget Brings Our Troops Home
    • Responsibly ends our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to leave America more secure both home and abroad
    • Cuts defense spending by reducing conventional forces, procurement, and costly R&D programs

    Our Budget’s Bottom Line
    • Deficit reduction of $5.6 trillion
    • Spending cuts of $1.7 trillion
    • Revenue increase of $3.9 trillion
    • Public investment $1.7 trillion

    http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=70&sectiontree=5,70

    • Jhsusak

      Who’s the progressive caucus?  Who wrote this? It’s a miracle of commone sense.  Sign me up!

      • The JS

        “What is CPC?
        The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) consists of one United
        States Senator and seventy five members of the United States House of
        Representatives, and is the largest caucus within the House Democratic
        Caucus.  Established in 1991, the CPC reflects the diversity and
        strength of the American people and seeks to give voice to the needs and
        aspirations of all Americans and to build a more just and humane
        society. 

        The Co-Chairs of the CPC–U.S. Representatives Raúl
        M. Grijalva (AZ-07) and Keith Ellison (MN-05) welcome your interest in
        the caucus.   

        Our Caucus members promote a strong, progressive agenda, what we call “The Progressive Promise–Fairness for All”. 
        The Progressive Promise is rooted in four core principles that embody
        national priorities and are consistent with the values, needs and
        aspirations of all the American people, not just the powerful and the
        privileged.  They reflect a fundamental belief in government of the
        people, by the people, and for the people.  

        The four, core principles of the Progressive Promise:

        1. Fighting for economic justice and security for all;
        2. Protecting and preserving our civil rights and civil liberties;
        3. Promoting global peace and security; and
        4. Advancing environmental protection and energy independence

        The CPC is committed to helping progressives, both inside and outside
        of Congress, to work together more effectively, in order to bring all of
        us closer to making good on The Progressive Promise.

        Again, we
        appreciate your interest in the CPC and we look forward to working
        together to build a strong progressive network throughout America and
        beyond.”http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=74&sectiontree=2,74

  • Dbeckhart

    Debt Ceiling is about borrowing not default on the debt…we have to live within our means your guest should no the difference…and most middle class people don’t take the standard deduction on there taxes.

    • Ray from VT

      And sometimes living within your means means working more AND spending less.

    • Jeffe68

      Are you for the US defaulting on the debt?

  • Dan Bambery

    I am a social value republican who considers myself solidly in the middle class–well below the 315K threshold.  I don’t like taxes but consider I get a bargain from the taxes I do pay and am willing to pay more to continue everything from Social Security to the interstate highways at current levels (or better) of funding.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Dan,   Thanks.   You don’t know that you can voluntarily pay extra taxes?  Warren Buffet evidently doesn’t either!   Obviously, you and Warren are a small minority of the rich, that think $Billions are not enough.  Greedy will NEVER have enough, no matter who suffers how much.  I advocate a REAL income tax (including capital gains, broker fees, and ALL the other scams, that is actually income, of no more than 45%.  That way, there is incentive to prosper!  If the rich will back this, I will campaign for everyone to pay 1% , or more.

  • Anonymous

    I dearly love and trust both Leonhardt (whom I read whenever he writes
    in the Times) and Bernie Sanders (whose campaign I support).  Probably
    this discussion would have been much less partisan and more more
    intelligent had it included both Sanders and Leonhardt.  BOTH make good
    points. BOTH are familiar with the details.  Neither is an aggressive
    rightwing throat-slasher.  Quite the contrary.

    Oh, and BOTH sides need to realize that when we get into the details —
    when we have full access to facts and to each others’ points of view —
    we have a much greater chance of reaching some kind of agreement.  The
    trap, of course (and I wholly blame the right for this), is that some
    are dead set against any kind of agreement… just because their blood
    is up and they’d rather kill the economy than admit that accommodation
    is possible.

    Leonhardt is dead right about paying the piper. Sanders is
    dead right about our needs and obligations.  Only a cultural shift (not
    political browbeating) will wean the right from the ignorance and
    cruelty it currently delights in.  Making that cultural change is up to us.

    • Jhsusak

      Unfortunately I could only “like” your comment once. 

      Interested in running for office?  Be sure to bring Mr. Leonhardt with you.

      • Anonymous

        Oooo!  I’d love to be in the company of David Leonhardt, but not in an office!

        • Jhsusak

          You piqued my interest.  Whoa, not too shabby.

  • camk

    David, the median household (2.6 people) income in the US is under $32k. How are you defining the middle class?

  • Gotermite

    The Bush Administration was all about income redistribution in favor of his “real constituency” who now are creating a Latin American style society.

    • Jeffreysc

      and by redistribution, you mean non-redistribution

  • Jeffe68

    I’m sorry, but this David Leonhardt is living in a bubble. The middle class is dieing. He’s using bromides to justify his talking points.
    People are hurting and they have no way out. As far as I’m concerned we live in an oligarchy. The caller who said he’s in the working class had it right. Mr. Leonhardt has it wrong. 
     

    • Jhsusak

      You are NOT dying.  The middle class is NOT dying.  Like Mr. Leonhardt said, we are used to exaggerating our situation.  We’re struggling, we deserve a better deal, but I believe his point was we are basically losing a portion of our free lunch and we need to address the problem as such.

      • Jeffe68

        Free lunch? What free lunch are you talking about?
        I don’t have one. Most of the people I know don’t as well.
        I don’t buy this. If you look at the wages of people in this sector they have been flat while the cost of living has gone up and up.
        Where’s the free lunch?  you say we’re struggling, well that’s a laugh.
        I’d say hemorrhaging is more like it.  

  • Jeffreysc

    taxes enable for abusive spending by legislators; yeah, we get something, but no one on the government payroll is trying to contain spending; fortune 500 companies count every dollar and track where it goes

    • Ray from VT

      I’ll definitely agree with your first point, and many elected officials push for as much pork as they can.  But there is a difference, in my opinion, in spending for something like WIC, which helps low-income families, and unnecessary infrastructure projects or unneeded military systems.

      • Jeffreysc

        i agree with you completely, but it seems to be an all or nothing discussion; look at the corn-based ethanol subsidy, a complete disaster

        • Ray from VT

          And there are people in both parties protecting it in order to support interests in their own states.  That’s a problem with the continual election that we are in.  Many politicians are afraid to make a tough choice/vote because they know that they will get lambasted by potential political opponents, the opposing party apparatus or outside interest groups.

          • Jhsusak

            Thanks, Ray.  When I say I think many of our problems could be alleviated, if not eliminated, by election reform, they look at me like I’ve gone mad.

    • Jhsusak

      You have a point about abusive spending, but I don’t think you should be using fortune 500 companies as a shining example.  A large part of them had to be “bailed out” because of the carelessness of their accounting and attention to detail.

      • Jeffreysc

        a large part, you’re kidding right; how many of the 500 had to be bailed out because of careless accounting = zero; the government answers to no one and has no competitors, no wonder it has become a bloated, ineffective monopoly

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Goldmann Sachs, AIG, Bankcorp, all the Wall Street Banksters, that got a bail-out, and gave BONUSES to those that created the mess, are NOT Fortune 500?

    • ThresherK

      And Fortune 500 companies aren’t in the habit of hiring people whose goal in life is to destroy the company.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        ThresherK,  Remember Rick Waggoner of GM ?  The whole bunch of execute-ives of Enron?   The toxic asset creators and pushers Banksters? 

  • jim

    middle class is going to diminish in numbers. however, what many people in the middle class do not know is how to work the system. part of living in america is to work the system. otherwise, many middle class will suffer and wither. more than a cyclical unemployment, we have a structural one. part of the problem is leaders from both parties, but more from the “tea party” group, prefer to look after their self-interest than for everyone in this nation.

  • Steve

    We can all have a large tax cut when we stop paying so much interest on our debt…. For now, we need to pay taxes AND stop wasting money.

    • Jeffreysc

      one party seems to think there is no such thing as waste when it comes to government spending

      • Steve

        and the other can’t stand to pay taxes… they both need to give.

        • Jeffreysc

          count me among them; while some of government works, a lot does not, too much; there’s a scandal-a-week in the city where I live about gov workers doing nothing on-the-job, taking their work car on personal trips, claiming disability, getting paid under the table by city contractors, getting their relatives do-nothing jobs, ignoring merit and promoting party favorites … there is too much money sloshing around to discourage this stuff and so it continues

      • Ray from VT

        One one seems to think that nothing good comes out of government spending.  The truth, as always, is in the middle ground.

      • Matteasmom107

        Bulls*t. Obama put 4 trillion in cuts on the table. And then Cantor threw a hissy fit about corporate jet and hedge fund loopholes.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Jeff,  Yes, the Republicans seem to think there is no such thing as waste in gov’t spending.  The war in Iraq was to be paid for with Iraqi oil money, but was not entered into the millitary budget, for most of the ‘W’ years.  Many other examples of Republican hypocracy and abuse about the budget.

  • guest

    when I listen to discussions like this, I’m sickened to think how the wealthier you are, the easier to evade taxes.  Maybe Forbes was right and we do need a flat tax

    • Jeffreysc

      half of Americans don’t pay any federal income taxes and their not at the top; how are they invested in this discussion

      • ThresherK

        They’re saying “I hope to make enough to have this ‘problem’ “.

        You used to try to pretend to understand.

      • Scott B, Jamestown NY (WBFO)

        They might not pay Fed taxes, but they do pay local, county, and state taxes, most of which are always going up by leaps and bounds.  Where I live we pay the highest regional taxes in the US, and we have some of the poorest people in the US.   How do they have a prayer of even living decently, let alone getting out from that situation,  if more taxes are thrust upon them? 

        I’d LOVE to be able to do my part and make enough to pay Fed taxes, even the proposed higher tax rate that was under Reagan! But I can’t, and the regional taxes are killing me as it is. 

        But somehow the richest 2% of the population can’t afford a 4% raise in taxes. This when CEO’s wages increase 20% last year? A CEP making $10M is now making $12M, much of which comes under capital gains tax laws so they pay, what 15% or less, on that, vs someone making $80K and paying over 22%. 

        • ThresherK

          That mere fact of the tax burden being different in type and amount (wildly regressive, BTW) goes against everything we hear everywhere. If all one watches is the evening news, all one thinks affects people is the marginal tax rate and the capital gains rate.

          People too poor to lobby know better but are too busy trying to earn a living.

          • Tribalguitars

            All I hear on the news, and from political talking heads therein, is “$80 thousand a year” mark. $80K?!  Around here you would be hard pressed to find a majority of households can make $60K year total!

            It’s not the middle class, it’s the working class and the poor that I truly worry about. They carry the burden of these plans by the Right to make the rich richer by cutting taxes on the “job creators” while balancing the cuts by gouging entitlements and programs like food stamps, low income heating programs, and even Pre-K and daycare help.  These people can’t afford to save money, it all goes to bills and making ever-moving ends meet, if they can ever come close at all.  
             These people are often the first people to get laid off.  How many workers’ jobs could be saved by one of these CEO’s that just had their salaries go up by $2 million didn’t get that raise? Did those CEO’s costs of living go up so significantly that they can’t manage on just $10 million a year?  Did spiking gas prices hit them in their alligator skin wallets that hard? 

          • Scott B, Jamestown NY (WBFO)

            All I hear on the news, and from political talking heads therein, is
            “$80 thousand a year” mark. $80K?!  Around here you would be hard
            pressed to find a majority of households can make $60K year total!

            It’s
            not the middle class, it’s the working class and the poor that I truly
            worry about. They carry the burden of these plans by the Right to make
            the rich richer by cutting taxes on the “job creators” while balancing
            the cuts by gouging entitlements and programs like food stamps, low
            income heating programs, and even Pre-K and daycare help.  These people
            can’t afford to save money, it all goes to bills and making ever-moving
            ends meet, if they can ever come close at all.  
             These people are
            often the first people to get laid off.  How many workers’ jobs could be
            saved by one of these CEO’s that just had their salaries go up by $2
            million didn’t get that raise? Did those CEO’s costs of living go up so
            significantly that they can’t manage on just $10 million a year?  Did
            spiking gas prices hit them in their alligator skin wallets that hard? 

          • Anonymous

            I had a client who balked at the rates I charge for my work – which I had reduced to 1980 levels.  He was comfortable driving his Hummer two hours to pick up my work (and two hours back), however.   Using more dollars in fuel than he paid me.  That makes me angry, folks.  My expenses have not fallen to 1980 levels.

    • Scott B, Jamestown NY (WBFO)

      Flat tax won’t work.  10% (for example) is HUGE for someone that has to worry about what bill gets paid now and what bill gets paid late.  But, for someone who’s biggest worry is do they go on vacation to Europe or get that new car, a 10% isn’t going to matter a hill of beans.

      • ThresherK

        The flat tax isn’t a real solution. It’s a Norquistian ploy; if they make things so untenable and screwed up that the flat tax “work” by comparison, they win in their battle to make the country ungovernable.

        • MoniqueDC

          Thresh, I lived for years in Europe…. the flat tax there (VAT) ranged from 17% to 23 %….and you still paid income tax.   The difference, of course, is that the public could see the benefits…  good roads, health care, compassionate unemployment,e tc….

          But the VAT SUCKS major revenue out of the coffers because it encourages the Gray Economy…cash only… under the table wages for people… etc.   

          A flat tax is not the answer.

          If the US would look abroad for examples of things that worked well (education in Finland) or didn’t work (financial policy in Ireland and UK) we could learn many lessons without going through the pain we unnecessarily put our country through.

  • Sue

    Why doesn’t the government redefine middle class levels? 30some thousand should be considered lower class now. Why not raise it to 50000 and give them 1% increase. 7500 2% and so on up? All the way to the top levels..

  • CindyCB

    Who isn’t considered rich if making 250,000… maybe it’s called not admitting your expectations go beyond your pocketbook even at 250,000. Whatever your income, it’s about money management, understanding the value of your dollar, and prioritizing.

    as it is we can’t afford nurses in schools, paying a fair wage to our educators. Our schools need our revenue. Instead of lowering taxes as Bush did, we should have a type of “profit-sharing” program we country is doing well.

  • Steve

    I have paid Social Security taxes since 1960.  How can my benefit be called an “entitlement”? I believe middle age Americans should be following the current debate very carefully as there will be a natural tendency to push the start date out for starkly reduced Social Security and Medicare coverage.

    • Jhsusak

      Steve – Don’t get me wrong – you are entitled to every penny of Social Security you receive, and to not pay it to you would be a betrayal of monstrous proportions.

      But look at the statement Social Security sends you every year.  Look at the actual amount you paid in.  Now look at the amount you have received/will receive.  You didn’t pay for all of your social security benefits and the part you didn’t pay for is an entitlement.  But you ARE entitled, so who cares?

    • Jeffreysc

      it’s an entitlement if you get more than you paid in

      • ThresherK

        Dictionary, please.

      • Anonymous

        SS provides LESS than “paid in” if one accounts for what MIGHT have been received if merely invested in CD’s on a rotating basis!
        Why cannot people be “taxed” into a fund that has property rights attached, inheritable?  Attach an annuity policy and disability policy and catastrophic health care policy – all OWNED by the “investor.” 

         I realize this will strip politicians of much of their power to control us and reduce their value to the lobbyists and rent-seekers, but, well, maybe the media would be free to concentrate on real subjects the government by nature OUGHT to be involved in: defense.
         

    • ThresherK

      I’m in favor of reducing the SocSec age. It’ll get some people out of the labor markets.

      • Scott B, Jamestown NY (WBFO)

        An AP story just showed that more people are staying active longer ad WANT to keep working. So why not up the age gradually? Also, encourage seniors that are monetarily set and don’t need Soc Sec, Medicare, to get off those rolls. Also, ask  seniors that want to keep working to not collect Soc Sec until they actually retire. But most importantly, tell them why – That this will help the US economy, help shore up entitlements and help those that truly need Soc Sec and Medicare, etc.  I think politicians and interest group leaders forget that people can, and do, understand the issues going on today and would be willing to help if asked, without all the hyperbole and fear-mongering.

        • Anonymous

          I had an Aunt who died at 94 years of age with eight million dollars in her personal checking account who insisted on receiving Medicare services and SS because she had “paid into” the “fund.”  So did my Uncle.  Nothing I could say could convince her or her husband that SS is no longer a fund, but as a pay-as-you-go income redistribution from young workers to wealthy retirees, the opposite of progressive!  The SS benefits need to be means-tested: SS was originally meant to relieve those elderly in real poverty.  SS MUST be privatized over time and phased out.  If Chile has freedom to choose, why cannot Americans?

          • MoniqueDC

            I agree that SS need to be means-tested and the cap on contributions need to be raised.

            Comparing the US to Chile is hardly reasonable.   Besides… you would trust your retirement to the same scoundrels who crashed the economy, got bailed out, didn’t change behaviors and are now reaped millions while we pay for it?

            Privatization won’t result in better returns…. merely more scams, greater fees charged and an improverished elderly community down the road.  

      • Ellen Dibble

        Back in the late 1960s, the same was being said about women.  Keep them out of the labor markets.  There are men who need those jobs.
             Would you rather have seniors dependent and collecting government checks?  Or working and paying taxes?

  • Dennis

    What do you mean the middle class can hop on a plane? We can’t afford to go anywhere! You are confusing the middle class with the upper middle class (that is, the wealthy).

    • Jeffreysc

      i travel for work and see plenty of middle class; there’s an airline that caters just to mexican immigrants going home for visits; i fly southwest and frontier, the people’s airlines

      • Tink

        What’s the name of the airline that caters to the Mexican immagrants?

        • http://twitter.com/FilipinoBoston FilipinoBoston

          Mexicani Airlines. LOL im kidding of course there’s no Airlines catered to Mexicans. I think that would be Bias for other Americans.

          • Jeffreysc

            it travels between cities with large hispanic populations and non-tourist mexican cities; how ignorant can one be

        • Jeffreysc

          volaris

    • Jhsusak

      I’m middle class and I can hop on a plane, on a limited and reasonable basis.  If you would care to post your budget, perhaps we can give helpful suggestions.

  • Jhsusak

    THANK YOU!  An actual fair and balanced discussion of this heated topic.  Where is this guy when we’re looking for candidates?

  • Robb

       Noam Chomsky once talked of the Vietnam era. There were the
    Hawks who said the US had the right to be in Vietnam and needed to wage a more
    ruthless war… and the Doves who agreed the US had a right to be in Vietnam but
    believed the costs of the war were too great and we should get out.
       
    As long as the Public only heard those two sides debate, the subtext that
    America had a right to be in Vietnam went unchallenged… in fact it was reinforced.

       
    Outside that spectrum of acceptable thought were the anti-war forces who did
    NOT believe the US had a right to be there or use force in international
    affairs.

       So what is the acceptable ideological spectrum of On Point? When
    on budget issues Thom and other hosts seem to have no end of center Right
    guests… I have to wonder. Has ANY guest said that in 2000 Bush ran protecting
    the Clinton Surplus and paying down debt? Has ANY guest said that ANY tax cut
    when We The People are in debt is nothing but future tax INCREASES plus
    interest? Has ANY guest  be allowed on
    that has explained the Bush tax cuts were SO irresponsible revenues in constant
    dollars revenues have been virtually FLAT for a decade?

       Given this last fact, it would seem any RESPONSIBLE journalist
    would not play a clip of Boehner making the FALSE claim that we don’t have a revenue
    problem WITHOUT educating the public that Boehner is not being honest.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY (WBFO)

    I agree with the one guest, and suggested such myself in my own circles: Give tax breaks for actual job-creators on new jobs created.  The money generated by the taxes those employees will pay in their everyday life, and supporting their localities, and the services and goods they will use, will more than offset the cost of those tax breaks.

    But you still have to close loop-holes and raise taxes on those that can most afford it.

    • Robb

      Why give tax breaks… and further deplete the Treasury, when we can just reverse our free trade policies and the jobs will come home on their own?

  • Anonymous

    This was corrected on Morning Edition this morning

    • Ellen Dibble

      Right, and the correction, which is probably there in transcript form by now — I know there is a long string of comments — includes pretty much the same points.   Whether NewsCorp paid taxes or claimed credits, the same rules (or loopholes, if you will) were at play.  I’m not opposed to businesses being able to make investments and grow, and having the tax code enable that.  It’s what makes this an intricate issue.  One of the panelists, I think Leonhardt, was stating that in the long run, it won’t be the loopholes that will be part of the rectification of the budget, the balancing of it.  Too many special interests have gotten embedded into that system to make that politically feasible.  His conclusion is that the more likely is changes in the overall rates, because that can be done without undue damage — to relationships, I suppose, and assumptions, all that.  
          That rings true to me.  

  • http://twitter.com/FilipinoBoston FilipinoBoston

    Democrats and Republicans are all the same. They all making Middle class Americans broke. I am tired of eating Value Meals. I want some soul food or chinese food once a week. my paychecks are only enough to pay child support,bills and rent. I can barely buy new clothes if wasn’t for Marshall’s I won’t have a new sneakers or have a clothes for work. Federal taxes are killing the middle class. once again I got my pay check today and I have $250.00 for myself until next week. oh wait I have to pay AT&T $70 bucks so do the math Politicians!!!

    • Jhsusak

      Get rid of the cell phone and get a local phone – savings:  about $50 a month.  Cook your own food – savings:  at least $50 a week.

      $250 for one person for one week?  You are on the high side as far as global income is concerned.  Grow up and volunteer somewhere working for the truly disadvantaged.

      • http://twitter.com/FilipinoBoston FilipinoBoston

        I travel 50 miles a day x 5 a week to work, Natick to Burlington. I pay AT&T 65 a month with 1000 text and etc etc contract, Cook your own food with gas/electricity and groceries, A beef will cost me $4.00 to $7.00 bucks a pound for a meal.
        (cheaper for me to eat at the mall with 2 combo and a rice for $5.50). Volunteering will give me a kind heart but with an empty stomach and $3.65 a gallon of gas. I will  just stay home. Jhsusak It is easy for you to say.

        • Jeffe68

          Do you know what this is? It’s the worlds smallest violin playing for you…

          • Ray from VT

            Is this the sort of compassion that we can expect from conservatives (which I am assuming that you are)?  Let the poor eat cake, after all, poor people are poor because they are stupid or lazy, right?

          • http://twitter.com/FilipinoBoston FilipinoBoston

            I was trying to experiment if the Have and can help The Have nots not with Money but a little compassion with kind words but sad to see and to read these. how the American poor will be treated not only in the real world but on message boards. It sad but it exist. Thank you not for me but for the American poor.

          • Ray from VT

            My last sentence was sarcasm, just in case you misinterpreted it, but I do think that that attitude is common among some sectors of our population.

          • Ellen Dibble

            It’s good to see it laid out what happens with a job that shows take-home of $250 a week.   Imagine if there were also custody payments, or other non-choice items built into the equation.  An income like that is practically impossible to maneuver into a position of security and probably takes the kind of toll on an individual’s mental and/or physical health that is costly for society in invisible ways.  Where is this so-called ladder?  Is it only available after the children are teenagers and out on the streets? A couple of things.  Try to find a skill that you can develop to launch yourself in a more profitable direction; keep looking and trying this and that.  Volunteering may be a luxury that only the reasonably successful can afford.  And try to find a way to put some money into the same sorts of pools that the wealthy use.  In my case, whole-life insurance was presented at my door by two go-getters from my community, accompanied by a white puppy who used my carpet as a restroom, but I knew the firm was good, and I could find $50 a month, forgoing all sorts of preferable food and medicine, but what else is new.  After a decade I had just enough leverage in added skills and rainy-day reserves (you can borrow from life insurance accumulation) to edge into more turbulent seas, out on my own.  
            Meanwhile, your no-wiggle-room budget is as All-American as the hot dog and soda, not good for you at all but offered as if it were a lifeline.

          • Jhsusak

            I barely understand what you’re saying, but if I have it right:

            Filipino says his $250 is take-home.  That would be after child support payments (which, by the way, he would not be paying if he’s feeding his child every day, but that’s another story).  He admits to a luxury cell-phone plan – he said it, no one else did.  He states he eats at McDonalds, no one else does.  Fast food is a rotten, expensive way to eat. 

            At the risk of sounding like the old fart I am, when I was a single parent and actually raising my daughter with no help, we sure didn’t eat at McDonalds.  We sure didn’t eat a pound of red meat every day as Filipino seems to suggest.  And – shocker of all shockers!!! – we bought “new” clothes at thrift stores.  And not that many of them.  So pardon me if Mr Filipino doesn’t make me cry real tears.

          • Ellen Dibble

            I do not pretend to know all the details of that particular budget, and it seems to me he has the kind of benefits that we think of as the basic underpinnings of security in this world.  If you cut back about 70 years, the basic underpinnings would be quite different.  The great advances were the electricity and the running water.  Chemicals that made life cleaner and easier.  Roads and vistas and choices that were impossible to think of before.
                  The number of people trapped, however, even with all these advantages, and more thwarted than enabled by the way we are, that seems to be the heart of the present debate in Congress.  It seems to be about debt limits, but there is an opportunity to make sure opportunity stays alive here, even if we are a has-been nation.  As several posters have pointed out, those best able to detail the way the trap works are not available to lay it out.  By definition, they are out there working.  This individual is a pretty good example.  Expectations, meet brick wall.  Climb brick wall.  Ta-da!

          • MoniqueDC

            Please quit feeding the troll.   It’s a gambit, Ray

          • http://twitter.com/FilipinoBoston FilipinoBoston

            Why because you make more MONEY than me you can say all you want. And a Smallest Violin doesn’t feed those millions of Americans out there who are REALLY Hungry. Do you have any kids who just Finished college and went back to live with you and still paying those College Loans and also feed them at the same time.

        • Anonymous

          People don’t understand this is reality for many especially in NE where housing prices are outrageous – I don’t think they get the $250/wk is what you have to pay your bills – not spending money and is so helpful telling you how you are doing it all wrong – more money does matter to everyone but more to those who make low incomes

      • http://twitter.com/FilipinoBoston FilipinoBoston

        oh I forgot I also pick up my kid 7 days a week from my EX. I also feed my daughter too with that $250.00 and Oh!!! I already grew up when I left my parents house by the age of 16.

    • Jeffreysc

      $70 to AT&T for what; a smartphone, high speed internet, uVerse; nice luxuries, definitely not essentials

  • Susan in SC

    I agree, there are solutions.  Raise the minimum age for SS benefits. I am 55 and I will happily wait until I’m 70 to take benefits. We all live longer and are in better health than the previous generations. Raise my portion of the SS withholding tax by 1/2 percent. But keep medicare!!!! Raise the tax rate on the wealthy, even tho the wealthy may think they are not! Allow no increase in the military budget and put what we have been spending on the wars back into our general coffers. Close the tax loopholes. Put a limit on the mortgage interest deduction, perhaps to the portion of interest on mortgages above 4350,000. Stop any and all subsidies to the oil companies -including getting rid of tax subsidies. Increase the corporate tax rate on the oil companies, since they are making record profits. Raise the taxes on the ultra rich, the CEO’s,the wall streeters, etc. I agree with the caller that taxes are necessary – I want highways, an educated populous, clean air and water, safe products. Get rid of most agriculture subsidies – keep only for the truly small farmer – maybe 250 acres or less. Have each federal agency really identify what  the agency can do without, don’t just have percentage cuts to each agency. As to medicare, we should really look at why medical expenses are so high – are we requiring too much education for  allied health workers.? Prohibit docs from referring patients to MRI, etc  facilities in which they have an interest or at least disclose that interest.  Require disclosure of prices for tests; make it easy for people to compare the costs of tests, hospital charges, doctor’s charges:  this is almost impossible right now. If we have any more stimulus, put it all in infrastructure, and create the CCC again – have folks learn a skill!!  Don’ allow all of the waste and graft when we taxpayers pay large companies to pave roads, build bridges, etc. Get congressional staffers to really study ways to reduce government waste instead of spending their time acting as liaisons between government agencies and constituents for things like SS disability, etc. That’s not the job of Congress. Eventually and gradually  cut the military budget. These are my ides for some ways to increase revenue and cut costs; I’m sure there are lots of other ways. Perhaps have citizens come together to identify ways to cut costs and increase revenue. And as to voters, don’t vote for candidates with absolute, inflexible positions. As to elected officials, they need to take positions on the rightness of the positions, rather than on the effects their votes might have on reelection. Congressional reps, including senators, sell out the country in order to feed their egos so that they can stay in office.  One more thing, the networks and print media should get to business really investigating policy and policy positions.   Give us real reporting instead of soundbites. The media is generally lazy.

     

    • Scott B, Jamestown NY (WBFO)

      “Small” farmers on paper don’t look small. 250 acres is NOTHING in the grand scheme of things. Nor is a farmer having a million dollars in assets. It doesn’t take much equipment and property to add up to a million or more.

      Get rid of the subsidies to NOT plant. Or to pay for what’s called “starter ranches” to people that don’t farm them.  Subsidies should be used for crops that are needed to make up for a lack of them from natural disasters or an immediate need in the market place. I’d gladly see billions paid to small farmers to plant hemp (it’s NOT pot), or soy, or to grow tomatoes where tomatoes should grow, vs paying for tasteless green rocks to be grown in Florida. 

    • Jeffreysc

      infrastructure like clean coal, bridgest to nowhere, and landing a man on Mars, what is the point

  • Robb

    When will any mainstream journalist FINALLY tackle the
    elephant in the room that we all ignore?

    That elephant is how since the 80′s a extreme wing of one of
    the political parties in the US embraced fiscal IRRESPONSIBILITY as a key political
    strategy hoping to deliberately sabotage the fiscal viability of our federal
    government. In order to build public support for their insanity a Orwellian
    doctrine had to be created that redefined such irresponsible policies as the
    opposite. Now this cult has taken over the GOP and is slowly destroying the US from within.

    You have dealt with a lot of difficult topics Thom. Up to
    this one?

    Sadly, I see no evidence you are.

  • Robb

    Scott B, Jamestown NY wrote elsewhere: The Right has had over 30 years to prove “trickle down” economics works and it’s clearly shown it doesn’t…To get diverted into a debate whether “trickle down” works is to miss the point. The Right knew “trickle down” was a bogus economic theory. It’s only purpose was as a smokescreen to redefine the irresponsible Reagan tax cuts as responsible fiscal policy that would benefit everyone. Today they’ve just changed the message into “don’t tax the job creators”… as if those low tax rates during Bush years provided many jobs or inoculated us against a imploding economy. The REAL question isn’t whether Trickle Down works… it’s why the media and the Democrats haven’t exposed the GOP’s Big Lie 30 years ago. Now the GOP is going in for the kill… hoping to use their own fiscal treachery as a pretense to weaken or dismantle those Democratic programs they’ve always loathed… while leaving their own intact.

    • Scott B, Jamestown NY (WBFO)

      Even Geo. HW Bush called it “Voodoo Economics”. I always said “Don’t tell me it’s raining (trickling) when you’re pissing down my back.” 

      The only jobs I see being created are foreclosure lawyers and lobbyists for big business.

      • Robb

             As I suggested, to get caught up debating whether Trickle Down works is to be distracted by smoke and mirrors and miss what the magician is really up to.
             It doesn’t matter whether Trickle Down works. We KNOW it doesn’t. We also know there are not that many ways the GOP can market their fiscal irresponsibility except to pretend it benefits everyone.
             The only purpose of Trickle Down is to deceive, to build support among the GOP faithful with the hope they can be conned into working against their own self-interests in behalf of the only constituency the GOP cares about… the rich and corporations.

    • Jeffreysc

      what’s wrong with letting people keep more of what they earn; i don’t know whether it creates more jobs, but it is more fair

      • Scott B, Jamestown NY (WBFO)

        We have a progressive tax rate because, say, 22% of income is a hardship for a a working-class person trying to scrape by on stagnant wage than it is for someone that “earns” their money from dividends. But somehow the Republicans and Tea-baggers thinks that those that make their money from capital gains deserve to pay 15%, or ZERO if some had their way.  What’s wrong? What’s NOT wrong?

        • Ellen Dibble

          David Stockman (remember? Reagan’s budget director?) to Guy Raz on Saturday ATC, explaining why the capital gains tax is so low:  

          “‘It’s an obsolete provision that originated in the 1970s when we had double-digit inflation,’ David Stockman tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz. Stockman, the budget director under Ronald Reagan, supported the capital-gains measure at the time as a congressman from Michigan. “With double-digit inflation,” he says, “you were taxing phantom gains.”The U.S. hasn’t suffered from that kind of inflation in 30 years. Since then, the low capital gains tax has become a huge windfall for the rich.
          “‘Worse, it is an incentive to get all of the high-paid tax lawyers and accountants in the world to figure out ways to transform earned income into capital gains,’ Stockman says.”
           See the full quote at:http://www.npr.org/2011/07/09/137729769/crusade-to-fix-tax-code-gains-steamSo Grandma, living in capital gains, would not be getting cost-of-living increases with earned income, so instead she got a tax break on her nest-egg income.  Grandma, making $17,000 a year or making $170,000 a year, I believe would have the same flat rate.   But inflation and cost-of-living pay increases are not what they were in the 1970s.

          • Jeffreysc

            yeah, stick to grandma, especially if she was a saver; make her get a job so she can earn that income; ignore the fact that her savings were taxed originally when she did earn it; then when she dies, let’s tax her estate and if any is left over and she gives some to her grandchildren, let’s tax what they get; jeez grandma you shoulda just spent it on some chinese made big screen tv (made more expensive by an import tariff)!! savings is for losers!

  • http://twitter.com/FilipinoBoston FilipinoBoston

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/07/12/education.summer.lunch/index.html?hpt=hp_c1 This What I have been trying to explain to the rich Americans and for those doesn’t care.

  • Robb

        Missing from the discussion is whether ANY tax cuts while we’re in debt responsible?     Somehow we’ve fallen for a bogus argument made mostly by the Right that if we have a annual budget surplus, as we did in 1999 and 2000… then that’s “proof” we’re over-taxed even if then We The People we’re some 5.6 TRILLION in debt.
        If the Bush tax cuts were irresponsible then… and helped sabotage paying down ANY debt, then why are even the Democrats now saying only those tax cuts on the rich should be brought back, but everyone else gets a free ride?
        I raised the issue before of how a limited ideological spectrum limits thinking. During the Vietnam debate between the Hawks and the Doves… BOTH sides believed the US had a right to be in Vietnam but differed on what to do. The more these sides debated, the more the implicit assumption that the US had a right to be in Vietnam was reinforced. Outside the realm of permissible thought were those who believed the US had NO right to be there.
        And so we have another example of this dynamic at work. The positions of the main parties fall within a narrow range of less irresponsible to totally irresponsible… and sadly, this narrow spectrum is what we see in the guest choices on On Point. We can’t have a discussion on the issue of taxes and debt WITHOUT raising the moral question of who should pay for OUR fiscal irresponsibility over the past 30 years. Yet THIS IS WHAT’S HAPPENING!

    • Jeffreysc

      you can’t have a deficit without too much spending

      • Robb

             Thanks for a demonstration of how the Right has sabotaged the intellect of the faithful to the point they can only see one variable in a 2 variable problem.
             I could also say if we have a balanced budget, we won’t run a deficit if we don’t cut taxes! Yet that’s what Bush and the GOP did. Worst, they cut taxes when We The People were $5.7 TRILLION in debt… and sabotaged debt paydown in the process. Yet why do I suspect you just want to ignore how the irresponsible GOP policies added $5.5 TRILLION in new debt?  THEY are ones you trust to get it right now? ROTF!
             OBVIOUSLY the solution to our problem is to deal with BOTH variables… cut spending AND reverse the Bush tax cuts which by any SANE economic theory were totally irresponsible.

        • Jeffreysc

          it’s not obvious to the free lunchers who would rather tax somebody else more b/c it doesn’t affect them; i’m focused on the future

          • Robb

            /rolling eyes/ Jeff… EVERYTHING I’ve seen you write here suggests that YOU are a free luncher. As I responded to you earlier:

            HOW, HOW, HOW can you make the claim that when We The People have ALREADY pissed away some $13.5 TRILLION on ourselves the past 30 years… and have REFUSED to pay for it… that we are somehow “overtaxed”?

            We are the Free Lunch generation and you’re just another spoiled brat wanting to pass the cost of OUR irresponsibility off to future taxpayers.

            How goddamn noble.

          • Jeffreysc

            i ask no more of my government, in fact, shrink it; use the surpluses to pay off the debt;  you appear to be a lover of entitlements and a beneficiary of wasteful spending, otherwise how could you justify the current condition continuing; or in fact made worse by putting more in the coffers of the government to waste

          • Robb

               ROTF… use the surplus to pay off the debt? Sure, how else can debt be paid down!    BUT WE WERE THERE IN 2001… REMEMBER? It’s wasn’t the Democrats who sabotaged debt paydown. Wasn’t the battle cry then… the surplus “proved” we were overtaxed? (Let’s pretend that $5.6 trillion debt doesn’t exist)   Why should ANYONE believe the Right is being honest that next time they will pay down debt? ALL the evidence is they WANT increasing debt… as long as it serves THEIR purposes… which is as a political bludgeon to kill Democratic programs while sparing their own. They spent like drunks during the Bush Junta and only oppose deficits when that spending might be used for Democratic initiatives.   Look, I’m neither a Dem or a GOPer. I might be a flaming Progressive but I’m also a fiscal conservative who’s sick of the games on BOTH sides. But I think the evidence is clear that the GOP has gone from moderately fiscally irresponsible 30 years ago to totally fiscally irresponsible during the Bush2 years to utterly insane in the Tea party era. They are fiscal terrorists willing to blow the government up if they can’t kill popular programs that they KNOW they could never abolish if they openly ran on that platform. That’s why they’re running like rats from Paul Ryan’s budget.

          • Jeffreysc

            there you go again, transporting us all back to 10 years ago, wonderful, what was the number one song & movie, so we can relive all the great memories

          • Robb

            Yup… we must just pretend that HALF of our $14 trillion debt didn’t come from Reagan or Bush2 nor should we ever question whether their tax cuts were irresponsible. We can’t judge the whether the GOP are honest brokers in budget talks even though THEY sabotaged debt paydown in 2001. We have to pretend that the GOP has NO hidden agenda in creating massive debt these past 30 years… or if they did, they gave up on it? So even if they they throw tantrums, or act like fiscal terrorists, the GOP NOW can be trusted to do the right thing if they get everything they want?

            Why didn’t you just say so!

          • Jeffreysc

            let’s bring Reagan back and tell him he did bad by you, is that what you want; should i blame democrats for racism and slavery b/c they were all on the wrong side in the middle of the 19th century

          • http://twitter.com/domnogin domnogin

            Let’s bring back Reagan; for all of his crimes, he did imprison crooked bankers and gave amnesty to undocumented workers.  That’s the House That Reagan Built.  He also reduced nuclear weapons, though under the cover of phony SDI.

          • Robb

            Please Jeff, give it up. You can PRETEND all you want that the past is the past… and we must forgive all those irresponsible GOP tax cutters of their crimes against future taxpayers who have to pay the bill for their irresponsibility… or was it madness?

            But those of us who deal in REALITY know that the consequences of those irresponsible Reagan and Bush2 tax cuts ARE WITH US TODAY… as is the fiscal psychosis that makes the Right still think cutting taxes while in debt is a grand idea! Do you really believe you can magically wipe away about $8 TRILLION of our national debt because YOU don’t want to deal with reality? Ya, probably.

            Historians will look back at this period of US history and draw comparisons to Germany in the 30′s. It’s how those in power used the most powerful psychological techniques to convince the gullible that black is white, and wrong is right.

            Welcome to the post-factual generation of Right wingers.

             

          • Robb

            /rolling eyes/ Jeff… EVERYTHING I’ve seen you write here suggests that YOU are a free luncher. As I responded to you earlier:

            HOW, HOW, HOW can you claim that we are somehow “overtaxed” when We The People have ALREADY pissed away some $13.5 TRILLION on ourselves the past 30 years… and have REFUSED to pay for it… ?

            We are the Free Lunch generation and you just want to pass the cost of OUR irresponsibility off to future taxpayers.

            How goddamn noble.

    • Modavations

      If they were ridiculous ,why were they extended by Obama.Because he knows,raise taxes, lose more jobs.

      • http://twitter.com/domnogin domnogin

        Republicans had two million hostages in late 2010, forcing Obama to renew the 2001 Bush tax cuts another two years in exchange for one year of renewed jobless benefits.  I would have preferred that Obama pull a Keyser Soze and say no, directing the newly taxed (up from 35% to 39%) to give to their favorite tax-deductible charity “thousand points of light.”

  • Anonymous

    Everyone should listen to this program about the utterly profound level of corruption in the financial sector AND the organizations that we trust to regulate them and pursue the wrongdoers.  The story of how these interests manipulated our legislative, regulatory and legal  institutions, and now have propagandized the tea party buffoons to fight their fight and support hose who would do their bidding will have you considering your second amendment options.

     http://www.npr.org/2011/07/13/137789065/why-prosecutors-dont-go-after-wall-street

  • Gregg

    Minnisota’s Democrat Governor has caved so the Republican’s effort to right the ship will now be tested but we already know things will improve. We are seeing deficits turn into surpluses without raising taxes significantly in Ohio, New Jersey, Wisconsin (bigtime) and Indiana. Funny how these Republican governors are being vilified when all they are doing is saving their States.

    It reminds me of how Republicans forced Clinton to balance the budget. It took refusing 5 of Clinton’s budgets and closing down the government before progress was made. People seem to forget that part when they cite Clinton. They also forget revenues plummeted by over $400 billion while the tax rates were still high.

    Hang in their House Republicans!

    • Robb

      More of your empty claims Gregg or is it Ggreg? The GOP did more to PREVENT getting to a surplus than they did to create one. First they were against the Clinton fiscal bill in 93 which raised taxes and cut spending. That alone set the government on a course to a surplus… which was helped by being able to tax a booming economy and a stock market bubble. ALL the tax legislation after 93 were tax CUTS which furthered SLOWED getting to a surplus. So since you present no number or sources on GOP spending cuts we can’t really see if what they contributed to that surplus once the Clinton tax hikes were in effect, can we?

      • Gregg

        Which machine I’m on and the banned status thereof determines whether I spell my name backwards (Ggerg). But thanks for your concern Ultraxx.

        So IF (there’s your favorite word) Republicans hadn’t gained control of Congress then Clinton would still have submitted 5 budgets to a Democrat Congress that was willing to shut down government to force him to balance the dern thing?

        You’re funny dude!

        BTW the tax hikes accounted for very little of the surplus, about 1%.

        http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2008/03/tax-cuts-not-the-clinton-tax-hike-produced-the-1990s-boom

        • Robb

               STILL no hard numbers on what spending cuts the GOP allegedly imposed on Clinton? Were they big enough to offset the two tax cuts in 96 and 97?

               As for Heritage’s amusing rewrite of history, it’s very similar to those that rewrite the history of the Reagan years. As someone once said about these think tanks, no one has to do any original research since the conclusions are predetermined.

               The “study” pretends that tax policy is some all important single variable in the performance of the economy. It claims causation in getting to a surplus and ignores all those other factors that don’t help the case. It claims The Tax Relief Act of 1997 “unleashed the economy”. There’s a brief mention of, oh ya, that internet thing.

               The effect of this bill was tiny. According to http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/tax-policy/tax-analysis/Documents/ota81.pdf the 4th year of the Clinton tax hike would in 97 have been bringing in about 66 BILLION and the first year of the 97 act only cut taxes by 9.4 billion. The internet economy would have happened without the 97 bill. All the bill did was slow revenue growth. Assuming it became effective in 97, by 2000 it had cut revenues by an estimated 21 billion.

               But feel free to believe what you want. History set up quite the unintentional experiment during the Clinton/Bush years. Clinton raised taxes and the economy did fine and he got us to a surplus. Bush slashed taxes and if Heritage can claim the tiny 97 bill “unleashed the economy” then the Bush slash and burn tax cuts should have been an economy unleashed and on steroids. The GOP got EVERYTHING it wanted… a perfect test for your claims, and they sabotaged debt paydown as well. Nice touch from Bush who ran on PROTECTING the surplus and paying down debt.

               But what we see even during the “good” Bush years is close to half a trillion a year in deficit spending propping up the economy. Like with Reagan, the tax cuts produced nothing but massive deficits and more debt. But feel free to repeat your already discredited arguments about how Bush created a “revenue boom” when in constant dollars revenues were BELOW Clinton’s last year for SIX of Bush’s eight years. Others are sure to find your Orwellian rewrite of history amusing.

               If I had a choice of the Clinton approach or the Bush/GOP approach, I know what I’d choose.  

          • Gregg

            Yea, whatever. Read a book.

            You talk about evasion but quit evading, bring it forward and address the current situations in the States I cited. Republican politics in New Jersey, Indiana, Ohio and Virginia have realized great success by addressing spending and regulation without raising taxes significantly. I’ll even give Andrew Cuomo credit in New York, he didn’t raise taxes. NY is loosing Congressional seats to Texas because people are moving. Tax policy. Then look at California. It really is clear which approach is working. Obama’s is not and Keynes was a fool. BTW have you been paying attention to Canada and Germany?

          • Robb

            G wrote: “NY is loosing Congressional seats to Texas because people are moving. Tax policy.”

            Have a credible cite? Didn’t think so. GET A CLUE GREGG… there are PLENTY of other variables in life than tax levels.

      • Modavations

        JFK dropped the rate from 91 to 70%ish.Ronaldus down to 35% and we created 30 million jobs.

    • Robb

      Gregg claimed without proof: “Republicans forced Clinton to balance the budget. It took refusing 5 of Clinton’s budgets and closing down the government before progress was made.”

      We’re STILL waiting for your hard numbers. But I won’t hold my breath. It will be interesting to see if all the tax CUTS made after the 1993 tax hike were off set by your alleged cuts.  

      • Modavations

        With my own ears I heard Clinton say we predict 200-300bill.deficits as far as the eye can see.The Laissez Faire crew came in, dropped the cap gains tax from 28 to 15% and away we went.Tax cuts always produce more income then expected.

        • Robb

               M claimed, without proof of course: “With my own ears I heard Clinton say we predict 200-300bill. deficits as far as the eye can see.”      Have a cite? Of course not. The only “eyes can see” prediction I recall was for the Clinton surplus.      M also claimed: “Tax cuts always produce more income then expected.”     Talk about a weasel claim. It’s like an ad for a store and a “consumer” says “I saved more than I expected!” It’s MEANINGLESS. What’s the baseline? Does that mean tax cuts will produce more revenue than the OLD tax law?

    • Robb

      Aside from the fact that you, as usual, didn’t provide any credible sources for any of your claims, your GOP states may not be faring as well as you claim.

      I know you’ll never question any right wing source. I, on the other hand am still looking into the methodology of this study http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/06/27/255010/chart-states-cut-most-spending-jobs/ 

      But if it holds up, then your GOP slash and burn approach isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

      Of course the problem here with the states suddenly having revenue shortfalls is because the much maligned Stimulus money has run out. If I remember correctly, about 20% of it went to prop up states. 

  • Jay

    Obama says that the U.S. may default on it’s debts on August 2nd,

    yet that still has not stopped Obama from spending $9,421,000 dollars a day by dropping “kinetic” bombs on innocent Libyan civilians.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2011/06/obama-libya-war-congress-authority-war-powers.html

    • Jeffreysc

      he might as well be lighting money on fire, what a waste of resources, a bill your grandchildren will have to pay for over and over again

  • William

    Rep. Cantor is looking like RFK back in the 1960′s fighting for civil rights against the old line Democrats.

    • Scott B, Jamestown NY (WBFO)

      Except RFK wanted to help the working class and poor, not bury them under an ogliarchy and plutocracy.

      • Modavations

        Your welfare system is rascist.70% of blacks are born out of wedlock.90%ish in the ghetto.You’ve known this since the 60′s,but you decided a vote was more important.It’s a good thing you guys are atheists.Your Kharma is abysmal.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Moda,  A Christian?  With your attitude?   How are you planning to get your bloated camel through that needle eye?

  • Ed

    I am happy to pay my share of taxes and contribute to causes locally and nationally that are important to me.  Even though the extra tax on the taxable income over $250,000 may seem somewhat minor, it feels to be above and beyond the fair share I already pay.  I’ve worked hard, studied hard, had leaner times and don’t think that I owe anymore to the government.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Ed,    Try getting by on Mimimum Wage for ten years, then tell me how much it hurts $Billionaires to pay a few percent more!  Donate all your income to organizations that take care of unwanted children, the victims of Catholic priest molestation and abuse,  and those children taken from unfit parents.  If you think it’s so easy, do it yourself, and see firsthand!

    • goldie fisher

      You are not “owing “it to the “government” “” but helping fellow citizens who depend on gove’t help and giving the economy a boost.

  • Drewjkelly

    “Any tax cut when We The People are in debt is nothing but future tax increase plus interest.”I think this is as plain and undeniable a fact as in the fable when the child pointed out, “the King… (GOP)… has no clothes.”I don’t know- maybe after we have reached level of a 3rd world nation for no other reason then the Grand Old arrogant stupidity of GOP, maybe China will “forgive” us our debt.First line of this post is taken from post by Robb below-(I hope he forgives my indulgence)

    • Jeffreysc

      when your income gets cut, do you continue to spend as much; why should the government assume it will constantly spend more and more

      • Robb

        So WHO CUT THE INCOME?

        In your warped world, the GOP is free to pass as many irresponsible tax cuts as they want, even sabotage debt paydown as Bush did… and if spending isn’t cut to match, the GOP has NO responsibility in creating the problem?

        This is spoiled brat politics… that there is only one party in government that counts, and the Dems better just roll over and play dead in front of GOP demands to gut the New Deal and Great Society.

        • Jeffreysc

          it’s so important for you to lay blame, as opposed to trying to come up with the solutions; dude you belong in DC, you are part of the problem; you wanna debate tax & spending policies from 10 years ago, you’ll have to find somebody else

          • Robb

            Give us a break Jeff. YOU’RE not interested in any real solutions. You’re not proposing any compromises. EVERYTHING you write here proves you buy the GOP line even if it makes no sense.

            All you want is for the GOP to be held blameless for its fiscal irresponsibility yet for the GOP to get everything it wants in budget talks.

            Like I said earlier, you’re not just a Free Luncher complaining if we have to pay the bill for that $13.5 trillion we spend on ourselves but refused to pay for… your also in favor of spoiled brat politics where you’ll only be happy if you get everything your way. 

            Thanks for a providing an example of what’s truly wrong in Washington.

              

          • Modavations

            more name calling

          • Robb

            More evasion. But then it’s not as if M really comes here to debate.

          • Robb

            Give us a break Jeff. YOU’RE not interested in any real solutions. You’re not proposing ANY compromises. EVERYTHING you write here proves you buy the GOP line even if it makes no sense.

            All you want is for the GOP to be held blameless for its fiscal irresponsibility yet also for the GOP to get everything it wants in budget talks! My god! Aren’t we supposed to be adults? 

            Like I said earlier, you seem to be one of those Free Lunch GOPers complaining if we have to pay the bill for that $13.5 trillion we spent on ourselves but refused to pay for. Now you’re supporting “spoiled brat” politics where you’ll only be happy if you get everything your way.

            Thanks for a providing an example of what’s truly wrong in Washington.

        • Modavations

          more name calling

          • Robb

            More evasion!

  • Jay

    Even if America does default on it’s debt on August 2nd, which economists have stated could crash the value of the dollar and trigger hyper-inflation,

    don’t look for President Obama to step and appear to show some leadership,

    because on August 3rd, because President Obama will be “busy” holding an extravagant fundraising bash at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago.

    $35,800 dollars will buy you a private dinner with President Obama.

    All this one day after the U.S. goes bankrupt!

    President Obama may no longer be able to sell his failed economic policies to the American People,

    but at least President Obama can still $ell influence.
    http://www.whitehousedossier.com/2011/07/14/gops-big-debt-ceiling-card-obamas-birthday-bash/

    • Robert

      Oh yeah, Jay, no president  has ever held a fundraising dinner.  Whats  more, since when is a dinner in a ballroom a “private dinner” with the president?  Are you sure that when the DNC planned this fundraiser they knew that the Republican House would drive the country into default the day before?  If you do start writing accurately, please distinguish between default and bankrupt. 

      • Modavations

        Alll we want are cuts.Not ones that are nebulous and 10 years down the road.Check Italy.That’s a real economy and if it goes!!!!!!!!

  • Jeffreysc

    cut spending and reduce the debt

    • Scott B, Jamestown NY (WBFO)

      Yeah, spending needs to be reduced. But you can’t tell you employer (in the US’ Govt’s case that would be us, the American people ) to cut your paycheck at the same time and be able to pay your bills.  That’s what the Republicans are trying to do by hard-lining no closing of  loopholes or raising taxes on the 2% of people that can well afford to pay. It’s not as they’re being asked to pay the 90% under Eisenhower, or even under the Republican “god” Reagan (who raised taxes a few times), but 4 points to what it was under Clinton. Remember Clinton days? When the US had extra money…

      It’s amazing how the Republicans could justify upping the Defense Dept budget by BILLIONS with no new revenue, isn’t it?

    • Robb

         Back to regurgitating the same one-variable nonsense about a two variable budget problem? Of COURSE you are!   Spending cuts can ONLY get you to a balanced budget. You need a real ON-budget surplus to pay down debt. But we already know the Right will sabotage even that calling for more tax cuts as they did in 2001.
         When you FINALLY get the Right to act like honest brokers and give up their agenda to starve the beast, then we’ll talk.  

      • Modavations

        what’s the obsession with vomiting and regurgitation.Make a cogent argument and skip the name calling.Are you afraid of hearing different opinions.You remind of College Kids shouting down speakers they don’t like.

        • Robb

          You seem determined to EVADE whatever point I’m making in favor of personal remarks. I’m here debating the issue… perhaps it’s time you tried.

    • Robb

      OK Jeff… let’s see YOUR hard numbers of just how we can cut now $1.5 TRILLION to get to a surplus and then another $14.5 TRILLION to pay down debt? I won’t hold my breath.

      In the end your idea is delusional… that once spending cuts get us to a surplus, that either the Tax Cut Nuts won’t call for more tax cuts before any debt is paid down… OR how future taxpayers are going to stand paying extra taxes sufficient to pay down debt in a reasonable time AND GET NOTHING IN RETURN. After all, they’ll be paying for what WE pissed away. Tell them it was Paul Ryan’s idea.

      I suspect you’re one of those Right wingers that just can’t comprehend the difference between a billion and a trillion. Hell, all those zeroes don’t count for anything, right!
       

      • Jeffreysc

        living in the past as you do, you should know, the debt was created in a year and it won’t be ended in a year; however, we can make easy progress on the deficit by cutting spending to 08 levels; again we know how you love the past so I’ll express lower spending in that context, since numbers bigger than 4 digits appear to challenge you

        • Gregg

          Heck, let’s cut spending to 1994 levels and the good ol’ Clinton days. Robb should love it.

      • Modavations

        childish name calling

        • Robb

          I prefer Tax Cut Psychos because I believe it more accurately describes their pathology. But I toned down the rhetoric.
          Obviously there’s no pleasing some people.

        • Robb

          Now that you tried to divert attention from my answering my question, let’s try again.

          OK M, can YOU tell me your hard numbers of where we can cut spending to enough to pay down what’s now a $16 trillion debt (deficit + debt) ? And let’s not forget the debt is a moving and ever growing target. That 16 trillion is just the start.

          Oh, and I won’t hold my breath waiting for you to come up with those numbers either. Maybe you’ll try to make the debt vanish in 70 YEARS like Paul Ryan does.

          It’s telling that the GOP has become SO irrational that they reject the simple, common sense, solution that already proven it works: that’s the Clinton approach of spending cuts and a tax hike. The GOP opposed it almost to a person in 93, and they oppose it now.

          If we didn’t know they had a hidden agenda to create MORE debt as a political weapon, we’d have to believe the GOP was insane or just plain stupid.  

  • Marka

    It’s been their plan all the while to wipe out the middle class!! Period!! Wake up folks!!

    • Modavations

      How ridiculous!!!!Us Laissez Faire guys need a bouyant economy, so we can sell our goods.We want everyone to be “bucks up”.As JFK,the first of the great tax cutters(91%-61% on top.20%-14% on bottom.Cap gains 55%-42%(?) said,”A rising ocean lifts all ships.

      • A.H.

        And that ship analogy is crap. Only if you have a ship and only if you have a ship without holes. Otherwise, you drown.
        And you hope the rising ocean is not a tsunami occurring next to a poorly managed nuclear plant and coinciding with an earthquake.
        Analogies provide zero economic proof.

  • revjeff

    I got these numbers from a website called CNC. I cannot vaouch for the accuracy of these numbers. Query: Are the members of the legislative branch willing to forgo salaries and benefits and personal offices if the government cannot send out Social Secuity and Veterans Benefits and health care checks? Are they willing to reduce their incomes to help reduce the deficite?

    - Senators and representatives’ salaries and benefits: $126 million, up 23.5 percent.
    - Expense allowances for Senate leaders: $180,000, up 99 percent since 2000.
    - Senate officers: $178.98 million, up 99 percent.
    - House leadership offices: $25.88 million, up 82 percent.
    - Other House officers: $198.30 million, up 120 percent.
    - Senators’ personal offices: $422 million, up 75 percent.
    - House members’ personal offices: $660 million, up 62 percent.

    • Jeffe68

      Do pigs fly?

  • Jeffe68

    Seems as if the republican party is starting to implode on the debt ceiling issue. McConnellis trying to blame Obama for everything including the nick he got shaving this morning. The GOP is pathetic and their insistence on using this as a means to bring down Obama is good sign of that.
    They should all take off those flag lapel buttons and replace them with Alfred E Newman buttons.

  • Dee

    Another nauseating week with the extortionists in the Republican Party
    and to hear David Leonhardt pin the blame mainly on middle America instead of corporate America was even more disturbing…

    This does a great disservice to those in Middle America who have seen their salaries and buying power decline over the last decade substant-
    ally.  We all know minimum wage earners had to endure even greater
    hardships by working themselves to the bone (with two or three jobs)
    just to get by. While the fat cats on Wall St. Big OIL , Big PHRAM, Big Agra and Defense contrators watched their wallets swell.

    Indeed, if anything I feel middle America has essentially been picking
    up the tab for their “free lunch” and now the GOP want them to pay
    more and for a misled war into Iraq and the expansion of that into Af-
    ghanistan and Libya which contributed nothing to their prosperity or
    liberty for that matter.( as a matter of fact -that liberty shrunk too)

    Too bad David Leonhardt has missed this injustice and I fee if there
    isn’t some measure of accountability many of us will be in the streets
    like the greeks. Dee

  • Modavations

    Hold the line troops.This is the 75th time the ceiling will be raised.As the junkies say,please,o please,o please, just one more fix.I’ll Jones on Monday.Gold just crossed 1600.00.When it hits $2000.00 they start burning Watts!!!!!Do as they’ve done all over Europe cut 25% over the next 5 years.It’s going to take 30 years.I hope you know that Clinton balanced the budget and paid down 400billish(4 year span).The debt was still 5trillionish.

  • Modavations

    I was unaware that families making $250,000.00 are millionaires and billionaires.If you raise the rate on the rich, back up ,you produce 70billion a year.If you raise the taxes on everyone,the middle class fanily will pay an average of $3000.00 more per annum

    • Robb

      The use of “averages” is often to deceive. When Bush passed his tax cuts the “average” cut was in the thousands. It made the poor look like they’ve hit the jackpot, and the rich not making out like bandits.

    • Robb

      M wrote: “I was unaware that families making $250,000.00 are millionaires…”

      Millionaire refers to net worth, not income. Someone making $250K is well on their way to becoming a millionaire in a few years.

      And your objection to a higher 4% tax on income above $250k is absurd. So for SIMPLICITY sake let’s assume someone earns $275k, there are NO deductions, and this earner falls into the current high bracket of 35%. Their current tax would be $96,250. Ouch. But remember in the real world there’d be tons of deductions.

      If this same person made $275k under the proposed law their tax would be $97,250… $1,000 more for our math challenged friends. 

      YES this tax DOES go after the rich. But then Bush KNEW that when we’re in debt, ALL tax cuts are “funded” by borrowing. It’s nothing but theft from future tax payers. He did it anyway. He not only sabotaged debt paydown, Bush went OUT OF HIS WAY TO CREATE DEBT… and we hear not a peep of outrage about this from the Right. In their minds, deficits and debt caused by tax cuts just don’t count. And apparently neither does spending for what the GOP wants.

      The ONLY time they rear their hypocritical heads and screamed bloody murder when they saw deficits because of DEMOCRATIC initiatives. They hoped high debt would force Democratic presidents to act like Republicans… or at least clean up their mess. Clearly there are no true fiscal conservatives left in the GOP… only a deranged “starve the beast” mob. 

      It’s time to RECOUP those revenue that NEVER should have been lost. Hell, I think the top tax rate should go back up to at least ERTA rates for 10-15 years until the debt is paid down.

  • Modavations

    Mr Geitner said we were all gonna die on July 8th.The boy who cried wolf…………

  • Rick

    As a high income earner, the thought I would create jobs with my tax cut is laughable. In the past five years, I’ve personally been investing solely in overseas stocks, with an Asian concentration. If you give my business a tax cut, I will most likely expand my factory also located overseas. I would like to thank the ignorance of our politicans that believe “trickle down” economics works in this “world” economy. It’s 2011 folks, not 1971.

    Rick in Miami

    • ThinkAboutIt

      I’m not sure if you really are a high income earner or just playing one on TV, but you’ve captured the spirit of one perfectly.  Anyone who buys into the trickle down scam is not paying attention to what’s going on around them.  You’re the first person I’ve heard (besides me) point out that the trickle down crowd is perpetuating economic policies and theories that are at least 30 years old and haven’t adapted or adjusted to the results of their economic cannibalism and the “global economy.”  High income earners and businesses may use their tax cuts to create jobs, but the jobs are in China, Mexico, and Viet Nam, not here. 

    • Gary

      No doubt you’ll volunteer to pay more taxes, if you choose to do, without requiring others to do so.  

  • Mickeycoburn

    It’s frightening to me — the talk about cutting Medicare and/or Social Security.  I’m 72 years old; I had my first job in my teens.  I’ve paid social security taxes with every job; when Medicare began, I began to pay into Medicare.  I pay taxes on my social security income (?).  I have a part-time job because I couldn’t make it on my social security check.  And a big chunk of that not-so-big check is deducted for my health insurance.  I imagine that the Republican legislators don’t need to care about this; they earn well; they’re pensioned too well; and they have the best health insurance in the country.  

  • Kopnitsk

    The world has according to an NPR program on housing $70 trillion in savings probably most of it held by USA citizens.   An other source Political Affairs says that %40 of this savings is not collecting interest.   I’m sure that it is the top %10 of the population that holds this savings.   To be useful money must circulate. 
    Taxing the money away from those who have it is one way to circulate the money.  Those who have the money are waiting for those who do not have money to get money to make investments.   Those who do not have money are waiting for those who have money to make investments so they can find a job.   The economy will have to get worse to break this log jamb.

  • Greg Jundanian

    What I just don’t get is why the discussion is about taxes at all. It’s nothing but a red herring and the public continues to take the bait. Revenues are low because tax collections are low because there are no jobs. Balancing the budget is important, but it is nothing more than a dose of reality from a macro point of view as we all adjust our expectations due to diminished wealth due to diminished overall employment. Employment is low because we as a country have allowed much of our production to go overseas. In essence we have taken our most important asset, our most important costumer, our consumer, and given it away for absolutely nothing to the competition…China, Brazil, Mexico…just so we as consumers could have cheaper goods…for awhile anyways. Ask yourself this question. If you had a great relationship with a client, but you know that a competitor could do the job cheaper, would you tell your client to go across the street (to China) and get the job done for less? Of course not. That is what we did. We ignored our own welfare so that companies could increase their profit margins, and as a result totally gutted our economy. The sound you hear across America and across Europe is the painful and giant, albeit slow, transfer of wealth to the third world….and absolutely no amount of jiggering either with the budget or taxes is going to reverse this. Why isn’t this being as ardently discussed as everything else? Why? 

    • Robb

      GJ wrote: “Revenues are low because tax collections are low because there are no jobs.”

      In part. But because of Bush slashed tax rates, even if the economy was doing well, there would not be the needed revenue… especially if we wanted to pay down debt.

      In constant dollars, Bush only exceeded Clinton’s last year in two of eight years. That is simply scandalous.

  • Mark S.

    If, after paying into Social Security and Medicare for 40 years, two programs that had nothing to do with the deficits, and I find myself in a position in which I cannot subsist in a dignified, decent manner, I fully intend to self-terminate.  I already own the means and will not hesitate to use it.  I would, in all seriousness, prefer the relaxing of assisted suicide laws or even the provision by the federal government or other entities of humane ways to self-terminate, but given no other alternative I will do whatever I plan to do.  Yes, I have some resources, but in the Teabag America that is coming into being, all it will take to wipe out a lifetime of savings would be one or two hospitalizations.

    I mean this in all seriousness.  I see no point in struggling in later years if, after spending a good portion of one’s resources in the past caring for ailing parents and now paying my son’s college loans, one of the legs of retirement security into which I have paid is pulled out from under me.  I would rather leave this trainwreck of a country on my own terms and timing than waste away thanks to Baggers and Ayn Randians.

    Oh, and to all you religionists and mystics who would rail at me about the wrongness of the choice to which your Bagger cohorts may drive me, if I told you what you could do with your theology and wackadoodle beliefs I would not only see this post deleted but would be banned from this site in perpetuity.

    • Zing

      Please try not to hurt anyone else, and please hurry with your plan; many with more useful purpose need your resources and space.  Good bye. 

    • http://twitter.com/Q_Jordon Quintin Jordon

      The irony of the Tea Baggers being philosophically linked to Ayn Rand could eventually be the albatross that is needed by the left to help their case.

      The hypocrisy of those that supposedly follow Jesus, who preached helping fellow men/women and those less fortunate, adopting Ayn Rand’s philosophy, who wrote of the individual and greed, is not lost among many of us.

      It is one of many ways to redirect this debate toward Tea Baggers and their actual beliefs. I say put them on the defensive.

  • RMGuy

    I am sick almost to death of hearing about how Social Security was always intended to be a supplemental pittance paid to those who manage to outlive the then-current life expectancy; at the time, that was 2 or 3 years.  Those who invoke that notion invariably neglect to mention that Social Security as original conceived involved a 1% withholding on the first $3000 of earnings, with a similar match from the employer.

    Now, the 1.55% withholding applies to all earnings, and the 7.something % is withheld on the first 109,000 of annual earnings; that’s also matched by the employer.

    This is only the Social Security claim on earnings, but it amounts to around 17% of wages.  Is there any rational reason that people who ought to know better keep insistinging it’s only a supplement and not a pension?  Especially since what formerly were pensions are now extorted investments in Wall St. scams, specifically designed to dupe the working public out of their forced contributions?

    Nutjob Ryan and Batsh!t Bachmann want to deconstruct Medicare and Social Security and pretty much destroy the meager safety net that our niggardly DC politicians have managed to miss from leaking out of their swag bags for Wall St.

    Have we really come to this?  When thinking, educated people are routinely shouted down by a mob of know-nothing, religious backwater lunatics?  It sure looks that way today.

    • Mark S.

      I agree with every word.  As to the know-nothing, religious, backwater lunatics (cue the banjos), at some point those of us who have had enough of their crap may just have to decide that it’s time to take it to the streets, and I mean with guts and iron.  Athens, not Madison.  I mean it.

      • Mark S.

        I pray for a Second American Revolution to take down the neo-fascist, right-wing, corporate feudal lords and their useful idiots among the know-nothing, bango-playin’, cousin marryin’, intellectual Luddites in the Teatard Party.  It will come once they back enough formerly Middle Class Americans into corners crashing their jobs, foreclosing their homes, negating their healthcare and generally wrecking their lives.  BRING … IT … ON!!

        • Zing

          I love all the keyboard kommandos on this  comment board.  First of all none of them would ever pick up a gun other than to take his/her own life.  And like all liberals, they want someone else to do the hard work at the grassroots level, which is why the Tea Party is kicking their queefing butts all over the ideological and political landscape.

      • consered american

        Completely agree, I am a young person but I can see the difference in the quality of life of the bottom 90% of Americans that has taken place over the last quarter century. It is almost frightening to think of a future where costs of every item I buy at a store continues to increase while my paycheck stays relatively the same. I have said it and will keep saying it, unless something in the way our democratic government and capitalist society changes drastically the majority of America will become increasingly angry about the way our lives are controlled by large corporations that now make higher profits than ever before. I have heard from people across the age gap including senior citizens say that a major change needs to happen and will happen eventually. It will either happen through major political and corporate reconstruction and a decrease in the deficit between the working man and the CEO of the company he works for or the American people will fix the problems out of desperation and a longing for a fairer democracy by force possibly. I do hope that never comes but you can only ship so many peoples jobs overseas before people start to take action to remedy the situation. I wold appreciate any replies that I get whether positive or negative this is my first post on this website.

  • http://twitter.com/domnogin domnogin

    The national debt ceiling crisis is a symptom of two others.  Replace the Citizens United decision with public money that gives $1/voter/election/candidate; this may take a national referendum but is cheaper than our $2B elections.  Also, fulfill Howard Dean’s 2004 threat to break up media conglomerates and not just Fox & NBC; this means repealing the Telecommunications Act of 1996 or using the Sherman Anti-Trust Act like the AT&T breakup.  Maybe then another Air America Radio network will rise up and thrive, or at least  enough independent radio stations will syndicate Bill Press or Stephanie Miller or Thom Hartmann or Randi Rhodes.  The population could support two liberal networks; Sirius/XM barely has one!  Sorry, NPR; the news is cancelled.

  • Actlocally1

    CONCEPT FOR ANOTHER SHOW:
    I heard a comment by Tom on today’s show in response to a guest’s comment.  Tom’s reply went something like, “people (America’s middle class) don’t feel richer.”  I think Tom is right that people feel this way but a future show could be dedicated to putting this “feeling” in perspective.  Compare the average home square footage per person occupied today vs. 1950 vs. 1900, same for cars owned per person or miles driven per year, number of TV’s per household, etc.  When you consider how large our houses have gotten that require conditioning year round, how many cars we have and how far they get driven, how many things we fill our houses with, how many media devices and services we maintain, how much more health care we demand…we may feel like we have less money.  And that is probably because we are spending more in every category now than at any previous time in human history to raise our standard of living exponentially by the decade.  We keep moving the line between basic needs and wants much further into the wants column.  We are stacking a house of cards. 

    • nj

      The reason most middle-class people feel like they have less money is because they have less money. Wages compared to living costs have remained essentially flat or have fallen over the last 40 years.

  • Robb

    What’s a killer idea for a product or service worth in an impoverished 3ed or 4th world nation without the infrastructure to exploit it?

    Probably nothing.

    The Right fails, or pretends not to, understand that good ideas, free choice, and markets alone do NOT make people wealthy.

    In reality for an inventor to exploit an idea requires the infrastructure built up by previous generations. It requires a stable currency, a legal infrastructure of contract and patent law, a functional court system to enforce those laws. It requires an educational infrastructure that can produce an educated workforce with the skills needed in the inventor’s area. To exploit an idea there has to be a public health infrastructure for clean water, air, a vaccinated public to prevent pandemics. It requires a scientific and technological base of research that can be built upon. Often someone gets rich for only providing one last piece in a puzzle worked on by others for years. It requires a nation secure behind its defense infrastructure, and domestic tranquility provided by law enforcement infrastructure. It requires physical investments be safe behind a fire fighting infrastructure. It requires an infrastructure of highways, sea ports, and airports for transportation of raw goods and parts to a factory and to bring finished goods to market.

    A good idea in an impoverished 3ed world nation won’t make someone rich, but it will here in the US because previous generations have paid taxes and built up this nation’s infrastructure. Yet Libertarians and the far Right seem to believe no one should feel there is much of a debt to society for that opportunity even if it’s the rich who arguably most exploit those public resources.

    If there is a moral basis for progressive taxation it’s the above. That’s one reason I’ve long believed the income tax should be renamed the Opportunity Tax.

  • Eric Penman

    This is the end
    Beautiful friend
    This is the end
    My only friend, the end
    Lost in a Roman…wilderness of pain
    And all the children are insane
    All the children are insane
    Waiting for the summer rain,

    sometimes people get bored of slowly falling into the abyss
    and leap into it instead.

  • Robb

    BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT IS INSIDIOUS TRAP!

    After 30 years of Starve The Beast, the GOP is going in for the kill. With the cowardly Dems still refusing to expose the Right’s plans to sabotage revenues to weaken or abolish Democratic priorities, the Right’s frame that “it’s all a spending problem” may take hold and their proposed balanced budget amendment might gain traction.

    But what’s in it for them? They won’t be able to spend like drunks as they did during the Bush years. But if all that spending served no other purpose than to create more debt… again to starve the beast? Once they have a balanced budget amendment, they won’t care. They will have the Democrats right where they want them… in an eternal straight jacket while free to shower tax cuts on the rich and corporations.

    Such an amendment is an insidious trap. When in power the Right can pass any irresponsible tax cuts as Bush2 did and create massive deficits that can then only be fixed with spending cuts… of course to Democratic programs. It’s a power the GOP doesn’t now have. Like with the Debt Limit talks, the GOP will use ANY leverage it has to sabotage programs they don’t have the votes to kill in Congress.

    The other half of the trap is if the Dems are in power and ever try to remedy the fiscal situation by repealing those irresponsible GOP tax cuts. Such actions will be dubbed a “tax increase” and Dems would need a 2/3 vote in both houses to reverse these tax cuts. This is highly unlikely to ever happen and the GOP knows it.

    The Right’s proposed balanced budget amendment is an insidious trap and Dems better be out there with a strategy to oppose it ASAP.

    • Robb

      Does anyone think the GOP would desire such and amendment if it also contained a provision that NO tax cuts were permissible if We The People were in debt?

  • goldie

    Shrinking govt means putting people out of work ie middle class. means less income taxes, SS & medicare  collected,  less buying adds up to slower or no recovery.  Business isn’t hiring,they can buy equipment in the long run costing less, and do without employees or keep low wage no benefit employees. 

  • Jay

    look at our economy?! its goin to shit and what obama doin for it? nothing, he can do anything, cuz this shit goes down deeep into the background of the american history! we cant change it, all we can do is watch our economy fall to ruins. 

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