90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Fiscal Cliff

Four more years.  Obama-Biden and a divided Congress.  We’ll look at challenge number one – the fiscal cliff, and what it will say about the road ahead.

A statue of former Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin outside the Treasury Building in Washington. (AP)

A statue of former Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin outside the Treasury Building in Washington. (AP)

Big as it was, the election was only about five minutes behind us when the first agenda item of the new day popped up hard.  The “fiscal cliff”.  It sounds scary and, when you look, it is.  January 1st.  Real tax hikes and blind, broad axe spending cuts all over, unless something is done.

A cliff so steep it could bring back hard recession.  So steep the ratings agencies are already warning again about America’s credit rating.  The thing is, we’ve just put all the players who built the cliff back in power.  Now what?

This hour, On Point:  confronting the fiscal cliff.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Naftali Bendavid, congressional reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

Noam Scheiber, senior editor at The New Republic

Donald Marron, director of the Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute.

From Tom’s Reading List

Los Angeles Times “At the top of the agenda is the “fiscal cliff,” the automatic spending cuts and tax hikes looming at year’s end. If Obama cannot successfully resolve the crisis with a House still controlled by Republicans, economists have warned that the “cliff” could slow growth and push the U.S. back into recession.”

New York TimesPresident Obama tried to reach out to the Republican leaders in Congress by phone after his post-midnight victory speech on Wednesday, an aide said, but they were asleep. More failures to communicate likely lie ahead as the parties now turn to seeking a budget deal that would keep the nation from hurtling over a so-called fiscal cliff at year’s end.”

Video

Check out these videos explaining the fiscal cliff.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://www.facebook.com/luke.held.9 Luke Held

    this
    “fiscal cliff”, it was a per-negotiated compromise that neither side
    was “happy” about, right? If we reach it, why is it a cliff? Am I just
    missing something or is this our media attempting to over dramatize
    something?

    • StilllHere

      Yes, over dramatize, we’ll survive.

    • Don_B1

      The Tea/Republicans wanted big cuts in domestic spending, including basic research like for health research, science research and, mostly, the social contract (Pell grants, etc.) and the safety net (Medicare and Medicaid as well as Social Security, effectively stealing F.I.C.A. funds for tax cuts for the wealthy) i n order to agree to raise the debt ceiling.

      They look at the current deficits as permanent feature of Obama’s polices, which they are NOT. One third of the current deficits (now under $1 trillion, being steadily reduced from the $1.4 trillion left to Obama by the Bush administration in 2009) will go away just by getting back to full employment. Another quarter will be erased by not extending the Bush tax cuts on those earning over $250,000.

      The rest needs negotiations on reductions of health care costs for all and also reasonable cuts in defense spending.

      Passing a “millionaires and up tax increase” would not hurt either.

  • http://www.facebook.com/luke.held.9 Luke Held

     Um… great video?  Doesn’t
    mention oil subsidies, and has an obviously liberal market slant to it.  We pay the lowest tax rates in DECADES, what’s
    the problem with them increasing?  It
    would mean that business’s need to adjust wages to a level where their EMPLOYEES can
    ACTUALLY buy things, which is what should have been happening for the last 30
    years while our economy has grown, but wages have dropped.  This video claims that the rich paid more in taxes, which is an absolute deception. Tax rates have fallen 10% a decade
    for the last 50 years!!!  Not to mention
    capital gains taxes, which have fallen significantly (from 40% in 1978 to 15%!!!
    Now). 

     

    Grover Norquist!  There
    is a great “expert” on wealth redistribution (upwards), I mean on tax reform.  they also bring in a voice of the right, Kevin Hassett to define what the left needs to do!?  The
    balancing opinion to these “right” opinions is to “Kick the can down the road”!?  This video is not a good definition of what
    the “cliff” actually is.  They don’t
    describe at all what the “cuts” will be.You can tell from the production value that this is propaganda for the free market agenda (aka stick it to the middle class and poor).

    • Don_B1

      Absolutely right!

      Sure the top 1% of the income receivers pay a lot of the income taxes (but not of the taxes for Social Security F.I.C.A. taxes and Medicare taxes) because they RECEIVE a lot of the income!

      As just an example, of the growth in profit from the recovery from the 2007-2009 Great Recession, the top 1% took 93% of that profit growth (2010-2011). There was basically no sharing of the growth in productivity that drove that growth in profits.

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    Number one : Quit calling Social Security and Medicare “ Entitlements”. Too many on the right have hijacked a perfectly legitimate word and turned it in to something evil. WE PAY FOR THESE BENEFITS ! True, they are entitlements in the sense that beneficiaries are entitled to the proceeds but SO WHAT ! The American people have determined that they want, need, and use these benefit for their economic well being. I would like to remind “you people“, that is, “you” politicians, that you are elected to represent the will of the American people, not YOUR own private ego-centric views. My goodness, these politicians act as if it is somehow wrong to care for the elderly or the sick ! By what magic would a completely privatized, individually funded system provide equivalent and necessary benefits ? The answer is NONE ! And even if such a plan could be developed, the wealthy would never allow it, as it would empower all classes of people, and dilute their ability to corrupt the very essence of the major theme of all true religions world wide, which is,
    “The Golden Rule” !

    • Steve__T

       Here Here!!! I am with you 100%

  • Yar

    The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is complicit in false tax projections.  They ignore yearly fixes to current tax law and make long term projections as if those annual manipulations won’t happen each and every year.  Instead of using historical data (temporary tax cuts and spending increases, which in reality are permanent) when making projections, they instead use current tax law, which gets overridden by congress each year.  In simple terms the CBO knows their deficit and spending projections are false.
    We should require the CBO to make real predictions in the future, based on past behavior of congress.  

    On the other side of the prediction model is inflation, inflation is a tax and most of our debt gets written off through inflation.  
    We see silly predictions like 100 percent of GDP will go to pay interest on our debt in the near future. Or social programs will exceed our GDP.  None of this can really happen, just as statements like “It took the United States government over 200 years to accumulate its first trillion dollars of debt. It took only 286 days to accumulate the most recent trillion dollars of debt. 200 years vs. 286 days.”
    This is false accounting, we trade work over time and use money as a marker. The statement above says 200 years of GDP is the same as 286 days GDP today.  In other words money is a false horizon.  The question we should ask, how long did it take to earn a loaf of bread today, and is that longer than four years ago. 

    Congress and the President should work together and connect wages to a real index of inflation. I would like to see wages linked to energy and food.  It would put a floor under the fiscal cliff and prevent our nation from civil unrest. 

    http://www.palzoo.net/videos/id_4422/title_butch-cassidy-and-the-sundance-kid-cliff-jump/

    • Gregg Smith

      Thank you Yar. The CBO is not good at projections but its not their fault. They calculate what they are given by politicians. If the numbers work with 5% GDP growth then that’s what is given to the CBO and they get the answer they want. That is how Obamacare’s price has tripled since the preliminary assessment before the vote. Then to was too late. 

      • Yar

        Greg,I am saying it is the CBO’s fault.  When they sign off on a prediction knowing the data doesn’t represent reality then they are at fault. 

        • Gregg Smith

          But they don’t supply the data. 

          • Yar

            Is the goal plausible deniability?  They have more than just last years data, don’t they?  If congress changes the law with a fix year after year, then why isn’t that projected in the long term budget predictions? The other issue that should be looked at is the non-tax redistribution of wealth.  Healthcare (19% of GDP) is a prime example; it is a regressive form of taxation, and not based on income.  Just because it is not called a tax doesn’t mean it isn’t a tax.

          • Gregg Smith

            True but they don’t have any idea of future GDP, natural disasters, bursting bubbles or terrorist attacks so they have to use what is given.

            BTW, Justice John Roberts ruled Obamacare is a tax. So I agree we should call it one. No one does.

        • Don_B1

          Yar, the CBO uses the numbers given by law and agreement to be “neutral” between the parties, but after presenting the numbers it calculates, it gives a list of things that will change that prediction and the direction of those changes.

          An example occurred when Rep. Paul Ryan, chair of the Finance Committee, submitted his “Plan for America” which stated his cuts to spending and cuts in taxes and used his provided “GDP growth rates.” But right up front, the CBO stated that its report was not a prediction of what would occur because they could see NO ECONOMIC BASIS for the growth rates they were given.

          Note that until it was widely ridiculed, Ryan’s “Plan” predicted/required an unemployment rate of 2.8% by 2020 or so. Then the Heritage Foundation, which had designed the Plan for Ryan, simply “erased” the unemployment number without changing anything else.

          • Gregg Smith

            We finally agree Don_B1. 

      • nj_v2

        “They calculate what they are given by politicians.”

        Many of Greggg’s posts are the equivalents of butt dials.

        “CBO draws on information from a wide variety of sources. A great deal of crucial information comes from the data collected and reported by the government’s statistical agencies. Such data include the national income and product accounts, surveys of labor market conditions and prices, the Statistics of Income database, the Current Population Survey, the Survey of Income and Program Participation, data on National Health Expenditures, and various health care surveys. CBO also uses data and other information from its analysts’ myriad contacts at federal agencies, state and local governments, and industry groups.

        In addition, CBO seeks input from outside experts, including professors, analysts at think tanks, private-sector experts, and employees at various government agencies. Some of those consultations occur during regular meetings with the agency’s Panel of Economic Advisersand Panel of Health Advisers; many more consultations occur on an informal, ongoing basis. Those consultations with outside experts complement the knowledge and insights of the talented analysts on the agency’s staff.”

        (http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-processes)

        • Gregg Smith

          It went right over your head. 

  • hoselayer

    Can someone correct me if i am wrong but the cliff is when our income can not meet or debt there for we are are essentialy starting to pay our debt with debt. I am just a wee lil fireman from CA but i really am seeking further knowledge in this area. It seems to me that this can be a make or break time for our economy and i dont want to be misinformed.

    • JGC

      Take a look above at the description Tom Ashbrook provided from the L.A. Times: the fiscal cliff is the automatic spending cuts made in equal proportion to social programs and to the military, along with automatic tax hikes (also known as the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, which sickofthechit reminded us were always temporary tax cuts; we would just be reverting to the taxation formulas of the Clinton years.)  People are worried about the impact of the automatic spending cuts, because they are across the board with no precision or thought as to their appropriateness.  The immediate and full imposition of the tax hikes could be a problem in the fragile economy of the U.S.  So while the U.S. needs deficit reduction, the abruptness of the fiscal cliff worries many economists (and others) that it could drop us back into recession.  

      Did I get that right, without too much political shading?

      • Mike_Card

        The 12 members of congress refused to reach a deal a year ago last summer.  As a show of steadfast intent to us poor, dumbfounded voters, the committee created the illusion of a doomsday solution.  It was spun to the media as an awful, do-anything-to-avoid the resultant hellfire outcome.

        It was always a sham to avoid doing anything like raising taxes or reducing outlays for programs that put money into the hands of constituents–including defense contractors, social welfare programs, etc.–and imperiling the members’ seats.

        If the media were honest, they would begin writing stories about how–now that people are safely re-elected–the members will simply legislate to further extend the status quo, then smile for the cameras, slap backs all around, and congratulate one another for saving the country.

        A true Rose Ann Rosannadanna solution:  “Oh.  Never mind.”

        • Gregg Smith

          Exactly.

    • Gregg Smith

      The fiscal cliff is a result of negotiations from the last time the debt ceiling was raised. As now, they could not reach deal. The resolution was to assign a committee to solve the problem and if they could not solve it then automatic tax hikes and defense cuts would occur on Jan. 1.

  • sickofthechit

    “UNCERTAIN TAX CODE” ???

    Here, Let me give you some certainty.
    If you are rich, your taxes are going to be going up in the near future and for a very, very, very, very long time until we recover all the excess deductions and special loopholes you, your money and your influence have wrongly wrung out of the rest of us through your and your lobbyists efforts for lo’ these may years.

    How else do you explain that in the last 30 years Wealth Distribution has gone from 20% owning 75% of everything to now those same 20% own 88% of everything.  What is the use in having so much?

    Ever wonder why there are so many small groups of llamas around on different farms?  They certainly don’t number enough to support a farming operation.  The llamas are not their as profit making enterprises in the normal sense of the words, they are there because they turn the farm into a huge tax credit write-off  that then gives the land-owner the ability to deduct and offset their own lifestyle and purchase of land as “business expenses/losses”.

    charles a. bowsher

  • sickofthechit

    THE BUSH TAX CUTS WERE TEMPORARY!

    Why must we continue to be haunted by them as we are haunted by the debt he ran up? 
    They should be allowed to expire and any further tax cuts should only
    apply to income of less than $100,000 year.   The “Class Genocide” that has destroyed our middle-class has got to stop now. charles

    • Gregg Smith

      Aside from Fareed Zarkaria, who advocates letting all the cuts expire putting 6 million of the poorest back onto the rolls and raising taxes more on the bottom bracket than the top? That’s what would happen. That’s what will happen on Jan.1.

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    Congress will no doubt kick the can down the road in one form or another.  The Republicans cut taxes for the rich and overspend on defense.  The Democrats push social programs through (Medicare, Obamacare, Medicaid, Disability) by grossly underestimating the cost/waste/fraud/abuse and end up committing ordinary citizens to costs that are wildly beyond our ability to bear.  $16 Trillion federal debt and counting.  And that doesn’t count the unfunded liabilities in the way of government pensions/benefits that would triple that number or more if the government had to utilize accounting reporting principles that corporations are supposed to.  There is no solution.  One of these days, the whole system will simply collapse.

    • Gregg Smith

      I agree, there is no will to solve problems just to delay them so they get bigger. And keep in mind Republicans AND Democrats under Bush cut taxes for everyone, not just the rich.

  • Gregg Smith

    All of this could have been avoided with a little leadership. Time to kick the can… yet again.

    • sickofthechit

       Is that a post of yours from 2001?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Since when is leading those GOP WATBs isn’t Obama’s problem?

      Maybe since Boehner and McConnell showed how much they suck at their jobs.

  • Ed75

    We voted for the culture of death instead of the culture of life. We can’t expect good things to follow. The immediate one is gridlock in the Congress.

    • Yar

      Yes, our people would rather spend 250,000 dollars to save one child in a neonatal unit than use that same amount of resource to prevent low birth-weight babies through good prenatal care.  Our medical system is based on a culture of death.  We won’t address obesity, drug addiction, environmental degradation, or the fact that our economy is based on unsustainable growth.  Ed, we have cancer, and it is the thought that a blastocyst is more important than our children’s future.

    • J__o__h__n

      We voted against the culture of men who want to impose their religious beliefs on rape victim’s right to have an abortion. 

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Haven’t you done enough feces-flinging in this forum to get into (your idea of) Heaven yet?

      This hour is about the fiscal cliff. Say something about it, for god’s sake.

      Or just go to someplace that’s all about religion if you’re so fking interested in making every single goddammed thing about abortion every single goddamn day.

  • Markus6

    As with most soak the rich arguments, they sound good, but rarely are they more than just a cute slogan. I suspect there aren’t enough “rich” to make a difference, though like everyone here I’m for increasing taxes on anyone making more than me.

    So, how about some math this time?

    How much do you have to take away from people at various income levels to make a dent in our deficit. Inotherwords, if you raise fed taxes by, say, 20% on those making more than 250K per year, how much is that? My guess is that relative to our debt, it’s chump change. 

    To make it a real scenario, make some assumptions about spending (defense, medicare, SS, etc), the projected increase of the debt, etc. and tell us with numbers, realistically, how far down in income and at what increase, is necessary to impact the 16 T debt over some reasonable amount of time.

    My guess is that you’ll need a significant federal tax increase on just about all income levels. Philosophically, I think all workers should pay something in federal income taxes (including some of the 47% who don’t). It’s a little like wars without a draft, there’s no skin in the game. 

  • jimino

    The utter intellectual dishonesty of so-called conservatives is well illustrated by comparing their constant demand to cut government spending to their reaction to the impending possibility that it might actually happen.

    They really have no principles when it comes economic matters.

  • Gregg Smith

    Two great quotes from Mark Stein:

    “The takers out number the makers”.

    “We are redistributing wealth from the future to the present”.

    • OnPointComments

      “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”
      ― Alexis de Tocqueville

      • jimino

        So you think those legions of lobbyists in DC are calling upon Congress to enrich welfare mothers?  You are correct about voting largesse for some.    You are woefully incorrect about who is getting the money.

        • OnPointComments

          Entitlement spending, excluding Social Security and Medicare, was over a trillion dollars last year.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Contextfree much?

            Please continue pulling stuff out your hinders in the belief that idiots besides you will think that Social Security is “goingbankrupt!!!111i1one!!”.

          • anamaria23

            Does that not invite the question of how this happened.
              There is more to it than the simplistic notion that we have become a breed of lazy  slackers who enjoy living off the government.
            I have interacted with thousands of people in my work in human services.
            I met not one who  wanted to be poor which one must be to receive
            assistance. 
            The world is in transition.  In that process, too many are coming up short often through no fault of their own. 
            Health care, education and return to a living wage will ease the way out.

    • Yar

      I get so sick of this, the makers make their take from the takers.  Those low wage jobs you curse for not paying income tax are the very labor on which your wealth was made.  Quit cursing the slaves.  You just don’t want to pay a living wage or provide healthcare for your servants.

      • Gregg Smith

        Whoa there, I have never cursed those who don’t pay taxes. People can choose where they work.

        • Yar

          No, they can’t chose where they work, they have to take what is available.  If you have resources, yes you can choose.  Remember, the tribes of Israel sold themselves into slavery in Egypt.  Do you think a starving people have choice?  Don’t make it sound like a free market decision.  Life or death is not free market choice. 

          • Gregg Smith

            Now you want to go back centuries? People can choose what skills they nurture. They can choose where to live. They can choose how hard to study. They can choose how ethical to be. If not them, who makes these choices?

            Your question is a red herring. Americans are fat as hell. If any one is starving there is help and compassion everywhere. But yes, bad choices can make one hungry.

      • anamaria23

        Yes.   The most ignoble may be the Walton family with a combined worth of 80 billion dollars garnered from the great “unwashed” lining up at their cash registers. And their employees, many eligible for Medicaid and food stamps, who enable this accumulation of vast wealth.

        • Yar

          And their customers who receive SNAP.

        • Gregg Smith

          Why don’t you want the poor to be able to take advantage of Walmart’s buying power? Who is forcing them to save money at Walmart?

          • jimino

            Walmart’s success is based upon their ability to manufacture at the cheapest labor costs, at the expense of US workers, and having the government provide adequate benefits for their US workforce.  They are the masters of socializing the costs of doing business and privatizing all the gain generated therefrom.  And that is precisely what 21st century capitalism has become.

          • Gregg Smith

            And the result helps the poor. It is what it is.

          • jimino

            Yes!  At the expense of unpaid-for-by-taxes public benefits and the destruction of the US workforce. How large and close together do the dots need to be for you to be able to connect them?

          • Gregg Smith

            A lot closer than that.

          • jimino

            The question was mainly rhetorical.  Your inability to do so is evidenced daily on this site.

      • jimino

         
        Gregg isn’t wealthy.  I doubt he pays net federal income taxes himself, or if so, has just recently.

        • Gregg Smith

          I am wealthy but I don’t have a lot of money. I have enough for anything I need but I don’t need much. I’ve paid taxes since 1987. That is when I became politically curious. 

    • Michiganjf

      Yeah, that’s why the wealth gap is bigger than it’s ever been in history… because the “makers” aren’t taking from everyone else.

      Get a clue!

    • DrewInGeorgia

      We’re ALL takers Gregg, it has always been and still remains The American Way. I don’t understand why this ‘Takers’ garbage is continually tossed up. If the wealthy were Givers, which implies that the poor are takers, the Tax discussion that has kept the true Takers frothing at the mouth the past two years would have never been up for discussion.

      • Gregg Smith

        Food stamp usage has gone up 65.2% in the last 4 years. Disability enrollment has gone up 17.6% in the same time. The work requirement has been stripped from welfare.

        • DrewInGeorgia

          And more and more of the U.S. is becoming a ‘Right to Work’ environment. More and more families cannot afford to even rent, much less own, something resembling housing. More and more families struggle to put bread on the table. It must be because they are Gaming The System right? Surely it couldn’t be a result of wage and benefit practices by employers could it? Practices and policies that have been strangling a Living Wage for the past thirty-five years bare greater responsibility than any parasitic behavior by the poor ever could.

        • sickofthechit

           Gregggg, The Work Requirement has not been removed, quit swallowing and passing on lies.  President Barack Obama had requests from several states Governors asking for flexibility in the definition of “Work” so that training which would lead to a job would satisfy the Work Requirement.  That is not a removal. You really need to find a place that yields actual information instead of Repugnican Talking Points.
          charles a. bowsher

    • jimino

      So in your world is someone like our newly elected
      Republican Senator from Nebraska, Deb Fischer, who gets $100,000 is federal grazing rights for free every year, a maker or taker? 

      • Gregg Smith

        Taker would be my guess but I am not familiar. Does she get a check?

    • StilllHere

      The takers won’t get it.

      • Gregg Smith

        Clearly.

  • Gregg Smith

    During a debate President Obama said sequestration “Will not happen”. 

    The next day he told The Des Moines Register, “”So when you combine the Bush tax cuts expiring, the sequester in place, the commitment of both myself and my opponent — at least Governor Romney claims that he wants to reduce the deficit — but we’re going to be in a position where I believe in the first six months we are going to solve that big piece of business.”

    What is his position?

    • Gregg Smith

      Seriously, someone take a stab at this. It’s important we know what the President has in mind.

      • sickofthechit

         Reread it Greggg, it’s all there.

        • Gregg Smith

          Yea it’s all there, opposition and support. That’s my point. 

  • Michiganjf

    Boehner says he and Republicans are willing to work with Dems and the President… of course, these are the same House Republicans who thwarted Boehner’s attempts at compromise again and again since he took the speakership.

    … I haven’t heard these Republicans disavow Grover Norquist yet, and indeed, they’re insisting on NO TAX INCREASE for the wealthiest americans (small “a”)…

    … SO WHERE EXACTLY DO THESE REPUBLICANS INTEND TO COMPROMISE ON THEIR SIDE?

    They DON”T intend to compromise at all, YET AGAIN, it seems!

    • TomK_in_Boston

      He is going to propose same old same old, call it compromise, and hope the media report it as compromise. A nice, simple lie. Then he can claim he offered something, so why can’t he get medicare voucherized? They never stop.

      Maybe we can get them out of the house in 2 years if they keep up this c**p. The voters seemed to see through the voodoo smoke tuesday.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    We have to go over the “cliff”. The right can still block necessary tax increases. NPR outrageously said this morning that Boehner has offered a compromise on revenues, when all he offered was the voodoo revenues that are alleged to come with tax cuts, plus the usual unspecified loophole closings! The 999,999,99th repetition of the same voodoo econ script is not compromise! What is wrong with the righty media, calling this compromise?

    They can block anything, but that won’t help with the expiration of the tax cuts. Going over the cliff is the only way to get a tax increase. I’d let them expire, and then propose tax cuts at the low end, and everyone would be happy to vote for them. I’d also propose tax hikes at the top above the clinton rates, restore the estate tax, and tax divs and cap gains as ordinary income. I don’t expect the latter, unfortunately.

    • Michiganjf

      Amen!

    • sickofthechit

       I second that Amen! and would like everyone in the world to know that I

      “WILL WORK FOR CARRIED INTEREST”

      Any takers?

  • StilllHere

    The cliff seems to be the only way we can bring any sanity at all to spending.  I’d prefer a scalpel, but Congress and the president can’t bring themselves to do what needs to be done.  America voted for a divided government and this is what it agreed to, so let it come.

    A recession would probably not last very long and will force more people to recognize reality.  Many have seen this coming and have already prepared.  Those who have not should cut your spending, focus on saving and allocate that savings to physical gold. Small business owners should carry as little inventory as possible and postpone hiring plans indefinitely.

  • Yar

    We can let the conservatives throw us over the cliff one by one or we can all jump together.  I posted a clip from 
    Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid Cliff Jump in my comments below. It seems fitting.
    “No, we will Jump”

  • Joseph_Wisconsin

    Even with the decisive results from Tuesday the Republicans in Congress are still talking as though they have a mandate from the American people to prevent any income tax increases on anyone and to avoid any cuts in military spending. I hope that before we reach the fiscal cliff that will change and Republicans will be willing to compromise.

    On the other hand, if the Republicans remain unwilling to compromise, I am not sure that “going over the fiscal cliff” would be an entirely bad idea. It would result in two very positive outcomes immediately. All the GW Bush tax cuts would expire and real cuts in our bloated military budget would be made. The cuts in other government spending would impose great hardship, increase unemployment, and probably send the economy back into recession. However, I feel that once the American public felt the impact of that they would demand that those cuts be reversed. 

    • http://profiles.google.com/jmorrisson Jane Morrisson

      I am a lower-middle class wage earner, and I support letting ALL the Bush tax cuts expire rather than make a deal that is bad for the country.

      • Joseph_Wisconsin

         I’m at the upper end of “middle class” and I would be happy to see the tax cuts I saw from GW Bush’s tax cuts go away.  I will still be doing alright, and if it means that the deficit is brought down a little, the poor are not thrown under the bus, and spending on important things like education, R&D, infrastructure repair, etc. are increased and not cut I and the country will benefit. 

  • J__o__h__n

    Obama needs to learn how to negotiate.  He can’t include Republican ideas in his initial offer.  He needs to have a 100% Democratic plan and then offer concessions as he moves to the middle to make a deal.  Including what he thinks the Republicans would want got him nowhere in the past.  They think it is arrogant to tell them what they want and might have a point.  If he starts in the middle he has nowhere to move.  The Republican idea of compromise is to wait until the Democrats include some of their ideas in the bill and then say lets just pass the areas with both agree on.

    • Gregg Smith

      For the legislative process to work things need to come to a vote. Harry Reid won’t allow that if he believe House passed bills will pass the Senate. 

      The Senate has not passed a budget in 4 years but the House has passed one every year. Why not put it to a vote. If it goes down in flames then it’s done, move on. Or pass their own bill and reconcile it with the House aided by leadership from Obama. We’ve never gotten that far.

      • jefe68

         That’s kind of funny. The house passed a budget.
        The majority of the people who voted do not want what the extremist in the GOP are serving up as a budget. This is going to change in the next decade as the Latinos and other ethnic minorities grow as a voting block. The GOP are toast and so are their draconian inane budgets.

        The Republican idea of negotiating is to say no.
        That’s really wonderful. If Romney had won the election the GOP would be saying he had a mandate. It’s all about them, and the rest of the nation can go to hell is how I see the current croup of regressive Republicans.

      • StilllHere

        Excellent questions.  No answers forthcoming.

      • J__o__h__n

        Budget bills must originate in the House.  Not bringing bills up for a vote is a response to the House sending bills that they expect the Senate will not pass as they are extreme. 

        • StilllHere

          Take a vote and see where people stand, America is watching.

        • Gregg Smith

          But why not vote? If it goes down then the House MUST compromise. The truth is many would have passed.

  • JGC

    I think the Mayan Apocalypse is truly nigh and not because of the fiscal cliff itself;  more because everyone here seems to be in agreement for the first time!

  • StilllHere

    America voted for a divided government:  Democrat Executive, Republican House, and a filibustered Senate.  I think they don’t want Congress and the president to do anything.

    • sickofthechit

       The Senate isn’t actually “filibustered”.  None of them have big enough cajones to stand up and actually Filibuster so they have a “scoundrels agreement” to not actually ever make the other party stand up and shame themselves with their drivel.  I long to see a days long or weeks long actual Filibuster by my home Senator McConnell.  Might actually result in a recall election that would do some good….

      • StilllHere

        Good luck with that.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      Most obstructionist Congress ever. Anonymous holds out the wazoo. So many mainstream judicial appointments held, leading to a backlog in the courts.

      Little GOP tantrums guaranteed every time President Obama said the magic words “A Republican idea from 19xx is good policy, let’s sit down and talk.”

      Record number of filibusters, even for the most ordinary things that nobody ever stopped before.

      Yep. People voted for that. That’s why the GOP took over the Senate this week.

      Oh, wait…

      • StilllHere

        Are you just talking about the Senate’s unwillingness to vote on anything?  Amen.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          An anonymous hold has been placed on you dribble, and until 2/3 approval there will be no vote on it.

    • jimino

      Americans overwhelmingly think taxes should be raised on upper income earners and the wealthy.  Why do you think Republicans continue to defy the desire of the American People and think their constituents are so wrong?

  • sickofthechit

    Off the subject, but can everyone please pass along the idea that those who are made homeless by Hurricane Sandy could be temporarily put up in foreclosed properties.  Time for the banks to do something for the country if you ask me. charles

  • Coastghost

    Geithner’s on his way out, no? prior to the election, he wasn’t speaking as if he planned to stay on through the conclusion of negotiations. And his replacement will be whom? Panetta has warned of effects on defense, but is Panetta staying on through 2013, or for how long (i.e., who will represent Pentagon interests during negotiations)? Bernanke himself may stay on through 2013 but probably won’t stick around through the end of 2014. The “stability” in the lineup of the Administration’s negotiators is perhaps not as firm as you suggest in your set-up.

  • Kathy

    Honestly going over that fiscal cliff is long term the best thing that could happen, just not now in the middle of a recession. We can’t just balance the budget on the 250k+ super wealthy, we need to include middle class people in the 50-250 range as well so we can keep providing services to that same middle class. We also need to cut the military, though not 9%, but more like 50%.

  • Vanessa Deniston

    Anyone have a choppy connection streaming online? It’s never happened before… weird.

  • 1Brett1

    Wow, 71 comments, and Gregg has 24 of them! [So far] Just thought I’d point that out.

    • JGC

      An engaged citizen.

    • Gregg Smith

      A man’s gotta make a buck, I get paid by the word.

      Try to get me out of your head.

  • Scott B

    The credit reporting companies, Wall St, and Main St all say the same thing: Pick a plan.   They don’t seem to care which plan, just a plan so businesses can adjust and make their plans. 

    But  the Republicans translate that as the plan has to be there way  with trillions in cuts in spending, no increased revenue, even though every poll going shows that the vast majority of people think the wealthy should pay a a few points more.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

       True. What Wall Street and businesses want is stability and a ‘known’ future. One can’t plan without those.

      • sickofthechit

         Part of being in business is risk, risk from all directions, some is predictable, some is not.  Risk can lead to rewards, it can lead to losses or failure.  If you want certainty, then commit to allowing the Temporary Bush Tax Cuts to expire and the the estate, carried interest, interest and dividends to return to Clinton levels as well.

        • Scott B

           The Republicans evade the fact that the estate tax only applies to those that inherit $10M or more, which isn’t going to be anyone in the 99% with any great regularity. 
            If it were me making the point why the estate tax needs to exist, I’d be on TV and ask how many people would be more than happy to pay the taxes if they won a million dollars in a lottery?  Ask them if they couldn’t manage to live pretty well on the $600K if the tax rate was 40%, since they’d now be in the 2%.  Ask them if they’d turn it down because they thought the taxes were just too much?
            Then I’d show them how much revenue is raised through those taxes and how few people that it effects every year. (14,000+)
            Then point out that hitting the blood line lottery isn’t any different, although with an actual lottery they had to spend money.
           Some would say that that money was already taxed, but I’d have them dig around in their pockets and pull out a greenback l and ask them how many times they think that bill has been taxed?  Ask them if they can go to Walmart and tell them that they can’t be charged tax because that bill’s already been taxed when someone else had it, and see how far they get with the cashier.

      • Scott B

         Report after report, study after study all say they just want to know what to plan for and little beyond that. Yes, they probably want more of this or less of that, but when it comes down to brass tacks they just want to know what they plan for. THEN maybe they’ll get off that +$2Trillion pile of cash they’re sitting on and start investing in the economy and investing in people

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    We’re facing a stupid plan that will work?  Well, from the perspective of government, only the latter part is a problem.

  • ttajtt

    print more money.   tax i mean fee on the prices…   S&H, human handle, like on bills or pills…. on line, just makes it easier. we’ll just need to $ee it done. utopia-ed   

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Print more money?  Then the value of the money will drop.  You’ve heard of inflation, no?

      • ttajtt

        something something, give take, trade, nothing for free. gold gold i’m richtard and your not.

  • Scott B

    The Republicans should take a look at John Trumbull’s famous painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and Howard Chandler Christy’s Signing of the US Constitution, and notice that nowhere is Grover Norquist to be found.  Nor is his signature on either document, and that the Constitution empowers Congress to raise taxes.  So how he hell do the Republicans justify a pledge to Norquist as taking precedence over the documents of our founding fathers?

    • sickofthechit

      A couple of months ago  Stephen Colbert had a great rendition of one of those pieces of work where he shows an expanded canvas of the rest of the room not seen in the original.  Surrounding all the familiar subjects are the Lobbyists of the day holding out piles of cash ready to hand to their heroes.  It was a great segment.

      • Scott B

         That was a great bit!

        Personally I think that anytime someone in Congress has to listen to a lobbyist they have to have a lobbyist from the opposing side right next to them and given equal time to make their point.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Maybe I missed it, but isn’t it a one-party band that’s holding up compromise, to wit, Grover Norquist?  What becomes of all those pledges for no new taxes, given that the definition seems to include closing loopholes and continuing the Bush tax cuts?  

        And what about all those 2010 Tea Party Republicans who sat down and told the media that they did NOT care about being re-elected; they just wanted to break the budget, or fix it, however you define that.  It sounds like Boehner thinks that group has been defanged, and will no longer brook no compromise.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Many of the 60% of polled people who said they thought the rich should pay higher taxes are represented in the House by people (that they returned to office) who refuse to do so.

    Gridlock continues, even when it is on an issue that the majority of voters agree on.

    • sickofthechit

       Studies show that those same Americans don’t see their own Rep as the problem, they like their guy.  “We have met the enemy and they is us!”  POGO

      • BHA_in_Vermont

         Correct. However, it would be nice if those elected to represent the masses would do what the masses that elected them want done.

        And if they don’t want to, and they have good, factual, financially viable reasons NOT to do as the electorate wants, they need to sell us with the FACTS. And no, Romney’s bu11sh1t “Job creators” argument is neither factual nor financially defend-able.

  • Annie Tye

    Hi, I have a question for the panel.  If I understand correctly, there are several examples of American corporations (GE, for example) paying nothing by way of taxes.  Is this true, and if so, why aren’t we looking to them as a source of increased revenue?  Great show, thanks!

  • dt03044

    The question of whether Congressional leaders can reach a deal to avoid the cliff depends largely on Boehner’s ability to control members in the House.  I think he would like to solve this, and wanted to last year.  But the tea-party types bound his hands last time.  I hope he’ll be able to lead the way to a solution.

    • sickofthechit

       How is it that he can’t get 25 or so fellow Repugs to go along and all the Democrats?  Doesn’t he just need a simple majority?

      “Draw lines in the sand” is the most useless, meaningless phrase ever uttered. I am sick of hearing it.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QMDZ3LH5U2B4GAT7J2HS4TCP6E Jim

    I think it is time for the stubborn republican house to COMPROMISE. as stated by these narrow minded individual, no less funded by rich corporations, it is a bad word. but if they read and appreciate the history of the HOUSE, it is ALL about compromise to achieve success.

    They should be proud to live in this great nation. they should feel privilege to be elected. Now, it is time to restore dignity to this great nation.

  • sickofthechit

    I hope this guy is right when he says Obama has all the leverage.  I just wish Obama would quit flashing his hole cards before negotiations even begin!

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      I don’t think Obama has much, if any, leverage. The House holds the end of the noose and can continue to stonewall anything the President supports, as they have for the last 4 years.

      The only way things will improve is if everyone elected to the House or Senate drops their ideologies, tosses Norquist into the Potomac and start thinking about how this ship can be turned around. All we’ve seen for 4 years is a ship tied firmly to the dock with all engines running.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    I doubt that the compromising tone coming out of Boehner’s mouth will shift to “no way, no how” within a week.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The problem is that raising taxes and raising spending are easy.  We do those all the time.  What’s to guarantee that this time, we’ll cut something?

    • Mike_Card

      Representatives and Senators don’t get re-elected to cut spending, regardless of all the teeth-gnashing and hand-wringing:  they get re-elected for bringing federal money from DC to their constituencies.  As a result, we end up with a bunch of lawmakers who only know how to spend.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    So the argument from the wealthy is that an effective increase in their tax rates will cause them to not want to make money anymore. They’ll take their ill-gotten gains and move far away leaving the ignorant masses to starve themselves to death. Stupidity. Mendacity. Ignorance. Were will you go Daddy WarBucks? The rest of the Planet appears to find itself in the same boat.

    I say call their bluff. People that pay an effective overall tax rate of less than fifteen percent are constantly b!tching about how unfairly they are taxed. Try 70% across the board Mr. Scrooge, if you want something to b!tch about we should be obliged to give it to you.

    And how about some legislation hitting any who offshore profits and investments to avoid tax liability with HEAVY penalties? Trillions of dollars out there floating around in limbo, who is it helping?

  • StilllHere

    There is no need to compromise.  Compromise is what got us here.  Just let it happen.  It was an ok deal then and it’s ok now.

    • jimino

      Hey, we agree on something!  The ridiculously-termed “fiscal cliff” is EXACTLY what the teabaggers have been demanding: Cutting federal spending and reducing the deficit.  So let’s let it occur and make absolutely sure that faction of our political spectrum take full blame for what happens.

      We are long past due for making these fools actually live by the concepts they so foolishly push as a solution to our problems.  It appears that is the only way to finally put a stake through their political heart.

      • Mike_Card

        Agree.  If I hear that, “Govt is just like a family budget and we need to sit down at the kitchen table and snip up the credit cards” idiocy one more time, a radio will die!

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          You guys need to defend your “debt doesn’t matter” positions. You need to address the math problems that Tax the Rich vs. our actual Outlays present.

          You guys are all emotion and self-righteousness but don’t make any dents in the hard-nosed reality of our fiscal world.

          We are not going to wake up and abolish money and all hold hands and live like a giant commune. Human nature is not capable of that.

          Money, value, work, trading goods/money and protection of personal property is the best way of managing our huge numbers and huge diversity of people.

          Given that, we have to work within bounds of money/value/debt, ie live within means.

          Do you really think it doesn’t matter that our debt is growing at rates that very soon will make it mathematically impossible to repay and default inevitable?  Do you want default and the chaos and power maneuvering that will fill that chaotic void?

          Money and Economics, when organic are there to reflect and manage Scarcity. What you guys want is to pretend there is no such thing as scarcity.

          • J__o__h__n

            “You guys are all emotion and self-righteousness but don’t make any dents in the hard-nosed reality of our fiscal world.”
            – Is this going to be your new tiresome theme about how everyone who disagrees with you is incapable of thought? 

        • StilllHere

          Yeah, government can transfer their credit card balances to their grandkids.

      • StilllHere

        Perhaps, but in two years most will have forgotten about it.  We’ll be into a new season of Dancing with the Stars and the Jersey Shore reunion.  No one will care that Obama, Democrats and Republicans all voted for this compromise.  Dems will say the spending cuts caused the recession, Republicans will say the tax increases on the middle class did.  It’s a no winner.

  • Jasoturner

    The republican (as distinct from “conservative”) ideology of no tax increases, ever, for any income level is more akin to a theology – received wisdom from the high priest Grover.  However, the historical record demonstrates clearly that the American economy has been healthy, and even thrived, when rates were significantly higher than today.

    With that in mind, I am willing to accept cuts in the Federal budget, but I refuse to buy into the notion that taxes cannot be raised, or that reducing taxes will help this economy.

    Thus, if the republicans play that card, which they appear to be threatening to do, I hope that Obama shows some backbone and lets things go sideways.  I think this will terrorize middle class Americans, and it will deal a lethal blow to the republican party, which will be forced to rebuild based on principles leading to results rather than magical thinking about tax cuts paying for themselves.

    From the Atlantic:
    http://tinyurl.com/8q5lsxd

    • Gregg Smith

      Well, thanks for saying “no tax increases” instead of “tax cuts”. No one seems to make that distinction. My dispute is with the word “ever”. This economy cannot survive a massive tax increase. It was okay when Clinton did it.

      • Jasoturner

        I find this too broad and exaggerated.  First, no one has yet proposed a “massive” tax increase.  There is almost certainly a tolerable level of increase that would be possible to bear.  Second, there are people who have done quite well financially over the past several years who could readily absorb a moderate increase in their tax burden.  This is different – and more specific and envisionable – then to claim that “the economy” cannot survive a tax increase.  Shall we also claim that Americans cannot tolerate the teaching of physics?  Because only a small minority of our citizens study and understand it?  No, physics is there for those who have the capability of learning it.  Not a great analogy, but you get the idea.

        • Gregg Smith

          If a deal is not reached, all of the Bush tax cuts will expire. That means 6 million back on the rolls and a hike for every single rate,  a cap gains increase, the death tax and the end of the EIC expansion. That’s a massive tax increase. It was proposed by the committee (both sides) and supported by Obama.

          If there wasn’t enough Democrat support to  raise the top rate when Obama held majorities, why would there be now when the economy is virtually the same?

          There are those who could indeed absorb an increase but it cannot possibly even begin to solve the problem. It cannot possibly help create jobs but it can prevent the creation of jobs. 

          Part of the problem is the language. Warren Buffet made a suggestion to raise taxes on those making over $400 million. Alright. But then Obama used that to say  Republicans oppose a hike on “millionaires and billionaires” when in fact he was advocating a hike for those earning over 250K. That’s not honest.

          • Jasoturner

            Regarding P1, there are an infinite number of alternatives to Bush tax cut rollback.  This is one option, not the ONLY option.  But only if the sides can negotiate in good faith.

            Regarding P2, recall the filibuster.

            Regarding P3, this country has urgent security, infrastructure and public assistance services such as FEMA that require funding.  It is not just about jobs.

            Regarding P4, I would need to see context.  But plenty with a net worth of $1,000,000+ probably make not much more than $250K a year.

  • Scott B

    Several Republican leaders  have been all over the media espousing how Romney’s defeat signals a need to return to the principles of Reagan. But in all too typical Republican form they deliberately “deny fact, history, and experience” (as David Ornstein of the conservative American Enterprise Institute says, “science” getting a break in this case) that Reagan realized trickle-down economics didn’t work, raised taxes four times, and said that a bus driver paying more percentage in taxes than a Wall St big-shot was “crazy”. Even Bush I called it “voodoo economics”.

    Yet Republicans want to further entrench themselves with no tax raises on the wealthiest 2%, calling them “job creators”, and doubling down on trickle-down economics that was proven a failure 30 years ago when David Stockman said it wasn’t working, and which he still says so to this day.

    “Don’t tell me that it’s raining when you’re pissing down my back” – Skid Row, “Riot Act”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Sad – they laid out the hard work needed to start moving our fiscal house in order. Both sides agreed, a true bipartisan effort.  And now they are running away from it as quickly as possible – but not without playing a game of chicken with the other side first.

    The really sad thing is that this exercise shows we went over the cliff a long time ago – both sides are agreeing that they can’t make the changes necessary to fix things. They can only delay the inevitable.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Craig says we should work together, but not compromise our ideologies.  In other words, huh?

  • Coastghost

    True or False: the US (Federal) government could nationalize the entire US economy and still not have the funds available to pay its grotesque and odious debt. Sixty percent of Americans plainly can be fools: any vote to increase revenues WITHOUT CUTTING FEDERAL SPENDING DRASTICALLY is a vote to increase Federal spending even further. Sheer lunacy, if this is the case. And I’ve not heard one Democrat from Sub-Messiah Obama on down to say plainly that recent and current rates of Federal spending CANNOT be sustained.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      No one has said that having the rich pay a couple of more percentage points will fix everything.

      Now, how about you tell us which federal spending you would hack out if you were President? And get ready for the flood of “but that would adversely affect ……”. The Fed isn’t spending money just to spend money.

      • Steve__T

         Dept. of Homeland Security, Military, War on Drugs, those just for a start.

        • Mike_Card

          But, but, but…that would destroy jobs in Congressional districts!  ;-)

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    There is ZERO change if Boehner’s position is “new revenue means money from growth”.

    I agree with cleaning up the tax regs, they are a mess of special interest “gimmees”. But you KNOW that if they strip it down to “make money, pay tax” it will soon be saddled with thousands of “special interest” deductions.

    And the AMT? How does Romney pay 13.5% when middle income people get hit with AMT and pay a higher rate?

  • ttajtt

    do voting people; need more voting power say in vote say of the house bills passing. chain of command like.

  • Potter

    Why should the  center or the center left compromise with the far right? 

  • Ellen Dibble

    The caller who says this doesn’t mean we have to compromise our values — I’ve been thinking Rove et al may have led us down a slippery slope in polling us all a couple decades ago to find out what issues we were not willing to compromise on, mostly religious issues that one can be absolute about in one’s own life, but our nation is built on NOT be absolute about imposing those types of values on others.  But people are used to being herded into blocs according to ideology, as if that were the essence of politics.  Really, so if you have say 30 percent of the electorate voting on the Pro Life/Pro Choice issue, do we really know what those people want in terms of how our national resources (financial and otherwise) are tended to and deployed?  Not so much, I think.  Our leaders are left having to guess.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001188674917 Mark Troia

    During a time of war the Bush tax cuts should expire for the top %. As far as the ratings agencies go, they’re a sham. Up to the day that the banks failed they were giving those banks triple A ratings. And when they were called before Congress about that, they said “they were just offering an opinion, and not actually experts”.

    The spending arguement is a fasle one, The deficit is the result of the failed supply side economic policies, its a revenue crisis not a spending crisis.

    The same transfer of wealth from a broad based middle class to a narrow population of unregulated investors continues with the same tired pro trickle down economics rhetoric.

  • skeptic150

    A sad reality is many Republicans are influenced by the Norquist pledge. As such I don’t believe they can really negotiate or compromise in good faith.Why not get rid of deductions and loopholes including the mortgage deduction and implement a flat tax between 17 and 20 percent on people above the poverty line. If Americans as a whole expect certain benefits they have to face the reality that it costs money, and everyone should contribute more than we currently contribute to provide universal healthcare and other social programs that European countries, for example, have. To pay off the debt and provide American’s the level of living that they are used to or desire will require more from every taxpayer in this country. The problem is the Republicans don’t want to raise taxes and the Democrats only want to do it on those making more than 250,000 a year. There is no compromise on the horizon with respect to these issues.

  • J O

    Just my opinion – and probably an oversimplification – but isn’t part of the problem us, i.e. the US voting public? For several years anyone who votes to raise taxes or anyone who tries to do something resembling entitlement reform gets voted out of office. Isn’t part of the problem that we just need to accept that both these things are going to have to happen to get our fiscal house in order? This seems to be what every deficit reduction commission like Bowles-Simpson says. I can’t necessarily blame politicians for pandering when that’s what their constituents are responding to.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

       Then they should be “pandering” to the 60% who say the rich can kick in a little more. :)

      • J O

        I think that most people would agree that a progressive tax code makes sense. Even if we fix the revenue side we’re going to have to make adjustments on the expenditure side too because without making adjustments to those entitlement programs would require tax increases of a level and scope that I don’t think anyone wants, though I could be wrong on this point and I think people should be allowed that option if they choose it.

        This means that the big three entitlement programs (Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security) are going to have to be on the table – which will require a lot of political courage. Think of all the “Mediscare” that went on during the campaign, where both sides accused the other of “gutting” Medicare. The campaigns do it because it works.Look, I’m a liberal (a former Vermonter in fact), I voted for Obama, and I was really annoyed with the Democratic attacks on the Ryan plan. I don’t necessarily agree with all its specifics, i.e. I don’t think that it did enough to ensure that some seniors wouldn’t be stuck with really high out of pocket costs, but I don’t completely rule out the possibility of doing some sort of conversion to a premium support program – it could make a real difference on rising health care prices. I try to keep my mind open on it. Similarly, I hope that conservatives will also keep their mind open to the idea that there are necessarily going to be some people who draw on the system more than Fixing Medicare is a complicated thing and I wish that people would be understanding of that fact. Whatever solution we come up with is going to entail something that could be easily spun into an attack ad. I guess I’m hoping that people either won’t make those ads, or that the public will be thoughtful enough to not respond to them.

  • suequeue

    Nomenclature alert!

    1. This is NOT really a fiscal “cliff”–it’s a fiscal slope, and going over it will not instantly result in calamity as the “cliff” metaphor suggests. There is time to come to a deal after the beginning of the year without a large impact on the economy.

    2. PLEASE stop calling this “raising” taxes! It is RESTORING taxes to what they were under Clinton. As some have noted below, the Bush tax CUTS were always planned to be temporary. Do not start thinking of these historically low tax rates as the “new normal”, or we will never get our budget back on a reasonable fiscal footing.

    • StilllHere

      3. DON’T call it spending cuts, call it LIVING WITHIN OUR MEANS.  It’s only rational.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        eyes bigger than stomach, and too many people with no clue about reality of where anything really comes from, and thinking the “government” is a bottomless well that is there to just provide everything we want. Communism via ignorance.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    “money from growth” thing is not going to happen – we’ve had the tax cuts and huge infusions of money from debt since the crash and the growth is not happening. Stifling spending is not to create growth – it will do just the opposite.

     

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    To me it is disturbing that the guests consistently support the notion that the “fiscal cliff” is a disaster to be feared and avoided at all costs, and instead believe we can/must find “smarter” ways forward.

    The demands of the fiscal cliff are a drop in the bucket against our debt/deficit reality.

    The reality of human nature demands that we cut off the rot, and not think we can bit by bit manage the gangrene.

    Take the cliff, Pass a Middle class tax cut, and then keep shrinking our demands of Government until they are in line with our fiscal reality.

    This is just classic resistance of the pro-debt classes and both parties who are protectors of the Money as Debt nonsense that we are drowning in.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5352106773770802849#

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    The biggest “lie” here is that you can cut spending and grow – we can do both, but we’re never going to make both happen at the same time. 

    • Coastghost

      Nor can the state continuously (over)extend its profligate or incontinent spending habits while failing simultaneously to bring in enough revenue to pay for all the spending. Damn the overweening state, frankly.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

        We need to shrink – and in an infinite growth system it’s a really bad thing. We basically need to impose deflation to get smaller, but no one is willing to go there.

  • David Simon

    Here’s the solution: Republicans will not vote for tax increases given their commitment to Grover Norquist’s pledge and fear of facing a primary challenge from the right. Once all rates rise on January 1, Obama will not have to negotiate for any tax increases because they will already be in effect. Then he can turn the discussion towards reducing rates back for the middle class while leaving higher rates in effect for those earning over $250,000 a year. Republicans will only have to vote for lowering rates, not raising them.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

       Ah, then they have a dilemma. If they let the tax cuts expire it would increase the tax rates. That is the equivalent of voting to raise taxes. I guess they can claim that because they sat on their hands, there was no vote so they didn’t VOTE to raise taxes.

      But I agree. It might be the only way to put the top tier rates back where they were when Reagan left office.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001188674917 Mark Troia

    i agree, and how does new revenue for unregulated, un-taxed corporations and investors transllate into funding our countries legitimate social programs? Trickle down is a sham and needs to go the way of the dinosaurs.

  • StilllHere

    A recession will help clear our minds and reset our priorities.  Consumers need to pay down their debt and learn to live with less.  Businesses need to get leaner and meaner here and shift their emphasis to less-debt encumbered societies.  The Government needs to shrink.  Only a recession can force this, otherwise we just continue to live in this artificial reality where we’re spending our grandchildren’s future. 

    • DrewInGeorgia

      “A recession will help clear our minds and reset our priorities.”

      Short-term memory deficiency? Guess the past seven years were just a figment of my imagination.

      • StilllHere

        It didn’t last long enough to have a profound enough impact.  The government was too quick to create artificial stimulus and we’ve been living in an illusion ever since.

        • BHA_in_Vermont

           I’m sure the millions who lost their jobs and homes when the economy collapsed on the backs of banks and sub prime mortgages would agree with you.

          • StilllHere

            The next collapse will be even bigger if we don’t deal with these issues now.  Moreover, we risk the long-term future competitiveness of our country and the prospect of seriously poorer quality of lives for Americans.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      So in a bizarro universe (where Romney won) you’d still dream of a recession?

      Or just declare that everything’s better already?

    • Mike_Card

      The government needs to shrink because…our roads and bridges and schools are too good?  Our borders are too secure?  Our air and water are too clean?  Our population continues to shrink?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Some folks just can’t read cornerstones.

        All those public goods with brass or granite markers reading “193x” “194x” “195x” and “196x” won’t last forever.

        Meanwhile there are plenty of “foreclosurevilles”, out in the middle of nowhere, housing developments build 80 miles from nowhere in much of the southwest and south, which are falling apart without ever having the mortgage paid off once, or even occupied.

      • StilllHere

        Because we can do all that with less, just a matter of realigning priorities.  Cut Medicare/Medicare reimbursement to hospitals and doctors to pay for road and bridge improvements.  Cut active military salaries and pensions to pay for school improvments.  Close all international military bases and shift those resources to our border. 

        • Mike_Card

          Adopt the post-medical practice retirement option of Ron Paul, now that he’s got his cushy federal plan?  To borrow a comment, That’s sick.

    • galdove

      So like the president says you agree with “We all are in this together” in order to get out of this mess, since you believe a good recession will clear our minds. Well I disagree. Why do the greedy and the manipulators  always have to mess up my very content artificial reality? Seems to me that people are much happier and certainly less combative in that setting. Now were stuck trying to get become ‘real’ again? I see blame and mixed solutions that causes nothing but disorder.  A recession only causes problems and we never seem to learn from them.  Lets just hope they don’t get worse. I don’t need it.

  • Scott B

     One reporter on a NPR show said that many big business and Wall St guys would be willing to have a higher personal income tax rate if taxes on businesses was dropped.  It was  also stated they don’t want to go on record because they don’t want to become vilified by their peers the way Warren Buffet & Bill Gates Sr & Jr have been.  This sounds reasonable. It makes US business more attractive, and we don’t lose revenue, and actually increase it. 

     

    • BHA_in_Vermont

       I doubt that the likes of the execs at the Fortune 500 companies want to trade higher personal income tax for lower (or was that zero?) business tax. They would take a hit.

      • Scott B

         According to the author, many would. If their business is doing better because of lower corporate taxes they’re doing better, and many realize that as millionaires and billionaires that they can well afford  to go back to the rates that existed under Clinton or Reagan. 

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Let’s take these next 4 years and educate ourselves about just what “Sound Money” means. Why our founders wanted it, why the International Central Banking class did not, and how we have been taken hostage by the banking class via the inflation and debt that we invited by giving it up.

  • Davesix6

    As a somewhat progressive Republican, along the lines of Teddy Roosevelt, I am in favor of the wealthiest paying more in taxes.
     
    However I’m wondering if there will be “sweetheart deals” for some as there have been in the past.

    When the millionaire CEO tax was passed taxing income over $1 Million, weren’t show biz people (Hollywood) and professional sports athletes exempted?

    • StilllHere

      Yes. My understanding is that the movie industry types have had an out in the tax code for some time.

      • Ray in VT

        Are you suggesting that the “movie industry types” receive some sort of special treatment that is different from other wealthy people?  If so, then do you have some sort of source for that?  The tax code is certainly highly exploitable, so there may be things in there that allow actors or producers to move things around in a meaningful way, but the same is true for other wealthy people.  Pro athletes can pay no income taxes.  I know this because a friend of mine did taxes for some of them.

        • StilllHere

          It was mentioned to me this morning as a special carve-out for Hollywood.  I’ll try to find a source.

          • Ray in VT

            The code is so extremely complex and has so many caveats for this and that that there is bound to be just about anything in there.  I found David Kay Johnston’s book Free Lunch to be a very interesting look at how the code has been riddled with all sorts of things.  There is certainly a very good argument for simplification, at least until people hear that stuff that benefits them is on the chopping block.  My former tax guy friend has some good anecdotes, like the guy who donated the development rights to a piece of undevelopable swamp for a $40,000 write off.  It’s really just amazing.  He said that he could hide or write off just about anything that wasn’t W-2 income.

          • Thinkin5

             Just ask Mitt. I’ll bet he knows exactly how to avoid paying any taxes. Legally too!

          • Gregg Smith

            I’m working on a soundtrack for a short film as we speak. I could use a loophole.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        This is precisely the evasion of the “Rule of Law”, transparent, evenly applied to all, that I always harp about.

        Those are the things that corrupt and distort the Free Market.

        But the Socialist Utopians prefer to ignore that stuff and want to throw out the Market baby with the Corruption Bathwater.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

      Of course there will be. The rich will make sure they do not pay higher effective tax rates. There is a reason the big boys and girls at Vulture Capital companies make “carried interest taxable at 15%” rather than “ordinary income” on the “future” money they get from companies they back that succeed.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Exactly. We need to go through the pain. It is immature and irresponsible to think we can look to pandering politicians and Bankers to “manage” us through with no pain.

    We are spoiled brats with no self-discipline.

  • ccbard

    For a start, capital gains need to be taxed as ordinary income.  Even Reagan signed that into law.

  • injun2

    Tom – Your guest brought up the point that taxing the rich would bring in 800 billion over 10 years, or 80 Billion/yr. We spend 10 billion/day so taxing the rich would only fund 8 days of Government. This is supposed to be the panacea to all our fiscal problems, but it isn’t

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Please raise this issue, Mr. Ashbrook

    • Gregg Smith

      And taxing does not create jobs to grow the tax base which is the key to any plan.

      • Thinkin5

         Your saying that less money for the wealthy is not good for job creation so less money for the middle class and poor means less consuming and less hiring and less money for the “job creators”. I think that continuing tax cuts should be tied to actual job creation. You create real jobs you get a tax cut.

      • BHA_in_Vermont

         NOT taxing doesn’t create jobs either. If it did, there would be millions of jobs created from the day GWB pushed through his tax cuts. And those jobs would still be there because the cuts are still in force.

        Demand creates jobs and demand comes when the 99% have money to spend.

        Show me ONE “small business person” who will create a job when there is no demand and I will show you a person who is either philanthropic with enough money to give away or a person who will soon be out of business. Oh, and a pile of “goods” that will go to the dump because there are not enough buyers or a new employee sitting at their desk reading a book because there isn’t a need for the service they would provide.

        • Gregg Smith

          The unemployment rate dropped for 52 months after the tax cuts. But that’s not the issue, it’s tax hikes that are looming not cuts.

      • jimino

        Aren’t you the guy complaining about Boeing job losses due to the threat of a reduction in government defense spending?

        So which is it?

        Or can you just admit that your views just are not logically inconsistent and utterly unrealistic and unprincipled?

        • Gregg Smith

          “Create” and “Keep” are two different words with different meanings. Nuance Jimino, nuance. 

          The government is Constitutionally bound to provide a military and protect us. Building Volts and Solar panels, not so much.

          • jimino

            Our constitution does not provide for, and would appear to prohibit, the creation of standing armies.  Of course it doesn’t mention airplanes at all.

          • Gregg Smith

            Ben Franklin loved his B52.

            Yes the constitution did grant the power to “raise and support standing armies”. It provides for a Navy. It requires the “common defense” be provided.

            C’mon man, opposing military cuts and and supporting cutting spending (redistribution) cozy up nicely with no contradiction.

    • BHA_in_Vermont

       You argue against your own point.

      It pays for 8 days of government at current spending levels. Keep things as they are and that is 8 days that have to be paid with money from somewhere else.

      There is no single source of income that will cover the shortfall. We need to both cut spending and increase income and that income will NOT come from taxing the middle class and growth that is not occuring.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Maybe Obama will decide to finally punish the Banking/Financial schemers this time around, so that we can accept the pain of resetting our economy without feeling the thorn of knowing the coke-snorting, vampire crowd are getting off scott-free.

    Not holding my breath. How can he go after Clinton’s, Bush’s, his financial engineers.  Also I think Obama believes in Social Engineering, over an Organic, free society and economy.

  • Scott B

    The money of the wealthiest 1% needs to be taxed as earned income. Income is income. Do these people get to shop at a high-end store and get to pay less because that money was from capital gains? No.  Money is money, income is income. They’re still going to invest because it beats the honest labor of far too many people who are working way too hard for way too little.

    Moreover, the idea that a billionaire hedge fund manager, and his company, is a “small business” needs to get deep-sixed.  Again, income is income.

  • paolocaru

    When the rich need a steam release for the poor…they get an Obama.
    When the rich get really greedy… a Chavez comes along.
    When the rich can no longer control their greed… Che Guevara shows up. 

    Its as simple as this.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    I’d be glad to have a public option for healthcare for everyone who wants it with fees based on income.  That could solve the problem that Medicare faces.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Does anyone find it ironic that the one thing everyone agrees they have to work together on is undoing one of the only things they agreed upon?

  • Thinkin5

    Taxing the rich + cutting on all the other items will get us there. It’s a useless argument to say the taxing alone won’t get us there. We all know that. But, leaving it out doesn’t get us there and it’s going to cause far more painful cuts to the people who really have suffered the stock market & housing crash and unemployment. The rich will surely survive where as those close to the edge won’t. Remember, we’re paying for 2 wars and tax cuts that the R’s wanted and pushed through. Time to pay up!

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Don’t forget the bubble pumping leading to direct tax-payer bailout to Bankers that Clinton/Greenspan helped put in place.

      Stop blaming one party.

      The Ron Paul perspective on the Economy/Washington/War/Banking will continue to gain recognition as people look more deeply into our problems as the pain ratchets up.

      The question is whether enough people wake up  before real disasters and planned chaos lead to to the endgame of International, One-World Banking and Power control, ending the dream of freedom and democracy forever.

      • Thinkin5

        Blame is in order for anyone who still thinks that deregulation and lowering taxes are solutions to the economic disaster they caused. I don’t see Clinton advocating deregulation now. Learn from mistakes and don’t repeat them!

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          You think Clinton et al., Bush et al., “made mistakes”?

          That is so naive. You think the Wall St., Banking, Political class don’t know exactly what they are doing and how they can profit from it in terms of siphoning wealth and maintaining political (2 party) power?

          Really?

          Really!?

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            No wonder you all keep voting for them and ridicule folks like Ron Paul and Ralph Nader.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Yes, it’s a stupid argument. The right feeds us an endless string of spending cuts of all sizes, including Big Bird, but the reaction to any proposed tax hike is “that won’t fix the entire deficit”. A 5 yr old should be able to see this c**p for what it is. They sure don’t apply it to their cuts.

      The 1% have about 20% of the total income of about $14 trillion, $2.8 trillion. A modest 10% hike on that income, which would leave he top rate in historically low territory, raises $280 billion/yr, a very nice start on balancing the books that causes no real pain. Hey, don’t we hear about “shared sacrifice” every time cuts to SS and medicare are proposed? 

      Let the tax cuts expire and write a new bill with cuts at the bottom and increases at the top. Get the economy going with more gvt spending and the debt will fade away like tears in the rain.

      BTW the reason the tax cuts expire is that the GoP was gaming the deficit estimates. By putting in an expiration date the impact didn’t look so bad. The tactical idea is that they would really become permanent as no pol would vote to “raise taxes”. Don’t fall for their games!

      • Thinkin5

        Keep saying it and shouting it and writing it to DC until they hear it and do it! I’m with you!

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    We got into this problem because we let Central Bankers and Wall St. engineer a bubble they profited from, in no small part from the direct bailouts from taxpayer to Banking class.

    This is not a tax problem. It is a Monetary Policy and Political Pandering/Prostration to Bankers problem.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Where we will be in the next 30 years should not be on the table – House adjourns 12/14. Fiscal cliff happens 01/01. Not sure when we hit the debt ceiling but it’s soon. Let’s stay focused on the fire burning down the house instead of how we’ll remodel the kitchen.

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    How about, besides raising the cap on SS taxes, we put a SS tax on people who make all their money from non wage income and are not currently SS eligible. Put a floor on it so it doesn’t kick in until a person’s gross income is above some reasonable value. That would include people like Romney. He paid no SS tax, no medicare tax, 13.5% Federal tax and thinks he should pay less.

    You can raise taxes on the $75K to $250K people ONLY if those making more pay a HIGHER actual tax rate. No more 13.5%. If you make $250K+ you should be paying a higher tax rate than those making less, no matter where your money comes from.

  • Thinkin5

    I hope that the Dems, middle class & poor, have figured out that their voices have to be heard above all the money. If need be, we need to march on Wash. and spell it out for them. We can do that in a civil way ( not like the Tea Party did) and get the message straight to the politicians.

    • Davesix6

      It was Tea Party members that were slandered and attacked sometimes physically by the left, Thinkin5.
       
      You on the left need to look in the mirror before you seek to defame others.

      If you want to see some real hate speech, visit the liberal web sites that allow comments!

  • Davesix6

    Wait a minute, did the guest just point out that in the 2000′s under Clinton, we began running budget deficits?
     
    “Taxmageddon” is comming for all taxpayers and of course will hit the middle class hardest unless real changes are made!
     
    The White House OMB has projected a $20.3 Trillion national debt under Obama, by 2016 if the status quo continues.

  • Pingback: More on the Fiscal Cliff | Attitude

  • Scott B

    The Republicans evade the fact that the estate tax only applies to those
    that inherit $10M or more, which isn’t going to be anyone in the 99%
    with any great regularity. 
      If it were me making the point why the
    estate tax needs to exist, I’d be on TV and ask how many people would
    be more than happy to pay the taxes if they won a million dollars in a
    lottery?  Ask them if they couldn’t manage to live pretty well on the
    $600K if the tax rate was 40%, since they’d now be in the 2%.  Ask them
    if they’d turn it down because they thought the taxes were just too
    much?
      Then I’d show them how much revenue is raised through those taxes and how few people that it effects every year. (14,000+)
     
    Then point out that hitting the blood line lottery isn’t any different,
    although with an actual lottery they had to spend money.
     Some would
    say that that money was already taxed, but I’d have them dig around in
    their pockets and pull out a greenback l and ask them how many times
    they think that bill has been taxed?  Ask them if they can go to Walmart
    and tell them that they can’t be charged tax because that bill’s
    already been taxed when someone else had it, and see how far they get
    with the cashier. 

  • ttajtt

    capitalist form of government needs two things rich and poor.  middle class averages it out, making it not a capitalist form.   no more computation to keep up with…  return to pre wars of farming and seat back…, the lack of market-night boozers-holiday sales-charge-it present life style.  we’ll become trollers!

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Just look at the seasons, the dynamic nature of sprouting, growth, fruition, senescence, composting, sprouting anew, from OTHER individual beings.

      Nature is dynamic. We need to go with the flow, not dream of some perfect static condition.

      • ttajtt

        the 9/10th of seasons are owned by 1/10th.  not much elbow room.  down stream is clogged with our stuff.   250 years ago the U.S.A. was wilderness.   a long life for a country.   

        • Government_Banking_Serf

          If you believe that, you should be a libertarian or free market republican (not social conservative), working to keep as much collusion and corruption out of the market, to keep it as free and dynamic as possible, to give as many people who are willing to try, to participate and change their destiny.

          Creating a static socialized state will end up much more unfair and immobile.

          Our current system is corrupted. But that does not mean we should discard our model of Liberty and Capitalism, rather we need to take it back from the corrupt institutional forces.

          • ttajtt

            what happened 1 million years ago still happens today.  scientist 

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Not sure what you are saying, but I do agree the transition from Wilderness to Overpopulated country/globe is a challenge.

  • Government_Banking_Serf

    Some of you guys need to defend your “debt doesn’t matter” positions. You need to address the math problems that Tax the Rich vs. our actual Outlays present. (Tax the rich a bit more, but that’s not enough to cut it.)

    You guys are all emotion and self-righteousness but don’t make any dents in the hard-nosed reality of our fiscal world.

    We are not going to wake up and abolish money and all hold hands and live like a giant commune. Human nature is not capable of that.

    Money, value, work, trading goods/money and protection of personal property is the best way of managing our huge numbers and huge diversity of people.

    Given that, we have to work within bounds of money/value/debt, ie live within means.

    Do you really think it doesn’t matter that our debt is growing at rates that very soon will make it mathematically impossible to repay and default inevitable?  Do you want default and the chaos and power maneuvering that will fill that chaotic void?

    Money and Economics, when organic, are there to reflect and manage Scarcity. What you guys want is to pretend there is no such thing as scarcity.

    • J__o__h__n

      “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.” – Dick Cheney

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Good thing I don’t support the NeoCons.

    • Thinkin5

      When living wages come back for the majority of people, we’ll go a long way to reducing the deficit. Wage disparity is killing this economy.  We’ve always had worker bees feeding the top but it USED to trickle down some.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        The problem is what we think of as “living wages” to allow us all to have iphones, cable TV, SUVs, giant Flat screens, comfortable retirements of 30 years, the latest high-tech pharma and medical care etc etc etc, is UNSUSTAINABLE.

        Even if you radically tax or confiscate the wealth of the “rich”, it WILL NOT PAY FOR OUR LIFESTYLE DEMANDS.

        This is the dilemma we face. We have let politicians and bankers and technocrats manage our illusion of endless bounty (and payed them handsomely even as they surely knew it was all a joke house of cards) for too long.

        The Class Warfare instead of the hard work of paring back, is a Waste of time.

        Of course keep a Progressive Tax system. Of course maintain a true Safety Net for those who suffer for want of basic necessities.

        Of course keep incredible scrutiny on the Financial Class and demand they participate in the same Rule of Law system as the rest of us and punish offenders harshly.

        But we need to scale back our Demands.

        The Keynesian mindset of propping up Demand at all costs, including on the Debt Credit Card is FAILING.  That notion was meant to provide temporary pumps here and there to smooth out organic business cycles, but of course, as all concentrated power is, that power was corrupted and institutionalized and now it has become our life support system as we smoke through our trachea hole.

        • Thinkin5

           It looks like the cost of goods and services has risen beyond what most people can afford. If we must live on wages that haven’t kept up with inflation, or risen at the same rate as the top, we’re just going to keep living in a depressed economy. Maybe then costs will have to come down. The wealthy will have to scale back eventually too when the trickle up stops. Capitalism can’t survive without millions of consumers.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Actually, goods are cheaper in ways that GBS doesn’t want to consider. Because to recognize this would remove his ability to scold people by pretending they’re spending too much on material goods without being rich.

            Remember the Cold War? We were told we were winning it because we had to work so much less, hourswise, to get housing, food, clothing, transportation and healthcare?

            Remember that first transistor radio you had as a kid? Mono, tiny speaker, analog tuning, and if you were lucky, AM/FM.

            Now the same number of hours of labor will put one well on the way to an MP3 player which holds umpteen hours of stereo music.

            But I guess since we don’t have BigBadCommonism to defeat, that hours of labor figuration just vanished into thin air.

            (PS Does anyone even build CRT TVs for the North American market any longer?)

          • Government_Banking_Serf

            Exponential Growth perhaps cannot, but free markets and flow of goods, services, labor, and some growth from creating value from work or ingenuity can.

            I don’t defend growth for growths sake. I defend a free, organic, transparent economy.

    • Markus6

      Normally, I don’t chime in just to agree with someone, but   I don’t think people understand that the size of the debt makes it a different creature from other debt over the last 50 years or so. It’s just hard to get your mind around  what 16Trillion means today and 20 Trillion will mean in a few years. 

      So, I hear the arguments that debt sometimes is necessary and at times was good. But this is something different. I think that soon this debt will crowd out everything else – the environment, health care, education, everything will be cut massively when our creditors start to get nervous. 

    • sickofthechit

       As we say in the card game Guts “never cheaper”.  Why not borrow now while interest rates are at record lows?  Rebuild the infrastructure and begin acting like we realize the FACT that we live on a limited resource in the middle of nowhere.

  • nj_v2

    It’s not hard, really.

    Raise SS caps, tinker with eligibility age.

    Single payer/universal coverage health care. Saves billions. Eliminate insurance company scavengers.

    Dramatically raise taxes on upper income levels, scaled as income increases. Max rate ~60–70%.

    Heavily tax speculative financial sector.

    End all corporate subsidies.

    Continue to purge/revise stupid, wasteful regulations. 

    Dramatically cut (50%) military budget. Withdraw troops from nearly all foreign soil.

    Dramatically cut Homeland Security budget.

    Tax carbon fuels.

    Create domestic improvement programs to create jobs, direct monies into local economies, solve serious infrastructure problems: teams of people to insulate houses; repair roads, bridges, etc.

    What else?

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Let’s start with the Cut Corporate Subsidies and Cut Military spending. Let Bush cuts expire, reinstate Middle class cuts. Don’t overtax investment. Means test programs. Audit the Fed and stop the Bubble Economic Management by Bankers and Technocrats. Apply Rule of Law to Financial Class.

      I think reasonable old school Republicans, Libertarians and non-socialist Democrats could get behind such a Bargain.

    • sickofthechit

       I say re-institute the Postal Service Banks that used to be around in the 1940′s.  They paid a reasonable rate of interest, they invested in America and they were accessible to all.  Privatize means profitize to Repugnicans.  They are trying to bankrupt the Postal Service so their cohorts can get their greedy hands on it as well.  Try sending a letter via ups or fedex.  Post office 50 cents, fedex or ups? $5,6,7 or $8+! charles

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        Do you go around each day and call every person who works in the private sector “greedy” and explain how they are the evil source of all our problems?

        Greedy landscaper. Greedy barista. Greedy Grocery store manager. Greedy Tree Service guy. Greedy Caterer. Greedy tutor. Greedy Car Dealer. Greedy Fed Ex gal.

        • jimino

          I feel for you.  All those talking points and no one to argue with. 

          Who said everyone in the private sector (hey, that’s me!) is greedy and evil?

  • Gregg Smith

    And so it begins.

    “A Las Vegas business owner with 114 employees fired 22 workers today, apparently as a direct result of President Obama’s re-election.”
    http://lasvegas.cbslocal.com/2012/11/07/vegas-employer-obama-won-so-i-fired-22-employees/

    “Boeing announced a major restructuring of its defense division on Wednesday that will cut 30 percent of management jobs from 2010 levels, close facilities in California and consolidate several business units to cut costs.”

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/49729998

    • StilllHere

      It will be interesting to see what impact the tax increases in California have. 

    • Thinkin5

       Bitter old trolls!  Then they will whine about the unemployment rate that they helped create.

    • jimino

      So you’re complaining about job losses due to the threat  of a reduction in government spending?   You may be catching on!

      • Gregg Smith

        Nuance Jimino, nuance. Spending is a big word. If I need to cut my expenses and have two new car payments but need only one then the logical conclusion is to not eat right? I mean I said I had to cut spending.

        The guy in Vegas fired workers and it had nothing to do with government spending.

        • Mike_Card

          “David” in Vegas has a call center, the election is over.

        • jimino

          The “guy in Vegas” doesn’t exist except as a figment of political imagination until he at least tells us who he is and what his “business” really is.

          Or maybe he’s balanced by the “guy in Vegas” who I heard will add 50 jobs now that Obama was elected.  Can’t provide any details.  You’ll just have to take my word for it.

          • Gregg Smith

            You don’t have to believe it but I gave you testimony and audio. I certainly would not reveal my name if I were him. On the other hand you gave me squat but don’t bother.

    • anamaria23

      Please explain how Gov Romney’s election would have eased all that before we knew of where he stood on any issue.  Or if the Congress would act immediately to ease their burden. 

      • Gregg Smith

        Fair question and honestly there is no way to know for sure. Regarding the Vegas employers he said it was a direct result of Obama’s win. One can only conclude he would not have taken this action if Romney had won. But we’re only talking 114 employees. It’s true that he is not the only business that said the same thing before the election but it alone does not make it a trend. I think it is but I accept that I could be wrong. 

        Regarding Boeing, it s a direct result of looming and drastic military cuts. Romney said he would not cut defense and would instead increase it. We knew where he stood on this.

        Where does obama stand? He has been for and against sequestration within a 24 hour period.

        • anamaria23

          Drastic military cuts?  President Obama proposes military budget completely  in line with what the Pentagon has asked for.
          The military industrial complex has been thriving for generations at the expense of our infastructure.  Ten times as much as other countries combined.
          Wars are winding down. 
          Why is it okay for Boeing to maintain a full workforce enabled by  government spending, but it is not okay to provide  funds that keep  teachers, emts, police on the job?
          Would you have preferred a headline that read  Cuts to health care, education, human services  looming but defense spending increased in Romney Presidency? 
           

          • Gregg Smith

            I am talking about the automatic cuts that will happen on Jan. 1 if a deal is not reached. 

            There are bookoos of ways to cut spending without harming education and healthcare. Even if we just froze spending where it is across the board it would help immensely. 

            But I’m am trying hard not to make judgements because I’m not there nor do I know the details, consequences (intended or not) and counter measure. All I am saying is jobs are being lost at a time when we need them. Maybe it’s noble, maybe it’s not.

          • jimino

             The cuts you are so afraid of are the result of Republican in Congress.

          • Gregg Smith

            I don’t care. 

    • StilllHere

      GM announced that it would take a $2.9B pretax charge for
      Q4.  Had to wait for the election –
      is this a means to rectify politically crafted earnings?

    • hennorama

      Yes, yes … we obviously should take the words of a bravely anonymous business owner who won’t even identify the industry he’s in, as some sort of leading indicator.  Sure … great idea.  I’m 100% certain he’s real and completely reliable, and a great point of data on which one can base decisions and draw conclusions.

      Just like one should rely on identifiable prognosticators like Karl Rove, Michael Barone, Dick Morris et al, correct?

      And here’s an excerpt of the Boeing article you cite as some sort of proof about either the effects of Pres. Obama’s reelection, or the threat of the fiscal cliff, which says exactly the opposite (kinda like Chrysler saying they aren’t moving Jeep production to China):

      “Boeing said the changes were not a response to the threat of additional, across-the-board U.S. budget cuts due to take effect on Jan. 2, or the outcome of U.S. elections, but represented another step in its continuing drive to “be more competitive while investing in technologies and people.”

      Seriously, Gregg – you can do much better.  Unless you’re trying to prove the opposite of your usual posts, that is.

      • Gregg Smith

        Maybe it’s all a big fat coincidence… and Papa John’s… and Lockheed… and Hawker Beechcraft… and Wall Street. And here’s another:

        http://thinkprogress.org/election/2012/11/04/1136531/florida-ceo-romney/?mobile=nc

        That’s a cheap shot on Rove, Barone and Morris. You can do better. I never said anyone should rely on them and made quite clear that I did not. All I said was I was “cautiously optimistic” based on their predictions. Does that sound like “relying”? Can you find one instance where I said Romney would win? I did not. They got it wrong and have all apologized. I still value their opinions and respect their knowledge. What do you mean by “identifiable prognosticators”? I hope you are not going back to the ideology thing because Rove and Barone both Predicted the Obama win is 2008 so it does not hold up. Other Democrats like Doug Shoen and Pat Caddell predicted a Romney win. I still value their expertise as well. Gloating doesn’t look good on you but that’s alright. You gotta do what you gotta do.

        BTW, I think I’m doing pretty well.

        • hennorama

          Thanks for your response.  As always, I respect your views without agreeing with them.

          I agree that the Rove/Barone/Morris thing was a bit of a cheap shot.  Mea maxima culpa.  I’m sure I’ll tire of using them as examples of complete failure at some point.  Perhaps when my supply of celebratory Kona coffee runs out – I dunno.  Perhaps I should add a some non-apology apologies?

          “Mistakes were made.”

          “I wish to acknowledge fault where such acknowledgment is appropriate.”

          “If the remarks in the post left anyone with the impression that I was disrespectful to either Gregg or Messrs. Rove, Barone and Morris, then I deeply regret it.”

          Again, I blame the Kona.  And Canada, obviously.

          Seriously, my primary point was that I for one would never rely on the credibility of testimony from anyone who refuses to identify themselves, or even something as seemingly innocuous as the industry they are in.  Using the example of Rove, Barone & Morris, who DO identify themselves, was as a contrast to the “bravely anonymous” caller you cited.  They at least put their wildly wrong prognostications forward in public, in marked contast to the caller.

          I presume by your complete lack of mention of Boeing that you acknowledge citing them as an example was inappropriate and contrary to your hypothesis.

          Good luck in your quest.

          • Gregg Smith

            No, I don’t acknowledge that about Boeing. Romney opposed sequestration and supported military spending increases. He mainly talked about the Navy but the dynamic would have been totally different if he were elected. Why did Boeing wait until after the election to make their announcement? How smart would it be for them to say  Obama was the reason when they still get government contracts? So, you made a point and supplied evidence. You even graciously give Boing the benefit of doubt that I don’t. That’s cool and you may be right. I don’t accept it but I may be wrong. Either way my point stands which is Obama’s reelection is costing jobs (even if you’re right about Boeing) or at the very least is keeping all that private sector money on the sidelines and preventing job creation. Boeing was not the only example I gave and I suspect more in the coming weeks.

            The numbers will be out and we’ll know better although there are many factors to shade the absolute meaning. Let’s see what happens with the debt limit and taxmeggeddon.

          • hennorama

            Wow. So Boeing, a public company whose every public word is both dissected for its meaning, and scrutinized for accuracy, is lying? You think their army of SEC-averse attorneys would allow them to do so, apparently. Okay then.

            I believe in your neck of the woods, one would add “Bless your heart.”

          • Gregg Smith

            I live in literalville. I dig a little deeper and don’t make assumptions. I am very skeptical and look for bias. So, bless my heart and indulge me. I did not accuse anyone of lying.

            Here’s the quote: “Boeing said the changes were not a response to the threat of additional, across-the-board U.S. budget cuts due to take effect on Jan. 2, or the outcome of U.S. elections, but represented another step in its continuing drive to “be more competitive while investing in technologies and people.”

            You appropriately added the first quotation mark because you were quoting the article but it was not in the article. What was quoted was a part of a sentence and the setup was supplied by the author who wrote, “Boeing said”…

            Who said it and what did they say before it? They quoted actual people throughout the article, not here. Why not give the actual quote of a named person saying it had nothing to do with the election. Didn’t you just get through condemning anonymous quotes?

            I doubt you analyzed it that way so think about it and tell me where I’m wrong. I forgive you for jumping to conclusions but you should know by now I have a basis for what I write, agree or not.

          • hennorama

            For the usual reasons, my response is “up top,” as a response to your original post.

    • hennorama

      You are correct in that you didn’t say “Boeing is lying.”  Fair enough.  All you said was, when discussing their announcement, was “I don’t accept it but I may be wrong.”  I guess that means you think they were telling the truth. 

      But I may be wrong.

      It’s also true that no Boeing executive was quoted saying those exact words.  However, Andrea Shalal-Esa of Reuters, who broke the “memo to employees” story that CNBC cited, quoted Boeing exec Dennis Muilenburg numerous times, and wrote:

      ” … Dennis Muilenburg, chief executive of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, told employees in a memo obtained by Reuters and confirmed by Boeing.”

      Further, she writes:
      “Boeing said the changes were not a direct response to the threat of additional, across-the-board budget cuts due to take effect on January 2, or the outcome of U.S. elections, but marked another step in its long-term effort to be more competitive.”

      Sources:http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/07/us-boeing-defense-restructuring-idUSBRE8A61Z320121107

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/07/us-boeing-defense-memo-idUSBRE8A621I20121107

      This is the press release from Boeing, announcing the shakeup:
      http://boeing.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=2488
      As one would expect, the title is NOT “Boeing Announces Big Layoffs in Defense Division” but is instead the rather innocuous “Boeing Rotates Several Executives in Defense, Space & Security Unit >Focused on growth, affordability and people amid streamlining”

      Quoting this release, in part:

      “Since 2010, in response to changing market conditions, BDS has been driving productivity improvements to reduce costs, bolster its competitiveness and enable future growth. It has achieved $2.2 billion in savings by reducing overhead costs, working with suppliers on efficiency improvements, and rationalizing facilities space.”
      And

      “The affordability efforts continue, because additional cost reductions are needed, and are supported by reductions in executive ranks and overhead costs. By the end of 2012, BDS expects to have 30 percent fewer executive positions than in 2010.”

      “Since 2010 …”  Clearly, this was a direct response to Pres. Obama’s reelection 2 days ago, and the threat of sequestration that may occur sometime in 2013.  Apparently Boeing has been diabolically biding its time, waiting until after Election Day to announce continued cost-cutting measures that they began in way back in 2010.

      Okie dokie then.

      • Gregg Smith

        And still no quote. Look, I don’t want to go further into the weeds with a debate about media bias. Suffice to say, I don’t trust the main stream media. What I don’t believe is Reuters not Boeing. Boeing needs no lawyers to protect them from something they did not say or at the very least haven’t been shown to say. I think if they said it, someone would be on record with a quote. If you find it post it.

        I am not going to take the word of the MSM when they write, “Boeing said…”. Why should I? How hard would it be to get a quote from someone, anyone, saying Obama’s reelection did not influence the move? Reuters made the claim, why the selective use of quotes if the real quote (and name) exist? Why? Wouldn’t it be better journalism? This is opinion disguised as news.

        President Obama was President in 2010, was he not? My overall claim is his policies are bad for business. My specific claim is his reelection caused businesses to double down on efforts to adapt to the new normal, that translates to fewer jobs. I stand by it.

  • Markus6

    I missed the show and wonder if they answered my earlier question. Essentially, it asked that they do the math instead of throwing out cute slogans like tax the rich. 

    So, did anyone say how much you’d have to tax of what incomes to make a dent? My guess is that the rich that are talked about really need to be most everyone if we’re going to make any headway in reducing the debt. And that’s even assuming flat defense (which I think should shrink), slow growth in medicare, and all the rest.

    Frankly, if they didn’t get into who the “rich” have to be and what the rates would need to me, it was a wasted show. We’re way past the point where the tired old “pay your fair share”, “soak the rich”, “taxes are the price of civilization” slogans are useful.

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Of course not. Those are systemically challenging questions.

  • StilllHere

    The government’s budget should be set as a constant percentage of GDP, 18% sounds good to me.  Maybe it’s too high.

    • jimino

      Simpson Bowles said 21%.  So you obviously oppose their proposals.

      • StilllHere

        I embrace some of them, and go even further; but I have no constituency to placate as some members of the Commission did.

    • hennorama

      Imposing an inflexible spending limit based on a percentage of GDP is simplistic and unworkable, unless it’s combined with a massive reserve fund that would be set aside in advance and available for emergency spending.
       
      Defining “emergency spending” would be problematic, but wars and economic crashes would seem to qualify.

      During economic downturns, GDP can decline precipitously, and if such a limit was in place, Federal spending would also need to decline precipitously - at a time when it is most needed – for unemployment compensation, SNAP, housing support, Medicaid, other income support, etc., as well as fiscal economic stimulus via increased Federal spending.

      Imagine if such an inflexible approach had been around during WWII, when Federal spending was over 24% for five years, and over 41% of GDP for three of those years:

      1942 – 24.3%
      1943 – 43.6%
      1944 – 43.6%
      1945 – 41.9%
      1946 – 24.8%

      Source:http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=200

      Conversely, if spending is “set at a constant percentage of GDP,” Federal spending would automatically increase as GDP rises during good economic times.  Somehow I doubt that’s what you intended as one outcome of your proposal.

      • StilllHere

        I’m doubtful of good economic times, but would support debt reduction and then reserve fund for emergencies which needs to be clearly defined.

      • Government_Banking_Serf

        We need to understand that while Discretion has its merits, it should be given with a very short leash, as the inevitable corruption of power institutions will use Discretion to solidify power, and siphon resources, ie rig the market.

        That is value of a Constitution, of Rule of Law for all.  We should not trust institutions to have too much discretion.  Look at the laying of the groundwork for the financial crisis by the politicians, Fed Bankers and Wall St elite over the last 3+ administrations.

        These are the kind of fundamental issues we need to get back in touch with. The fundamental understandings of human nature that the founders were aware of when crafting a style of government that reflected a wise reading of history with regards to holding power at bay by giving the People as much power as possible and strictly enumerating the limited powers of Government.

        “Rule of Law or Rule of Central Bankers?”

        http://www.cato.org/pubs/journal/cj30n3/cj30n3-3.pdf

        • hennorama

          Thank you for your response. I agree that, given human nature, discretion merits “a short leash.”

          Thank you also for the link to this interesting article.

      • Mike_Card

        On its face, budgetary discipline is a good thing.  There are too many shallow-thinkers who clamor for constitutional limitations, such as are imposed in many, if not most, of the states.

        What if we had had to wait for a Constitutional amendment to pass before entering WWII?

  • sickofthechit

    Boehner is no statesman if he remains unwilling to tell the Tea Party to go stuff it.   McConnell is hopelessly out of touch with reality and may actually be suffering from Alzheimers.  He is certainly a Schizophrenic Hypocrite.  I don’t hold out much hope until the Pres. grows some cajones and issues a Veto or two, and Harry Reid and Nancy are replaced. charles a. bowsher

    • Government_Banking_Serf

      Why do you want to tell people who want to address our debt and national solvency issue to “go stuff it”?

      That is the picture of arrogance, obstinacy and gridlock. 

      Pretending debt and default doesn’t matter is not a workable policy. Pretending “taxing the rich” will make it all go away is not a real world policy.

      When you admit and incorporate the reality of the problem into your “solutions” then you will be able to work our compromises and legislate a way forward.

      • J__o__h__n

        If Boehner and McConnell refuse to compromise to include some tax increases as well as cuts, they should not be described as “people who want to address our debt.”

      • galdove

        You are correct but the key word there was ‘compromise’ which they show no willingness to do. How about “to hell with them”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeff.foust.923 Jeff Foust

    Another good revenue source was actually raised by Mitt Romney where we could set a maximum IRS deduction amount (such as $25,000) that would help insure we get a fair share of taxes from upper income people and not seriously hurt middle and lower income people. Different from Romney, this approach could also be used to increase the overall amount of our revenue. Also critical would be to maintain a reasonable amount of estate tax for wealthy families.

  • Gregg Smith

    I’ll add to my list below. Lockheed is also planning massive layoffs but Obama convinced them to hold off on sending notices until after the election. BTW, that’s illegal.

    170 jobs at Hawker Beechcraft.

    http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news/hawker_beechcraft_layoff_207658-1.html

    Papa John’s will probably cut back hours because of Obamacare.
    http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2012/nov/07/papa-johns-ceo-obamacare-likely-to-raise-costs/

    1200 more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/07/charlie-gasparino-obama-win_n_2089268.html

    • jimino

      I’ll bet the 2/3 of Papa John’s employees that do not have health insurance now but will have it after the ACA takes affect may see this as a good thing, don’t you think?

      • notafeminista

        Depends on whether or not PapaJohn’s can afford to keep them insured, thus ensuring them a job.  What will be the cost to add 2/3s of their employees?

    • hennorama

      This is almost too easy.  You need much better evidence, my good friend.

      Lockheed Martin: They did nothing illegal by not sending layoff notices in anticipation of defense spending due to sequestration.  First of all, no such cuts are in place, and if any cuts do occur, they won’t happen for many months AFTER sequestration.  All defense contractors’ are working on contracts that have already been authorized and budgeted for, so there would be no need for any layoffs until and unless those contracts expire.  Seems pretty inappropriate to warn workers about uncertain layoffs with uncertain dates.

      Source:http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-10-01/lockheed-says-it-won-t-issue-layoff-notices-on-budget-cuts
      ————–
      Hawker Beechcraft: This company is trying to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy (which they filed for on May 3, 2012), and are restructing for profitability, including closing some facilities and laying off 410 workers.  What a shocker.  Completely unrelated to either Pres. Obama’s reelection or the fiscal cliff, however.

      Source:http://www.ksn.com/news/local/story/Hawker-Beechcraft-announces-its-closing some/EPrA1GXH5EaR_KmwFDfaIw.cspx
      ————–
      Papa John’s: this could actually be a good thing for some.  Quoting the article cited:

      “Under the Affordable Care Act, full-time employees — those working 30 hours or more per week — would have to be provided with insurance at companies with more than 50 workers. Schnatter said it was likely that some franchise owners would reduce employees’ hours in order to avoid having to cover them.”

      Note that this does not say “would reduce total hours worked by all employees.”  So if these franchise owners need the same total hours of work, which seems likely, and they cut the hours of some employees, they would need to HIRE additional workers.  That would be good for the new workers.
      ————–
      “1200 more here”: This is completely absurd, as these poor Wall Streeters WERE ALREADY LAID OFF/FIRED.  Again, completely unrelated to either Pres. Obama’s reelection or the fiscal cliff.  From the article you cited:

      “Wall Street banks have already laid off some workers in the face of declining profits, and more layoffs may be coming. The financial industry could lay off as many as 10,000 workers by the end of this year, according to a report released last year by Thomas DiNapoli, the New York state comptroller. Wall Street has cut just 1,200 jobs so far this year, according to an October report by DiNapoli.”

      • 1Brett1

        Thanks, hennorama for doing some of the legwork in debunking such propaganda

        • Gregg Smith

          And he/she never once called me a racist, imagine that.

          • Mike_Card

            You might disagree, but hardly anyone on this board calls anyone else a racist until a comment reasonably interpreted as having race-based undertones gets made.

            And–to my ear, anyway–nothing in your comment would suggest you are; memory can be a bitch of a task master, anyway.

          • Gregg Smith

            I just think the word is tossed around recklessly. I’ve been called one many times  (Brett included) but I think the issue deserves frank discussion so I don’t shy away from the truth for fear of being labeled. I think the interpretations are not reasonable. My comment to Brett was probably unwarranted in that it served no purpose but to get a dig in. I try not to be that way.

            Anyway, thanks.

          • 1Brett1

            I’m not sure how much you think “many” times amounts to or how much you are invested in hyperbole? When I used the word with regard to something you wrote on here last week, it was a response to comments you made that I see as racist comments. I don’t know what you are like in your personal life, but if you make racist comments on this forum, I’ll call those racist….One thing’s for sure, I’ll bet in future you’ll think twice about putting up a video on this forum that is a parody of a bad stereotype of a black woman saying how much she loves doing nothing, living off the government dole, voting for Obama simply because he’s black, and so on. You did so without any trace of irony, and you juxtaposed that with saying Colin Powell supports Obama because they’re both black…sorry, again I don’t know you, but your aforementioned comments were racist. I can’t speak to others’ comments directed toward you on here, only my comments, and I don’t throw the word “racist” around recklessly, no matter how much you might disagree with my definition of a racist remark.

          • Gregg Smith

            When I wrote “many” I was referring to all not just you. It’s not about you.

            No, I love Glozell and actually looked for a new video from her to post for you but she has been silent so far. I’ll post her again. She’s funny and to be funny there must be an element of truth. I have no regrets at all. Not a bit.

            Colon Powell endorsed Obama because he is half black. It’s the only thing that makes sense. Period. End of discussion.

          • 1Brett1

            Didn’t say the the “many” referred to only me, but you still haven’t defined “many.” How many people on here have called you a racist? I believe it’s your attempt to sound like you’re being persecuted, which you aren’t; you’re being given much more latitude than a person espousing the diametricopposite viewpoints using your tactics would on a conservative forum. If it’s not about me, than why would you “post” a video “for me”?  BTW, I don’t think Glozell is being racist, I think she is using satire, but I think your posting her video on here, within the context of Colin Powell, is. You don’t have the ability to present a convincing enough argument to indicate the contrary.You don’t have a sense of irony or can pull off satire. You just admitted, once again, why you put the Colin Powell commentup. I wonder how Gozell would feel about how you are using her video?

      • Gregg Smith

        Sequestration is the law of the land as it stands. That’s not imaginary, it is what will happen unless stopped. Obama supports it. Not only that it’s the result of kicking the can down the road numerous times so history is not on the side of a meaningful deal. The best we can hope for is another kick which does not help squat as far as a viable business plan. Uncertainty is the enemy of business. 

        And ask yourself why Hawker Beechcraft went bankrupt? I say it’s Obama’s economy over the last 4 years that has hurt everyone. They did not get a bailout like GM. They had to adapt through bankruptcy. His reelection assured things are not going to change.

        You seem to think it’s better for Papa John’s employees to be cut back so that insurance can be provided. I say it’s better to let Papa use that money to: a) hire more or b) give raises so they can afford their own insurance, or c) design their own benefit package to meet their budget and their needs. 

        The DOW has been tanking ever since the election as have markets across the globe. We are headed for another downgrade. Wall street is not well.

        I’ve said all along this is Obama’s economy I know you believe no President can steer the economy but I don’t. I understand the point and factors. But certainly many Presidents have harmed the economy and many have guided recoveries. Some were helpless others were not. Some were incompetent some were geniuses. Some had no support, some had complete support. Some had peace time some were at war. Some had bubbles some had them burst. Not to mention all the overlaps thereof.

        Obama wrecked the economy with Obamacare, regulations, energy policy, “stimulus”, a downgrade and a general hostility to job creators. He has sucked the confidence out of business. His reelection gives no one the needed confidence to risk their money. We need businesses expanding and hiring and they are doing the opposite. That is on Obama and now we get 4 more years. If you want to believe he has had no influence in the above examples then I respectfully submit you are not being rational.

  • ttajtt

    jobs, does america go to a hand line vs a E-line.   farm work, repairs, school longer class time.  what did they do before war.   

  • Jim Salvito

    What about both sides adopting the Simpson/Bowles plan, which got strong bi-partisan support of the commission members?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      1) Ryan voted against it.

      2) The commission was stuffed with deficit hawks, and didn’t pass a report. Even with all the Beltway Inbreds on it, they couldn’t agree on anything as stated in their voting rules.

      I mean, why not just start executing people based on what half of a hung jury votes?

      • Jim Salvito

        There is a 64-page plan that got over 70% support from commission members, including 3 GOP and 2 Dem senators. 

        • Gregg Smith

          It should be on the table, I agree. they’re making a comeback.

          http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/83557.html

        • TomK_in_Boston

          OK, if it’s 64pp it must be good.

          • Gregg Smith

            It beats 2700, maybe someone might actually read it.

        • StilllHere

          Let’s just pass it, then we can figure out what’s in it.

    • StilllHere

      It’s a good start.  Here’s some other ideas.
      We need to simplify the tax code so we can gut the accounting profession.
      We need tort reform and maximum jury judgements so we can gut the trial lawyer profession.
      We need to end the special tax treatment of whole life insurance so we can gut the insurance profession.
      We need to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction so we can gut the real estate broker profession.
      We need to cut Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement to doctors so we can gut the physician profession.

      • jimino

        So do your proposals result in you and everyone else in your family losing their jobs too, or do we need to “gut” some other segment of our economy to achieve that goal?

        As to how you get your daily bread, I’m guessing something along the lines of a predatory money pusher within that which calls itself the “financial sector”, which I suspect you have concluded is doing a fine job.

        As always, you are one of the most valuable voices here since you can be counted on to be unfailingly and precisely wrong about everything, thereby pointing us in the right direction. Thank you for your service in that regard.

        • StilllHere

          Sorry, did I gut a sacred cow of yours.  Too bad. 

          Where am I wrong?  Which one of these cows is worth keeping to the benefit of the others?

          It’s a time for tough choices and you offer nothing. 

          • jimino

            I found it curious that you would call for the destruction of huge swaths of the real economy that build and sell homes, help businesses keep track of their money, resolve disputes between people, provide medical care to the sick, but leave out the one sector that creates nothing and was and continues to be responsible for crashing the whole world’s economy and inflicting misery on untold billions of people.

            But as I said, that’s who I figured you were.  I’m right again!

          • StilllHere

            Man, you are so ignorant.

            Removing the mortgage interest rate deduction would also eliminate the need for mortgage brokers, bank loan departments, bank securitization departments, bank mortgage service departments, derivative creators, traders, regulators….

            Did you put any thought whatsoever into your misguided criticism?  

            Resolves disputes between people, seriously, please welcome to the real world.  I did say anything about therapists, small claims courts or the clergy.  I’m talking about scum-sucking trial lawyers.  

            Keep track of their money.  You don’t need to be an accountant to work in a treasury department.  Really, what do you do?  I’m talking about gutting the tax code so every man, woman, child, union, foundation, corporation … can do their taxes with Turbotax.  

            Homes will still be built but you’ll only be able to buy what you can afford with the cash you have and homes will still be sold; but nobody’s going to be getting a 6% commission for a couple hours work.

          • jimino

            Yes, you are the only one who does anything worthwhile in our economy.  And the idea that every transaction will be a cash sale rolls things back to B.C.  Just curious, if we don’t go the soylent green route, what do you propose all these scumsuckers do for a living?

          • StilllHere

            Enter the real economy, make stuff … 

            I pay taxes and my income does not relate to any perversion of the tax code.

            Still. you bring nothing.  I’ve made some proposals, tough  choices no doubt.

          • jimino

            Well that makes you a better citizen than people like Romney or hedge fund mangers.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Simpson and Bowles are a crazy ex-senator who called SS a cow with a million teats or something like that, and an investment banker. I’d expect class warfare from them, and I’d be right.

    • nj_v2

      “Bipartisan” = the institutional mainstream portions of the two wings of the Corporate Ruling Class agreed to put the brunt of bailing out Wall Street malfeasance and reckless spending by Republocrats (Shrub, Obummer, et. al.), free-trade abominations, etc. onto you and me.

      Yeah, let’s all get behind that!

  • hennorama

    For those who haven’t read it, here’s the Simpson-Bowles “Report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform”

    http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/sites/fiscalcommission.gov/files/documents/TheMomentofTruth12_1_2010.pdf
    Their home page is here:

    http://www.fiscalcommission.gov/

  • TomK_in_Boston

    House speaker John Boehner today announced a willingness to compromise with democrats over the looming fiscal cliff. “I’m always willing to reach across the aisle”, said Mr Boehner. “To demonstrate our good intentions, we’re willing to cut taxes on the rich to new record lows, and accept the new revenues that will materialize according to voodoo economics. We will go even further by agreeing to voucherize medicare and privatize Social Security. I hope the democrats will meet us halfway so we can have a historic bipartisan compromise for the good of the USA.”

    That’s about it. Remember, the “crazy” policies of the TeaOP make perfect sense once you realize that the real agenda is to redistribute more wealth and income to their owners.

    • Joseph_Wisconsin

       Judging what some Republicans in the House and Senate have been saying, as well comments from many of the usual suspects here, they are still in the first stage of grief over the meaning of the election: DENIAL.

      • twenty_niner

        Hardly a trouncing:

        Obama 60,795,105
        Romney 57,901,531

        especially given the fact that Romney has the charisma of a bucket of gravel. Frankly, given the banking crisis, I’m surprised a private-equity guy with no political astuteness nor ability to connect to anything other than a loaf of Wonder Bread got that many votes, which I think in reality, were just votes against Obama and not “for” anyone.

        What Republicans need to soul search over is the types of characters they keep offering up as candidates; although, I’m not that impressed with the Democrats either.

        But beyond, that too many people still have a bad taste in their mouths over Iraq and Afghanistan. If you really want to know who killed the Republican party, he’s currently pulling weeds down in TX.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          As I always say, nominating a financial con man following a crash caused by financial con men is one of the most bizarro things I can imagine. The only reason Lord R got the votes he did is because of his camo as a legit businessman, and because a lot of voters on the right are in denial about how the financial sector is screwing us.

          Come on. Borrowing to buy a company, loading the company up with junk bond debt to pay back your debt and to pay yourself huge fees, firing workers and stealing benefits for a spike in short-term profits to pay yourself more fees, and then unloading a company with too much debt to compete is NOT legit business. Lord R makes Gordon Gekko look like Mother Teresa.

    • twenty_niner

      This is why sequestration is a lock. Both sides feel vindicated and have their heals dug in. Publicly, Boehner and Obama will portray a conciliatory front, but privately, there will be no resolution. The Republicans will be betting that Obama takes the blame for the ensuing recession.

      Further, a lot of Republicans know that taxes rates need to increase, but they need political cover to let this happen, which is what the poison pill is designed to provide. This works for Democrats as well in terms of cuts, but to a lesser extent. Also, the hard core deficit hawks don’t even mind the cuts to DOD.

      • harverdphd

         That would be “heel” kind of like TomK_in_Boston…we know he’s dug in for sure

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Regarding letting the plutocrats downgrade the safety net we’ve built up since the great depression, you’re absolutely right, Doctor.

    • Steve__T

      Yeh when I heard it my jaw dropped, I thought Oh, OK same game plan different day SOS.

  • Shag_Wevera

    At exactly what moment, and at precisely what amount did the debt and deficit become a problem?

    • Mike_Card

      Jan 29, 2009 (or whatever date Obama was inaugurated).  Don’t know the exact amount; ~16 Trillion.  Up until then, it was “damn the torpedos, full steam ahead,” and “deficits are irrelevant.”

    • Gregg Smith

      It’s been a problem for a while but I’d say when the debt surpassed GDP was a milestone. Regarding the deficit the ratio to GDP averaged 4.2% under Reagan, the same under George HW Bush, .5% under Clinton, 2.7% under GWB and 8.9% under Obama. It’s not sustainable.

      • Ray in VT

        I think that we definitely agree that those sorts of deficits are definitely not sustainable.  That’s why I think that most people have come to the conclusion that we need to have a balanced plan that includes both spending cuts and revenue increases.  Part of the problem is a lack of federal revenues, which are currently at 6 decade lows.  Here are the average federal revenues as a share of GDP for recent presidents:

        Reagan (FY 1981-1988) = 18.175
        Bush (FY 1989-1992) = 17.925
        Clinton (FY 1993-2000) = 19.025
        Bush (FY 2001-2008) = 17.625
        Obama (FY 2009-2011) = 15.2

        Now, these numbers are a bit off because of when the federal fiscal year starts, but it’s basically close enough for illustration purposes.  So, from roughly 1980 to 2008 the average share of the GDP collected as revenue by the federal government was 18.225%.  If we had collected that average in 2011, then that would have been an extra 447.3815 billion, which would have made the deficit 852.2185 billion.  Not great.  Still uncomfortably high for many (including me quite frankly), but it would have been smaller.  Even if we had taken in the average from under George W. Bush, which was less than any of the three previous presidents, then we would have been in better shape.

        • Gregg Smith

          I don’t disagree and you educated me to something I was not aware of. Thanks.

          My problem is equating “Revenue” with increased taxation. You did not do that but many do. IMO the reason for the reduced revenue is not tax cuts, it’s an anemic economy. A growing economy is by far the best way to increase revenue (see Bill Clinton), taxation, not so much (see New York or California).

          Spending is the other side of the coin. It must be reduced to under 20% of GDP. 15% to 18% would be better.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Revenue is determined by economic activity AND the tax rates. A growing  economy with higher rates produces more revenue than a growing economy with lower rates. 

            Rates that are too high reduce activity. However the devil is in the details. What is “too high”? To the voodoo economists, any tax hike produces rates that are too high, and any tax cut produces more economic activity. That is nonsense. The result depends on where you started. In an ultra-low tax environment, as we have now, increasing rates will increase revenue. Taxes at the top are already so low that raising them a bit will have little effect on activity.

          • Ray in VT

            I do my best to work with the best numbers that I can find.

            I think that revenue is directly related to both tax policy and economic output.  Take a look here:

            http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.MKTP.CD

            Total U.S. GDP was higher in 2011 than in was in 2008 by almost 800 billion, but the government collected a significantly lower share of GDP as revenue (17.6 vs. 15.4).  I think that part of that loss is probably attributable to the economic downturn, but part of it is I think due to some other tax cuts (some of which was in the stimulus package) during those years.  I don’t think that it is possible to get up that historical average with our current tax policy.

            You cite the Clinton years, but rates were higher then.  You can grow something in absolute numbers, but if you’re talking about a lower share of that larger number, especially if outlays stay above that reduced percentage, then I don’t think that it’s that useful ultimately if one is trying to get rid of the deficit and the debt.

            20ish% might be both workable and achievable, but I don’t think that much lower is possible.  Outlays were down to 18.2 in 2000 and 2001, but to get under 18% you have to go back to 1966 (receipts 17.3%), and 1951 was the last year under 16%.  I know that that probably squares with your more limited role of government, but I don’t think that the majority of Americans want or will accept a government limited to that level.

            15% of the 2011 GDP would be $2.25 trillion, but defense, medicare and SS alone come to 1.839 trillion.  That doesn’t leave a lot of room for many of the things that Americans have come to expect, and often do and have supported, since the New Deal.

          • Gregg Smith

            During the Clinton years the tax hike on the top rate did bring in more revenue but that was only because the booming economy supported it. IMO the cap gains cut did so as well but it wouldn’t have if there was no market (i.e. booming economy). The deficit to GDP ratio was nil. We had balanced budgets, personal responsibility (welfare reform) that nourished a national work ethic and a tech bubble to boot. 

            The other factor is the spending to GDP ratio. It has skyrocketed. We can’t spend more than we can afford. We can’t afford more that we make. We can’t make more if the economy doesn’t grow. No one claims taxation makes the economy grow. 

            20% of GDP can be an astronomical number or a depressing number. It all depend on growth.

          • hennorama

            Here are ALL the sources of Federal Revenue, by percentage (2011):

            Individual Taxes  47.4%
            Payroll Taxes       35.6
            Corporate Taxes   7.9
            Customs & Duties 5.7
            Excise Taxes         3.1
            Estate/Gift Taxes  0.3

            (Source:http://www.heritage.org/federalbudget/federal-revenue-sources)

            Spending under 20% would be a radical shift, and getting down to 15 to 18% would be virtually unprecedented. From 1975 thru 2008, Spending was under 20.0% of GDP only 10 times (1997 through 2007, excluding 2006). Even during those 11 years, Spending still averaged 19.24% of GDP.

            And since 1940, Federal Spending has been under 18% only 14 times in 72 years.

            Here are the averages of various pre-Obama eras:

            ERA       SPENDING as % GDP

            1940-2008   = 20.4%
            1950-2008   = 19.8
            1960-2008   = 20.2
            1970-2008   = 20.6
            1980-2008   = 20.8

            (DataSource:http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/hist01z3.xls)

        • hennorama

          Extrapolating a bit further, and using slightly different data (Sources below):

          Avg Rev. as % of GDP 1981-2008     = 18.23%
          Avg Rev. as % of GDP 2009-2012(est.) 15.35%

          (Source:http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/hist01z3.xls)

          Difference = 2.88% of GDP

          Using the Q3 GDP numbers during Pres. Obama’s administration only:

          (GDP Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate in Billions of US$ by quarter)

          (Source:http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/data/GDP.txt)

          2009 Q3 $ 13.95 B x 2.88% = $ 401.13 Billion
          2010 Q3 $ 14.58 B X 2.88% = $ 419.06 Billion
          2011 Q3 $ 15.16 B X 2.88% = $ 435.94 Billion
          2012 Q3 $ 15.78 B X 2.88% = $ 453.55 Billion
          TOTAL                     . $1.70968 TRILLION

          That’s right – if Revenues had been coming in at the 1981-2008 18.23% of GDP average, there would have been about $1.71 TRILLION in added Revenue/decreased Deficits over 4 years!

    • Fredlinskip

      Having spent more $ in W years then all previous administrations combined, GOP decided it was a problem as soon as Obama was elected in ’08. 

    • TomK_in_Boston

      They became a big issue to the TeaOP when Obama became president. Before that, as Cheney said, “Deficits don’t matter”. (sorry, didn’t see Mike_Card had said that too)

      Now the debt and deficit have become very useful props for class warfare arguments. “Let us voucherize medicare, or the deficit will get you!”. “Let us privatize SS, or the debt will eat your kids!”. 

      For some reason I never hear “If we don’t raise taxes on the 1%, the debt will get you!”. Hmmm, I wonder why that might be?

    • http://www.facebook.com/kat.mccann.779 Kat McCann

      Seems to me (and I’m a Dave Ramsey follower) the precise moment we had a problem was when we BORROWED ANYTHING to finance ANYTHING. There should be no debt and no deficit. As someone said above, you spend what you have; further you do not go. Am I naive?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      When a black Democrat was elected to the White House.

  • Fredlinskip

    The fiscal cliff is what happened in 2008. That was when we all were clearly shown the results of failed GOP economic agenda. 

       After the crash no one was spending. People have to spend in order to have an economy. Before crash, homeowners were using their houses as collateral to borrow and spend outlandishly. And people were using some of the dozens of credit cards they were getting in mail. That spending is not coming back any time soon. Meanwhile America had cheerfully bought into the delusion that transforming our economy from one that “made stuff” to an “information and service” economy was a good thing.
    Then and to this day to the detriment of all except a few of the top few %ers, GOP has failed to face reality.
     
        These were the head winds Obama faced in 2008. 

    In the end, it’s likely that GOP will stall until the last possible moment to reach a “compromise” that those such as Grover Norquist could approve.

  • Gregg Smith

    All the committee had to do was reduce the deficit by 1.2 trillion over 10 years. That’s just 120 billion a year. That’s a drop in the bucket that would not solve squat. And they couldn’t even do that. Congress has failed us.

    • Mike_Card

      I’ve posted a couple of other rants on this topic elsewhere on this thread.  However, I don’t think there’s room for more than maybe 1 sheet of paper between us on that question.

      I think Norquist lies at the center of the problem, but compared to the cowardice of the members of the House and Senate, he is no more than belly-button lint.

    • jimino

       Did you re-elect your member?

      • Gregg Smith

        I had to read that twice…okay. Yes, my “member” is Virginia Foxx. She is a stalwart. She returns my calls.

        • StilllHere

          Good stuff.

    • Steve__T

       I’ve been screaming that for two years you finely get it  Yea Gregg!

      • Gregg Smith

        I’ve been there all along and posted many times about it. The whole thing is a disgrace. I hate grammar cops but I have to say I dig the word “finely”. I hope that was on purpose because “finally” would not be accurate.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      That’s about a 5% tax hike on the 1%. Let’s do it!

  • Fredlinskip

    .

  • Fredlinskip

    Disqus is not allowing me to respond to a comment.

    • Steve__T

       refresh your browser and try again.

  • Carl Benda

    Is this so very difficult?  Figure out your income for the year, that’s what you get to spend and 10% goes toward savings.  If Y is your income, then you can only spend 90% of Y.  So, figure out what 90% of Y is and there is your answer.  As for how to spend less, if that is 20%, then take your current budget and accross the board cut it by 20%.  I don’t see the problem.  The math is quite simple really, companies and individuals do this every day.  If it’s not in your account, it’s not there to spend.  No borrowing please to buy groceries.

  • BPINSC

    Problem is anything you cover 100% with out anything coming out of pocket of patient’s pocket goverment can not control cost.  It is absolutely unfair to working people to pay insurance cost and on top deductible and % of cost, while poor or lesser income people have everything covered 100%.   senior and poor  need to pay something from their pocket for medicine and procedure.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Every developed country but the USA covers everyone in a broad range of national plans which can cost as little as 1/2 of our cost. Could having the corporations running the show and having the highest cost be a coincidence? I think not.

      • BPINSC

        I agree. But if cost need to be controlled here with system we have that is way to go.   By doing that people will use less services or think before saying yes to medicine or saying what ever doctor says, and cost will go down automatically.   Doctors love to care people who have no hope of surviving or with almost no quality of life left, because system makes too much money at that stage and relative do not care because they are not paying and some one else is paying for their care.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          I agree that, practically, we have to control costs within the existing system. What you mention is reasonable, insofar as it doesn’t  lead people to avoid necessary care or ask them to function at the level of a doctor. Choosing the right cancer care is not like choosing a car. In MA there is a lot of interest in paying a fixed fee per patient, rather than per procedure, so then the pros make the decisions. I think that is promising.

          Other ways to control costs run into politics and lobbying. Medicare is forbidden from negotiating drug prices. The ACA is demonized for trying to control costs within the system. The obvious step of evaluating procedures for effectiveness becomes “death panels”. Reducing payments to private insurers for medicare supplements and putting the $ back into medicare becomes “a $750 billion theft” from medicare.

  • Mike_Card

    Tom Ashbrook:  The election is over; go on vacation and allow the reserves to put in some playing time.  Nobody outside the beltway bubble cares to hyperventilate about the big, bad, cliff.  We all know Congress will wait a few more weeks, then pass what amounts to a continuing resolution.  I could get really graphic about what this means for the taxpayers, but I’ll refrain.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/G4H2UOHBCWLCEWXOI5UH4VUHQY RGSRBGolfing

    Tom – Love the show, but annoying today.  You keep repeating, “Will Obama compromise?”  The fact is, he has ALREADY compromised!!  The Republicans have been masters of negotiation by pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes!  They take 90% of what they want, then attempt to make the negotiation about the remaining 10%.  And if you don’t at least give them 50% of the remaining 10%, they accuse you of not compromising!  The Bush tax cuts were not supported by the majority of Dems. They’ve been in place longer than intended.  Obama wanted to rollback the cuts on those making more than $250K at least two years ago, if not four years ago!  He’s already compromised by leaving them in place for as long as he has!  If you want to compromise, start at the extreme ends of the spectrum.  On one end is no expiration of any of the tax cuts.  That’s where the Republicans are and, at least for now, appear to remain.  On the other end would be, let all the Bush tax cuts expire.  The Dems and Obama are not insisting on that!  They’ve already compromised and the expiration on those making over $250K WAS the compromise.  They propose a mix of rolled back cuts, along with entitlement reforms and spending cuts.  That IS COMPROMISE.  And, everything being said by Obama presently, and in the past, suggests a willingness to compromise as long as the other side is REMOTELY reasonable.  That has NOT been the case!  Every GOP candidate said they would not accept a 10 to 1 ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases!  If you start there, how can there be any compromise.  Stop with the nonsense that Obama is not willing to compromise.  It’s simply not true and not supported by the facts!!!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/FJTPC46BCKWIZSMUWXUMZT7FUY Crandle

      Obama needs to lead.  No excuses.

      • Gregg Smith

        You said it all in 6 words, bravo!

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Instead of national health care we get national Romneycare straight from the Heritage foundation, and the righty script that Obama has not compromised never skips a beat. Unbelievable.

  • JCat5

    Not a single cent of our debt comes from social security.  The demands of the program have always been met by the payroll tax and the trust fund.  The social security administration publishes their balance sheets each year.  It is not an opinion; it is a fact.  Destroying the program will not reduce the debt unless the social security payments are eliminated, but the tax is still collected and used to pay for other government expenditures.  I hope the majority of our countrymen will not accept this option.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/FJTPC46BCKWIZSMUWXUMZT7FUY Crandle

      agreed. Social Security is funded.  Here’s an idea DO NOT SPEND MONEY YOU DO NOT HAVE

      • PBzeer

        Sorry, but the Trust Fund is full of nothing by IOU’s, for which they have to borrow money to buy back.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Absolutely right.

      Over and above the randish ideology, there are two  reasons why the plutocrats want to kill SS:

      1. Privatizing will produce more fees for wall st.

      2. They are afraid that taxes on the rich will have to be raised when the time comes to redeem the T-bonds in the trust fund.

      It’s easy to understand the behavior of the far right once you realize it’s all about the wealth of the super rich!

    • StilllHere

      It’s a slush fund morphing into welfare.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Watching congress work is too painful.  Hopefully, they work out something rational.  It seems strange that Mr. Obama going to Burma instead of working on the fiscal cliff?

    I saw an interesting factoid today.  Romney would have won in a landslide if they only counted voters 30 and older.  He would have taken FL, VA, CO, OH, PA, NV and WI.  The only two ‘swing’ states he would have lost were NH and IA where he lost the 65+ vote — another strange factoid.

    • hennorama

      Interesting but mostly meaningless.  It is similar to saying “If only those under age 30 voted, Obama would have won in every state, except Utah.”  I made this up, but multiple surveys indicate that Pres. Obama won the votes of 60% of voters under age 30 nationally.

      Republican need to learn how to count.  Their best demographic is older white males, and that demo is shrinking fast.

      Another “interesting factoid:” (actually a pair of factoids)

      About 47% of Americans under age 18 are non-white.  Yes, there’s is yet another “47%” slice of the populace.

      About 80% of Americans age 65 and over are white.

      Make of this what you will.

      (Source:http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0010.pdf)

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Yup. The “real voters voted for the GOP” crap reared its head again.

    • StilllHere

      Thanks interesting stuff. You’d think that age group would have been focused on jobs given how high their unemployment rate is.  
      Did you see the vote count totals compared to 08?  Obama got something like 10 million fewer votes and Romney actually got fewer than McCain.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

         I’m amazed that the turnout for Romney was so low.  However, Obama and Axelrod were VERY effective at demonizing Romney and the GOP.  My daughter is a graduate student and many of her peers were giddy with Obama’s victory because they believe now they ‘lady parts will be protected’.  She can’t believe they were so easily duped.  The Sandra Fluke strategy worked and it looks like they turned out.

        However, if McCain voters had turned out for fiscal sanity, Romney would have won.

        I’m saddened we lost Romney’s services to clean up Washington.  I am also saddened that the most divisive and deceitful campaign in history was rewarded.

        • galdove

          Romney’s own loose lips sunk his ship. No one demonized the GOP other than their own self-inflicted wounding.  Nothing had to be taken out of context.  The words were said on their own.  Clearly you don’t get rewarded for keeping secrets, whining, and having no convictions, and wanting to go backwards (McCain voters?).  What may help you ease your pain is knowing that there is no such thing as ” if “. 

  • hennorama

    There are already at least 2 areas of significant agreement between Pres. Obama’s proposals and the proposals put forward by Mr. Romney:
    1. No tax increases for the middle class.
    2. Corporate tax rates should be lowered.

    Clearly, the details differed, but the basic concepts are in agreement.  Perhaps we could get agreement on these 2 items quickly, then build on the momentum of such agreement.

    Given the complete stalement and disagreement prior to the election, I think Congress and the President need some practice in how to come to ANY agreement.  These two areas could be good practice.

    Far more difficult topics lie ahead:
    1. Raising revenues
    2. Cutting spending
    3. Reforming the tax code

    I’m more optimistic that there will be compromises from both sides for the following reasons:
    1. The country is sick and tired of the petty disputes and political one-upsmanship, and Congress doing nothing to resolve the obvious problems we face.  I don’t think it will be tolerated any longer.

    2. Pres. Obama no longer need worry about reelection, so he is more free to compromise on some significant Democratic tenets.

    3. The fiscal cliff is a threat so large that it cannot be ignored. There must be action, and that will require compromise from both sides.

  • Frank Schapfel

    I wish I was optimistic that John Boehner and Barack Obama can make a grand deal.   Boehner cannot get the tea partiers to heal, and Obama assumes he has a liberal mandate (with a 50-48% “landslide”).  The fiscal cliff was a “kick the can ‘solution’”  Do we honestly expect any different from the exact same players? 

    • Gregg Smith

      No, I really don’t see it given the history and lack of leadership everywhere. However, some pundits seem to think today’s statements by Boehner and Obama show a glimmer of hope. I’m not sure. President Obama insist on “revenue” which is entirely appropriate but he means raising the top tax rate. How that equates to more revenue in this economy, I don’t know.

      If we assume the best case scenario raising the top rate would bring $80 billion/year. Yippee, we can run the government about 12 seconds on that. Boehner advocates eliminating some loopholes and deductions. That could bring in revenue in the $750 billion range. If GDP were humming at 4 to 5% we start getting to trillion(s).

      Who thinks raising the top rate stimulates the economy?

  • ExcellentNews

    The Fiscal Cliff was one scary show… my little head was so worried that I felt the need to watch some motivational videos. So I watched the replay the Romney debate, and there – BANG! – was the SOLUTION! When he stared at Jim Lehrner with his steely CEO eyes and said “You! I will cut you! and Big Bird” I felt my innards shiver with pride and happiness. There was the solution to our fiscal problems! That big yellow bird is so full of stuffing that if we cut it, we can not only fix our budget problems, but give another tax cut to our patriotic job creators (you know, they will need some cash to pay the new General Secretary of the Chinese communist party)! I always knew that watching things over and over makes them clearer, but it came as a total surprise to see the SOLUTION in there too. Now I have to go back and replay some of the Rush motivational tapes too…

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 25, 2014
Pallbearers carry a coffin out of a military transport plane during a ceremony to mark the return of the first bodies, of passengers and crew killed in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, from Ukraine at Eindhoven military air base, Eindhoven, Netherlands, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP)

Secretary of State Kerry to Israel. Obamacare back in the courts. Mourning as remains of Malaysia Flight 17 victims come home. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Jul 25, 2014
Guest Renee McLeod of Somerville, MA's Petsi pies shows off her wares. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

There is nothing more American than a piece of pie. We taste and talk pies.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 25, 2014
Guest Renee McLeod of Somerville, MA's Petsi pies shows off her wares. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

There is nothing more American than a piece of pie. We taste and talk pies.

 
Jul 25, 2014
Pallbearers carry a coffin out of a military transport plane during a ceremony to mark the return of the first bodies, of passengers and crew killed in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, from Ukraine at Eindhoven military air base, Eindhoven, Netherlands, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP)

Secretary of State Kerry to Israel. Obamacare back in the courts. Mourning as remains of Malaysia Flight 17 victims come home. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: July 25, 2014
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

Why the key to web victory is often taking a break and looking around, and more pie for your viewing (not eating) pleasure.

More »
Comment
 
The Art Of The American Pie: Recipes
Friday, Jul 25, 2014

In the odd chance that our pie hour this week made you hungry — how could it not, right? — we asked our piemaking guests for some of their favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!

More »
Comment
 
Hillary Clinton: ‘The [Russian] Reset Worked’
Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton took time out of her global book tour to talk to us about Russia, the press and the global crises shaking the administration she left two years ago.

More »
1 Comment