90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
Week In The News: Gaza Truce, Obama in Asia, Fiscal Cliff

An explosive week for Israel and Gaza. President Obama, home from Asia.  Lawmakers on the fiscal cliff. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, center, meets with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, right, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr, left, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012. (AP)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, center, meets with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, right, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr, left, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012. (AP)

It was the week – the year – that Black Friday invaded Thanksgiving Thursday. We’re still digesting that.

Elsewhere this week, beyond the malls, all kinds of news. Rockets, missiles, raining into and out of Gaza. Then a truce, brokered in Egypt. No Israeli invasion, and an “Iron Dome” of anti-missile defense that worked pretty well.

President Obama to Asia and back. Mission to Burma.

Lots of maneuvering over the fiscal cliff. John Boehner says Obamacare must be on the cliff, too. Twinkies in trouble.

This hour, On Point: Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

-Tom Ashbrook


Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed.

Allen Pizzey, foreign correspondent for CBS News.

Jack Beatty, On Point News analyst.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • ttajtt

    Who is the choosing people.

    Israelites or manifeste destiny ones?      

  • Gregg Smith

    Is anyone feeling confident about the fiscal cliff? Obama is willing to compromise, either raise the top rate and cut the military or raise the top rate and cut the military. Dern Republicans.

    • jimino

      The two biggest complaints of so-called conservatives are that government spending is too high and too many people (47%! 47%!) do not pay federal income taxes.  Now that their demands might actually be enacted as law, they are alarmed, alarmed I tell you, at the results that will flow from doing so.

      So which is it?  Have their demands been based in reality?  Or are they just “talking points” solely designed to whip up political support from those unable to connect the dots?

      • Gregg Smith

        I don’t hear the complaints you evidently do. It was GWB who is most responsible for the vast numbers who don’t pay taxes. I’ll never understand why so many think the tax cuts were for only the rich. We had the “occupy” movement where they were still bitching so it was completely valid to point out the numbers. I have heard no one but liberals advocating raising their taxes. Conservatives definitely want to decrease spending but that doesn’t mean gutting the military as the world burns.

        • Duras

          “gutting the military”… I know you are a conservative which means that you refuse to compare our spending and economics to that around the world, but have you seen how large our military is compared to the rest of the world…?

          Cut government where government is bloated, and tax people who can easily afford it.   What a radical left wing idea that is.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            We rank #1 in Defense spending, greater than the next 26 Nations combined. And 25 of them are our allies. Some ‘gutting’ would be prudent.

          • Gregg Smith

            No, what’s radical are the draconian and unprioritized military cuts as spelled out in the sequester deal. The idea was to make the alternative to a deal so distasteful that an agreement could be reached. I know of no one in favor of letting that happen. Do you?

            Cutting government where it’s bloated is a Tea Party concept with no support from either party despite lip service. If you define “people who can easily afford it” as Warren Buffet’s proposal did (over $400 million) then I’m with you. If you are talking out the thousands and thousands of small businesses making 250K then not so much.

            Finally, the world depends on us. If our Military were gutted then the world would be in heap big trouble.

          • Duras

            Sorry man, but I’ll never be with you on the $250K argument.  I grew up with my father making an income on the lower end of the top tax bracket and he did great.  The highest I would tax a six figure income would be roughly 44% (with local and state income tax deductions and other deductions). 

    • Steve__T

       I’m confident that corps are going to do everything in their power to leave nothing to tax they are pushing funds over seas as fast as they can. The Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., is publishing a report called “The CEO Campaign to ‘Fix’ the Debt: A Trojan Horse for Massive Corporate Tax Breaks.”  They are going to stack the deck, and we will always lose against the house, we can raise their taxes to 90% and they will laugh saying sorry I didn’t make a dime, but if you want it here’s your five cent (literally toss us a nickel)  now run along I have several billion dollar business’s to run.

    • Steve__T

      80 CEOs of America’s largest corporations, are doing a massive media and lobbying blitz, portraying themselves as the reasonable ones, because they’re calling for both raising revenues and cutting spending. But if you look at the details of their tax plan. They’re pushing for the same old tax breaks for corporations that they’ve been pushing for for about a decade. Which is they want a permanent exemption from U.S. taxes for all of their foreign earnings.

      They have seen the greatest income in the last 12 years than any time in recent history and they want more. They don’t care how they get it, just as long as they don’t have to share with the US, that gives them a place to lay their heads, were just the sheep were here to be sheared. You make so much as a bleat and your mutton.

    • Stephen_Mangion

       I understand that the President is open to “reforming”  SS and Medicare.  The coal miners will have the “opportunity” to work in the mines . . . . a few more years.

  • ttajtt

    if worms screamed like a cat dog bird being hurt, would we still hook em.

    • Gregg Smith

      It depends on how well the fish are biting.

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

        Are you a “fish catcher” or a “worm drowner”? As a tot my Dad said I had a good future as the latter.

        • Gregg Smith

          I must admit I believe worms are evil and should be impaled and drowned. However, sometimes lures work better. 

  • ttajtt

    taxes and medical you think be hand in hand rate. workers get it better then none workers or non-tax payers.

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

    Boehner says what about the ACA now? Sorta changed his tune since the dawn after Election day, hasn’t he?

    • DrewInGeorgia

      Same ol’ Song and Dance

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XXTNDWW2I2MAO52ENFNLZ6H4YQ June

    I can understand why Israelis believe they have a right to exist  but I can’t understand for the life of me how anyone can expect the Palestinians to believe it. The Palestinians are out gunned and out killed by at least 9:1 and still they won’t give up.  They are powered by injustice, not hate. As are the Israelis. Sad. Intractable.

    • sickofthechit

      Actually the latest ratio of deaths was closer to 28 to 1!  Their behavior takes “eye for an eye” to a whole new plane.

  • TinaWrites

    Re:  Huntsman  
    I don’t remember what event Huntsman was attending (it was early on in the Republican shake out for a candidate for a  Presidential candidate), and I only think I may have heard him say this directly to someone in the audience who described himself as homosexual, but Huntsman’s reply was not even about new laws for gay marriage, or civil rights; no, he went right to the heart of the man’s expressed identity and said that he (Huntsman) did not believe in homosexuality.  I believe that many of the laws in the Arab world concur (can laws concur?  I’ll just try to get away with that word for now).  I would need to investigate this more, but I believe that Huntsman as Secretary of State could only betray the civil rights of homosexuals further.  He was so all-inclusive about it, and bluntly insulting; he was also so insistent that HIS beliefs were what underlay ALL, that I wouldn’t want him representing my government to the worldwide forum.  

    • sickofthechit

      Thanks for the insight on Huntsman.

      • Don_B1

        @TinaWrites:disqus @sickofthechit:disqus 

        There were some pundits that made the point that Huntsman was the most conservative candidate in the Republican primaries, but even he was not willing to lie like the others, so he could not get traction.

  • Imran Nasrullah

    David Sanger of the New York Times reports “The exchange was something of a practice run for
    any future armed confrontation withIran, featuring
    improved rockets that can reach Jerusalem and new antimissile systems to
    counter them…Israel currently fields five Iron Dome missile defense
    batteries, each costing about $50 million, and wants to more than double the
    number of batteries. In the past two fiscal years, the United States has given
    about $275 million in financial assistance to the Iron Dome program. Replacement
    interceptors cost tens of thousands of dollars each.(http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/23/world/middleeast/for-israel-gaza-conflict-a-practice-run-for-a-possible-iran-confrontation.html?hp&_r=0)

  • Outside_of_the_Box

    If Palestinians are serious about a 2-state solution, they must find a way to come together and unite under one clear leadership/authority. Until they do this, Israel will continue to say that any agreement would be futile for them as long as Palestine remained deeply divided. Right or wrong, I don’t see a way forward without this happening. Hamas needs to reign in the various “resistance” factions, and come to the table with Abbas. They need to stop all rocket fire, bombings, suicide attacks, etc – for even 1 or 2 months. If they can manage this, it will exert tremendous pressure on Israel (and the US), in my opinion, to sit down immediately for serious 2-state talks. Yes, I realize there are things Israel should also be doing. Like stopping settlement expansion. Like putting aside the condition that they have guaranteed security (another stalling tactic perhaps?)
    But regardless, if Palestinians are not able to unite and stop the “resistance” for a time, I don’t see a way forward for serious 2-state talks.

  • dawoada

    I don’t see how a female Secretary of State can deal effectively with muslim states.  Most muslim states treat women as second class citizens.  Although it may be against our values, in reality, the Secretary of State should be a man. 

  • Steve__T

    Caller saying the largest chain store in the world needs the money. CLUELESS that’s that’s so disconnected, thinking Wall-Mart need’s money. Now their workers on the other hand do need money, and more hours, they don’t even pay the bag boys in Mexico and other foreign country’s, they work for tips. Oh the insanity.

    • dawoada

      More hours, that’s just what the Wall-Mart workers are getting with the extended hours on Thursday and Friday.

      • sickofthechit

        but not enough to qualify them for full-time benefits…

        • Gregg Smith

          How about no benefits and higher take home pay? 

          • jefe68

            You are clueless. Walmart does not pay people more, they pay them less and hope the states and the Federal government will pick up the health care tab. Walmart earned $16 billion last year (it just reported a 9 percent increase in earnings in the third quarter of 2012, to $3.6 billion).

            Not much if this goes to improving the health care benefits of it’s workers. Without whom Walmart would fail. It’s corporate greed at it’s worst.

          • Gregg Smith

            I must be clueless because I have no idea what you are talking about. I was just positing an idea in the form of a question. Businesses (not just Walmart) should not have to do back flips to meet regulations regarding full or part time benefits. Some of it is government and some of it is unions. The employee suffers. Why not remove all the bureaucracy and middlemen to pay higher salaries?

          • Steve__T

             Yes Gregg you are clueless, Business don’t do flips, unless they are flipping off their employees. If you remove bureaucracy and unions the employees would have to work for less, and as far as health care  Forgitaboutit! ain’t gonna happen.

      • Duras

        A hundred bucks says that most Walmarts are cutting hours during the rest of the week so they don’t pay overtime for the extended hours on Thursday and Friday. 

  • sickofthechit

    This is a letter I sent to the Cin Enq in response to Boehner’s recent Op-Ed

    Speaker Boehner,

    You claim in a recent OP-Ed in
    the Cincinatti Enquirer that repealing ObamaCare is necessary “If
    we’re serious about getting our economy moving again, solving our
    debt and restoring prosperity for American families,”. I believe
    you said the same thing when you were supporting the Temporary Bush
    Tax Cuts, the Extension of those same tax cuts and the Extension of
    the Extension of those tax cuts. Those tax cuts never delivered the
    job growth, nor the prosperity they were claimed to be able to
    provide. Instead, they were just another addition to the overall
    total known as “the Republican Additions to our National Debt”.
    I capitalized that because it is so BIG!

    Mr. Boehner, you claim that

    “adds a massive, expensive,
    unworkable government program at a time when our national debt
    already exceeds the size of our country’s entire economy.”

    Truth be told Mr. Speaker,
    nearly every American Household with a mortgage has debt which
    exceeds its entire economy. Further truth be told, $11 trillion of
    our $16 trillion in Debt originated under Republican
    “leadership”. History tells us that it is only under Democratic
    leadership that any significant reduction in our National Debt has
    ever occurred. Still further truth be told, respected economic
    studies indicate that the gravest threat to our nations economic
    future is spiraling health care costs. Four years ago President Obama
    saw this very real threat on the horizon and he stepped up and did
    something about it. What he did isn’t perfect, but it is a step in
    the right direction. The increase in future medical costs for our
    nation as a whole far outstrips all other economic threats and
    responsibilities. The most prevalent cause of individual bankruptcy
    in America is Medical expenses. You know all this, (or should) yet
    you decide to take this tack. You have already secured the
    Speakership, so what are you after? You want to include it in the
    debt negotiations? Isn’t it already clear that the reason we need to
    work on the debt is that your parties economic policies have once
    again failed to deliver their much ballyhooed and promised success?
    Truth be told, I can’t rightfully question whether you deserve a seat
    at the table, I do question whether you deserve a voice in the
    discussion if this is your attitude.

    You admit that your side has
    lost two out of three possible challenges to “ObamaCare”, yet you
    insist like some pool hall sore loser that you should be given a
    third chance to win it all back. That is not how this process works
    Mr. Speaker. The American people have elected Obama twice as our
    President. I really don’t think you would fair so well if your seat
    depended on a national election. You may also want to note that your
    majority in the house has shrunk even though your side spent hundreds
    of millions more to try and win the Presidency and more seats in both
    bodies of Congress. You failed at all three. The people have
    spoken, don’t you think it was time you started listening to them?

    You next applaud Governor
    Kasich’s refusal to implement the Health Care Exchanges. His refusal
    to implement these Exchanges means that the Federal Government will
    be dictating what happens in Ohio with respect to health care options
    via the Exchanges for Ohioans. Something I would have thought you
    would vehemently oppose, yet you applaud it? The Affordable Health
    Care Act is the Law of the land and until your President says
    otherwise it is your responsibility to see that it is efficiently
    designed and professionally implemented.

    It’s time to step up and do
    your job Mr. Speaker. Are you a Statesman, or a lowly Politician?
    These next few weeks will decide. I’ll be watching.

    Charles A. Bowsher

    • Gregg Smith

      After the rates were lowered in 2003 the unemployment rate went down for 52 months and revenue increased by over a half trillion in the same period. The 2007 numbers  have yet to be matched. BTW, the deficit was $162B that year. Unemployment averaged around 5% for Bush’s terms. The poor got a huge and needed break in a time of recession (post tech bubble). 6 million of the poorest saw their liability disappear completely. The rich picked up the slack and paid a larger percentage of the bill. What’s not to like?

      • sickofthechit

         If you accept that the debt is $16 trillion and has increased by $5 trillion under Obama (don’t forget $2-3 trillion of it was where Obama put the wars back in the budget and the Medicare Drug Benefit back into his budgets) then you still haven’t addressed the $11 trillion….

        As for 52 months of unemployment rates not being matched, have you forgotten the Clinton Era?  Or are you only wanting to talk about from bush forward?  Then surely you are familiar with the ever steepening curve of monthly job losses in bush’s last years which continued on into nearly the first two years of Obama’s first term.  Perhaps if we look at the overall net effect of bush on unemployment you might be a little less bold speaking out.

        What’s not to like?  The fact that we (call us the 80%) are being asked to make up the deficit created by the untamed greed of the wealthy who think that owning 88% of our countries wealth is not enough yet, and that the other 80% of the population should be satisfied with even less than 12% of the nation’s wealth.  We are headed towards armed rebellion if that kind of inequity is not reversed soon and drastically.

        Try making it in this country on $16,000/year, or $20,000/yr or even $30,000/yr without healthcare.
        You wouldn’t last a year.

        • Gregg Smith

          I wrote “has yet to be matched”, meaning since Bush. But actually I wasn’t talking about the unemployment rate, I was referring to revenue. But now that you mention it, 2007 holds the all time record. The problem is spending.

          The wars and Part D were not off-budget,
          the numbers are reflected in the debt. Obama did NOT add 2-3 trillion to the debt because of them. That’s a talking point.

          Who determines your salary?

          • sickofthechit

             Please see my next post at full width because this discussion is beginning to get to narrow. charles

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Well said, sickof. It’s crystal clear that the right doesn’t care about the debt, but are using it as a scare tactic to advance their real agenda, namely, making the superrich who have bought them even richer.

      You can’t take anyone who says “OMG, the debt! Let’s cut taxes.” seriously on face value, but it makes perfect sense as class warfare.

      With medicare costs lower than private insurance costs you can’t take anyone who says “OMG, the debt! Let’s privatize medicare.” seriously on face value, but it makes perfect sense as class warfare.

      • sickofthechit

         I like to call what they did “Class Genocide”
        As for their calls to “Privatize” that is code for “Profitize” (copyright 2012 charles a.bowsher).  The amazing thing about Medicare’s low overhead is that they are covering (let’s be frank here” our most “difficult/challenging” population health-wise.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Right about medicare. It’s the most efficient component of our crazy system. It should be expanded, not privatized. “Medicare for all” is the best, simplest solution to our health care costs. Nixon was on board with lowering the age to 40, but Ted K thought he could get a better deal and rejected it. Shows you where the TeaOP stands compared to past republican presidents.

          I also like to translate righty newspeak into English. “Reform” = “Screw the middle class”. “Job creators” = “Fat cats” etc

          • Stephen_Mangion

             And do not forget that Senator Bernie Sanders (VT) tried to do this.  But his amendment it never came to a vote when Joseph Lieberman demanded that the entire bill that Bernie offered be read.  Killed it.  Now listen to Harry Reid praise Lieberman . . . .

    • Steve__T

       Here here agreed, seconded.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GIWFQJSKJFKGTOQW2SHXJBQXPI jimmy

    Ms. Sara Roy’s article in the (11/23/12) Boston Globe “Where is our humanity?” is the appropriate basis for a discussion on the ongoing tragedy between the Palestinians and Israel. Please have her own to not only balance out your discussion of Middle East but more importantly to add needed depth and on the ground human face to continual spiral of spiral of violence. Her article puts flesh on the World Health prediction that Gaza will be unlivable by 2020 and why. Thank you for your consideration.

  • ttajtt

    we’ll all be broke to the banks.  defaults will catch up.  against the wind.  its useless and worthless yet it controls us.  wealth and pay for those that that will die for it.   they give it out, and then take it back, all from us.   soon they don’t need the sick old or to young.  just the workers, the birds picked my eyes, i’ll dust your crops now boss. population is growing too, tipping point is where – when – how.  stay calm.

  • osullivan11

    where are Brett, BHA in Vermont, Branstad, Worried for the country, Greg Camp, Ellen and all the other on point all-stars today??? That’s what I need to know!

  • sickofthechit

    Gregg Smith wrote the following to my response to his response so I lifted his last post to “widen” the discussion herein.  His response follows-
    “I wrote “has yet to be matched”, meaning since Bush. But actually I wasn’t talking about the unemployment rate, I was referring to revenue. But now that you mention it, 2007 holds the all time record. The problem is spending. The wars and Part D were not off-budget, the numbers are reflected in the debt. Obama did NOT add 2-3 trillion to the debt because of them. That’s a talking point. Who determines your salary?”

    Your insistence that “[T]he problem is spending” is a to oft repeated talking point in itself.  The formula for “Deficit” or “Surplus” determination is “Revenues-Spending=Surplus/Deficit.Pretty simple, but for some reason you, the Faux Common-taters, and Repugnican politicians all seem to like to bath their dislike for essential social programs (Food Stamps, Unemployment Insurance {especially in light of “The Great Recession”}, etc.) by acting like cutting spending is the only way to balance the equation.  The Temporary bush Tax Cuts and rollback of estate tax rates were a disaster for our country, as were the rollbacks of regulations on wall street, and the crippling of the EPA.  I don’t know how, but someday, somehow the peoples of the world need to get you and those of your ilk to begin to have a long-term perspective on the earth and all the people on it, instead of the almighty dollar/gold/silver.  Perhaps it will be your grandchildren who finally realize that for all intents and purposes, we are living on a limited resource in the middle of nowhere.  How much higher would those record revenues have been if the tax rates had remained 39.5%?Everything I have heard and read says you are incorrect claiming that cheney/bush put the wars and Part D on the Budget.  The same goes for your claim about President Obama having to add $2-3 trillion to the debt because of them. As far as who determines my salary right now I work in the Agriculture industry at a wage of $10/hr with no chance of overtime since Ag in my state (nation?) is exempt from overtime pay requirements.  In hopes of following in Rmoney’s footsteps I have posted a sign in my vehicle window that declares-”WILL WORK FOR CARRIED INTEREST”.  So far no takers…. charles

    • Gregg Smith

      We have spending problem. It is not all about revenue and surplus, the GDP must be considered. The deficit to GDP ratio averaged 4.2% under Reagan and Bush 1. Under Clinton it was a spectacular .5%. Under GWB it averaged 2.7%. Under Obama it exploded to 8.9%. 

      Spending to GDP is a biggee. If you make a million a year then a $60,000 car is affordable. If you make $35,000/year, not so much. Spending over the past 65 years has been around 20% (or less) of GDP. In 2009 (Obama’s first year) it went to 25.2%; 2010 & 2011 were 24.1%; it was 24.3% this year. The only time it went above these levels is during WWII. I make no argument one way or the other as to how that money is spent. That’s the emotional distraction, but it’s a spending problem.

      If you can in any way shape or form explain to me, or show me, or cite a definitive source doing the same how these (table 1.3) numbers do not reflect the wars or Medicare Part D then make your case, I’m open.

      I also disagree with the underlying premise. Cutting spending is not the way to a solution. Neither is taxation.  There is no possible way to tax our way out or cut spending enough to resolve squat unless the economy grows and dramatically expands the tax base. That does not mean we don’t have a spending problem. Any spending by government must remove money from the economy to cover the check. The government has no money. Therefore the only viable solutions are pro growth policies. Increasing revenue to a bureaucratic nightmare with no limits, elected by a constituency who wants, expects and demands stuff is not pro growth.

      If you want to consider the Bush tax cuts a disaster that’s fine. Wrong, but your (not to be confused with “you’re”) right. Assuming a straight line revenue stream from a tax rate that could have been in the vacuum of actuarial tables is not productive in my view. When the tech bubble was inflating, the spending to deficit ratio was a half percent, the budget was balanced, people were going from welfare to work instead of the other way around, tax hikes were great. This ain’t that. When that bubble burst on March 10, 2000 followed by the annihilation of the center of the financial universe on 9/11/2001 those factors had a bearing on revenue. 

      Let me try my question again: Who determines where you work and what your worth is? 

      • TomK_in_Boston

        We have a tax revenue problem, and a military spending problem. Tax rates at the top have been falling since 1980 and we’ve had 2 unfunded wars, so what’s not to understand? All the money has been migrating to the top, and taxes have to follow the money. Having the likes of Romney, who are parasites off the productive economy,  paying 13% or less is a huge problem. Super rich paying 13% is not sustainable, or for that matter, moral.

        Nobody assumes “a straight line from the revenue stream” so spare us the straw man arguments. What is not productive is the voodoo that assumes that “tax cuts will pay for themselves” because of some magical stimulus.

        The reality is that tax cuts are helpful when taxes are high, and don’t do much when the recipients are already richer than they have been since 1929. The only explanation for advocating lower taxes when they are already so low is that the real agenda is to promote the oligarchy.

        • Gregg Smith

          The top rate rose from 28% in the 80′s to 39.6% in the 90′s. The wars were funded. No money was taken from the poor and given to the rich.

          SOTC asked: “How much higher would those record revenues have been if the tax rates had remained 39.5%?”

          That assumes a straight line revenue stream.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Top tax rates have fallen by a lot, overall, since 1980. Nothing is a straight line. Yes, they bounced back up from the Reagan low. Now they are only at the second lowest since 1929, for those who can’t claim that all their income is dividends or cap gains. The bush wars are a major contributor to the deficit. Inequality has been soaring since 1980. 1928 and 2007 were the only years that the income of the 1% hit 23%. That wealth came from the poor and the middle class.

            No, SOTCs question does not assume constant incomes. Even if higher tax rates reduced economic activity somewhat, they could still bring in higher revenues. Numbers matter. It’s a question of which effect is bigger. During a boom higher taxes won’t have much of a negative effect, and higher taxes on those who have more $ than they ever dreamed on won’t have much of a negative effect.

          • pete18

            Tom, you are confusing the issue of rates with revenues.
            It doesn’t matter if the rates on the rich are at historic lows, that is completely irrelevant to the supposed concerns of the left. Having a higher marginal rate on the wealthy does not mean more revenues are collected or that income distribution, either through taxes or incomes, becomes more fair.
            In fact, in the realm of the tax burden the opposite is true,
            the top tier taxpayers pay a higher share of the tax burden now at the lower rate of 35%, than they did in 1980 when the rate was 70%. That’s because the economy is not static and neither is economic behavior. Higher tax rates guarantees more money is sheltered and less money is put into play in the economy, which are two of the critical ingredients needed to grow the economy and start new businesses.

            Raising the top rates is a symbolic gesture that will satisfy class warriors on the left, who think they are punishing the rich but in reality are doing nothing to to reduce the deficit, increase tax revenue, or equalize incomes, their stated concerns in selling the higher rates.

            More likely than not, higher marginal rates on the top brackets will contribute to slowing down growth, which is desperately needed in today’s economy.

            Who really pays http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/ir_22.htm

          • TomK_in_Boston

            I have no confusion whatsoever between rates and revenues.

            The top rate is the second lowest since 1929 and financial con men who can claim all their income as divs or cap gains have a 15% rate. The estate tax has been gutted. It’s ludicrous to suggest that raising these ultra-low rates is anything but a step back toward a healthy normalcy.

          • pete18

             As I said and as you have demonstrated, you have an obsession with rates, which ignores the reality of revenues and the distribution of tax burden.

            That’s cutting off your revenue nose  to spite the face of the rich.

          • OnPointComments

            It’s their obsession with their own liberal judgment of what is “fair.”  When Candidate Obama was interviewed by ABC’s Charlie Gibson, Obama said that he wanted to raise capital gains tax rates.  Gibson said that historically when capital gains rates were raised, revenues went down, and Obama didn’t dispute this.  Gibson then asked Obama if he would raise capital gains rates even if it meant revenue was decreased, and he said he would because of “fairness.”  As you said, it’s cutting off your revenue nose to spite the face of the rich or anyone else who sells investments.

          • OnPointComments

            I read a Thanksgiving homily that said “I am thankful to live in a country where the richest people in the country weren’t born the richest people in the country.”  A very true statement.  In my opinion, the position of the liberal progressives isn’t that tax rates on the wealthy are too low, it’s that they think there is something resolutely wrong with any system that allows some people to succeed while others fail, resulting in some people having a lot and some people not having enough.  If the tax rates were raised and the rich still had too much in the liberals’ opinion, they would devise something else to penalize the successful.  Even though liberals surely must know intellectually that “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” is a model that is doomed to failure, they still want to try it again.

  • StilllHere

    We need to get serious about cutting spending.  It never stops growing, no matter how much of GDP it consumes.

    • hennorama

      Wrong again.

       Using constant FY 2005 dollars, Spending HAS gone down MANY times previously.  Post WWII is an obvious example.  1954 through 1956.  4 times in the 1960s.  1987.  The first year of the Pres. Clinton era in 1993.  Even 2007 had a miniscule drop.  And 2010 was less than 2009, contrary to popular ignorance and opinion.

      • StilllHere

        You mean we can cut and survive, let’s do it!  Thanks for your support.

        • hennorama

          Breathtaking. You’re proven wrong (Stilll), yet think the proof supports your thesis. A bit like Mr. Romney, but he at least deserves a minor break due to clearly being in shock over his crushing defeat.

          As counterpoint, the converse – we can spend more and survive – has also been the case, much more often than your “argument.”

          BOTH Revenue increases and Spending cuts are needed to get out of this mess. Failing to recognize this is either simple stubborness or willful ignorance.

  • Gregg Smith

    I find the videos of the Black Friday shoppers very disturbing. It sure doesn’t look like people are worried about debt. My question is: Is this good? Keynesian philosophy says this spending (demand) is just what we need. For me to believe that I would have to know how much of the money spent in this  insane frenzy was supplemented with tax dollars. 

    • jimino

      Would your calculations include the number of Walmart employees who require and receive public assistance to make ends meet due to their low, no-benefit pay?  Or how about the tax credits and other incentives many of their and other retailers’ stores receive and without which they claim they could not be successfully built and opened?

      FWIW, I too find the whole Black Friday and the buying frenzy it represents insane.  But our current economic model depends on such behavior for its very existence.  I can’t imagine how the mighty GDP would be decimated if everyone took my (and I expect your) approach to consumption.

      • Gregg Smith

        I would include anyone who lives so aggressively lives beyond their means. That includes people, corporations and government. 

        I guess my disagreement is with your statement: “But our current economic model depends on such behavior for its very existence.” And I get your point aboutour approach and GDP but what we have is not sustainable in the long run. It’s a ponzi scheme doomed to implode at some point. I would prefer a lower GDP for a smaller government that did not require as much. 

    • Dee

      Gregg before you get into what American tax payers 
      are spending or running up in debt Look at corporate welfare and their loopholes and the write offs are 
      costing the American economy…they run in the 
      billions yearly and trillions in decade. 

      Currently, the Bush tax cuts cost 22 billion dollars a 
      year for not producing any jobs whatsoever. Indeed, 
      the GOP has actually sabotaged Obama’s Job program. 

      Go to the Congressional Budget website and get the 
      details and commentaries…..Dee 

      • Dee

        In addition, Frenzy buying at Christmas time and 
        with the onset of new popular items coming on the market….happens all over the world. 

        Nothing Keysian about claim there…Dee

      • Gregg Smith

        I disagree, the tax cuts do not cost squat but we won’t see eye to eye. See my reply to “sickofthechit” below. I also will avoid going into the weeds over corporate welfare. 

        I am questioning the paradigm. Keynesian economics says this demand is stimulative. I am wondering if the best advise to people who are un or underemployed, have credit card debt and are paying higher energy cost, is to buy wide screen TV’s. I don’t think it fixes anything. And I draw the analogy with a government deeply in debt. Maybe spending yet more is not prudent.

        But my main question is, how much of what we are seeing is enabled by the top 10%’s money that is given to the bottom 47%? Undoubtedly this dynamic is happening. I am not trying to be partisan. Are the taxpayers well served by this? Is it stimulative? Those are valid questions. 

        • Steve__T

           First the top 10%’s money doesn’t go to the bottom 47% it is for everyone. Do the top 10% drive on the same roads, breath the same air, drink the same water? I’m sure that they can have their own libraries and schools, airports, railroads if the so choose to build them and not share them, but they can’t have their own courts, police, Government officials (altho they do buy them) municipal buildings or state houses. Some things belong to ALL of us and that’s the key, the government is deep in debt because they haven’t collected the proper amount of taxes. You Savvy.

          • Gregg Smith

            What an odd reply. The top 10% pay roughly 70% of the overall bill while the bottom 50% pay about 2%. They use the same services but some pay their share, some pay their’s plus others and most pay nothing. If you want to say we all pay for those things through taxes other than those on income then what the heck is your point?

            But what about my point? Is it healthy for un or underemployed folks in debt facing high living cost to buy wide screen TVs?

          • Steve__T

            What a predictable reply. Your statement: “But my main question is, how much of what we are seeing is enabled by
            the top 10%’s money that is given to the bottom 47%? Undoubtedly this
            dynamic is happening.”
            I was answering your main question as stated. Your point of people in debt buying things like wide screen TV’s of course its not healthy for their financial well being. But I said earlier in this same topic that old saying, There’s a sucker born every minute, and we’ve had to many minutes. Black Friday is a gimmick to get people to start Christmas shopping early, to make more money before having to discount prices lower. Which they will do anyway, if they cant deplete their stock.  I did not understand part of your statement “If you want to say we all pay for those things through taxes other than those on income” Who are those on income?

          • Gregg Smith

            Those taxes on income. For instance the gas tax, tolls and even State sales taxes can pay for roads. Sorry for the confusion.

            There sure are a lot of raucous suckers out there. 

        • J__o__h__n

          As far as the fixing the debt goes, a tax cut is the same as spending.  Any loophole or rate cute that reduces revenue in favor of one person is either made up by other tax payers or addes to the debt. 

  • Dee

    Before the rockets there were Israeli bulldozers on Pale-
    stinian Land…How sickening to hear those in the media like Jack Beatty and others side stepping this issue in the conflict which is fundamental to understanding what is going on in this con-flict. (This is a responsibility to the truth journalists have)And we are talking about Zionist ongoing theft and domin-ance on Palestinian Land and in the Palestinian Territoriesin the name of Jews which no freedom loving American should embrace –let alone side step. Indeed, no one I know is side stepping this issue today.They are on the side of the Palestinian people and have joined their struggle with divestments and boycotts andprotest of the Zionist land thieves and war mongers on their land today.  Especially, in the Palestinian Territories where a 14 just-ice panel at the Hague in 2004 ruled unanimously to man-date Israel to withdraw its armed forces from the land occupied during the 1967 conflict to the 1967 Green line , and “dismantle or void all Israel’s structures…” So this is a done deal and those settlers are going like all colonial settlers on indigenous land… For anyone toavoid this reality in this conflict is a disservice to the truth and more importantly to the Palestinian people seeking their land and rights are restored, See URL  http://archive.org/details/Salman_Abu_Sitta   Dee PS If anyone is still denying this reality see the piece below.Netanyahu ‘s government quietly doubles funding for the settlements, says finance minister , Haaretzhttp://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/netanyahu-s-government-has-quietly-doubled-funding-for-settlements-says-finance-minister-1.477204


      Why do you support the savages and barbarians?

      • Steve__T

         Their is a lot I would say to you, but I don’t have the time to wright you a book, or give you the understanding of what, I would wright to you. Therefore I will give you four things to think on.

        1 Our treatment of the indigenous people here in the US was horrific and appalling. Why did we take their land and try to kill them all? Because they were savages and barbarians.

        2 Mathew 5 43-48

        3 If you don’t believe in GOD, the Bible is still worth reading to understand how to live a better life. And how to live with others that are different than you. Because the differences of any one of us, is perspective. I find a lot of truths in the saying,

        “Judge not least you be judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

        4 Since the People, that you feel are being wronged, you must understand thees are their teachings, and religion.

        No reply necessary

      • Dee

        Israel lies and deceives the American public and 
        claims it has a right to “self defense” Since when 
        does an occupier and an illegal settlement builder
        have any rights? Surely, those rights belong to the indigenous people of Palestine & not the Israel 

        No American should be embracing such a govern
        ment policy and certainly not remain silent while 
        our American tax dollars are being used illegally 
        for this so called “defense of Israel” when it is 
        a colonial aggressor targeting and unlawfully 
        attacking a civilian population who are lawfully 
        resisting their unlawful aggression on their land.

        Listen to this Israeli soldier who refused to serve
        in such an army and get the real deal instead of 
        buying into Israeli propaganda & their apologists
        in the US government and media….


        P. S. I like Jack Beatty a lot but he and others in the media need to grow a spine and that goes for 
        Obama too…People will not stand with him on
        Israel …Indeed, I have written to Obama and 
        the democratic Party and told them I will not be 
        a contributor to such an atrocious US/ Israeli 
        policy …I believe he knows this by the protest and boycott and divestment groups there are in the USA today—against Israel. 

        Israeli officials and their apologists will not win 
        this fight. The Palestinian people will and should. Plus there are too many Palestinians waiting to 
        go home like Salman Abu Sitta and he will….

  • Dee

    Addendum: See the Zionist ongoing theft of Palestinian Land 
    in our American and with US tax payers revenue in violation
    of our American will and US federal Laws …


  • Dee

    I am no fan of Susan Rice but this assault on her by 
    John Mc Cain and Lindsey Graham is outrageous….

    As Bruce Fein said at the Harvard Law School this 
    Spring both men are the “moral midgets” running 
    America today and selling American rights away 
    at the cost of the misled and failed War on Terror.


    • Gregg Smith

      Well, at least you didn’t call them racist.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        OK, they’re racist.

        • OnPointComments

          There is a certain amount of irony in the contention that McCain and Graham are racists who would never support an African-American woman as Secretary of State, yet they and their party supported Condoleeza Rice as Secretary of State and even proferred her as a potential VP candidate.  Were the Democrats racists when they voted against the Republican Ms. Rice?

          • StilllHere

            Yes, they were.


      Susan Rice is either incompetent or a willing dupe being used by Obama. I think she’s both. Even Obama admitted as much when he  said she was sent to speak to the American public because she knew nothing about Benghazi. America deserves better –although I’m beginning to question myself on that. 

      • Dee

        your argument is stupid and childish like Graham 
        and Mc Cain..Indeed, where was their voice when 
        Bush and company dismissed the bombing of the 
        Twin Towers?  Thus their hypocrisy and now yours 
        shines through today….Dee

        • JONBOSTON

          savages and barbarians place missile batteries near schools , hospitals , and playgrounds. If you don’t understand that then you are no better than a savage.

        • OnPointComments

          Your hypocrisy shines through today….your voice is shrill and criticizing of Bush, yet you give Susan Rice a free pass on anything she says.  How many times does history have to repeat itself before people learn that “I was following orders” (or in Susan Rice’s case, “I said what they told me to say”) is not an excuse when overwhelming evidence at the time proved that it was wrong?

  • Dee


    Netanyahu’s government doubles funds for the settlements 
    Bruce Fein and Ralph Nadar on the moral midgets running America today. (URL) Obama should never have bought into their policies on the war and the same Zionists apol-ogists in the US Senate (my take …) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8kla2T0NQQUS Congress, Abuse of the Patriot Act in the War on Terrorhttp://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/31/opinion/31iht-edpatriot.t.htmlAmerica “s Global Terrorism against Peace http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_64915.shtml


      Support the civilized man in its war against savages and barbarians. Support Israel. Defeat Hamas.

      • Dee

        For me the savages and barbarians at the gate 
        are in Israel today. What other country occupies 
        another day and transports an alien onto such
        land and claims that is a God given right? (It is 
        absolutely insane and no one I know is buying
        it day.)  

        And when that indigenous population complains 
        they are banished them behind fascist like bar
        wire and a fascist like wall. Often they are ar-
        rested when they protest their grievance and 
        throw in jail hem without due process. 

        Or indeed, attack them with 21st air power like
        the Zionist fanatic leader & army did in Gaza 
        last week and claim this was their “right” 

        Since when does an occupier have a right to
        self defense? Surely, that right belongs with 
        the occupied. Thus what twisted Zionist pro-
        ganda you and others swollowed today. 

        Still, the good news today people are intent 
        tin forcing this illegal Zionist entity out in the Palestinian territories and along the border of Gaza.

        The only question which remains is whether 
        israel will go with it…And my feeling is let it
         go and end this terrible injustice.

        The world has to move beyond Israel and the Holocaust . And as Gandhi, argued in 1938 it 
        is morally wrong to reduce another peoples’ 
        land mass for a foreign population.Thus he 
        proposed Jews should remain in the country 
        of their birth and fight for their rights like the 
        rest of us. How imminently wise this is today
        also.   Dee 

        • JONBOSTON

          People who cheer suicide bombings , blowing up busses filled with innocent men, women and children , and use innocents as human shields represent the lowest form of human life. Support civilized man. Support Israel.

  • Dee

    The utter insanity of the US government courting the rich 
    and corporations who don’t even pay taxes getting refunds. Let’s take them off the corporate welfare rolls today. Dee

  • Dee

    When the smoke clears in Gaza…The New Yorker blog 
    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/11/after-gaza-a-single-state.html(This is ugly Zionism that is being forced on the Palestinian people by their Washington apologists and lobbyists in de-fiance of the American people’s will (US polls show they want their officials to be even handed) and Federal Laws.) 


      Sign ( modified) in NYC subway: 
      In the war between civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Hamas.

  • ttajtt

    Profit; Makes the world go poorer.  think about it, if we never went to war.  we would be in what wall street calls a depression.   what would be nothing more then a fast leveling off (like then) of the demand $upply.  and then to re-start the going again like FDR SSI…  i’m sure it would not be like in todays pace.  it then becomes the new lifestyle.

    so with the generation$ in place, money ~ time will $ell.  giving the right our elected people credited it & then spent it. 

    does taxes pay the spending or the bills?
    and where does a blank check with ripples money come from?  recycled nuclear wasted?  lacks ones’ cultivation of one’s habitat for ones peace.  

    printing money how does that play into the “supplied and demanding”.  or is it money TO/FOR becoming “demand supplied”.   this is our survival system, money workings is not workings of this planets survival workings.

    I’ll say it again. Mother Earth has no more to give, (but under the N-S pole ice and waters deep six).   progress has not been equal or even.   NO clean Water – Air – Soil – Sun = WAS environmental.  So does the Depression mean living in the wilderness – wearing animal skins – eating wild honey.  

    heard diarrhea is heredity, it runs in the genes. 

  • 1Brett1

    The “Black Friday” phenomenon is troubling on many levels. I’ve heard a number of perspectives on the matter. For retailers to make the frenzy an earlier event this year won’t increase their sales, just increase sales at a different time. I don’t see much good in helping retail numbers improve on, say, Thursday night/Friday morning, only to have those sales decrease on, say Friday night/Saturday, etc. I, too, am troubled by seeing and hearing from shoppers who feel they have to fight for a bargain, especially when most of what they are doing is engaging in conspicuous consumption, all while many don’t seem to be able to afford it. Incidentally, most experts agree that better deals will be had much closer to Christmas. 

    The Wal*Mart phenomenon seems particularly troubling. I don’t want to discuss the various strikes and worker dissatisfaction within the company (although, I believe many have legitimate complaints), as that component in and of itself is not my overarching point (although part of it); but, for example, I heard shoppers, approached for their opinions/shopping habits, explain their mindsets…it was appalling. One guy said he worked minimum wage at a fast food place, had difficulty making rent and putting gas in his car, yet he “needed” to shop at Wal*Mart on “Black Friday” because he “needed” to get a good deal on a large, flat-screen tv!?!?! I don’t know, but a person in his position doesn’t seem to really “need” a new flat-screen tv. His story didn’t seem to be atypical, either.

    Lack of impulse control, feeling the need to have every convenience and gadget everybody else has (keeping up with the proverbial Jones’), having on the one hand well-expressed empathy for retail workers with whom many of these shoppers identify and on the other hand expressing not having much of a choice but to shop during these frenzies because of a need to save money, and so on, all seems ludicrous.

    I heard an analysis on NPR yesterday that Wal*Mart could make all its “associates” full time and pay them each $25,000 a year, with reasonable basic benefits, and it would only represent an increase of about 15 cents on each customer’s sales receipt. I’d have to look closely at how these numbers were determined, but the point being that large corporations like this, or even smaller ones, such as Papa John’s, bemoan a bad economy or an acute need to contain costs to stay profitable, and I don’t quite buy it. 

    I also find fault with the way Americans have made excessive consumerism a leisure activity, a cultural necessity, a financial priority, and a fundamental “need.” 

    I also find fault with the idea that perpetual, ever-expanding consumption is the best model for economic growth…we need a new paradigm or at least some very tangible tweaking to the old paradigm.

    Many large corporations like Wal*Mart and McDonald’s also get subsidies. I’m disgusted that my tax dollars on some level serve to help make these companies billions of dollars. 

    Through the lens of the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, we’re living in Potterville, not Bedford Falls. 

    • Steve__T

       I have to agree with all you stated, I don’t know how we have come to this, but its not sustainable. I’m reminded of an old saying “There’s a sucker born every minute” we have had too many minutes.

      • 1Brett1

        While the author of the quote is unclear, Wikipedia suggests it was either P.T. Barnum (my initial guess), Joseph (“Paper Collar Joe”) Bessimer, a con man, or David Hannum, who exhibited a giant (he claimed was the “original”) and unsuccessfully sued Barnum for exhibiting what Hannum called a fake. Barnum claimed his was the “original” (Cardiff Giant Hoax). It doesn’t much matter, considering all of these men were con artists.  

        • Steve__T

           Con artist, kinda like part of our congress, senate and big business.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            …and failed presidential candidate.

          • Steve__T

             Ba dum bump

    • TomK_in_Boston

      I don’t understand the “Black Friday” mania. Actually, all the term suggests to me is the Steely Dan song. I’d rather have a root canal than participate.

      I get competition and I can understand folks who have really been crushed by the voodoo economy swarming to the best deals….except I’m not sure they are the best. I guess if you do it with family it cd be positive. Basically, it doesn’t connect with my brain. I mainly hope it doesn’t screw up Thanksgiving. MA law now mandates stores closed on Thanksgiving and we dam well better keep it!

    • Steve__T

       “Papa John’s, bemoan a bad economy or an acute need to contain costs to stay profitable, and I don’t quite buy it.”  Here’s why you shouldn’t buy it. 

      Papa John’s Kicks off NFL Season with 2 Million Pizza Giveaway.

  • 1Brett1
    • Steve__T

      What the? OMG, that is sad.

  • Steve__T


  • ttajtt

    there is places here in america that that still live in a third world status, income food beer is the high calorie intake while not looking for fat…  so No cable – internet – all month gas, food, heat/cooler, right AKA cloths, hair dye… creature comforts is with being public needs.   see what looking to look foreword to is like.   my Igneous American reservation (W. Mt.) has been like it (without the right of domain) and doing since the new neighbors moved in.

    this where the middle east war players are like roles.    i don’t know if Israel would be here today if it not under our wing.  so Pal i don’t know what to say.  one side of the coin or the other.

    see the chain.  A home land or a P.O.W. reservation.

    who started this?  was there a vote? did i know about this new deal? 

    what makes you think FDR was assassinated? 

    • Steve__T
      • ttajtt

        this sight is cool. Thanks

        • Steve__T

           More than welcome

      • ttajtt

        looks to read after some others but it does it talk of the business (war) man doing it.  governments got a bad name serving only them. 

  • TomK_in_Boston

    We had a great thanksgiving talking about many things, including politics. The MA folks were especially happy about the defeat of “nasty Ken doll” Brown and the CT folks were especially happy about the defeat of the wingnut World Wrestling Woman. WWF woman spent upwards of $50 mil of her own money, so we had to thank her for helping the economy.

    In the bigger picture, we were thankful that the TeaOP lost an election they should have won. In case after case, candidates either couldn’t shut up about wingnut issues when they didn’t need them, or adopted a playbook that said go as negative as you possibly can to the point that voters got sick of them. Yea!

    Nasty Ken would not shut up about the native American nonsense when voters could not give a dam, sneered “PROFESSOR Warren” every 30 seconds etc etc and destroyed his nice guy image, which is pretty much all he had going. Dumb! Yea! In CT the dems ran a decent but unspectacular character Murphy who could have been easily beaten by an Obama-like Rockefeller republican. However, that candidate, Chris Shays, was destroyed in the primary by the crazy WWF woman, who then did us the favor of going ultra-negative, and lost by 15% or so. Dumb! Yea!

    So thank you, TeaOP, for the circular firing squad, and please continue to promote new crazies for future elections :)

  • ttajtt

    the question is then who got the profit?  who did it promote? loco or nationally.

    or was is it food on our table or was it the 787 fly to new zealand because you had nothing else to do check. 

  • Expanded_Consciousness

    So hypocritical for the American caller (13 min) to criticize another country (Israel) for spending more money on defense than its enemies. Are you kidding me? What the hell do you think America does when it wages war?

    • Steve__T

       We don’t have to go to war to spend more, we just do.

    • Dee

      America has been in bad hands for the last decade 
      under the neocons and their Zionist apologists and 
      the tragedy today is that Obama didn’t move away 
      from such policies and argue we were not attacked 
      by a country on 911 (if you believe the neocons 
      narrative. I most certainly don’t ..see Daniel Ray 
      Griffen below) but a gang of thugs from hiding out 
      in Afghanistan …Still, that didn’t give the US the
      right to attack another peoples’ country and make 
      war on its people. So , yes, the US leadership is 
      very much in the wrong also and this must change. 

      Yet to move to the suicide bombing and buses.
      There was never any explosions and bombing 
      in Palestine until the Zionist land thieves show-
      ed up and went after the British also. They blew
      up the King David Hotel in 1946 with over 90
      military and diplomatic staff and assassinated 
      the UN peace envoy Count Bernadotte because 
      he protested the injustice of allowing Jews into
      Israel while the Palestinians refugees were kept-
      ed out of their homes.  (listen to Salman Abu 
      Sitta who became their victim & get the real deal. 
      (http://archive.org/details/Salman_Abu_Sitta  )

      Thus I say to you look beyond the bus & suicide 
      bombings and see what illegal Israeli policies are 
      fostering and dooming the Israeli population to. 
      Instead of shifting the blame to Israel’s victims
      in the Palestinian territories and along the border 
      of Gaza…Dee

      David Ray Griffin on the 9/11 Commission Report 
      on Lies and Distortions…

      Blueprint for 9/11 Truth, Architects for the truth 


        Ignore savagery. Ignore barbarism. Ignore behaviour representative of the lowest form of human life. Sounds enlightening…

        Golda Meir: Peace will come to the Palestinians when they value their children more than their hatred of Israel.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Pete, you just repeat dogma from 1980 without regard to facts. How can you call raising top rates from the second lowest, or lowest, values since 1929 class warfare? How low do the top rates have to be, in your opinion, for the rich to be treated fairly? Is it sustainable for financial manipulators to pay 13%? Sorry, but the actual class warfare is what we have been doing since 1980.

    You might find the attached report from the Congressional Research Service helpful, if it doesn’t go too much against your preconceptions to be visible. BTW the GoP tried to suppress it, in the usual triumph of ideology over reality. Here’s the conclusion:”The top income tax rates have changed considerably since the end of World War II. Throughout the late-1940s and 1950s, the top marginal tax rate was typically above 90%; today it is 35%. Additionally, the top capital gains tax rate was 25% in the 1950s and 1960s, 35% in the 1970s; today it is 15%. The average tax rate faced by the top 0.01% of taxpayers was above 40% until the mid-1980s; today it is below 25%. Tax rates affecting taxpayers at the top of the income distribution are currently at their lowest levels since the end of the second World War.The results of the analysis suggest that changes over the past 65 years in the top marginal tax rate and the top capital gains tax rate do not appear correlated with economic growth. The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment, and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie.However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution. As measured by IRS data, the share of income accruing to the top 0.1% of U.S. families increased from 4.2% in 1945 to 12.3% by 2007 before falling to 9.2% due to the 2007-2009 recession. At the same time, the average tax rate paid by the top 0.1% fell from over 50% in 1945 to about 25% in 2009. Tax policy could have a relation to how the economic pie is sliced—lower top tax rates may be associated with greater income disparities.”


    • OnPointComments

      I suppose that the day will come when I cease to be amazed that the liberals’ solution to income inequality is to make the rich poorer instead of making the poor richer.
      As the cited study states, “There is not conclusive evidence, however, to substantiate a clear relationship between the 65-year steady reduction in the top tax rates and economic growth.”  The report is hedged with phrases such as “suggests,” “appear to be associated with,” and “may be,” which are all indications of correlation but not causation.  It could just as easily be said that there is a correlation between the reductions of ALL tax rates during these decades of changing rates, and that lowering the lower bracket rates didn’t increase their share of the economic pie.
      Personally, I think it is far more likely that income disparity is related to other factors such as level of education, forgoing marriage, single women having children, immigration policy, the role of S-corporations, stock options, technological productivity gains, and on and on, and that tax rates play a minimal role.  As the following article states, “the scope of inequality in America is routinely and grossly exaggerated. More important, the primary argument for the injustice of income inequality fails because the success of the rich does not harm the poor. Income inequality as such is not behind the problem of poverty. The rich, in other words, are not the reason why the poor are poor.”  I also agree with the article’s conclusion that “Just as we don’t help the sick by injuring the fit, we don’t help the poor by soaking the rich. When it comes to income, inequality is largely a distraction. We should be focusing on improving the prosperity and well-being of all — with special attention to helping the poor escape their poverty.”
      There’s also an informative WSJ article that discusses the measurement of income inequality:
      Liberals frequently make the argument that the rich getting richer makes the poor poorer, yet no one has ever been able to explain to me how the poor would have been better off if my retirement funds had been invested in Enron stock instead of Apple stock.

      • Duras

        I want to say first that liberals understand that some financial inequality is necessary for capitalism to be productive.  But gapping inequality is distructive and not economically sound.  There are two ways to close inequality gaps: unions and/or taxation on the top.  The most successful economies choose one or the other: Japan has low taxes but narrow wage ratios, while Germany has a wide range of wages and high taxes on the top. 

        America, over the last 32 years has been weaking unions and lowering taxes on the top, which accounts for the stagnation of wages, rising college tuition, and the shrinking social mobility.  Today, CEO to average earner income shares similar wage ratio to the pre-depression era; same goes for the corporate profit to average wage ratio.  And if you want to know what built the middle class and turned America into an economic superpower, it was 3 terms of the most liberal-progressive president this country has had, unions, and the New Deal. 

        Indeed, you can read Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and see how crucial unions are to the wealth of the nation, and not just that of a wealth class!  I think if you read Wealth of Nations, you will see how there is, in any given year, a finite amount of wealth to be made and distributed across society, and how it is distributed depends on the political economy.  (We certainly don’t have the political economy that is conducive to health levels of inequality.) 

        And your last comment is the worst: if there is anything in America right now, it is capital.  If we got rid of Social Security and Medicare and put our retirements in a 401k, the next recession could purge millions of people’s retirements and cause a political backlash from the left that even the conservatives on this board would be apart of.  It is absurd to think that there isn’t enough investment capital in this country.  And if anything, the laissez-faire, dark market environment of Wall Street is discouraging novice, low capital investments.  

        Doing away with Social Security and Medicare in order to force Americans to put their retirements in 401ks is absolutely class warfare.  And if you think it will work, well, thankfully we have libraries where you can go to read about American conditions before these programs and you can also look around the world and see that such right wing reaklessness has done and is doing to people. 

        • Gregg Smith

          There is a lot to respond to but I’ll leave it in the capable hands of OPC. Just one thing, the distinction between public and private sector unions is enormously significant. If that distinction were to be made, the debate would change completely.

          “All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management… Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.”



          • Duras

            In China, government runs everything, exploits their labor, and no one is allowed to unionize. 

            Why should government be allowed to do as they please with their workforce but private companies can’t?

            Moreover, FDR said that public employees should collectively bargin with the government at a table, not strike.  But when you take away the right to collectively bargin at a table, what can public employees do but strike.  Republicans are effectively making the “strike” as the only bartering chip public employees have.  Moreover, FDR paid generous wages to public employment, which was one of the things that lifted America out of a depression and built a middle class.

        • OnPointComments

          I didn’t propose doing away with Social Security and Medicare.  My retirement funds example merely illustrates that the selection of an investment that succeeded didn’t deprive anyone else, and nobody would have been better off had the investment failed instead of succeeding.  It refutes the ridiculous notion that one person’s success causes another person’s failure.
          Unions fulfilled a role 80 years ago, but now they are as corrupt as any company or organization.  You lament the difference between CEO wages and worker wages, but look the other way when it comes to union boss wages and the wages of the people they represent.  The big business lobbyists are a scourge on society, but union lobbying and the buying of benefits and concessions through union campaign contributions, well, that’s OK.  Unions are just as greedy as any Wall Street banker, if not more so.  Have you read the provisions of the union contract with Hostess?  Twinkies and Wonder Bread can’t travel in the same truck even though they’re going to the same store; the driver of the truck can’t assist in the stocking of goods; union employees pay zero toward their own health care costs.  The teacher’s union contract in Michigan states that teachers can be caught in school drunk five times and on drugs three times before being fired.  The average teacher makes $44,000 annually, while the top teacher’s union officer makes more than 10 times as much.  Is it any wonder that when given the choice, many workers decline union membership?  The union response is to make membership mandatory, or to abolish secret ballots so that dissenters can be intimidated.  Unions, as they are now, are not the solution.
          One of the favorite tactics of liberals is to gather a bunch of statistics, find a difference, fabricate a cause of the difference out of whole cloth, and propose a solution that fits the liberal agenda.  If there is a difference in income between groups, it must be because the rich are stealing from the poor; if statistics show that men earn more than women, it must be discrimination.  Surely the causes can’t be the choices people make on education, marriage, family, or career choice, because if that were the case then the guiding hand of liberalism couldn’t easily provide the solution by taking from some and giving to others; the solution would require people to take a role in changing their own lives and making different choices.

          • Steve__T

             Your statement that “Surely the causes can’t be the choices people make on education,
            marriage, family, or career choice, because if that were the case then
            the guiding hand of liberalism couldn’t easily provide the solution by
            taking from some and giving to others; the solution would require people
            to take a role in changing their own lives and making different

            I don’t know how old you are but some people have worked for some company’s for years, using their good education and honed skills for that company. Would you consider that a poor choice? When you have worked for a company for the better part of your life and you see your income unable to keep up with rising prices, your solution, to take a role in changing their lives, is not a choice. Something for you to look at I will use a hypothetical situation: A worker in 1987 making 15.00 an hour has worked for the same company to today has received raises and now makes 21.00 an hour. The company he works for charges for the job he does for their clients. The company in 1987 was charging clients 18.00 an hour for his services. In 2012 the company is now charging  55.00 an hour for his same services, altho he is now able to do more work than he was in 1987. The CEO in 1987 was bringing in 70,000 a year in 2012 he is now bringing in 890,000 a year. The worker is to old to change his job because he will loose his meager retirement with the company and can not possibly find a job that can match that. He has no choice.
            Unfortunately that is what is happening everywhere, that’s how the working poor are getting robbed.

          • pete18

            Of course given that you’ve presented us a hypothetical, it’s
            a little hard to respond to you, unlike for instance the Twinkie story in which
            there was much more to the situation than just increasing CEO salaries and a
            cutback on employee benefits.

            In the real world it’s rare that salaries drop just because
            CEO’s are greedy, there are usually other market forces in play. However, if we
            stick with your hypothetical, since no doubt it’s a reality that there are aging
            workers who have been with a company for a long time that face declining wages
            in a shifting marketplace, and it is very difficult for them to change careers
            at that point, what is it that you are suggesting the government should be
            doing to intervene in your scenario? Set limits on CEO salaries? Guarantee a
            certain wage or income for workers above the minimum wage?
            What is your alternative to the market here?

          • Steve__T

             I’m not Suggesting anything and definitely not that the government intervene. If I would make a suggestion it would be more of a wish, that companies share a little more fairly, with the people that make their profits possible.   

          • Duras

            I think one of the favorite tactics of conservatives is to ignore history and other economies in the world.  Read Wealth of Nations, it is the best template of capitalist.  Second, one of the founders of modern supply side economics–his name started with a “W” and was quite long and easily forgetable–said that these policies would only work with high individual taxes on top earners. 

            Also, I would like to see these so-called ratios of union bosses to union member earnings.  I have seen many of the fees that unions charge: basically, if you make 40k a year, you will pay around $25 a month.  I wouldn’t cry about liberals using facts and figures.  In fact, the Congressional Research Service, a division of the Library of Congress, issued a report on the relationship between the top tax rate and the economy, which debunked the idea that lowering the rates creates jobs while agreeing that the rate reductions ultimately “make the rich richer and the poor poorer.” 

            Sorry, but there is an empirical reality and a well known history that conservatives tried to deal with in the form of Glenn Beck, for example.   And unions are a staple of capitalism, free markets, and freedom.  If you don’t like unions then move to China.  But you should also look at Japan: there CEO to average earner ratio is 10:1, whereas America’s is around 385:1.  Because they have unions that close the wage gap, they are able to have less progressive taxes.  Again, I am sorry that you don’t like ratios and facts and figures, but we are talking economics for crying out loud.  Economics has a lot of numbers and histories of human behavior in its calculus; if you don’t like that, than stay out of the argument.

      • jimino

        The unfortunate truth is that, over the last 35 years, the rising tide has NOT lifted all boats.  The share of our country’s total income going to the top 10% has increased by more than 40% while that going to the rest has declined.  If one is a rational thinker, the fact that real-world outcomes totally contradict the outcomes “predicted” by your economic theory should lead one to abandon them, or at the very least consider that they are wrong. 

        • Gregg Smith

          I question that the poor are getting poorer in the context of the last 35 years. But leaving that aside, you bring up an oft repeated lament but the implication is never ever articulated. Do you believe the rich are getting richer at the expense of the poor? I guess you must or you would have no beef. In 2001 six million of the poorest saw their tax liability disappear and the rich paid more because of it despite their also getting a tax cut (although not as big as the poor got). Is that what you mean?

      • StilllHere

        Well done.  Prepare for some factfree criticisms.


      What you dismiss is that lower tax rates can change economic behavior and stimulate growth, which can then cause tax revenues to exceed static estimates (which is what the CBO always assumes).. Under some circumstances, tax cuts can lead to more-not less-tax revenue. The exact opposite occurs following tax increases, and revenues will often fall short of static projections. I can guaranty you that the effect of California’s recent hike in state income taxes to 13.4%  will result in a mass exodus of high salaried earners from california, less income tax revenues , and continuing budget deficits…… You also neglect the fact that tax cuts create an incentive to increase output, employment, and production , and thereby stimulating economic growth and broadening the tax base. A modest increase can have a negligible effect. However, what Obama advocates, especially his proposed increase in capital gains and investment income, is significant and anti-growth in outcome. With Obamacare taxes, the 15% percent cap-gains tax could run up to 23.8% and the 15% dividend rate could jump to 43.4%. When you raise the  cost of capital, you get less of it and less business formation , lower productivity,fewer  jobs , and reduced incomes. This may satisfy those Obama voters who resent and envy the “rich and successful” but it will do absolutely nothing to foster economic growth , increase employment and “help the middle class”.  I hope you have a decent job . Otherwise good luck in finding one. 

    • pete18

      Tom, raising the top rates from the 2nd lowest since 1929 is class warfare because most of those who argue for it do not have benefitting the economy, or helping the poor or middle class, as their main goal, they are much more interested in punishing the rich, whom they feel got that way unfairly or at the expense of the poor. As OPC pointed out so well in his post, you don’t improve the incomes of the poor or middle class by making the rich poorer or forcing them to shelter more of their income.

      The study you cited is hardly non-partisan, the writer was an Obama supporter, who donated to his campaign and worked as an economist at the White House budget office under Bill Clinton. The study also has some serious statistical design flaws that make its conclusions rather suspect.  I know the democrat spin is that mean, dishonest Republicans were trying to suppress the report but the spokeswoman for the CRS (Congressional Research Service), the group that wrote the report, denies that it was pulled based on pressure or comments from members of congress.


      Study flaws:

      But for the sake of argument, let’s pretend that the report is correct and there is in fact is no known correlation between tax cuts and economic growth. That still leaves a gaping hole in the fairness argument that you are trying to make. It is undisputed that the rich pay more now in the total percentage of tax revenues then they did in the glory days of 90% and 70% tax rates. You asked how low does the rate have to go on the wealthy for me to think it’s fair? I’d ask you the inverse, how much of the total percentage of taxes do the rich have to pay before you think it’s too much? If you look at the percentages paid in 2007, it breaks down like this:

      The top 1% earned 22% of national income and paid 40% of the share of federal income taxes.

      The top 5% earned 37% of national income and paid 61% of the share of federal income taxes.

      The top 10% earned 48% of national income and paid 71% of the share of federal income taxes.

      The top 25% earned 68% of national income and paid 85% of the share of federal income taxes.

      The bottom 50% earned 12% of national income and paid 3% of the share of federal income taxes.


      By what standard is that fair?  What I think would be fair is a flat rate for everyone, set at a percentage that would bring in the minimum amount to run the government, adjusted for inflation. You make more, you pay more, you make less, you pay less. That would be equal treatment under the law. What we have now isn’t.
      I’m under no delusions that the idea of tax progressivity will ever change because so many people accept it as the norm, but as a model of fairness it is inherently unequal.

      By the way, in 2007 when the rich were paying the bulk of the federal taxes despite the lower rates, the share of taxes revenue collected by the feds was 18.5% of GDP, one of the higher percentages of revenue to GDP in history. There was only one year in the 50s, one year in the 60s and one year in the 70s, when the rates for the top brackets were 90% and 70%, that had a higher percentage yield than the collections in 2007. How could his be if we had these historically low rates on the rich?


      As to capital gains, that is income that has already been taxed at least once, as a corporate tax, it shouldn’t be taxed twice.  Warren Buffet and secretary pay the same rate on capital gains. The same goes for savings at any income level and the death tax. The government should have no right to tax you a second time after you die. Despicable on all levels.

      I agree that income disparity is a problem but I think OPC is right in pointing out that this problem isn’t created by tax rates that are too low on the wealthy. If anything the current rates have relieved lower incomes of tax burdens and saddled a higher portion of those on the rich.

      A lot has changed from the old days where unions did serve an important role. We currently have a world economy; there is no getting around that. We also have
      a technology-based economy that has made low skilled work less valuable, and there’s no escaping this reality either.  If we continue down the road of spending beyond our means, increasing taxes and leaving the fiscal time bombs of social security and Medicare (and now Obama Care) unreformed, we will become Greece and liberals will have achieved their dreams of equality, because everybody will be poor.

  • ttajtt

    class warfare must have been before that.   i.e. first 72 oil = profit, war drafts, $ office benefits, champion kids, bought out, after ww two home technology grew.  those who don’t go to the front lines, those of ww one and spanish PI wars, … $$$ blood thrust control us people?   its just generation over and over why we look in the stars? for a new fight-er or the other?  fuel$ waste$ the mother-earth economy for a live long and prosper child.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002296415298 Ahmad Hassan


    The helplessness people feel about the outrage in Gaza has led people to cursing.  However, spewing antisemitic, or any kind of racist hate speech will not help the
    victims of Israeli aggression.  I can understand how Israeli
    manipulation of facts angers people and incites hate speech and even
    violence.  But we have to control ourselves and try to work with
    reasonable Jews, Israelis and even Zionists.  Anyone who admits the
    truth and does not attempt to force the Zionist narrative down peoples

    What Israel is doing is a crime.  This carnage
    reinforces the argument for a civil defense backup for Gaza in Sinai. 
    It would put the very young, the disabled and the aged out of the way of
    constant danger.  It would be good for both, Palestinians and
    Egyptians.  It would be great if Egyptians could work on this idea on the internet like an open source project.

    For a sketch of what it may look like go to:





Sep 1, 2014
This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)

On Labor Day, we’ll check in on the American labor force, with labor activist Van Jones, and more.

Sep 1, 2014
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) recovers a fumble by Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) in the second quarter of the NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP)

One outspoken fan’s reluctant manifesto against football, and the big push to reform the game.

Aug 29, 2014
Beyoncé performs at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Getty)

Sex, power and Beyoncé’s feminism. The message to young women.

Aug 29, 2014
Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

War moves over Syria, Ukraine. Burger King moves to Canada. Nine-year-olds and Uzis. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: August 29, 2014
Friday, Aug 29, 2014

On hypothetical questions, Beyoncé and the unending flow of social media.

More »
Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

More »
Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

More »
1 Comment