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Week In The News: Cliff Deal, Sandy Relief, Hillary’s Health

A fiscal cliff deal. Uproar over Sandy relief. Hillary’s health. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, (AP)

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, (AP)

Hello, 2013!  What a way to clear a New Year.

In a week of high-wire, politics in Washington with the nation’s whole economy on the line.  Bottom line:  if you make four, 450K-plus, your taxes are going up.  A win for the president.  Wall Street roared.  Republicans said this isn’t over.  There’s more cliff to come.

Debt ceiling.  Spending.  John Boehner’s back as speaker.  A hurricane over Hurricane Sandy relief.  Hilary Clinton’s health an issue.  Al Jazeera buys Al Gore’s TV channel.  Sandy Hook, back to school.

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

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Robert Costa, Washington editor at the National Review.

Annie Lowrey, economic policy correspondent for the New York Times.

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s reading List

The Washington Post ”House Speaker John A. Boehner narrowly won reelection Thursday to a second term overseeing a chamber that has proved difficult for him to manage, surviving a rebellion from the most conservative wing of his GOP caucus.”

CNN “After a firestorm of criticism from Northeast Republicans, the House of Representatives is expected to take up an aid package on Friday meant to address those still reeling in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Lawmakers will consider $9 billion in immediate assistance for flood insurance and will weigh another $51 billion in broader aid on January 15.”

The Los Angeles Times “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was released from a New York hospital Wednesday evening after doctors treated her for a blood clot that had formed behind her ear.”

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  • Ed75

    Earlier this week, to the annoyance of some, I submitted a new year’s puzzle to support my argument that our turning to seriously evil practices will lead soon to government problems, natural disasters and wars. (We’ve seen some already, but they are minor compared to what is coming if we don’t change.) But I don’t think anyone solved it, so I’ll give a clue. Abortion was made legal in 1973, or 73, so 37 means ‘reverse Roe v. Wade’, or ‘stop abortion’:

         8:46
         9:03
         9:59
      +10:29
        _____
         3737

    • sickofthechit

       If you want to stop abortion might I suggest the following;
      -Universal Wellness Care (at a minimum) for all,
      -Widespread distribution and availability of the morning after pill,
      -Widespread and early comprehensive sex education in the schools, homes and churches,
      -Improve our educational system,
      -Love and nurture everyone you come in contact with,
      -Figure out how the earth can handle the increase in population once we no longer allow more than 20,000 children to die every day from extreme poverty (poverty which we can prevent with our current resources).

      Good luck!

    • 1Brett1

      Isn’t numerology part of the occult? …Seems most unchristian-like to be dabbling in that realm. What would your priest think if he knew you were performing some form of incantation using numbers for prophesying the future? I mean, it’s probably bad enough to do such things behind a curtain in your own home, but to go public with such practices and invite others to do so?  

      • Acnestes

        This nonsense isn’t even “real” numerology.  It’s simply silliness.

    • Steve__T

       You are playing with fire. Out of the very book you quote Remember Col 2:8 Rev 22:18.

       Do not play with God’s word, you can not bend them to make what you want to say even if you think it just.

      • Ed75

        I’m glad for the Bible quotes, very nice. But what I’ve said is well within the guidelines of Catholic teaching, that if a person or a country turns to evil things, the person or country will be warned, but if they don’t repent, they will suffer disasters.

    • jefe68

      yawn.

    • J__o__h__n

      This makes Herman Cain’s 9 9 9  look sane in comparison (now resuming my boycott).

      • jefe68

        Well, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition… 

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

      Okay, I tried it again, and my calculator now reads 58008.

      But when I turn it upside down my nephew giggles like crazy. What am I missing?

  • JGC

    On immigration reform:

    Canada is taking “another step away from a passive immigration system – which merely accepts people on a first-come, first-served basis – to one in which newcomers are chosen according to how they can benefit Canada…Ottawa to play matchmaker for foreign workers. New system will be ‘like a dating site’ for top global talent, Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney tells the Globe and Mail.  The new system, with a focus on in-demand skills and more stringent language requirements – newcomers must be proficient in English or French – is geared at preventing the growth of an immigrant underclass.  There was an 8-year backlog of applicants to immigrate to Canada, and he likens it to airline overbooking.  ”Are the most mobile (meaning educated and skill-rich) passengers going to get into that crazy departure lounge and wait eight years? No. Of course not.”

    Just interesting, as immigration reform in the U.S. is a top priority for both the Obama administration and for the Republican Party this year.

    • Flytrap

       There’s a new paper out about the costs of our current immigration policy, http://cis.org/2012-profile-of-americas-foreign-born-population#execsum and a review of it here, http://www.amren.com/features/2012/12/the-economic-consequences-of-immigration/  Makes for some enlightening reading. 

      • JGC

        Thanks for the links.  American Renaissance is overtly racist, but the Center for Immigration Studies has some interesting insights.  Neither approach a pro-economic-security based solution to immigration, which would be to make the preponderance of immigrant slots go to people who can bring necessary education and skills to the U.S. workforce.   

        • Flytrap

           I agree with you about immigration but disagree about American Renaissance.  They are overtly truthful with a smidgen of racism.

  • sickofthechit

    The Cliff Deal was another Obama disappointment if you ask me.  I would love to get him at a poker table.  I think he plays even worse than me.

    • Gregg Smith

      New taxes and zero spending cuts, oh yea he didn’t want that.

      • Shag_Wevera

        Couldn’t have done it without GOP votes…

        • Gregg Smith

          He had both chambers for 2 years and did not end them for anyone not even the top. Why? Because Democrats would not support it.

          • sickofthechit

             I think we had a bit of a financial crisis when he entered office, remember?

          • Gregg Smith

            Caused by the tax cuts, right? 

          • Don_B1

            Note that sickofthechit mentioned financial crisis (of the Wall Street banks) as the big player in the Great Recession which was initially caused by the popping of the housing bubble encouraged by lax regulation (Christopher Cox at the S.E.C. and Alan Greenspan at the Federal Reserve and George W. Bush pushing and hailing progress in growth of home ownership*).

            But, as well as the poor structure of the tax cuts which were heavily weighted to the already wealthy and thus only marginally stimulative to the economy (the housing bubble hid their poor performance), the use of derivatives by the Wall Street Investment banks and even insurance companies (A.I.G.) led them to over-leverage themselves and thus, when the mortgage crisis hit (the flaky and false foundation of so much of those derivatives) the banks lost credibility so that interbank lending ground to a near halt and no bank trusted that a loan to another bank would be repaid.

            The combination of the two events led to a huge drop in spending and thus aggregate demand, which led to widespread layoffs of people who had NO role in causing this debacle, but the politicians, mostly of the Tea/Republican stripe, are determined to use the crisis to push their long-held desire to cripple the social contract through decimation of the  safety net.

            But I have said this many times before and you never address any of thee real causes in any substantive way, because you can’t!.

            ————
            * George W. Bush proposed some changes to the structure of the GSEs, calling it “reform,” but they were properly seen as just a way to ensure their demise, much as the requirement for the Post Office to set aside more money over a ridiculously short period of time to cover pension obligations, requirements that are NOT applied to private sector companies.

            All this is to ease the transition of government functions to the private sector as long as the government continues to pay for them.

            And if the government can give a private company a monopoly on a contract or an area of the economy, so much the better. The most wealthy look for “rent-seeking” opportunities at every turn and only look to risky job creation when other opportunities are absent.

          • Flytrap

             Without the default rates caused by CRA induced lending standards, the derivatives MIGHT not have made such a mess of things.  The fault lies with social engineering with stupid pc bills like the CRA.

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

            Your incredible devotion to hammering that CRA thing is touching. Well, that and totally out of proportion

          • sickofthechit

             I used to work for a Reinsurance company in Liquidation and it took us 20 years to run off the business of a not very large player.  The same  sort of time frame should have been used to wind down the mess in the Derivatives and CDO markets.  I can’t believe the New York Insurance Commissioner didn’t step in and declare them all Insurance products and regulate them properly..  products and regulate them properly.

          • sickofthechit

             Thank you.

          • Mike_Card

            Stop with that 2 years’ control stuff.

            You and others trumpet that as if you never heard about the filibuster rule and mush-mouf McConnell’s 1st day proclamation about blocking everything.

      • http://profiles.google.com/dfgoog David Gauthier

        Not new taxes, it was the planned expiration of a tax cut under Bush, at least for the top earners.   

        • Gregg Smith

          No they were all planned to expire not just the top. The planned expiration was years ago. Obama extended ALL of them. They are the Obama tax cuts.

          • sickofthechit

             So now you are saying he has cut taxes?

          • Flytrap

             Yes.

      • sickofthechit

         New taxes?  Have you forgotten they were the “Temporary Bush Tax Cuts”?

        • Don_B1

          You have to remember that Gregg has no problem with the hypocrisy of saying one thing about a problem and then when it suits him saying the reverse, much like Senator McConnell did on filibustering his own bill.

          • sickofthechit

             I am a proud Kentuckian, but I am not proud of our Senators.

  • sickofthechit

    I have to question any level of Sandy Relief that doesn’t seriously look at addressing the wisdom of rebuilding on a shoreline that was so overbuilt.  Maybe a little time needs to pass before a massive rebuilding takes place on what is at best shifting sands and shores.  I know about loving your home and its location.  FEMA is tearing down perfectly good homes in my neighborhood and all we have out front is a drainage ditch.  I think what they are really doing here is covering up for a municipality that allowed to much development and now finds itself with an inadequate “sanitary” sewer system in certain areas.

    • http://profiles.google.com/dfgoog David Gauthier

      The homes in the most vulnerable areas should be on stilts.  And the tax payers shouldn’t have to pay for any more future rebuilding in that area when the next flood comes.  Buy flood insurance or move.

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

        Tangentially: The flood insurance program is unlike any other kind of property insurance, IIRC. That’s a show in itself.

      • sickofthechit

         Some just simply shouldn’t be re-built.  I pay flood insurance (more than $1,000) every year for a home worth less than $150,000 in an area that 100 out of 100 would look at and say would never be subject to damaging flooding to its structure, which is all the flood policy covers.  I and countless others pay these premiums on exaggerated flood zones as a way to subsidize a program that doesn’t or won’t charge the actual cost to homes truly at risk. 

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

          Tangent: Part of me wonders if what assessors used to call a “hundred year flood” (or “five hundred year” or whatever) will have to be recalculated, and soon.

    • Fredlinskip

      They need build 20 miles from shore if the global warming trend continues as it has.

  • Gregg Smith

    So Algore feverishly worked to sell his network (Current TV) before the year’s end to avoid the tax hike. I don’t blame him and hypocrisy does’t bother me much but it goes to show people will avoid paying higher taxes if they can. He turned down more money from Glenn Beck and sold it to Al Jazeera (big oil). More hypocrisy. Cool, just saying…

    • Steve__T

       That’s a twist mixing news with big oil…. oh hey didn’t he (Glenn Beck) call Obama a racist?  Who to choose?

      • Gregg Smith

        I think it odd Mr. Green is taking big oil money, don’t you? Or that Mr. taxes is avoiding taxes, don’t you?

        Beck did indeed call Obama a racist but the weasel took it back and apologized the next day.

        • Ray in VT

          I, for one, don’t.  I pretty much always expect people to act in their
          self interest up to the edge of, and sometimes over the line of, the
          law.  Maybe the guy’s just been reading some Rand or something.

          I’d
          actually give Beck credit for taking something like that back, although
          he should have made a better apology for when he used some mock-black
          voices and portrayed the Obama girls as basically stupid.  Although I
          think that Beck is somewhat crazy, I don’t think that he stoops to the
          level of El Rushbo, and his “Halfrican American” and his magic negro song, etc.

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

            Give Beck credit for taking stuff back?

            You are more magnanimous than I. Beck’s apology, to me, falls distinctly into “I see by how stunned everyone looks that I really didn’t mean it” territory.

            I see him as only apologetic when he failed to “judge the room”. But then, after the low bar set by everyone else…

          • Ray in VT

            I can see your point of view, and you may be right on that one.

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

            Yeah, no prob.

            I saw this coming years ago. The mediascape has been out of kilter for awhile like this, simply in acceptable tone towards lefties or (when there is no liberal around) Democrats.

            I was not surprised when, say, Politico’s Halperin calling the President “kind of a dick” on live TV. He had just spent so long swimming in those waters he let his guard down.

          • Gregg Smith

            You got me Ray, I never heard the story about Beck and Obama’s daughters. I find it completely unbelievable. Did you hear it? Surely it’s wrong or out of context.

            “Magic Negro” was a great parody. I can’t believe you didn’t like it. What is low about outing racism from the left? Do you know the origin?

            ttp://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-ehrenstein19mar19,0,3391015.story

            I also never heard Rush use the term “halfrican American”, I don’t know how I missed it. I see no problem. Calling him African American is not accurate and insulting to his mother.

          • Ray in VT

            I didn’t hear it live, because I refuse to pollute the air around with with that crap, but you can listen to it here:

            http://mediamatters.org/blog/2010/05/28/glenn-beck-smears-obamas-11-year-old-daughter/165466

            I know of the origin from which Rush and his ilk came up with their little song, and there is something very distinctly different, in my view, between the two voices using it.  I can call one of my gay friends a fag, and we’re cool with that, but if a stranger calls him that, then it’s an insult.  It’s amazing that you fail to see the differences there.

            Here’s some enlightenment regarding “Halfrican American”:

            http://mediamatters.org/research/2007/01/24/limbaugh-on-obama-halfrican-american/137833

            I do think that it is derogatory compared to a term like mixed race or biracial.  I wonder if he thinks that being called African American insults his mother?  I would bet not.

          • Gregg Smith

            Okay, I’ll look but I think MM is a hideous outlet. The fact that they are tax exempt is obscene. But I don’t refuse to hear both sides.

            Personally I treat all people as equal. We’ve debated it before regarding the chimp pictures of Obama and Bush. I don’t think one is worse than the other. I hate the notion of certain words being good or bad depending on the color of skin of the speaker. I find the article to be extremely racist and I don’t care if the author is black. And I think Rush pointing out that racism is noble. Plus he did it in a way that gained National attention making the impact greater. Outing racism is always good in my book.

            It doesn’t matter what Obama thinks, it’s insulting to his mother who is white but that’s not a battle I want to fight. It’s just my opinion. I don’t like the term African American to begin with anyway. Are you okay with calling Obama a Mulatto? That would be accurate. My preference is to call him an American and leave it at that.

            I’ll get back after I check out the MM links.

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

            It doesn’t matter that you’re not racist. The bigots are the right’s base. You really need to stop lying down with dogs.

          • Flytrap

             It is a paradox when you label your adversaries as bigots when you are bigoted against them.  When is bigotry ok, when it promulgates your views?

             

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

            …said another righty who can’t deal with my calling out the right’s bigotry. You don’t have to defend your side’s bigots, even if they are the base.

          • Ray in VT

            I like Media Matters quite a bit.  They pay some poor souls to consume hours of right wing drivel in order to pick out for my horror and amusement the choicest bits.  They should get hazard pay for that.

            One may not like the differences in meanings that people take from words based upon the identity of the speaker, but that is the way that it is, and I will firmly stand behind my position that given the history of portrayal of people of African origin as stupid or sub-human that portraying Obama as a monkey is far more racist than portraying Bush as one.

            I try to treat everyone equally, but I also understand that most people make a lot of choices about identities and who gets to call them what, so while I might call one of my long time African American friends “ma nigga” (and she refers to me as “my caucasian’), I realize that that is something that many people would take offense at me calling them.

            I can see hyphenated terms of origin from both sides.  For many people it is very important to acknowledge their heritage, and that is one way that they can do it.  I hold some aspects of my family ancestry quite dear.

            I find mulatto to be a term that has fallen by the wayside among younger people.  It’s not quite as bad as something like Mongoloid, but I think that it is a term that is headed towards social unacceptability.  I would probably say mixed race or biracial if specifically asked to describe his ancestry.

          • Gregg Smith

            To tie a few debates together: Do you consider MM to be getting money because they’re tax exempt? Is that the same as redistribution?

          • Gregg Smith

            I gotta say I’m tempted to be disappointed in you Ray but you have credibility in my book so I will chalk it up to different perspectives on the same issue. I did hear that Beck show but you threw me off when you injected racism (mock-black voices). I did not hear that at all, I don’t even know what it is unless you are referring to ebonics. Beck clearly was not using ebonics. That’s why I found your claim unbelievable and still am shocked you represented it that way. Really shocked.

            It was a kid’s voice, that’s all. He shouldn’t have responded to Obama using Malia to puff himself up as a savior by mocking her. He said so and apologized. The whole thing was a commentary on Obama and the press. In context it had nothing to do with Malia. That’s where Beck erred.

            And no he didn’t call them stupid.

            I will give you my opinion and don’t want to debate it because it’s you. We’ve always kept it civil and not personal. If we debate the following that will be over. Neither Rush nor Beck have a racist bone in their body. None, period. If they did I would have zero respect for either of them. Only racist respect racist. To imply otherwise (resisting accusing you of more than implying notion) is the lowest form of shallow debate. It’s divisive and hideous.

          • Ray in VT

            I’ll walk back the mock-black voice, Gregg.  I misremembered that one.  As for his apology, as with Rush and the Sandra Fluke apology, I would give them some credit if they had apologized on the air on their shows, instead of issuing a written statement.  I was especially surprised at Beck bringing in Malia.  I would expect more from a family man with young(ish) children of his own.

            “Did you plug the hole yet, daddy?” Is that’s their — that’s
            the level of their education, that they’re coming to — they’re coming
            to daddy and saying ‘Daddy, did you plug the hole yet?’ ” Plug the hole!”

            That doesn’t sound too complimentary of their intelligence in my book, but that’s my take.

            As for their true feelings, I don’t think that you have any more true of an insight into their inner characters than I do.  They’re showmen.  Only the Shadow knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men. 

            However, I do try to stay away from making such allegations, because that is a pretty serious charge in my book.  I have often wondered what these shock jocks really believe.  Do they really believe some of the outrageous things that they say, or are they just trying to inflate ratings.  I don’t know.

          • Gregg Smith

            Rush apologized on his show. He issued his statement on a Saturday when his show is not on.

          • Steve__T

            Not an aapology

        • Steve__T

           Apologized, after much chagrin and outrage is not an apology its a blind.

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

      “Al Gore sold his network before the year end owing to tax law changes.”

      Fixed that for you.

  • Steve__T

    I was so hoping Boner would loose, I think Nancy was too, she really didn’t want to let go of the gavel.

    • Brandstad

      I agree! They both should have been removed from power!

    • hennorama

      Steve__T – there certainly were some oddball votes, and it was a bit dicey there for Boehner even late in the roll call.  Here are the most interesting votes, IMO:

      Republicans – 2 votes for former congressman Allen West, by Rep. Paul (“… evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell.”) Broun (R-Ga.).  This person is on the House Science and Technology Committee.

      Voting with Broun was Rep. Louie (I’ve never seen a microphone I didn’t like) Gohmert (R-Tex.).  This is the guy who said about the Aurora, CO shootings “What really gets me as a Christian is to see the ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs, and then some senseless crazy act of terror like this takes place.”

      Among Democrats voting against Nancy Pelosi – Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) voted for Colin Powell.  Copper also received two votes, from Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.).  The Blue Dog Democrats are now down to 14 members.

  • Ray in VT

    I heard it reported yesterday that America now it’s first ever Hindu in Congress (and a Buddhist in the Senate).  It was reported that Tulsi Gabbard was going to use a Bhagavad Gita in the ceremony (in the unofficial reenactment afterwards I would suppose).  Does anyone know if she did and whether or not there has been any freaking out like when Keith Ellison used Jefferson’s Koran back in 2007?

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

      Funny how there was no freakstorm when two new GOP congresscritters were sworn in by video, by watching it on TV.

  • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

    FTA:
    Overall, nearly 80 percent of households will pay more money to the federal government as a result of the fiscal cliff deal.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2256972/Middle-earners-hit-hardest-revealed-workers-making-30-000-bigger-hit-earning-500-000-new-fiscal-deal.html

    • Shag_Wevera

      Good.  We should all be paying more taxes if we are 15 trillion dollars in debt.  Have ya heard?

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB
        • Shag_Wevera

          Agreed.  Does this also include Donald Trump and Mitt Romney?

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            …and Sen. Kerry and Sen. Warren and… (I bet I can name more rich people on the left than you can on the right) 

          • jefe68

            By the way smart guy, most of the members in Congress are millionaires.

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            Thanks for the update. 

          • Flytrap

             But very few are  bald faced hypocrites like Kerry or Warren.

      • Brandstad

        In order to get federal spending back to the Clinton level of spending + inflation would take a $1.5T cut to this years spending!  

        We don’t have a taxing problem, we have a spending problem!

        • Ray in VT

          Wrong, we have both.  Tax collection as a share of GDP is at a 60 year low.  That is a situation that adds tens of billions to the debt and deficit every year.

          • Gregg Smith

            But that’s because of the anemic economy which massive spending has perpetuated. Any revenue increases will be spent, that’s a spending problem. The cliff deal proved it, more taxes no spending cuts.

          • Ray in VT

            The economic situation is indeed a part of it.  That number will come up a bit as unemployment goes down.  The tax code is also a part of it.  It’s riddled with exemptions and loopholes, and I will again revive the argument that Bush tax policies pushed that number lower.  There are some big issues that need addressing, and each side has its sacred cow or cows.  Social Security and Medicare are facing a growing population of users, and many don’t want to touch there.  Defense spending has doubled over the past 10 years, and one party wanted to push through spending there that the Pentagon didn’t even want, because “we have to have priorities”.

          • Flytrap

             SS and Medicare are funded differently than defense.  Don’t conflate the 2.  When you start talking about cutting WIC, Section 8, and other charity programs, then we can be serious.

      • Flytrap

         The IRS will accept your check.

    • Acnestes

      I wish people would stop using OUR flag as their own personal symbol, like they’re real Americans as opposed to the rest of us.

      • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

        I will happily send you the j-peg with instructions on how to make it your avatar.  I find it helps some people realize what my perspective is. 

        • Acnestes

          You’ve just confirmed what I said.  You think you’re the REAL American here.

        • PithHelmut

          Yes, connected by electrodes from their programming to your brain.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      I should hope so! We have been in a low tax fantasy land. I believe the country that flag represents is worth paying for.

      This is part of the problem with “temporary” tax cuts. They’re sold as having an expiration date, but when the date comes around, the anti-gvt loons scream about a tax increase.

      The reason low-moderate income households will pay more is that the TEMPORARY payroll tax holiday expired, EXACTLY AS IT WAS SUPPOSED TO. I understand this was a quick way to help low-moderate income households, but it was a horrible idea. With the right looking to destroy SS, monkeying with its income stream is insane. FDR brilliantly isolated SS from the general budget to make it safe from the class warriors, and it should stay that way.

  • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

    $20,000,000,000.00 in new taxes are coming into effect as part of Obamacare.  How well will that stimulate our anemic economy?  

    http://www.mandateamendment.com/obamacare-taxes/

    • Shag_Wevera

      I don’t know.  Do you?

    • http://profiles.google.com/dfgoog David Gauthier

      More than offset by HC cost savings. 

      If someone told you your taxes were going up by $800, but your HC/HI costs were going down by $1000, wouldn’t you take that deal?

      This is the problem with spin.  You on;y get the cherry picked facts that serve some political point.

      • Gregg Smith

        Insurance premiums have skyrocketed because of Obamacare. 

        • Ray in VT

          It’s a good thing that for years and years before passage of the ACA that my insurance premiums didn’t go up by 5-10%+ per year and that the skyrocketing is only due to the evil Obama.

          • Gregg Smith

            Really? I would suggest better news sources. The CBO report was widely published, maybe not on NPR but certainly the MSM. But assume Obamacare has nothing to do with it. He said it would reduce insurance cost. My insurance went up dramatically more than ever before. Did yours drop as promised?

          • Ray in VT

            Mine have been relatively stable over the past few years.  The worst that I saw was when I worked for IBM and they almost doubled one year.  I think that after 6 years at my current job I’m still paying less than I did then.  I think that we need some very substantial changes to the system, and I’m not sure that the ACA will get us there, but I think that it will probably end up being better than where we started.

    • Gregg Smith

      I honestly don’t think a recovery is possible unless we repeal Obamacare and that won’t happen. It’s going to be a long 4 years.

  • Coastghost

    Does the LATimes really expect us to believe that one of Hillary’s ears is prosthetic? The editors make it sound so plausible. Commendations to her surgeons, in which case: the false ear looks to be as sturdily attached as her actual ear (whichever one that is: the one behind which the blood clot formed) whenever she pulls her lank hair behind the one and the other. My next question: is the prosthetic ear equipped with a miniature speaker? I’m thinking of HRC getting a live feed through her prosthesis from the White House once she commences her testimony to Congress concerning the Benghazi episode. Will John Kerry have to acquire a bionic ear upon confirmation?

    • Shag_Wevera

      Your post represents you well.

      • Coastghost

        Well, NPR is happy to foster naive literalism whenever it suits, I was only returning the favor.

        • PithHelmut

          Not enough conservative stations for ya?

          • Coastghost

            I wouldn’t know: I listen exclusively to NPR. I do not listen with ready credulity, however, NPR has taught me to be highly skeptical of NPR.  

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Poll: is Obama 
    a) a horrible negotiator
    b) a righty conservadem with liberal camo doing exactly what he wants

    Meanwhile, the corporate media will be howling about the big bad deficit and the need for “entitlement reform”. NPR will play their game and use the 1984-ish newspeak instead of the honest “CUTS in SS and medicare”.

    We have some big problems. We have massive un- and under-employment, but the corporate media are not talking about this crisis. When did you last hear about the “jobs crisis”? ….didn’t think so. Endless parroting of th debt and deficit crises, tho.

    We have the most expensive health care system in the world, by up to 2X the cost of other developed nations. The reason is that we let the private corporations rip us off and redistribute our $ to their executives and investors. The corporate media are not talking about this crisis. When did you last hear about the “corporate health care costs crisis” and how, if we had costs comparable to other developed nations, we would have no problem? ….didn’t think so. Endless parroting of the debt and deficit crises, tho.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      All this could be ours…
      FTA:
      Up to 60,000 patients die on the Liverpool Care Pathway each year without giving their consent, shocking figures revealed yesterday.
      A third of families are also kept in the dark when doctors withdraw lifesaving treatment from loved ones.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2255054/60-000-patients-death-pathway-told-minister-says-controversial-end-life-plan-fantastic.html

      • 1Brett1

        See anamaria23′s reply above where you originally posted this comment. You simply copied and pasted your same comment here just 7 minutes later…I guess your propagandist “scare tactic” about “Obamacare” didn’t quite work the first time, so you decided to try it again?

        • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

          I’m sorry a scare tactic would be pointing out that a Briton is five times more likely to die of government medicine than an American is to die from gunshot.

          http://www.thompsons.law.co.uk/clinical-negligence/basic-errors-hospital-patients.htm

          • 1Brett1

            Ah, so your repeated tactic is because you’re so worried about the Brits? …I doubt anyone would believe this is your intention. 

            Care to disguise your intention another way?

          • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

            My intention is to learn from the mistakes of others.  I would say that your intention is to confirm your bias. 

          • 1Brett1

            If by my “bias” you mean I think you’re are using an oblique tactic to bash “Obamacare” by comparing it to a system in another country that has nothing to do with the US, then, yes, that is my bias. 

            If you wish to take anamaria23′s reply to you on the matter seriously and see that she was explaining to you one major difference in the ACA that might ameliorate the problems you cite with the British system (which, you’ve made no indication of whatsoever, indicating you aren’t intending to learn anything), then I apologize for what you infer as a presumption, on my part, of your intentions. 

          • TomK_in_Boston

            How are you going to “learn from the mistakes of others.” by parroting standard righty talking points?

            Why not try to learn how other developed nations spend less than us on health care and have longer lifespans?

          • sickofthechit

            …and cover everyone.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Hahaha. Yeah, they’re dropping like flies in Scandinavia, Switz, Germany, France etc….that’s why they live longer than us.

    • nj_v2

      That would be (b).

      • TomK_in_Boston

        …fraid so.

    • Flytrap

       Yeah, you’re right, it’s evil corps and not illegals that drive up costs.

  • http://profiles.google.com/dfgoog David Gauthier

    So let me get this straight, the GOP criticizes Obama for a tax cut on the grounds that it will ultimately increase the national debt while with the next breath criticize him for the same tax cut on the grounds that it will increase unemployment.  Dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t.  There’s just no pleasing some.

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

    “Higher taxes for the higher earners”, per Tom.

    Does that mean higher than 39.6%, higher than the temporary cuts which were going to expire? NPR’s hourly news isn’t really forthcoming on the subject either.

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

    The fetish over the long-term deficit RightThisVeryMinute is “the debate the American people want,” per Boehner.

    I guess this has fallen into the whole “too good to check out” meme. Everybody in the Beltway is fascinated with it. No point in asking the rest of us.

    • Gregg Smith

      I don’t think most Americans care a bit about deficits as long as they get theirs and the rich get soaked. It’s selfish and not compassionate. 

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

        I will switch right over to the WSJ or CNBC and await “selfish” being castigated as a moral failing when practiced by the well-off.

        • Gregg Smith

          What’s selfish about being filthy rich?

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

            Nothing.

            By the mainstream and bidness measure, fighting for every nickel one is owed, or one thinks one is owed, isn’t selfish when one is rich.

            Only when one isn’t already rich is it a distasteful thing to do. Collect all the SocSec that Joe Lunchbucket and Sally Pink Collar were promised? That’s selfish! per our mainstream media and business media.

            (Note that I don’t care what you particularly think, as it doesn’t matter to me or the media or the statistically normative suburbanites.)

          • Gregg Smith

            Collecting SS isn’t selfish, people pay for it. Where do you get that?

            Collecting what you are owed isn’t selfish either it’s just.

            You lost me. I also had no idea you didn’t care what I think.

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

            You’re really trying to strawman shit and reflecting them as “my words”. Stop lying. Do get a sarcasm detector.

            There is a phalanx of powerful people inside the Beltway who has no problem treating people like you and I as someone who need to avoid moral hazards, whereas rich people are treated as simply…better. Otherwise they wouldn’t have all that money!

            That is our conventional media wisdom. You seem unattuned to it and have no interest in how it frames the debate. I don’t care that you don’t care, is what I mean “I don’t care what you think”.

      • nj_v2

        How cute, Greggg cares about the hapless rich. What a guy!

        • 1Brett1

          Come on, now, nj_v2, we must have compassion for the unselfish rich…how dare those selfish poor and their lack of compassion!!!

        • Gregg Smith

          You guys missed my point but I give you credit for making a good one anyway. Anyone who doesn’t care about spending and deficits as long as they get theirs is not a compassionate person. I was thinking about the occupier ilk.

          I haven’t been called cute since the spandex, big hair 80′s. Thanks.

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

            I don’t care about what the Occupier types think any more than the mainstream press does.

            Regular suburban middle-class America, the folks whose class owes its existence to Social Security, don’t care about the meme of “spending is going to ruin us rightthisverysecond”, even after all those Beltway thinktanks have been fluffing it for years.

            That concern lies ever so much more with our media than with our voters and our economists. And NPR, as always, is helpless to not cover it.

      • StilllHere

        They don’t care who gets soaked as long as it’s not them.

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

          Cue the conflation of “normal tax rates for the wealthy” with “ohmygodthey’resoakinghterich!!!!one!!1″.

          Keep digging that hole.

  • Brandstad

    Sandy’s aid package included $2 of pork for every 1$ of Sandy aid!  It is no surprise it didn’t pass!

    http://blog.heritage.org/2013/01/03/morning-bell-uproar-over-bloated-sandy-aid-package/

    • StilllHere

      Sounds like Obama’s stimulus.

  • Brandstad

    It takes two sides to compramise and you can see from the Fiscal Cliff Bill that only one side caved, and of course it was the Republicans.

    When will the Democrats compramise and cut wastefull spending!?!

    • Gregg Smith

      No.

    • PithHelmut

      Both “sides” completely ignoring the billions that go to subsidize industries that are richer than god.

      • Gregg Smith

        Do we send them a check?

        • Ray in VT

          That’s right, I forgot that it’s not a problem when highly profitable companies or individuals get their taxes reduced to near zero or get cheap grazing land from the Feds.  It’s only a problem when some low income worker or family gets some money so that they can put food on the table or keep their house warm.

          • Gregg Smith

            …or buy beer.

            The difference is in one instance money taken for one and given to another; The other case is people keeping a what is theirs. I see a difference.

            Hey BTW, I know it’s hard to believe but I care about my fellow man. Really, I know it sounds crazy. 

          • Ray in VT

            I have no problem with restricting something like food stamps so that they cannot be used for junk food or alcohol.  That seems totally reasonable to me.

            There is a difference, and one difference that I see is that in one case the beneficiary is often someone or something of substantial means, while on the other the beneficiary is one of meager means.  I think that we all benefit from attempts to keep our fellow citizens from falling below a certain level.  The New Deal was an attempt to correct abuses in the system that in some countries were leading down the road to violent revolution, and I do not think that we would be immune to that were a very substantial part of our population to fall into such a level of poverty and despair such as existed in some quarters in the past, and I think that the small government, laissez-faire principles that many liberatarians promote as a cure for our collective ails would lead up further in that direction.

            I will not contend that you do not care for your fellow man, although I will state my position that some of your positions regarding how our society should deal with some of our problems would make some of those ills worse.  That is my position, and I do my best not to make judgements upon your character based upon them, as I do not know you personally.

          • Gregg Smith

            No offense taken at all. I was trying to illustrate that when we frame the debate in emotional terms the issue gets clouded. What gets lost is how dependence can keep one down. The success stories of renewed self-esteem and improved quality of life by those removed from welfare by Clinton are legion. 

            I was playing with some guys in a band for about a year and just quit because while they were great musicians they drank on stage. It was amicable. The guitar player has a company in Hondourus and doesn’t have to work. He has plenty of money and a nice house. He spends everyday high on coke, getting drunk, having sex and playing his guitar. He’s miserable. 

            I’m not saying all those on welfare do that but some do. It’s impossible to keep food stamps from going to drugs or alcohol. Even if it’s not direct, it’s enabling. If you don’t have to pay for food then you have more money for drugs.

            This is happening and we can’t address it without being accused of not caring for the ones who are truly in need. We can’t afford it and it’s getting out of control. It’s not a fringe problem anymore. It has created generational dependence which is high destructive to society.

        • StilllHere

          No is the answer. We encourage desireable behavior for the greater good.

  • Michiganjf

    Please, Tom,

      Stop passively accepting all this bunk, from both Republicans and pundits on your show, that America can’t afford health care or SS without eventually smothering the middle class!!!

    We could easily afford health care IF WE WENT TO A SINGLE PAYER SYSTEM, WHICH IS INEVITABLE!!!

    Social Security has ALWAYS been easily manageable, with small periodic adjustments, SO LONG AS LEGISLATORS STOP RAIDING THE SS POT!!!

    How about severely curtailing military spending, and corporate giveaways??!!

    We can afford what we really need, WHEN WE FINALLY GET OUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT!!!!!!

    • TomK_in_Boston

      AMEN! We do not have a debt or deficit crisis and we do not need “entitlement reform”. Tom, please slap anyone who says  ”entitlement reform”. It means CUTS, be honest. Single payer would solve our health care cost crisis. The only reason medicare is expensive is because all health care costs are crazy in our corporate system. Medicare is the most efficient part of the crazy system, tho.

      I am so sick of the pundits and corporate media types using a phony debt crisis as a class warfare tactic. Tom, you’re being duped.

      • Michiganjf

        Here Here!

          It’s insane to retain the profit motive in primary health care!

        • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

          The profit motive is the only thing that could save civilization.  But I would rather call it free markets for free people.  

          • Fredlinskip

            Pardon me for thinking out loud about a subject I haven’t researched thoroughly: 
            Isn’t it free markets that are shipping overseas and/or outsourcing all the jobs? It seems like if ALL we were worried about is free markets, then corporations will and are becoming more powerful than nations. 
              Unless we somehow get a handle of our trade deficit and improve our trade policy, then eventually Americans are going to be living shoeless in thatched huts like competitor workers in other countries. Already Apple products are produced in sweat shops in China, for example.

            If all we are worried about is free markets, why have borders- let’s have World Government.

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      In case you missed it earlier….

      FTA:
      Up to 60,000 patients die on the Liverpool Care Pathway each year without giving their consent, shocking figures revealed yesterday.
      A third of families are also kept in the dark when doctors withdraw lifesaving treatment from loved ones.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2255054/60-000-patients-death-pathway-told-minister-says-controversial-end-life-plan-fantastic.html

      • anamaria23

        This report is indeeed a concern.  The ACA’s inclusion of end of life counseling, with physician, family and patient, is designed to prevent such poor treatment.
        It is a long process and emotionally difficult for all.
        The inclusion that physician’s be paid for this process is designed so that they will be able to  give sufficient time and inclusion to it.

        • Gregg Smith

          Do you not see the problem with the same government paying the salaries of those counselors and the expensive life saving procedures? If taxpayers pay for healthcare, government should be prudent with how they spend it, I hope you agree. So do they treat as equal a 95 year old and a 10 year old if they both need hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of treatment? Who decides?

          • anamaria23

            No, they do not treat  as  equal.  That is the purpose of  counseling.
            so that people can be informed of best practices for each individual.
            Left unaddressed,  people can suffer for years and incur huge debt to  selves and government  due to uninformed decisions. 
            I do not know of any physician of worth that would advise futile lifesaving procedures just to spend the govenment’s money while prolonging suffering.  I have more faith in my fellow man.

          • Gregg Smith

            I’m talking about the opposite. I’m talking about counselors advising people not to have procedures because they are employed by the ones in charge of the budget.

          • anamaria23

            Medicare is government run as is the VA.  In trying to eliminate waste in
             medical care overasll  many fine physicians and others are trying to establish best practice especially in the last year of life where much money is spent, sometimes futilely, and, even worse prolongs suffering and against what the person would want for themselves.
            It is a real issue. 
            To avoid such a scenario, people are encouraged to  make their own decisions before becoming incompetent, by end of life counseling and making wishes known.

            “would you want to kept alive by artificial feeding after a major stroke if you were no longer mentally  and physically functional?” 

            Some families opt yes for their loved ones. 
            This decision can be changed any time as long as the patient is competant, but is in effect only when mentally incompetant.
            You are implying that “counselors” would mislead in order to save money.  Or lie to families.  I have greater faith in the medical profession, most of whom strive every day to do the right thing.
             

          • Gregg Smith

            I agree with nearly all you said. I think end of life counseling is good but making your intentions known is better. I’m working on that myself. I have a very good friend in the thick of it with his father who is 87. He got in a car in the middle of the night recently and ended up wrecked and spending the night in the woods. He is no longer mentally competent but never told his family what his wishes were.

            I think these decisions should be between the patient, doctor and loved ones. If they choose counseling it should be a disinterested third party. There should be no conflict of interest and there clearly would be. 

            Do you remember when Obama was accusing doctors of doing unnecessary procedures to line their pockets?

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SG56B2et4M8

            Do you remember when he suggested it may be better for grandma to take a pill?

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-dQfb8WQvo

          • anamaria23

            In my experience, the physician is the counselor.

          • Gregg Smith

            As it should be but not with Obamacare. Everything is different now.

      • anamaria23

        What is going on  in Briton LCP is sheer  and dispicable neglect if true. 
        We already have government run Medicare and no such treatment goes on.
        One hopes that LCP is not the result of the  austerity  in Briton where staffing and needs are compromised.

    • nj_v2

      But we’ll end up waiting at least another generation for this. Obama’s Insurance-Company-Windfall Act will guarantee pretty much bottomless lobbying funds for the so-called healthcare industry to fight off any move to single payer in the foreseeable future.

      • hennorama

        nj_v2 – agreed.   That’s part of what’s puzzling about Republicans and others opposing Obamacare, since it’s all about personal responsibility, and is mostly a gift to private insurance companies and medical providers.  It’s certainly NOT “government-controlled health care” or anything close to single-payer.

  • hennorama

    The BBQ Recovery continues – low and slow.  The unemployment rate held at 7.8 percent.  At least we’re not going backward.

    “Employment Situation Summary

    Household Survey Data

    The number of unemployed persons, at 12.2 million, was little changedin December. The unemployment rate held at 7.8 percent and has been at or near that level since September. (See table A-1.)

    Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (7.3 percent) and blacks (14.0 percent) edged up in December, while the rates for adult men (7.2 percent), teenagers (23.5 percent),whites (6.9 percent), and Hispanics (9.6 percent) showed little or nochange. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.6 percent (not seasonallyadjusted), little changed from a year earlier. (See tables A-1, A-2,and A-3.)

    In December, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 4.8 million and accountedfor 39.1 percent of the unemployed. (See table A-12.)

    The civilian labor force participation rate held at 63.6 percent inDecember. The employment-population ratio, at 58.6 percent, was essentially unchanged over the month. (See table A-1.)”

    http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

  • Coastghost

    Obama: “I will not have another debate with this Congress . . .” True enough: that Congress is now history. Let the debate with the new Congress ensue.

    • StilllHere

      All Obama does is say no.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eric.reagan.73 Eric Reagan

    I think that the tinkering with the tax as part of the Fiscal Cliff deal unleashed a Trojan Horse full of GOP tax initiatives. The working class DID have their taxes raised — through the end of the payroll tax holiday. Whereas, those with large non-payroll incomes made out, as well as those with offshore holdings. Other special moneyed interests were well served.  

    Who one? Not working Americans — as usual.

    • Brandstad

      true but the Dems wrote the bill, so blame them!  They didn’t give the Republicans a chance to contribute!

      • 1Brett1

        Did you miss Boehner’s “Plan B” nonsense? Is that within the definition of a contribution? I’m glad you agree that it was not.

  • Wahoo_wa

    Obama is going to go back to raising the debt limit AGAIN when, as a senator, he stated that raising the debt limit is proof of poor leadership at the executive level?!

    • jefe68

      Yeah, Ronald Reagen raised it 18 times during his tenure in the presidency. GW Bush raised it 7 times.
      This is how the adolescents in the GOP act. Let me change that sentiment, the GOP is acting like some spoiled 10 year old who does not get it’s way.

      By the way, the deficit has been going down.
      For the fiscal year ending in September 2009, the deficit was 10.1 percent of the gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced in America. In 2010, it was 9 percent. In 2011, 8.7 percent. In the 2012 fiscal year, it was down to 7 percent.

      • Wahoo_wa

        I think it’s a necessary evil but I would rather support a candidate that doesn’t play games with the issue.  http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/debtlimit.asp

      • Brandstad

        We have never before had a debt to GDP of over 100% so things have changed.

        • Wahoo_wa

          Not true.

        • sickofthechit

           We have never been able to borrow as cheaply, figure it out. The bankers sure have.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eric.reagan.73 Eric Reagan

    Moneyed Interests — punts, walks and homeruns.
    Politicians — the same.
    American workers — never even got to the plate (but, they awfully nice political props.

  • Mike_Card

    No, Jack.  Congress is NOT giving up the power of the purse by not negotiating debt limit.  They’ve ALREADY spent the damned money!  What these morons in the tea party want is to refuse to pay the bills.

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

      Where are all those “run gummint like a bidness” types when it comes to paying the bills?

    • Brandstad

      If the money is spent then it already showed up on the balance sheet and is part of the national debt so no Debt limit incraese is needed!

      • Mike_Card

        Really?  While you’re working on civics at that community college, you might want to look into some accounting and public finance courses, too.

        • sickofthechit

           Don’t diss Community Colleges.  Most are doing fantastic work a lot more efficiently than our bloated Universities

          • Mike_Card

            Nope, I agree. I have two daughters who did their first two years at community colleges.

            My reference is to Branny’s comment a couple of weeks ago, suggesting a respondent take a course at his local community college to learn that all federal financing legislation has to originate in the US Senate.

            My suggestion to him is wholly serious; he clearly has no understanding of accounting or finance, especially public finance.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Debt ceiling is unconstitutional. BHO should ignore.

    • Gregg Smith

      Geesh, I want to click like. I really do but I’m a card carrying Tea Party guy. Not this time.

  • Wahoo_wa

    How quickly the electorate forgets their candidate:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydZTHPkOnvE

  • MarkVII88

    Lets just speak the truth.  What is needed in government are Congresspeople and Senators who are willing to make the tough choices regardless of the consequences during their next election cycle.  The vast majority of these Congresspeople and Senators are themselves wealthy and stand to personally benefit from fiscal policies that more heavily burden the majority of the US population.  Casting their votes to help the majority of the US population would not be nearly so dramatic as “falling on your sword” (if they are Republicans) and may even help put them back on the right side of history.  In the end these wealthy Congresspeople and Senators, even if they are forced to pay higher taxes and ultimately get voted out of office will still go back home and be rich.  What’s there to lose really???

  • http://www.facebook.com/cecebar Cindy C Barnard

    Ditto Michiganjf!

    Debt ceiling? Ashamed to say that until the past few years, it was something I knew little about. Unprecedented indeed.

    Speaking of negotiations, why is it that leadership can’t meet with the White House… why is Boehner being lead, isn’t he the leader? Problem is the radial republican right pulling that party down the tubes.

    Yesterday one of your guest mentioned “redistricting…” it really plays a part in the type of representation we have in Washington today and the lack of leadership and willingness to do what’s best for the country.

    And good representation knows how to bring it home to their constituents. Bunch of whiners in Washington today if you ask me.

    None of this forebodes well for Americans or a global economy

  • http://www.facebook.com/eric.reagan.73 Eric Reagan

    Tinkering with the tax code, “tax reform” is a political trojan horse in favor of the GOP’s agenda. It is better to raise the rate 5 to 10% and focus in on problem loophole areas — such as offshore holding shelters, abusive loopholes by moneyed interests. But, to let the GOP in tinkering with the tax code — the pattern is they will use it as a political opportunity to change government in their own image.

    I am for raising taxes on everybody in 2 to 4 years — and, tax reform on localized tax abuse problems, only. 

    • Brandstad

      Raising taxes will not stop overspending.  If we tax more, they will spend MORE!

      • Ray in VT

        And how has taxing less restrained spending up to this point, exactly?

        • Gregg Smith

          Good point, Bush spent the extra revenue after lowering taxes. 

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Yea!

  • OnpointListener

    For an informed perspective on the national debt:

    http://www.gao.gov/special.pubs/longterm/debt/index.html

    • StilllHere

      What about off-balance sheet items like the GSEs?

    • hennorama

      OnpointListener – TY for the link.  It’s important to note that the $5 Trillion or so of debt that the US government owes itself is not included in the ratios in the chart.  The $5 T are mainly obligations to the Social Security trust funds.  If that debt was included, the ratio would be about 100% currently.

      The article “The Long Story of U.S. Debt, From 1790 to 2011, in 1 Little Chart” discusses it in a bit more detail.
      http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/11/the-long-story-of-us-debt-from-1790-to-2011-in-1-little-chart/265185/

  • http://www.facebook.com/cecebar Cindy C Barnard

     got documentation?

  • jefe68

    The entire GOP is contemptible by using the debt ceiling as a threat. The idea of holding the nation hostage so they can get their way is pretty disgusting. They are nothing short of petulant adolescents. 

    • Gregg Smith

      I say hit it.

    • Wahoo_wa

      But the Dems did the exact same thing when Bush was in office.  You can’t trust or put faith in either party.  They deserve each other.

      • Fredlinskip

        Funny, I don’t recall Dems threaten to use debt ceiling to destroy American credit and damage the economy if GOP didn’t succumb to their whims.

        • Wahoo_wa

          And yet every Democrat voted against raising the debt ceiling in 2006.  Funny little double-standard ya got there.

          • Wahoo_wa

            …crickets…

          • Fredlinskip

            Hmm- maybe I stand corrected.
            Will look into.Meanwhile I need to be back at work or I’m going to have personal debt ceiling issues.

          • Wahoo_wa

            LOL…understood.  Thanks for the debate.  Just so you understand where I’m coming from…because I criticize the Dems doesn’t mean I endorse the Repubs.  In the end I think our nation deserves better leaders.  Have a great day and happy New Year.

      • Mike_Card

        Citation, plz.

        • Wahoo_wa

          Perhaps the Senate’s own record is a good enough source?  http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=2&vote=00054

      • sickofthechit

         I don’t remember it causing a downgrade of our credit rating as the Repugnicans (Republicans in name only) shennanigans did.

        • Wahoo_wa

          So you think that that one vote, and not the whole arch of the political tone in Washington caused by both parties’ inability to effectively negotiate and properly govern the American people, is the sole reason our credit rating was downgraded? How fabulously naive and blatantly partisan. Bravo sir! Bravo!

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

            I can go by what you said, or what S&P said. Tough choice.

          • Wahoo_wa

            Perhaps you should do a little research before you make uniformed statements.  http://www.standardandpoors.com/ratings/articles/en/us/?assetID=1245316529563

          • Wahoo_wa

            Read more…It will help you build a legitimate argument. 
            http://www.standardandpoors.com/ratings/articles/en/us/?assetID=1245316529563

    • hennorama

      Apologies in advance for yelling and for repeating myself, but -

      “The debt ceiling is a ludicrous and outdated device, an anachronism.  Virtually no other democratic country has one.  (Maybe this is a feature, as part of “American Almost Exceptionalism?)

      CONGRESS ALREADY HAS COMPLETE CONTROL OVER FEDERAL SPENDING through the budget process.  They can already impose restrictions if they choose to do so, without risking default on US debt.

      The debt ceiling as a limitation on spending is far too weak to be useful if Congress can simply vote to raise it anytime they wish.  And the downside of violating the debt ceiling is far too disproportionately severe for it to be a reasonable tool just to limit spending.  The potential consequences of DEFAULT on US debt are too catastrophic to entrust the debt ceiling to the whims of politicians, regardless of party.

      Fights over the debt ceiling turn into ridiculous games of “chicken” and reward only the fanatical, who get plenty of attention, rather than the reasonable, who want to make sensible deals.

      Let’s do away with the damned thing, once and for all.”

      http://onpoint.wbur.org/2012/12/04/the-liberal-take-on-the-fiscal-cliff#comment-727962807

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarah.rochemahdi Sarah Roche-Mahdi

     The level of this so-called discussion is utter BS.  Solutions are simple. Plug the tax loopholes for the very rich (e.g. off-shore tax havens). slash the insane military budget–that would solve the $$ deficit quickly. Then work toward national single-payer health care, invest in environmentally positive jobs. 
    Hands off Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid–except to expand and improve them. 
    Time for visible, audible  public outrage. These politicians–male or female–aren’t going to do what they should unless there is massive pressure, including civil disobedience.  

    • nj_v2

      Good start, but not enough.

      Add: Create geometrically increasing tax-rate scale for private wealth, moving toward 100% at around $1 billion.

      Add: Import tariffs and value-added taxes.

      Add: Amending Constitution to abolish corporate personhood and to declare money isn’t speech.

    • StilllHere

      What tax loopholes are available off shore?
      How much would closing them raise?
      How has defense portion of the budget changed over time?
      How about off-balance sheet items?

      The future expenses related to overblown entitlement programs is clear and frightening.

      • sickofthechit

        The ones that prompt Rmoney to store tens of millions if not hundreds of millions overseas.  Oh yeah, and pay less than 15% income taxes on 20 million+ in income and be so embarrassed by his prior years that he was unwilling to reveal them in spite of the fact that his hero father would have.

        What does it matter how much it would raise? That is the same level of reasoning that prompts GOPer’s to say “Returning tax rates to the level before the ill-advised Temporary Bush Tax Rates will not solve the Deficit problem”. We need to use all the available tools and not expect a miracle cure.

        We spend more than all the other nations combined on “Defense” which under the bush admin assumed the guise of an offensive invasion.

        Off balance sheet items. You mean the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, as well as the unfunded Medicare drug benefit and the unpaid for Temporary Bush Tax Cuts?

        Social Security is funded by a dedicated tax and is thoroughly salvageable by reasoned and responsible leaders as is Medicare.

        • StilllHere

          Those are all domestic.  What loopholes are available abroad to individual tax payers?  Foreign tax credits?

          Sarah indicates it will solve all of our deficit issues. I doubt it. Not that we shouldn’t do it.

          How about we go back to Clinton spending levels?  Two can play that game…

          Ex-invasions, what’s defense spending done?

          Medicare needs to be cut dramatically, as does SS, and other entitlement programs.  Completely unafforable.

          No, off balance sheet GSE obiligations which could be huge.  Have we reserved for these?

          • sickofthechit

             You can’t say ex-invasions as if it didn’t cost any money!

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

            It’s just funny how much of the right’s now-apologizing for the mess passes for “cleaning it up” in some quarters.

    • sickofthechit

       You mean non-violent civil disobedience, or does the “civil” part really mean that we behave civilly?

  • nj_v2

    Rethuglicon jackassery of the week (and then some)…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/03/opinion/dereliction-of-duty-hurricane-sandy-aid.html?hp&_r=0
    Hurricane Sandy Aid

    [[ There is a lot of finger-pointing in Washington about who is responsible for the mess made of the so-called fiscal-cliff negotiations, but there is no doubt about who failed thousands of residents and businesses devastated by Hurricane Sandy and still waiting for help: Speaker John Boehner. ]]

    (excerpt)

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/01/rape-kit-safer-act-lamar-smith-republicans
    House Republicans Derail Bill Targeting Rapists

    [[ In the past year, Republicans have gone wild when it comes to rape. They blocked the renewal of the Violence Against Women Actbecause it would have given tribal courts broader jurisdiction over rape on Native American lands. They told women they can't get pregnant from rape and that babies that result from rape are God's will. Though the GOP did pay a political price for some of this (see: Rep. Todd Akin), as the 112th Congress was hurriedly finishing up its business in the past few days, House Republicans yet again played politics with rape and sabotaged a bipartisan bill that would have made it easier to track down rapists. ]]

    (excerpt)

    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/end-of-violence-against-women-act-010313
    Because The Gender Gap Was Too Small Anyway

    [[ If you're keeping score at home, for the first time in 18 years, there is no such thing as the Violence Against Women Act. Here in the new day of bipartisan compromise, and operating through what I am continually told is a new governing coalition of People Who Aren't Barking Mad, the House Of Representatives let it lapse for a number of bullshit reasons. ]]

    (excerpt)

    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2013/01/03/1390191/the-worst-moments-of-the-112th-congress/
    The Worst Moments Of The 112th Congress
    Almost shut down the government and hit the debt ceiling.
    Let the Violence Against Women Act expire.
    Advanced the Ryan Budget.
    Created, then went over, the Fiscal Cliff.
    Spent over $1.5 million to defend the ‘Defense of Marriage Act’.
    Voted 317 times against the environment.
    Shut down half the internet by proposing SOPA.
    Ignored gun control after their colleague was shot.
    Held a hearing on birth control where women couldn’t testify.
    Gave the NRA veto power over judges.

    (headlines)

  • PithHelmut

    A few men hold this country’s future in their hands. And the press has totally coupled with them.  Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Barack Obama. This concentration of power in mens’ hands only, is a threat to the economy and a threat to health, to existence.  The press is supposed to have the skills that can look at it from the outside to recognize this self-aggrandizing pantomime that comes with grim consequences for everyone. The press must de-couple and act as the keepers of democracy which is their purpose. They should be questioning the actors and making them feel uncomfortable every day for the nonsense that goes on. Rather they are the promoters of popularity even though these men’s stances are not popular with the people. The actors do not represent the people which is their true job. The entire political and economic structure is a which is taking away the life savings and dreams of the 99.99%. And the press virtually let’s the farce be with us. Maybe Al Jazeera will shake it up a bit???

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      Why not pin your hopes on CCTV

      http://english.cntv.cn/01/index.shtml

    • Flytrap

       You’re right about a few men holding power.  And what is terrible is how harshly Wayne LaPierre was questioned by David Gregory on MTP vs how softly he questioned Obama.  Follow up, what’s that?  He wasn’t respectful to O, he was obsequious. 

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

        Hahahaha.

        Really, nothing to add.

  • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

    I can not disagree more with the idea that expanding governmental control will improve any of the very serious problems we are facing.  The experience of the people of Europe and Asia should be enough to demonstrate that fact.  I also am very disappointed at the level discourse here.  

    • jefe68

      OK, present some examples. Europe has economies that are small and dysfunctional, such as Greece to Germany which is doing well as is Denmark and Iceland. (unless another volcano erupts). Asia? A huge area that includes has economies that span the likes of China to Laos and everything in between. 

      Ah yes, the glass house argument.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        “We’ll be like Greece” has been repeated 9,999,999 times by the righty media. The world’s biggest economy with the ability to print the world’s reserve currency and the ability to borrow at negative real interest rates will become like a small state that mfgs nothing and has its debt in euros that are controlled by the european central bank.

        Can you get any dumber than that?

        • hennorama

          Equally inane – “If the US was a household…”

    • TomK_in_Boston

      The experience of the people of europe indicates that budget cuts are a stupid response to an economic slump…but we’ve known that since 1929.

      I’m very disappointed when anyone simply parrots righty talking points. Trust me, we’ve heard them thousands of times already.

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

    Really, Tom, some half-assed crack about Gore making money selling his business?

    Can we assume there would be no forthcoming jibe if Gore sold it for a token $100?

    Hey, if I wanted a “Gore just can’t win no matter what he does” mediascape, I’d just go back to campaign 2000.

    • Brandstad

      Tom, it pointing out that Gore is a hypocrite if you are to dense to notice.  Nothing like a global warming alarmist selling his business to the #1 Global warming causer! LOL

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

        !!!!!

        Sorry, I just wanted to get some exclamation points in before you used of the internet’s supply.

        • Flytrap

           When said “businessman” has a Nobel and an Oscar for his environmental activism, yet  rides to his engagements on a private jet, lives in a mansion, and was the standard bearer of the party of wealth redistribution who then sells his company to oil sheiks for $500,000,000 , I think a bit more discussion is warranted over his decision.

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

            Your judgment of journalism is failing.

      • 1Brett1

        -Wait, how can ANYONE cause global warming when, according to your ilk, anthropogenic factors don’t influence global warming? Do you wish to invoke either side of the debate when it suits you? 
        ;-)

        • Gregg Smith

          One cannot be a hypocrite with other people’s views. 

          • 1Brett1

            But it appears you can be quite clueless and humorless about other people’s humor…So, as you told jefe68 yesterday: STFU…

          • Gregg Smith

            Ah the ol’ “I was making a joke”  excuse. You use that a lot. For a joke to be funny it should be rooted in truth. Your comment made no sense, I’ll comment every time. Sorry.

          • 1Brett1

            I guess you missed the little smiling, winking face at the bottom left of my reply? 

            …However, you’ve just proven my point. Even with a prompt to indicate humor you don’t get it as humor; of course, we’ve already established that you’re dull-witted, or else I’d explain the obvious joke (being that “Brandstad” is a self-proclaimed “global warming denier”); but, it would just pass over your head…again…  

            By the way, you did insinuate yourself into a reply to someone else…but, ah, you accuse people of going out of their way to poke at others, yet this is yet another example of your doing so…I guess you, in all your self-righteous fervor, feel justified?

            You are such a jerkwad.

          • Gregg Smith

            It looked like a smirk to me. I’m so stupid. 

            I’m all for chiming in but assault my character gratuitously without making a point and I’ll hit back every time. I did not do that to you. I didn’t get personal at all. Not that I’m above it.  But then again, it’s not about me. 

          • jefe68

            He is, and he has no sense of humor.

          • Gregg Smith

            That’s funny!

      • Fredlinskip

        Al Jazeera “#1 global warming causer”??
         Their news personnel must be driving some BIG vehicles!

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      Just imagine what would be said if he sold it to Glenn Beck. 

      • Flytrap

         Comments such as “A businessman selling for a profit? Quel horror.” would be seen as too juvenile. 

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

        What if he sold it to Pat Robertson? Rupert Murdoch? The vast left-wing media conspiracy?

        Lame hypotheticals are not your friend.

        • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

          I think you spelled hypocrites wrong.  Personal, I am glad that none of my friends are lame hypocrites.   

    • sickofthechit

       Bill O’Rielly’s “Memo” last night first said that Gore created a money losing network then railed against the fact that he sold it and made a little money.  I am sure with a 20% stake Gore did not control the terms or timing of the sale.

      • Flytrap

         I am sure you don’t know what you are talking about.

  • Pointpanic

    who was that self-righteous shit head blathering about “austerity” and claiming ,he was the only “adult” in the room?He’s either ignorant or working for the elites who crashed our economy in the first place… and got bonuses on top of the bailouts. I’m grate ful for Annie Lowrey’s response to his nonsense. I also wish , Robert Reich was on the show. He wisely suggests that we get people working first then tend to the deficit.

    • Gregg Smith

      Wow, Reich said that? He’s absolutely right.

      • jefe68

        You should read his blog then.

        • Gregg Smith

          I haven’t recently but I’m afraid to now. I don’t want to ruin the fuzzy feeling.

  • StilllHere

    Debt ceiling, sequestration, continuing resolution.  We have three opportunities to get the spending cuts we need so much!  Time for Congress to protect the taxpayer!

    • hennorama

      StilllHere – still waiting for your specific suggestions as to “the spending cuts we need so much!”

      Please be specific, and explain your reasoning and the impacts of the cuts you suggest.

      • Gregg Smith

        There just isn’t any way to cut a dime so Stilllhere is completely discredited unless he/she has a solution. That seems to be your point, I could be wrong. 

      • OnPointComments

        Or we could look at it another way.  Since the end of FY2007, the government has spent nearly $4 trillion dollars over and above what it spent on an annual basis in FY2007.  What do we have to show for it?  What can we point to and say “that was well worth spending an additional $4 trillion — we really got our money’s worth.”  Please be specific, and explain your reasoning.  Feel free to expound on how future budgets that also have an additional trillion dollars a year above FY2007 will benefit us, and what we will have to show for the spending.

        • hennorama

          OPC – TY for your comments. You raise a fair point. I also want to again congratulate you for being willing to put forth specific ideas about cutting Federal Spending, in marked contrast to others, in this and subsequent posts:

          http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/01/02/the-economy-in-2013#comment-753669442

          A comprehensive response will be posted soon, but I wish to point out that your question implies that I agree in full with all past Federal Spending decisions, and current and future spending proposals.

          This is not the case.

          • OnPointComments

            You’re welcome.  I am stymied by what we’re spending the additional yearly trillion on.  Even if some of it’s being spent on benefits because of the recession, which I’m sure some of it probably is, have we conceded that it will never get better again therefore the spending is permanent?  It doesn’t seem likely.  You seem to have knowledge about government spending, so I’m asking your opinion; it doesn’t mean that I think you agree with the current spending level.

          • Gregg Smith

            I think the theory is we are spending our way out of debt.

          • Fredlinskip

            Hmm.
            The WARS are a bit expensive. 

            Nor is the revenue stream  quite what it was during the Bubble before the financial collapse .

            These are a couple issues of significance that may account for the difference. 
            No?

          • OnPointComments

            I was focusing only on the increase in spending that has occurred after FY2007.  There was already spending on the war in FY2007, so it’s not something that began after FY2007.  Since my question is about spending, revenues aren’t relevant.  In FY2007, the government spent 2.7 trillion; in FY2012, it spent 3.7 trillion.  What did we get for that additional trillion dollars?

          • Fredlinskip

            2T on SS, Medicare, Medicaid.
            .5 T defense
            .5 T interest on debt
            .7 T everything el… HEY- I don’t know if anyone’s noticed- We need cut back on some “entitlement” spending!!

        • Mike_Card

          And why are you targeting that particular $4T?

          • OnPointComments

            Thinking back to FY2007, I don’t remember a lot of complaining that the government wasn’t spending enough.  The deficit for the year was $160 billion.  Candidate Obama said the debt and deficit at that level was irresponsible and unpatriotic.  Then the financial crisis came and the people in charge said that we needed to spend a trillion dollars to fix the problem.  Whether or not one agreed with the bank bailout & the stimulus, it was a plan.  The budget was increased in FY2008 by a trillion dollars to pay for the solution.  But when FY2009 came, they spent the additional trillion dollars again.  And again in FY2010, FY2011, and FY2012.  And every budget for FY2013 through 2017 includes the additional trillion dollars in each year’s spending.  The money that initially was for the one-time bailout & stimulus has become a permanent part of every subsequent year’s budget.  My question is:  what are we getting for that additional yearly trillion dollars that is in excess of FY2007 spending?  It’s not the war, or the Bush tax cuts, or the Bush prescription drug plan, because those were there in 2007.  It’s brand new spending that wasn’t there before.

          • Gregg Smith

            And to add insult to injury, the TARP money was paid back. I think all of it but certainly most of it. It should have been a wash.

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

            Candidate Obama said the debt and deficit at that level was
            irresponsible and unpatriotic.  Then the financial crisis came and the
            people in charge said that we needed to spend a trillion dollars to fix
            the problem.

            The change from ’06 to ’08 was much more drastic than you’re describing it. The actions were “keep the ship afloat” stuff, not unusual for the incredible collapse in demand, the depth-plumbing of the business cycle, the cliff-drop in GDP, in the economy at the time. (And we didn’t discover the depths how bad 2008 was until about 2010.)

          • Gregg Smith

            Obama repeated over and over it was the worst economy since the great depression in  the 2008 campaign. It wasn’t at the time, not even close. So if I understand you, Obama didn’t believe what he was saying when he said it.

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

            “So if I understand you…”

            Yeah, bub. You don’t understand me. Your need to misquote and misread me goes beyond simple innocent mistakes.

            I can explain things to you but I can’t understand them to you.

            The change from ’06 to ’08 was incredibly drastic. See everything I put up above. No point repeating yourself with your regular crap.

          • Gregg Smith

            So he did believe what he was saying even though it was demonstrably untrue? Then how do you explain him now saying he didn’t know how bad it was? Was he lying  then or is he lying now? 

      • Flytrap

         How about eliminating HUD, the D of Ed, scaling back food stamps, welfare, Section 8, closing bases in Europe and Asia and performance testing federal employees?

        • hennorama

          Flytrap – TY for your response. You’ve answered the first part of the question. Please answer the second part – “… and explain your reasoning and the impacts of the cuts you suggest.” I look forward to your reply.

          • Flytrap

             KMA, if you want me to write a report for you, I’ll send you my per hour rates.

          • hennorama

            Flytrap – Wow. Your politeness and congeniality are breathtaking.

          • Gregg Smith

            You have a different style than I but I like it. I notice you don’t get personal until hit then you are ruthless. Otherwise you’re a sweetheart. I tend to take it a bit more but sooner or later enough is enough. That’s an aside and I should note your above reply was not personal or judgmental, just a little ruthless. The lefties don’t see the distinction.  

            But mainly I wanted to say I agree with your not taking the bait. I think the assumed premise is that unless you have a solution you shouldn’t criticize the problem. Spending is at crazy stupid levels, any ignoramus paying attention knows that even if they are clueless about what to cut. Playing that game leads straight to the weeds and accusations of being uncaring and cruel. Liberals love to tell you what you think then criticize you for thinking it. Most of the time it’s the best they can do. Some of them are alright though… I suppose.

            We need to spend far less and we can’t trust the government with more revenue. It’s like telling a crackhead to cut back and then giving them a thousand bucks for groceries. The crackhead may have a revenue problem but it’s not fixed by more revenue. The current debate is silly, especially on a stupid blog. Bravo for not accepting the false premise.

          • Flytrap

             Thanks Gregg, you cheered me up.  I actually want solutions that honestly address problems and aren’t personal, ideological vendettas.  The reason I was such a prick to henna? was I could sense the condescension and disdain in her question. 

            Like you, I would rather debate with facts and leave personal insults aside, but these nasty ideologues can’t seem to separate the two.  I think Michael Graham says it best in this interview, http://www.wgbh.org/programs/Greater-Boston-11/episodes/Jan-2-2013-Life-after-WTKK-43379 about how disagreement isn’t just ideological, it’s moral. 

            I congratulate you on having more patience and being much nicer than me towards the nastier individuals here.  If you’re in the Eastern part of the state, check out The Skylight Inn and King’s Restaurant.  I’m from around there.

          • Gregg Smith

            I used to spend some time in that neck of the woods. My band played a club in Greenville, NC fairly regularly in the late 80′s through the late 90′s. I can’t remember the name(s) of it but we played through a few different managements, the name changed. At one point it was run by a flock of lesbians. It was a fairly big room and great fun. We may have partied together, who knows? I could tell some great stories but I’d have to change the names to protect the innocent.

  • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

    I wonder how the commentors see themselves in the political/economic spectrum.  Many of the comments posted here seem to demand Marxist economic practices.  Such economic solutions require decreases in the personal liberties our nation is founded on.  But then I am new here and maybe missing the subtly of their argument. 

    • TomK_in_Boston

      Don’t be absurd. After cutting taxes and deregulating the corporations since 1980, baby steps back toward our historical norms are not “Marxist”, they’re all-American. Get a grip.

      When war hero DDE was president, the top tax rate was over 90%, banks could not speculate in the market, AT&T had a telephone monopoly, the FAA told airlines where to fly and set rates, the FCC enforced “equal time” for opposing views…..apparently you think that during the time that the American middle class was doing phenomenally well, we were actually Communists! Who knew? 

      • Flytrap

         And 50% of all intl trade came from or went to the US.  Your selective application of facts speaks to your mendacity.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Haha, I understand that you’re programmed to regurgitate official talking points on cue, but you misfired here. You repeated the lie about why our high tax, high regulation economy worked in the past but couldn’t possibly work now. Sorry, I was simply pointing out that nothing being proposed now looks like “Marxism” by our historical norms. Perhaps you can find another official script that is more “On Point”?

          • Flytrap

             From OnPointComments:

            A perspective on tax rates in the 1950s:
             
            http://news.investors.com/ibd-… 
             
            Excerpt:
             ”The
            illusion commences with that famous 1950s top rate of 91%…a more
            comprehensive interpretation of income that includes capital gains
            suggests the real effective tax rate for millionaires was 49% in 1953.
            The effective rate dropped throughout the decade, reaching 31% by 1960. 
            That 31% is just slightly higher than the 29% level a Congressional
            Budget Office report figures the average effective tax for the top
            quintile will be in 2014.  A second fantasy about the 1950s is that
            government soaked the rich…those earning more than $100,000 paid less
            than 5% of the taxes collected in the U.S., a far smaller share than the
            wealthiest shoulder today.”

          • TomK_in_Boston

            “Sorry, I was simply pointing out that nothing being proposed now looks like “Marxism” by our historical norms. Perhaps you can find another official script that is more “On Point”?”

            OK, you got another talking point. It’s still irrelevant, but very popular lately. The fraction of the taxes paid by the rich is supposed to show what a burden they carry. Sorry, it just shows that they are getting all the income! What matters is the rate, and that’s been going the way everyone in the real world knows – down

            http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e8/US_high-income_effective_tax_rates.png

    • jimino

      Someone who thinks that the policies favored by the greatest generation and its presidential leaders, Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower, and the political parties they led, are “Marxist”, is clearly incapable of grasping any point in rational discourse.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Perhaps a case of sensory deprivation in the righty alt universe?

    • Gregg Smith

      Many comments here are one form or another of, “from each according to his ability to each according to his need”. It sounds so compassionate but it’s the opposite.

      • Ray in VT

        Many may prefer “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required”.  That is a far older and less controversial quote.  I see nothing wrong with the quote that you cite so long it is well balanced so as to do its best to not discourage work or encourage idleness, and it has long been an element of the mainstream American and the European political tradition.

        • Gregg Smith

          The problem I have with the Marx quote is the demand aspect of it. The problem I have with your quote is the word “given”. If the word were accurate I wouldn’t have a problem but it’s not. I know the argument that says the rich couldn’t have gotten rich without infrastructure and such but that makes no sense as everyone has the same access to the same infrastructure. It’s just that the rich pay much more for it.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that there must be a demand aspect, as I think that private charity throughout the course of the late 19th and early 20th century proved itself to be up to the task of the problems that modern, industrial society creates.

            My response to your latter point is that they also get much more back from it in many cases, and without that infrastructure than many of those of substantial means would have less so.  If I have a product but no way to get it to market, then it is worthless, but with a public road I may make a great deal of money.

          • Gregg Smith

            I prefer asking nicely.

            Regarding the latter, 3 points: 1)Those with products to sell are not necessarily rich, 2) Anyone can utilize the highways for any purpose,  and 3) They already pay more through various taxes and, 3b) the gas tax (and tolls) are a use tax. The roads are not given to the rich and no one else.

          • sickofthechit

            Gregg, I think the “game” is a little rigged.  I call it;
             

            A Little Game of Poker

            In terms that might make it easier to
            understand what this means for the future, imagine a poker game where
            you are using 100 chips and a double deck of cards, but you throw
            away four twos from one of the decks. So now you have 100 chips and
            100 cards to deal out. There are 100 players in the “imaginary”
            poker game. Each player is dealt the number of chips and cards that
            correspond to their share of our countries wealth. The wealthiest
            player in the game is dealt 37 chips and 37 cards. That’s right, one
            person in the game (the “one percent” you hear so much about) is
            dealt 37 chips and 37 cards. It is “fair” since the wealthiest
            1% of our population own 37% of our countries wealth. So there
            he/she is with their 37 chips and 37 cards. The next player gets a
            corresponding number of cards based on their wealth. The result is
            that the first 20 players are dealt out 88 chips and 88 cards amongst
            them of the total 100 cards. The remaining 80 players are now
            essentially having to share 12 chips and 12 individual cards amongst
            groups of them. By the time you get to the last card, we now have 30
            or more people having to share 1 chip and 1 card. Now answer another
            question. Do any of those (meaning us) 80 players even have a chance
            of winning this game? Not knowing any better, one might venture to
            say that the game is rigged. I certainly think it is.
            Charles A. Bowsher

          • Gregg Smith

            Who is the dealer?

          • jefe68

            The house always wins…

      • nj_v2

        Hahahaha! Look, Greggg thinks he understands what socialism is.

        • Flytrap

           Maybe your fat girlfriend will lose weight on your fixie.

    • jefe68

      No they don’t. You seem to be mistaking the idea of a Social Democracy for Marxism. There is a difference.
      Denmark is a good example. One could hardly call that nation Marxist. 

      • Ray in VT

        I’m not sure that one could even call it social democracy, unless one was to argue that that was what we were for a chunk of time in the middle of the 20th century.

        • jefe68

          I was not talking about the US. This country is not a social democracy, I was alluding to the comment by RWB who seems to be confused as to what Marxism is in context to political debate about our system. Denmark is a social democracy.

    • nj_v2

      So we can have a really good laugh, why don’t you tell us specifically which “Marxist economic policies” and “decreases in personal liberties” you’re talking about. Again, be specific. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

    • Mike_Card

      Just drop by the next time the Texas secessionists (say THAT 3 times, fast!) decide it’s their turn on the soap box.

    • JONBOSTON

      You give the posters more credit than they deserve by assuming they have an understanding of any economic practices. Most wouldn’t know, let alone understand , a pro-growth economic policy if it hit them square in the face.

      • Gregg Smith

        But they know how to strangle an economy pretty well.

  • Wahoo_wa

    “Increasing America’s debt limit weakens us domestically and internationally.  Leadership means that “the buck stops here.”  Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.  America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.  Americans deserve better.

    I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”  Senator Obama March 6, 2006.

  • Gregg Smith

    This payroll tax thing is bugging me. The right seems to be trying to make hay over the fact that the deal raises the payroll  tax. I don’t think that’s honest. It’s not analogous to income taxes. It’s paying into a program that pays you back. A payroll tax cut defunds social security which is already in trouble. As for the left, they rail against any mention of addressing SS but advocate the payroll tax cut which makes addressing it even more crucial. It makes no sense.

    A payroll tax cut is not just letting people keep more of what they earn, it actually cost money unlike income tax cuts.

    • Mike_Card

      I think that’s the correct way to approach it; SS money doesn’t flow into the general fund for use as Congress directs.  It is, as you say, used to disburse to participants.

      Somehow, I missed the change in terminology from “FICA” to “payroll taxes.”  Only a decade or so ago, the govt was careful to characterize the Federal Insurance Contributions Act as a contribution and not a tax, which would be a schedule A deduction to the employee payer.  It’s clearly not a deduction now, but it seems to have morphed into a tax.

      • Gregg Smith

        That’s a great point, I had forgotten what FICA even stood for. “Contribution” is the right word because it’s not a dollar for dollar exchange. The language has been hijacked, happens all the time.

        I was talking with an old friend this afternoon who I haven’t talked to in a while. He’s a right winger. I was criticizing Rush on this very topic because he was talking about everybody’s taxes going up. My friend (Mike oddly enough) defended Rush and I got his point but I turned it around. I (and he) criticized Obama when he thumped his chest about giving everybody in America a tax cut. It goes both ways.

    • JGC

      Here is something, like you, that is bugging me, perhaps because I don’t understand it or haven’t thought it through deeply enough, or whatever:  I paid earned income taxes in the U.S. from the age of 18 until I left at 32 for an opportunity in Canada.  I still have a statement from Social Security, issued around 2000, that shows me to have the full 40 credits required to participate in SocialSecurity/Medicare upon retirement.  They also provided a full accounting of ALL  the  taxes I had paid into Social Security and into Medicare, and the total of the two were significantly less than $20,000, even after contributing 15 years into the system.  Now. Even with the most stellar investment advisor at the wheel, how can a (less than) $20,000 contribution compound to provide for all  monthly retirement expenses and healthcare emergencies from the age of 65 on ?

      Does anyone else have a statement like this? 

      • Gregg Smith

        I don’t know. I don’t have a firm grasp on the whole thing and I should. I’ve never counted on Social Security. I’ve heard all my life that it won’t be there when I retire. I talked to a friend today (the same conversation referred to in my reply to Mike Card below) who is 66 and just received his first SS check, I’m 52. I congratulated him. It may be paranoia but i’m not counting on it. The truth is SS was never designed to live off, it is a safety net not a safety hammock.

        My understanding (if I’m wrong someone will correct me, believe me) is it’s not a dollar for dollar exchange. The amount you pay in determines the size of your check but not how many checks you get. Again, I may be wrong. I’d like to know too. Hopefully someone with knowledge (not google) will clear it up. 

        • JGC

          I agree that Social Security is not what I ever thought would pay the major freight of my golden years. Still, it is there, and I paid it as I worked, and I do believe it will contribute to a better retirement than if I had not contributed at all.  But it is a bit of a black box. I was home in PA for Christmas, and saw what Soc. Sec/Medicare is putting in my 85ish old mom’s account:  about $1200 per month.

          Now, she worked very hard for some years before marrying my dad, and he definitely contributed the top rate at the time he worked, but still I have to wonder:  how does that pay for all the basic retirement benefits and for the healthcare from age 65 onward – onward to maybe 95?  She had double knee replacements last year, and I have to say it made a major contribution to the quality of her life (allows her to live in her own home instead of being sent to an eldercare home), but how do we figure this out so that we all pay correctly into the system, and get a “fair” payback?

          It is really a conundrum for the U.S. to figure out.     

          • Gregg Smith

            Just be thankful a government bureaucracy didn’t tell your mother the knee replacements weren’t an option for a woman her age. That day is coming.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            The day is coming for sure if the right wins out and momma can’t afford the difference between a ryan Groupon and a real insurance policy.

            I love the way you guys talk about “rationing”. Get real. The worst rationing is being “free” to buy what you can’t afford.

          • Gregg Smith

            Ryan lost. Obama forced 2 million vulnerable elderly from Medicare and gave them vouchers.

            No one ever responds to that fact.

          • JGC

            And I didn’t even mention her brother who got a (very successful) kidney transplant at age 78.  I don’t worry as much about government bureaucracy getting in the way of healthcare decisions, as I do about private insurance bureaucracies making those decisions for the rest of us still outside the Medicare years.

          • Gregg Smith

            Boy I do, mainly because I can choose my insurance company and how much coverage I want to pay for. An insurance company has no hold on me, I can fire them.

            As I recall you are in Canada, did these anecdotes come from the Canada experience or America?

          • JGC

            Sorry for the confusion. All my side of the family, except for me, are in the U.S. I came to Canada for my husband’s employment, but we may eventually move back to the U.S. at some point. In the meantime, we are paying our taxes in Canada, and have most of our family health considerations met mainly through the provincial Medicare program. Canada and the U.S. have an agreement concerning (American)Social Security and (Canadian) Social Insurance. So we are paid up on both sides, but we can only draw from one  side during retirement years, depending on residency.

          • jefe68

            There are caps on how much SS one gets. Your mother can also get medicare after 65. Which is on top of SS. SS was never meant to be a retirement account. It was part of a three legged stool so to speak. SS, pension plan, and retirement account such as an IRA. 

            The way it works is that we all pay in and people like your mom get the surgery despite here income. That surgery is most likely over $200K plus rehab. If she or anyone who was in the median income bracket had to pay the full freight she would be in a wheel chair now.    

          • JGC

            The $200K plus rehab cost sounds way on the high side. JAMA is saying it is about $15K per knee replacement (then add on a 3 day hospital stay and then on to rehab for a week).  But if I have to decide on cutting healthcare for my mother or cutting an F-35 fighter jet, Mama wins.  

          • OnPointComments

            If your mother is 85, let’s assume that she earned the maximum taxable FICA earnings from 1945 at age 18, through retirement in 1992 at age 65.  How much would she have paid in to Social Security and Medicare?  About $50,000.  And her employer would have matched it with another $50,000.  At $1,200 a month, she got back all of her contributions and the employer contributions in less than 7 years (ignoring any imputed interest), and that doesn’t count what Medicare paid out on her behalf.
             
            Social Security has always been somewhat of a Ponzi scheme.  I agree that it’s worthwhile and needed, but I don’t know what it would take to make it actuarially sound.

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

            let’s assume that she earned the maximum taxable FICA earnings from 1945 at age 18, through retirement in 1992 at age 65

            That’s a hell of a big assumption.

          • Mike_Card

            The maximum earnings ceilings were pretty minimal through the 80′s.  I looked for a table, but ran out of time.  It is highly probable that she max’d out in every one of those years, if she worked the entire year.  Not such a big assumption.

      • Mike_Card

        In one sense, it’s “magic with numbers,” but a more lucid view is the power of compounded interest.

        Keep 2 things in mind:  (1)  The 20K is what you paid, but your employer paid an equivalent amount.  (2)  The actuarial assumption is that you begin to collect at “full retirement age,” which is currently 66; that’s 34 years of compounding, which will grow the principal amount by quite a bit (I don’t know what the SS Admin uses, but it’s sure to be a very conservative rate of return:  2% or thereabouts.)

        Also, remember that it is an annuity–you might die early or live longer.  If you can bear to, ask any life insurance agent to explain how they do their wizardry.  Otherwise, just take it on faith.

        Social Security is NOT broke; people have been hearing and saying, “It’ll never be there for ME” for at least 60 years.

        • JGC

          Thanks.  I plum forgot about the employer matching side of contributions. 

          • Mike_Card

            I probably should quit while I’m ahead, or at least wait till it’s the major topic of one of Tom’s shows.

            But there is a comment that comes from all quarters, whenever the SS topic arises, and that is, “Social Security was always supposed to be a subsistence floor, never the primary retirement income source,” or something to that effect.

            In the beginning (I think 1937, but exact info is at ssa.gov) the withholding rate was 1% from the employee and 1.25% from the employer.  Over time, that 2.25% has grown to 15.3%; and–with a nod to Gregg–that entire amount is based upon employee wages.  Absent SS, the employee would receive an additional 15.3%, although the EE would need to provide for more retirement income and medical expense.

            My main point is that a salary deduction of 15+% should be enough to provide a comfortable retirement, and not merely a subsistence.  Do people nowadays really go for a 401(K) that amounts to a 15+% deduction from their salaries?

            In other words, Social Security has–possibly inadvertently, but they should have known better–become the bulk of retirement savings. 

          • JGC

            While on the topic of money, there is a great article in the Jan/Feb issue of Atlantic, “What’s Inside America’s Banks?” by Frank Partnoy and Jesse Eisinger. 

    • TomK_in_Boston

      When a “temporary” payroll tax “holiday”, advertized as such, expires, it is NOT a tax hike, it’s following the plan, business as usual, etc. When Bush tax cuts with a built in expiration date (put in so the CBO wouldn’t make the impact on the deficit too big) expire, it is NOT a tax hike, it’s following the plan, business as usual, etc.

      I know that the anti gvt types put in these expiration dates with the intention that they will scream about tax hikes when expiration date rolls around and try to make them permanent, but theres’s no reason to play their game.

      • Gregg Smith

        My point about the payroll contribution is that it is not a tax per say. I’m with Mike on that. It’s like if you buy a product and pay a sales tax but call the entire transaction a tax. No, the tax was the tax the rest of the money you spend for the product (Social Security) you receive. What ever you call it, it just went up. We can argue semantics but equating the payroll contribution with income taxes is not a valid comparison.

        Regarding the income tax cuts, Obama extended them all and the original expiration date passed years ago. They are the Obama tax cuts. So there’s that. BTW, that’s a feather in his cap in my book.

        If they are allowed to expire taxes go up. That’s a hike. It cannot be called a cut, the cut already happened.

        And they didn’t cause a deficit!

  • Wahoo_wa

    O_O      …crickets….

  • Wahoo_wa

    ….the sound of one hand clapping….

    • Fredlinskip

      All right – we get it. Don’t have time right now . Uncle,

      Hey. If a tree falls in the forest and knocks out a goofy Republican, does it make any noise?

      • Wahoo_wa

        LOL….I’m sure it does.

  • Wahoo_wa

    Here’s a link to the Senate vote on raising the debt limit (from the Senate’s own record which I believe to be nonpartisan): 
    http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=2&vote=00054  Oh would you look at that!! Every Democrat voted against raising the debt limit!!
    SHOCK!!! HORROR!!! I DON’T BELIEVE IT!!!
    But sadly it’s true.

  • hennorama

    Mike_Card – (apologies for the indirect DISQUSted response) – sorry Mike, but deductions for Social Security and Medicare taxes paid are not allowed, per the Form 1040 Schedule A Instructions:

    “Taxes You Cannot Deduct

    · Federal income and most excise taxes.
    · Social security, Medicare, federal unemployment (FUTA), and railroad retirement (RRTA) taxes …”

    Social Security has always been funded by taxes, and the taxes have never been deductible related to Federal Individual Income Tax.  Here’s the original text from the Social Security Act of 1935 (edited for brevity and relevance, and emphasis added):

    “INCOME TAX ON EMPLOYEES

    SECTION 801. In addition to other taxes, there shall be levied, collected, and paid upon the income of every individual a TAX equal to the following percentages of the wages …

    DEDUCTION OF TAX FROM WAGES

    SEC. 802. (a) The tax imposed by section 801 shall be collected by the employer of the taxpayer by deducting the amount of the TAX from the wages as and when paid …

    DEDUCTIBILITY FROM INCOME TAX

    SEC. 803. For the purposes of the income TAX imposed by Title I of the Revenue Act of 1934 or by any Act of Congress in substitution therefor, the TAX imposed by section 801 shall not be allowed as a deduction to the taxpayer in computing his net income for the year in which such TAX is deducted from his wages.

    EXCISE TAX ON EMPLOYERS

    SEC. 804. In addition to other taxes, every employer shall pay an excise TAX, with respect to having individuals in his employ, equal to the following percentages of the wages …

    Source:http://www.ssa.gov/history/35acviii.html

    These are, and have always been, TAXES.

  • Guest

    Mike_Card – sorry Mike, but Schedule A Instructions do not allow deductions for Social Security and Medicare taxes paid:
    “Taxes You Cannot Deduct
     · Federal income and most excise taxes.· Social security, Medicare, federal unemployment (FUTA), and railroad retirement (RRTA) taxes· Customs duties.- Federal estate and gift taxes. But see the instructions for line 28. · Certain state and local taxes, including: tax on gasoline, car inspection fees, assessments for sidewalks or other improvements to your property, tax you paid for someone else, and license fees (marriage, driver’s, dog, etc.).”
     
    Social Security has always been funded by taxes, and the taxes have never been deductible related to Federal Individual Income Tax.  Here’s the original text from the Social Security Act of 1935 (edited for brevity and relevance):
    “INCOME TAX ON EMPLOYEES
    SECTION 801. In addition to other taxes, there shall be levied, collected, and paid upon the income of every individual a tax equal to the following percentages of the wages (as defined in section 811) received by him after December 31, 1936, with respect to employment (as defined in section 811) …
    DEDUCTION OF TAX FROM WAGES
    SEC. 802. (a) The tax imposed by section 801 shall be collected by the employer of the taxpayer by deducting the amount of the tax from the wages as and when paid. Every employer required so to deduct the tax is hereby made liable for the payment of such tax …
    DEDUCTIBILITY FROM INCOME TAX
    SEC. 803. For the purposes of the income tax imposed by Title I of the Revenue Act of 1934 or by any Act of Congress in substitution therefor, the tax imposed by section 801 shall not be allowed as a deduction to the taxpayer in computing his net income for the year in which such tax is deducted from his wages.
     
    EXCISE TAX ON EMPLOYERS
     
    SEC. 804. In addition to other taxes, every employer shall pay an excise tax, with respect to having individuals in his employ, equal to the following percentages of the wages (as defined in section 811) paid by him after December 31, 1936, with respect to employment (as defined in section 811) after such date …
     
    Source:http://www.ssa.gov/history/35acviii.html
     
    One would assume the same was true for Medicare taxes from the beginning.  These are, and have always been, taxes.

    • Gregg Smith

      I haven’t looked at this year’s form yet but I have always been able to deduct 1/2 of what I pay into Social Security. It’s calculated on Schedule SE and the result goes in the Adjusted Gross Income section of the 1040.

      Maybe I’m missing something.

      • OnPointComments

        You are correct that a self-employed person gets to deduct 1/2 of the self-employment tax on page 1 of the tax return.

        • Gregg Smith

          Been there, done that for years. The rub is  the employers half is just a cost to hire. It could all be a wage and the cost to the employer would be the same. The employers matching contribution ultimately comes out of the pocket of the employee.

    • Mike_Card

      Well, that was the point I made:  other taxes are deductions on Schedule A.  Social Security–FICA–USED to be characterized as “contributions” and not taxes.  That distinction made an employee’s payments to Social Security ineligible for an “other taxes” deduction.

      For some reason I haven’t heard about, the former “contribution” has now become a “payroll tax,” along with FUI, SUI, SDI, Fed Income Tax withholding and State & Local Income tax withholding.

      This is really getting down into the weeds, but I guess it’s timely.  As a side bar, the employer still is allowed to deduct his portion of FICA as normal and necessary business expense on the business return.

      • OnPointComments

        Your comment:  “Only a decade or so ago, the govt was careful to characterize the Federal Insurance Contributions Act as a contribution and not a tax, which would be a schedule A deduction to the employee payer.”
         
        No matter what it is called or has been called, whether “FICA,” “Federal Insurance Contributions Act,” “Social Security,” “payroll tax,” or anything else, the amount of this tax that is withheld from a employee’s wages is not now and has never been deductible anywhere on the Federal Schedule A Itemized Deductions, not as a tax deduction, and not as a contribution.

    • hennorama

      Mike_Card – (apologies for this “echo” of my original post below – ^%$@#! DISQUS!)
      You misunderstand.  Social Security taxes have ALWAYS been TAXES, and have NEVER been deductible by the Employee.  That’s why I included the text of the original SS Act of 1935.  Calling them “contributions” implies several things – ownership, potential deductibility, etc., and is inaccurate.  They are TAXES, plain and simple, and like other Federal taxes, they are not deductible relative to Federal Individual Income Taxes.
       
      Employers get to deduct the portion of SS taxes that they pay (usually matching the Employees’ share), and act as a pass-through entity for the SS taxes collected from Employees’ wages.
       
      Self-employed taxpayer do not technically DEDUCT any part of their own SS taxes – they take an ADJUSTMENT to income equal to what an Employer would pay (this is called the “Employer-equivalent portion” of the Self-Employment tax).  The idea here is that “Big employers get to deduct these taxes so why can’t Joe The Plumber deduct them?”  But it’a an ADJUSTMENT and not a DEDUCTION.
       
      Of course, if a Self-employed taxpayer also has Employees, they can deduct the Employer portion of SS taxes they paid on behalf of their Employees.

      • Mike_Card

        No, I understand how it works.  The federal govt. went to great pains to NOT characterize SS as a tax, even though it clearly is.  Otherwise, why not title the act, “Federal Insurance Tax Act?”

        After I passed the CPA exam and was doing my apprenticeship with a public accounting firm, I asked one of the tax practitioners why it was called a “contribution” and not a “tax.”  What I’ve related below is the answer I received.

  • Gregg Smith

    In MA deposits were made to 19,000 welfare recipients that cannot be found. It’s the tip of the iceberg.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2013/01/04/oops-massachusetts-finds-itself-unable-to-locate-19000-welfare-recipients/

    • JONBOSTON

      Thanks Greg for linking to that report. As someone who pays Ma taxes, I throw up when I hear the abuse is discovered as part of a get out the vote effort. If my memory serves me correctly, Elizabeth Warren’s daughter was involved in this effort.

      • Gregg Smith

        It’s a vicious circle. Obama has pushed hard to expand welfare (sometimes by EO) which means more debt and less people working. That pulls down the economy which kills jobs which creates more welfare. I honestly believe this is what Obama wants.

        • jefe68

          That the economic down turn and the fact that millions lost their jobs does not play into your inane comment is telling.

          You right wingers are hilarious. PResident Obama one the election because all the folks on welfare voted for him. 

          Of course the stats for people on welfare voting in general tells us that not many in this situation are voting. But lets not let facts get in the way of your paranoid conspiracy theories.

          • Gregg Smith

            It’s not about me.

            There were enough to sway the election that did vote. More voted than ever, the exit polls bear that out.

          • 1Brett1

            Of the many people who voted, how many were on Welfare and Foodstamps? And, of those numbers, were there either the same or more numbers adding up to the difference between Obama’s votes and Romney’s votes? Is there also further evidence of those very so-called numbers having a causal relationship to the electoral college? Is there any verifiable evidence whatsoever that there is any causal relationship between people on Welfare and Foodstamps and Obama getting re-elected that you can provide to support your opinion?    

          • Gregg Smith

            Bookoos, irrelevant (if I understand), I don’t know, bookoos.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      I hope they found Bane Capital! How many checks do you think it takes to equal the “carried interest” welfare tax break?

      • Gregg Smith

        Cool, did you hear Rush’s dissertation on carried interest yesterday?

    • nj_v2

      Except that this isn’t what happened which is clear if one bothers to dig up the actual story and not rely on one of Greggg’s idiot right-wing hack Web site summaries.
       Greggg either has reading comprehension issues, or he’s an outright disinformation artist. On second thought, they’re not mutually exclusive.

      • Gregg Smith

        You said it so it must be true. Alrighty then.

  • OnPointComments

    A perspective on tax rates in the 1950s:
     
    http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-perspective/010413-639424-obama-high-taxes-still-worse-than-1950s-tax-rates.htm?p=full 
     
    Excerpt:
     ”The illusion commences with that famous 1950s top rate of 91%…a more comprehensive interpretation of income that includes capital gains suggests the real effective tax rate for millionaires was 49% in 1953. The effective rate dropped throughout the decade, reaching 31% by 1960.  That 31% is just slightly higher than the 29% level a Congressional Budget Office report figures the average effective tax for the top quintile will be in 2014.  A second fantasy about the 1950s is that government soaked the rich…those earning more than $100,000 paid less than 5% of the taxes collected in the U.S., a far smaller share than the wealthiest shoulder today.”

    • Fredlinskip

      What are we to conclude, rates don’t matter?
      Your article states:”IRS reckoned the effective rate of tax in 1954 for top earners was actually 70%.”Romney’s effective rate was 15%. Correct?

      Article claims:”The good is that the higher tax rates that are coming will last longer on paper than they do in reality. The bad news is that those rates will hold at first, with genuine costs to growth that both parties will be slow to acknowledge.”

      Personally, I don’t believe ending W tax breaks for those over 400g will have ANY negative drag on economy.
      And if we come out of coming debate closing loopholes that further raise rates for mega-wealthy that will probably have little negative impact as well.

      But let’s say that the “spending cuts” and “tax increases” yet to come DO have a negative effect causing job loss, etc. That’s not what the current debate is about, is it? it’s about debt and deficit.

      We all know “cutting spending” is going to have a negative impact on the economy. 
      Ask Greece.

      • Gregg Smith

        Exactly! Rates in a vacuum don’t matter. As I’ve pointed out before, on average revenue as a percentage of GDP was lower with Eisenhower’s 91% rate that GWB’s 35% rate. BTW, in case NJ chimes in, his/her math is bogus. you can do the math from data on OMB table 1.3:

        http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals

        What are the available deductions and loopholes? What are the rest of the rates? What is GDP? Is it war time or peace time? What are spending levels, both real and as a percentage of debt or GDP? Is there a bubble? Is there a recession? What are the cap gains rates? What about all the other myriad of taxes? What are the compromises between the party’s dastardly agendas? What is the unemployment rate? And on and on.

        The debt and deficit debate is inextricably linked to jobs. More jobs creating more taxpayers is the only way to significantly increase revenue. The math works far far better with more taxpayers paying lower taxes that it does with fewer taxpayers paying higher taxes. It’s not even close. However, more revenue for more spending is a wash and we have $16T to deal with.

        Spending is what got Greece into the trouble they are in.

        • Fredlinskip

          I”ll repeat a statement made to you earlier this week to which you didn’t reply:
          If revenue to GDP was lower with Ike’s 91% rate than W’s 35% rate then:
          “I guess we can conclude that the reason why Eisenhower was fiscal Conservative  while W very near increased national debt  more than all previous administrations combined was largely tied to spending habits.
          Eisenhower was fiscally responsible, Reagan & W not so much.”

          I would argue that simply “growing economy” has little effect on jobs and personal income if the vast lion’s share of the gains during “growth” periods go to fewer and fewer folks. Therefore that is not the goal=
           unless that is all you care about is the few. 
          Something’s gotta change. 

          Decreasing national debt will do nothing for employment/ economy short run. Too bad that unlike Ike & Clinton, W did nothing to pay down debt, even when at the height of his BUBBLE- INDUCED economy. If he had, our current situation need not be nearly so dire- after all just a few years before under Clinton, CBO was projecting surpluses as far eye could see.

          • Gregg Smith

            I am not sure how to answer your question. What is it about the Eisenhower years, if not the revenue, that makes you think it was better then, or do you? Or what criteria do you use to assume Eisenhower was a fiscal Conservative.. whatever that is? My point is the 91% rate was irrelevant. It did not make things better then and won’t now.

          • Fredlinskip

            Economy boomed under Ike and he didn’t explode national debt.
               
              Point is also that if revenue to GDP was roughly the same under both Ike & W, then the answer must lay elsewhere as far as why Eisenhower’s term netted so much more positive results as far as manageable national debt, income inequality, better quality of life for higher percentage of Americans, etc. 

              If not REVENUE then, perhaps Ike SPENT more responsibly- for programs that actually were good for economy and greater number of people. 

            What I suggest is that Ike stood for policies that benefited the many;
            W stood for policy that benefited the few.

          • Gregg Smith

            I agree that the answer must lie elsewhere but I just don’t agree at all that Bush’s policies didn’t benefit the poor.

          • Fredlinskip

            How bout when W went on his whirlwind tour trying to promote a plan tying SS to the stock market?
            Whose interests was he looking out for there?
             I don’t know- maybe he was just delusional.

          • Gregg Smith

            The option to allow taxpayers to invest a very small (2% as I recall, check me) portion of their own money in a very narrow portfolio was called “privatization”. And people believed it.

            It was a good idea.

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

            Submitted without comment.

          • Gregg Smith

            Please comment.

  • Dee

    The GOP’s villian of the senate (Mitch Mc Connell) says he 
    and his party are ready for the fiscal cuts ahead….

    Well, I have news for him and his spend thrifts and moochers 
    in the GOP you should have thought about this when you were acting like drunken skunks in the senate & house during the 
    last 8 years of Bush & Cheney and ran up the nations debt to the tune of 10 trillion dollars and sacked the US Treasury pre-viously for the almost one trillion dollars in the surplus left by the Clinton Camp….
    (  http://www.srwolf.com/reports/Stiglitz10trillion.pdf  ) 

    Now, you want to pay for this by reducing the safety net and benefits in education to the nation’s young , the poor. and the disabled, plus the elderly …Well, I encourage everyone to say “no” to the phony /irresponsible fiscal conservative Mc Connell
    and gang busters Mc Connell want us to believe he now repre-sent. 

    And endorse groups like Global Solutions & Dr. Maya Rockey-moore who spoke out on cuts to Social Security, medicare &
    medicaid before the Democratic National Drafting Committee last July. 

    Here is her video testimony below the committee and please see her recent open letter to Alan Simpson asking him to stop short changing our youth who are least able to bear this debt . 

    (By the way Alan Simpson is the darling of the Wall Street rip artists. He has been visiting the talk shows daily and has often gotten hosts like Jon Stewart to swallow his Kool Aid drink. 
    So please don’t remain silent let hosts like Jon Stewart they 
    are swallowing GOP & Wall St. propaganda on entitlement programs.) 

    http://www.globalpolicysolutions.com/index.php/component/content/article/65-other-news/151-dr-maya-rockeymoore-testifies-on-the-importance-of-social-security-a-medicare-at-the-democratic-national-platform-drafting-committee

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-maya-rockeymoore/an-open-letter-to-alan-si_b_2270726.html

    Lastly, take a look at the Congressional Budget Office’s 
    Report which found there was no correlation between the 
    Bush era tax cuts and job growth…A falsehood Mc Connel 
    has been peddling and indeed he and other GOP lawmakers 
    blocked this report from being published before the Nov.
    6th election to promote the election of Mitt Romeny…….

    (Sounds familiar , how disingenuous this man shows has
    shown himself to be and the GOP he represents today )

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/02/business/questions-raised-on-withdrawal-of-congressional-research-services-report-on-tax-rates.html

    Dee

    P.S. Of course, their victims are the real men and women 
    who continue to suffer and lose the roof over their heads,
    etc while they continue tolook for jobs they never created.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/02/business/questions-raised-on-withdrawal-of-congressional-research-services-report-on-tax-rates.html?_r=0

  • Fredlinskip

    To conclude conversation below:

    In a nutshell: The reason Ike administration propelled America into a path of decades of overall economic stability and prosperity, while W (and Reagan) set up the conditions for an economic death spiral was in large part because:Ike was a President who represented the interests of the many; W focused on policy that would benefit primarily the wealthy.

    • pete18

       Good to see you’re back in action. I must say that your above statement is an absurd one, both in its analysis of the results of the three Presidencies but also in your projections onto the intents of the three men. The world was a completely different place in the 1950s, the US had no real economic competitors, which makes all the difference in the world when trying to compare money policies and their effects within the three different eras.

      • Fredlinskip

        Yeah, well, I’m avoiding responsibilities again- but hey it’s the weekend.
        Valid point that world was different, just as Gregg below points out correctly that there are many factors that go into how well a particular administration fares.
        So what do you do, give up? Ignore history?

        Yes Ike had some stuff going for him coming out of the War.
        But I would suggest, Ike admin policy helped as well. 

        Ike also did not offer up a bloated Offense (er, Defense) budget or get involved in questionable military exploits as some future admins did.

        Matter of fact, now to think of it, America hummed along pretty well, functioning fairly well right up until around the time America started getting involved with more military exploits abroad.
        Coincidence?

        Biggest drag on Carter’s economy was the outlandish interest rates that were in place during his term.

        And it was only after those rates were lowered during Reagan years did his economy take off, giving cover for Reagan’s “feed the rich” policies.

        To me it’s kind of amazing that so many for so long have been lead to believe that if you funnel $ to the wealthy, everyone will be better off.
        Funnel $ to the wealthy, what you get is a bunch of real wealthy folk.

        How’s that for a summary of “life according to Fredlinskip”

    • Gregg Smith

      It is impossible to logically say Bush’s policies, especially the tax cuts, favored the rich over the poor. the poor made out like bandits on the tax cuts.

      • Fredlinskip

        Poverty rate increased under W- significantly
        Decreased under Clinton.
        Increased under Reagan.

        Happy New Year Gregg
        I should probably resolve to spend less time on this comments page.

        • pete18

           And the poverty rates have increased significantly under Obama, does that mean you also think that he has policies that primarily benefit the wealthy?

          • Gregg Smith

            It’s Bush’s fault.

          • Fredlinskip

            Obama’s doing the best he can considering the broken economy he stepped into and a dysfunctional congress:
            see “Party of no”
            see “Unproductive Senate because of unprecedented misuse of filibuster”
            see “Republican majority in House brought on by the unprecedented UNDEMOCRATIC misuse of process of gerrymandering”.

            America is tremendously fortunate to have a person of Mr. Obama’s caliber come along when he did.
            Someone who chose instead of pursuing lucrative career in finance like so many of his ivy-league peers, but a path single=minded pursuit of improving conditions in the country he loves.
            IMO

          • pete18

            You can’t be serious.

            Just a factual reminder, Obama had the House and Senate for his first two years and passed almost everything that he wanted during that time. Somehow,
            Obama happens to be the only President in history who came on board with a bad economy or an active opposition party.

             

            Like many Obama supporters, you are applying a clear double
            standard to all your measurements. Because Obama is your guy, and you see him as trying with noble intentions, none of his poor results matter. However, similar or better results that happened under Republican presidents do matter
            because you have decided that they had bad intentions while enacting them.

             The list of double-standard outrages are endless:

             

            Wiretapping

            Renditions,

            Drone attacks

            Signing statements

            Rising Poverty rates

             

            Bush was relentlessly attacked about all these things and was called a war criminal who was defiling the Constitution. Obama engages in
            the same practices or has worse results and he is a noble savior, fighting
            injustice.

            Does not your conscious include a section for honest debate?

          • Fredlinskip

            No room for meaningful response here.C Above

        • Gregg Smith

          Back atcha’ on the Happy New Year thing.

          The poor made out like bandits with the tax cuts and the rich paid more of the bill.

          Pete18 asks a good question:

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/22/us-poverty-level-1960s_n_1692744.html

  • arratoon

    Don’t let anybody ever tell you you can’t get enough money from the rich: a ONE year 5% emergency tax on the average net worth ($16.4 million) of the top 1% (1.4 million households) would raise over a TRILLION dollars! Only fair as well, seeing this 5% is about the same percentage of their net worth ($57,000) the average household is now expected to forfeit EVERY year due to the payroll tax increase – something none of our millionaire representatives want to talk about.

    • harverdphd

       Or you could just gas them and take all their money.

      • Fredlinskip

        The French preferred the guillotine

    • JONBOSTON

      10-15 years ago, posts like yours would be written off as Marxist garbage. Today it could pass as mainstream Democrat orthodoxy. Does anyone wonder why 50% of the public believes the best years of this once great nation are behind it?

  • harverdphd

    The Kyoto Treaty expired. 

  • Fredlinskip

    Other day Pete18 wrote:
    “After the Bush tax cuts, unemployment went down, revenues increased dramatically and the deficit gap closed and was on track to being balanced by 2012. There’s no disputing any of those realities.”
    You’re right. Just like there’s no disputing that all this happened during the biggest BUBBLE economy since roaring 20’s. 
    BUBBLE ECONOMY as in no foundation under it- propped by smoke mirrors and the exploits of an out of control financial industry. 
    Are you waiting for the next bubble or are you more for creating an economy with strong foundation?

    The overall result of W years, was turning green to red ink, unnecessary war, humongous income inequality, terrible job growth, dividing the country against itself as perhaps never before, creation of tremendous rifts between America and other nations, denying global warming at a time when the World was poised to take international action, and on and on.

    Funny for about a year before the crash I kept hearing these high-falutin news anchors sitting around trying to puzzle out what W’s “legacy” was going to be-
     AS IF they were talking about one of our great presidents.

    Haven’t heard much along those lines since.

  • Gregg Smith

    OnPointsComments you wrote: “Social Security has always been somewhat of a Ponzi scheme.  I agree that it’s worthwhile and needed, but I don’t know what it would take to make it actuarially sound.”

    I agree. You remind me, someone was raked over the coals for suggesting the same notion. I think it was 2008 and it might have been Romney who called it a Ponzi Scheme. Whoever it was, was right.

    • Gregg Smith

      It was Rick Perry.

  • Gregg Smith
    • OnPointComments

      “Multiple Victim Public Shootings”, a study by John R. Lott Jr., Yale School of Law, and William M. Landes, University of Chicago School of Law
       
      William Landes and John Lott have examined all the multiple-victim public shootings with two or more victims in the United States from 1977 to 1997.  They found that when states passed right-to-carry laws, these attacks fell by an astounding 67 percent. Deaths and injuries from multiple-victim public shootings fell on average by 78 percent. And to the extent that these attacks still occur in states with right-to-carry laws, they overwhelming occur in those few places where concealed handguns are not allowed.
       
      http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&ved=0CFIQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thevrwc.org%2FJohnLott.pdf&ei=sgTpULiJFo-G8QTZi4FI&usg=AFQjCNH4ljAn3ug2nepERsvP_8NOfDO34w&sig2=jhdSaTW8vF05BDadhYlqWw&bvm=bv.1355534169,d.eWU 
       
      Excerpt:
      “Right-to-carry laws reduce the number of people killed or wounded from multiple victim public shootings as many attackers are either deterred from attacking or when attacks do occur they are stopped before the police can arrive.  Not only does the passage of a right-to-carry law have a significant impact on multiple shootings but it is the only gun law that appears to have a significant impact.”

      • 1Brett1

        John Lott Jr is an economist. Yes, he wrote the pro-gun bible, “More guns, Less Crime, ” which has been debunked over and over. His methods were flawed (he started with an assumption, compiled statistical data by failing to account for several key variables (making his models flawed). He then used anecdotes he picked that supported his ideas and flawed models….not very scientific.

        David Hemenway, in the New England Journal of Medicine, published Lott’s failures to account for key variables. Researchers Ian Ayres and John Donohue wrote on the fact that Lott’s “study” contained significant coding errors and systemic bias. Lott removed whole data portions of data sets that didn’t fit with his pre-study assumptions. In 2004, the National Academy of Sciences did a study of current research (including Lott’s) and found no causal relationship between right-to-carry laws and decreases in violent crime….About the only agreement among real researchers (of which Lott is not one) is that there IS a correlation between right-to-carry laws and crime not going up. But, then, crime also hasn’t gone up in places where there aren’t right-to-carry laws.

        Here, for example, is the published report from researchers Ayres and Donohue:

        http://islandia.law.yale.edu/ayers/Ayres_Donohue_article.pdf

        If one looks at Lott, the person: he is a neoconservative economist and political commentator (one can find his op-ed pieces in many conservative publications, and he’s a regular contributor to Fox News). He most recently co-authored a book with Grover Norquist called, “Obama’s War on Jobs and Growth, and What We Can Do Now to Regain Our Future” (catchy title, aye?).

        If one looks at Lott as a researcher, Lott has published various “studies” on everything from environmental regulations, Affirmative action in police departments to women’s suffrage and government growth (that’s a fun and sexist one) and media bias “research.” One finds him to be a flawed researcher who knowingly skews his data to fit the outcomes he desires (often simply throwing away data that might either discount his findings or significantly reduce their numbers), AND he relies heavily on anecdotal “data.” 

        Lott also faces ethics violations for failing to produce evidence of the existence of one of his so-called surveys that found “98% of the time people use guns defensively; they merely have to brandish a weapon to fend off an attack,” he claimed to have conducted this “study” in his second edition of “More Guns, Less Crime. AND (get this), he then posed as a researcher named “Mary Rosh,” using that alias to attack critics of his research! This amounts to fraud or what’s known in the scientific community as “false identity for a scholar.”

        Yeah…Lott is what’s known as a laughing stock in the research community. 

        • Gregg Smith

          So if the numbers are wrong how much do you say crime rates plummeted after CC laws? Half of what Lott said? 25%? 10%? Was it a wash? 

          Is there evidence that CC causes more crime?

          • 1Brett1

            Your reply is not relevant to my comment…But to answer your question: in looking around at various sources–and to reiterate–it appears gun-related violence has gone down in some areas where right-to-carry laws have been implemented, up in other areas where they have been implemented, down in some places where gun-control laws have been implemented and up in other areas where gun-control laws have been implemented. 

            The conclusion I draw from those phenomena, where such data have been collected and such studies have been published, is that one can’t draw any causal relationship, or any absolute conclusion on whether right-to-carry laws reduce gun-related violence or whether gun-control laws reduce gun-related violence. About the only agreement I could find among researchers was that gun-related crime hasn’t gone up in some areas where right-to-carry laws have been implemented. Considering there are also areas where gun-related violence has not gone up where gun-control laws have been implemented, that aforementioned agreement among researchers doesn’t appear to account for much to sway anyone.My comment was challenging Lott’s expertise as a researcher, including his methods; both have been debunked by other researchers. I was also, by extension, challenging OnPointComments’ use of Lott’s “research” “studies” as valid scientific citation to support his argument, which doesn’t have anything to do with you or your ideas. In particular, I was speaking to OnPointComments use of Lott’s “Multiple Victim Public Shootings” “study.” 

            You and I have differing opinions; that’s safe to say, but I certainly wouldn’t hold up a single incident as having any bearing on the issue of gun-related violence, as you’ve done in your comment up top. If, say, I countered your single incident citation with an incident where a gun-owner had his/her own gun used against him/her in a violent tragedy, it would not mean anything in terms of trying to find the best answer to the problems surrounding this issue. (Keep in mind, I’m not against people owning guns, collecting guns, hunting or having guns for their own protection, but I do think the devil’s details, in all of this, matter; but, then, I’m not a Libertarian, so I’m not going to reduce my position to an all or nothing/simplistic approach, such as bumper-sticker statements like, “guns save lives.”)

          • Gregg Smith

            I don’t know what data you are talking about but that’s fine. I don’t believe you can make the case that concealed carry has caused more crime and while Lott’s numbers may be off (or not) I think it’s pretty clear concealed carry has made society safer on the whole. I’m glad Hennorama is banning me or I’d get a book about it. 

            The bumper sticker accusation is fair enough but it’s true, guns save lives. Maybe I should have said “guns often save lives”.

            I am not a gun enthusiast but I’m working on it. I am not prepared to debate the numbers ad nauseum but I have only seen evidence to support reduced crime. I honestly don’t know how you conclude from my comment that “my position” is guns save lives and then project some kind of meaning to it. I was stating a fact not a position. No need to reply that you didn’t say it was my position, I freely admit I inferred it, but you know in your heart you implied it.

            There is a strong faction that is trying to make the case that more guns means more crime and that more gun control means less crime. It seems to me the onus in on them to support that notion.

            You seem to like to guess at my so-called tactics, so I’ll tell you that I was merely trying to give an example of the other side of the coin. I think that is important especially in forums like this. I understand that bad guys get the press because of the nature of our society but there is more to the story to consider. The story I linked will not make any headlines. That was all I was up to.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/YPQNXSUCBMAGVIJFSAFYE22B5Y Cornerman

        New England has no right to carry laws and the lowest gun violence in the country. Using multiple victims as an example is a good way to skew the numbers. When single victims are properly added into the percentages the states with right to carry laws have increased gun violence and not less.

      • Gregg Smith

        More people are killed with hammers/clubs than rifles.

        • Mike_Card

          But hammers/clubs have legitimate non-lethal uses that assault rifles don’t.

      • Gregg Smith

        ..

    • http://www.facebook.com/gary.kay.7777 Gary Kay

      But only if your draw is quicker than the other fellow’s.

    • Mike_Card

      Oh come on!  Guns don’t save lives–lives save lives!!

      • Gregg Smith

        Touche’. You got me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.kay.7777 Gary Kay

    “The ideal society is one in which no one gets everything that they want, but everyone gets everything that they need.”–Anonymous.

    I don’t know who said this, but I consider it to be one of the most intelligent statements I’ve every heard. Those who lust after money (and power) I’m sure would disagree.

    • Gregg Smith

      Dang, and I wanted a cure of cancer and peace on earth.

  • hennorama

    OnPointComments – You recently wrote “Since the end of FY2007, the government has spent nearly $4 trillion dollars over and above what it spent on an annual basis in FY2007.  What do we have to show for it?  What can we point to and say “that was well worth spending an additional $4 trillion — we really got our money’s worth?”  This is my comprehensive reply.

    While there certainly are tangible items one could point to, such as infrastructure projects and renewable energy installations, most of what “we have to show for it” is intangible.  We also have outcomes that are difficult to quantify, such as NOT being in The Second Great Global Depression, and NOT having millions more unemployed.  This discussion presents facts.  Judgement as to worth is up to the reader.

    The following uses FY 2007 Federal Spending of $2.7287 Trillion as a baseline.  FY 2012 figures were Estimated.  All figures are in nominal dollars, excluding the impact of inflation.  The Composite Deflator (CD), a proxy for inflation, increased by 11% over the period.  For example, using the CD makes the FY 2007 baseline equal to an adjusted $3.0306 Trillion in 2012. 

    Net New Spending (NNS) in the 5 year period of 2008 thru 2012 was $3.7116 Trillion.  95% of the increase went to 5 broad Categories:

    1. DEFENSE added $888.5 Billion, 23.9% of all Net New Spending (NNS).  Military Defense spending increased by $636.1 B, and Veterans spending was up $184.4 B, together making up over 92% of the Category increase.

    We got 2 ongoing wars, and the never-ending “War On Terror.”  We paid for many new Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and perhaps a dozen new air bases, replacements for the ammunition, munitions, weapons and weapon systems “consumed” by warfare.  There were also sustained high oil prices primarily due to ongoing Middle East turmoil and insecurity.

    We paid for a Navy that acts to secure global trade, accruing economic benefits not only to the US, but to Asian and European exporters, as well as oil shippers from the Middle East and elsewhere. The US maintains over 1000 overseas military bases.

    We also have tens of thousands of wounded veterans, increased military suicides, over 2000 US military deaths, tens of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan civilians killed, not to mention the civilian contractors and Coalition military who were wounded but not killed.  Plus, dozens of targeted assassinations, notably including Osama Bin Laden.

    To get a grip on the numbers, the added DEFENSE Spending would pay  the 4 year average college costs for 12.25 million students.  That’s about the current number of female college and university students.

    Alternatively, you could have paid off the entire negative equity of all underwater US mortgages ($691 B) and have $197.5 Billion left over, enough to pay for all Federal Law Enforcement, Courts, Prisons, Transportation and General Government activities in 2012.

    2.  WELFARE was up $854.0 Billion, 23.0% of NNS.  This is Food and nutrition assistance, Unemployment compensation, Retirement and disability insurance (excluding social security), Housing assistance, and Other income security.  Unemployment ($382.0 B), Food and nutrition ($179.1 B), and Housing ($66.7 B) accounted for about three quarters of the increase.

    Since the peak in 2010, the WELFARE Category has dropped by 10%.  As employment increases, this category will continue to decline, and will also result in added Federal Revenues, as workers pay their Social Security, Medicare and income taxes.

    Mostly we got tens of millions of American children and adults having decent places to live, food to eat, medical care they needed, and some money to spend for clothing, transportation, school supplies and other everyday items.  The increase has been almost entirely as a result of the Great Recession, with more unemployed and underemployed workers needing aid.  Unemployment compensation has more than doubled (up 218%), as both the rate and average length of unemployment have remained high.  Similar comments could be made about Food assistance (up 66%), Housing (up 34%) and Other income security (up 36%).

    SSI Disability is part of the Other income security segment.  This typically surges during recessions, as people run out of eligibility for other aid programs and get more desperate.  The recent surges were similar to two post-recession surges during the Bush II administration.

    3. HEALTH CARE added $751.8 Billion, 20.3% of NNS.  Medicare accounted for 49% of the increase.  This is a result of demographics and higher costs for health care.  Payment to vendors, mostly to the states for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs, were also about 49% of the increase.  A good chunk of this is related to the Great Recession.

    4. PENSIONS increased $593.6 Billion, 16.0% of NNS.  99% of this is from Social Security.  This is principally due to demographics, with Baby Boomers starting to retire en masse.  However, part of this increase is due to a larger percentage of those age 62 and older who began taking benefits.  In other words, a significantly higher than normal percentage of people opted for “early” SS benefits.

    This “take-up rate” rose from 27.1 percent in 2007 to 28.8 percent in 2008 and 30.8 percent in 2009. It dipped to 28.3 percent in 2009 and declined further to 26.9 percent in 2011, its lowest rate since 1976.

    Experts viewed those higher claiming rates as evidence that older workers were severely impacted by the Great Recession.  Many were unemployed with poor job prospects, and felt forced to file for early Social Security benefits prior to the traditional retirement ages of 65.

    Over time, these reduced benefits will result in savings for the Social Security trust funds.

    5. OTHER SPENDING added $447.0 Billion, 12.0% of NNS.  This catchall Category includes several items that are “NEC” – Not Elsewhere Categorized.  A large part of this is Stimulus-related, and the net increase accounts for repayment of some Stimulus items.  This is a highly variable Category, with Spending ranging from $71 B in FY 2007 to $377.1 B in FY 2009, at the peak of the Stimulus.

    Sources:http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/federal_budget_detail_2012bs12011n#usgs302
    http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-best-life/2012/04/10/why-the-early-retirement-trend-reversed-in-2011
    http://www.corelogic.com/about-us/researchtrends/asset_upload_file448_16434.pdf
    Other recommended sites:
    http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/10/federal-spending-by-the-numbers-2012
    http://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/economic-effects-reductions-defense-outlays

  • Fredlinskip

    Y’all should check out Barlett and Steele interview now on C-span.
    Most recent book: “Betrayal of American Dream”
    Pretty enlightening stuff.

  • Fredlinskip

    Response to Pete18 below:
    I like when someone starts out with line “you can’t be serious!”- I prefer Shakespeare’s “Surely you jest!”“Obama only President in history who came on board with bad economy..” Only President in last century stepping into situation dire as Obama did was Roosevelt. No?
    What “similar or better results ..under GOP presidents” do you refer? (I went into some detail about positive results from Ike). 
    Not sure Reagan, W had “bad intentions”- unfortunately long term results of their policies are same regardless.
    Signing statements? That was W policy run amuck. No?

    Hey, Obama’s not an angel sent from Heaven. He’s made some mistakes. I don’t agree with all he and his admin does. But when I look at the alternative!! (just look at the recent goofball GOP candidates- including Romney), MAN am I thankful he’s there.
    Look I don’t care who’s in office- long as they’re working towards solving major problems in a way likely to benefit America in long run. I think most folks have somewhat taken there eye off perhaps  greatest problem and that is meaningful employment opportunity. And that is tied directly to “free market” trade policy, trade deficit, outsourcing, and sending jobs overseas- even more than “education”. 
    Offer meaningful solutions to our current problems and I’m with you, man.
    “..conscious include a section for honest debate?” My conscience causes me to spend a lot of time researching, reading and thinking about this stuff, which might well be better spent improving personal income- I’d LIKE to believe it’s because I care about my country.

    • Gregg Smith

      It was not the worst economy since the great depression when Obama took office as he repeatedly said. It is now, that’s on him. He did not have it worse than any President since Roosevelt, Reagan inherited a much worse economy. Even GWB inherited a recession and was hit by 9/11 soon after but his policies, like Reagan’s, worked. Obama has made things much worse and continues to. He has caused this pain, he wants dependence, he wants deficits, he is succeeding beyond his wildest dreams. I had hoped he would fail.

      IMHO it is much more beneficial to society if you make money, the more money you make the more you will and can benefit society.

      • Fredlinskip

        If you make a lot of $ by sending jobs overseas, how is that benefiting America?
        If all you’re spending  is heading out the door to other countries, which is what’s happening with our trade deficit, how is that helping Americans (other than cheap goods).

        • Gregg Smith

          Well, that’s a very narrow interpretation of my claim. If you increase your income will you give more to charity, provide more for  your community or ship jobs overseas? But Bill Gates shipped jobs overseas and is a right charitable person. 

    • pete18

       Surely you jest!

      So let me get this straight. When asked why tax cuts, which caused the poor to pay much less of the tax burden and the rich to pay much more, was a policy that favored the rich over the poor, you responded that the poverty rate went up under Reagan and Bush but went down under Clinton. When it was pointed out to you that the poverty rate also went up substantially under Obama,
      you replied that Obama was trying, he had a rough economy to start with and those mean Republicans were always getting in his way.

      So following your argument logically, I take it then that is an admission from you that poverty going up is not really the standard by which you measure whether a policy favors the rich over the poor?

      Do you have another metric that you’d like to use to make your case? And while you’re at it, maybe you can answer a question that all other big government, the debt is fine as long as it’s created by a Democrat, tax the rich types refuse to answer, how much do the rich have to pay before they are paying their fair share? Can you give us a measurable definition, so everyone will know when society has reached this manifestation of egalitarianism?

      • Fredlinskip

        My heads spinning a little with your run-on sentence.
        Gregg stated W cuts were great for the poor.
        My response is that W policies on the whole were not great for the poor- the results are in.

        “…poverty is not the standard…”
         
        Instead of going there, *I think the basic flaw in your arguments is that you are not fully appreciating the magnitude of the financial collapse that Obama walked into. No, it wasn’t Great Depression, but a great many economists thought we were teetering on edge.
        This wasn’t “your Daddy’s recession”.

        “Can I answer how much rich should pay?”
        I can say that we aren’t going to pay down the debt without revenue. It’s like saying “I’m gonna pay my bill without $.” Simply growing economy ain’t gonna get it either. IMO the wealthy have written our tax code for far too long.
        But yes, painful “entitlement” spending cuts are on the way that NO ONE is gonna like. But there needs be balance.
        More reform to our health care system would help some too, but GOP is so stubborn in belief that our “public sector free enterprise” health system has performed so swimmingly that they won’t even go there.

        • pete18

           

          OK, so why are you not cutting Reagan the same slack you’re
          cutting Obama? He walked into an economy deep in recession–I would argue
          equally as bad as what Obama faced but regardless, it was bad and affected the
          poverty rate. In his first few years the poverty rate went up under his
          administration—a high of 15.2% in 1983–but then it dropped down after his
          policies were enacted. When he left office it was at the same place it started
          at when he took office (13%). So in reality the poverty rate didn’t go up under
          Reagan at all. So far the only thing that has happened under Obama is that the
          rate has gone up. On top of that, the unemployment rate hasn’t budged and the
          income gap has also widened. So exactly how have the poor been faring better
          under Obama? Feeding their families with good intentions?

           

           ”Can I answer how much rich should pay?”

          The answer is, no you can’t . “Fair share” is
          just a flexible

          euphemism for taking other people’s money.

          • Fredlinskip

            Volcker, Secretary of Treasury, under both Carter and Reagan, lowered the prime rate from 21% (under Carter) to I believe 7%. I would suggest this had as much to do with economic success of Reagan admin as anything else. Lowering taxes had a positive effect, but in long run as general policy brought about unsustainable debt. Under Reagan alone, debt tripled. If you want a clearer perspective of Reagan economic policy, read up on writings of David Stockman who was basically in charge of implementing it under Reagan.
            GNP actually grew at greater rate under Carter than it did under Reagan.
            Obama’s “stats” so far are not good in some respects. I guess you’re not buying the “coulda been worse” argument- but I repeat, I don’t think you appreciate the magnitude of the financial collapse just before Obama took office. I can speak to why this was a MUCH more serious situation, then previous recessions, if you haven’t figured that out yet…, but now I need sign off.
            Later.

          • pete18

            OK, I can see from your last few posts that we are finally in agreement, rising poverty rates are not a measure 
            of whether a president’s policies benefit the wealthy over the poor.

          • Fredlinskip

            Huh?
            Actually I think the main point I’m trying to get across is that you do not seem to understand the severity of the financial meltdown. 
            If you did, your assessment of Obama’s performance I suspect might be different. 
            But look- it’s unlikely I’m going to change your opinion about anything.
            Maybe next time we speak we can be discussing what “reach across the aisle” strategies you think will help improve our country’s current state- I tried to touch on several during our “conversation”.

          • pete18

            I’m responding here to your comments below to give me a little more “Disqust” box room.

             No, I get that you
            believe that the meltdown was so severe that the best that Obama could do was keep unemployment at exactly the same level that he found it, run up the
            deficit by about 52% and raise the poverty rate by almost a full percentage
            point. I think that’s utter nonsense, Obama spin to justify his lack of effectiveness.

             

            Look, I don’t think anyone changes anyone’s mind in these forums. I think the best that happens in these situations is that people
            clarify what their differences are and on occasion find some common ground.
             

            I was just trying to
            get back to the beginning of this particular discussion because you went off on
            a number of different tangents in your previous responses.  I wanted to pin you down on the important
            definition that you started off with, which was how you determine if a
            President has enacted policies that favor the rich over the poor. I think this
            definition is extremely important because along with the with the “fair share” question, it seems to be the big emotional driver behind those who favor big government, Keynesian style solutions. It also is a factor that I think causes them to completely misunderstand conservative philosophy and economic policies,
            which they can only see as something used by conservatives to help their “rich friends” at the expense of the poor.

             I still don’t know how you draw your conclusion about the fairness of a president’s economic program. I thought it would be a tax policy
            that makes the rich pay more and the poor pay less of the total tax burden,
            which is what Bush and Reagan did, but you claimed such polices made the poverty rate go up (not really, in Reagan’s case). However, then you told me
            that there are exceptions to this rule (like if the economy you start off with
            is too tough), but it turns out theses exceptions have exceptions; Obama’s bad
            economy counts, Reagan’s bad economy doesn’t.  Can you see why I’m confused?

             Of course maybe I’m missing something or maybe you weren’t
            articulating your ideas as clearly as you wanted, but I’m just trying to get
            someone to give me some static and measurable definitions about this so I can understand what fairness is supposed to mean coming from the other side of the
            aisle.

          • Fredlinskip

            You were the one that went “off” on the poverty tangent. I just responded quickly to a statement made by Gregg about how great W was for the poor.
            Fairness to me means  less income inequality. We are becoming a society of the mega-wealthy and everyone else. The wealthy now are incentivised to invest and also directly send jobs overseas. They  invest where they can make a buck.
            Best hope of them helping America now has now is if these folks choose to do some nice “charity”.
            How quaint.
            Something’s gotta give.

          • pete18

             

            Greg didn’t say how great Bush was for the poor, he said
            that Bush’s tax cuts, which the left is always railing about as favoring the
            wealthy, reduced the total amount that the poor paid in taxes and increased how
            much the rich paid. The same is true for Reagan’s cuts, although they did not
            do this as dramatically.

             

            And again I ask, if the wealth gap is how you measure
            fairness then why aren’t you taking Obama to task because the wealth gap has
            been more pronounced under his administration than under Bush’s: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/11/income-inequality-obama-bush_n_1419008.html

             

          • Fredlinskip

            What do you propose?more cuts for the wealthy?
            More charity?  More welfare programs? Death panels?
            What?

          • pete18

             Replying to your “what do you propose?” comment below:

            I’m not proposing anything, I’m asking you for a
            principled and uniform measurement about fairness that can be applied to a president of either party and you seem to be unable to give it.

          • Fredlinskip

            See OP, 1/7 for why I believe ”uniform measurement” can be somewhat irrelevant (My “U M” is 34-34 waist, L/XL top)
             

  • hennorama

    To those who complain about increased Federal Spending, yet fail to propose or discuss in depth any spending cuts (StilllHere, Flytrap, Brandstad, et al) – “Bitching is boring.”  Simply parroting “We’re spending too much” and “We’ve got a spending problem” is dogmatic and shallow, as is saying “Cut this” without examining the impacts of said cuts.

    Take a cue from OnPointComments and pete18.  They take some time to look into the issues, discuss them, and propose and discuss  alternatives.  Otherwise, all you’re doing is complaining, without working toward solutions.
    (see:http://onpoint.wbur.org/2013/01/02/the-economy-in-2013#comment-753669442)
    (see:http://onpoint.wbur.org/2012/11/30/week-in-the-news-223#comment-727244833)

    • Gregg Smith

      I’ll speak for myself but my guess is the others you mention don’t disagree. Your premise seems to be that it’s very hard to cut spending and we are just bitching about it, in reality it’s not possible without pain. My premise is if we don’t drastically cut spending the pain will be far greater than any cut will produce. I know you would like to lure people into debates over how impractical or cruel whatever suggestions they make are. That’s a huge distraction and a waste of time.

    • JONBOSTON

      Very simple. Congress should do what business (and taxpayers) does all the time ( a) set priorities (b) reduce funding or eliminate unnecessary or non-essential expenses (c) freeze salaries/hiring and (d) across the board cuts of say 3-4%. I refuse to believe that an agency/ department cannot survive on 96% of previous years’ funding. And if an agency department head can’t manage the reduced funding, then he/she should be replaced.

      Alternatively, I would reduce all government spending to levels that existed pre-Lehman Bros.  Last I remember the country survived then, we were paying for two wars, spending tons of money on homeland security, people were not starving in the street, kids were schooled,  people had healthcare, and the welfare class seemed to manage their affairs. Supposedly we’re now a period of slow economic growth with the recession behind us since 2009. And no wars to fund. If that’s the case, then why do we need to maintain stimulus ($3.4 trillion) level spending?

      • hennorama

        JONBOSTON – Thanks for the response. I respect and appreciate your views.

        A few comments:

        A. Getting Congress to agree on ANYTHING is almost impossible, unfortunately. This is almost always true when it comes to reducing spending, but it’s true on a variety of topics. Witness the recent Senate failure to ratify a United Nations treaty to ban discrimination against people with disabilities, and the lack of a budget.

        B. This is obvious, but again, one needs to get Congress to agree on what are “unnecessary or non-essential expenses.” Good luck.

        C. A Federal pay freeze has been in effect since mid-2010, and has saved a reported $60 Billion. It’s not a “hard freeze” but is rather a COLA freeze – an ICEE, if you will. Federal employees can still receive longevity and merit raises – so-called “step raises.”

        Federal civilian employment levels have dropped by 42,000 (1.5%) over the last year, from 2.836 million in Dec. 2011 to 2.794 million in Dec. 2012. It is up 17,000 (0.6%) since Dec. 2008 when it totaled 2.756 million.

        Sources:http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/12/federal-workers-complaining-but-not-quitting/?page=all

        http://www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cesbtab1.htm

        D. “Across the board cuts of say 3-4%” sounds good, but it depends on what you mean. About two thirds of the Federal Budget is mandated spending. Do you include this part in your “across the board cuts?

        The President’s 2013 Proposed Budget has Total Spending of $3.803 Trillion. Of this, mandatory spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, TARP, and Other mandatory programs is $2.293 T. Net interest is $248 Billion. Together these total $2.541 T. For comparison, the entire FY 2007 Federal spending was $2.729 T.

        That leaves Discretionary Spending of $1.261 T. This consists of Security/Defense spending of $851 Billion, and $410 B Non-security spending. Let’s say you cut the entire Discretionary budget by 4%. This saves $50.44 B. If you exclude Security/Defense, you save $16.4B.

        Source:http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2013/assets/tables.pdf (Table S-5.)

        This stuff is NOT easy. That’s not to say it’s impossible. But it is practically impossible to return to what you call ” levels that existed pre-Lehman Bros.” That would be FY 2008, with Federal Spending of $2.983 T. Keep in mind that Federal Revenue for FY 2013 is now estimated to be $2.633 T after the fiscal conundrum deal.

        Subtracting mandatory spending and interest of $2.541 T for 2013 leaves you $442 Billion to spend on Defense, Homeland Security, and other security items, and all non-Defense discretionary spending, including:

        Education, training, employment, and social services

        Transportation

        Income security

        Health

        Veterans benefits & services

        Administration of justice

        International affairs

        Other (natural resources, environment, science, space, technology, community and regional development, agriculture, admin. exps. for Soc. Sec.& Medic., energy, commerce and housing)

        I first discussed these difficulties back in September 2012.

        (See:http://onpoint.wbur.org/2012/09/05/dems-and-the-economy#comment-641068003)

        • Gregg Smith

          Just what I thought, it can’t be done. Why bother? 

          Maybe I missed it but I have not seen your suggestion of what to cut. I assume you believe what Obama told Boehner, “we don’t have a spending problem”. I have seen you suggest ways to increase revenue but that’s the last thing we need as long as Obama is President. 

      • Gregg Smith

        You wrote:”I refuse to believe that an agency/ department cannot survive on 96% of previous years’ funding.”

        It’s worse than that when you consider that it would be 96% of many programs that have had their funding doubled or tripled in the last 4 years. We’re in deep doodoo.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Here’s a short summary of recent economic history of the USA.

    The high tax, high regulation post-WW2 capitalist economy produced broad middle class prosperity that was the wonder of the world. The super rich didn’t like sharing the wealth. Their pawns took over the gvt in 1980 and began the ongoing program of tax cuts and deregulation designed to redistribute that middle class wealth to the top. It’s working. The data on inequality can’t be questioned.

    The propaganda challenge for the plutocrats and their running dog pols is to deny the obvious, ie that voodoo econ, tax cuts ‘n deregulation, are crushing the middle class. So they will cite anything else that has changed over time. They endlessly regurgitate talking points about stronger international competition, new technology, lazy Americans etc. Anything but their economic policies must be the problem.

    It’s all spin. If you had a system that worked great, you made major changes, and the middle class went on life support, you gotta keep it simple – undo the changes.

    • JONBOSTON

      Your class warfare venom is getting tiresome. It reeks of envy and resentment. What do you have against successful people?  Investors, entrepreneurs, big and small businesses , the wealthy , etc. are all responsible for growing the private sector and creating jobs. The government does not create wealth. You constantly dehumanize the “rich” by never identifying who they are, how they became wealthy , and the contributions they’ve made to society. I guess it’s because it’s so much easier to attack and lampoon the nameless faceless “rich” (like Bain Capital) than treat them fairly. In the case of Bain you conveniently ignore the number of businesses ( and employees) spawned by Bain, a track record far better than Obama’s  worthless crony capitalism. You refer  to the 50-60′s (and they call conservatives reactionary!) as a time when the middle class thrived. Well times are different–in the 50′s post-war Germany, Japan , and Western Europe were just  beginning to recover from the devastation of WWII whereas US manufacturing and  infrastructure was unscathed . Today it’s one global marketplace and US manufacturing must compete with Asia and India to remain viable.  Yes marginal tax rates were much higher in the 50′s but the effective tax rates (what people actually pay as a % of their income) were not much higher than today. And the work ethic was far stronger then, parents and kids more motivated to succeed.

      I marvel at your inability to look critically at Obama’s policies. Just look at Sunday’s NYT with the front page article that “Health Insurers raise some rates by double digits” –and small businesses and individuals hardest hit. Wasn’t Obama who said the ACA would “bend the cost curve” and bring rates down so insurance was affordable to everyone? It didn’t make any sense then and events have proven so. You don’t add 30 million people to the rolls, mandate new coverages,  and do nothing to contain costs and expect rates to remain the same. I favor universal health insurance but it should have been enacted during a period of economic growth, not with stubbornly high 7.8% unemployment. The more expensive it is to hire an employee, the fewer get hired. Apparently Obama’s plan for bringing down the unemployment rate is to get enough people to drop out of the labor force so rates go down. What a plan!

      Obama campaigned as savior of the middle class. He didn’t then and still hasn’t offered a single proposal that creates middle class job growth.  His entire campaign was driven by giveaways to favored constituencies–more jobs for teachers, free condoms for young women, lower interest rates on student loans, help for illegal immigrants etc. What a farce. Not only is the middle class getting whacked with higher payroll taxes (on average  about $1600) but their job prospects are no better. What the middle class wants/needs most is a stable and rewarding job environment which is achieved only in a growing private sector economy.  Instead we had a tax increase on “millionaires and billionaires” that’s done absolutely nothing to address the debt and deficits. But Hollywood, Bacardi rum, Nascar tracks, and green energy parasites all received tax breaks. Obama is successful because the mainstream media absolutely refuses to hold him accountable for anything. Obama is the most partisan, divisive , awful president in my lifetime ( I’m 61). And he’s probably laughing at the idiots who bought into his demagoguery and voted for him as he prepares for a second term. Now that Obama has gotten his tax increase on the hated rich, I suppose all is now well in the republic. No more debt and deficits. No more out of control spending. No more 7.8% unemployment and pathetic GDP growth. No more entitlement concerns. But the downtrodden have succeeded in bringing down the “rich”. What a joke. What a sad country….

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Your regurgitation of righty talking points is tiresome. Don’t you have any ideas of your own? Amusingly, you just repeated the same talking points I originally said you guys endlessly repeat. Really, you don’t have to explain them at length – we’ve all heard them thousands of times. The policies you favor are the real class warfare, all you have to do is observe the results.

        I understand that you’re programmed to accuse anyone who opposes voodoo econ, rising inequality and ultra low taxes at the top as “envious”, but plenty of successful, well-off folks, including me, actually care about the USA. Do you think Warren Buffett is “envious”?

        Since you mention effective tax rates, you might like to know what they are. Here you go, along with the corporate contribution.

        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e8/US_high-income_effective_tax_rates.png

        http://betweenthebalancesheets.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/effective-corporate-tax-rate.png?w=630&h=458

        • Gregg Smith

          Why the obsession with rates? 91% brought in less revenue that 35%. It’s silly.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            I showed you the effective rates. Since they give tax paid relative to income, they are the best indicator of whether someone is struggling or having an easy time in paying for our great nation. The fact is that it’s been getting easier for the 1%.

            You guys like to talk about total tax paid, which makes no sense except as a class warfare misdirection tactic. As the rich get more of the income they will pay more tax, and you like to claim that indicates they are bearing a heavy burden. In fact it just indicates they’re taking more of the income.

            Anyone who claims to be concerned about the deficit and is A-OK with parasites like romney paying 13% is a hypocrite. The low rates paid by the plutocrats are unsustainable.

        • JONBOSTON

          Warren Buffet was not affected by the tax hikes . He can afford to be magnanimous . Cap gains are still being taxed at half the top marginal rate of 40%. The taxpayers most hurt are the “income wealthy” like professionals such as doctors and lawyers , etc. , ie those with high incomes between $400K and $850K. The asset wealthy , like Buffett , can afford to assuage their guilt by promoting Obama’s crap. 

          Rather than just spout nonsense, please identify a single tax policy and deregulation  of the 80′s that resulted in redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy. And like you, I do care about this country. And see the absolute most awful divisive president destroying what’s made this country great. Rather than bringing people together, he encourages division and rancor. Frankly, I think he’s repulsive.

      • pete18

        Well done, Jon!

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Yes, excellent recital of official talking points. Good job of making it sound like you were presenting your own ideas, too.

          • pete18

             That is the pot calling the kettle black. I noticed you were unable to answer’s Jon’s question.

    • JONBOSTON

      Also , what 1980′s tax and deregulation policies resulted in redistribution of income from the middle class to the wealthy? Was it the effort to deregulate the airlines that spawned all the new low cost airlines that suddenly made air travel affordable and more available to the (guess what) middle class? Or the breakup and deregulation of  AT&T and telephone services so new low cost phone companies could emerge so the (guess what) middle class could have better, cheaper and more varied telephone services and offerings? Or the deregulation of broadcasting so instead of half a dozen primary channels, we now have hundreds on cable. As far as tax policies in the 80′s , name a single tax policy that resulted in redistribution of income from the middle class to the wealthy…

    • JONBOSTON

      Talk about regurgitating talking points–”plutocrats” (one of your favorite words) or “voodoo economics” or a new one , “running dog pols”. Pray tell, how could tax cuts and deregulation  possibly “crush” the middle class? That’s total nonsense.  I’m still waiting for your list of tax cuts and deregulations that redistributed wealth from the middle class to the wealthy.

      What’s your position on education vouchers, charter schools , etc.? Rather than taxes, one of the biggest contributors to rising income inequality in America today is the growing earnings gap between workers with a college degree and those without. There is an even greater income disparity between those with high school diplomas and those with advanced degrees. 

  • Gregg Smith

    Is the middle class defined by income? I always thought so.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xtvmaWUKE4Q

  • Gregg Smith

    President Obama inherited a tough situation, no doubt. So what? He wanted this job and he said he could make things better. His very own projections of the nightmare that would occur is we did not pass the “stimulus” were far more rosy than what actually happened because of it. His claims about what the bill would accomplish were a fantasy. The idea that we had an insurmountable crisis of ungodly proportions is an excuse too many believe. It’s another one of those lies that has been repeated until believed. The crisis is a result of Obama’s “fixes”.

    He said during the 2008 campaign that it was the worst economy since the great depression when it wasn’t even close. Now he says he didn’t know how bad it was. So he didn’t know it was actually as bad as he said it was. Or maybe he did know and is lying now when he said he didn’t. 

    Either way it’s an overblown, media hyped lie. As long as people believe it the entire premise is whacked. Obama is the crisis.

  • Gregg Smith

    Welfare recipients are buying liquor and lap dances on our dime.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/poor_some_ugar_on_me_0Hq1d3iPnvj2RwpsEDS7MN

  • asuka langley sohryu

    Samuel Johnson on the poor:
    “And why should they be denied such sweeteners of their existence (says Johnson)? it is surely very savage to refuse them every possible avenue to pleasure, reckoned too coarse for our own acceptance. Life is a pill which none of us can bear to swallow without gilding; yet for the poor we delight in stripping it still barer, and are not ashamed to shew even visible displeasure, if ever the bitter taste is taken from their mouths.”

    • http://read-write-blue.blogspot.com/ RWB

      “I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”
      —Benjamin Franklin

      • Gregg Smith

        I’ve never read that quote. Thanks for posting it. 
        I have no idea why the concept is so hard to understand.

ONPOINT
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Apr 23, 2014
In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. (AP)

The Supreme Court looks at Aereo, the little startup that could cut your cable cord and up-end TV as we’ve known it. We look at the battle. Plus: a state ban on affirmative action in college admissions is upheld. We’ll examine the implications.

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Attendees of the 2013 Argentina International Coaching Federation meet for networking and coaching training. (ICF)

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Apr 22, 2014
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As a new Tyrannosaurus Rex arrives at the Smithsonian, we’ll look at its home – pre-historic Montana – and the age when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

 
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We look at Iraq now, two years after Americans boots marched out. New elections next week, and the country on the verge of all-out civil war.

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