Letting the Bush tax cuts expire...

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Senator Jeff Merkley is telling his fellow Democrats in Congress not to budge on letting the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. In an interview with TPM, Senator Merkley said, “I’ve encouraged my team to realize that we have lots of leverage on this. This is not a situation where you go to the table and you’re desperate to get a deal.”

What Senator Merkley understands is that Democrats have the upper hand in the looming tax fight at the end of the year, if they just let all the Bush tax cuts expire on December 31st – and then immediately introduce legislation to extend the tax cuts just for the middle class and dare Republicans to vote against it.

Realizing they may be cornered – millionaire lobbyist and anti-tax master Grover Norquist warned Republicans that if they let the Bush tax cuts expire – then he’ll call it a violation of his no tax increases pledge. So at the end of the year – Republicans will have a choice. They can honor their oath to the Constitution – or honor their oath to lobbyist Grover Norquist.

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Thom Hartmann A...
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Okay but what good will come of it? If the 2% have their taxes raised how will it help us fiscally?

Answer: It won't. Raising taxes while we are on this insane spending binge will do nothing. It's pointless. It won't give us a balanced budget, it won't pay down the debt. It will be blown. Flushing money down the toilet. So what's the point?

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rigel1
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Jan. 31, 2011 6:49 am

We were ass-in-ice-cream when these policies were in effect 1997-2000.

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Last night Thom discussed Republican increases in the deficit. Bush 43 increased from 4 to 9 in 8 years; but now we have 16. Did Obama add 7 Trillion in 3 1/2 years?

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JimfromPhoenix
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Jun. 13, 2012 12:48 pm

Obama put the 2 wars on the books that were being payed for off-budget prior to him. Call that being an honest guy or being honestly foolish. And his far-too-small stimulus actually kept us afloat. I would call all of that "additional" debt to be fiscally responsible. What is left after that?

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Laborisgood
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I agree entirely with Merkley. It's the only tactic left. Even if taxes go up on everyone to the pre-Bush levels the blame is all on the the GOP Inc. They are the party of big money and big money only. It's the Dems turn to filibuster. Then message over and over it's the GOP regressives who are at fault. The difference between that messaging and the one the GOP inc. repeats is that the Dems will be the truth.

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Combad57
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May. 29, 2012 11:50 am

Let them expire accross the board. Extend the fica holday for another year, for the empolyers, too. Raise the standard deductions and exemptions which would reduce holdings for most that are not in higher brackets. The eitc could be raised, and the advanced eitc restored, the tea cooks suspended it in 2010. The minimum wage could go up to $ 8.50 this year, $10.00 next, and $11.50 the next..

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douglaslee
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Quote JimfromPhoenix:

Last night Thom discussed Republican increases in the deficit. Bush 43 increased from 4 to 9 in 8 years; but now we have 16. Did Obama add 7 Trillion in 3 1/2 years?

Who is to blame? Who cares. How many problems have been solved by blaming? Finding out who is to blame does nothing to solve the problem. We can increase taxes but that would be like trying to save the Titanic with a bailing bucket. No matter how much you bail, there is still a giant hole bringing you down. At this rate of spending a tax increase does nothing. It's pointless. We can't save ourselves by blaming. We need real action. We could start by demanding that every agency submit a budget that is ten percent less than the year before. As we know from the GSA debacle, they have money to burn.

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rigel1
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Jan. 31, 2011 6:49 am

rigel, you answer your own question. The reason to "blame" is to diagnose the problem and apply a solution instead of just doing a lot of inane crap "across the board" that misses the point and makes a bigger mess.

The deficit is a product of both waste and a lack of investment. Neglect has to be addressed right away, and the fact that the treasury has been looted for useless and destructive spending does not make us blind to the cause or ready to pretend that we are all in this together. The banksters do not regard us as "one of them." We are their profit sources or cash cows. Unless we address the actual pathology, we will try a lot of quackery to no avail.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am

An inspection of the Halliburton installed facilities in Iraq, and Afghanistan could find fraudulent code violations, and basic embezzlement so law suit should be filed. If local contractors want to join it becomes class action and with a settlement imminent, an out of court agreement could be deposited.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote drc2:

rigel, you answer your own question. The reason to "blame" is to diagnose the problem and apply a solution instead of just doing a lot of inane crap "across the board" that misses the point and makes a bigger mess.

The deficit is a product of both waste and a lack of investment. Neglect has to be addressed right away, and the fact that the treasury has been looted for useless and destructive spending does not make us blind to the cause or ready to pretend that we are all in this together. The banksters do not regard us as "one of them." We are their profit sources or cash cows. Unless we address the actual pathology, we will try a lot of quackery to no avail.

I have to disagree. The deficit isn't a product of waste. The deficit is made up primarily of money injected into the private sector of the country. Yes, too much of it has gone to the wrong hands but it's still stimulative and feeds the economy. The actual debt is artificial. It represents what we as a country "own", not owe. Frankly if the deficit was sitting at about 20 trillion right now we would be in much better shape economically across the board.

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Bush_Wacker
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Jun. 25, 2011 6:53 am

When those cuts expire, the infrastructure projects in the president' splan could be started. The port modification, the rural broadband extensions, the upgraded rail tracks, bridges, highway potholes, well on and on and on..We really could have a 21st century infrastructure like the rest of the world.

One important point in the bill is the removal of carried interest, and jack the cap gains up to 30% or 39.5

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douglaslee
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Quote Laborisgood:

Obama put the 2 wars on the books that were being payed for off-budget prior to him. Call that being an honest guy or being honestly foolish. And his far-too-small stimulus actually kept us afloat. I would call all of that "additional" debt to be fiscally responsible. What is left after that?

Your characterization is wrong. It was always counted in the deficit spending, it was done as a supplemental and not added to the baseline of the military budget.

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WorkerBee
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Apr. 28, 2012 11:22 am

Before I get blasted for being a troll, a spy or a paid shill, I freely admit that I generally vote Republican and have fiscally conservative views. I am not, however, any of the above. I am also a fan of the show. While I often disagree with Thom. I find him to be honest, passionate about his cause, and well-informed.

Now to my question to those of you on the left...

Do you have any ideas to fix the economy or the country that don't involve raising taxes on the wealthy? It really seems to me that raising taxes on the 1%, or 2% or 10% is the only idea you have. You seem almost paralyzed by it. Everything depends on raising taxes on "millionaires and billionaires". Frankly speaking, it's not going to happen. The Dems know it's not going to happen and yet, they have brainwashed you in to believing that since we can't raise taxes, we can't do anything.

Is there nothing that could be cut from the budget? Or perhaps not even cut. Is there nowhere we could spend more wisely?

Do you know that gave $18 million in aid to China? Think abou that. We borrowed money from China and then gave them $18 million in aid. $10 million to Pakistan for the development of a local version of Sesame Street. Don't get me wrong, I love Oscar the Grouch, but do we need a Pakinstani version? The Dept of Agriculture spent $15 million repairing privately owned rental properties for low income tenants.

I know we are talking peanuts here compared to what is spent on Social Programs and Defense. And I know that eliminating these ridiculous programs won't make a difference. But, it sure would be easier for me to accept a tax hike if these programs went away.

Conservative_Th...
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Jun. 15, 2012 11:01 am

Can cutting tax rates ever do any harm?

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

At #14

Ideas to fix the economy?

Make work pay.

Universal, single payer healthcare.

Bring back tariffs. Oh, and end NAFTA, CAFTA, SHAFTA and the WTO.

Bring back Glass- Steagal.

And Kill Taft- Hartley, replace it with German style labor laws.

Return to the Eisenhower era tax code.

Mimic corporate and business taxes of Germany and the EU- corporate rates in the 15-18% range, with a VAT around 10%. -- And yes that is lowering tax rates. Except we change the code so that Verizon, America's largest cell phone provider pays taxes in the US. Or Bank of America, the nation's largest bank, who makes all their money in America, pays taxes in America. I mean for gawd's fucking sake, they ought not be allowed to use the brand name "America" and then claim that all the profits happen in the Cayman Islands.

Add a financial transaction tax rate of 0.25%. Use that as a commonwealth tax, that gets paid out monthly to every citizen.

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Phaedrus76
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Sep. 14, 2010 7:21 pm

Increase deficits until there is full employment. It is quite safe to do so. Of course the congress must be educated to get rid of the nonsensical debt ceiling. USA has had 58 deficit years out of the past seventy

History of Surpluses and Deficits in the United States

at http://www.davemanuel.com/charts2/surpluses_and_deficits_1940-2011.html

Money works as follows:
Govts create money and the private sector uses it. Our plus is govt's minus and vice versa.

(Federal Deficits = Net Private Savings+ net imports), applies to USA and other nations that have their own currencies. Federal deficits are the source for private savings.
Govt debt is good. Our debt is bad. And the cumulative sum of all years of govt_debt is the same as national wealth. For proof see
http://pshakkottai.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/national-debt-and-national-wealth-compared/
and
http://pshakkottai.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/another-proof-of-mmt-4/

The govt has borrowed money from itself (the federal reserve and treasury are essentially the same even though federal reserve is privately owned and takes a cut from profits) and given to the people. People OWN the money and collect interest. They DON'T have to pay any debt back. It is not their debt. The govt is in debt to itself and has to do NOTHING. All this is called modern monetary theory and is well known to the treasury and fed.
The national debt everyone frets about is not real.
You can cut war funding, end corporate welfare and deficit spend to take care of all infrastructure and social needs independent of tax revenues which do not reenter the economy. Tax money is simply recorded and if the currency is old, trashed.

"Debt" and money are the same except for "govt debt" which is from itself and means NOTHING for a money creator. Technically, banking money operations are horizontal(between banks) but govt money is considered vertical(between the central bank and the rest of the economy).

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pshakkottai
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Jul. 11, 2011 10:27 am

Raising taxes actually leads to investment.Investment creates jobs, jobs increase revenue. The spending cuts could be indentified and traced to the lobbiest that got them, and the bribed congress critter that enacted the law. One of the last great statesmen, from WI, Sen Proxmire, used to award the golden fleece to the shamefull examples rigel1 mentioned. I don't know if he named names.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Conservative_Thom_Fan:

Before I get blasted for being a troll, a spy or a paid shill, I freely admit that I generally vote Republican and have fiscally conservative views. I am not, however, any of the above. I am also a fan of the show. While I often disagree with Thom. I find him to be honest, passionate about his cause, and well-informed.

Now to my question to those of you on the left...

Do you have any ideas to fix the economy or the country that don't involve raising taxes on the wealthy? It really seems to me that raising taxes on the 1%, or 2% or 10% is the only idea you have. You seem almost paralyzed by it. Everything depends on raising taxes on "millionaires and billionaires". Frankly speaking, it's not going to happen. The Dems know it's not going to happen and yet, they have brainwashed you in to believing that since we can't raise taxes, we can't do anything.

Is there nothing that could be cut from the budget? Or perhaps not even cut. Is there nowhere we could spend more wisely?

Do you know that gave $18 million in aid to China? Think abou that. We borrowed money from China and then gave them $18 million in aid. $10 million to Pakistan for the development of a local version of Sesame Street. Don't get me wrong, I love Oscar the Grouch, but do we need a Pakinstani version? The Dept of Agriculture spent $15 million repairing privately owned rental properties for low income tenants.

I know we are talking peanuts here compared to what is spent on Social Programs and Defense. And I know that eliminating these ridiculous programs won't make a difference. But, it sure would be easier for me to accept a tax hike if these programs went away.

There is a lot that can be done to fix the economy. One of the most important ones though is to force the money holders into using their money for job creation and local production. It has to start somewhere and that's a good place to start. Also the government should be spending on infrastructure. The reason infrastructure is so important is that it improves the commons for everyone and creates much needed jobs at the same time. It has compounding positive results. The same way that austerity has compounding negative results.

You ask about fixing the economy but you are really focused on the national debt. The only thing the debt has to do with the economy is that a higher debt means we are injecting more money into our economy which is a good thing. You don't seem to be interested in fixing the economy. You seem to be interested in keeping the focus on the debt which is totally the wrong thing to do. I would like to hear what your ideas from the right are on actually fixing the economy. Cutting spending has nothing to do with it so don't go there.

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Bush_Wacker
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Jun. 25, 2011 6:53 am

Bush_Wacker - Respectfully, I disagree. My concern is not so much with the national debt as it with the economy. While the debt is a problem, it's a problem to be addressed at another time in the future. The focus today should be on revitalizing the US economy. I am not suggesting austerity. Instead, I'm saying our spending should be better focused. I do agree with you that infrastructure spending is the way to go. In my opinion, the stimulus bill should have been almost entirely for infrastructure. The stimulus money that was allocated to green energy, education, housing loans and subsidy should have probably been removed or at least delayed. I understand the underlying reasons for it, but I believe spending focused on infrastructure would have added much more benefit for a number of reasons. If you build a new bridge, for example, there are obvious and immediate construction and engineering jobs involved, there are secondary jobs in steel, concrete and asphalt production. In addition, there are countless jobs and markets that get a boost as well. Paint/Coatings, steel fab shops, equipment manufacturers, tooling suppliers and the list goes on. In addition, you get a tangible project that the public can see and understand. Unfortunately, a large portion of the stimulus went to prop up state and municiple budgets that in turn saved jobs for the public sector and help municipalities meet there budgets. I'm not suggesting this was necessarily a bad thing. If it was your job that got saved, it matters. What I am saying is that it's hard for the average guy to hear about all the stimulus money and remember that it went to save Joe the Firefighter's job. Further, while Joe the Firefighter kept his job and surely spent some of his wages, I would argue that he probably kept his spending in check out of fear and did little to boost the economy and probably didn't create much in secondary employment.

Conservative_Th...
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Jun. 15, 2012 11:01 am
Quote Conservative_Thom_Fan:Now to my question to those of you on the left...

Do you have any ideas to fix the economy or the country that don't involve raising taxes on the wealthy?

How about as in this recently released video, the ideas of Roberto Mangabeira Unger .

The deepest cause of the financial and economic crisis that the United States has recently undergone, is that the country stopped producing at competitive prices, enough goods and services that the rest of the world wants.

[The US] then tried to escape the consequences of this failure, by living as if the failure had not occurred. It put a fake credit democracy in place of the property-owning democracy — that it turned into an ever more distant idea. The government bribed, placated and finally abandoned the people, instead of equipping them.

What then should the program be?

1) Enlist finance in the service of the real economy, rather than allowing it to serve itself.

2) Broaden the gateways of access to the vanguards of innovative knowledge-based production, and disseminate advanced experimental productive practices among the small and medium-sized businesses that form the heart of the American economy.

3) Make available to all Americans a type of education that accords priority to capabilities, both conceptual and practical, of analysis, synthesis, and recombination of ideas and of things.

4) And to this end, reconcile the local management of the schools, with national standards of investment and quality.

5) Engage society in the competitive provision of public services as the best way of enhancing their quality, while using the powers of government to ensure a universal minimum of provision.

6) Insist on the high level of taxation required for the financing of such alternatives. What matters in the short term, is the overall level of the tax take and how it is spent. Later on it can be made more progressive, through a steeply progressive tax on individual consumption.

7) And above all—take politics out of the shadow of money.

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Karolina
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Nov. 3, 2011 6:45 pm
Quote Karolina:

How about as in this recently released video, the ideas of Roberto Mangabeira Unger .

5) Engage society in the competitive provision of public services as the best way of enhancing their quality, while using the powers of government to ensure a universal minimum of provision.

This smells like vouchers for education, healthcare... sewers, perhaps?

IMO, a "public service" is a service that cannot be interrupted by the unpredictability of the private sector. I need my poo-poo to go from my toilet to the sea, or the reclamation plant, or wherever. Every time.

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

The money was targeted to infrastructure, offered directly to the states, some republican governors refused it. 40% of the money went to tax cuts. Some said they were planning infrastructure and instead used it to balance their budget and give the surplus in tax cuts.

The money to refit low income housing was paid for through utility savings, which then allowed the reduction in the oil and gas subsidy for the poor. DOA might have had to if those tenants had been poisoned from their insecticide/weedkiller runoff. Slum lords are are usually corporate, so it may've been a lobby deal, too. The upgrades involving termite tents, and rat exterminators are also common. New poisons are usually tested in low income housing first.

btw that 15mil is equal to 0.00078947368 % of the money earned in one year by one company that just testified before congress last week.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Conservative_Thom_Fan:The focus today should be on revitalizing the US economy. I am not suggesting austerity. Instead, I'm saying our spending should be better focused. I do agree with you that infrastructure spending is the way to go.

Before we get to that, which is very much needed of course, we need to pass & enforce Glass-Steagall ASAP, and go to national banking w/ Hamiltonian credit system. If we don't get that done America will continue to be a wonderful base camp for the fascists & the oligarchs—and nothing will have actually changed. The looting and police state will continue.

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Karolina
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Nov. 3, 2011 6:45 pm
Quote chilidog:
Quote Karolina:How about as in this recently released video, the ideas of Roberto Mangabeira Unger.
5) Engage society in the competitive provision of public services as the best way of enhancing their quality, while using the powers of government to ensure a universal minimum of provision.

This smells like vouchers for education, healthcare... sewers, perhaps?

IMO, a "public service" is a service that cannot be interrupted by the unpredictability of the private sector. I need my poo-poo to go from my toilet to the sea, or the reclamation plant, or wherever. Every time.

Hey, chilidog, don't shoot the messenger. :)

I agree with you, but I think that he is talking about immediate action, which would put many people out of work otherwise? When I first heard it, I thought he was talking about not allowing monopolies, and bringing back the strong post office, high quality education, etc.

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Karolina
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Nov. 3, 2011 6:45 pm

Americorp is service work, it pays, accomplishes much needed tasks in the country at large, and at the same time is educational in an apprentice or intern manner. Skills aquired, contacts acquired, infrastructure acquired, reduction in unproductive outlays acquired, increased gdp acquired, genuine sense of accomplishment acquired, government spending boogieman lost.

A recognition of the difference between spending and investment acquired. Jon Stewart showed this conundrum on his show "We spent 100 million dollars and all we got is this f***ing interstate highway, where's our money?"."We spent 10 million dollars and all we got is this broadband expansion, wtf now farmers are gonna know how we're screwing them".

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

douglaslee,

With all due respect, your information or assumption is incorrect. Most rental property owners are individuals or partners, not corporations. Corporate owners only make up about 11% of rental property ownership and this is typically large multi-family or multi-unit properties. As for the subsidy being repaid by utility savings, I have to question the benefit there. There were only two requirements on the landlord for the tenant to received retrofitting which included insulation (attic and blown-in wall), new doors, windows and, in some cases, appliances. Those two requirments were 1. the landlord would not raise rent for a period of one year and 2. the landlord would allow minor "damages" occurring during installation. Example, you have to drill holes in the wall to get blow-in insulation installed. I highly doubt the cost was recovered in a one year period.

I have focused on this because I think it's a good example of misguided spending. The intention was great. Spend for an ounce of prevention and reap the benefit long-term. As with many government programs, once the idea was put in to practice, the cost-benefit becomes pretty gray. To me, that's money that could have been better spent. Again, it was a small amount in comparison to the total stimulus, but these are exactly the type of misguided spending issues that make the populus question the reasoning for a tax increase.

As for the 15mil being .00000789 whatever percent of the money earned by a company, who cares? What a private or publically traded company earns is not my concern unless it's receiving government subsidy, damaging society or violating the law.

Conservative_Th...
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Jun. 15, 2012 11:01 am
Quote Conservative_Thom_Fan:

What a private or publically traded company earns is not my concern unless it's receiving government subsidy, damaging society or violating the law.

Like Meatloaf says, "Two out of three ain't bad."

chilidog
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

The rich can afford to pay taxes. That's why they might just allow Obama to make it seem like they might actually be raised so that a corporatocrat will stay in office. Which won't do anything to remedy the fact that our entire economy has been hijacked via deregulation, corporate takeover of the government, artificial crisis, bailouts, quantitative easing, warmongering, etc.

Karolina, though some of what Unger says is good, but the problem is not that the US was not competitive but that the rest of the world was not. This was by design exactly for the purpose of allowing corporations to move their operations overseas. Consumer credit in the US was the means of expanding the labor pool globally while keeping the US consumer complacent long enough for the rug to be pulled out from under us.

Chilidog is right about #5, and #1 is dubious as well. What does she mean by "enlisted"? Unless the people receive their bailout and the failed-up corporations are handed over for democratic rule, these entities cannot be enlisted for anything we would want to trust them with.

Also, education is one of those things we can all agree on. The US actually has a pretty decent higher education system, not that it couldn't be improved. But the divedends of education pay off in the long run. The immediate project should include extensive labor intensive work associated with the stimulus elements decried by Conservative Th.. in #20. Conservatives don't like it because it is labor intensive and will thus place capital in the hands of those who create value. But no doubt the "payoff" is the value-added: homes which are energy-efficient, etc.

nimblecivet
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I also want to blow the whistle on the Myth of Competition as the winnower of value and efficiency. If anyone thinks competition will show us a better way to do urban schools or care for the indigent than cooperation, go ahead and explain it. There are places for comparitive experiments about theories and practice, but even these tend to be done by teamwork rather than by individual genius. And, even the idea of letting many approaches have a chance can be found in Mao.

Corporate is hardly the vision of individuality, freedom and autonomy. From the Gray Flannel Suit to today's "suits in the suites," technocrats and creative bookeepers function for the Great Free Market Machine. If there is 'competition,' it is not about "better mousetraps." It is about better financial traps and swindles.

Taibbi calls it "Griftopia," and he has been on the ghoul beat of Wall St. for a long time. The stuff that gets treated as ok and serious by the media is scary. I try to discourage people who want to understand economics from engaging in the present polemic and to try "democracy" as a better discussion group.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 11:15 am
Quote drc2:I try to discourage people who want to understand economics from engaging in the present polemic and to try "democracy" as a better discussion group.

Thanks drc. I'm done here.

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Karolina
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Nov. 3, 2011 6:45 pm
Quote Conservative_Thom_Fan:

Bush_Wacker - Respectfully, I disagree. My concern is not so much with the national debt as it with the economy. While the debt is a problem, it's a problem to be addressed at another time in the future. The focus today should be on revitalizing the US economy. I am not suggesting austerity. Instead, I'm saying our spending should be better focused. I do agree with you that infrastructure spending is the way to go. In my opinion, the stimulus bill should have been almost entirely for infrastructure. The stimulus money that was allocated to green energy, education, housing loans and subsidy should have probably been removed or at least delayed. I understand the underlying reasons for it, but I believe spending focused on infrastructure would have added much more benefit for a number of reasons. If you build a new bridge, for example, there are obvious and immediate construction and engineering jobs involved, there are secondary jobs in steel, concrete and asphalt production. In addition, there are countless jobs and markets that get a boost as well. Paint/Coatings, steel fab shops, equipment manufacturers, tooling suppliers and the list goes on. In addition, you get a tangible project that the public can see and understand. Unfortunately, a large portion of the stimulus went to prop up state and municiple budgets that in turn saved jobs for the public sector and help municipalities meet there budgets. I'm not suggesting this was necessarily a bad thing. If it was your job that got saved, it matters. What I am saying is that it's hard for the average guy to hear about all the stimulus money and remember that it went to save Joe the Firefighter's job. Further, while Joe the Firefighter kept his job and surely spent some of his wages, I would argue that he probably kept his spending in check out of fear and did little to boost the economy and probably didn't create much in secondary employment.

Good post. I cannot disagree with much of what you posted. The debt is the only thing I disagree on but that is a totally different matter.

Bush_Wacker's picture
Bush_Wacker
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Jun. 25, 2011 6:53 am
Quote Conservative_Thom_Fan:

I believe spending focused on infrastructure would have added much more benefit for a number of reasons. If you build a new bridge... you get a tangible project that the public can see and understand.

If you build a bridge so that trucks can deliver iron ore to the steel plant, that's one thing. It's another thing if you build it so that the guy who works at the barber in the afternoon can get to his evening job at Applebees. Which is increasingly what our economy is degenerating into. People need to be producing stuff. We need an industrial policy and revised trade policies.

The green energy incentives are great, but we get a whole lot less bang for the buck when the stuff has to be bought from overseas.

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I agree 100%, now how do we convince others? I guess all we can do is keep trying to stir up a little cognitive dissonance. MMT just makes logical sense when you delve into it and it is so frustrating when you see the deficit doves fighting with the deficit hawks over the details of how to 'cut the deficit' knowing they are both operating from logical fallacies, while untold numbers of real people suffer for lack of digits on the Feds computer screens! Self-imposed scarcity in a land of plenty, it's just so unnecessary! Thank you for so intelligently attempting to get the word out, it is much appreciated!

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stefanitza27
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Jun. 14, 2011 2:17 pm
Quote chilidog:People need to be producing stuff. We need an industrial policy and revised trade policies.

Thank you.

That is really the ONLY way our ecomomy will come back. That after regulating the banks, and :

Quote pshakkottai:Increase deficits until there is full employment. It is quite safe to do so. Of course the congress must be educated to get rid of the nonsensical debt ceiling....

...The govt has borrowed money from itself... ...and given to the people. People OWN the money and collect interest. They DON'T have to pay any debt back. It is not their debt. The govt is in debt to itself and has to do NOTHING. All this is called modern monetary theory and is well known to the treasury and fed.

The national debt everyone frets about is not real.

You can cut war funding, end corporate welfare and deficit spend to take care of all infrastructure and social needs independent of tax revenues which do not reenter the economy. Tax money is simply recorded and if the currency is old, trashed.

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Karolina
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Nov. 3, 2011 6:45 pm

One of the reasons some of the stimulus went to the states was because of past recessions that recovered in a timely manner the spending had been increased in public employee payrolls. 1982 Reagan, !990 GHWBush, 2001 Bush, all republicans, all increased public payrolls. All Obama was trying to do was not reduce payrolls, and it did for two years. Stimulus worked but was not enough.

As far as not returning the costs from retro in one year, it doesn't matter if it takes longer, it will be paid back. Our geothermal installations take 10 years to realize the return, or pay for their installation.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Conservative_Thom_Fan:... Do you have any ideas to fix the economy or the country that don't involve raising taxes on the wealthy?

I know that I am not smart enough to fix the economy.

All we have to do is insist that we can't be out competed by foreign workers making less than we do. This will actually solve all our problems. Capital will no longer leave the country looking for slave labor conditions - creating an elite class of 'slave' owners at the top - creating our bubble economy and corrupting the government.

Americans will fix the economy by making the products we want to consume.

With a sufficiently strong minimum wage, and high taxes, this will generate a strong middle class which will create a less politically corrupt government.

This will all come about at a high cost - no cheap electronics from China, no cheap computers, clothes etc... All these things would have high tariffs on them, so that there is no advantage to use cheap labor from abroad. We would go back to the way things were in the 70's.

Dr. Econ's picture
Dr. Econ
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Dr. Econ:

... We would go back to the way things were in the 70's.

Yay! Tupperware parties!

nimblecivet
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

We're already at war like the 70's.

lovecraft
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May. 8, 2012 11:06 am

No AIDS.

More clap?

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Don't forget about Neil Young.

Dr. Econ's picture
Dr. Econ
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote douglaslee:

As far as not returning the costs from retro in one year, it doesn't matter if it takes longer, it will be paid back. Our geothermal installations take 10 years to realize the return, or pay for their installation.

I was referring to the engery weatherization money that was spent on low income tenant property. There is no way it pays for itself in a year and it does matter as that's the only time requirement. I own rentaly property. I had a tenant who received new doors and windows and appliances. After one year, she moved out. Basically, I got new windows, doors and appliances for free. While I'm thankful for the gift from the government, I think it's a wasteful program.

And while I'm ranting on wasteful programs...

Some of the social programs that start with the best of intentions become wasteful or have unintended negative effects when implemented. Case in point, I have several Section 8 properties. Because of Section 8, the rents in the area are about 20% higher than the should be. If Section 8 says they will pay a max of $800 for a two bedroom, guess what the rent becomes in that neighborhood? The rent should be about $650. I'm in a rural community with relatively low living costs. Because of section 8 vouchers, the average working family can't afford to rent in the area now.

In turn, the average working family takes a look at what's happening and thinks, ok, I work every day and I can't afford to live as well as the guy who is on government assistance. Where's my incentive to work?

To my orginal point, if you want to raise taxes, I can accept that. I can see the merit in it, but the waste has got to stop. At least the perception of the waste. Otherwise, there is no public buy in.

Conservative_Th...
Joined:
Jun. 15, 2012 11:01 am
Quote Conservative_Thom_Fan:
Quote douglaslee:

As far as not returning the costs from retro in one year, it doesn't matter if it takes longer, it will be paid back. Our geothermal installations take 10 years to realize the return, or pay for their installation.

I was referring to the engery weatherization money that was spent on low income tenant property. There is no way it pays for itself in a year and it does matter as that's the only time requirement. I own rentaly property. I had a tenant who received new doors and windows and appliances. After one year, she moved out. Basically, I got new windows, doors and appliances for free. While I'm thankful for the gift from the government, I think it's a wasteful program.

And while I'm ranting on wasteful programs...

Some of the social programs that start with the best of intentions become wasteful or have unintended negative effects when implemented. Case in point, I have several Section 8 properties. Because of Section 8, the rents in the area are about 20% higher than the should be. If Section 8 says they will pay a max of $800 for a two bedroom, guess what the rent becomes in that neighborhood? The rent should be about $650. I'm in a rural community with relatively low living costs. Because of section 8 vouchers, the average working family can't afford to rent in the area now.

In turn, the average working family takes a look at what's happening and thinks, ok, I work every day and I can't afford to live as well as the guy who is on government assistance. Where's my incentive to work?

To my orginal point, if you want to raise taxes, I can accept that. I can see the merit in it, but the waste has got to stop. At least the perception of the waste. Otherwise, there is no public buy in.

Weatherizing a home is wasteful and yet not really wasteful. It will pay for itself eventually if it lasts long enough. The important part of the equation here is where the money came from to pay for your "free" windows. The government doesn't spend money and then send us all a "tax bill" to pay for it. That is the illusion. The government pays for these programs by printing up the funds and infusing it into the American economy. Our tax liabilities are a feeble attempt to show that as a nation we're paying it back. Our tax liabilities are really just a participation fee for the use of the commons. We are all playing a massive game of monopoly. Our country could and should "create" whatever funds are neccesary to employ all eligible workers and strengthen our country's infrastructure and economy. As with a home, that has to be done from the foundation on up, not from the top down.

There is no need to raise taxes in order for US to pay back something that the government created out of thin air. Higher taxes on the rich is nothing more than a forced participation in keeping economic funds flowing. Without it, they are not only not lubricating the economic system but they are slowly going to hoard enough wealth to have a dangerous amount of power. This has already happened and with that much power they can undermine our political system and our democracy. Look at the Koch bros. for instance. Look at the amount of power they have and how they use it to manipulate our democratic process. The super rich on both sides of the aisle have much more influence than the rest of us and they use that power on a daily basis. We the people, are stuck with the consequences created by the few instead of democratically voted on by the many.

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Bush_Wacker
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Jun. 25, 2011 6:53 am

Truth, Bush Wacker!

As I heard Thom saying recently on some show—the only way that kind of unfair power can be fought, once it's been grabbed, is by grassroots movements. Examples that he gave was the Civil Rights movement, and the veterans' camping out and not moving in the 1930's.

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Karolina
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Nov. 3, 2011 6:45 pm

Yes, many programs like Section 8, Food Stamps, probably energy subsidies are just transfer payments to landlords, agribusiness, energy monopolies, etc. We can eliminate these programs, and all the wasteful bureaucracy that they entail. People do need shelter, food, and heat, so just give everyone a check or a debit card for some minimal amount every week to survive as they see fit.

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Conservative_Thom_Fan:... Because of Section 8, the rents in the area are about 20% higher than the should be.

I find this hard to believe for several reasons:

1) Section 8 people are a small part of the market
2) There is risk to renting out to section 8 people because they have unsteady income, depreciate the property and can lead to negative effects on the neighborhood.
3) Many section 8 people have children
4) Single mothers with children are hard to evict (most section 8 people are single females with children)

Aside from this, the fact that helping people to be housed increases the demand and hence rental price of housing seems to me a pretty cruel response.

Dr. Econ's picture
Dr. Econ
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Dr. Econ:
Quote Conservative_Thom_Fan:... Because of Section 8, the rents in the area are about 20% higher than the should be.

I find this hard to believe for several reasons:

1) Section 8 people are a small part of the market
2) There is risk to renting out to section 8 people because they have unsteady income, depreciate the property and can lead to negative effects on the neighborhood.
3) Many section 8 people have children
4) Single mothers with children are hard to evict (most section 8 people are single females with children)

Aside from this, the fact that helping people to be housed increases the demand and hence rental price of housing seems to me a pretty cruel response.

1. My stats are a little dated, but as of 2008 about 9.6 million people participated in HUD assistance programs. In my area, most of the Section 8 housing seems to concentrate in a few areas. It's a small city. A Section 8 participant is no different from anyone else seeking a rental. Everyone wants to live in the same areas, close to amenities. So, while it may be a small part of the market, it definately has an impact on rents. This is well documented. HUD notoriously pays well over median rent for a particular area.

2. While there is some risk, unsteady income is rarely a concern. Most of my Section 8 tenants receive 80-100% of their rent from Section 8. It's direct deposited at the beginning of the month without fail. With the rents paid through Section 8 being higher than the market, I have little concern about Section 8 tenants paying their portion. It's often less than $50. If they don't pay, I still cover my costs. As for depreciation and negative effects on the neighborhood, that's a risk you take with any tenant.

3. I do not see how children relate to the rent levels. If you are renting a unit with more than 1-2 bedrooms, you have to expect to rent to tenants with children.

4. This statement is just completely false. Most Section 8 vouchers go to the elderly and disabled. Further, the law makes no distinction for single mothers and evictions. I have, over the years, evicted single mothers with children, single men and married couples. They all carry the same court cost and take the same amount of time through the same procedure. Incidentally, Section 8 evictions, in my case, are rare. If a tenant receives a judgement against them, such as failure to pay / eviction, they risk losing the Section 8 voucher. So, when the judgement comes, they generally pay. The vast majority of evictions I've done have been unrelated to Section 8.

I keep coming back to my original point. It's very hard to accept the need for tax increases when the perception of wasteful spending persists. Again, I believe the initial intention of these programs is good and just and moral. We should help the poor, especially children, the elderly and disabled. However, once the program makes it way through the government and hits the street, the good intention seems lost to ridiculous government waste.

The example I used earlier regarding weatherization is only one, small program and, in my opinion, it was a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Conservative_Th...
Joined:
Jun. 15, 2012 11:01 am

I think Dr. Econ's point was renting out to section 8 renters, in the absence of a section 8 program, would be very risky, because of unsteady income, and poor credit.

The problem is poor people unable to afford basic food and shelter.

Conservatives see any action to aid the poor as detrimental to the free market, because the Gawd of the Free Market must be given every ritual sacrifice above the lives of people who are homeless and hungry.

Phaedrus76's picture
Phaedrus76
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Sep. 14, 2010 7:21 pm
Quote Phaedrus76:

I think Dr. Econ's point was renting out to section 8 renters, in the absence of a section 8 program, would be very risky, because of unsteady income, and poor credit.

The problem is poor people unable to afford basic food and shelter.

Conservatives see any action to aid the poor as detrimental to the free market, because the Gawd of the Free Market must be given every ritual sacrifice above the lives of people who are homeless and hungry.

It seems like you are suggesting that as a private individual, I would not take the risk of renting to a poor person. Therefore, the government needs to step in to mitigate my risk as a private individual. If the renter can pay, I win, and if the renter can't pay, the government pays and I win.

Careful now, that's the same logic that was used for too big to fail and the wall street bailout.

As for your last comment stereotyping conservatives, you're entitled to your opinion. I find sweeping, across the board judgements on people less than productive. I consider myself conservative and I have no objection to providing aid to the poor.

Conservative_Th...
Joined:
Jun. 15, 2012 11:01 am
Quote Conservative_Thom_Fan:
Quote Phaedrus76:

I think Dr. Econ's point was renting out to section 8 renters, in the absence of a section 8 program, would be very risky, because of unsteady income, and poor credit.

The problem is poor people unable to afford basic food and shelter.

Conservatives see any action to aid the poor as detrimental to the free market, because the Gawd of the Free Market must be given every ritual sacrifice above the lives of people who are homeless and hungry.

It seems like you are suggesting that as a private individual, I would not take the risk of renting to a poor person. Therefore, the government needs to step in to mitigate my risk as a private individual. If the renter can pay, I win, and if the renter can't pay, the government pays and I win.

Careful now, that's the same logic that was used for too big to fail and the wall street bailout.

As for your last comment stereotyping conservatives, you're entitled to your opinion. I find sweeping, across the board judgements on people less than productive. I consider myself conservative and I have no objection to providing aid to the poor.

So you will do anything, except help them put a roof over their heads and food on their table?

Phaedrus76's picture
Phaedrus76
Joined:
Sep. 14, 2010 7:21 pm
Quote Phaedrus76:

[

So you will do anything, except help them put a roof over their heads and food on their table?

[/quote]

You've completely missed my point. As I have said in the previous post and others, I have no objection to and, in fact, feel an obligation to provide aid to those less fortunate. I do take exception to wasteful and misguided government spending no matter how small the amount. In my opinion, the programs I've mentioned are wasteful or at least provide minimal returns.

You're comment is ridiculous and strikes me as a typical talking point extreme assumption. Unfortunately, this type of response is far too common today from both sides of the aisle. One party will introduce some extreme reactionary position to a non-issue and the other side counters with an even more extreme action. With the fires in Colorado, I'm expecting one party to require every citizen to carry a fire extinguisher with them at all times. In turn, the opposing party will say that this is a violation of civel rights. To counter, the original party will say, "well clearly, they want to burn children!" Meanwhile, homes and business are burning and we are pointing fingers at each other.

Conservative_Th...
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