Open thread: the Fiscal Cliff

Patterico told his readers that he was pretty much bored with the fiscal cliff arguments, saying that, ” in the end, we will arrive at a Solemn Agreement to Tackle This Problem Head-On . . . next year.” He continued:

Meanwhile, our massive government debt bubble will continue to grow, and nobody will show the slightest bit of interest in letting the air out.

At this point, since the popping of that bubble is inevitable, I just want it to hurry up and happen. The problem isn’t going to get fixed. We’re not paying off the debt. So let’s get the catastrophe over with now instead of later, and give my children some chance at a few decent years.

I have said before that while I would like to see the deficit addressed entirely through spending cuts, and I meant massive spending cuts, if taxes have to be increased, I want to see them increased on everybody. We are supposed to all be in this together.

I’m kind of writer’s blocked this evening, so I’m setting this up as an open thread on the subject; have at it!
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[The Comments & Conduct Policy. will be strictly enforced on this post.-- Editor]

478 Comments

  1. Democrats have no intention of cutting government spending, and they know that increasing tax rates on job creators will result in reduced revenues and fewer jobs, which will only accelerate the decline in revenues and produce an inevitable self-perpetuating economic death spiral. It’s as sure as day following night.

    The Democrat faithful are like a vast herd of lemmings obsessively intent on rushing en-mass toward a partly conceived but presumably glorious future, a consequential precipice they can’t see but have unquestioningly accepted as the highest expression of their political and social aspirations, and it’s one from which there is no return.

  2. In the following exerpt Robert Winnett writing at The Telegraph 11/27/12 reveals the effect in Great Britain of raising the tax rate on high earners: they left the country in droves.

    Two-thirds of millionaires left Britain to avoid 50p tax rate

    Almost two-thirds of the country’s million-pound earners disappeared from Britain after the introduction of the 50p top rate of tax, figures have disclosed.

    In the 2009-10 tax year, more than 16,000 people declared an annual income of more than £1 million to HM Revenue and Customs. This number fell to just 6,000 after Gordon Brown introduced the new 50p top rate of income tax shortly before the last general election.

    The figures have been seized upon by the Conservatives to claim that increasing the highest rate of tax actually led to a loss in revenues for the Government. It is believed that rich Britons moved abroad or took steps to avoid paying the new levy by reducing their taxable incomes.

    George Osborne, the Chancellor, announced in the Budget earlier this year that the 50p top rate will be reduced to 45p from next April. Since the announcement, the number of people declaring annual incomes of more than £1 million has risen to 10,000.

    However, the number of million-pound earners is still far below the level recorded even at the height of the recession and financial crisis.

    Last night, Harriet Baldwin, the Conservative MP who uncovered the latest figures, said: “Labour’s ideological tax hike led to a tax cull of millionaires.

    Far from raising funds, it actually cost the UK £7 billion in lost tax revenue…

  3. From The Philadelphia Inquirer:

    Who’s afraid of fiscal cliff?

    Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 3:01 AM

    By Jan C. Ting

    The “fiscal cliff” is a confluence of three legal changes taking effect Jan. 1: the expiration of a payroll-tax cut, the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, and the advent of mandatory spending cuts known as “sequestration.” Many commentators have expressed concern that unless Congress intervenes by the new year, the economy will suffer significantly. But I don’t think going “off the cliff” is the worst thing that could happen.

    First, the payroll-tax cut is going to expire in any event. The tax was lowered for 2011 and 2012 as a means of temporary economic stimulus. But there is bipartisan agreement that it should be restored to pre-2011 levels to adequately fund Social Security. No crisis here.

    Next, the so-called Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 were enacted partly as temporary responses to the recession triggered by the collapse of the Internet bubble and the Sept. 11 attacks. The Republican sponsors of the cuts agreed to let them expire at the end of 2010. Then, as that deadline approached, President Obama and Republicans agreed to extend the cuts for two more years, until the end of 2012. Obama campaigned on allowing the cuts to expire only for households earning $250,000 or more, while Republicans advocate making all the Bush income- and estate-tax cuts permanent.

    Finally, as part of last year’s agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling, Congress pledged to cut spending by $1.2 trillion over 10 years. It agreed that if neither a congressional “supercommittee” nor Congress itself could designate the cuts by the end of 2012, they would happen automatically, divided evenly between defense and non-defense spending. These automatic cuts are known as sequestration.

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke coined the worrisome phrase “fiscal cliff” to describe the consequences if Congress fails to act by Dec. 31, allowing all the tax cuts to expire and sequestration to begin. But it’s not the worst-case scenario.

    More at the link. Jan C. Ting is a professor at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.

  4. This is what happens when the Republicans make the first moves toward “compromise:”

    Senate Dems divided over cuts to benefit programs

    STEPHEN OHLEMACHER , The Associated Press
    Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 6:47 AM

    WASHINGTON – Deep divisions among Senate Democrats over whether cuts to popular benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid should be part of a plan to slow the government’s mushrooming debt pose a big obstacle to a deal for avoiding a potentially economy-crushing “fiscal cliff,” even if Republicans agree to raise taxes.

    Much of the focus during negotiations seeking an alternative to $671 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts beginning in January has centered on whether Republicans would agree to raising taxes on the wealthy. President Barack Obama has insisted repeatedly that tax increases on the wealthy must be part of any deal, even as White House officials concede that government benefit programs will have to be in the package too.

    “It is the president’s position that when we’re talking about a broad, balanced approach to dealing with our fiscal challenges, that that includes dealing with entitlements,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday, referring to the mammoth benefit programs.

    But even if GOP lawmakers agree to raise taxes, there is no guarantee Democrats can come up with enough votes in the Senate to cut benefit programs , as Republicans are demanding.

    “I hope not if it means Social Security or Medicare benefit cuts,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

    This is the first sign of what we already knew would happen: if the Republicans agreed to tax increases, in exchange for spending cuts in a future bill, the spending cuts would never, ever get made.

    The biggest problem that I see is that the Republicans might just cave to the demand to raise taxes only on the top producers, which would just go along with the Democrats class-warfare mentality. If taxes are going to be raised, they should be raised on everybody. We are all in this together, and if sacrifices have to be made, everybody should have to be a part of it.

  5. Democrats have no intention of cutting government spending, and they know that increasing tax rates on job creators will result in reduced revenues and fewer jobs, which will only accelerate the decline in revenues and produce an inevitable self-perpetuating economic death spiral. It’s as sure as day following night.

    Uh-huh.

    You [Characterization deleted; please refer to Comments & Conduct Policy. As noted in the main article, that policy will be strictly enforced on this thread. -- Editor] can’t even attempt to deal with reality.

  6. The genesis of the welfare state started after 11/22/1963. On 1/20/1961 President Kennedy spoke the now famous quote of “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your coutry”. Whereas when LBJ became president on 11/22/1963 he soon changed it to ‘here’s what your country can do for you per this chart on the left’. (I’m trying to find a joke about this concerning Moses, FDR and LBJ)

    (Found a better one)

    Over five thousand years ago, Moses said to the children of Israel ”
    Pick up your shovel, mount your asses and camels, and I will lead you
    to the promised land.”

    Nearly 75 years ago, Roosevelt said, “Lay down your shovels, sit on
    your asses, and light up a camel, this is the promised land.”

    Now Obama has stolen your shovel, taxed your asses, raised the price
    of camels, and mortgaged the promised land.

  7. Here’s reality for ya: Republican and former Senator from WY speaks the truth:

    “During a discussion on the looming fiscal cliff, former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY) joked that he hoped anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist drown in a bathtub.

    “Near the end of an interview with MSNBC host Chris Matthews, Simpson said that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) had trouble negotiating a budget deal because members of his own party refused to compromise.

    “’He’s got 70 guys who didn’t go to Congress to limit government, they came there to stop it,’ he said. ‘So how do you deal with guys who came to stop government or Grover wandering the earth in his white robe saying he wants to drown government in the bathtub. I hope he slips in there with it.’

    Note well: “Norquist told The Nation in 2004 that his goal was to get the government ‘down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.’ His Americans for Tax Reform pledge has been signed by nearly every Republican member of Congress, though some Republicans have recently said they were not bound to it.”

    The almost all-white, male-dominated Republican House members have to change, once and for all, else forever grovel in the politics of exclusion and class warfare which they have inherited from their forebearers since Lincoln. One can only hope for change!

  8. Great, Perry. So you quote a guy who wishes for murder on a guy who only seeks freedom from higher taxes. Why don’t you quote from Judas Iscariot next time? Of course you like a RINO traitor, but of course your own side, who worships snakes, will only crucify him when you are done with him, once he has served your evil purposes. For it is obvious that your side wants no compromises, you will raise taxes and get what you want, but never offer anything in return. What a pack of liars and scumbags! Why should we offer them anything? Screw them, let THEM offer up something first, like spending cuts. They made this mess, with their spending and explosive deficits, now let THEM make some sacrifices to their pet programs, their schemes to buy votes with dollars, and THEN we can talk. Otherwise, fuck ‘em, and the house they built. Obama wrecked the economy and sent the debt exploding, let him get the blame when it all falls apart. Why should we care? You wanted a “Bread and circuses” president, and now you’ve got him. You wanted to fuck the country to get political power, well, now the country is truly fucked. Eat it, [Characterization deleted; please refer to Comments & Conduct Policy. -- Editor] You got what you wanted, and now you want our help to bail you out of YOUR mess?? Sorry, but fuck you very much, it’s YOUR mess, [Characterization deleted; please refer to Comments & Conduct Policy. -- Editor], now go sit in your own shit.

  9. The almost all-white, male-dominated Republican House members have to change, once and for all, else forever grovel in the politics of exclusion and class warfare which they have inherited from their forebearers since Lincoln. One can only hope for change!

    Funny how these “all-white, male-dominated Republican House members” don’t have an established race-based and gender-based caucus like, ahem, the Congressional Black Caucus, eh?

    The real hope for change is that these politicians actually get down to work and do a deal. This includes the GOP being willing to accept some tax increases, but the biggest part of the deal (if we’re serious about paying down the deficit and debt) has to be spending. As in cuts. This is where your party has to be willing to change, Perry.

    Oh, and did I say they all need to get down to business and work a deal? What was Dictator Obama doing the other day? Staying in campaign mode and asking Americans to use social media to pressure the GOP to raise taxes. Boy, he’s SERIOUS about working out a deal, eh?? :-P

  10. Koolo wrote:

    The real hope for change is that these politicians actually get down to work and do a deal. This includes the GOP being willing to accept some tax increases, but the biggest part of the deal (if we’re serious about paying down the deficit and debt) has to be spending. As in cuts. This is where your party has to be willing to change, Perry.

    I disagree: when you say that “This includes the GOP being willing to accept some tax increases,” you are saying that the Republicans have to be willing to go along with the Democrats’ class warfare policies, and increase taxes on only some Americans, meaning the top producers. If taxes are going to be increased, they should be increased on everybody!

    Furthermore, the GOP does have a strong position here, if they have the cojones to use it: by controlling the House of Representatives, they need only to not appropriate money for programs they do not like, and stick to that. The President cannot spend money which is not appropriated, and the Senate cannot force the House to go along with any particular appropriation. The Republicans have to be willing to take the heat for partial government shutdowns, and say no, we will not appropriate money for Planned Parenthood or NPR or Amtrak, and if the Democrats want to shut down the National Park Service because of that, let ‘em.

    With that kind of attitude, maybe, just maybe, something could be done about entitlements, as the Democrats see some of their sacred cows being cut, but the only choice we have is to cut the deficit, and cut it a lot.

  11. I disagree: when you say that “This includes the GOP being willing to accept some tax increases,” you are saying that the Republicans have to be willing to go along with the Democrats’ class warfare policies, and increase taxes on only some Americans, meaning the top producers. If taxes are going to be increased, they should be increased on everybody!

    You’re right — in order to make a deal, the GOP should be willing to accept this. I think you know my position that, say, raising the rates on upper earners to the Clinton era rates really won’t amount to anything in terms of solving our overall problems, but 1) the rates were there a mere decade ago, 2) Obama won the election, and 3) it forces the Democrats to make good on their end about spending. Because, after all, spending is the problem, not revenue. So, yes, the GOP does have a strong position, and agreeing to what I note will only make it stronger.

  12. Wagonwheel quoted former Senator Alan Simpson:

    He’s got 70 guys who didn’t go to Congress to limit government, they came there to stop it.

    And for a significant part of the government, I absolutely agree! Our government is simply too large, and is involved in things in which there is no need to be involved.

    If I were somehow Tsar of All the Americas, I guarantee you that I could get our budget balanced and our government on the right track, in just one year. Oh, I’d be an absolutely hated man, but I could fix the problems.

    The first thing we need to do is renew a commitment to federalism: the states should pay for the things that the states want to do. Why should we have a federal gasoline tax of 18.4¢ per gallon, when the law requires that 92% of all federal gasoline taxes be spent in the states in which they were collected? Cut the gasoline tax to 1.47¢ per gallon, and give the states room to raise their gasoline taxes . . . if that is what they choose to do. Then let the states pay for their highway projects.

    Cut all of the subsidies to the states, and cut taxes by that amount; then, if the states think that all of that spending is necessary, let them raise their taxes to cover it. That ends the practice of the states passing on their deficits to the federal government, and cuts out a whole layer of unproductive bureaucracy.

    Cut welfare to the bone; I would follow the policy laid out in 2 Thessalonians 3:10. Then you’d find the illegal immigrants heading back to Mexico, because the good American citizens who live on welfare would take those jobs back, because a hungry belly can be a powerfully motivating force.

  13. , but the biggest part of the deal (if we’re serious about paying down the deficit and debt) has to be spending. As in cuts. This is where your party has to be willing to change, Perry.

    Color me cynical, but this isn’t going to happen. Not with the god-king and his associates like Pelosi and Reid setting the agenda. They’ve had four years to get serious about the deficit (six, if you count back to 2006, when the Dems won the House and Senate) and they’ve only made it worse. Much worse. They’re not serious about it at all.

    Point is, they increased spending vastly since the god-king’s been in office. And now they say they want tax hikes to pay for it, but we all know those tax hikes will just go for more spending. The GOP should just hold the line on taxes. If they won’t budge on spending, why should we budge on taxes? The only reason to “Compromise” is to pull a Pontius Pilate and wash our hands of the whole affair. Let the Dems get what they want, and when the country collapses, they can get all the blame. But I don’t like that approach. The joy of seeing the Democrats drown in their own shit isn’t worth the price the country would pay.

  14. Eric:

    Otherwise, fuck ‘em, and the house they built. Obama wrecked the economy and sent the debt exploding, let him get the blame when it all falls apart. Why should we care? You wanted a “Bread and circuses” president, and now you’ve got him. You wanted to fuck the country to get political power, well, now the country is truly fucked. Eat it, [Characterization deleted; please refer to Comments & Conduct Policy. -- Editor] You got what you wanted, and now you want our help to bail you out of YOUR mess?? Sorry, but fuck you very much, it’s YOUR mess, [Characterization deleted; please refer to Comments & Conduct Policy. -- Editor], now go sit in your own shit.

    Eric, you are clearly out of control and irrational!

  15. Koolo:

    Funny how these “all-white, male-dominated Republican House members” don’t have an established race-based and gender-based caucus like, ahem, the Congressional Black Caucus, eh?

    The real hope for change is that these politicians actually get down to work and do a deal. This includes the GOP being willing to accept some tax increases, but the biggest part of the deal (if we’re serious about paying down the deficit and debt) has to be spending. As in cuts. This is where your party has to be willing to change, Perry.

    Oh, and did I say they all need to get down to business and work a deal? What was Dictator Obama doing the other day? Staying in campaign mode and asking Americans to use social media to pressure the GOP to raise taxes. Boy, he’s SERIOUS about working out a deal, eh??

    Koolo, the House Republican committee chairmen are all just that, male and white, typical in general of your Party, as per the election choices made by Republican voters. This is hardly representative of our country, which is your Party’s major challenge for the future. And btw, voter suppression is also hardly the way to go to obtain a government representative of our country. Or do you not want that?

    I agree with your second paragraph on making a deal on tax and spending policies, with emphasis on the word “deal”, in contrast to the positions of our Editor, who has yet to understand that we have had an election.

    President Obama is hardly a dictator, as he has been willing to deal throughout his time in the WH. It is your Party which has not, and it is an open question whether they will change, although there are some encouraging hints of defection from the Norquist Pledge. Regarding the President remaining in campaign mode, I see that as a way to get Americans to put pressure on their leaders to govern, for a change.

  16. “The biggest problem that I see is that the Republicans might just cave to the demand to raise taxes only on the top producers, which would just go along with the Democrats class-warfare mentality. If taxes are going to be raised, they should be raised on everybody. We are all in this together, and if sacrifices have to be made, everybody should have to be a part of it.”

    Since the principles of indifferent effect and equality under the law have long been overthrown, and the targeting of particular classes of persons has become justifiable, I would like to suggest that for the good of the collective that the Congress pass a law confiscating all the wealth, every last bit of it, including real property, of all billionaires who are also named Warren Buffett, and distribute it to the poor.

    The need is great, the time is short. The principle is available. Take it all from him.

  17. Cut welfare to the bone; I would follow the policy laid out in 2 Thessalonians 3:10. Then you’d find the illegal immigrants heading back to Mexico, because the good American citizens who live on welfare would take those jobs back, because a hungry belly can be a powerfully motivating force.

    I disagree. Welfare wouldn’t be the first thing I’d cut, though I’d certainly cut it eventually. No, I would first cut out of the budget those Federal agencies that everyone agrees are useless and a waste of money. Rick Perry had the right idea, even if he couldn’t remember all the departments he wanted to cut. Start with the Depts of Energy and Education. Just get rid of them entirely, don’t fund them at all. Labor could go next, and then maybe Commerce. Aren’t labor and commerce issues for the private sector to resolve? And, personally, I would get rid of the Dept. of Homeland Security. Just because it was Bush’s idea doesn’t mean it wasn’t a dumb idea.

    And I would even be willing to look at Defense. With the Soviets gone, how many aircraft carriers and nuclear subs do we really need? Fully fund the Marines, but you could probably trim the Air Force and Navy budgets a bit.

    But none of this is going to work with the current crop of Democrats in charge. These people are not like Bill Clinton. They don’t believe in compromise. They are ideologues. Their “Vision” for America is a quasi-Marxist model, with the government growing ever bigger, taxes ever higher, and more people dependent on the State, meaning them. They made their agenda pretty clear when they trotted out the likes of Sandra Fluck and Elizabeth Warren at their convention. Fluck is the ideal Democrat voter, a poster child for their whole way of life. Here you have an overpriviledged white woman with her hand out going “Gimme, gimme, gimme!” She goes to a $40,000/yr law school, but can’t afford rubbers? And, despite going to a Catholic institution whose rules on birth control she presumably knew in advance, she wanted them to change to accomodate her, because she’s, like, SPECIAL.

  18. Editor:

    I disagree: when you say that “This includes the GOP being willing to accept some tax increases,” you are saying that the Republicans have to be willing to go along with the Democrats’ class warfare policies, and increase taxes on only some Americans, meaning the top producers. If taxes are going to be increased, they should be increased on everybody!

    Since both sides agree that taxes for the 98% should stay at the Bush levels, let us make that into law right away. This is hardly class warfare, it is pragmatism, based on demand side economic policy, as has been demonstrated over time. Pragmatism is a quality we need more of in our politics, in my view, which brings me to tax increases on the 2%. Since they have been favored by tax loopholes, the types which enable the Mitt Romney types to get by paying only 18%, now is the time for them to give back. You can label it “class warfare”, I would label it class fairness, based on the truth of the matter.

    Furthermore, the GOP does have a strong position here, if they have the cojones to use it: by controlling the House of Representatives, they need only to not appropriate money for programs they do not like, and stick to that. The President cannot spend money which is not appropriated, and the Senate cannot force the House to go along with any particular appropriation. The Republicans have to be willing to take the heat for partial government shutdowns, and say no, we will not appropriate money for Planned Parenthood or NPR or Amtrak, and if the Democrats want to shut down the National Park Service because of that, let ‘em.

    With that kind of attitude, maybe, just maybe, something could be done about entitlements, as the Democrats see some of their sacred cows being cut, but the only choice we have is to cut the deficit, and cut it a lot.

    Your comment holds true for discretionary spending, which is a very small fraction of the total budget, but is indeed in the control of the House Republican majority. On the other hand, the House Republicans are required by law to fund the entitlements, unless Congress modifies them, which is why the entitlements must be on the table for spending cuts. And the President agrees to have them on the table. You don’t seem to have comprehended this yet.

    If we cut the deficit “a lot”, in one fell scoop, we will then make the same mistakes the Brits have made, throwing their country into recession, causing more job losses, and putting their GDP into the negative. This makes no sense. What does make sense, again, in my view, is that we need to keep the economy growing, by changing our tax/revenue policy, by appropriately stimulating the economy, while simultaneously phasing in spending cuts judiciously. And btw, on Medicare and Medicaid, the ACA will cut down medically related expenditures, according to the OMB. I’m sure you will agree: That’s a good thing! Let us learn the lessons currently being taught to us by the mistakes the Brits have made.

  19. I think you guys are looking at it all wrong. I’d let all the Bush tax cuts expire. Why? Because as long as they’re referred to as “The Bush Tax Cuts” the name “Bush” is still in the conversation. I’d rather call it “The Obama Tax Hikes”. Then I’d push it one step further by suggesting Obama is only “restoring” the previous tax rates and demand in the name of “fairness” the rates for those earning over $250k be raised to 50%. After all if 39.5% is good, then 50% is better. All in the name of fairness, for the children.

    Now that equalizes the income problem that Buffet and the like are always crowing about. But what about accumulated wealth? We can’t have that. So then we tax at a rate of 90% the accumulated wealth of those millionaires and billionaires and we include off shore holdings thereby closing that evil loophole. Let’s see how Warren likes his REAL WEALTH taxed as opposed to someone elses EARNED income.

    At that point the Republicans should put forth a plan to increase Social Security payments by 50% to balance out the lost COLA’s of the previous years and to “equalize” the costs of Energy and Food for the elderly. This should be done along with an increase of the Minimum Wage from $7.45 an hour to an actual Living Wage of $22.00 per hour. ( Minimum Wage is such an old concept…we must start moving toward a Living Wage. After all don’t these folks deserve to be treated with Dignity? ). If we also set a $100k per year maximum for all employees of companies recieving any government bail-out, subsity or tax exemption, from the CEO to the janitor (this includes salary, benefits and stock options) we can achieve total fairness within two years. Plus, if we install a $4 per gallon Federal Fuel Excise Tax on gas we can force people into Volts and Sparks. Adding on a Federal Electric Excise Tax per kilowat of electric will regain the taxes lost on fuel when the suckers switch to electric! After all, why should those 2%’ers get the benefits of low fuel and electric?

    Also, limiting the “evil rich” to just the top 2% is very short sighted. We should start calling them the “10%’ers”. That can expand those we target and allow for expansion to 20% or more in the future. Let’s face it at least 20% of the population earns more than we do so why should we limit our looting to just 2%? We can overwhelm 20% just as easily. Gotta remember, 2% of 300 million is only 6 million targets taxpayers, but 10% is a whopping 30 million.

  20. Eric, you are clearly out of control and irrational!

    You quoted a guy who wants to see Grover Norquist DEAD over a tax pledge, and you call ME irrational???

  21. Let it crash. What’s to preserve, your legal bondage to the incontinent appetites of the incompetent and obnoxious? It’s like pulling an annoyance out of a ditch. You wonder afterwards why you bothered.

    I’ve done that before, the good Samaritan routine. After one event in particular, looking at the gape mouthed brain dead slovens I rescued, I realized I should have left them there to reap what they had sowed. My freedom and my ability to direct it for the benefit of the deserving is worth more to me than the comfort of fools and nihilists.

    You save them and they just continue grazing and watching daytime TV.

    This event took place some years ago. But you at least can now look for that Obama sticker on the bumper before you act. LOL

  22. Editor:

    And for a significant part of the government, I absolutely agree! Our government is simply too large, and is involved in things in which there is no need to be involved.

    If I were somehow Tsar of All the Americas, I guarantee you that I could get our budget balanced and our government on the right track, in just one year. Oh, I’d be an absolutely hated man, but I could fix the problems.

    The first thing we need to do is renew a commitment to federalism: the states should pay for the things that the states want to do. Why should we have a federal gasoline tax of 18.4¢ per gallon, when the law requires that 92% of all federal gasoline taxes be spent in the states in which they were collected? Cut the gasoline tax to 1.47¢ per gallon, and give the states room to raise their gasoline taxes . . . if that is what they choose to do. Then let the states pay for their highway projects.

    Cut all of the subsidies to the states, and cut taxes by that amount; then, if the states think that all of that spending is necessary, let them raise their taxes to cover it. That ends the practice of the states passing on their deficits to the federal government, and cuts out a whole layer of unproductive bureaucracy.

    Cut welfare to the bone; I would follow the policy laid out in 2 Thessalonians 3:10. Then you’d find the illegal immigrants heading back to Mexico, because the good American citizens who live on welfare would take those jobs back, because a hungry belly can be a powerfully motivating force.

    Thank god, whoever he/she may be, that you are not the Tsar, Mr Editor. By your statements, you have obviously lost track of what the United States of America really is, or really is supposed to be.

    As I see it, your revolutionary policy suggestions above would balkanize our United States, thus being a motivation for violence and crime much worse than now exists. Moreover, we would have the richer and stronger states become much more rich and strong, and the poorer states would become much poorer and weaker. Also, we would find the richer and stronger states invoking immigration quotas, perhaps even building walls, or having borders protected by armed militia.

    How could this resultant disunion of our union possibly be desirable?

  23. DNW:

    Since the principles of indifferent effect and equality under the law have long been overthrown, and the targeting of particular classes of persons has become justifiable, I would like to suggest that for the good of the collective that the Congress pass a law confiscating all the wealth, every last bit of it, including real property, of all billionaires who are also named Warren Buffett, and distribute it to the poor.

    The need is great, the time is short. The principle is available. Take it all from him.

    Haven’t you noticed, DNW, that “the targeting of particular classes of persons has become justifiable” for a long time in America, that being the wealthy class, considering their subsidies and favorable tax policies? The evidence is the continuously increasing concentration of wealth at the very top of the pyramid.

    And regarding Mr Buffett, he has said that his will passes almost all of his wealth to charitable organizations. So your cynicism about him is unfounded.

  24. Eric:

    You quoted a guy who wants to see Grover Norquist DEAD over a tax pledge, and you call ME irrational???

    Yes I still do: Irrational and out-of-control. Reread what you wrote, Eric.

    Simpson’s comment was a metaphor, nothing at all literally serious. I believe you knew that. Your problem is that you are suffering from post traumatic election syndrome. Hopefully you’ll recover soon.

  25. Eric, you are clearly out of control and irrational!

    No, Perry, what I am is passionate. I’m sick of the lies and the bullshit and the arrogance of people in power who will do anything to get more power. I’m sick of ideologues like Obama, Pelosi, and Reid with their “My way or the highway” approach to governing. They’ve given us four years of economic ruin, high unemployment, and exploding deficits. If they had any shame, they would all resign in disgrace and let someone competent take over.

  26. Koolo, the House Republican committee chairmen are all just that, male and white, typical in general of your Party, as per the election choices made by Republican voters. This is hardly representative of our country, which is your Party’s major challenge for the future. And btw, voter suppression is also hardly the way to go to obtain a government representative of our country. Or do you not want that?

    Irrelevant. Again what ethnic group has an established race-based congressional caucus? Thank you.

    Voter suppression? Do you dream about that term? Just b/c you use it every single possible second still doesn’t make it true. It just makes you insanely obsessed, is all.

    President Obama is hardly a dictator, as he has been willing to deal throughout his time in the WH. It is your Party which has not, and it is an open question whether they will change, although there are some encouraging hints of defection from the Norquist Pledge.

    Oh, you mean like Scott Walker “wasn’t” a dictator? You just HATE it when we use your inane tactics against you, don’tcha? Obama has been willing to deal? Sorry — talk is cheap. It’s time for actual actions now. Maybe Dictator Obama can mature and finally become an adult in the White House instead of the useless child he has been.

  27. President Obama is hardly a dictator, as he has been willing to deal throughout his time in the WH.

    What a crock! Obama had his chance to “Deal” after the 2010 elections, when he got his head handed to him by the Tea Party Republicans. That was the time to be reasonable, to accept the verdict of the public and change course as Clinton did after his 1994 shellacking. But Obama is no Clinton. He is an ideologue and an arrogant one at that. I’ve seen no sign of serious compromise from him at all. We all know we need entitlement reform, and one Party, ours, actually dared to talk about it, Paul Ryan especially. But Obama never mentioned entitlement reform in his campaign. He just wants to kick the can down the road. Entitlement reform is risky and will involve some unpopular choices. It will take men of principle to tackle the problem. But you Democrats just want to play politics, use it as a way to blame the other side, and get more of what you really want – power.

  28. And regarding Mr Buffett, he has said that his will passes almost all of his wealth to charitable organizations. So your cynicism about him is unfounded.

    Mr. Buffet could cut that check right now if he meant it, not after he’s dead when it won’t matter. Furthermore, he could cut a nice big check to the Treasury if he thinks his taxes aren’t high enough. Put your money where your mouth is, Warren, and cut with the political grandstanding.

    This “Tax the Rich” stuff is a crock. What it really is is a tax on people trying to become rich. If you’re a fat, greedy pig like John Kerry or the late Ted Kennedy (neither of whom earned their own fortunes) it doesn’t matter what your income tax is because you’re already sitting on a pile of wealth. It’s the guy like Joe the Plumber who wants to build a business and succeed who really gets screwed.

  29. Anyone who thinks the GOP can cut a deal with Democrats has failed to learn from recent history.

    Obama just offered the same bait-n-switch trick Democrats pulled on Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush: tax rate increases now in exchange for the promise of future spending cuts.

    Tax rates go up immediately, but the spending cuts just never happen and when pressed on upholding their end of the bargain Democrats delay, then they deny, then they offer modest reductions in the rate of increased spending, and eventually they claim actual cuts in spending were never part of the original deal anyway.

    They’ve gotten away with it twice now and Obama obviously thinks the GOP’s current crop of weak sisters is ripe to roll over again.

    Never let a fiscal cliff go to waste.

  30. If we cut the deficit “a lot”, in one fell scoop, we will then make the same mistakes the Brits have made, throwing their country into recession, causing more job losses, and putting their GDP into the negative.

    What you neglect to note, Perry, is the Brits HAD NO CHOICE. It was either that, or become Greece. We’re not quite there yet, but four more years of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid and we will be. Four more years of trillion dollar deficits and out of control spending, and the next president may well have to do what the Brits did. And if he fails to act, and the deficits and spending continue, then the president after THAT will then have to do what the Greeks are doing.

    Is that the future you want?

  31. Wagonwheel says:

    November 29, 2012 at 12:47

    DNW:

    Since the principles of indifferent effect and equality under the law have long been overthrown, and the targeting of particular classes of persons has become justifiable, I would like to suggest that for the good of the collective that the Congress pass a law confiscating all the wealth, every last bit of it, including real property, of all billionaires who are also named Warren Buffett, and distribute it to the poor.
    The need is great, the time is short. The principle is available. Take it all from him.

    Haven’t you noticed, DNW, that “the targeting of particular classes of persons has become justifiable” for a long time in America, that being the wealthy class, considering their subsidies and favorable tax policies? The evidence is the continuously increasing concentration of wealth at the very top of the pyramid.

    And regarding Mr Buffett, he has said that his will passes almost all of his wealth to charitable organizations. So your cynicism about him is unfounded.

    I don’t know what you imagine you are talking about. Buffet has, others want, there is no principle of law surviving ensuring him equality before the law if he can be defined as a member of s target class, so just take what he has, and toss his fat carcass to the coyotes.

    Why should the poor have to wait for the spoils of his estate?

  32. Obama wrecked the economy and sent the debt exploding, let him get the blame when it all falls apart.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/11/29/166148355/third-quarter-economic-growth-revised-upward (29 Nov 2012)

    —–
    The U.S. economy grew at a 2.7 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis says. That’s a sharp upward revision in its estimate of gross domestic product growth from mid-summer into the fall. In its first look at the quarter’s GDP, the agency estimated growth at a 2 percent annual rate.

    According to BEA, consumer spending, inventory investment, exports and federal spending all contributed to growth from July 1 through Sept. 30.

    In the second quarter, GDP expanded at a 1.3 percent annual rate.

    Also this morning:

    There were 393,000 first-time claims for jobless benefits last week, down by 23,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration reports.

    The decline brings claims back into the 350,000-to-400,000 pace they had been running at before Superstorm Sandy pummeled the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast in late October.

    Wednesday, there was more modestly good economic news — about the housing market.
    —–

    Those graphs on Obama’s economic performance over his first term again – http://www.businessinsider.com/charts-that-should-get-obama-reelected-2012-10?op=1

    So how’s that reality thing working out for you, Eric? Made a million from your book yet?

  33. WW wrote:

    Koolo, the House Republican committee chairmen are all just that, male and white, typical in general of your Party, as per the election choices made by Republican voters. This is hardly representative of our country, which is your Party’s major challenge for the future. And btw, voter suppression is also hardly the way to go to obtain a government representative of our country. Or do you not want that?

    Given that every Republican committee chairman is in the House of Representatives because he won an election, I’d say that they are, by definition, the representatives chosen by the electorate.

    Of course, if you are referring to the fact that not all of the country is white, then I’d tell you that the President you supported is not at all representative of our country, given that the vast majority of the population is white. He isn’t President because he’s somehow representative of the country; he’s President because he won an election.

  34. An editorial note: two comments by the Phoenician went into moderation; I released one, and trashed the other, because the second was a virtual duplicate of the first. DNW had a duplicated comment; one has been deleted.

  35. WW wrote:

    Since both sides agree that taxes for the 98% should stay at the Bush levels, let us make that into law right away. This is hardly class warfare, it is pragmatism, based on demand side economic policy, as has been demonstrated over time. Pragmatism is a quality we need more of in our politics, in my view, which brings me to tax increases on the 2%. Since they have been favored by tax loopholes, the types which enable the Mitt Romney types to get by paying only 18%, now is the time for them to give back. You can label it “class warfare”, I would label it class fairness, based on the truth of the matter.

    No, both sides don not agree “that taxes for the 98% should stay at the Bush levels,” because you are making a false assumption. Your assumption is that, since the Republicans believe that tax rates for everybody should remain at the 2001/2003 levels, that they are somehow separating out the 98% and 2%. I agree that taxes should remain lower rather than higher, but that if we are going to raise taxes, they should be raised on everybody, not just some people.

    If taxes have to be raised, for the good of the country, then everybody should have to sacrifice for the good of the country.

    As for tax loopholes, probably the biggest one is the mortgage interest deduction, which is clearly aimed at the middle class; the deduction is limited when your income exceeds a certain level. We have tax credits for having children under 17 living at home, we have tax credits for paying college tuition, we have tax credits for all sorts of things.

    This is where we have the huge problem of unfairness in the tax code: we have too many credits and deductions and write-offs and what not to either encourage or discourage particular types of economic activity. The mortgage interest deduction — from which I personally benefit — is designed to encourage people to buy homes, but the flip side is that it discriminates against renters; someone making exactly what I make, with the same family size, but who rents, will pay more in taxes than I do.

    You rail against the loopholes for the top producers, but those loopholes were put there to encourage economic investment: the lower capital gains tax rate is to encourage people to invest in equities. The lower tax rate on dividends exists for the same reason, though part of that is also to make up for the double taxation on dividends: corporations cannot deduct dividend distributions as an expense, and thus the amount distributed as dividends is taxed as corporate profit, and the individuals who receive the dividends are also taxed on them as income. They should be taxed, once, on the individual, in my view. (I can see an argument that they should be taxed once, at the corporate level, and then be tax free to the individual, which would encourage people to invest in dividend-yielding equities, but I’d rather that the government just get out of the business ot trying to encourage or discourage particular forms of economic activity altogether.)

    The best thing we could do is to have one, single percentage tax rate, on all income, in whatever form, above a particular threshold, with no deductions, no tax credits, just a simple system. That would mean that the more people earn, the more they would pay in taxes, but it would be a steady and fair progression.

    (What I would really like to see is a system in which everybody was liable for the same dollar amount in taxes, period, regardless of their income, but I can’t see that ever happening.)

  36. WW wrote:

    On the other hand, the House Republicans are required by law to fund the entitlements, unless Congress modifies them, which is why the entitlements must be on the table for spending cuts. And the President agrees to have them on the table. You don’t seem to have comprehended this yet.

    WW, President Obama ran for re-election specifically promising to protect entitlements from the ravages of the evil Republicans; do you believe that he was lying about that?

    Entitlements should be “on the table,” but, regardless of what President Obama or the Democrats say, they really are not. When you can show me an specific proposal from the Democrats to cut an entitlement, I will note that you were correct . . . assuming, of course, that I don’t die of a heart attack from the shock.

    The simple fact is that the President and the Democrats came up with a huge expansion of entitlements, with the health care act. Everybody will be required to buy health insurance, but if you can’t afford it, the government will subsidize or completely pay for your health insurance. Where people used to be, in the end, responsible for their own health care, the federal government has now assumed that responsibility, a huge entitlement increase.

    And just what entitlements do you believe that the Democrats would be willing to cut? Every entitlement we have is designed to help people with something or other that they cannot afford themselves, or is the benefit for a program into which they were required to pay in exchange for future benefits. Cut an entitlement, and, why, you are hurting the poor, don’t you know?

  37. WW wrote:

    You quoted a guy who wants to see Grover Norquist DEAD over a tax pledge, and you call ME irrational???

    Yes I still do: Irrational and out-of-control. Reread what you wrote, Eric.

    Simpson’s comment was a metaphor, nothing at all literally serious. I believe you knew that. Your problem is that you are suffering from post traumatic election syndrome. Hopefully you’ll recover soon.

    The recovery from post traumatic election syndrome will not occur until 2017, when we are finally rid of this buffoon.

    And I somewhat doubt that had one of us said that we’d like to see Barack Hussein Obama assassinated that you would be willing to take it as a metaphor.

  38. Alan Simpson was never, I repeat, never a Conservative. He was always part of the problem. Over 70 percent of the Republican voters nationwide and over half of independent voters nationwide do now and have for years declared the Republican officials to the Left of and out of touch with their voters. And people like Alan Simpson, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Lindsey Grahamnesty are perfect examples of what those voters are talking about.

  39. Uh-huh. So you claim.

    But you were also the person claiming that the US had captured mobile WMD labs in Iraq, and that Romney would win by at least 300 EVs.

  40. As I said:

    Obama’s Cliff Offer Spurned

    By JANET HOOK, DAMIAN PALETTA and CAROL E. LEE

    President Barack Obama made an opening bid in budget talks with Republicans that calls for a $1.6 trillion tax increase, $50 billion in infrastructure spending in 2013 and new power to raise the federal debt limit, a provocative set of demands that Republicans said represented a step backward in efforts to avoid looming tax increases and spending cuts.

    The proposal marked an opening salvo in negotiations over the fiscal cliff and represented a particularly expansive version of the White House’s wish list, with a heavy focus on tax increases and spending proposals—including keeping in place a payroll-tax cut and extended unemployment benefits.

    Republicans haven’t put any comparable offer on the table. They have indicated willingness to accept $800 billion in revenues over 10 years, half the amount Mr. Obama proposed. And they have sought far more in spending cuts in exchange for their concessions on taxes.

    “No substantive progress has been made in the talks between the White House and the House over the last two weeks,” House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said after meeting with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Thursday and speaking to Mr. Obama by phone Wednesday night. “The White House has to get serious.”

    The talks, which have weeks to go, will likely result in many twists and turns, with the White House offer a potential starting point for negotiations. It already has signaled it isn’t wedded to raising the top income-tax rates all the way back to peak Clinton-era levels. Both sides have a good sense of what concessions they are willing to offer, but neither wants to go first for fear of losing leverage.

    More at the link. But, while the pundits are saying that this is just the Democrats’ opening bid, your Editor wonders if that’s actually the case. The Democrats are arguing for increased spending, not just smaller cuts.

  41. ” The Democrats are arguing for increased spending, not just smaller cuts.”

    That’s because it works, Mr. Editor! The Republicans, if we ever want to win dog catcher again, or unless we want a one party system, just have to raise the ante. We need to favor “The Obama Tax Hikes”. We need to raise taxes “on the rich” ( over 200k a year income ) to at least 50%. Then we can come back later and redefine the rich to those earning over 100k and increase the tax level to 90%. We need to raise the debt limit to 20 trillion with an “option ” for 5 trillion more. We need to propose a federal plan to pay 100% of college tuition and to give free contaception and abortion to all students. We need to eliminate the minimum wage and replace it with a Living Wage of at least 20-25 dollars. We need to get seniors on board with huge increases in SS and free Medicare. In fairness eveyone in America should be able to vote, citizen or not, as many times as he wishes. It’s a free country and our boarders should reflect that by being open and free.

    We would have been better served by offering a $1000 bounty for every person who voted Republican in the last election than we were by spending all that cash on ads. We should have handed out Free iPads at the polls and laid out huge free luncheons for our voters ( with free take home doggy bags ). We could have won if we just gave out $20 gas voutchers at the polls.

    You guys need to internalize that We Are All Socialists Now and get with it. As Bush said, and DID: “We have to destroy capitalism to save it”. Well, we might not actually save it but it will be a hoot to watch the Democrats be out-socialized by the Republicans.

    If the above seems “radical” then you must be one of those aristocratic Democrats who have no compassion for the common man. One of those Democrats who just throws scraps to “the people” while we truly compassionate Republicans actually want to improve the lot of the poor. Our new motto should be: Democrats throw you scraps, Republicans give you CASH.

    Don’t forget, it’s time for the Repubs to start protesting for Black Reparations ( at least $40k $50k for every black American ). It’s way past time for the government to pay for sex-change operations as a matter of human dignity!

    We have to beat them at their own game, guys. We have to show them we care more, have more compassion and love the children more. Then as I sit at my house in Bermuda sipping down a Mojito I too can claim to be a patriot and not a greedy Republican because I too gave away other people’s money, and more of it! All in the name of fairness.

  42. Hoagie, WW will write be by soon, to tell us that we shouldn’t view your comment as sarcasm, but as something which should be taken as a serious policy proposal.

  43. You guys need to internalize that We Are All Socia1ists Now and get with it.

    Uh-huh.

    —-
    Complaints Aside, Most Face Lower Tax Burden Than in 1980

    [...]
    But in fact, most Americans in 2010 paid far less in total taxes — federal, state and local — than they would have paid 30 years ago. According to an analysis by The New York Times, the combination of all income taxes, sales taxes and property taxes took a smaller share of their income than it took from households with the same inflation-adjusted income in 1980.

    Households earning more than $200,000 benefited from the largest percentage declines in total taxation as a share of income. Middle-income households benefited, too. More than 85 percent of households with earnings above $25,000 paid less in total taxes than comparable households in 1980.

    Lower-income households, however, saved little or nothing. Many pay no federal income taxes, but they do pay a range of other levies, like federal payroll taxes, state sales taxes and local property taxes. Only about half of taxpaying households with incomes below $25,000 paid less in 2010.
    —-

    Your inability to deal with reality continues

  44. If we pay lower taxes than in the past — and it’s clear that a lot of people do, since 47% of Americans pay no federal income tax at all — it is because politicians have campaigned on lowering tax rates, and the pubic have voted for those candidates.

    There was one notable exception, former Vice President Walter Mondale, the 1984 Democratic presidential nominee, who campaigned on raising taxes; he carried one state, and the District of Columbia.

    The problem isn’t that we are undertaxed; we have the tax rates for which we voted. The problem is that we spend too much. If it is a choice between lower taxes, and lower spending — even if that means that people who won’t work go hungry — and higher taxes and higher spending, I’m certain that I don’t have to tell you which option I would choose. However, just to put it on the record, yes, I would choose the first option, every time.

  45. even if that means that people who won’t work go hungry

    Problem is, you could get rid of welfare completely and it still won’t balance the budget. Not even close. You could even get rid of Defense and still not do it. Obama has driven the deficits up so high and for so long that the problem has become systemic. It has become, as I posted here in an article recently, The New Normal. At this point, we’ve become like a two bottle a day alcoholic. You can tell him to cut back to one bottle a day, but you still haven’t solved the problem, only lessened it by a marginal amount.

    Everyone knows what the problem is – the big entitlements, that huge and ever growing chunk of government spending that is essentially on autopilot because those benefits are fixed and mandated by law. You just can’t cut them like you can discretionary spending. And no one wants to touch them, at least not right now, because it is politically toxic. The Republicans don’t want to get blamed for throwing Granny off the cliff and the Dems won’t change them because entitlements are their bread and butter. The problem will just get kicked down the road the next four years, Obama will fiddle while Rome burns, and some poor chump in the future (probably a Republican) will end up having to tackle the problem when it has become much worse.

  46. Obama has driven the deficits up so high and for so long that the problem has become systemic.

    You need to be reminded, Eric, that Bush-43 almost doubled the debt in his two terms, while President Obama, in his one term to date, increased the debt by half again. Republicans too quickly forget this fact.

    Everyone knows what the problem is – the big entitlements, that huge and ever growing chunk of government spending that is essentially on autopilot because those benefits are fixed and mandated by law.

    These so-called entitlements really are not; they are earned benefits. I paid for my social security my entire working life, about sixty years total, and am still paying to this day. Medicare: I’ve paid the premiums since 1965, and still pay. So again, both are earned benefits. They are a form of insurance.

    Obama will fiddle while Rome burns, and some poor chump in the future (probably a Republican) will end up having to tackle the problem when it has become much worse.

    Tackle the problem? Yeah, that is exactly what President Obama had to do after the mess which the Bush Administration left for him, and he has done a reasonably job despite the refusal of Republicans to cooperate; instate Republicans obfuscated, which is certainly one reason your party just got trounced. Your party had better make some changes between now and 2016, otherwise you will set yourself up for a repeat performance. So far, I don’t see any significant change occurring yet with regard to your Party’s behavior, as we now face the “fiscal cliff”.

  47. Correction:

    Tackle the problem? Yeah, that is exactly what President Obama had to do after the mess which the Bush Administration left for him, and he has done a reasonably [good] job despite the refusal of Republicans to cooperate; instate instead, Republicans obfuscated, which is certainly one reason your party just got trounced.

  48. You need to be reminded, Eric, that Bush-43 almost doubled the debt in his two terms, while President Obama, in his one term to date, increased the debt by half again. Republicans too quickly forget this fact.

    Bush never ran up four trillion dollar deficits in a row, in fact, he never even came close. Nobody has run up deficits like Obama. He is the King of deficits, and his spending will drive this country to ruin. Only you don’t care, our children and grandchildren will have to pay the debt, and you will be long gone when the bill comes due.

  49. I paid for my social security my entire working life, about sixty years total, and am still paying to this day.

    Too bad. That money belongs to the government, not you. That was the “deal” you made when you voted for Social Security. The government decides what benefits you get, and when. And quit being so selfish. You are stealing from the next generation to get your so-called “Benefits”. Give something back in return. Raise the retirement age to 80 so selfish old geezers like yourself would quit driving this country into bankruptcy. Would you be willing to give up your Social Security (which you really don’t need, since you have a retirement plan from your work) for the good of the country? Do you care about the country, Perry, or only about yourself?

  50. Everyone knows what the problem is – the big entitlements, that huge and ever growing chunk of government spending that is essentially on autopilot because those benefits are fixed and mandated by law.

    Uh-huh.

    http://modernmoney.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/deficit-spending-101-%E2%80%93%C2%A0part%C2%A01/

    —-
    While typically obfuscated in standard textbook treatments, at the heart of national income accounting is an identity – the government deficit (surplus) equals the non-government surplus (deficit). Given effective demand is always equal to actual national income, ex post (meaning that all leakages from the national income flow is matched by equivalent injections), the following sectoral flows accounting identity holds

    (G-T) = (S-I) – NX

    where the left-hand side depicts the public balance as the difference between government spending G and government taxation T. The right-hand side shows the non-government balance, which is the sum of the private and foreign balances where S is saving, I is investment and NX is net exports. With a consolidated private sector including the foreign sector, total private savings has to equal private investment plus the government budget deficit.

    In aggregate, there can be no net savings of financial assets of the non-government sector without cumulative government deficit spending. In a closed economy, NX = 0 and government deficits translate dollar-for-dollar into private domestic surpluses (savings). In an open economy, if we disaggregate the non-government sector into the private and foreign sectors, then total private savings is equal to private investment, the government budget deficit, and net exports, as net exports represent the net financial asset savings of non-residents.
    —-

    That’s the theory based on a simple accounting identity. It can be shown to apply in the real world by the graphs here.

    But you can’t deal with reality.

    The private sector needs to pay down debt in order to get back into greater consumption. Until it does so, a demand-driven slow-down will continue. But net private financial assets cannot increase unless the government runs a deficit.

    If the government tries to run a surplus – austerity – it will reduce net private financial assets. And that reduction will reduce demand in the real economy, slowing or destroying economic growth. And this has been shown in the real world with the example of the UK.

    But you can’t deal with the real world.

  51. Tackle the problem? Yeah, that is exactly what President Obama had to do after the mess which the Bush Administration left for him, and he has done a reasonably job despite the refusal of Republicans to cooperate

    Obama had his chance to cooperate after the 2010 elections, when the country sent him a clear lesson that his policies sucked and that high unemployment and high deficits were no longer acceptable. Clinton learned his lesson after 1994 and worked with the Republicans to bring positive change like welfare reform and a balanced budget. And the country benefitted with years of economic growth that both parties could take credit for. But Obama is a selfish pig. He doesn’t want to share any of the credit with anybody. He doesn’t care if the country goes to hell just as long as he gets to blame the Republicans.

  52. Bush never ran up four trillion dollar deficits in a row, in fact, he never even came close. Nobody has run up deficits like Obama. He is the King of deficits, and his spending will drive this country to ruin. Only you don’t care, our children and grandchildren will have to pay the debt, and you will be long gone when the bill comes due.

    You people conveniently ignore that Bush inherited a surplus in 2001, President Obama inherited a Great Recession. Even with this in mind, again, Bush nearly doubled the debt, President Obama so far has increased it by only half again more. Context matters! You look the fool for ignoring the facts, Eric.

    Obama had his chance to cooperate after the 2010 elections, when the country sent him a clear lesson that his policies sucked and that high unemployment and high deficits were no longer acceptable. Clinton learned his lesson after 1994 and worked with the Republicans to bring positive change like welfare reform and a balanced budget. And the country benefitted with years of economic growth that both parties could take credit for. But Obama is a selfish pig. He doesn’t want to share any of the credit with anybody. He doesn’t care if the country goes to hell just as long as he gets to blame the Republicans.

    Continuing to be foolish, eh Eric? Republicans refused to work with President Obama and the Dems for the entire Obama first term, didn’t you notice that? The American voter noticed, and justly rewarded President Obama and the Dems, as you continue to tell outright lies which helped you folks lose the election. Will you never learn and reform?

    Now President Obama can deal from a position of strength, on behalf of the 98%, including the 47%, which drives you Repubs nuts in your zeal to protect the 2% from increases in taxes.

    Congress created the fiscal cliff. If we go over it, it will be because your party has not negotiated a deal which includes raising taxes on the 2%, a $1.6T deficit reduction, and continuing the Bush tax cuts on the 98%. The President’s offer also includes a $400B spending cut, in addition to the $1T cut already in place, and a modest $80B stimulus. Where is the Repub counter=proposal to prevent going over the cliff and cut the deficit? You people make no sense whatsoever; you are not in the game!

    And note well, the job creators are moved to create jobs in response to consumer demand, in other words by the Keynsian demand-side approach, not the other way around, as FDR (1933-1937)and post WWII history has very well demonstrated.

  53. Shorter Perry: The GOP is to blame for everything bad, Democrats get credit for everything good. It all such bullsh**, as usual.

    You people conveniently ignore that Bush inherited a surplus in 2001, President Obama inherited a Great Recession. Even with this in mind, again, Bush nearly doubled the debt, President Obama so far has increased it by only half again more. Context matters! You look the fool for ignoring the facts, Eric.

    You people conveniently ignore 9/11/2001 and the effect that had on many aspects of the economy. Oh, and Obama added more to the debt in 4 yrs. than Bush did in 8. You look the fool for ignoring the facts, Perry.

    And now the cognitive dissonance really hits:

    Congress created the fiscal cliff. If we go over it, it will be because your party has not negotiated a deal which includes raising taxes on the 2%, a $1.6T deficit reduction, and continuing the Bush tax cuts on the 98%. The President’s offer also includes a $400B spending cut, in addition to the $1T cut already in place, and a modest $80B stimulus. Where is the Repub counter=proposal to prevent going over the cliff and cut the deficit? You people make no sense whatsoever; you are not in the game!

    The GOP has agreed to revenue increases. So please explain to us all how $1.6 trillion in new taxes “equates” to $400 billion in spending cuts (which are over 10 years, too), not to mention the “stimulus.” The fact is that Dictator Obama is in NO WAY serious about reducing the debt/deficit. He just wants more revenue to spend. And spend. And spend more. Remember Dictator Obama’s own words: The massive debt is “unpatriotic.” It seems we just re-elected an anti-American dolt to the office, then.

  54. WW wrote:

    Obama has driven the deficits up so high and for so long that the problem has become systemic.

    You need to be reminded, Eric, that Bush-43 almost doubled the debt in his two terms, while President Obama, in his one term to date, increased the debt by half again. Republicans too quickly forget this fact.

    And you need to be reminded that you are attempting to obscure the issue by using different baselines. It is true that the nation debt was increased far too much during President Bush’s two terms, from $5,727,776,738,304.64 to $10,626,877,048,913.08, an increase of 85.53%. That’s not doubling, but it certainly was far, far too much. (Methodology: dividing the debt total on January 20, 2009 by the debt total on January 19, 2001, which yields 1.8553. The debt for January 20, 2001 is not calculated, because that was a Saturday.)

    It is also true that the national debt has risen 53.60% between January 20, 2009 and November 29, 2012, the last day for which the information has been calculated, $16,323,083,449,604.98; that is somewhat more than “half again,” though close enough not to quibble about the claim.

    The national debt was increased by $4,899.101 billion under President Bush, and $5,696.206 under President Obama; the national debt has increased by 14.84% more in 3 years, 10 months and nine days (1,409 days) under President Obama than in 8 years (2,922 days) under President Bush. Or, the national debt increased by an average of $4,042.730 billion every day of the Obama Administration, as opposed to $1,676.626 billion per day under President Bush.

    Using the averages accrued under President Obama, the national debt should be approximately $16,533.305 billion, an increase of 55.58%, when he begins his second term. If the debt accrues during his second term at the same rate as during his first, he will have built up $11,812.857 billion in debt, for a total national debt of $22,439.734 billion, an increase of 111.160%, significantly more than doubling, and far, far greater than the too great increase of 85.53% under President Bush.

    You will, of course, whine complain that President Obama can’t be held responsible for the deficits and debt early during his presidency, due to the evil Boooosh policies, so why don’t we look at just the last ten months. The national debt was $14,056,313,474,932.58 on January 20, 2011, as the President was starting the final year of his first term; he had had three whole years at that point to undo the evil Boooosh policies. Since that date, the national debt has increased by $2,266.770 billion, in 314 days. Since the beginning of his fourth year in office, the national debt has accrued at an average of $7,219.013 per day, a higher rate than during his entire term to date. If the national debt is increased for the remainder of his terms at the same rate he accrued in his last year in office, then the national debt will stand at approximately $16,698.472 billion on January 20, 2013 (an increase of 57.13% over four years) and $27,245.450 billion, or 156.38% by the time that idiot finally leaves office.

    You said:

    Context matters! You look the fool for ignoring the facts, Eric.

    Well, WW, I have just given you the facts, and the context. Eric was right all along.

  55. Koolo wrote:

    Congress created the fiscal cliff. If we go over it, it will be because your party has not negotiated a deal which includes raising taxes on the 2%, a $1.6T deficit reduction, and continuing the Bush tax cuts on the 98%. The President’s offer also includes a $400B spending cut, in addition to the $1T cut already in place, and a modest $80B stimulus. Where is the Repub counter=proposal to prevent going over the cliff and cut the deficit? You people make no sense whatsoever; you are not in the game!

    The GOP has agreed to revenue increases. So please explain to us all how $1.6 trillion in new taxes “equates” to $400 billion in spending cuts (which are over 10 years, too), not to mention the “stimulus.” The fact is that Dictator Obama is in NO WAY serious about reducing the debt/deficit. He just wants more revenue to spend. And spend. And spend more. Remember Dictator Obama’s own words: The massive debt is “unpatriotic.” It seems we just re-elected an anti-American dolt to the office, then.

    President Obama signed the “fiscal cliff” legislation into law, which makes him just as responsible as the Congress for it.

    From Doug Ross, via Karen, comes the President’s dramatic proposal, in graphic form:

    The President is simply not serious about deficit reduction. He has proposed increasing taxes on the most productive Americans, but that’s just more Democratic class warfare, and not any real attempt to reduce the deficit. What he will not do is propose serious spending reductions; all he has done is promise some vague spending cuts, far off into the future, which are not serious proposals. What they really amount to is seeing if the Republicans can be hoodwinked yet again in agreeing to tax increases immediately in exchange for promises of spending cuts in the future. Hey, it worked on President Reagan and on the elder President Bush, so why not try again?

  56. Note also, from the chart and site referenced by Koolo, that while total receipts have been rising since 2010, so have total outlays. Further, total spending leveled off between 2006 and 2007; it was after the Democrats took control of the Congress that spending started a steep rise.

  57. Perry, your entire post didn’t address a thing I said. Further, you accused me of lying without providing a shred of proof. As usual, all you want to do is play “The Blame Game” None of the past four years is, for you, any of Obama’s fault or even responsibility. I pointed out that Obama could have pulled a Clinton after the 2010 shellacking he took and made real compromises for the good of the country. Response from you? Silence. I point out that your side seems far more interested in blaming the Republicans than fixing our problems. Response from you? Blame the Republicans. Nobody on your side is serious about solving our problems, they just want to play political games. Obama apparently doesn’t realize that his “Mandate” is pretty small, his victory this time was a lot closer than the first time, meaning the voters as a whole like him less now than then. And he forgets that the Republicans have their mandate, too. They still have the House, and most of those Tea Party guy who were elected in 2010 specifically to balance the budget and cut spending are still there. There’s no reason they should roll over just because Obama says so.

  58. Even The New York Times described the President’s “proposal” like this:

    House Republicans said on Thursday that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner presented the House speaker, John A. Boehner, a detailed proposal to avert the year-end fiscal crisis with $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years, an immediate new round of stimulus spending, home mortgage refinancing and a permanent end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits.

    The proposal, loaded with Democratic priorities and short on detailed spending cuts, was likely to meet strong Republican resistance. In exchange for locking in the $1.6 trillion in added revenues, President Obama embraced $400 billion in savings from Medicare and other entitlements, to be worked out next year, with no guarantees.

    Emphasis mine.

    Of course, what a “guarantee” might be is nothing: no one can guarantee that the Democrats would agree to $400 billion in savings from Medicare and other entitlements. Once he got what he wanted on taxes, he’d simply break his promise; that’s the Democrat way, and that’s the Democrats’ history.

  59. In FY2000, the last year under the old tax rates, the federal government saw receipts totaling 19.2% of GDP. Returning to those rates via the fiscal cliff might yield a slightly different number, but it would probably be close. The budget showed a surplus, because total federal outlays were 18.2% of GDP.

    However, in FY 2012 we spent 23.3% of GDP, and even with all of the (supposed) spending cuts that are supposed to occur, total federal outlays will remain well above 20%.

  60. Mr. Editor, that was not sarcasm, it was political strategy. Failure to realize We Are All Socialists Now can only lead to a one party system wherein any other point of view will be considered treason. In order to have a voice, any voice at all, we need to understand resistance is futile. You’ve seen and read the comments and vitriol of the left before, during and after this last campaign. They have no desire to negotiate. They accept total victory ONLY. We Are The Enemy! Many leftists that I talk to would be just as happy to see guys like us in a concentration camp. Or worse. They Are The Ones They’ve Been Waiting For! So I say: Give’m what they want!

    I fought a war when I was a kid. I fought my entire adult life in business to survive and to thrive. I’m too old to keep fighting against a people who do not respect the value of others. I’m too old to fight against those who carve out 2%, 10%, blacks, Hispanics, gays etc., etc.. I’ve reached the point where I no longer give a crap. Let them wallow in their own shit and leave me alone. Even if that means leaving my beloved country. There are too many of them to defeat. Too many takers and not enough makers. BTW, I’m not alone. There is an entire subculture of small businessmen and professionals who are looking to move to freer pastures.

    If I wanted to be “the masses” I would never had gone into business. I wanted to carve out my own lot in life, not take the crumbs tossed to me by politicians. I wanted to stand on my own and not fret about some 2% or 20% who do better than I and try to scheme ways to take their wealth. I’ll do it myself. I don’t need government direction nor government largess. I don’t want my neighbor’s wife, nor his ass. But now it seems the majority of Americans do not agree with me. So be it!

    I am taking DNW’s view…..screw’em. I can walk out my front door, fly to Bermuda and bank out of Switzerland for the rest of my life. I don’t need to battle the small minds who think only of what they can get from someone elses labor. And that is exactly my plan. The United States should rename itself “Animal Farm”. I am not an animal. And I refuse to run my life by the regulations, dictates and desires of others. I want only Freedom. Yes, Freedom, the one word which strikes fear in the hearts of socialists. So I can stay here and live my life out under the dictates of clowns like Pelosi, Obama and their followers like Wagonwheel, or I can ex-pat and live free. I choose the latter.

    For some crazy reason it has become the worse thing in the world to be a white, male, heterosexual Christian. Well, I’m all of those and I have no need to be ridiculed and demeaned by every asshole on earth because of it. I have spent my life first in service to my country then in service to my family and employees. I’m generous and help many people. My reward is to be spit on ( not only after Vietnam ) by the very nation I helped build. So now, I QUIT! Guys on the left like Wagonwheel seem to think that because I’ve earned a modicum of success I am a 2%’er and do not deserve the same treatment under the law they Require for others. Somehow, success makes me subhuman. A target to be aimed at when they desire a new “right” to be funded by me and others like me. There has never been a time in my life when a person was in need that I didn’t help if I could. And I don’t expect to be hugged and kissed for it. But I do expect respect for it. I get neither.

    So, I QUIT. The tree-huggers, pro abortion, pro gay, climate loons, socialists and athiests win. I’m done. Perhaps some day people can invent a society wherein 2% of the population cannot be targeted but rather be protected by something like a constitution. Or perhaps treating all citizens alike is just a pipe dream.

    FORWARD!

  61. “Many leftists that I talk to would be just as happy to see guys like us in a concentration camp. Or worse.”

    I’ll give an anecdotal example of that statement. On Black Friday I went to the Club for a cocktail. An old friend, Bobby, came in from Syracuse, NY to visit his family in Bryn Athyn. Bobby is a Korean adopted by the wealthy Pitcarin family when he was two. Bobby is in the olive oil import business and he always brings me bottles of fantastic extra virgin olive oil when he’s in town. In return I always stop by the Korean market and get him a case of persimmons and a case of Korean pears. It’s our thing.

    Well, while he was at the bar he overheard a guy named David and I talking politics. He was not in the conversation but felt the over powering need to interject his opinion. David and I are conservatives, Bobby is a very left liberal. After two minutes of Bobby screaming his head off to the extent that everyone at the bar just staired at him in shock, he told David and I that we should be killed for the good of the nation. I shit you not. An old friend was so insensed by an opposite political position at that very point had he had a gun he would have shot us. He threw his Heineken bottle at the beer box and stomped away and reaching the door turned and said: “That’s the last time I come to the Club and I hope you’re all dead by Christmas”. Nice, heh?

    That’s the mind set of the leftist true believer. How does one negotiate with “nuts”?

  62. Eric:
    But Obama is a selfish pig. He doesn’t want to share any of the credit with anybody. He doesn’t care if the country goes to hell just as long as he gets to blame the Republicans.

    Yup, BO loves his Victory Laps, but he’s soooooooooooo narcissistic, he could never take the blame.

  63. You people conveniently ignore 9/11/2001 and the effect that had on many aspects of the economy. Oh, and Obama added more to the debt in 4 yrs. than Bush did in 8. You look the fool for ignoring the facts, Perry.

    Two comments/queries, koolo:

    * The Iraq war had nothing to do with 9/11; it was, however, the cover for eliminating a nasty dictator, and for setting up military bases throughout the country, was it not?

    * No, koolo. Proportionally, President Obama increased our debt less than Bush-43 did. Moreover, our President inherited a great recession, or have you forgotten that?

    The GOP has agreed to revenue increases.

    And just what are these revenue increases, koolo? Do they include elimination of the mortgage interest deduction and charitable contributions? Do they include tax increases? How can we pass judgment without details.

    So please explain to us all how $1.6 trillion in new taxes “equates” to $400 billion in spending cuts (which are over 10 years, too), not to mention the “stimulus.”

    Don’t forget the $1T in cuts which President Obama and the Dems have already achieved. Moreover, and most importantly, this is an opening salvo to lead to negotiations, for a change. Let us see the Repubs negotiate for a change, or will they opt to send us off the cliff?

    The fact is that Dictator Obama is in NO WAY serious about reducing the debt/deficit. He just wants more revenue to spend. And spend. And spend more. Remember Dictator Obama’s own words: The massive debt is “unpatriotic.”

    Not serious? How do you know that, else citation please? Regarding spending, from Reagan on, Republican Presidents have been increasing the deficits and debt, correct? And then came President Clinton! Let us see where we are with deficits and debt come 2016.

    Whatever we do, we simply must not throw us back into another recession, as the Brits foolishly have done. Let us learn from their mistake!

    It seems we just re-elected an anti-American dolt to the office, then.

    Are you saying here that you voted to reelect President Obama, koolo? The truth has become known, for a change!

  64. Looking for ideas on cutting our deficit and debt? Here are some worth considering, offered by Zach Carter at HuffPo:


    1. Prison Reform.

    The U.S. incarcerates its citizens at a rate roughly five times higher than the global average. We have about 5 percent of the world’s population, but 25 percent of its prisoners, according to The Economist,. This status quo costs our local, state and federal governments a combined $68 billion a year — all of which becomes a federal problem during recessions, when states look to Washington for fiscal relief. Over the standard 10-year budget window used in Congress, that’s a $680 billion hit to the deficit.

    Solving longstanding prison problems — releasing elderly convicts unlikely to commit crimes, offering treatment or counseling as an alternative to prison for non-violent offenders, slightly shortening the sentences of well-behaved inmates, and substituting probation for more jail-time — would do wonders for government spending.

    2. End the Drug War.

    The federal government spends more than $15 billion a year investigating and prosecuting the War on Drugs. That’s $150 billion in Washington budget-speak, and it doesn’t include the far higher costs of incarcerating millions of people for doing drugs. This money isn’t getting the government the results it wants. As drug war budgets balloon, drug use escalates.

    Ending the Drug War offers the government two separate budget boons. In addition to saving all the money spending investigating, prosecuting and incarcerating drug offenders, Uncle Sam could actually regulate and tax drugs like marijuana, generating new revenue. Studies by pot legalization advocates indicate that fully legalizing weed in California would yield up to $18 billion annually for that state’s government alone. For the feds, the benefits are even sweeter.

    3. Let Medicare Negotiate With Big Pharma.

    The U.S. has higher health care costs than any other country. We spend over 15 percent of our total economic output each year on health care — roughly 50 percent more than Canada, and double what the U.K. spends.

    Why? The American private health care system is inefficient, and the intellectual property rules involving medication in the U.S. can make prescription drugs much more expensive than in other countries.

    Medicare currently spends about $50 billion a year on prescription drugs. According to economist Dean Baker, Americans spend roughly 10 times more than they need to on prescription drugs as a result of our unique intellectual property standards.

    These savings for the government, of course, would come from the pockets of major pharmaceutical companies, currently among the most profitable corporations the world has ever known. They also exercise tremendous clout inside the Beltway. President Barack Obama even guaranteed drug companies more restrictive — and lucrative — intellectual property standards in order to garner their support for the Affordable Care Act.

    4. Offshore Tax Havens.

    The U.S. Treasury Department estimates that it loses about $100 billion a year in revenue due to offshore tax haven abuses. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) has been pushing legislation for years to rein in this absurd tax maneuvering, but corporate lobbying on Capitol Hill has prevented the bill from becoming law.

    5. De-privatize Government Contract Work.

    In recent years, the federal government has privatized an enormous portion of public projects to government contractors. Over the past decade, the federal government’s staffing has held steady, while the number of federal contractors has increased by millions. This outsourcing has resulted in much higher costs for the government than would be incurred by simply doing the work in-house. On average, contractors are paid nearly double what a comparable federal employee would receive for the same job, according to the Project On Government Oversight.

    6. Print More Money.

    There’s an old saying in economics: You have to print money to make money. Okay, there’s no such saying. Nevertheless, the great boogeyman of many conservative economic doctrines — inflation — isn’t such a bad idea during periods where much of the citizenry is drowning in debt. Since the United States borrows money in its own currency, the government always has the option of printing more money to finance its deficits. This can ultimately lead to inflation.

    Inflation is by no means a perfect remedy: it’s a stealth cut to workers’ wages. But it also has many benefits that are often unacknowledged by the Washington intelligentsia. Inflation makes housing debt, student loan debt and any other private-sector debt more manageable. Today, when 10.8 million homes are underwater — meaning borrowers owe banks than their houses are worth, moderate inflation could ease that debt burden. By effectively reducing monthly bills, moderate inflation could actually put more money in the pockets of these homeowners to spend elsewhere, thus stimulating the economy.

    Moderate inflation — 5 percent or so — could also help alleviate the $1 trillion in student debt currently plaguing America’s graduates.

    Make no mistake — hyperinflation of 20 percent, 30 percent or more — is bad. But the U.S. has ways to crush inflation when it gets out of hand, as proven by the Federal Reserve under then-Chairman Paul Volcker in the early-1980s.

    7. Print Less Money.

    The government prints a lot of $1 bills. But it turns out that minting $1 coins is much, much cheaper. Over the course of 30 years, the government could save $4.4 billion by switching from dollar bills to dollar coins. Here’s looking at you, Sacagawea.

    8. Immigration: Less Detention, More Ankle Bracelets.

    The government spends $122 per person, per day detaining immigrants who are considered safe and unlikely to commit crimes. The government has plenty of other options available to monitor such people, at a cost of as little as $15 per person.

    For the first 205 years of America’s existence, there was no federal system for detaining immigrants. The process began in 1981.

    9. Financial Speculation Tax.

    Wall Street loves to gamble. In good times, financial speculation is the source of tremendous profits in America’s banking system, but when the bets go bad, the government picks up the tab, as evidenced by the epic bank bailouts of 2008 and 2009.

    Unfortunately, this speculation is difficult to define in legalistic terminology and even more difficult to police. One solution? By taxing every financial trade at the ultra-low rate of 0.25 percent, the U.S. government can impose a modest incentive against gambling for the sheer sake of gambling. If there’s an immediate cost to placing a bet, a lot of traders will choose not to bet.

    What’s more, this tax could raise about $150 billion a year for the federal government.

    10. Carbon Tax.

    Taxing greenhouse gases would generate $80 billion a year right now, and up to $310 billion a year by 2050, according to an analysis by the Brookings Institution. It would also help avert catastrophic ecological and economic damage from climate change.

    Which ideas would you like to see become law?

    PS: The above ten items are all well documented, which you will see by clicking on the link to the original provided.

  65. Hoagie;

    A very well written if depressing letter. I wouldn’t blame you one bit for “Going Galt”. Tell the Perry’s of the world “Screw you!” If you think I make too much money and don’t pay enough taxes, well, how will you like it when I’m gone and not paying any taxes at all? And when my businesses are gone and you have to pay my ex-employees’ unemployment out of your own taxes?

    Fortunately, this envy driven entitlement culture can’t last forwever. As Lady Thatcher astutely put it – eventually you run out of other people’s money. I don’t know what today’s Dems want, but it seems to be a mix out of “Soylent Green” and “Rollerball”, futuristic dystopias where the ruling class suppresses any form of achievement and success and where they keep the teeming masses in their place with bread and circuses.

    Anyway, good luck in whatever you do. Bermuda sounds nice, never been there myself. And stay in touch, we could always use a voice of sanity around here.

  66. After two minutes of Bobby screaming his head off to the extent that everyone at the bar just staired at him in shock, he told David and I that we should be killed for the good of the nation.

    Normally I wouldn’t believe this, since it sounds so extreme, but you’ve always been a reliable and trustworthy person so I’ll take your word at face value. People like that remind me of Whistler, who popped in for a few days. He wasn’t happy, didn’t even gloat much, was just in a froth of rage about everything Republican. These people are crazy and never satisfied, indeed, their ideology seems to drive their rage, such that the more they get, the more they want. Too bad we can’t just pack the lot of ‘em off to North Korea, where everyone is equal and there’s no greedy 1% to whine about.

  67. PS: The above ten items are all well documented, which you will see by clicking on the link to the original provided.

    Perry, most of those ideas are dumb, and won’t save very much money at all. Change dollar bills to coins? The government keeps trying that, but the public never accepts them. The only place you can get dollar coins is at the Post Office.

    And legalizing drugs has been a pipe dream (pun intened) of both liberals and libertarians for ages. Gary Jognson, ex governor of NM and recent Libertarian candidate (who got well under 1% of the vote) was quoted recently crowing about the new pot law just voted for in CO. He thinks it will “Change the world”. Like legalizing pot is a major priority in times of trillion dollar deficits and chronic unemployment. And legalizing drugs overall is a really dumb idea. I don’t think we want heroin, cocaine and crystal meth available at the local drugstore.

    I told you what the problem is. Everyone knows what the problem is. It’s the entitlements, stupid. That’s where the real money is at, not locking up potheads.

  68. From the koolo/Editor chart post:

    “Note the narrowing gap during Bush’s second term, where we were actually heading toward surplus before the financial crisis, despite Obama’s claim (and Perry’s) that the debt is all Bush’s fault because of ‘two wars on the credit card.’”

    If you will look closely at the red line on the graph, you will note that the upward slope of the red line (outlays) during the Bush two terms is about the same as Obama’s one term after the wallop of the Bush great recession hit in the 2009 time frame. Thus, the rate of increase of the outlays were identical, which makes my point exactly, the point that you keep refuting, Mr Editor. My point, again: During Bush’s two terms, the debt almost doubled, whereas during the Obama first term, the debt went up half again more.

    Thank you for the graph and doubling down on my point!

  69. That’s the mind set of the leftist true believer. How does one negotiate with “nuts”?

    Total bs, Hoagie. Assuming that you have accurately described the scene, nonetheless, it is anecdotal. Since I am a political activist, I have known many folks who are of my political persuasion, and never met one who has ever behaved in this manner, not even close.

    And your concluding sentence, given above, is evidence of your own abject hatred of those on my side of the aisle. That’s on you, Hoagie! And who is the one who has told us he carries a loaded weapon strapped to his leg at all times. It sure as hell isn’t I!

  70. Not serious? How do you know that, else citation please? Regarding spending, from Reagan on, Republican Presidents have been increasing the deficits and debt, correct? And then came President Clinton! Let us see where we are with deficits and debt come 2016.

    Do you have ANY fundamental understanding of basic civics? Please show us exactly how presidents increase deficits and debts. Y’know, unilaterally.

    I’ll await your answer which I guarantee will give us all a good chuckle.

  71. I told you what the problem is. Everyone knows what the problem is. It’s the entitlements, stupid. That’s where the real money is at, not locking up potheads.

    You also told us Romney was going to win and that you would make a million dollars from your book. How’s that working out for you, Eric?

    You can’t handle reality.

    http://rwer.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/if-the-budget-debate-had-a-nate-silver/#more-11103

    —-
    If the budget debate had a Nate Silver

    from Dean Baker

    At this point almost everyone has heard of Nate Silver, the New York Times polling analyst who had all the pundits looking stupid on election night. Silver managed to call every state exactly right. He ignored the gibberish about momentum or voters’ moods and simply focused on the data given by the various polls taken in the final weeks of the campaign.

    While Silver’s work has likely permanently transformed election coverage, it is interesting to think about a similar analysis being applied elsewhere, for example the debate over the budget. Suppose that we had someone focused on actual data involved in the budget debate instead of the silly rhetoric coming from the Republicans and Democrats.

    The first thing that a Nate Silver would likely point out in discussing the budget is that the large deficits of the last few years cannot be attributed either to either extravagant social spending or the Bush tax cuts. The reality that neither Republicans nor Democrats like to acknowledge is that deficits were relatively modest until the economy collapsed in 2008.

    The data here is straightforward and not debatable. The Congressional Budget Office reports (Table 1-1) that the deficit in fiscal year 2007, the last full year before the downturn was 1.2 percent of GDP. We can run deficits of 1.2 percent of GDP forever. At this level, the debt-to-GDP ratio was falling. Furthermore, the deficit was projected to remain in this neighborhood until 2012 when the expiration of the Bush tax cuts was expected to bring the government to a small surplus.

    The reason that we got deficits of close to 10 percent of GDP in 2009 and 2010 and continuing large deficits through the present is that the economy collapsed. This led to a plunge in tax collections and increased spending on programs such as unemployment insurance and food stamps. There were no large unfunded increases in social spending since 2007 nor where there big permanent tax cuts.
    —-

    And to “solve” the budget deficits, you people are advocating austerity – DESPITE the actual evidence of the effects in places like the UK, where it has prolonged the recession – which CAUSED the deficits,

    You can’t handle reality.

    And despite being told this, you’ll just keep bleating your ill-informed, ignorant rubbish because it makes you feel good, regardless of the actual evidence.

    You can’t handle reality.

  72. No, both sides don not agree “that taxes for the 98% should stay at the Bush levels,” because you are making a false assumption. Your assumption is that, since the Republicans believe that tax rates for everybody should remain at the 2001/2003 levels, that they are somehow separating out the 98% and 2%. I agree that taxes should remain lower rather than higher, but that if we are going to raise taxes, they should be raised on everybody, not just some people.

    Uh-huh. And yet you say nothing about the capital gains tax – the tax levied on people who sit on their asses while their stock price rises – is so much less than the top marginal income tax rates – the tax levied on people who work for a living.

    If you actually believed what you said, you’d be advocating for capital gains to be taxed at the same rate as income. But you don’t.

    You can’t handle reality.

  73. WW wrote, well after I pointed out the fallacy in his logic:

    Proportionally, President Obama increased our debt less than Bush-43 did. Moreover, our President inherited a great recession, or have you forgotten that?

    It’s a mistake the first time, but after the truth, complete with statistics, has been pointed out to you, to make the same mistake again is not a mistake. The only reason you can even attempt to say that is because President Obama has been in office less than half of the time President Bush was in office. Once you look at the whole picture, you’ll see, as I pointed out, that he has added more in absolute terms to the debt than was done under President Bush, that he has been adding to the debt at more than twice the daily rate as was done under President Bush, that the rate at which he and his Administration have been adding to the national debt has been higher in his fourth year as President than it was earlier in his Administration, and that, once he has been in office for eight years, he will have completely smashed any comparisons with President Bush’s own poor record of adding to the national debt, in every measure conceivable.

    I’ll even give you another statistic: to avoid having increased the national debt as much, percentagewise, as was done under President Bush (85.53%), the national debt would have to stand no higher than $19,716.045 billion on January 20, 2017. Since it is already standing at $16,323.083 billion, it could be increased no more than $3,392.962 billion between now and the end of his term. That works out to an addition of $2,242.54 billion per day, which means that he’d have to cut the addition to the national debt by almost half of what his average since he was inaugurated, and by 68.94% of what he has seen add to the deficit during his fourth year in office.

    And to do this, he has asked for an increase on taxes for only the most productive Americans, and proposed virtually no cuts in spending at all. President Obama has made no serious proposals at all which would reduce deficit spending sufficiently to meet that target.

    You might as well admit it. The election is over, and President Obama cannot run again; you no longer need to lie for him.

  74. The Phoenician just flat out lied:

    No, both sides don not agree “that taxes for the 98% should stay at the Bush levels,” because you are making a false assumption. Your assumption is that, since the Republicans believe that tax rates for everybody should remain at the 2001/2003 levels, that they are somehow separating out the 98% and 2%. I agree that taxes should remain lower rather than higher, but that if we are going to raise taxes, they should be raised on everybody, not just some people.

    Uh-huh. And yet you say nothing about the capital gains tax – the tax levied on people who sit on their asses while their stock price rises – is so much less than the top marginal income tax rates – the tax levied on people who work for a living.

    If you actually believed what you said, you’d be advocating for capital gains to be taxed at the same rate as income. But you don’t.

    You can’t handle reality.

    From the very post of mine he quoted, I wrote:

    The best thing we could do is to have one, single percentage tax rate, on all income, in whatever form, above a particular threshold, with no deductions, no tax credits, just a simple system. That would mean that the more people earn, the more they would pay in taxes, but it would be a steady and fair progression.

    You can’t handle the truth.

  75. Nor does the Phoenician understand capital gains:

    the capital gains tax – the tax levied on people who sit on their asses while their stock price rises

    From Investopedia:

    1. An increase in the value of a capital asset (investment or real estate) that gives it a higher worth than the purchase price. The gain is not realized until the asset is sold. A capital gain may be short term (one year or less) or long term (more than one year) and must be claimed on income taxes. A capital loss is incurred when there is a decrease in the capital asset value compared to an asset’s purchase price.
    2. Profit that results when the price of a security held by a mutual fund rises above its purchase price and the security is sold (realized gain). If the security continues to be held, the gain is unrealized. A capital loss would occur when the opposite takes place.

    A capital gain — or loss — is realized only when the investors actually get off their asses and sell an asset that they own.

  76. My comment above, in which I noted that, “The best thing we could do is to have one, single percentage tax rate, on all income, in whatever form, above a particular threshold, with no deductions, no tax credits, just a simple system,” was not the first time I have stated this. I wrote two articles on this, on the old site, here and here. The first article was so well-written and persuasive that no one took exception to it, so perhaps the Phoenician didn’t see it, but he made three of the six comments on the second one.

    And, before the Phoenician complains that I didn’t mention capital gains taxes specifically, I also stated “I would tax wages, salaries, capital gains, dividends,1 royalties, everything at the same percentage,” in a thread in which the Phoenician made four subsequent comments, and in one of which he quoted directly — and disapprovingly — from that comment.

    In other words, he knew what my position was, and he lied about it. He can’t handle the truth.

  77. Looking for ideas on cutting our deficit and debt? Here are some worth considering, offered by Zach Carter at HuffPo:

    Only the tax increases will be considered by Dictator Obama. He has no interest in cutting spending.

    * The Iraq war had nothing to do with 9/11; it was, however, the cover for eliminating a nasty dictator, and for setting up military bases throughout the country, was it not?

    Actually, it did. You may not agree w/it, but 9/11 for many people (like Bush) changed the whole picture when it came to terrorism. And spare us the “cover” nonsense; you still say Bush “lied” to get us into Iraq, yet make every single excuse in the book for Dictator Obama’s bungling in Libya. It’s absolutely hilarious.

    * No, koolo. Proportionally, President Obama increased our debt less than Bush-43 did. Moreover, our President inherited a great recession, or have you forgotten that?

    No, I didn’t. But you forgot Bush had to deal with 9/11. The difference between you and I is that I am not a partisan hack who makes every excuse in the book (to the extreme so as to look completely foolish) for the side I identify with.

  78. The best thing we could do is to have one, single percentage tax rate, on all income, in whatever form, above a particular threshold, with no deductions, no tax credits, just a simple system.

    My mistake then.

    I wonder, however, why you seem to be so adamant and agitated that the poorer 98% must be blocked from lower income taxes if the richer 2% do not receive the same cut when the discrepancy between capital and income taxes is so much more.

    Given your previous history of Mustelidae-like behaviour, this suggests that you pay only lip service to the idea of a single rate – but your real passion is justifying the lowest taxes possible for the very rich while your society is already reeling from income inequality.

    So, Dana – are we going to see one post stating how unfairly tilted towards the rich the capital tax system is for every post from you about how the rich need to pay less income tax?

  79. Editor stated:

    It’s a mistake the first time, but after the truth, complete with statistics, has been pointed out to you, to make the same mistake again is not a mistake.

    Mr Editor, your statistics are contained in the chart you posted for koolo here. It is a fact that the rate of increase of outlays (i.e. spending) for the Bush-43 two terms is identical to President Obama’s first term. There now, that is a truth which you simply can neither counter nor deny.

    Now remember this point the next time you feel the need to criticize President Obama’s spending while ignoring that of Bush-43.

    And by the way, that same chart (look at it again) shows clearly just how serious a jolt the Bush Great Recession really was, you know, the one he inherited the first day of his first term. Receipts dropped suddenly about 20%, and Outlays increased suddenly by 20%, a total sudden deficit increase of 40%.

    So there is the truth, Mr Editor. The next time you blame President Obama for the growing debt while ignoring the similar proportional Bush contribution to growing our debt, I will then call you out for not telling the truth.

    And on your other critical sensitivity, the Obama stimulus, in the next post I will compare that to President Bush stimulus.

  80. On the GW Bush stimulus, or stimuli I should say, there are two parts:

    The cost of two wars: $3.7T, according to McClatchy.

    The cost of the GW Bush tax cuts: $1.6T, according to the Citizens for Tax Justice.

    I would say that the total Bush stimulus, $5.3T, far exceeds that of President Obama, which is just under $1T.

    So who has been the big spender, Mr Editor? Isn’t it time for you to finally face the truth?

  81. The Phoenician asked:

    So, Dana – are we going to see one post stating how unfairly tilted towards the rich the capital tax system is for every post from you about how the rich need to pay less income tax?

    Nope, because, in one way, the lower capital gains and dividend tax rates counterbalance the higher marginal rates. Depending on the individual, such will be more or less effective. Complaining about lower capital gains and dividend tax rates without worrying about the higher marginal rates is simply falling into the Democrats’ class warfare strategy, which I will not do.

    My belief is that we should all be taxed at the same rate, rich and poor alike. We have built up, under Republicans and Democrats alike, a system shot through with loopholes, incentives and disincentives, deductions, credits, punitive measures, just a whole host of things; trying to make some sort of claim of equitability out of that mess is a fool’s errand. I take advantage of some of those deductions myself, including the mortgage interest deduction (which means that I am taxed less than someone making the same income I do, but who rents), the college tuition deduction (why should my family be subsidized over a family making the same amount, but whose children don’t choose to go to college?), 401(k) tax deferments, and a couple of other things. If I were to install solar panels, I’d get a big tax break that people who couldn’t afford the investment in solar panels could not get. We are planning on a major kitchen remodeling project, and that will include insulating a wall; I will get a tax break for that.

    Less productive people don’t get the deductions my family does, but they pay lower marginal rates, and many of them are below the threshold where they pay any taxes at all. Some higher earners pay more in absolute terms, but pay a lower percentage of their income in taxes, while their neighbors, making the same amount, pay a higher percentage. That’s all the result of a cockamamie system full of rewards and punishments, one that ought to be just plain scrapped. One single percentage rate, with substantial personal deductions for the adult family members, and that’s it, would be the fairest thing we could do. The only people with real complaints would be H & R Block and Jackson-Hewitt.

  82. WW wrote:

    On the GW Bush stimulus, or stimuli I should say, there are two parts:

    The cost of two wars: $3.7T, according to McClatchy.

    The cost of the GW Bush tax cuts: $1.6T, according to the Citizens for Tax Justice.

    I would say that the total Bush stimulus, $5.3T, far exceeds that of President Obama, which is just under $1T.

    So who has been the big spender, Mr Editor? Isn’t it time for you to finally face the truth?

    [Laughter] If you wish to include the cost of the wars as a “stimulus” cost, then you have to separate out the amounts spent under President Obama from those spent under President Bush. Barack Hussein Obama is, very unfortunately, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and he has the authority, without any consent or permission from anyone else, to order every last American serviceman out of Iraq and Afghanistan; has he done so? No; instead, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has told us that President Obama’s proclaimed 2014 timetable for withdrawal will not be met. President Obama initiated a “surge” in Afghanistan, an increased effort he announced in a speech at West Point.

    Nor can you ignore the big point I made, that the rate at which our national debt is increasing has spiked since President Obama began his fourth year in office. After three years in office, only an incoherent partisan — or a fool — would claim that the Administration’s policies are not the policies of the current President. Who has been the big spender? That’s very clear: President Barack Hussein Obama! Isn’t it time for you to finally face the truth?

  83. In addition to sarcasm from a sore loser, Hoagie gives us more of his hyperbole:

    Mr. Editor, that was not sarcasm, it was political strategy. Failure to realize We Are All Socialists Now can only lead to a one party system wherein any other point of view will be considered treason. In order to have a voice, any voice at all, we need to understand resistance is futile. You’ve seen and read the comments and vitriol of the left before, during and after this last campaign. They have no desire to negotiate. They accept total victory ONLY. We Are The Enemy! Many leftists that I talk to would be just as happy to see guys like us in a concentration camp. Or worse. They Are The Ones They’ve Been Waiting For! So I say: Give’m what they want!

    Americans have put up with your Party’s ‘my way or the highway’ approach to dysfunctional governance for over ten years now, powered by an elitist small segment of our population, who thought they could win permanent power by taking the lid off of campaign contributions and by exercising voter suppression. Never did you people expect to be defeated by such a large majority of the vote.

    Now that you folks have accumulated so much wealth by manipulating our political system, it is time for a change which gives the rest of us some voice in the affairs of this nation.

    It is to your discredit, Hoagie, that now you are ready to “quit”, give up on your country of origin, the country you served in combat, the country which has enabled you to exercise your management skills successfully, to the point where you have earned the freedom to afford to be able to go wherever you please.

    If you quit and leave, Hoagie, I believe you will come to regret it. What satisfaction will you have in a “quit” mode, a mode which I think is counter to your basic instincts? I suggest you go off, with the idea of reconsidering your future given some time away. My prediction: You will be back, because this is your home country, where your failures, successes, and many friends reside. I don’t believe that isolating yourself in the Bahamas, or wherever else, will satisfy your fire.in.the.belly.

  84. Nor can you ignore the big point I made, that the rate at which our national debt is increasing has spiked since President Obama began his fourth year in office. After three years in office, only an incoherent partisan — or a fool — would claim that the Administration’s policies are not the policies of the current President. Who has been the big spender? That’s very clear: President Barack Hussein Obama! Isn’t it time for you to finally face the truth?

    I agree that the total deficit from two wars and tax cuts is shared by both Presidents, although it was Bush who initiated all these deficit increasing policies.

    Regarding your continued contention about who the biggest spender is, you continue to ignore your chart. So far, President Obama is on exactly the same spending increase slope as Bush, and yes, he did inherit a Bush generated Great Recession. So who is it who is not in touch with the truth, Mr Editor. That person is obvious, using your own chart as proof. Now step up, Mr Editor.

  85. Nope, because, in one way, the lower capital gains and dividend tax rates counterbalance the higher marginal rates. Depending on the individual, such will be more or less effective. Complaining about lower capital gains and dividend tax rates without worrying about the higher marginal rates is simply falling into the Democrats’ class warfare strategy, which I will not do.

    (Laughter) Our progressive tax system goes back to Teddy Roosevelt, isn’t that so? So it has persisted for a century, during which time Repubs have been in power and perfectly able to do what you suggest, a flat tax for everyone. But they have not done so, now have they? For good reason! The increased accumulation of wealth in the top 1% is due partly to a tax policy which has become less progressive. We need to go opposite to that which you favor, for good reason, and soon will!

  86. It is to your discredit, Hoagie, that now you are ready to “quit”, give up on your country of origin, the country you served in combat, the country which has enabled you to exercise your management skills successfully, to the point where you have earned the freedom to afford to be able to go wherever you please.

    I hope Hoagie leaves, and millions like him. Then where will you get your precious tax money? You want to screw the successful, those who have worked hard to build businesses that make America work? All because of your “Hate the rich” ideology? Then good. Let the rich all leave. Let them not “exploit” any more, earn any more, pay any more taxes. Then who will you screw next in your lust for envy and revenge? The middle class? And when they have been taxed out of existence, who will you have left to screw? You will have the poor and the unemployed screwing each other for whatever scraps are left, starving dogs cannibalizing each other for a slice of an ever shrinking pie. All so that scum like Obama can keep in power. Power is all that matters to you filth, not patriotism or morality or good of country. And then, when everything goes to hell, we can all learn to speak Chinese after they take over our debt and our country.

  87. WW wrote:

    Regarding your continued contention about who the biggest spender is, you continue to ignore your chart. So far, President Obama is on exactly the same spending increase slope as Bush, and yes, he did inherit a Bush generated Great Recession. So who is it who is not in touch with the truth, Mr Editor. That person is obvious, using your own chart as proof. Now step up, Mr Editor.

    I have, many times. I won’t bother to look up how many times both I and the other conservatives here have said that too much money, far too much money was spent under the Bush Administration, both during the 4½ years when the Republicans controlled the Congress and the two in which the Democrats did, or the 1½ years of split control. You know that we’ve said that. You know that we’ve criticized the huge entitlement expansion with Medicare Part D.

    But the fact that the Republicans spent too much does not somehow mean that they were as bad as the Democrats; if the Republicans spent proligately, the Democrats’ spending has been nothing short of obscene! I know that you’ve seen this chart before:

    Note the column for total federal outlays as a percentage of GDP; that column washes away any complaints about on-budget or off-budget, and eliminates inflation as a modifier. Under President Obama, we have spent more in every single year, as a percentage of our total economy, than any year under President Bush, and the President projected to continue to spend more at the federal level throughout the remainder of his terms, and the President projected spending more even in years in which he projected strong economic growth — note the column for GDP growth — and even though he projected revenues to reach levels which would have produced surpluses during the Clinton and some of the Bush years by FY 2017, he still plans on running huge deficits.

    In FY 2006 and 2007, under President Bush and a Republican Congress, who spent way, way, way too much, the federal government ran deficits of 9.35% and 5.89% of receipts. We were in the middle of two expensive wars, and Medicare Part D had taken hold. Yet, for FY 2017, President Obama has projected significantly increased revenues, yet plans on a larger deficit, 13.51% of total federal spending, all in a year in which the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan are supposed to be over and done with.

    You have complained that President Bush was a “big spender,” something with which every conservative who comments here would agree. Yet President Obama not only has spent far more, he plans to continue to spend far more, by every conceivable measure: in absolute terms, in relative terms, and as a percentage of our total economy, even in years in which he projects strong economic growth. If President Bush was a big spender, he was still not in President Obama’s league when it comes to burning through money.

    If President Bush was a “big spender,” as you have described him, if President Bush’s record of adding $4 trillion to the national debt in eight years was “pathetic,” as you have described it, or “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic,” as President Obama described it, how on God’s earth could you not call President Obama an even bigger spender, how could you not call his record “pathetic” and “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic?”

    What I have done, you see, is to hold President Obama to the same standards of judgement that you have applied to President Bush, both four years in the past and just yesterday, and by every objective measure, President Obama’s job performance has been worse than President Bush’s.

  88. WW wrote:

    Our progressive tax system goes back to Teddy Roosevelt, isn’t that so? So it has persisted for a century, during which time Repubs have been in power and perfectly able to do what you suggest, a flat tax for everyone.

    That is correct, we have had that unfair tax structure in place for over a century . . . and it has been wrong for over a century.

  89. “Total bs, Hoagie.”

    Total bs? Were you there?

    “Assuming that you have accurately described the scene, nonetheless, it is anecdotal.”

    You do realize I began the post with: “I’ll give an anecdotal example of that statement.”? But I do love your use of the word “assuming” to cast doubt on the truth of my statement. Very good indeed. If you don’t like the story just dismiss it as anecdotal and assuming.

    “Since I am a political activist, I have known many folks who are of my political persuasion, and never met one who has ever behaved in this manner, not even close.”

    Neither had I until that day. I also had never seen a leftist take a crap on a police car, but then I did.

    “And your concluding sentence, given above, is evidence of your own abject hatred of those on my side of the aisle. That’s on you, Hoagie!”

    Abject hatred? Are you insane? Once more, just for you Wagonwheel…I DON’T HATE ANYONE! Hate requires too much effort and I’m too lazy to do it. You mistake my pity for “those on [your] side of the aisle” with hatred. I don’t hate them, I pity them and their small, narrow world of envy and thoughtless emotionalism.

    “And who is the one who has told us he carries a loaded weapon strapped to his leg at all times. It sure as hell isn’t I!”

    Exactly what does my being armed have to do with the story? Or for that matter anything? Just so you know I don’t usually carry a loaded weapon strapped to my leg. I wear a belt holster. But I am curious as to why it seems to bother you that I carry a legal, licensed firearm? I say that because it does not bother me that you choose not to.

  90. Editor says:

    Under President Obama, we have spent more in every single year, as a percentage of our total economy, than any year under President Bush, ….

    Your problem Mr Editor, if I may say so, is that you are having great difficulty in disentangling your ideology from the factual numbers you quote in your table. Look here – you write:

    Note the column for total federal outlays as a percentage of GDP; ….

    This is not a meaningful way to view our outlays, because if, for example, outlays were constant but GDP decreased, then outlays as a percent of GDP would increase, thus leading to false interpretations, as has happened with you. This is exactly what you are doing by focusing on this number.

    I go back to this chart of yours, again, which indicates that the rate (the slope) of increasing outlays is about the same for Bush and for President Obama. That is a meaningful observation to make, that is, comparing the outlay (spending) policies of the two Presidents ==> and they were/are the same!

    But the fact that the Republicans spent too much does not somehow mean that they were as bad as the Democrats; if the Republicans spent proligately [profligately], the Democrats’ spending has been nothing short of obscene!

    The difference between the two Presidents’ spending, Mr Editor, is that the Bush spending was by choice, two wars of choice accounting for the bulk of his spending, the Obama spending was by necessity. I argue, and said at the time, that the response to 9/11 should have been only going after bin Laden. Deposing Saddam Hussein and waging war against the Taliban were both ill conceived from the perspective of our own national interests, and severely damaging to us in many ways, like lives lost and our sinking economy. Yes, I blame the Cheney/Bush neocons, totally.

    President Obama inherited the Bush Great Recession, one heading toward another Great Recession, requiring large spending outlays to thwart this disastrously unfolding event from getting much worse. We were desperate! This is irrefutable fact, Mr Editor, therefore not subject to your ideologically based revisions in hindsight.

  91. That is correct, we have had that unfair tax structure in place for over a century . . . and it has been wrong for over a century.

    You know that I could not disagree with you more! Given the reduction in progressivity due to the Reagan then Bush-43 tax cuts, we have redistributed our wealth by now to an overwhelmingly wealthy 1%, granting them also legislative and political power they do not deserve, a plutocracy to be sure. I fear that the 2012 election outcome may prove to be an aberration, once the plutarchs, whom you overwhelmingly support, regroup and put out their vast resources more effectively. Before they can do that, we need to change the SCOTUS ideological balance so that such as campaign contributions and payoffs to our politicians can be effectively curtailed. We also need to modify the Senate filibuster rule in order to restore function to the Senate, and to control redistricting so as to eliminate gerrymandering to influence the role of the House.

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