published Sunday, December 5th, 2010

The Paramedics

about Clay Bennett...

The son of a career army officer, Bennett led a nomadic life, attending ten different schools before graduating in 1980 from the University of North Alabama with degrees in Art and History. After brief stints as a staff artist at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Fayetteville (NC) Times, he went on to serve as the editorial cartoonist for the St. Petersburg Times (1981-1994) and The Christian Science Monitor (1997-2007), before joining the staff of the ...

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OllieH said...

Republican triage.

Perfect, Clay!

December 5, 2010 at 2:10 a.m.
memphisexile said...

Deficit, Deficit, Deficit! But extend tax cuts! Look people, the reason the deficit is so high is 1 ill advised war in Iraq aaannnnndddddddd the Bush Era tax cuts. Apparently, you can't finance two wars and reduce the taxes that pay for those wars and a lot of other stuff at the same time.

You cannot have your cake and eat it too. We can cut earmarks and a lot of other stuff, but it won't make a difference because the bulk of federal spending is on SS, Medicare and Defense. So unless we are going to cut Social Security (never happen old people vote) or Medicare (ditto) or Defense something has to give.

Maybe these tax cuts that never should have been given in the first place should be allowed to expire. Maybe we should eliminate all the tax credits, deferrals and deductions that result in 1,000,000,000,000 of lost tax revenue ever year. But we can't do nothing and hope the economy will revive and pull us out of this mess.

Stuff needs to be cut, and these cuts need to include SS, Medicare and Defense because if those things are off the table cuts will be negligible. We also need to admit that those tax cuts were irresponsible, and the loop holes in the tax code need to be closed.

This won't be easy, but the alternative will be worse and protecting tax cuts for rich people should not be the priority of the Republican party.

December 5, 2010 at 2:49 a.m.
SCOTTYM said...

Class warfare benefits only the cynical manipulators.

Others are dupes, and/or the exploited.

Society is not served.

This is a historical fact.


If we take it as a given that GDP has a proportional relationship with the number of JOBS available,

//and we should because a GDP of 0 will support exactly 0 JOBS and those numbers will be roughly proportional up from there*,//

any action taken by the government which will limit GDP can be seen to limit the number of JOBS as well.

Letting the tax rates rise on those who already pay the largest portion of the current federal, state, and local budgets is exactly the dumbest thing that could be done.

It won't actually fix our debt problem.

The money we need to grow the GDP will flee to greener pastures. It'll take JOBS with it.

*(I'm not gonna dig up the numbers but I'm sure someone could put together the current and past GDP to jobs ratios in the US on a yearly basis and make a nice little graph.) (It would be a good extra curricular activity for a 7th grade student.) (Here's a couple of hints. What happens to individual worker productivity as technology moves forward? What happens to the individual as GDP increases?)


Any one who believes that I'm uninformed, howz about you spend some of your free time and dig these numbers up and calculate the ratios and show your sources with links?

I'd appreciate it if you did that work and contributed it to the collective data bank because I think you have more extra time than I do, and so, you can afford it.

It's not like I'm going to forcibly confiscate your time because, as I'm not from the government, I can't make you do anything.

December 5, 2010 at 3:59 a.m.
SCOTTYM said...

"Bush Era tax cuts"

Federal Revenue went up.

"You cannot have your cake and eat it too."

Agreed.

"So unless we are going to cut Social Security (never happen old people vote) or Medicare (ditto) or Defense something has to give."

GDP has to grow.

It grows when taxes are reduced on EVERYONE.

Raising taxes reduces GDP and adds nothing to net Federal Revenues.

"Stuff needs to be cut, and these cuts need to include SS, Medicare and Defense because if those things are off the table cuts will be negligible."

I agree to an extent.

"Stuff needs to be cut,..."

Yup.

Billions are spent on Executive, Congressional, and Judicial functionary support staff. How many underlings does a person require?

"This won't be easy, but the alternative will be worse and protecting tax cuts for rich people should not be the priority of the Republican party."

That's nice demagoguery you've got there but the reality is, raising taxes for the JOBS producers is just idiotic. The only rational reason to do so is to punish one's political opponents. It's a cynical play though because everyone suffers, except those at the very top.

December 5, 2010 at 4:30 a.m.
SCOTTYM said...

"A bipartisan filibuster, led by unified Republicans and joined by four Democrats and one independent, proved there isn't enough support to back Mr. Obama's preferred option to extend income tax cuts for couples making less than $250,000 and tax increases for those making more than that."

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/dec/4/senate-blocks-obamas-tax-plan/

December 5, 2010 at 4:37 a.m.
woody said...

If I thought for one moment resuscitating that patient would solve all of our problems, I would be the first and loudest shouting, "Clear!"

What I have read thus far this morning is almost unified in its thinking that we need "cuts" and lots of them. Rest assured, if anyone takes any action at all before ending our current conflicts and bringing our troops home they run the risk of ruining that which we have been building for the past several hundred years.

Most of the debt we now have has come about from borrowing to wage the wars which were begun and should have ended under the "Bush" regimes. History has proven that war is good for business but bad, no, very bad for everyone involved..except for business.

That said, it isn't the elderly nor the infirmed that got us into this mess. So it's about time to take aim at the real culprits for this financial fiasco we are in and leave us "boomers" with as much dignity as possible.

TTFN, Woody

December 5, 2010 at 6:39 a.m.
MTJohn said...

The class war in our country is over. The wealthy have won. And, they won because too many of us on the losing side were too selfish to cast informed votes based on a clear understanding of the collective interest of our country.

We have been at this point once before - at a time when we could have crafted a more sustainable economic future with tolerable levels of pain. Instead, we chose to follow the "pied piper of profligacy". Like the old Fram oil filter commercial, we didn't pay "now" and so we will have to pay "later". Except, now is later and the price tag has ballooned.

It is our problem - we have to fix it. It is not a question of fixing the problem, while avoiding the pain. Rather, it is a problem that all of us caused and a pain for which all of us are responsible to share. And, all includes us "boomers". We boomers contributed to the problem and, if we don't fix it now,our grandchildren will inherit a third-world country.

December 5, 2010 at 8:48 a.m.
alprova said...

The arguments that the Bush Tax Cuts helped provide jobs is not cutting the mustard any longer.

People are keenly aware that all during the nine years that those cuts have been in force, that many GOOD jobs moved out of this country unabated and without so much as a glance over their shoulders by the employers who took them off-shore.

Too many people are working for less than they were ten years ago. Too many people are now forced to accept jobs that not only pay less, but that come with no benefits whatsoever.

This is the America that the Republicans along those who are re-identifying themselves Tea-Partiers, envision and/or have been working towards, or backwards if you will, for two decades.

Republicans, along with Fox News & Co., did an excellent job this last election of convincing older Americans that the Republicans have their backs. When they stab them in their backs, how many votes will they get in 2012?

This country is still spending a million dollars plus a day in the Middle East, and until that spigot is closed, it's not going to sit very well with most people to hear talk about cutting benefits to the elderly.

I have no fear at all, that by this time two years from now, A Republican isn't going to be able to raise a dollar, because the simple fact of the matter is that the Republicans and the Tea-Partiers are not even going to try to do anything but to work on behalf of those who have plenty now.

December 5, 2010 at 8:50 a.m.
AndrewLohr said...

Why hold tax cuts for 98% of us hostage to anti-rich bigotry? The left aims at Clay's target and hits all those people around the edge.

D.C. loves our money as much as Wall Street does, but Wall Street has to earn it while D.C. just sends the IRS to take it from us.

Soak the rich? The average federal worker earns twice as much as the average American; 20% more for similar work. Our President's freeze is a good start. How about a 20% cut? If the feds really care about the jobless and about deficits, surely the feds could take a cut to pay for extending jobless benefits?

Social Security is broke, with ten of trillions in unfunded liability? Instead of arbitrary ages and payments, tie it to life expectancy and to economic conditions, so we're not paying more than we can afford. Edge the starting age up a little.

Medicare/aid is broke too? Most health costs come from eating too much (obesity, diabetes, heart disease), smoking too much (half a pack a day might be mostly harmless??), drinking too much, drug use, and sex outside holy marriage. Raise taxes and insurance premiums on the behaviors that call for a lot of health care. I've read that Safeway (grocery stores out west) kept their health care costs flat from '05 to '09 (!) by incentives along this line.

We need a strong military, but I suppose we could bring the forces home from Iraq and Afghanistan and Europe and Korea and a bunch of other places and let them take care of themselves.

Education? Taxpayers give voouchers to college students; do the same at lower levels. Again, adjust what's paid out to what comes in: divide the dollars by the students.

And hope for implementing these solutions comes from the Tea Party and the libertarians; the establishment of both big parties got us into this mess by forgetting God's libertarian advice, which works when followed, and Jesus Christ's libertarian example: personally generous ("Christ died for our sins") but not spending tax money.

www.lohr84.com

December 5, 2010 at 8:50 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Very relevant is Friedman's Nov 30 column, printed today in the TFP:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/01/opinion/01friedman.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

"Most health costs come from..(snip) and sex outside holy marriage." ?? Andrew, sometimes you have good stuff to say, then you add something goofy.

December 5, 2010 at 8:57 a.m.
MTJohn said...

Andrew - the freedom for which Christ set us free is the freedom to love and to serve others. In contrast, the freedom advocated by the tea party is the freedom to be selfish.

December 5, 2010 at 9:02 a.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Even millionaires say they don’t need tax cuts:

“In 2001, when the first round of Bush tax cuts for the wealthy were proposed, we enjoyed a long-term surplus of $5.6 trillion. Eight years later, President Bush left the country an economic mess. The surplus had devolved to a 10-year budget deficit of $9.3 trillion, and the national debt had increased by more than 80 percent. Need more figures to prove that middle-class Americans need tax cuts more than the rich?

From 2003 to 2007, income for families in the top 5 percent of taxpayers increased by 7 percent, while incomes for the other 95 percent of taxpayers' remained stagnant.

The average income of the top 1 percent of earners increased by 10 times that of the bottom 90 percent.

During the expansion of 2002 to 2007, families saw their median income drop by 2,000, the first time ever that Americans have seen their incomes drop during a period of economic growth.

During that time, income tax rates for the top 1 percent of earners were reduced by twice as much as rates for everyone else.

And in 2007, the top 10 percent took home almost half of the country's total earnings, the highest level of income inequality in our nation's history.

Clearly it's time to extend tax cuts for those Americans who need it. And it's time to end the Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans.”

[Huffington Post: “Millionaires Don’t Need Tax Cuts” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sen-dianne-feinstein/millionaires-dont-need-ta_b_791687.html

December 5, 2010 at 9:10 a.m.
nucanuck said...

SCOTTYM,

For too many years the US has used deficit spending to ramp up GDP and jobs.It was a fun ride,but now it certainly appears that we are near our credit limit with the Federal Reserve having to buy our own debt because of a lack of buyers. We haven't been willing to tax ourselves for the party we enjoyed.

If we cut spending,the GDP will go down. If we raise taxes on the rich,the GDP might go down. If we do nothing we are all going down.

The reality is that we are going to cut spending,we are going to raise taxes and we are going to find a way to live through a very difficult period of adjustment.

The question is can we do what we must without tearing the country apart?

December 5, 2010 at 9:16 a.m.
mountainlaurel said...

So why does the GOP continue to ignore the obvious? I believe Sullivan is right:

“The ghastly truth is that we have one political party that is as close to organized vandalism as one can imagine. START, the debt ceiling, civil rights, real spending cuts and tax reform: all these will be subject to the pure nihilism of the will to power. Their goal is the destruction of Obama. That is all.”

[The Daily Dish: “Delay, Delay, Delay”] http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/11/delay-delay-delay-ctd.html

December 5, 2010 at 9:32 a.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Memphisexile said: “Stuff needs to be cut, and these cuts need to include SS, Medicare. . . because if those things are off the table cuts will be negligible.”

So the politicians who are afraid to confront wealthy and powerful interest groups say, but a number of economists like Dean Baker have pointed out that there are lots of alternatives to cutting things like Social Security and Medicare:

“. . . there are enormous potential savings to Medicare and Medicaid from allowing beneficiaries access to the more efficient health care systems in other countries. The government and private sector could also saving hundreds of billions of dollars a year from replacing the system of patent support for drug research with more efficient mechanisms.

In addition, the government could easily raise more than $100 billion a year from taxing the excesses in the financial sector, a route even advocated by the International Monetary Fund. This would require the sector most responsible for the economic wreckage the country is now experiencing to pay for the damage.”

[Beat the Press: “Friedman: High Priest of Austerity – Dean Baker] http://www.cepr.net/index.php/beat-the-press/Page-3/

December 5, 2010 at 10:15 a.m.
moonpie said...

Scotty,

Nice party last night.

December 5, 2010 at 11:05 a.m.
Clara said...

mountainlaurel,

I agree with the post 9:32 a.m.

I'm going to ask my newly elected congressional rep. how his party can really justify their actions.

I don't think he has answer except that the Rep. party and THEIR money put him in office and he feels he must follow the party line. The excerpt doesn't mention support from the party.

It came from Congresswoman Gifford's,(Ariz) office.

How much do Representatives and Senators get paid?

The current salary is $165,200. The only exceptions are the Speaker, who makes $212,100 and the Majority and Minority Leaders who make approximately $183,500.

Every year, Congressmen and Senators get an automatic “cost of living adjustment” - a boost in their salary equal to inflation - unless they vote to deny themselves the raise.

(CRS Report on Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Officials: Process for Adjusting Pay and Current Salaries (RL3324))

How much do they get to spend on expenses?

Every member in the House and the Senate gets an allotment (called a Members Representational Allowance in the House) which they can use to hire and pay staff, buy office supplies, lease office space in their home state or district, mail official documents, answer mail, travel back and forth between Washington and their home, and generally try to serve their constituents. The amount each office gets is based on a formula, and in 2006, the amounts ranged from just over $1 million to $1.5 million. There are limits on how many people you can hire (18 permanent, 4 part time) and on how much you can pay people (max is $159,828 in 2006). It varies from member to member, but most offices spend the most on staff salaries, then mail, then office rent, travel, supplies, etc.

Members are expressly prohibited from using their taxpayer-financed office money for campaign activities, personal expenses, or primarily social activities. Members also can’t accept support from private sources for their official duties (except for travel).

(CRS Report on the Members Representational Allowance (RL30064))

December 5, 2010 at 11:06 a.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Woody said: "Most of the debt we now have has come about from borrowing to wage the wars. . . That said, it isn't the elderly nor the infirmed that got us into this mess. So it's time to take aim at the real culprits for this financial fiasco.”

You state it well, Woody. But it is clear there is a deficiency in morals in Washington, especially among the GOP who prefer to penalize children, the elderly, the infirmed and the unemployed for their own reckless and irresponsible and conduct.

December 5, 2010 at 11:39 a.m.
fairmon said...

Before 2012 Americans will see the RAM, rioting, arrest and Marshall law. It is not normal therefore denied as possible. A lot of chatter about taxing the wealthy when the fact is if the entire income of every American were confiscated the debt could not be paid. When those countries promoting not having the dollar be the reserve currency succeed the U.S. will have an experience similar to the British when their currency ceased being the world's reserve currency after being such for almost 200 years.

Other countries are tired of having to buy dollars before they can buy oil and other goods from other countries since the dollar is being devalued through the printing press. The depression will look like a picnic compared to the devastation and chaos of this event. The British had debts they could not pay but maintained the philosophy they were going to "share the wealth" as they taxed the wealthy more and more. Sound familiar, history is the best educator but seldom studied or valued. Cheap oil, even at current prices, has been an edge for the U.S. as other countries average paying around $7.00 a gallon. Americans will pay that which is like a new tax when the currency is no longer the world's reserve currency.

Go ahead, tell me how it can't happen here. It has never happened here so it won't now. Repeat the denials the British and those before them having the same experience used. When the secretary of the treasury said we will not devalue the dollar that was the fist clue, the presses started shortly after that. Your buying power is about to be reduced more than most can imagine. The governments couldn't provide food, clothing and shelter for Katrina victims how will they provide for a devastated county. 13% now get food stamps, how far can they expand that program with food cost rising rapidly? Deny the reality or insist on the elected elite taking the pain now and prepare for it.

December 5, 2010 at 12:54 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...

So much ignorance.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost less, in total, than last year's deficit.

Major spending cuts have to be made. It is the only way to fix the problem. Higher tax rates on the "rich" isn't going to make any meaningful difference at all.

Check the graph on the following page, notice that no matter what the tax rate is on the highest earners, the government ends up with roughly the same amount of revenue as a portion of GDP. http://mercatus.org/publication/reality-isnt-negotiable-government-cant-raise-more-19-taxes-long

"Even millionaires say they don’t need tax cuts:"

Those millionaires(and billionaires) can write a check to the Federal Treasury for as much as they'd like to give. The Treasury will be glad to take it. Gates, Buffet, and assorted others could give every penny they have to the Treasury and it would not change the deficit by more than a percentage point or two.

The GOP wants to keep the lower tax rates for everyone. The President and his lackeys want to raise taxes on the top earners to satisfy the class envy of the far left who understand nothing about economics. They would cut off their own noses just to spite their face and they don't care how much everyone else in the country suffers for it.

December 5, 2010 at 1:20 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...

"In 2007, households in the highest quintile earned 55 percent of before-tax income and paid almost 70 percent of federal taxes; for all other quintiles, their share of federal taxes was less than their share of income."

"The top 1 percent of households, not shown, earned 19 percent of income and paid 28 percent of federal taxes."

http://cbo.gov/ftpdocs/119xx/doc11976/2010-12-02_IncomeTax_chartbook.pdf

Given these facts, how can anyone say that the rich should pay more to make things "fair"? They are getting hosed already.

December 5, 2010 at 1:47 p.m.
Clara said...

ikeithlu,

I just managed to get the Freidman article you posted back at 8:57 a.m.

I guess you'd call it black humour but very apt.

Thank you and TFP for making it available.

December 5, 2010 at 2:05 p.m.
nucanuck said...

SCOTTYM,

The nations wealth is almost entirely in the hands of those you say are/were "hosed" by the tax man.

I guess if you are taxed millions and only left with billions,you deserve a tax cut because the chap with kids making $30,000 didn't pay income tax,only SSI,which was then converted to the general treasury.

Income disparity in the US is the widest ever,and the wider it gets,the weaker our society becomes. Period.

Do you have a cure?

December 5, 2010 at 2:18 p.m.
MTJohn said...

"Do you have a cure?"

Yes, a permanent one. WWIII

December 5, 2010 at 2:22 p.m.
alprova said...

Scotty Wrote: "So much ignorance.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost less, in total, than last year's deficit."


Okay, so let's ignore the simple fact that 20% of the entire 2010 budget went towards sustaining those efforts in both countries by our military.

The projected defense budget for 2011 will equal dollar for dollar, that of all expenditures of the Social Security System.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/02/01/us/budget.html

"Major spending cuts have to be made. It is the only way to fix the problem. Higher tax rates on the "rich" isn't going to make any meaningful difference at all."


Well, obviously you feel that cutting the defense budget is out of the question, so where would you start cutting?


"The GOP wants to keep the lower tax rates for everyone."


No they don't. They are ONLY worried that top income earners will be made to pony up more. They are holding the middle and lower income classes hostage, and everyone knows it.


"The President and his lackeys want to raise taxes on the top earners to satisfy the class envy of the far left who understand nothing about economics."


Say what you want, but what we know is not the truth, is that if top income earners are allowed a pass on a tax hike, that jobs will come roaring back.

We also know that if by some miracle, Obama doesn't cave and stands up for what he believes in, and demands those tax increases be reinstated for top income earners, not one more job will be created than would disappear if those income earners are tax a little more.


"They would cut off their own noses just to spite their face and they don't care how much everyone else in the country suffers for it."


Are you suffering Scott?

Is everyone in this nation suffering?

What have you lost? A little business?

Have you had to bid a little lower to be awarded a contract?

Have you suffered anything compared to what many have had to suffer? I don't think so.

People have blown their brains out due to suffering more than they can deal with, after losing it all. People all over this nation are broke, without jobs, without hope, hungry and homeless.

And the Republicans are holding their lifeline hostage over extending tax breaks for those who are doing just fine at the moment.

There ARE people suffering in this nation, but not one DAMN one of them are those who will be filing tax returns this coming April, claiming a quarter of million dollars in income.

It's not class envy. It's class reality. And I don't think for a second that you have ever had to live it. If you have ever lived it, then it's so far in your rear-view mirror, that you wouldn't have a clue what real suffering is.

December 5, 2010 at 2:27 p.m.
hambone said...

How can we look to congress to straighten this mess out when doing what needs to be done will threaten getting re-elected?

Taxes will have to be raised and spending cut. We are not only going to have to bite the bullit, but eat it whole!

December 5, 2010 at 2:38 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

ScottyM said: "We haven't been willing to tax ourselves for the party we enjoyed."

Excuse me, but as I recall, the guest list of “the party” you’re referencing was a rather exclusive one and only included the wealthiest top 3% of this Nation.

So why should anyone not invited to “the party” pay for the fun time had by the for-profit war promoters, the Wall Street criminals, the greedy bankers, and the self-serving lobbyists?

December 5, 2010 at 2:46 p.m.
nucanuck said...

MTJohn,

I would suggest that WWIII has begun,is economic,and the US is poorly armed for the fray.

December 5, 2010 at 3 p.m.
BobMKE said...

Several sources are giving out figures as follows:

700,000 small businesses are going to be taxed because they make more than $250,000.00 a year. This is 50% of the the small businesses in The Country. How many jobs will not be created if these figures are true since they are the ones who are going to pull this Country out of the recession? Is Obama going to pull a 1995 Clinton and move to the center? Orrrrrrrrrrr doesn't he want to get re-elected? If he pulls a Clinton then you lefties are really going to be further out of the loop. Obama is going to be judged on jobs. Period.

December 5, 2010 at 3:04 p.m.
whatsthefuss said...

Dear alpo, You were on a roll with your 8:50 am post until you wrote "This is the America that the Republicans along those who are re-identifying themselves Tea-Partiers, envision and/or have been working towards, or backwards if you will, for two decades." I'm a simple man and don't understand what that means but please think back to the year 1994. The president, William Jefferson Clinton. The congress, a Republican majority. China being granted MFN status seems to be the effect we as working Americans are feeling today. Create jobs??? So would someone please do us one better and explain what jobs we are going to create? I see the mouths moving but all I hear is BLA,BLA,BLA. Lets move on. The wars should have ended with Bush. OK, so why have they not ended under O'BLA,BLA,BLAMA?? He's Irish ya know. OK, forget that. Let us move on to the topic of this cartoon that again blames one party for everything. Let us look at the real numbers and reflect. The group that earns $250,000 a year and up is 10% of the American population. They earn 27% of income paid to Americans. They also pay 47% of the Federal Income Tax collected. Now they drive the same roads, they use little of the public school resources available to them along with many of the government services that many Americans enjoy. So who pays for all these wonderful entitlements??? They do!!! So to be fair to all, and I heard woody claim an exemption to being held responsible for any mistakes that were made during his lifetime, it seems that to correct this problem, everyone is going to have to adjust their lifestyle. If not there is a very good chance no one will have a LIFESTYLE. So if you superior beings must contine to sing, "Blame it on Bush, Blame it on Cheney, Blame it on the E,E,EEEconomy please get over yourselves and dig in. It's gonna be a rough ride.

December 5, 2010 at 3:23 p.m.
Clara said...

I wonder how most of that top 10% or 15% would feel if they had to live on a years labor doing what their lowest paid help are getting.

Oh sure, they are familiar with hardship, having to deal with trying to climb the Washington Monument, or going on safari, or weathering a storm in their yacht, or having no dinner ready because their cook quit.

Think of the atrocity of not being invited to the White House, or a private wedding along with the, 500 rest of the more fortunate and costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Oh, I almost forgot what happens when their private jet breaks down and they have to get to their hidout in Samoa by banana boat.

I'm not saying ALL of those in that catagory are so insular, and self-seeking, because even the thoughtful among that income group are declaring war on their narrow mindedness. The trouble is, not enough of them are thinking, except about themselves.

I once asked someone,it seems like a kazillion of years ago, how much money it it would take to live reasonably on the interest alone of investments, without working. The answer then, was $80,000. I'd be willing to raise that benchmark to $250,00.

It wouldn't be me, because my interest on what savings I accrued since 1977 is only in the low hundreds.

I think this is my rant for the week.

Sorry!

December 5, 2010 at 3:40 p.m.
whatsthefuss said...

Well sour grapes isn't what I take away from my misspent youth. I am grateful for the people who contribute to the fund for the masses. This is AMERICA! Make of it what you will. The majority have worked hard in school being accepted into college. The student loans taken on are overwhelming today. There is no guarantee of a job but just like taxes, student loans are never forgiven. I believe everything else is covered under the banktruptcy code. The interest on $250,000 would not buy you a cardboard box and a cup of coffee in todays world. It's 2010 you know!! We can go on about the jet set crowd but the majority of families that earn $250,000 + are a lot like you and me. Believe it or not!! PS. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are not "Declaring war on their narrow mindedness." They are just flapping their gums. All the wonderful things they have done with their fortunes to help the world have gone outside this country and it has been tax exempt. How wonderful they are. And to think they made their fortunes off the back of American citizens. Now thats gratitude!! But they are the true JET SET CROWD. So if you have a bone to pick I suggest you start there.

December 5, 2010 at 5:34 p.m.
hambone said...

All the tax cuts in the world won't help small business if they can't sell their goods and services.

What are they going to do?

Hire customers!

December 5, 2010 at 6:48 p.m.
fairmon said...

Buffet, saying tax me is ludicrous. His salary is only $100,000 per year. However the company (Berkshire) provides him a car, 24 hour a day security and other perks plus his meals are business expenses all which reduce the taxable profits of the business. The business only pays taxes on dividends and long term capital gains if a stock is sold at a gain. A lot of his personal investments are in very safe tax exempt municipal bonds. His situation cannot be compared to the small business person that has to pay taxes on company profits as though it was regular income. Yes, that does reduce the amount the small business owner can pay employees, provide them benefits and reduces the amount they can invest in the business to grow and increase the need for employees.

Yeah, go ahead and tax the hell out of those small business folks willing to put it all on the line and take the risk of losing everything for a chance of being successful. The economic ignorance of our politicians and many people that would bite the hand that feeds them amazes me. I can only conclude they should get what they deserve.

At least differentiate between those owning and growing a business from those high paid corporate CEO's, managers, bankers, brokers and hedge fund managers. Hedge fund managers and their rich clients pay a maximum of 24.6% on their gains. I will give you three guesses why our rich congress members don't address this discrepancy and the first two guesses don't count.

It is not a democrat or republican problem. Neither darn one is willing to deal with the root problem which is the lack of jobs. Two CEO's just admitted it is not the wage difference. It cost $1 billion more to build a factory in the U.S. than any other country due to taxes and no value to anyone legislatively induced cost. Not what you want to hear is it? Tell me why they won't build in the U.S.? They can't, stock holders would attack them for spending $$ they didn't need to.

December 5, 2010 at 6:50 p.m.
MTJohn said...

nucanuck - I agree on both counts, but note that there are still plenty of weapons to be deployed. And, given that we have poorly engaged the economic confrontation, we well might start looking for excuses to launch the first strike.

December 5, 2010 at 7 p.m.
sd said...

BobMKE said, per unnamed sources, "700,000 small businesses are going to be taxed because they make more than $250,000.00 a year. This is 50% of the the small businesses in The Country."

Please don't spread lies. I hate it when people spread lies. If you've got a source, link it so we can see exactly where those numbers come from. I'm sorry to single you out specifically, but I am getting tired of the all the disingenuous "fact slinging" around here.

Meanwhile: http://www.sba.gov/advo/stats/sbfaq.pdf

December 5, 2010 at 7:25 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Harp,

Yes,jobs are the problem,and I believe,compounded by the ending of consumption as we have known it. I think that means no growth and probably an ongoing contraction in jobs no matter what we do. Everything we have ever known or seen is predicated on growth:jobs,SSI,debt repayment...this is really going to be different.

Many think that as energy prices soar over the next few years,travel and shipping costs will become such a factor that re-localizing many businesses can and will come back into vogue. A version of back to the future I suppose.

As I have mentioned before,the small smart farm is viable today all over the country if they target the right products,use greenhouses and hydroponics. There is good money to be made supplying local markets...many thousands of new jobs.

The main drawback...it requires hard work.

December 5, 2010 at 7:26 p.m.
Francis said...

unemployment , unemployment, unemployment....struggling businesses, struggling businesses, struggling businesses...but democrats want to raise the tax rates, which equals tax increases..starting at the bottom level... 10% to 15%....and so on.....not smart..and completely devoid of empathy...

when times are tough, raising taxes doesn't help anyone....they have less, make less and have a harder time making ends meet...so the solution is to take more from them????.....dumb..

mountain laurel, hambone, alprova and the rest of you liberals continue to beat the same old stupid drumb...dems good repubs bad...sorry, drop the party loyalty crap and realize they've both been stinking up the joint...

December 5, 2010 at 8:25 p.m.
hambone said...

DFTT!

December 5, 2010 at 8:33 p.m.
samplegirl said...

We know who the thieves are. They are the super wealthy who own control multinational corporations, who owncontrol all means of distribution, who own control everything we need for survival, who own control our political system, who own control the media, and who own and control us. These owners are using the Republican Party as their spearhead in acquiring everything on this planet that there is to acquire. But, make no mistake about it. There are numerous Democrats who understand it and are going along with it to get their share of the spoils. So here are my questions. Does anyone have the vaguest idea of what we can do to halt our slide into involuntary servitude? Does anyone have a clue as to how we can escape from the insidious oppression which has overtaken us? Does anyone know how we can regain our existence as a free people?

December 5, 2010 at 9:01 p.m.
BobMKE said...

sd,

I am not a liar. I watched the four Sunday morning news shows and that figure was put out there. I said IF it is true. I'm sure we can check this figure out tomorrow to learn if it is a correct number. IF it is true, then we are in big trouble. Numerous posts on here are about billionairs. What about these small business people? Don't any of you care about them? Or are you so taken over by the libs class warfare propaganda? If a person takes a change and invests his/her capitol and is one of the persons who makes it, then good for them. You libs, invest your capitol and take the change. I hope you make it. Good for you. Me, I don't have the nerve to do it. As you notice I don't rip on the people who have made it like a lot of you are doing. Shame on you.

December 5, 2010 at 9:05 p.m.
whatsthefuss said...

sd wrote "BobMKE said, per unnamed sources, "700,000 small businesses are going to be taxed because they make more than $250,000.00 a year. This is 50% of the the small businesses in The Country."

Please don't spread lies. I hate it when people spread lies. If you've got a source, link it so we can see exactly where those numbers come from. I'm sorry to single you out specifically, but I am getting tired of the all the disingenuous "fact slinging" around here.

At what rates are the self-employed taxed? Of the 15.5 million individuals whose primary occupation was self-employment (incorporated and unincorporated), the median personal marginal federal tax rate was 10 percent in 2008. Only 4.1 percent of the self-employed were in the marginal tax bracket of 33 percent or more. So sd, would you please do the math and tell us what 4.1% of 15.5 million is. The paragraph above is from your link. Please also explain what lies are being told. Your named source seems to back up BobMKE's unnamed source as you put it. Also if you think something posted is not true get off your lazy duff and bring the truth to light. BobMKE made a mistake. He posted 50% instead of 5%. The 700,000 number is very close to your source. Calling someone a liar can many times start a fight. Them their are fighting words around some parts. Play nice or get out of the sand box. The truth shall set you free. I made that up!!!

December 5, 2010 at 9:06 p.m.
alprova said...

BobMKE wrote: "Several sources are giving out figures as follows:"


And what gives you the confidence that those sources are not spreading pure unadulterated rhetoric?


"700,000 small businesses are going to be taxed because they make more than $250,000.00 a year."


Balushnic. As I have posted so many times, anyone who owns a business should know how to easily avoid being placed into any situation that would put themselves into a higher tax bracket pertaining to either their corporate or income tax assessments, whichever applies.

A tax increase on personal or corporate income is a VERY GOOD INCENTIVE for investing more money into one's business, or to take advantage of tax credits that are on the books.

There is no IRS requirement that any business show so much as one cent in income from any business. You can't falsify the books, but you invest whatever you want back into that business to limit profits and personal income to fall into whichever tax bracket you desire.

Personal and exclusive greed however has taken the place of any and all concepts of loyalty, steady profits, and stability when it comes to business.

Union thugs, desperate to retain a sense of power, contributed to this mess as well, using threats in numbers to become overly greedy, rather than to keep things on an even pace and to remain loyal and steady.


"How many jobs will not be created if these figures are true since they are the ones who are going to pull this Country out of the recession?"


Well, let's see...I have a choice to make -- I'll show that I earned a cool half million and pay income taxes on that, or I will leave money on the books, hire a half-dozen workers and file for some rather generous tax credits as a small business owner and even avoid payroll taxes in some cases.

Do you see how easy that works?

Not that I would expect that the tax rates for individuals or businesses will jump to a rate that preceded Reagan, but you could bet your hind end that if tax rates over a certain amount of income were ever to go back to a 50% rate or higher, like it once was, you'd see a massive jump in job creation and other investing in businesses by their owners.

They might even find it in their hearts to pay their workers a decent wage.

Why? Because as we all know, nothing irks a businessman or woman more than to have to pay taxes. And that my friends is why prior to Reagan, business owners paid their workers a better living wage, provided incentives and benefits to keep their businesses humming along and their workers happy, and why most people had a decent job.

That's the flip-side of that coin that Republicans will never toss into the air, or ever talk about.

December 5, 2010 at 10:06 p.m.
alprova said...

whatsthefuss wrote: "The wars should have ended with Bush. OK, so why have they not ended under O'BLA,BLA,BLAMA??


Sir, the war in Iraq has ended. We have no combat troops in that nation any longer there for any other purpose than to protect those who are working to stabilize that nation's government, and to finish rebuilding what was destroyed.

Didn't you get the memo? It went out on August 31, 2010.

Afghanistan is a much more complicated situation. Personally, I would be just fine with any decision to send in the helicopters and to load every last one of our people and to bring them home, but we went in there for a reason and it was for a good reason, despite the lackluster results to date.

GWB dropped the ball in Afghanistan to go after Saddam Hussein and that should have never happened.

There are true threats to American security in Afghanistan, and President Obama has consulted many times with military leaders, who feel that it is in the best interests of our nation to bring about stability in Afghanistan.

While I think we may be wasting time and lives in Afghanistan, I am not in any position to truly or fully evaluate why a decision has not been made yet to end our efforts there.

President Obama has been very forthcoming with updates and reasons why we are still fighting in that country. Right, wrong, or indifferent, as the case may be, there are times when I have to believe that our nation's leader and the military know what must be done, and for whatever reasons there are for doing it.

December 5, 2010 at 10:35 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

BobMKE said: "700,000 small businesses are going to be taxed because they make more than $250,000.00 a year"

Believe you’re being disingenuous, BobMKE. Annie Lowrey of the Washington Independent does a better job at sorting through the facts. She also mentions that economist Dean Baker estimates that the “tax hit” for small businesses in the $250,000 to $500,000 a year bracket would be approximately $700, which isn’t enough to hire anyone. Anyway, Lowrey writes:

“The Joint Committee on Taxation does estimate (PDF) that 750,000 individual tax filings with business income — about 3 percent of all tax filings with business income — would see higher marginal rates.

The problem is in sorting out whose filings those are. Business income filed on an individual return might stem from anything from a hedge fund to a lemonade stand to a person who makes money-selling items on eBay. The number and kind of small businesses that might see taxes on their profits rise is impossible to determine without access to private IRS files.

Still, Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, estimates that the tax hit would not be too high for most small businesses. For one, the marginal tax increase impacts earnings, not revenue. A business would need to be clearing more than $250,000 a year after salaries and other costs in order to see a tax hit. And then, it would likely be small. “For the $250,000 to $500,000 a year bracket,” Baker notes, “the estimated tax hit is $700. That isn’t enough to hire anyone.”

Other groups have also estimated that the impact would not be great. Citizens for Tax Justice, for instance, examined (PDF) “data on individuals who get more than half of their income from a business that they actively operate.” Only five percent would lose any portion of earnings — many of whom would be partners in law firms, hedge fund managers and accountants.

http://washingtonindependent.com/97315/who-would-the-tax-increases-hurt

December 5, 2010 at 10:39 p.m.
nucanuck said...

BobMKE,

You assume,incorrectly,that those of us who prefer that upper income earners pay higher taxes have some sort of class envy. I started with very little,then worked,saved,took risks,invested and made a fair amount of money. I'm well off. I was lucky,but I know that America needs a strong middle class much more than we need a single millionaire.

The last thirty years has been a feast for the rich with the middle class slowly losing ground. Look at the most successful countries...the middle class has a much better situation than America's middle class. America's rich,however,have gotten ugly obscene rich,beyond all reasonable levels of rich,filthy rich. That's not healthy for them or the country. Thirty years of tax policy that shifted the tax burden away from high earners has allowed a tilt so excessive that it is starving the middle.

We need tax policies that keep a better balance between rich and the middle...it won't be good for me,but it's what the country needs.

December 5, 2010 at 10:44 p.m.
fairmon said...

nucanuck, I agree consumption as we have in the past known has changed. The major change is the source of the goods we consume. I know few if any here believe large corporations pay an unreasonable highest tax rate in the world. Intel's CEO and the CEO of CY recently stated the cost to build a factory in the U.S. was $1 billion more expensive than building in any other country. They both said it was not wages but taxes and other legislatively imposed cost that other countries do not have.

I spent over 40 years in upper management with a very large corporation. I assure you the taxes are real and are paid with U.S. dollars to the U.S. treasury. I encountered many of the legislative cost that were really not necessary and did nothing for consumers or the business except add close to 25% to the cost of U.S. produced goods. Until people can see the games our politicians play and that any cost imposed by local, state and federal governments on businesses are eventually paid by the consumer nothing will improve and U.S. jobs other than those created by small business now being threatened will be created.

We had the real estate and preferred building in the U.S. but comparisons of cost to do so was prohibitive and were ongoing, not one time cost. It had nothing to do with wages. We constructed major facilities in Turkey, India, Taiwan and other places and as stewards of stock holders money that was the right thing to do. Transportation cost off set the wage delta so that is not, as politicians claim and their supporters parrot, the cause of building in areas other than the U.S.

How many holding political office or voting have actually had first hand experience and been responsible for profit and loss with a large corporation. I agree with those that think corporate management, bankers, brokers, athletic coaches, athletes and others are grossly over paid and I have no problem with them paying more taxes. However, political leaders need to wake up and get their boot off of the throat of businesses that are the source of jobs. How can those leading our government into bankruptcy have any idea what is necessary to have a successful business? They certainly have not demonstrated competence. Why do they favor financial institutions and brokerages but kick the heck out of manufacturing?

December 5, 2010 at 10:48 p.m.
alprova said...

whatsthefuss wrote: "The group that earns $250,000 a year and up is 10% of the American population."


According to the latest census figures, the correct percentage of households that earn above $250,000 comes to 448,687, or 1.93%. Kids don't count.


"They earn 27% of income paid to Americans."


That is a projected figure for 2009 and it has not been documented to be fact, but we'll go with it.


"They also pay 47% of the Federal Income Tax collected."


Again a 2009 projected figure, according to the Tax Policy Center.


"Now they drive the same roads, they use little of the public school resources available to them along with many of the government services that many Americans enjoy. So who pays for all these wonderful entitlements??? They do!!!"


No they don't. They clearly pay for less than half of all that is collected to fund Governmental expenditures.

That also clearly indicates that the overwhelming majority of the population is paying collectively, almost 53% of the income taxes collected.

So what's your point?

That roughly 2-3% of income earners can afford to pay taxes, they should be, and they need to be paying more, as it once was in this nation.

And I'm sorry as can be, but you're not going to drum up any sympathy whatsoever to your position that the rich are taxed too much, from people who are quite likely making life altering decisions these days, because they are trying to live from week to week, trying to save their house from foreclosure, trying to pay the electric bill on time, and trying to keep at least some form of nourishment on the table for their family.

You show me any example of a family with a CURRENT income in the $250,000 range and above, who are being legitimately forced to make those kind of decisions, and I'll never post another word on this subject ever again.

December 5, 2010 at 11:33 p.m.
Clara said...

harp, isn't it because that's where the real money is kept by the people AND the politicians? (And the Government)?

But, as I've stated before, I haven't been able to absorb higher finance since the depression of '28+.

Of course, if someone gave me a million or so to play with so I could learn about the higher stakes first hand, and not just the price of a gallon of milk going up and down but ever higher than the 40 cents it cost when I was a child, it would be helpful...Ahem! C:-)

December 5, 2010 at 11:39 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Harp,

I don't know enough about comparative corporate tax structures among nations to give you an intelligent response.

I do agree that the financial sector has been given what ever they wanted,to the point of bringing the whole country down because of their greed and excess. As I have said before,America won't hit bottom or begin to recover until the biggest banks have been broken up and properly regulated.

December 6, 2010 at 12:10 a.m.
alprova said...

whatsthefuss argued with: "At what rates are the self-employed taxed?

Of the 15.5 million individuals whose primary occupation was self-employment (incorporated and unincorporated), the median personal marginal federal tax rate was 10 percent in 2008. Only 4.1 percent of the self-employed were in the marginal tax bracket of 33 percent or more. So sd, would you please do the math and tell us what 4.1% of 15.5 million is."


The 4.1% of those who actually make it into the 33% (or 35%, the individual tax rate) or more tax bracket amount to only 635,500 individuals. This leaves 14,864,500 people who are self-employed, who would not be affected whatsoever by a tax hike on those in the top tax bracket.


"The paragraph above is from your link. Please also explain what lies are being told. Your named source seems to back up BobMKE's unnamed source as you put it."


The lie being told, was to suggest that 50% of all small businesses would be affected by the failure to extend the Bush Tax Cuts to those earning $250,000 or more.

The approximate percentage of those who file as being self-employed who would be affected by the tax increase is only around 4.1% according to this cited source.

The CBO recently estimated only 3% of all small businesses would be affected.

But...what's 1.1%, give or take a little?

The unsupported 50% or more statistic being floated around is a 100% Republican spawned lie and is a lie that is being believed by those who refuse to inform themselves to the facts as they are, unfortunately.


"Also if you think something posted is not true get off your lazy duff and bring the truth to light."


He did. You looked at it and you quoted it. I'm just not sure that you have digested it to understand the full impact that it illustrates on the reality of the situation.


"BobMKE made a mistake. He posted 50% instead of 5%."


Bob quoted figures being widely reported as fact, that are anything but factual in nature. I think Bob thought he was quoting fact, but he, like so many people, failed to confirm conclusively that what he quoted was indeed factual.

After all, if he had posted the more realistic "5%," that doesn't quite make the case that a great many businesses are going to be devastated by a 3% increase in personal income taxes, now does it?


"The 700,000 number is very close to your source."


Of the 138 million or so individual tax returns filed each year, the "700,000" people who would be affected by the tax increase represents only just over one half of one percent of all taxpayers in this nation.

It's a doggone shame when such a small percentage of people are actually convincing 99.94% of the rest of this nation, that to tax them a little more will result in financial Armaggedon.

My God, when are people going to wake up and smell the coffee before they drink it?

December 6, 2010 at 12:26 a.m.
Reardon said...

There is nothing more insidious, unfair, and inefficient as a progressive (read regressive) income tax.

Instead of being against any income tax hike, you should be for the complete repeal of the income tax and the IRS.

Then, maybe the hundreds of thousands of tax lawyers, accountants, and IRS agents can find a job that actually has a productive use.

You all might find it interesting how low the modern-day income tax started in 1913 -- it was 7% and lower, and restricted to the uber-rich. Click here http://www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/151.html

(Remember to adjust for the extreme amounts of inflation we've had, too).

If there is such a thing, proper tax structure should fit appropriately to its use. Meaning only drivers are taxed to pave roads through the gas tax, not non-drivers.

December 6, 2010 at 5:20 a.m.
alprova said...

Reardon wrote: "There is nothing more insidious, unfair, and inefficient as a progressive (read regressive) income tax.

Instead of being against any income tax hike, you should be for the complete repeal of the income tax and the IRS.

Then, maybe the hundreds of thousands of tax lawyers, accountants, and IRS agents can find a job that actually has a productive use."


Worded that way, I would absolutely agree with you. The unfortunate thing is that taxation is a political football that politicians just love to play with, and changing our system of taxation will not come about unless there were a miraculous ousting of most of our current representatives in Washington.


"If there is such a thing, proper tax structure should fit appropriately to its use. Meaning only drivers are taxed to pave roads through the gas tax, not non-drivers."


Ah...but drivers are not the only people who travel on the roads. Why there are vehicles capable of ferrying up to 80 people up and down those roads.

Shouldn't passengers pay as well? They may not be driving, but the roads benefit them nonetheless. As a very good financial lesson for kids, the Government should tax them a penny a day every time their parents fail to put them on a school bus, and instead drive them back and forth to school, make them file tax returns, and pay by postal money order.

I dare offer that there are very few people, if any at all in this country, who never use the roads that wind their ways through this great nation of ours.

December 6, 2010 at 9 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

Typical liberal outlook, clay. If the tax rate is not expeditiously raised on the wealthy there will be famine and pestilence. Doesn’t it get embarrassing to be caught championing that position?

After the Democrats forced the Bush tax cuts to be temporary I wondered how the tax cut could be very simulative. If I was planning a business, I thought, wouldn’t you have to consider using the low tax years to position your business for the expiration of those tax cuts? It seemed to me that by making the Bush tax cuts temporary you would just be enabling some companies to make the move offshore by giving them a temporary influx of cash.

Businesses are looking for a stable, friendly environment. I don’t think the temporary Bush tax cuts necessarily did that. It seems far less likely that a short term extension will do it either. In fact, with the huge deficits we are facing businesses may elect to plan for even higher taxes at the end of the temporary extension. Time to move, anyone?

I am wondering why no one is talking about letting the tax rate go up some fraction of the income tax increase we are poised to see in January, say a ¼ of that for Everyone, but make the increase Permanent. That way the magnitude of the increase would be bearable, the burden would be fairly spread out, and the permanence would give businesses a tax environment they can plan around.

The only problem with any tax increase, however, is that the federal government should prove that it is capable of the hard choices necessary to significantly decrease spending before taxpayers are asked to throw even more money down the black hole.

December 6, 2010 at 9:06 a.m.

Dems are so focused on who makes what and how much; they totally miss the real issue with raising taxes on higher personal incomes and small businesses.

It's a sad situation when some of the people believe others should be made to pay for everything. Or as the POTUS should say snarkingly "at some point, errr, you've made enough money".

December 6, 2010 at 9:29 a.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Bookieturnersghost said: "It's a sad situation . . . "

A sad situation is a Republican party who lies to their country in order to start a war in the Middle East, adds to the Nation’s deficit by cutting taxes that mostly benefited the wealthiest 1% of the nation, attempts to loot a Social Security system that benefits ordinary hard working Americans, denies benefits for the Nation’s unemployed, mocks the Nation’s unemployed by calling them lazy, and plays patty cake with treaties critical to the Nation’s national security.

December 6, 2010 at 9:56 a.m.
whatsthefuss said...

Alpo, Your a mess. Please listen. We want you to post here. You are very entertaining. When you threatened to take your bat & ball and go home a while back I thought I would have to seek out other forms for my well being. But alas, you came home just like Lassie. So please don't stop posting but I do know people who have had to make drastic lifestyle changes because of real estate holdings alone. Never mind investments in the financial sector that have left them with a very bitter pill to swallow. The funny part is they were devout Bush fans until the down turn. They made large sums of money flipping very nice homes. They just didn't think to put some aside just like you pointed out that this strategy kept them from paying huge taxes. The Warren Buffett Syndrome took affect and they continued to reinvest thinking the sky would never fall. It has affected them in every way and created an anger in them I had never seen in the 30 years I have known them. Very sad. Better to have been rich and lost than to have never been rich at all?? AAHH, I don't think it works quite the same as love does. I love love!! I know I've got you in tears. I'm sorry. As to adding employees and receiving tax breaks vs paying tax? What do you suppose these new employees would do. Sweep the floor. Clean the bathrooms. And you also want the employeer to pay them at an even higher wage with better benefits?? I would like to observe a working model of your idea and see the bottom line after 1 year. Also investing in new equipment is a good idea if you have the orders to keep such purchases profitable. Right now we do not. The Aisan market has had the last 10 years to build and tool up to support the new global economy. At their rate of pay I find it just more rhetoric on your part to assume employers can pay more in wages and they are the problem. Perhaps you missed The Ben Bernak last night but he is the last straw for any hope of a recovery and he didn't sound like a man with a plan. I was confused when he said the $600,000,000,000 that will be used to buy Treasuries was not just going to be printed. Your a CPA. Would you please explain where this money is coming from and at what cost for the purchase? You ask what my point is? I expect government to spend less and do more. And how did this enlisted man download our TOP SECRET catalog and give it to someone else. Our top security does not appear to be very secure. It appears to lack professionalism. Again, lets get what we pay for. Not excuses. And you are going to be refered to as Mr.Obvious from now on with your comment about the Iraq war. Would you please tell all the nice people how many troops are still stationed in Iraq and when our job will be done?

December 6, 2010 at 10:07 a.m.
whatsthefuss said...

Oh, one more thing. People who ride a bus buy a ticket. The commercial busses pay a much higher annual fee to be able to drive their big bus on our highways. As for CARTA, every parking meter in the city funds this program. I don't mind putting the money in to visit downtown but I do find the 2 hour limit to be a huge inconvience. It keeps us away from the downtown area as we used to visit at least 4 times a month. Now it's more like 4 times a year. LOVE YOU LONG TIME!!! Post on!!!

December 6, 2010 at 10:09 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

mountainlaurel,

We are all going to have to sacrifice to dig our way out of the mess that has been created. However, NOBODY should be asked to pay more in taxes until the feds have demonstrated they can start behaving like adults with OUR money.

The idea that anyone should be asked to give them more while they continue to throw 10's & 100's of billions around like monopoly money is outrageous to me!

December 6, 2010 at 10:12 a.m.
nucanuck said...

Last year the top 400 incomes in America paid an average of under 17% in federal income tax. The top nominal rate is 35%.

Anyone not seeing a problem with the 17% number needs to go stand in the corner.

Rich Americans are under-taxed.

December 6, 2010 at 10:26 a.m.
whatsthefuss said...

The top 400 incomes in America are who. How much did they make. Sounds like corporate robber barons to me. Oh and did the wonderful Warren Buffett write a big check to the feds after making the statement that he should pay much more in taxes??? I don't think so. Now as to the 17%. Did these companies or individuals create a huge number of jobs?? Did they enjoy the many tax breaks given to the "REPUBLICAN WEALTHY." If so who are they and why aren't the Democrats correcting this so called problem. They have had 4 years. We have nothing to show for it except a bunch of people still running around talking about 5 years ago. Whats up with that. Do you people live in the past or the present.

December 6, 2010 at 10:55 a.m.
nucanuck said...

When you compare taxes to GDP,the USofA comes in at the bottom of the list.

Despite some opinions on this board,the US is simply undertaxed relative to the rest of the world,and relative to our spending habits.

We ate the free lunch,but it turns out that it wasn't free.

We certainly need (large) spending cuts,but significantly more tax revenue will be required to keep our ship sailing.

December 6, 2010 at 11:09 a.m.
Reardon said...

"Worded that way, I would absolutely agree with you. The unfortunate thing is that taxation is a political football that politicians just love to play with, and changing our system of taxation will not come about unless there were a miraculous ousting of most of our current representatives in Washington."

Hi al -- that's why I don't play their game, and suggest you don't either. If you have principles (and I'm not suggesting whether or not you do), then stand by them and support people who want to gut the tax system as it is.

"Ah...but drivers are not the only people who travel on the roads. Why there are vehicles capable of ferrying up to 80 people up and down those roads."

Passengers are carrying the cost of the tax through the fares they pay.

"Shouldn't passengers pay as well? They may not be driving, but the roads benefit them nonetheless."

Agreed, and those costs are reflected in the cost of goods that we end up purchasing, ie, food, packages delivered, etc.

At least in these cases, we can argue over what percentage is appropriate to maintain the road system, since the taxation method is arguably fair and balanced for all those who take advantage of roads, whether directly or indirectly.

But when it comes to income taxation -- at least for me -- why even discuss what arbitrary level is important for some arbitrary reason, when the idea that the government has first rights to a derivative of my life, progressively worse as I become more productive, is a falsehood?

It's like suggesting that there is a moral way to randomly murder somebody.

December 6, 2010 at 11:26 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

nucanuck,

The rest of the world is overtaxed to try to pay for failed socialist programs. US taxation is about right.

Unfortunately, Washington has been working hard to take us down the same tired collectivist path. Now that the bills have come due they think they are justified in using class warfare to gain support to go after a select group for funding. The majority votes themselves benefits from the minority. That is morally wrong and a key reason democracy tends to fail over time. I wish I could believe that moral issues like that are driving the Republicans. Regardless of what really motivates them, stealing from one to give to another is always wrong no matter how one tries to justify it.

December 6, 2010 at 12:20 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

BigRidgePatriot said: “We are all going to have to sacrifice to dig our way out of the mess that has been created.”

What you seem to be ignoring is that much of this “mess” is due to the reckless conduct of the greedy and wealthy financial sector. There is no rational reason for ordinary hard working Americans, along with the unemployed millions in this country – who are actually victims of the financial crash engineered by the wealthiest 1% of this nation – to “sacrifice” even more.

The Republicans have no qualms about adding to the national debt by continuing the tax cuts on the highest incomes for the next decade, but when it comes to providing aid to the unemployed – again, who are victims of the financial crash engineered by the wealthiest 1% of this Nation – they want to find spending cuts to offset the costs. What hypocrites! The Republicans have a responsibility for the common good in this country, and it’s time they pay their dues.

December 6, 2010 at 12:43 p.m.
nucanuck said...

mountainlaurel gets an A+.

December 6, 2010 at 2:33 p.m.
nucanuck said...

BRP,why do you say "the rest of the world has been overtaxed to pay for failed socialist programs"? The social programs you demean work well (better than their US counterparts),are paid for,and result in high contentment among the citizenry. What's wrong with that?

Europe's current economic problems come from financial sector excess,not universal health care. Yes,some of the pension systems are out of line,but the balance between taxes and programs is fairly solid in the center of Europe. Greece is a whole other catagory.

Take your nationalist blinders off and evaluate fairly without just labeling things as socialist,when the term is really just a pejoritive without much meaning.

December 6, 2010 at 3:03 p.m.

The GOP is buying there votes early for 2012.

December 6, 2010 at 6:22 p.m.

The tax table that the democrats brought up was enough to laugh at. Middle class americans are being drained of there hard earned pay to which they are both in on the scam.

December 6, 2010 at 6:25 p.m.

As the old line in the X-files goes "Trust no One".

December 6, 2010 at 6:27 p.m.
BobMKE said...

EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA. Clay's toon is now moot. All of the posts written by the libs are now moot. Doesn't Obama just p--s you libs off? You libs just keep getting further and further out of the loop. Next cartoon Clay. (Note: Obama is pulling a 1995 Clinton and is moving to the right so he can get elected in 2012)

WASHINGTON – Brushing past Democratic opposition, President Barack Obama announced agreement with Republicans Monday night on a plan to extend expiring income tax cuts for all Americans, renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed and grant a one-year reduction in Social Security taxes.

The emerging agreement also includes tax breaks for businesses that the president said would contribute to the economy's recovery from the worst recession in eight decades.

Obama's announcement marked a dramatic reversal of his long-held insistence, originally laid out in his 2008 campaign, that tax cuts should only be extended at incomes up to $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples. He explained his about-face by saying that the agreement called for a temporary, two-year extension of cuts at all income levels, not the permanent renewal that Republicans have long sought.

December 6, 2010 at 7:50 p.m.
mountainlaurel said...

BobMKE said: "Extra, Extra, Extra, Clay's toon is now moot."

As one of my favorite bloggers said several days ago:

“In my view, anyone who votes to put a member of today’s Palinized, tea-partied, Club-for-Growth-ruled, Chamber-of-Commerce-owned Republican party in the U.S. Senate or House is a brick shy of a load in either the brains department or the morals department.” [Mark Kleiman]

Clay’s “toon’ hasn’t become moot, BobMKE. Because nothing has changed. The unemployed will continue to be unemployed; the wealthiest 1% will continue to get special tax cuts, which will continue to be invested and earn interest for them; the national debt will increase about 60 billion a year because the tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% were extended for two more years – and, as usual, all courtesy of the grand old party of the Banana Republic.

December 6, 2010 at 10:01 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...

mountainlaurel,

I understand that you, like various others on this site, take it upon yourself to post silly things with no basis in reality, but this...

"the national debt will increase about 60 billion a year because the tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% were extended for two more years – and, as usual, all courtesy of the grand old party of the Banana Republic."

...takes the cake.

First of all it is a fact that those "tax cuts for the wealthiest 1%" which are to be extended are actually tax cuts for everyone who pays taxes. This is a fact.

Second, total federal revenue increased after those tax cuts were originally enacted due to economic expansion. It always does. This is a fact as well.

Third, the Democrats still hold majorities in both houses of Congress. The Republicans don't have the votes to do much of anything other than stalling tactics. This is also a fact.

So, you see, the entire premise of your latest rant is false. None of it is based upon actual reality, just the media induced fantasy land that so many like you occupy.

The U.S. government can not tax the deficit away. 20% of GDP is close to the best take they've ever gotten, no matter the tax rates on the rich or anyone else.(See my link up-page) If you take the time to read some economic analysis by someone other than morons like Krugman, who can't hold his own against posters on his own blog, and assorted others of the same statist ilk, you might have a more realistic view of how the world actually functions.

December 7, 2010 at 12:24 a.m.
mountainlaurel said...

ScottyM Said: "I understand that you, like various others on this site, take it upon yourself to post silly things with no basis in reality, but. . . "

What can I say, ScottyM? . . . Some people must not agree with you. . . The amount quoted was mentioned in a NYT article. . . . It did state in inflation adjusted terms. . . Does that help a bit? Anyway, I found the article very interesting

“$60 Billion: The approximate amount that extending the Bush tax cuts on income above $250,000 a year will cost a year, in inflation-adjusted terms. . . .What else might that $60 billion a year buy?

A tripling of federal funding for medical research. Universal Preschool for 3 and 4 year old A national infrastructure program to repair and upgrade roads, bridges etc. A 15% cut in corporate taxes Twice as much money for clean energy research Free college for about half of all full time students A 500 tax cut for all households

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/05/weekinreview/05numbers.html?_r=2&ref=weekinreview

December 7, 2010 at 1:38 a.m.
SCOTTYM said...

mtnlrl,

You're still ignoring the reality that raising the tax rates on the highest earners does not increase Federal revenue. It has the opposite effect.

That $60Billion is vaporware. It will not manifest. It never has, and only a fool would believe that it would be different this time.

December 7, 2010 at 7:26 a.m.
alprova said...

whatsthefuss wrote: "...I do know people who have had to make drastic lifestyle changes because of real estate holdings alone...They made large sums of money flipping very nice homes...They just didn't think to put some aside just like you pointed out that this strategy kept them from paying huge taxes...The Warren Buffett Syndrome took affect and they continued to reinvest thinking the sky would never fall. It has affected them in every way and created an anger in them I had never seen in the 30 years I have known them. Very sad."


What you are describing is a high-end rouse that people with a little bit of money fell for, that fueled another facet of the housing bubble.

As a CPA, and as someone who invests whatever I can into what will most likely bring about the best return on my investments, at no time would I have considered real estate flipping to be a wise method of making money, unless it was done one property at a time.

The people who lost big time, were those who were working several properties at a time. Stupid is my only word of description for those who most certainly bit off more than they could chew. I don't care who you are, you never invest a dime more into any venture than you can afford to lose.

And as sorry as I am to know that there are people who risked all and lost, I have a hard time feeling sorry for them. It's still not the same as those in this country who did NOTHING AT ALL to put themselves in dire straits.


"As to adding employees and receiving tax breaks vs paying tax? What do you suppose these new employees would do. Sweep the floor. Clean the bathrooms."


I've always been involved with businesses that are in the service sector, mainly warehousing & trucking. Sales come easier in that line of work. If business was down or stagnant, I hired salesmen.

If business was good and it looked like I was going to make enough to push me into that higher bracket, raises were in order, and/or the secretary got a new car to run errands in.

I would buy trucks and trailers, depending on how revenue flowed. Sometimes the office got all new computers and other equipment. Employees were awarded bonuses a few times a year. There are literally all kinds of ways to keep the Government from just taking profits in taxes.


"And you also want the employeer to pay them at an even higher wage with better benefits?? I would like to observe a working model of your idea and see the bottom line after 1 year."


You don't need a year to figure that one out. Look at what a company is profiting or losing and look at what employees are being paid. Compare the bank accounts of all who own and work for the company to see what the problem is.

(Cont.)

December 7, 2010 at 9:02 a.m.
alprova said...

(Cont.)

"Also investing in new equipment is a good idea if you have the orders to keep such purchases profitable. Right now we do not. The Aisan market has had the last 10 years to build and tool up to support the new global economy. At their rate of pay I find it just more rhetoric on your part to assume employers can pay more in wages and they are the problem."


I never said all employers are in a position to pay more. Most are, if they are paying income taxes on middle to high six-figure incomes or better, and if they have employees.

Look, I'm simply a selfless man who would not sleep at all during the night if I was making six or seven grand a week clear, and I were paying my employees seven or eight dollars an hour.

I have never desired to live a lifestyle that would require me to spend that much money in order to live week to week. To put it mildly, I don't live my life to make lots of money. I'd rather have lots of friends who will bid me farewell when I die.


"Perhaps you missed The Ben Bernak last night but he is the last straw for any hope of a recovery and he didn't sound like a man with a plan. I was confused when he said the $600,000,000,000 that will be used to buy Treasuries was not just going to be printed. Your a CPA. Would you please explain where this money is coming from and at what cost for the purchase?"


I'm a CPA who specializes in retirement plan and investing administration. I don't audit the Fed.

If I were to hazard a guess as to what funds will go toward purchasing those Gov't bonds that is not printed for that purpose, it would probably include a number of departments with cash that actually exists on the books that is simply just sitting there.

Several months back, I discovered that there were dozens of Gov't accounts with millions in reserve. I can't remember where I found that information.


"You ask what my point is? I expect government to spend less and do more."


The Gov't is very much like most of America at the moment. They are trying to get by the best way they can. They've been dealt a pay cut too. A big one. So they're whipping out that gigantic credit card to pay their bills and obligations.

(Cont.)

December 7, 2010 at 9:04 a.m.
alprova said...

(Cont.)

"And how did this enlisted man download our TOP SECRET catalog and give it to someone else. Our top security does not appear to be very secure. It appears to lack professionalism. Again, lets get what we pay for. Not excuses."


I hope you're not going to be one of those who is going to blame the President for that. The details of how Bradley Manning accomplished what he did, if he did it, has not been vetted yet.

The bottom line is that a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link. If Bradley Manning was a weak link and he found a way to violate his trust as a high-level intelligence analyst, then he did so of his own free will, and he alone is responsible for that act.

There is no such thing on this Earth as a hack-proof computer file or a perfect human being entrusted with top-secret files.

Personally, I haven't seen much of anything to date released by Wikileaks that has blown up that many skirts. Nobody has resigned their position of employment or elected office. Nobody has been arrested for any wrongdoing, other than Bradley Manning.


"And you are going to be refered to as Mr.Obvious from now on with your comment about the Iraq war. Would you please tell all the nice people how many troops are still stationed in Iraq and when our job will be done?"


There are still approximately 48,000 troops in Iraq. Approximately 94,000 have been withdrawn.

Until the end of 2011, U.S. troops will mostly focus on training Iraqi soldiers and police. They are also protecting contractors who are rebuilding infrastructure and utilities.

They will be performing security patrols and there will also be likely deaths of troops in the future, because roadside bombs are still there and more are likely to be planted.

U.S. Troops are no longer allowed to go on combat missions without being joined by Iraqi forces, who are now doing most of the "work."

December 7, 2010 at 9:05 a.m.
alprova said...

BobMKE wrote: "EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA. Clay's toon is now moot. All of the posts written by the libs are now moot. Doesn't Obama just p--s you libs off? You libs just keep getting further and further out of the loop."


You never actually take the time to consider the implications of anything before you write, do you?

Yes, I am disappointed that the President caved on the issue, but there is a time and place to fight the big fight, and now, here in the month of December, weeks from Christmas, is not the time.

There is no one, at least those with a brain that is, that are not cognitive of the fact that extending unemployment benefits and all other important last-minute legislation was being held hostage by the Republicans.

The reality of the situation is that had Obama held out for what most of this country knows is right, people would have had their unemployment benefits terminated. The President took the high road. The extensions are for two years.

That means, in case you have not figured it out yet, that this fight will be revived again, in all of it's glory, just in time for the 2012 elections.

It's going to be a whole new ballgame then.

December 7, 2010 at 9:26 a.m.
whatsthefuss said...

Hey alpo, Your alright. As to my friends they didn't loose everything. They are both very well retired. They did flip one at a time. The last one was a very big house. Thats all. As to your lifestyle, I applaud people who understand maintaining a quality of life. I hope you enjoy your friends much more while your alive then looking down on them when they show up at the end. As to wiki, no I am not blaming Obama. What disturbes me is that the system set up to traffic in our SECRETS dosen't appear to be very SECRET. We are paying for something and someone did a very poor job. Thanks for the civility. Post on!!!

December 7, 2010 at 5:32 p.m.
BobMKE said...

alprova wrote:

"That means, in case you have not figured it out yet, that this fight will be revived again, in all of it's glory, just in time for the 2012 elections.

It's going to be a whole new ballgame then"

alprova, That's only IF not raising taxes doesn't work. If it does work, then it won't be revived again. Like I said before, Obama is pulling a 1995 Clinton. If it works, then there is a good chance that Obama will be re-elected. He took the high road, maybe he did. Or it is possible he wants to be re-elected and knows he will be judged on jobs or no jobs.

December 7, 2010 at 7:31 p.m.
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