published Monday, December 31st, 2012

Smith: Issues framed but distorted

By Robin Smith
  • photo
    Robin Smith, former Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party and congressional candidate.
    File Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Issues that dominate headlines include the economy, unemployment, government spending, the deficit, the national debt, tax policy and tax code reform.

The good news is that Democrats, Republicans and independents seem to agree that the deficit and the debt have to be reduced. The process to get to that goal is where the disagreements lie.

A few points for clarity: The "deficit" is the sum of money the federal government spends during a single year that exceeds that year's incoming revenue, our tax dollars. The "debt" is the cumulative sum spent over years; this debt does not include future obligations, like Social Security and Medicare payments that would have to be scored as "liabilities" in accounting.

As the nation focuses on reckless government spending, a key solution being heralded is for "the rich to pay more of their fair share" of taxes.

The current effort is to increase the top rate of taxes paid by those who make $250,000 or more on a yearly basis, which includes small businesses that file taxes as sole proprietorships.

Those trying to frame the debate offer some insight to our mess. There's been success in linking the "fairness" of the tax code to the reduction of deficit spending by the left.

So, what exactly happens when the "rich" -- note it's never framed as the hard-working and successful -- pay more of their earnings to the government for politicians to spend?

An article on CNBC.com notes that "raising taxes to 39.6 percent on the Obama rich (earning $250,000-plus) would yield around $40-$45 billion in added tax revenue in the first year." Since the 2012 deficit is on track to be $1.1 trillion, perspective is helpful.

Congressman Tom Price of Georgia explained in a November interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell that taxing the newly-defined "rich" earning $250,000-plus "covers the spending by this federal government for not eight years, not eight months, not for eight weeks but for eight days. Eight days only."

Politically, it sounds great and fair to tax the rich, but let's examine the reality. Historically, increased government spending has paralleled unemployment, as recorded by the Federal Reserve Economic Data back to 1948. This time is no different.

As President Barack Obama has spent at least $1 trillion more each year of his presidency than has been taken into the U.S. Treasury, the unemployment rates have ranged from 7.8 percent at his first inaugural to a high of 10 percent and, most recently, at 7.7 percent just weeks prior to his second inaugural.

Yet, the cries have been, "tax the rich" versus "get out of the way government and let businesses create jobs!"

Less-than-conservative columnist Joe Weisenthal of Business Insider wrote weeks ago, "When unemployment drops, deficit/GDP (ratio of deficit spending to our nation's economy) drops. When unemployment rises, deficit/GDP rises. Growth is the only deficit reduction policy that matters."

So, if creating jobs and employing folks who'll spend their earnings is the solution to get America out of its economic hole, why is the main focus of these political plans to tax, or penalize, the new Obama "rich" making $250,000-plus who create jobs and hire?

Voltaire, the French philosopher and writer, seems to have provided the best summary: "Common sense is not so common" at least when it's better to frame an issue and distort it.

Robin Smith is a wife and mother living in Hixson. She served as chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party from 2007 to 2009.

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nucanuck said...

For thirty years the growth in the US ecomomy has come mostly from borrowing forward and increasing debt loads on individuals, companies, and government. In other words we have had very little real growth at all. Growth is the magic, but elusive elixir, that will solve government problems. If only we could find a Nobel laureate in economics who could tell us how to accomplish growth without adding debt, we would be off to the races.

The cold hard truth is that we are at, or very near, ZERO GROWTH as a world society. We are pushing the limits of air, fresh water, and arable land. The consumption patterns that have driven hyperbolic growth for more than a century are rolling over in the developed world while consumption resourse growth is transfered to the developing world.

Real growth is almost certainly not an option for the developed world. If that is true, then we will need a new model that is sustainable with ZERO GROWTH. That is the challenge that we are yet to acknowledge. Until we do, we are in for a rough ride.

December 31, 2012 at 7:54 a.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

Smith: 'Issues framed but distorted' (Please consider these issues also).

Jesus Christ>>>John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, "I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life..."

Jesus Christ proclaimed that He Is Creator God of The Universe (All existence)! He proclaimed that since He Is God, then, He Is the only Way to come to God, or, to know God.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press readers are 'here & Now' individuals who know the value of being currently informed about the events of their world! This is intelligence/wisdom.

"New Year's Eve". I wish all a Happy and Prosperous New Year in The Lord Jesus Christ. In 2012 43 Million humans had to leave their homes due to conflict and violence. There were 73 Million Forced Migrants (46% Children, 49% Women). Natural and Technological Disasters displaced 15 Million humans in 2012. And on, and on. 2011 was the worst year for natural disasters and now 2012 may top that. Suffering Humanity.

Now, please 'hear' this. Do we want Jesus Christ to be our Saviour, or, our Judge only, who meets out deserved chastisement/discipline? Multiplied times we see one tiny Christian village blessed when there is poverty, warfare, and, disasters all around them. Chattanooga has been comparatively blessed due to a host of praying Christians (And a Newspaper that is not afraid to post regular Bible Scripture). Please know that the Holy Bible says, "The fool has said in his heart that there is no God." Those who know virtually nothing, except that they don't want to live by Christian morality, would have us go the way of the old Soviet Union! So, for my New Year's Eve proclamation, I give to many a resounding 'Thank You' for Your Christian prayers and witness. Our Lord God and Saviour, Jesus Christ is allowing Chattanooga, Tennessee to prosper because of You.

You are few in number, but, Christ Jesus said, "Straight is the gate, and, narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and, few there be which find it." Finally we are beginning to plainly see the 'Sheep' separated from the 'Goats'. And, by this, we are understanding more completely what Jesus said, "...few there be which find it."

Ken ORR

December 31, 2012 at 9:14 a.m.
nucanuck said...

The warrior religions are the direct cause of much of what you lament.

Some of us goats moved from Christianity's embrace to a different enlightenment. I find it to be a higher morality.

Now, do you have anything constructive to say about the editorial?

December 31, 2012 at 9:59 a.m.
conservative said...

Nucanuck, what is the name of that eco/earth god you worship?

Are you still consummming 2.3 earths?

That eco/earth god must surely be angry with you.

Try John 3:16. You will never go back.

December 31, 2012 at 10:06 a.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

Yes, Your valuable class as an individual, to me, is real, and, indisputable. Thank You for Your time/energy investments in what You write. kwo

TRUTH

December 31, 2012 at 10:39 a.m.
inquiringmind said...

Come on Robin, are you and your pals in the red party going to be the ones who walk to the other side of the road to avoid giving help, or are you going to take the risk and give until it hurts? Much is expected of those who are blessed with great wealth, be it,money, power or skill, they should give as much as they receive - the rule of thumb - put more back in the kitty than you take out.

The tragedy is that a state has to tax the wealthy because the wealthy are so stingy. I've met quite a few of those "small businessmen" in my business dealings around town to have observed the truth in the scholarly surveys showing the poor give proportionately more of their assets than do the rich, how about that!

December 31, 2012 at 3:11 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Conservative really has no clue the amount of ignorance in his/her posts. Very pitiful.

And Orr admires that ignorance. Comedy at its finest.

December 31, 2012 at 4:34 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

Oh, Robin, I think your math is off, or you are shading the facts. Leaving the tax rate on the rich (raised to >$400,000/yr ) will not raise $60 billion but about $600 Billion. Now maybe it is $60B per year, but the whole conversation has been cutting a trillion or more over 10 years. That tax change gives is at a minimum $600B, or 60% of the way to a trillion dollars.

A news quote from 12/31: "A source familiar with the negotiations said the proposal under discussion would generate $600 billion in revenues by ending the Bush-era tax cuts on individuals with incomes above $400,000 and families over $450,000. Their tax rate would be 39.6%, the same as it was in 2000 during President Bill Clinton's presidency. The top income rate is currently 35%."

More must be done, but with this Obama has already achieved almost $2 trillion dollars in budget reduction if spending remains constant and the economy does not grow.

Let's get bak to the Clinton era when the government ran in the black!

December 31, 2012 at 5:14 p.m.
MyGen said...

inquiringmind must think everything in print is done the day it's printed. Even when I submitted a letter to the editor it was out of date before it was printed.

But really, this is the Senate that has never passed a budget while Obama's been president and we're hearing a call for Clinton taxes. What about Clinton spending?

I think. I reason. Glad to be a Young Republican.

December 31, 2012 at 5:51 p.m.
Easy123 said...

MyGen,

"I think. I reason."

That's questionable considering your post did nothing to dispute the post from inquiringmind.

December 31, 2012 at 6:26 p.m.
MyGen said...

There is no current deal. The president's proposal is to tax all who make $250,000+. The article is accurate based on the current information.

And back to those Clinton spending rates and no budget for four years from folks crying about a crisis. Still thinking and reasoning while you guys scramble for your talking points.

As a new business owner, your $250,000 hits me. a 29-year old with a payroll of 4 who lives in an old rental home driving a car with more than 200,000 miles on it. Yep, taxing the rich!

Getting more conservative the more you all redistribute my earnings.

By the way, I'll be laying off at least one worker if the $250,000 rate stands. Congratulations, progressives!

December 31, 2012 at 6:52 p.m.
Easy123 said...

MyGen,

No, it is not. President Obama has compromised with Republicans and increased that tax to those that make $400,000+. That is the current number that is on the table.

You're just talking. I'm not sure why you think that reciting what someone else said is "thinking and reasoning" but it isn't. This country was much better off fiscally when Clinton was President. Wouldn't you think we could at least consider some of the ideas used then? Or are you just following suite with your GOP obstructionists?

Again, the number is $400K, not $250K. That is the current number that the Congress is working with.

Redistribution of your earnings is called taxes to most reasonable human beings. Earnings have been redistributed since this country's origin. It'll never change but I'm sure you'll keep acting like you've been slighted somehow.

The $250K number is no longer being proposed. You might want to get up to speed with the current state of affairs if you want your posts to be considered relevant. Also, no one cares who you have to fire. If you want to get out debt, you need to increase revenues. Only WingNuts think you can ONLY decrease spending and get out of debt. It doesn't work that way unless you're willing to settle for less of everything i.e. jobs, teachers, police, federal money, etc.

It should tell you something about your side whenever they discuss decreased spending, they never mention decreased military spending (the biggest portion of our budget). Congratulations, regressives!

December 31, 2012 at 7:16 p.m.
MyGen said...

At 2 pm President Obama said his plan taxed the top 2% of earners according to the transcript. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/president-obamas-dec-31-remarks-on-fiscal-cliff-talks-full-transcript/2012/12/31/0da38404-537b-11e2-8b9e-dd8773594efc_story.html

According to the Kiplinger's Report my awesome dad used to force me to read and now I voluntarily read says that the top 1% rate hits $369,000 and top 5% rate hits $161,000. My small business revenue for 2012 will be right under $270,000. Who's making stuff up?!

My taxes should be on things I use up not on things I produce and put at risk while people won't work, won't finish school, smoke pot and complain. I've seen it all and some of my friends are now my worst critics because they spend more time looking for pot than they do working at a decent job.

I'm finished with this effort. You'll never understand until you risk your own, build your own, and work for your own. It's so easy to criticize and envy the work of others. I guess I should be flattered.

December 31, 2012 at 7:32 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

For more than 10 years we have had practically the lowest tax rates we have had in the last 60 years. Please tell us, MyGen, where are all those jobs that you "job creators" were supposed to be creating? You might have created a few with your small business, but obviously nobody else has followed suit. Job growth under Bush, before the recession hit, was not exactly record breaking. In fact, it was stagnant throughout his entire 2-term administration. Then the recession hit and we went from bad to worse. Where were the jobs?? Then the tax cuts continued under Obama, but...where were the jobs?? And still today, with the tax cuts still in effect....where are the jobs??

If your silly Friedman-esque supply-side economics theory worked, we would have seen plenty of evidence of it by now. But the simple truth is it's not a viable theory at all; it's just childish wishful thinking. Nothing trickles down from trickle-down and tax cuts do not create jobs. When the wealthy have more money to play with, they don't put it back into the economy like middle class and average working people do, they invest it to to make even more money, and the tax rates they pay on that money (capital gains) is even lower than the tax rate on wages and salaries.

You do not speak for all business owners or wealthy folks. There are plenty of them who admit that they don't pay enough in taxes and would be fine with a higher tax rate.

If you think any of us who are criticizing you are envious, then you're mistaking disdain for jealousy. Just because we find you arrogant, contemptible, and full of sh#t doesn't mean we're envious of you.

December 31, 2012 at 10:02 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

MyGen,

I'd be glad to go back to Clinton-era spending and Clinton-era taxes. We ran the government in the black. Being in the black means paying down the deficit. Dems gave us the largest peacetime expansion of the economy, the highest percentage of homeownership and lowest unemployment. Go figure.

I guess we could go back and do the Republican thing, look for a war to start on false pretenses (read: on a lie) and try a 'guns and butter" approach, and run up another $4+ trillion deficit. The Republicans gave us this deficit, not the Dems.

As for your little small 4-person business startup and your $270K income(profit?), why aren't you hiring some of those folks who live downtown over 50% of whom earning below the Federal poverty line of$20.500/yr for a family of 4?? If you lay someone off because of your own greed, that is on your back. You may not be as good a business person as you think.

You only delude yourself to think you own what you earn. Do you think pridefully that you are a self-made man, the ultimate heresy before God? Do you think you are risking your own assets with your business?

Every thing you have is on loan - use it wisely for its intended purpose.

January 3, 2013 at 6:37 a.m.
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