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More Republicans Moving Away From Norquist Tax Pledge

The  GOP’s iron wall of resistance to tax increases appears to be cracking:

Nothing riles up the tea party chattering class like a broken pledge against raising taxes. Just askSen. Saxby Chambliss, a veteran Georgia Republican who this week turned his back on the Taxpayer Protection Pledge he signed years ago as a rite of passage in right-wing politics. Immediately labeled “worthless” and “a liar” on the website Tea Party Nation, Chambliss symbolizes the political conundrum facing GOP leaders after President Barack Obama’s re-election. After years of opposing higher taxes on anyone, Republicans now are under pressure to work out a comprehensive agreement to reduce the nation’s chronic federal deficits and debt. That means a compromise with Obama and Democrats, who insist on more tax revenue being part of a package that includes spending cuts and entitlement reforms. Congress returns to Washington next week after the Thanksgiving break with just over a month to work out the blueprint for a deal that would avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, a combination of steep across-the-board spending cuts and tax increases set to occur at the end of the year. Facing imminent unpopular scenarios such as higher taxes for everyone and further cuts in military spending, the negotiations taking place behind closed doors in Washington have new impetus to produce results. (…) “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge,” said Chambliss, who faces re-election for a third Senate term in 2014. Referring to Norquist, who has vowed to oppose candidates who break the pledge, Chambliss said that “if we do it his way, then we’ll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that.” In response to Chambliss, Norquist told CNN that the senator “wrote a commitment to the voters of Georgia.” “He got elected and re-elected making that commitment,” said Norquist. “He’s never promised me anything.” Norquist said he believes Chambliss was “caught” on a TV station and that “he said some things perhaps that didn’t make sense.” If the senator wants to “change his mind and become a tax increaser,” Norquist said, “he needs to have that conversation with the people of Georgia.” Chambliss acknowledged that Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform will likely work against his re-election because of the issue. “But I don’t worry about that because I care too much about my country,” Chambliss said, adding that he was “willing to do the right thing and let the political consequences take care of themselves.”

The Tea Party crowd appears to engaging in the same political naivete they did during the debt ceiling negotiations a year ago. The difference this time is the Republicans are playing at far more of a disadvantage than they were back then, and it seems incredibly unlikely to me that there can be any deal to resolve the fiscal cliff that doesn’t include some form of tax increases. The President is making it clear that he will veto any deal that doesn’t include tax increases, and it’s unlikely that such a plan could make it through the Senate. Republicans seem to be banking on the idea that the President will fold like he did two years ago, but it strikes me that they’re making a bad bet if they gamble on that. The President won re-election at least in part based on his stance that taxes needed to be increased on high income earners in order to help deal with the deficit. Poll after poll shows that the public supports the President on this issue overwhelmingly, just as they did in November and December 2010. The difference between then and now is that the President isn’t coming off a massive election defeat, he’s coming off a convincing re-election victory, and there’s every reason to believe that the political climate in Washington is far different now than they were two years ago. Some Republicans, like Chambilss, seem to be recognizing that fact.

As for what will happen to Republican incumbents over this potential deal, that’s entirely unclear. Quite obviously, anyone who votes for a deal that includes tax increases of any kind is likely to be subjected to attacks from the right and will likely face a primary challenge in 2014. However, it strikes me that they’ve really got no choice here. There only other option would be to let the nation fall over the fiscal cliff, something that they will be blamed for according to recent polling. Then, they’ll find themselves in far less desirable bargaining position because the debate will no longer be over whether to extend the Bush Tax cuts but whether to cut anyone’s taxes at all. At that point, the President will essentially be able to dictate whatever terms he wants and blame the GOP if middle class taxes failed to return to their pre Fiscal Cliff levels. So, make the deal GOP, because you really don’t have a choice now.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    Republicans seem to be banking on the idea that the President will fold like he did two years ago, but it strikes me that they’re making a bad bet if they gamble on that. The President won re-election at least in part based on his stance that taxes needed to be increased on high income earners in order to help deal with the deficit. Poll after poll shows that the public supports the President on this issue overwhelmingly, just as they did in November and December 2010.

    Also, Republicans failed to convince the public that restoring the top bracket rate to where it was in the Clinton years – increasing it from 35% to 39% – does not represent the imposition of soviet style communism (or european socialism for that matter) here in America.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  2. Ron Beasley says:

    The Norquist/Tea Party types have shown themselves to be the equivalent of suicide bombers. If Boehner tries to force them he will lose his job as speaker.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  3. This issue is kinda a microcosm of what’s wrong with the Republican party: they had two whole years to reach a better compromise, but they were more interested in grandstanding (by passing pointless show bills they knew were never going to become law) than in actually leading. As long as the part of more interested in appearances than they are in actually getting things done, they’re the biggest obstacle to their own goals.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 1

  4. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Please, somebody make the argument that the federal government doesn’t take in enough money, and needs to spend even more.

    And/or say just how much of both will be enough. The answer always seems to be “more.”

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 39

  5. Mr. Prosser says:

    “But I don’t worry about that because I care too much about my country,” Chambliss said, adding that he was “willing to do the right thing and let the political consequences take care of themselves.” This will be the rallying cry of every republican up for re-election and being primaried. Chambliss played the game for 12 years and is as far right as any of them but he’s smart enough to know he’ll now lose if he stays on the far side of crazy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  6. de stijl says:

    Republicans for a generation have confused a tactic – cutting taxes – with a strategy – fiscal responsibility.

    The best evidence for this mismatch was the era when cutting taxes while launching two wars was considered to be the conservative high point of Bush 43′s first term – “See! We’re doubly conservative!” If your highlight is definitionally fiscally irresponsible and you still try to claim the mantle of “We’re the fiscally responsible party” you’re lacking any sense of self-awareness.

    Somewhere along the line Keynesianism became equated with socialism in their world – the Bush 43 stimulus has been thrown in the memory hole. They’ve painted themselves into a corner where stimulus can never be again deployed in the face of an economic downturn even when the downturn is caused by the lack of consumer demand.

    Throwing away a tool like stimulus is beyond stupid – it’s sticking on the wrong path just so you don’t have to admit you were wrong.

    It’s not just party before country. It’s pride before party before country. Fucking shameful.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 43 Thumb down 2

  7. jukeboxgrad says:

    jenos:

    Please, somebody make the argument that the federal government doesn’t take in enough money

    It’s spending more than it’s taking in. Unless we think our kids should pay for our spending, that means “the federal government doesn’t take in enough money.”

    I guess math is hard for you.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 40 Thumb down 4

  8. de stijl says:

    Doug or someone, can you release my comment from moderation, please? Thanks!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Elections do have consequences.

    Speaking of consequences, perhaps the greatest irony here is that this whole kerfuffle basically is a giant dog & pony show. Sure, of course, if a tax hike deal gets passed the political left — journalists, young students, full-time academics, space cadets, the dependency classes, the hyper wealthy — will preen, gloat and beat their chests. But exactly what will this accomplish?

    Soaking the affluent with tax hikes won’t fix the deficit. The corresponding reductions in hiring and spending basically will offset the added revenue, especially over the full economic and business cycles. Plus “the wealthy” didn’t all get that way by being dumb. With rare exceptions they’ll simply do what’s necessary to get more and more of their income and assets offshore, or deferred, or in tax shelters. And Social Security and Medicare are off budget items and are heading towards calamity. So unless you hike taxes pretty much on everyone who works — and not even Democrats are dumb enough to do that — the real fiscal time bombs will continue tick, tick, ticking away.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 39

  10. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Please, somebody make the argument that the federal government doesn’t take in enough money, and needs to spend even more.

    Please make the argument that we should not pay for the government that we want. We spent nearly 8 years – from 2001 to 2008 – cutting taxes while waging 2 wars and passing a Supplemental Medicare Prescription Drug program. Did you guys think that those 2 wars were for free?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 1

  11. @de stijl:

    Done. Not sure why it got stuck there

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. john personna says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    1. Soaking would be a very high, probably greater than 50%, tax rate.

    2. The shallowest argument in the world is “I believe in progressive tax rates, but not now.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  13. jukeboxgrad says:

    tsar:

    Soaking the affluent with tax hikes won’t fix the deficit.

    Actually, it would. Link.

    The corresponding reductions in hiring and spending basically will offset the added revenue

    There is no good reason to expect “corresponding reductions in hiring and spending” because there is a ton of cash that is idle, and not being used for “hiring and spending.” Link.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  14. de stijl says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Please, somebody make the argument that the federal government doesn’t take in enough money, and needs to spend even more.

    When we have a recession caused by a lack of consumer demand, government stimulus is one of the proper responses.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1

  15. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @jukeboxgrad: It’s spending more than it’s taking in.

    That’s a huge red flashing light saying, “you’re spending too effing much!”

    But that doesn’t mean much to those who are willfully blind, though, does it?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 37

  16. john personna says:

    @de stijl:

    Someone explained it thus: For a short time, in the 1980′s, Republicans believed that cutting tax rates would actually serve as a break on spending. The leadership learned in the 2000′s that didn’t work, but an even better game was to cut taxes and increase spending without consequence. You could have your cake and eat it too.

    The rank and file, as seen by Jenos and Tsar, hasn’t really caught on to the change. They still believe they are getting a pony, and lower taxes.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  17. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @de stijl: And ObamaCare is going to do WONDERS for that situations. Companies won’t hire new people that will push them over the magic 50 cutoff. Hours will be cut to keep employees below the thresholds. Colleges are already cutting staff hours to miss the limits.

    Oh, and take a good hard look at the medical device industry. If you have any money invested there, get it the hell out now.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 32

  18. jukeboxgrad says:

    jenos:

    “you’re spending too effing much!”

    Spending less might be a good idea, but until we’re actually spending less we need to pay for what we’re spending. This is known as being ‘fiscally responsible.’

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0

  19. john personna says:

    @de stijl:

    When we have a recession caused by a lack of consumer demand, government stimulus is one of the proper responses.

    Ah, but it is a harder question what to do when you have left the recession behind by a few years, and are experiencing a slow recovery.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  20. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @john personna: The flaw in the theory is that it depended on Congress actually having a sense of responsibility. Who would have imagined a Congress so craven, they’d actually go YEARS without passing a budget?

    Thank you, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, for demonstrating just how low a Congress can go.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 35

  21. jukeboxgrad says:

    john:

    The rank and file, as seen by Jenos and Tsar, hasn’t really caught on to the change. They still believe they are getting a pony, and lower taxes.

    Yes, exactly. And that’s why they voted for a Santa who promised to cut the deficit while also cutting their taxes and while also increasing defense spending. Ho ho ho.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  22. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    How’s this for a compromise: tax increases are on the table — as long as they’re part of an actual budget. That work for ya?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 12

  23. jukeboxgrad says:

    john:

    an even better game was to cut taxes and increase spending without consequence. You could have your cake and eat it too.

    This is the Two Santa Claus Theory, as explained by Thom Hartmann. The GOP figured out 30 years ago that if raising spending is a great way to buy votes, then an even better way to buy votes is to raise spending while cutting taxes. That’s why 3/4 of the debt that Obama inherited was created under three presidents: Reagan, Bush and Bush.

    Also see here.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  24. de stijl says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Other comment filters don’t like the word that sounds like “Sochialism” because it contains the word string for a boner pill if spelled correctly. (Rhymes with see al iss)

    Also, I dropped the f bomb in the last sentence. Aptly, I think, but others could differ.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Re. companies cutting employment in response to health care laws … one of the big stories not seen at OTB this week was that Walmart’s employees collect $2.66 billion in government benefits for the poor.

    At some point, don’t we have to call this our system? If Walmart structures their workforce to collect benefits, then they are ipso facto, partners with government in the maintenance of these workers.

    Walmart, and the employers you mention, are using the dole, as much as their workers.

    Maybe Walmart and those employers should back a single-payer system to make it that much cleaner. Then the poor workers would get benefits, and employers would not have to program their computers to keep them below thresholds.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

  26. An Interested Party says:

    Please, somebody make the argument that the federal government doesn’t take in enough money, and needs to spend even more.

    No one needs to make that argument…all the President needs to do is to wait until after the New Year, then Republicans will have no choice but to make a deal that is favorable to what he wants…

    Soaking the affluent with tax hikes won’t fix the deficit.

    Oh yes, because raising the top tax rate by a few points is “soaking” the rich…also, that “job creators shouldn’t be taxed” line isn’t working anymore, so you aren’t convincing anyone by trotting it out…finally, scare tactics against Social Security and Medicare aren’t going to help your argument either…better luck next time…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  27. jukeboxgrad says:

    jenos:

    Companies won’t hire new people that will push them over the magic 50 cutoff.

    And if that means there is unmet demand by their customers, a competitor will step in to meet that demand.

    I’m sorry you don’t believe in the free market.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0

  28. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    How’s this for a compromise: tax increases are on the table — as long as they’re part of an actual budget. That work for ya?

    That was the Grand Bargain. Did you support it then?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  29. Just Me says:

    Is there really anyone who thinks just raising taxes on the rich are all the sudden going to make the budget balance out?

    Raising taxes on the rich won’t do a darn thing if the government doesn’t also look at cutting spending.

    There isn’t a magic money tree growing in Washington and taxing the rich isn’t going to magically plant one.

    I am fine with raising taxes but if the only thing congress does is raise some taxes and then keeps spending the debt and deficit aren’t going to get any better.

    Obama talks about a balanced approach but generally the democrats balanced approach is “Let’s raise taxes now, and in another year or two we will look at spending cuts” and of course the cuts never happen.

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  30. de stijl says:

    @john personna:

    Then the poor workers would get benefits, and employers would not have to program their computers to keep them below thresholds.

    Making poor people suffer unnecessarily is fun for Galtian sociopaths. A feature, not a bug.

    I’m only half kidding.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  31. john personna says:

    @Just Me:

    That is exactly a “straw man argument,” isn’t it? Because no one has suggested “just raising taxes on the rich?”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  32. rudderpedals says:

    Chambliss has a huge client in Marietta that doesn’t want it to happen but for everyone else the fiscal slope is a terrific reset that turns everything thereafter into a tax cut. Norquist is happy, the breakfasts will go on, the world is good again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @jukeboxgrad: And if that means there is unmet demand by their customers, a competitor will step in to meet that demand.

    I’m sorry you don’t believe in the free market.

    New competitors will step in and meet that demand… and a lot of them will also keep their payrolls under 50. So we’ll have even more people in that situation.

    Alternately, the owners will start “new” businesses that are legally separate from the original, and they’ll have a series of companies with less than 50 employees. That’s already happening, too.

    So, exactly how is this better for anyone?

    There’s an old saying that the internet sees censorship as damage, and routes around it. The free market does much the same thing — it sees suffocating regulation as damage, and works around that, too. And in the end, the regulations tend to just make things worse overall.

    Which a whole lot of us predicted back when ObamaCare was just a scheme cooked up by Nancy Pelosi and her cronies… who told us up front that we wouldn’t see what was in the bill until it was passed.

    I know what you think of my intelligence. If I can see ways around these rules, how many other ways do to think actual smart entrepeneurs and executives will find? Especially since they’re far more motivated than I am.

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  34. john personna says:

    @Just Me:

    BTW, I think this argument has been disproved by diligent people:

    Obama talks about a balanced approach but generally the democrats balanced approach is “Let’s raise taxes now, and in another year or two we will look at spending cuts” and of course the cuts never happen.

    There have been spending cuts that went through (duh, right?).

    But the thing that really bugs me about it is that it is a logical construction which says spending can never be cut, ever:

    ALL laws take effect in the future. And so if you believe that no law is binding, you must believe that spending never goes down.

    That this argument comes from people who want spending to go down is pretty strange.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  35. jukeboxgrad says:

    just:

    Raising taxes on the rich won’t do a darn thing if the government doesn’t also look at cutting spending … if the only thing congress does is raise some taxes and then keeps spending the debt and deficit aren’t going to get any better

    These assertions happen to be incorrect. Link. It’s math.

    And just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that what I described is the best solution. I’m just pointing out that your math is wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  36. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So you have two choices:

    - throw poor people under the bus, removing their heath care

    - disconnect health care from payroll, in a national health plan

    (Let me guess … “they can go to emergency rooms and … magic happens.”)

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 1

  37. de stijl says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And ObamaCare is going to do WONDERS for that situations. Companies won’t hire new people that will push them over the magic 50 cutoff. Hours will be cut to keep employees below the thresholds.

    I didn’t expect you, of all people, to make such a strong argument for cutting employers and private insurance companies out of the US health care system. I’m surprised you’re such a strong advocate of single payer “Medicare For All.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  38. jukeboxgrad says:

    jenos:

    New competitors will step in and meet that demand… and a lot of them will also keep their payrolls under 50.

    Companies get big because economies of scale are generally real. If economies of scale are real in this market, then if you choose to not create a big company, then someone else will.

    Like I said, I’m sorry you don’t believe in the free market.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  39. superdestroyer says:

    I guess either the Republicans have decided that the U.S. no longer needs a conservative party and thus, it is time to get their own snouts as deep as possible into the government trough or the Republicans have decided to commit political suicide and thus, are willling to give more power to the Democrats.

    In the long run, the Democrats will get all of the benefits of increased government spending and what few Republicans are left will be blamed for the deficit. Instead of framing the issues as a Republican/Democratic Party issues, the real wonks should be analyzing what the Democrats will spend the money on, who will be the winners, and who will be the losers in the coming expansion of the federal (and state and local) governments.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 19

  40. superdestroyer says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    A good example of blaming the Republicans when in reality, the Democrats are the dominant political party and the Democrats should be blamed for the trillion dollar deficits and the increases in spending that will never go down.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 21

  41. de stijl says:

    @superdestroyer:

    the Democrats should be blamed for the trillion dollar deficits and the increases in spending that will never go down.

    I didn’t realize that George W. Bush was a Democrat.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0

  42. superdestroyer says:

    @de stijl:

    President Obama is a Democrat and the first four budgets in his administration had trillion dollar deficits. The idea that as the second inaugural of President Obama approaches that GW Bush is blamed for everything wrong with the economy is laughable. The Democrats have controlled the U.S. Senate for six years now. The time for blaming irrelevant Republicans is long over.

    The progressives need to take ownership of the problems of the U.S. now that they dominant politics and the Republicans are irrelevant.

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  43. michael reynolds says:

    Five bucks says that of superdestroyer, Jenos and Tsar, none pays any of the increased tax rate.

    For that matter I doubt any of them pays federal income tax period.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  44. john personna says:

    @superdestroyer:

    President Obama is a Democrat and the first four budgets in his administration had trillion dollar deficits.

    Seriously. Why does anyone waste effort with this kind of “argument for stupid people?”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  45. jukeboxgrad says:

    super:

    the first four budgets in his administration had trillion dollar deficits

    You are repeating a very common lie, which is to make Obama, not Bush, responsible for FY09. Link.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  46. superdestroyer says:

    test

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  47. Andre Kenji says:

    @Just Me:

    Raising taxes on the rich won’t do a darn thing if the government doesn’t also look at cutting spending.

    That´s the problem. The biggest expenses of the Federal Government are Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, Defense and servicing the debt. Food Stamps are a large expense, but they are 10% of expenses with Social Security(Abolishing Food Stamps in it´s entirety would cut the deficit only by something like 6%) . A big part of the problem are medical costs, but the GOP and the conservative demagogued the issue(Rationing, Death Panels).

    Unless you are willing to cut Medicare, Social Security and Defense you are not cutting spending(And we are not talking about voucherizing Medicare in ten years, but cutting Medicare from the current users). I don´t like the idea of raising taxes on the rich because taxes are going to be raised on everyone in the future.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  48. An Interested Party says:

    In the long run, the Democrats will get all of the benefits of increased government spending and what few Republicans are left will be blamed for the deficit.

    A good example of blaming the Republicans when in reality, the Democrats are the dominant political party and the Democrats should be blamed for the trillion dollar deficits and the increases in spending that will never go down.

    The progressives need to take ownership of the problems of the U.S. now that they dominant politics and the Republicans are irrelevant.

    It’s not enough that you are a racist, but now you have to stoop to being a disingenuous hack as well…there are hardly “few” Republicans left, considering they control the House as well as most of the state governments…and considering that they are the ones who pushed two wars and an expansion of Medicare without offering any way to pay for those things, they certainly do deserve to be blamed for our long term fiscal problems, especially as they have and continue to push for more tax cuts…and if progressives really dominated politics, then we would already have a single-payer health care system in this country, not to mention other progressive measures that can’t even see the light of day…yet…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  49. de stijl says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Bush entered his presidency with a surplus.

    Please try to argue that the Bush tax cuts coupled with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Medicare Part D expansion were Obama’s (or the Democrats) doing. Please try to argue that the 2007-08 economic collapse was Obama’s fault.

    Republicans have a very funny way of demonstrating their fiscal responsibility.

    I guess being responsible doesn’t include policing up your own shit. And then blaming the other folks who do pick up after you for doing so.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  50. john personna says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Remember, we’ve all been through exercises like this: Budget Puzzle

    Those web tools are worth 1000 claims that no one wants to cut, etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  51. superdestroyer says:

    @de stijl:

    The current accounts were negative when Bush presidency started. Bush was going to run a deficit no matter what. However, the Republicans made matter much worse.

    However, the Republicans are irrelevant these days. The Democrats have owned the budget process for at least six years (since the 2007 when Nancy Pelosi was the Speaker of the House).

    That at the end of 2012 and the start of the second Obama Administgration, Democrats are still blaming Republicans is laughable. Who are the Democrats going to blame in a few years when the Republican Party has completed its collapse and the Democrats totally control everything. My guess that as long as there is a single Republican in the House or Senate, progressives will be blaming Republicans instead of holding Democrats accountable for their own actions.

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  52. de stijl says:

    @superdestroyer:

    The Democrats have owned the budget process for at least six years (since the 2007 when Nancy Pelosi was the Speaker of the House).

    Were Nancy Pelosi et al. the cause of the the 2007-08 collapse?

    However, the Republicans are irrelevant these days.

    My opinion differs. One party is responsible for the structural deficit – the deficit caused by Medicare Part D + Afghanistan + Iraq + Bush Tax Cuts.

    That structural deficit exists. One cannot wish it away nor pretend it is not there. It was put into place many years ago, but the effects are real and they are happening now.

    The current accounts were negative when Bush presidency started.

    What was the direction of the economy for Obama when he took office? Your lack of insight is remarkable. As in BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA – I can’t believe you actually said something that clueless – remarkable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  53. michael reynolds says:

    I have a theory about guys like Tsar, super and Jenos. I think they argue taxes like sports fans argue sports — as a way to sort of rub up against the guys who either have the money or the talent at sports. It’s jock-sniffing in effect, except that it’s wallet-sniffing. It’s a way to say, “See, I’m kind of a star football player myself by virtue of talking about football. I’m kind of rich-adjacent because, hey, I get that whole low tax rate thing.”

    It’s interesting to me because it’s a very common thing with males, that need to be part of some group, to hang out with the cool kids, and it’s a thing I lack. I never want to be part of anything, let alone some group where I don’t belong. To me such a thing would be humiliating. It smacks of wearing medals you didn’t earn. The people will be paying the higher rates are either going to see you as a useful idiot or a poseur. It always makes me cringe.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

  54. MM says:

    For the most part, the commenters and the author are fucking clueless-we have a spending problem-we are borrowing over .40 of every dollar we spend. Taking 100% of the top 10% wealthiest families’ income will run the government for a few months. STOP SPENDING. Get real morons, even Paul Ryan’s budget which took over 10 years to get to a balanced budget caused every one of you fucking REgressives to have your hair on fire.

    Look around-we have a number of states about to declare bankruptcy-the Fed continues to monetize fairy dust money and Europe’s welfare states are collapsing. WE’RE OUT OF MONEY.

    No amount of tax raising will fix this. NONE. And Obama’s demand to take another $1.6 TRILLION out of the private is death.

    I live in a small, conservative town in the mountains of CO and we ALL know this fiscal nightmare is first going to leave millions of people starving when the music stops. And than how do governments usually deal with their malfeasance? War baby, and this time it’s going to be a humdinger.

    This has been a long time coming and it’s going to be hell to pay for your REgressive idiocy.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 39

  55. Whitfield says:

    There should be one provision if taxes are raised: cut all foreign aid to countries that are hostile to the US. We should not have our money sent to those countries!

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 17

  56. michael reynolds says:

    @Whitfield:
    Like which countries?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  57. mattb says:

    @Whitfield:

    There should be one provision if taxes are raised: cut all foreign aid to countries that are hostile to the US.

    Brilliant!

    Now, what constitutes hostile? Or is it attacks on US facilities? What about actively spying on the US? That seems pretty hostile as well…

    And how might treaties factor in? Like if the country has some type of treaty or agreement with a country on the hostile list, does that mean they are aiding and abetting an enemy state?

    What about rhetoric? If someone in the government complains about a US action or policy, is that hostile?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  58. superdestroyer says:

    @de stijl:

    So I guess you will be one of those who will be writing in January 2017 that President Obama was limited in what he could do due to the Bush Economy for the entire 8 years he was in office.

    I guess being a Democrat these days means always growing the government while blaming the Republicans for all of the problems.

    Who do you think the Democrats will blame once the Republican Party is totally irrelevant. My guess the generic rich will be the next group (they are not working hard enough to fund all of the government investments needed by the poor), and then whites will become the energy (the greedy racist will just not work hard enough to provide for all of the opprossed).

    The real question is what the future will look like with no control of government spending and no limit on how high taxes will go.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 20

  59. superdestroyer says:

    @Whitfield:

    The should be no tax increases along as there is a single set aside program, quota, and affirmative action. If the government is willing to pay more than retail for anything because of the race of the seller, then the government obviously has more than enough money. If Democrats want tax increases on the table, then the Democrats should offer up some of their sacred cows that the taxpayers can no longer afford.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 17

  60. de stijl says:

    @MM:

    For the most part, the commenters and the author are fucking clueless-we have a spending problem-we are borrowing over .40 of every dollar we spend.

    We have a job problem.

    When we fix the job problem, we can address the spending problem. (Actually fixing the job problem fixes about 85% of the non-structural deficit problem.)

    STOP SPENDING.

    That is working so well for those Eurozone countries also impacted by the 2007-08 economic collapse. Austerity won’t work – we’re seeing a real time experiment of austerity measures in the face of a demand recession.

    I live in a small, conservative town in the mountains of CO and we ALL know this fiscal nightmare is first going to leave millions of people starving when the music stops. And than how do governments usually deal with their malfeasance? War baby, and this time it’s going to be a humdinger.

    This has been a long time coming and it’s going to be hell to pay for your REgressive idiocy.

    Wow. I mean WOW.

    Bolding is mine, but the actual words are MM’s. It’s nice to see an actual treasonous person show up every now and again to remind oneself what they actually look like. What they say. What they want.

    What they say is that my political enemies are not really American and they deserve to die. What they want is civil war and they want us “not really Americans” to be killed in that civil war.

    MM, please walk this back.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  61. de stijl says:

    Doug, I have another comment stuck in the moderation queue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  62. de stijl says:

    @superdestroyer:

    I guess being a Democrat these days means always growing the government while blaming the Republicans for all of the problems.

    Pretending 8 years of government growth didn’t happen or that those 8 years don’t have an aftereffect – your lack of perception about your party of choice is, frankly, stunning.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  63. al-Ameda says:

    @Whitfield:

    There should be one provision if taxes are raised: cut all foreign aid to countries that are hostile to the US.

    Apart from the fact that cutting all foreign aid would have no real effect on our budget deficit, which countries do you have in mind? Israel? Saudi Arabia?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  64. stonetools says:

    What’s interesting with the conservative responses here is that they seemed to havce forgotten that the last time we had a balanced budget was twelve short years ago, under a Democratic President-Bill Clinton . How did he achieve the miracle of a balanced budget?
    Well, it wasn’t by taking a meat ax to “entitlement” programs. Nope,it was by taxing the rich more-at 39.5 per cent for the top rate-and by not getting into two stupid, unfunded wars.

    Has any one noticed that Obama’s plan is to get us back to where we were in 2000?

    1. He’s gotten us out of one stupid, unfunded war
    2. He’s getting us out of another as quickly as he can.
    3. He’s ending the moronic and unproductive Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000.

    Also , too, with the implementation of Obamacare, there should be cost savings in health care, if things go as planned . And he’s doing all this over the relentless opposition of conservcatives who say they care about the budget deficit!
    I’m betting that if his plan is carried out and as the economy recovers, we’ll be well on our way to balanced budget by 2016.Hopefully, by then, Mr Norquist’s reputation will have drowned in a bath tub.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  65. al-Ameda says:

    @superdestroyer:

    If Democrats want tax increases on the table, then the Democrats should offer up some of their sacred cows that the taxpayers can no longer afford.

    You mean Social Security and Medicare, right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  66. de stijl says:

    @MM:

    MM,

    Again. Please walk this back

    I live in a small, conservative town in the mountains of CO and we ALL know this fiscal nightmare is first going to leave millions of people starving when the music stops. And than how do governments usually deal with their malfeasance? War baby, and this time it’s going to be a humdinger.

    This has been a long time coming and it’s going to be hell to pay for your REgressive idiocy.

    Seriously over the line. Very, very uncool.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  67. Andre Kenji says:

    @MM:

    For the most part, the commenters and the author are fucking clueless-we have a spending problem-we are borrowing over .40 of every dollar we spend. Taking 100% of the top 10% wealthiest families’ income will run the government for a few months. STOP SPENDING.

    Jonathan Karl explained that a few months ago:

    http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/budget-cuts-money-obama-2012-budget-proposal-defecit-12916595

    If you are not cutting expenses with Medicare, Social Security and Defense you are not “stopping spending”. In fact, since the population is ageing federal expenses are being increased automatically.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  68. anjin-san says:

    Please, somebody make the argument that the federal government doesn’t take in enough money, and needs to spend even more.

    Please, somebody make the argument that Republicans are not deadbeats who love buying things on credit, but get a little scarce when it’s time to pay the bills.

    Just look at the recent actions of the Romney and McMahon campaigns, who started stiffing people about ten minutes after they found out they had lost.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  69. michael reynolds says:

    @stonetools:

    They don’t care about the facts. They don’t care about the issue. They care about the fact that there’s a black man in a white house, and the fact that they’re losers despite being part of some imagined master race. This has never been about anything with these people but seething hatred and feelings of failure and inadequacy.

    It’s waste of time debating “issues” with them. You might as well talk philosophy with a tapeworm.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  70. Raoul says:

    I don’t buy this for a second-the only reason there is some movement is because they HAVE to-taxes are going up by law period-they are merely trying to mitigate and get the best deal. BY way DM- when are we going to hear a mea culpa on your ridiculous early Benghazzi posts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  71. C. Clavin says:

    People like Tsar and Jenos…who have long histories of being wrong…would be wise to take a step back before making wild claims. But clearly they are not. Wise that is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  72. C. Clavin says:

    Add MM to Tsar and Jenos.
    Remember how the Bush41 and Clinton tax increases were going to destroy the economy? How’d that work out?
    Look you idiots…we have historically low effective tax rates. We have huge deficits. The biggest driver of those deficits are the Bush43 tax cuts. This is pretty basic math.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  73. OzarkHillbilly says:

    To beat a tired old drum…. A country that can not take care of it’s aged, it’s infirm, it’s youth, is not great. It is morally bankrupt

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  74. matt says:

    My favorite part about this thread is how Jenos made a solid argument in favor of a single payer system.

    My second favorite part is how MM thinks that conservatives are a bunch of military capable men ready to crush the pansy waist girly boy progressives. Like he seriously believes democrats don’t own guns or serve in the military and such..

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  75. jukeboxgrad says:

    mm:

    Taking 100% of the top 10% wealthiest families’ income will run the government for a few months.

    Your math is drastically wrong. I already cited this link.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  76. Latino_in_Boston says:

    @MM:

    MM, How long do you anticipate it will take “for the music to stop”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  77. superdestroyer says:

    @al-Ameda:

    It is Democrats who keep talking about lowering government reinbursements for medicare/medciad procedures so that fewer providers will accept Medicare/Mediciad patients and so the average pay of healthcare workers will go down.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  78. superdestroyer says:

    @C. Clavin:

    the Clinton Administration went six years with no new taxes, no new regulatory programs, and no new entitlement programs. Too bad the Democrats do not want to go back to what the Clinton Administration did.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  79. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @michael reynolds: Blow it out your ass, hatemonger.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 18

  80. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Here’s the beauty of the situation, Cliff — it doesn’t matter whether or not “my side” is right or wrong. Because it’s all on your side now.

    Obama won election and BOTH Houses of Congress… and things stayed in the crapper. Things were so bad, the people gave the Republicans back the House and a chunk of the Senate. Obama still had the Senate, and things stayed in the crapper.

    We’re long past the point where you can continue to plausibly Blame Bush for everything, INCLUDING your own failures of the last four years. Now you have to actually do something.

    You’ve proven you know how to win elections. Congrats. That doesn’t automatically make you right.

    Personally, I’m expecting for more years of this.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 19

  81. Unsympathetic says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    As usual, you’re objectively wrong. Winning the election does in fact make the policies of the Democrats correct. And, since your precious GWB decided he had a mandate, Obama has a bigger mandate.. he won a bigger % of the PV and more EV’s than GWB.

    GWB does deserve blame for throwing the economy into a ditch, and will continue to receive it.

    Deal with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  82. Stan says:

    @superdestroyer: No new entitlement programs? What about SCHIP? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCHIP
    What about Earned Income Tax Credit? http://www.solvingpoverty.com/EITC.htm
    What the Hell are you talking about?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  83. Just Me says:

    Who are the Democrats going to blame in a few years when the Republican Party has completed its collapse and the Democrats totally control everything.

    They would still blame it on the GOP.

    The senate hasn’t passed a budget since 2009 but somehow that is the GOP’s fault (and a budget doesn’t need a super majority to pass so filibuster isn’t an excuse for Harry Reid failing to actually do his job in the senate).

    The GOP isn’t innocent when it comes to budgetary issues, but please don’t act as if the current problems aren’t also created by the democrats propensity to spend more money and bail out everything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  84. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @de stijl: I didn’t expect you, of all people, to make such a strong argument for cutting employers and private insurance companies out of the US health care system. I’m surprised you’re such a strong advocate of single payer “Medicare For All.”

    Pre-ObamaCare, some on the right said “Obama’s lying when he says he opposes single-payer. ObamaCare is designed for one thing only — to take a bad situation worse and make it so screwed up, that the only solution will seem to be single-payer. Its sole purpose is to destroy all other alternatives.”

    I thought they were being paranoid. But damn if you don’t make a hell of a strong case for them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  85. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Unsympathetic: As usual, you’re objectively wrong. Winning the election does in fact make the policies of the Democrats correct.

    Are you truly that stupid? What would make those policies correct is if they work. If they actually turn the economy around and make things better for most people.

    Simply being popular enough to win votes is NEVER proof of correctness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

  86. john personna says:

    @Just Me:

    Some Republicans say “the Democrats should pass a budget.”

    What they don’t say is “we’ll fight an over arching budget ever step of the way, and only pass continuing resolutions and etc.”

    What they think is “people will be stupid enough to think we are good players in this.”

    Didn’t work.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  87. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    We are in an economic recovery, right now.

    People are getting better, right now.

    (If the Republicans had a better answer to that they would have accepted the truth of it, and proposed policies that would have generated even faster recovery. They didn’t. They campaigned on a lie that “things are worse.” Stupid. Innumerate.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  88. superdestroyer says:

    @Stan:

    Compared to Mediciare part D or Obamacare, the costs of S-CHIP would be lost in the round-off.

    The Earned Income Tax Credit also was in 1993. The biggest achievements of Clinton in the last six years (the time of triangulation) was Workfare, NAFTA, and not much else.

    The second Clinton Administration was as close as the U.S. will probably ever get to a libertarian presidency. the Democrats would be smart to back to it instead of heading down the road to being the tax collectors for the entitlement state.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  89. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Obama won election and BOTH Houses of Congress… and things stayed in the crapper. Things were so bad, the people gave the Republicans back the House and a chunk of the Senate. Obama still had the Senate, and things stayed in the crapper.

    We’re long past the point where you can continue to plausibly Blame Bush for everything, INCLUDING your own failures of the last four years. Now you have to actually do something.

    So a recovery, still too weak but a recovery, is “in the crapper”? Really jenos? A recovery that is happening despite everything the GOP did to sabotage it? And I guess you’ve been living under a rock the past 4 years because Obama has been busy doing things.

    Just sayin’….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  90. C. Clavin says:

    Indiana Jones 13…
    You’re just making shit up.
    Republicans left the worst economic situation since the depression in their wake. Now you blame Democrats for not cleaning it up fast enough.
    Every recovery since before Regan has been driven by Goverment growth in spending and jobs. Republicans have obstructed those efforts. Spending is flat and Government jobs have been reduced. As a result the recovery has been flat. Which puts the lie to Republican economic theories.
    You are right. Obama owns the improving economy.
    Republicans refuse to own their many failures.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  91. Andre Kenji says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Pre-ObamaCare, some on the right said “Obama’s lying when he says he opposes single-payer. ObamaCare is designed for one thing only — to take a bad situation worse and make it so screwed up, that the only solution will seem to be single-payer. Its sole purpose is to destroy all other alternatives.”

    BS. Most countries that have single payer also have Private doctors(In fact, only by prohibiting private doctors that the government could destroy all other alternatives).. Brazil is a very interesting example, because you both have single payer and tax deductions for expenses with private doctors. In fact, Medicare is a heavily subsidized. A single payer system with limitations would be a giant plus from a Conservative perspective, by the way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  92. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @superdestroyer:

    This is a tad disingenuous. The EITC was instituted in 1975, not 1993. It was expanded in 1993, sure.

    But then again, it was also expanded in 1978, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1990 and 2001. Republicans voted for those expansions (as they also did in 1993).

    So let’s dispense with the selective lens garbage.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  93. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I’m guessing you’ve missed the several consecutive quarters of economic expansion & record corporate profits coupled with a 6,000+ point bump in the Dow since 2008?

    Not to belabor the point, but we’re on track for increasing economic recovery & expansion. If you (or your preferred party) continue to camp out on the “things are just awful and they’re only going to get worse!” island, well, good luck in 2014 / 2016. You’ll need it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  94. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    What would make those policies correct is if they work.

    Glad to see you’ve concluded that beyond the point of diminishing returns–tax cuts hurt the economy rather than help it. We’ve got 30 years of data that demonstrate it. Why are you still drinking the kool-aid?

    @MM:

    Quit projecting your fettish to live out your days as a apocalyptic war lord on the rest of us. If that’s your game, cash out and move to Somalia. Your SSI check would buy you lots of female company and child servants. War is an exercise for young men. Have you seen the demographics for your coalition? How would your side weather a shortage of Depends? You internet Rambos don’t even have the sack to go into those areas that voted 100% for Obama without the 9 and 1 already pre-dialed on your brick-sized cellular phones. And you come in here talking about War? Bwwwwwaaaaahhhhh Bwaahhhhhhhhhh. Internet Insurgent. LMFAO.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  95. john personna says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    If you (or your preferred party) continue to camp out on the “things are just awful and they’re only going to get worse!” island, well, good luck in 2014 / 2016.

    The really sad thing is that the US is doing well compared to China and Europe. Cherry pickers on the right either look for dark spots in our expansion, or flat out hope that world contagion will bring us down.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  96. Whitfield says:

    Someone is going to have to figure out what it will take to get business to start hiring again and get wages up. Many businesses are now planning layoffs or closing depending on what sort of new taxes and regulations come up in January.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  97. john personna says:

    @Whitfield:

    That’s what I mean by “Innumerate.”

    There are measures for these things. The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index [link] took a big hit in the Great Recession of course, but like many things, it has been struggling upward ever since.

    The Republicans have a fantasy, a dark fantasy, that the businesses will go Galt any minute, at which point they can say “we told you!”

    That’s not really productive. In fact, it’s Un-American.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  98. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Whitfield:

    There is no mystery to what motivates either of those: consumer demand.

    The lower and middle classes (through sheer numbers) are what drive economic expansion in this country via their consumer spending. Put more money into their hands to spend and they’ll spend it.

    Or you can, you know, just keep believing the tripe that cutting taxes on “job creators” will ever motivate anyone to expand their business when demand remains stagnant. It does little more than motivate a concentration of capital at the top of the scale, where it then stagnates and starves the spending classes for the capital that they need in order to drive expansion. Supply side economics is, and always has been, an entirely backwards concept. Consumer economies depend on the circulation of capital in order to expand (or indeed even to survive).

    Taxes, among their other purposes, are an excellent way of forcing the circulation of capital. The alternative is what we’ve seen since Reagan – allow capital to stagnate at the top and keep reintroducing new capital to take its place, thereby devaluing the dollar and ensuring the continuing death of the very consumer classes that you need in the first place.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  99. jukeboxgrad says:

    It does little more than motivate a concentration of capital at the top of the scale, where it then stagnates and starves the spending classes for the capital that they need in order to drive expansion.

    This is precisely right. GOP policy has pushed us in that direction because this is the core underlying problem that they are deeply interested in solving: the poor aren’t poor enough, and the rich aren’t rich enough.

    This is the key force that drives the GOP. Once this is understood, all their actions make sense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  100. john personna says:
  101. michael reynolds says:

    @Whitfield:

    Try to keep up:

    “Many in the media reported that I said Papa John’s is going to close stores and cut jobs because of Obamacare,” he wrote in the Huffington Post. “I never said that. The fact is we are going to open over hundreds of stores this year and next and increase employment by over 5,000 jobs worldwide. And, we have no plans to cut team hours as a result of the Affordable Care Act.”

    Your Galtian heros are already backing down. Turns out they’re just noise.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  102. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @john personna:

    The really fun part is that Europe, more or less, has implemented the exact sort of austerity measures that these folks rail about wanting to see in the US. The result? We’re much further along in recovery than Europe is.

    It’s cognitive dissonance, I think. They believe what they believe and will continue to believe it despite any evidence that it’s a truckload of smelly caca.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  103. john personna says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Poor Papa John was surprised (!) to learn that many of his customers were young people, supportive of other young workers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  104. jukeboxgrad says:

    It’s cognitive dissonance, I think. They believe what they believe and will continue to believe it despite any evidence that it’s a truckload of smelly caca.

    The broader issue here was nicely summarized by David Frum:

    Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex

    So they will continue drowning in their own smelly caca, because there’s big money to be made in the smelly caca industry. And it doesn’t matter that this is ultimately destructive to the GOP (link):

    Fox News and the talk radio shock jocks across the country win whether or not conservatives are in power; these purveyors of political entertainment thrive under a Democratic president, perhaps even more so than under their preferred candidates

    So the GOP probably needs to sink even further down before it will be ready to go back up again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  105. Stan says:

    @superdestroyer: ObamaCare is paid for. Medicare D wasn’t when it was passed in the Bush administration. I don’t recall any of the Republican deficit hawks objecting. Boehner and Cantor supported it, and so did Ryan. It seems to me that your beef is as much with the Republicans as the Democrats.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  106. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Stan:

    I suspect his core beef is that his party lost an election that he expected it to win. The rest is just window dressing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  107. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    and things stayed in the crapper

    The economy was not “in the crapper” when Obama took office, it was heading towards the cliff and picking up speed on its way. You may be too stupid to see that being in the weeds is better than being in the morgue, but most people aren’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  108. Rick Almeida says:

    @Whitfield:

    Many businesses are now planning layoffs or closing depending on what sort of new taxes and regulations come up in January.

    Can you name some, with evidence?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  109. superdestroyer says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    All the EITC did was teach a large portion of Americans that government is something that others pay for. Welfare, in the form of EITC, is one of the reasons that the Republicans are no longer relevant to national politics. Most people are convinced that they can have all of the government they want and someone else (the rich) is going to pay for it.

    The question for the future, is what happens to the demographic groups targeted by the Democrats after the Republicans have become completely irrelevant.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  110. superdestroyer says:

    @Stan:

    Obamacare is not paid for. It will be paid for by future taxes and those taxes are not being taken from something else. Remember, Obamacare is designed to fail so that the Democrats have push for single payer and lay off 500K insurance workers. Obamacare is designed to fail so that the federal government can become bigger and stronger and so that the core groups of the Democratic Party will benefit.

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  111. superdestroyer says:

    @Rick Almeida:

    I think many business are looking at converting employees into categories that will not be covered by Obamacare. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/09/darden-restaurants-obamacare-part-time_n_1951103.html The low end employees will limit the number of full time employees. High end companies will probably try to convert more employees to contract employees. Also, many companies are going to high-deductible healthcare and passing more costs directly to their employees. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-employer-health-plans-20121114,0,5287831.story

    All the people who believe that are getting more goodies from Obamacare will actually end up paying more for what they already have.

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  112. michael reynolds says:

    There will be resistance to Obamacare. In the end it will be as effective as resistance to Medicare.

    The principal has been established: Americans will be covered by health insurance. Will there be adjustments and rough patches and compromises? Of course. As with any human endeavor. But in the end Americans will all have health insurance. It will increasingly be seen as a right and twenty years from now Republican politicians will be swearing never to cut Obamacare, just as they do now with Social Security and Medicare.

    This is a fight the liberals won. As they have won the gay rights fight, and before it the equal treatment for women fight and the civil rights fight and before that the social security fight. Republicans who want to continue to spit into the wind are welcome to do so. We can just keep replaying 2012 until they figure it out.

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  113. jukeboxgrad says:

    It will increasingly be seen as a right and twenty years from now Republican politicians will be swearing never to cut Obamacare

    This is a good example of how Rs tricked themselves by misreading polls. They kept telling themselves (and everyone else) that the public opposed Obamacare, but they chose to not understand that a lot of the opposition is among people like me who would like to see it replaced with something stronger. Link, link.

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  114. mattb says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I suspect [superdestoryer's] core beef is that his party lost an election that he expected it to win.

    Not to defend SD, but it was pretty clear he never believed that the Republicans were going to win the presidency. I know this because he said it ever other post or so.

    And to be clear, SD has also strongly stated that the current Republican party is not his party. Hence his constant drum beat of a one party state. And, in fact, on this issue SD is completely correct. Given that his definition of conservatism apparently runs just short of reintroducing slavery, the fact is that most members of both political parties (not to mention most decent human beings) are united in finding his position utterly appaling.

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  115. superdestroyer says:

    @mattb:

    Thank you for the correction of a misconception. However, I have never proposed the government treating blacks (or Hispanics or blacks) differently than any other citizens. I leave the separate and unequal government programs to the progressives who were just in front of the Supreme Courting that discriminating against whites was OK.

    I just do not believe that there is any reason for two parties to exist if the object of government is to be the tax collector for the entitlement state. If parties cannot disagree on set asides, entitlements, taxes, or the size and scope of the government, there is absolutely no reason for two parties to exist. The Repulbicans are irrelvant beause they cannot create a reason for people to vote for them rather than the big government, big spending Democrats.

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  116. superdestroyer says:

    @michael reynolds:

    MR,

    Medicare has cost much more than anticipated and is one of the causes of long term deficits in the U.S. To say that Obamacare is just like Mediciare is to say that is will be a massively expensive program that will become so entrenched that nothing can be done to control costs.

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  117. An Interested Party says:

    We’re long past the point where you can continue to plausibly Blame Bush for everything, INCLUDING your own failures of the last four years. Now you have to actually do something.

    HAHAHAHAHA…tell that to the majority of the American people who still blame Bush for our current economic mess…

    The GOP isn’t innocent when it comes to budgetary issues, but please don’t act as if the current problems aren’t also created by the democrats propensity to spend more money and bail out everything.

    Oh, you mean like TARP? Or Medicare Part D? Oh wait, those have Republican fingerprints all over them…

    Simply being popular enough to win votes is NEVER proof of correctness.

    Hmm…Republicans and conservatives certainly weren’t singing that tune back in 2004…

    The second Clinton Administration was as close as the U.S. will probably ever get to a libertarian presidency. the Democrats would be smart to back to it instead of heading down the road to being the tax collectors for the entitlement state.

    The childish libertarian philosophy will never gain a significant foothold in this country…keep dreaming, though…

    All the EITC did was teach a large portion of Americans that government is something that others pay for. Welfare, in the form of EITC, is one of the reasons that the Republicans are no longer relevant to national politics.

    You idiot, EITC is a Republicans/conservative idea to help the poor and lower classes economically and to encourage work…it isn’t “welfare” at all, although I’m sure you see anything that helps the black and brown people as being bad…

    And to be clear, SD has also strongly stated that the current Republican party is not his party.

    Indeed, Stormfront seems to be closer in line with SD’s thinking…

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  118. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Right, because Social Security and Medicare hadn’t vividly made that point already …

    We won’t even get into the fact that the vast majority of taxpayers, and certainly all of the middle class, are net recipients of government spending. Never-mind that you cruise around on government subsidized roads, eat government subsidized food, burn government subsidized gasoline, etc etc. The problem, from your perspective, is solely welfare recipients.

    It never ceases to amaze me how everybody seems to draw the paying for / being paid for line precisely at themselves.

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  119. Whitfield says:
  120. C. Clavin says:

    ThuperDuperDestroyer not only lies about what Reynolds said…but then ignores the fact that Obamacare has already cut Medicare costs and extended its life…and Obamacare isn’t even fully implemented yet.
    If I was wrong as much as SD, Tsar, Jenos and the like…I would just shut the f’ up.
    But then I’m not suffering under the Dunning-Kruger Effect as they are.

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  121. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Whitfield:

    Medical device companies are in a unique position – they are subject to a 2.3% excise tax that has nothing at all to do with their employee health coverage costs or number of covered employees. They are in that position because they refused to negotiate back when they could have done so.

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  122. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    We’re long past the point where you can continue to plausibly Blame Bush for everything, INCLUDING your own failures of the last four years. Now you have to actually do something.

    There are historical antecedents that disprove your notion that Bush is somehow absolved of blame simply because you don’t like the fact that he is rightfully blamed for the economic catastrophe that he left for President Obama. Ask yourself this: at what point following the economic crash that Hoover presided over did people begin to blame FDR?

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  123. superdestroyer says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    The roads I drive on are funded with the gasoline taxes that I pay. It is hard to claim that tax dollars lower the price of gasoline when one looks at the taxes on oil at all levels.
    The only way that the middle class are net governmetn receipients is the government has run massive deficits for years. If the government had to actually do pay go there would be many more losers.

    I always find it odd that people who are unwilling to give up a single government program criticize people who are willing to give up government programs. I write it off to the idea that most progressives think they are clever enough take advantage of massive entitlement spending while avoiding the taxes required.

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  124. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @superdestroyer:

    No, the roads that you drive on are partially funded by gasoline taxes that you pay. Depending on where you live, the bulk of the cost of maintaining them is borne by taxpayers in net payer states via federal highway funding payments to your state. The majority of the states receive more in federal spending than they pay in taxes, most prominently in the South.

    Newsflash: the government has run massive deficits for years. Facts remain: the bulk of the population is, when factored from a direct and indirect benefit standpoint, a net recipient of federal spending. When the net federal income tax burden on a family of 4 earning $60,000 per year is slightly over 2% of gross just taking standard deductions and exemptions (it is …), then I think we can dispense with the “I’m paying my own way” crap. You aren’t. You’re being paid for, primarily by people like me.

    And I’m glad to do it, because it’s the only way it will ever work, but let’s be honest about who is carrying who and who falls on what side of the line.

    I’m fully willing to give up government programs. I just know that there are consequences to doing so. Which would you like to get get rid of first? Social Security, Medicare or Defense spending? Coupled with debt service (which, for obvious reasons can never be cut), those line items make up about 74% of the federal budget. I’ll await your proposals.

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  125. HarvardLaw92 says:

    The thing that I enjoy most about this is the unceasing predictions from the Austrians about economic collapse. It’s gotten to where they make that same histrionic prediction (the world is going to collapse at any second and we’ll have hyperinflation and it’ll be just awful Weimar Germany and, oh good lord, I hope you’ve all stored enough food to survive!) every two years or so.

    I’m still waiting …I have, however, stopped popping popcorn in anticipation.

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  126. C. Clavin says:

    Doh…another thing ThuperDuper is wrong about.
    And the hits just keep on coming…

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  127. superdestroyer says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    The federal highway trust fund is funded by taxes on fuels. That means user taxes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highway_Trust_Fund The idea that roads are funded out of income taxes is laughable.

    What the middle class is pissed off about is that the trust fund is wasted on unneeded roads while the roads that need to be improved are ignored. Funding roads to funnel money to the teamsters has always need more important to too many in government instead of providing good services to the most people.

    And if progressives really cared about tax transfers from a few wealthy states to other states, then progressives would be supporting a flat tax and an end to progressives taxes. However, since progressives want more wealth transfers, then progressives have to accept rich states and poor states. Maybe progressives should make up their minds what they think is important.

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  128. stonetools says:

    Looking at the responses of conservative commenters, it seems to me that the Republican base and representatives has learned nothing from the election defeat and have decided to “triple down” on their message of magical self financing tax cuts,unnecessary cuts of “entitlement programs”, and resentment against minorities and the poor. This is both good news and bad news.
    Its good news in that the Democrats can expect further gains as the Republicans drive the country over the fiscal cliff, try again to repeal Obamacare and Roe v Wade, and burnish their image as the “stupid party”.
    Its bad news as we can expect more years of dysfunctional politics until these morons are voted out.

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  129. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @superdestroyer:

    No, sunshine, federal highway spending exceeds federal excise tax collections from the sale of fuel every year. That overage comes from (you guessed it …) general fund revenue.

    In other words, income taxes.

    As to your second point, I’m intrigued. Where exactly are these unneeded roads? Be specific please.

    Why on earth do you believe that a flat tax would remotely change the distribution of federal spending? How on earth do you think that it would equalize state receipts with state payments such that no state receives more than it pays? It sounds to me like you are repeating buzzwords that you don’t actually understand well enough to intelligently discuss them.

    Now, bear in mind, being a New Yorker and therefore a resident of a net payer state, nothing would make me happier than for all of those trailer park states down South to carry their own weight, so by all means, feel free to explain to me how this flat tax equalization thing of yours works.

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  130. C. Clavin says:

    ThuperDuper is “laughable”

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  131. Andre Kenji says:

    @superdestroyer:

    The roads I drive on are funded with the gasoline taxes that I pay. It is hard to claim that tax dollars lower the price of gasoline when one looks at the taxes on oil at all levels.

    No, gas taxes only covers something like 70% of the expenses with roads.

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  132. Whitfield says:

    @Andre Kenji: One problem is that as gas consumption continues to drop in this country, the amount of money collected from gas taxes will also drop, leading to a shortfall in the “highway fund”. The natural tendency in Washington and the states is to raise the gas tax to cover the short fall. Of course, if someone has an electrical powered car,
    then they do not have to worry about increases in the gas tax. And the poor people of California have some of the highest gas taxes in the country. Gov. Brown and other misguided leaders want to raise them even more ! However, one practical solution that seems to never occur to people who run the government is something like this: “let’s see if we can put our heads together and come up with some ways to make do with less money!!” For them, this is a truly novel idea. For small businesses, and families it is a regular activity. If they tried it, they might actually like it! “A billion here, a billion there; it starts to add up” Sen. Dirksen.

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  133. superdestroyer says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    A Harvard man should be able to provide a cite for your claim just like the cites that progressives always demand.

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  134. john personna says:

    @superdestroyer:

    It is an easy google. Highway spending and gas tax diverged a long time ago.

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  135. john personna says:

    @Whitfield:

    Technically, the rich people in California pay the highest tax.

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  136. jukeboxgrad says:

    super:

    The federal highway trust fund is funded by taxes on fuels. That means user taxes. … The idea that roads are funded out of income taxes is laughable.

    Wingnut source:

    Myth 1: Highways and roads pay for themselves thanks to gasoline taxes and other charges to motorists.

    Fact 1: They don’t. Gas taxes and other highway user fees pay less today than ever before.

    Non-wingnut source:

    Highways don’t pay for themselves — Since 1947, the amount of money spent on highways, roads and streets has exceeded the amount raised through gasoline taxes and other so-called “user fees” by $600 billion (2005 dollars), representing a massive transfer of general government funds to highways.

    We have a number of adorable fools who reside here, but I doubt there is any more adorably foolish than you.

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  137. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Not to seem snarky, but check your own cite. It substantiates my assertion.

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  138. Andre Kenji says:

    @Whitfield: I´m in fact a fan of highway privatization. Drivers pay for the whole price of driving while there is no graft or public funds involved. And I saw private companies building impressive highways.

    But most movement conservatives disagree with me.

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  139. stonetools says:

    Please release my comment from moderation, thanks in advance.

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  140. Nick says:

    Is it me, or do the “conservative” commenters on here appear to be intellectually challenged?

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  141. swbarnes2 says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    I´m in fact a fan of highway privatization. Drivers pay for the whole price of driving while there is no graft or public funds involved.

    So the Waltons will own major highways, and charge non-Walmart trucks an arm and a leg to use them?

    Yeah, that will end soooo well.

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  142. Rob in CT says:

    While I’m not a proponent of more private toll roads, surely they are still regulated by the government such that charging competitors trucks more would be illegal?

    I see the interstates pretty much the way I see utilities. As such, either they should be public or private but heavily regulated. I think Andre is referencing some real-world experience down in Brazil…

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  143. stonetools says:

    @Nick:

    Its not just you. I had a comment put in moderation for saying the same you did, only less diplomatically. Where is Super Destroyer, btw. Has he been shamed into silence?

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  144. Mikey says:

    @swbarnes2:

    So the Waltons will own major highways, and charge non-Walmart trucks an arm and a leg to use them?

    This issue has long been addressed (well over 100 years in the US) by common carrier regulation. It’s not a barrier to private ownership of roads any more than it’s a barrier to private ownership of rail or telecommunications facilities.

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  145. Andre Kenji says:

    @Rob in CT:Yes, when I talk abo6ut highway privatization I´m talking about Public-Private partnerships where a private company gets the concession of a highway. That´s does not mean that the company “own” the highway, but that they have a concession, and they have a contract that specifies the toll and the aspects of maintenance.

    That´s a model widely used in Latin America and Europe – there are some carreteras using this model in popular touristic destinations in Mexico. I saw some impressive projects in this model. For instance, there is a chain of mountains separating the highlands of São Paulo from the Ocean(It´s something like a difference of 450 miles of altitude in less than 10 miles). Worse, there is a Subtropical Forest all over the place, so, it´s a very sensitive project. Any large deforestation can be a large environmental problem. An Italian company used technology used to build tunnels in the Alps to build a highway in the region. The price tag was 300 million dollars, for 13 miles of tunnels and bridges, in a country plagued by graft in all levers. Compare that to the 14 billion spent on the Big Dig in Boston..

    On the other hand, the tolls are REALLY expensive – but that´s because you are paying for all the costs of the road(Worldwide, most of the investments in these highways come from pension funds, because they can wait some years to see the return in their investment). Obviously, you don´t see many Conservatives arguing for that model in the United States. It was conservative opposition that killed the NAFTA Superhighway in Texas. And this highway would use this model of public concessions.

    It´s also true that the idea that gas taxes pays for all the costs of driving is not true.

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  146. swbarnes2 says:

    @Mikey:

    This issue has long been addressed (well over 100 years in the US) by common carrier regulation. It’s not a barrier to private ownership of roads any more than it’s a barrier to private ownership of rail or telecommunications facilities.

    So you think that there would need to be road neutrality laws? Well, where do you think Republicans stand on that, given their position on net neutrality?

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  147. Mikey says:

    @swbarnes2:

    So you think that there would need to be road neutrality laws? Well, where do you think Republicans stand on that, given their position on net neutrality?

    There have been road neutrality laws–well, technically rail neutrality laws, but the principle has been applied to roads since the mid-1930s–for over 100 years. That was my point. The problem you raise has been dealt with for over a century, and even the Republicans understand changing that would lead to bad outcomes. Because we’ve actually seen it happen as far back as the mid-1800s.

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  148. Rob in CT says:

    Andre,

    I’m frankly not sure what the main drivers of the incredible cost of American infrastructure work (e.g. The Big Dig). Corruption is no doubt one part of it. Thing is… I don’t think “public-private partnership” necessarily addresses that part here in the US. Public-private partnerships can be corrupt as hell. Perhaps they worked so well in Brazil because they were simply different than the norm. The norm was shot through with corruption, right? Ok, maybe it’s as simple as circumventing the “usual suspects” however that can be done. In Brazil, that was public-private partnership. In the US, it would be… ??? That’s the question. Maybe it would work, but my skeptical side thinks the usual suspects would be the ones doling out the contracts and the result would be no benefit to the public. I’d be happy to be wrong on that.

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  149. Rob in CT says:

    @Rob in CT:

    To be clear, I have ideas about what the various possible cost-drivers are, but I really don’t know which ones are the biggies.

    Obviously, things cost more nowadays in part because we actually give a sh*t about the workers (the Hoover Dam, for instance, had terrible workplace safety conditions and as a result there were numerous deaths). Also, we care about environmental impact now. Wages are higher, particularly if there are unions involved. In part, we’re now working around existing infrastructure – particularly true of the Big Dig. But these things are more or less all true in Europe and I think their costs are lower. This means that somewhere, our approach is wrong. Could be we’re relatively dumb about environmental impact assessment. Could be our bidding process is stupid (I strongly suspect that one). Could be corruption. I don’t know.

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  150. john personna says:

    I think that government roads are fine and congestion free travel is a public good. That said, I think that we bias too far towards the automobile. If long haul trucks do not pay for their share of road construction and maintenance, while train companies pay for and manage their own track, you are perturbing the market. You are also burning extra energy costs.

    For reasons of health and efficiency we should also encourage more walking and bicycling. I could see how that should come out of the general fund, more because those few automobile drivers who never walk anywhere are pretty irrational about it. So fund it by a different path, for the general welfare.

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  151. Andre Kenji says:

    @Rob in CT: It´s very, very difficult for a private company to rob itself(Unless it robs it´s shareholders a la Enron), specially when you consider the nature of the investments. You face heavy investments in the beginning while expecting to see a profit in five or ten years. Besides that, a private company has all the incentives to do more with less.

    By the way, that´s why you always see the same companies, mostly from Spain and Italy, getting these projects. There are some highways projects(Like directly linking Las Vegas to Phoenix, or extending Interstate 70 to San Francisco) that could be easily done using private concessions. Had Obama used this model in his Stimulus package we would see the first stretches of highways being constructed or even being inaugurated.

    A REAL Conservative Movement(Not people that wants their transportation to be subsidized) would champion this model.

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  152. Rob in CT says:

    Andre,

    I’m not suggesting a private company robs itself (often, nice Enron caveat). I’m talking about the possibility of corruption in the “concession” process. What are the terms? Who gets the deal? Is it the company owned by the guy whose superpac helped get the current governor elected, and so on and so forth?

    I was suggesting that it might be all inside baseball and therefore the public gets screwed (not the company running the road!).

    Now it’s entirely possible that my concern is both plausible and yet less so than current problems, and therefore it’s still a win to use that model. And since I know very little about the nitty gritty of how this is done here, vs how it worked in Brazil, I’ll stop there.

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  153. matt says:

    @Andre Kenji: @Just Me: I’ve driven on several private/public partnership roads where a private company takes over maintenance.. The roads suck.. badly… The sections maintained by the government? Not so bad but honestly here in Texas once they build roads they don’t seem to care to maintain them..

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  154. Mikey says:

    @Rob in CT: Last week a major project was completed in my area, the “Beltway express lanes.” Basically it added four lanes between the Inner and Outer Loops for about 14 miles between Springfield and the Dulles toll road, along with replacing 50 overpass bridges and adding a bunch of on/off ramps. It took about four years but was completed a month early and on-budget. Pretty much everything we’d want from such a project.

    It was a public/private partnership between Virginia DOT and two private companies, one of which came up with the concept of putting the additional lanes between the Loops.

    I drove it last week, it was great and the 30 minutes I saved because of not sitting in DC traffic was well worth the $1.60 it cost. And if you have three or more people in the vehicle, it’s free.

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  155. Rob in CT says:

    @Mikey:

    Cool, good to know.

    As an aside: toll roads are so much better now that we have things like EZ Pass.

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  156. Mikey says:

    @Rob in CT: EZ Pass is great, I can go all the way from DC to Detroit with it. And it’s required to use the new Beltway express lanes.

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