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The Fiscal Cliff: Another Threat To The Economy

The so-called “Fiscal Cliff” has been the talk of Washington ever since the Congressional Budget Office that the year-end expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts, the Payroll Tax Cut, and the Medicare “Doc Fix,” along with the sequestration cuts that were part of last year’s debt ceiling deal and the fact that we’ll need to raise the debt ceiling again by early 2013 at the latest pose a serious risk of tossing the economy into a recession. Both sides have used the issue to take partisan swats at each other. In both cases, though, there seems to be very little desire to deal with the problem as soon as possible. Everyone seems to have decided, though, to put this matter off until the lame duck session, which will start sometime in late November and continue through just before the Christmas holidays. That’s a mere four weeks and it’s hard to see how they’ll be able to get everything done, although they ought to figure something out because businesses are starting to become concerned about the high level of uncertainty to such a degree that it may start impacting economic growth:

A rising number of manufacturers are canceling new investments and putting off new hires because they fear paralysis in Washington will force hundreds of billions in tax increases and budget cuts in January, undermining economic growth in the coming months.

Executives at companies making everything from electrical components and power systems to automotive parts say the fiscal stalemate is prompting them to pull back now, rather than wait for a possible resolution to the deadlock on Capitol Hill.

Democrats and Republicans are far apart on how to extend the Bush-era tax breaks beyond January — the same month automatic spending reductions are set to take effect — unless there is a deal to trim the deficit. The combination of tax increases and spending cuts is creating an economic threat called “the fiscal cliff” by Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Until recently, the loudest warnings about the economy have come from policy makers and economists, along with military industry executives who rely heavily on the Pentagon’s largess and who would be hurt by the government reductions.

But more diversified companies like Hubbell Inc. in Shelton, Conn., have begun to hunker down as well.

Hubbell, a maker of electrical products, has canceled several million dollars’ worth of equipment orders and delayed long-planned factory upgrades in the last few months, said Timothy H. Powers, the company’s chief executive. It has also held off hiring workers for about 100 positions that would otherwise have been filled, he said.

“The fiscal cliff is the primary driver of uncertainty, and a person in my position is going to make a decision to postpone hiring and investments,” Mr. Powers said. “We can see it in our order patterns, and customers are delaying. We don’t have to get to the edge of the cliff before the damage is done.”

The worries come amid broader fears that the economy is losing momentum — the annual rate of economic growth in the second quarter fell to 1.5 percent from 2 percent in the first quarter, and 4.1 percent in the last quarter of 2011.

On Thursday, the Commerce Department reported that factory orders unexpectedly fell 0.5 percent in June from the previous month, while data on the labor market released Friday showed job creation still falling short of the level needed to bring down the unemployment rate.

All told, the political gridlock in the United States, along with the continuing debt crisis in Europe, will shave about half a percentage point off growth in the second half of the year, estimates Vincent Reinhart, chief United States economist at Morgan Stanley.

More than 40 percent of companies surveyed by Morgan Stanley in July cited the fiscal cliff as a major reason for their spending restraint, Mr. Reinhart said. He expects that portion to rise when the poll is repeated this month.

“Economists generally overstate the effects of uncertainty on spending, but in this case it does seem to be significant,” he added. “It’s at the macro- and microeconomic levels.”

Unless Congress acts to extend the tax provisions and comes up with a budget deal that averts the planned reductions in military spending and other government programs, taxes will rise by $399 billion while federal government spending will fall by more than $100 billion, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. The end-of-year battle comes after Democrats and Republicans have failed over the last year to reach long-term agreements on how to tackle the budget deficit.

There was some good news last week when Congressional leaders agreed to a package that would keep the government funded through some point in January 2013, this avoiding the threat of a government shutdown scare either before the election or during the lame duck session. At the very least, that puts that issue out of the way so I suppose that that’s a good thing in and of itself. Nonetheless, the warnings from the Congressional Budget Office and other analysts have been fairly clear in the conclusion that failing to act on this matter before the end of the year poses the risk of pushing an already weak U.S. economy into its second recession in five years. Given the fact that there are already a number of pressures on the economy that are inhibiting growth, and that the situation in Europe only seems to be getting worse, the obvious conclusion is that this situation ought to be dealt with sooner rather than later. Instead, the powers-that-be in Washington are punting this issue until after the election and hoping that can fix the problem then.

The most likely outcome of a lame duck effort to deal with all these problems at once, though, will be that they end up punting against by passing a bill that continues everything for six months or so in order to give the 113th Congress and whoever wins in November sufficient time to deal with all these problems and come with some kind of comprehensive fiscal package. What are the odds of that actually happening, though? If the President is re-elected, the Republicans in Congress aren’t going to be any more hospitable toward helping him out than they have been since January 2011 and, if the GOP gains even razor thin control over the Senate things become even more complicated. If Mitt Romney is re-elected, he’ll be dealing with the same thing coming from the Democrats regardless of whether or not they hold on to the Senate after November. The election isn’t going to resolve anything, This nation is going to stay as polarized as it is today, and the odds that we’ll be able to deal with our problems seriously will be no better after January 20, 2013 than beforehand.

The other problem with the “kick the can down the road” idea, of course, is that it really doesn’t solve the uncertainty problems that the business owners and officers quoted in the article above are concerned about, it only puts the day of reckoning off for several months. Absent a prospect that a real deal will be made at some point before the new expiration date, there’s really not going to be any reason for businesses to make the kind of long-term planning that they need to do. That’s really the problem with the way our political system operations anymore. Kicking the can down the road and only dealing with serious problems when a crisis is imminent (i.e., the debt ceiling debacle) have become a regular part of how Washington operates. We’ve known about the “fiscal cliff” for a year now and rather than making an effort to deal with it, both sides in Washington have used the underlying issues of taxes and spending to score political points against their opponents.  Business doesn’t operate like that, though, they need to be able to plan things out for the long term, and you can’t do that if you don’t even know where things like taxes and government spending are going to be in six months time. It’s no wonder they’re nervous and not willing to plan for the future when they don’t even know what that future is going to look like when it comes to government policy.

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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. C. Clavin says:

    “…both sides in Washington have used the underlying issues of taxes and spending to score political points against their opponents…”

    Well…one side is looking for a balanced approach to revenue and spending — well to the right of Simpson/Bowles…and one side is proposing a plan that is “mathematically impossible”. In fact, the only way to support the Republican plan is to feign illiteracy.
    http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/08/romney-tax-cut-defenders-get-dada.html
    But you did get to satisfy your BOTH SIDES DO IT fetish. So, that’s good for you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 4

  2. Rob in CT says:

    There are a bunch of people who made a lot of money over the past decade, paid historically low taxes on those earnings, and simply do not want to pay for the bills our government ran up. We fought 2 wars (one of which was mind-bogglingly stupid, evil or both) and, get this!, expanded an entitlement (Medicare) while specifically refusing to fund them (the ACA actually has funding attached). Then we endured a financial panic and are still enduring the fallout.

    There are a lot of things that can be said here, but in the end it boils down to this: the haves, particularly some of the MOTUs, don’t want to pay. Would rather buy politicians and/or spend money on swaying public opinion than pay more in taxes (this seems to have a pretty good ROI, so I’m not saying they’re crazy). All the noise is really over who gets the shaft.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  3. JKB says:

    Well, it is not so much the level as it is the fact no one knows where that level might be in 6 or 12 months. Can’t plan on rhetoric or even Harry Reid’s plan to not let anything come to a vote. Now I personally think since there is no stability in DC, we need even more instability. The House should churn out bill after bill and let Harry drown. They should ignore the Senate Republicans who seem more inclined to protect their privilege than to get something done.

    But then you have people like @Rob in CT, who just wants more and more of other people’s money. They need to pay more for the infrastructure they already paid 70% of in the first place. Well, if not them, the rich people before them. But they are using our roads and police and fire services, say those who pay little or nothing in taxes. Where’s the collective spirit when it comes to paying for things?

    Obama: You rich people didn’t build public goods — like roads and bridges — that you use for your businesses.

    Rich People: Maybe not 100% of it, but we contributed way more than anybody else did, so saying that we didn’t build it is leaving a pretty wrong impression.

    Obama: Nevertheless, no man is an island so therefore you are going to have to pay more.

    Rich People: Wait a second, if no man is an island why are we the only ones who have to pay more?

    Obama: Because you didn’t build the roads.

    Rich People: Yes, but we paid vastly more towards the construction of those roads than any other group did… only 10% of us paid more than 70% of the total federal income tax, much of which goes to *non* public goods like means-tested transfers anyway, and we only earned 43% of the money! So yeah: you could pretty much say we built the roads. 70+% of them, anyway.

    But keep up the take from the rich and productive to keep up the poor and lazy, that’ll make businesses feel all warm and fuzzy about risking it all on an expansion or new hires.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 15

  4. David M says:

    @JKB:

    Now I personally think since there is no stability in DC, we need even more instability.

    That does appear the be the GOP plan, create instability and then blame it on the Dems and count on the press not to report it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  5. C. Clavin says:

    @ Rob…
    This is why Romney and his taxes are a real issue.
    Bain recieved millions (if not billions) in corporate welfare…which Romney profited handsomely on. Now he doesn’t want to pay his share of the bill. And he claims that he did it all on his own hard work and ingenuity. No pal…we all contributed to your success. Payback is a bitch.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  6. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Rob in CT: There are a bunch of people who made a lot of money over the past decade, paid historically low taxes on those earnings, and simply do not want to pay for the bills our government ran up. We fought 2 wars (one of which was mind-bogglingly stupid, evil or both) and, get this!, expanded an entitlement (Medicare) while specifically refusing to fund them (the ACA actually has funding attached). Then we endured a financial panic and are still enduring the fallout.

    “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 10

  7. JKB says:

    @David M: …then blame it on the Dems and count on the press not to report it.

    Yes, because if there is one thing the Republicans can count on, it is for the press to cover up or not report negative news about them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  8. C. Clavin says:

    @ JKB…

    “…The House should churn out bill after bill and let Harry drown….”

    They have. They have.
    Why, they have voted to repeal the PPACA 33 times!!!
    They also passed a whole bunch of bills that restrict the rights of women!!!
    Worst. Congress. Ever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  9. anjin-san says:

    “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.”

    What are you bitching about? If this is the case, you will not be asked to give…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  10. David M says:

    @JKB:

    Yes, because if there is one thing the Republicans can count on, it is for the press to cover up or not report negative news about them.

    Pretty much. The GOP voted to end Medicare and the press pretended they didn’t. The GOP tax plans count on the press being unwilling to point out the math is impossible. The Ryan plan was a complete fraud as far as the deficit is concerned, but the press at it up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  11. C. Clavin says:

    @ JKB…
    The weathy in general benefit far more…so the fact that they pay far more is equitable.
    People like Romney are currently paying historically low amounts…and they want to pay even less.
    Because they are paying far less than they have historically we are told we can no longer afford things like roads and schools and clean air and water.
    The choice cannot be clearer…invest in the future with infrastructure and education…or give Mitt Romney another tax cut.
    It’s clear where you stand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  12. Herb says:

    @JKB:

    “But keep up the take from the rich and productive to keep up the poor and lazy, that’ll make businesses feel all warm and fuzzy about risking it all on an expansion or new hires.”

    So what are you, JKB? Rich and productive….or poor and lazy?

    Hate to say it, but this…..

    Hubbell, a maker of electrical products, has canceled several million dollars’ worth of equipment orders and delayed long-planned factory upgrades in the last few months, said Timothy H. Powers, the company’s chief executive. It has also held off hiring workers for about 100 positions that would otherwise have been filled, he said.

    That strikes me as rich but NOT productive. They’re not poor, not if they can cancel “several million dollars” of orders, but they are lazy since they will not upgrade their factories or hire needed workers unless they get their Washington goodies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  13. sam says:

    Can someone tell me what point 13 is trying to make upthread?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  14. Spartacus says:

    Doug wrote: “We’ve known about the “fiscal cliff” for a year now and rather than making an effort to deal with it, both sides in Washington have used the underlying issues of taxes and spending to score political points against their opponents.”

    Is this really true? It may be the media I watch, but it seems like most of the complaints about the “fiscal cliff” are coming from the GOP because they now want to renege on the defense cuts. I don’t think there are many Democrats who are trying to back out of the plan that both sides agreed to last year.

    Consequently, this seems to be a “problem” primarily for the GOP, in which case I don’t know why you’re blaming Democrats for not trying to fix it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  15. JKB says:

    @Herb:

    I must say you display an Obama-level of understanding of business and business investment.

    But I guess it is asking for “Washington goodies” to want a stable regulatory and tax environment. To hope for government bureaucrats who do not act in a capricious way and treat all citizens equally under the law.

    But you know of all the freebies and goodies Washington puts out, the one goody they can’t seem to provide is good government with respect for property rights. A government that has a logical tax scheme where citizens victims can reasonably plan on the tribute they’ll have to pay. Sadly, this is not a partisan issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  16. Liberty60 says:

    Wait, are we now expected to think that cutting the budget is a bad idea?

    After listening to Republicans scream about runaway spending for decades, and how the deficit is this evil thing, now when the possiblity of actual cuts is on the table, it is suddenly a terrible idea.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  17. JKB says:

    @C. Clavin: The weathy in general benefit far more…so the fact that they pay far more is equitable.

    Please enlighten us on how the wealthy benefit far more from the common infrastructure provided as a public good? Is this why they are successful because of the infrastructure while others who are smart and work hard do not? How do you explain the poor immigrant who achieves success through hard work.

    I am curious, are the wealthy permitted speed the roads? Do the police respond faster? Does the fire department put their fires out faster? Are their children educated better by the public schools?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  18. Herb says:

    @sam:

    Can someone tell me what point 13 is trying to make upthread?

    That Democrats are communists.

    Ya know….I read about Jon Lovitz and Dana Carvey complaining they can’t make fun of President Obama because people don’t react well to it. They perceive a fickle audience, perhaps over-protective of the president.

    But the more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that the reason these comedians are having trouble joking about the president is that the clowns on the right have stolen their thunder.

    “Where’s the birth certificate?” should have been a comedy routine, but it became a cause celebre. When the criticism is a joke…the actual jokes just aren’t funny.

    And that’s I feel about “Democrats are communists” crap. It should be a joke……but I don’t think Jenos is laughing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  19. anjin-san says:

    @JKB

    Obama: You rich people didn’t build public goods — like roads and bridges

    Kindly show where Obama said this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  20. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @sam: It’s all variations on the same theme: “You have something we want, and we’re taking it.” Everything else is rationalizing to avoid admitting that fundamental truth.

    Another good one is how we can’t afford tax cuts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  21. anjin-san says:

    Please enlighten us on how the wealthy benefit far more from the common infrastructure provided as a public good?

    Hmm. If I am Roger Penske, and I own a huge fleet of trucks that I make money on every hour of every day, it’s just possible that I benefit more from public roads than a bus boy who is struggling to keep a beater on the road – Yes? No?

    (not a knock on Pense, who I have a great deal of respect for)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  22. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Here’s the full context. And here’s the relevant part:

    “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

    Let me paraphrase:

    “Hey, Mr. Successful Businessman. We need more money.”

    “What about all I’ve already paid in taxes, licenses, fees, permits, and all the rest?”

    “It ain’t enough. We want more.”

    “How much more?”

    “Start forking it over, and we’ll let you know when we’ve got enough.”

    The part just before that is even more insightful:

    I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

    Anyone who can’t read that and shudder that this dolt is the president is as much a dolt as he is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

  23. anjin-san says:

    Please enlighten us on how the wealthy benefit far more from the common infrastructure provided as a public good?

    If I own a private aircraft that I fly on 25 times a year, do I benefit more or the same amount from our country’s public investments in commercial aviation than a guy who flys coach once or twice a year on Southwest?

    JKB do you know any rich people? You don’t seem to have a clue about how they live or do business…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  24. sam says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Another good one is how we can’t afford tax cuts.

    And we could afford to wars and tax cuts? How does that work?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  25. Herb says:

    @JKB:

    ‘I must say you display an Obama-level of understanding of business and business investment. “

    I’ll take that as a compliment.

    But I guess it is asking for “Washington goodies” to want a stable regulatory and tax environment.

    That’s not what they’re asking for. They’re asking for tax and regulatory reform. If it’s stability they’re looking for, they have it already.

    Truth is, many folks think the “instability” will help spur on the reform, and in that respect, “stability” is actually a negative. Bring on the instability, which we will weather cuz we’re rich, then rain down the goodies.

    Bottom line is that Hubbell, Inc is not updating factories or hiring workers because they decided to hold out for more favorable conditions. It’s a business decision, one that may have its merits.

    But there’s no way to disguise the fact that they decided to sacrifice productivity for profits, which is the very same thought process behind welfare queens who won’t get a job because they’ll lose their food stamps. Non-productive and lazy…but profitable!

    That’s not capitalism. And their decision can not be blamed on Democrats or the regulatory environment. Sorry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  26. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Hmm. If I am Roger Penske, and I own a huge fleet of trucks that I make money on every hour of every day, it’s just possible that I benefit more from public roads than a bus boy who is struggling to keep a beater on the road – Yes? No?

    Geez, you’re right. Penske should pay a shitload of more in taxes than the bus boy. Especially fuel taxes, which are the primary source of road funds. (Either directly, or through those who lease his trucks and fill them up.) And he should also pay to register those trucks. And sales taxes when he buys those trucks. As well as tolls (him or his lessors) when they drive on toll roads. Higher tolls than the bus buy and his little beater.

    Wait a second… isn’t that how it is right now?

    The real freeloaders are those driving hybrids and electrics. They do NOT pay their fair share in gas taxes for using the highways. They need to have their taxes adjusted to be more in line with the rest of ours.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  27. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Another good one is how we can’t afford tax cuts.

    So you prefer deficit-spending too?

    We just came off an 8 year run with Bush, wherein we reduced tax rates twice, while waging 2 completely deficit-funded wars, and passed an unfunded Supplemental Medicare Prescription Drug Program, and you want to reduce taxes again?

    Republicans have no concerns about deficit spending while they’re governing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  28. Rob in CT says:

    From each according to their ability, to each according to their need

    No, not that far. I reject communism, and so do any American liberals of consequence. We do, however, support something between that maxim and the Randian nonsense the Right is now peddling (shall I quote you some Rand as a rejoinder?). The pendulum has swung too far to the Right, and it’s done a lot of harm. Wanting it to swing back to the left a bit is not an endorsement of Marx. For instance, a 39.6% upper marginal income tax rate (as opposed to a 35% one) is not communism. Neither is arguing that capital gains taxation is too low. If you actually believe otherwise, you apparently believe the USA was a communist state for a solid chunk of the 20th century (during which it did rather well), which is obviously ridiculous.

    Also, the Right’s plans are obvious junk. Totally laughable – EVEN IF YOU BUY THE UNDERLYING MORALITY. I have a different set of assumptions than most Conservatives (more accurately, I assign different weights to things), but it would really help if Conservatives plans/blueprints/etc came anywhere near adding up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  29. al-Ameda says:

    @Herb:

    Ya know….I read about Jon Lovitz and Dana Carvey complaining they can’t make fun of President Obama because people don’t react well to it. They perceive a fickle audience, perhaps over-protective of the president.

    Dana Carvey is a Republicans so I understand his apparent frustration. Honestly, if those guys are skillful enough they can make fun of Obama all they want. All they have to do is throw in some Bill Ayres stuff, some stoner stuff, and so forth. Lovitz hasn’t been relevant since his SNL days.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  30. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @sam: I was hoping someone would bite. Thanks for playing along.

    A tax cut is the government taking less of your money. To say that “we’re taking less of your money” is the same as “we’re giving you money” is based on the presumption that the money in question rightfully belongs to the government, and any that they let you keep is a gift.

    I don’t see it that way, and neither do a lot of other people. They have this crazy idea that their money is actually theirs. Guess we’re just crazy that way, not seeing our property as the rightful property of the government, and we’re just entrusted with its custody until the government changes its mind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  31. anjin-san says:

    It ain’t enough.

    Neither party is serious about cutting spending. Did you notices Romney’s call for a delay on mandatory spending cuts?

    Taxes are at historic lows.

    We are going broke.

    Revenue has to be addressed. That is reality (outside of the Foxverse)

    Take your pick – Tax and spend Democrats, or Spend, spend, and go broke Republicans.

    One thing I have learned in business (I would not expect you to know this) is when you are looking for money, you go to the people who actually have it. I can show you video of Romney saying this is true if you are interested.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  32. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Good to see you admit once and for all you don’t care about the deficit. I’ll remember that next time you pretend otherwise to make the Dems look bad.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  33. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Rob in CT: I’m going to play games with your numbers here, and make a slight change to make my point. You say that 39.6% is acceptable. I’m going to round that up to 40% — a trivial change, I’m sure you’ll admit.

    40%. That means they work Monday and Tuesday for the government, then the next three days for themselves and their family.

    And that’s just income taxes. That doesn’t take into account all the other taxes, fees, licenses, permits, and all the other ways the government helps itself to our pockets.

    One simple question: how much is enough?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  34. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos Idanian

    We were talking about who benefits more from public infrastructure, not who pays – and nowhere did I say Penske does not pay his fair share.

    Do try to keep up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  35. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Weird, you don’t seem to understand how marginal tax rates work. Who couldn’t have seen that coming.

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

  36. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Taxes are at historic lows.

    No. Tax RATES are low. Tax REVENUES have been pretty much steadily climbing and climbing and climbing.

    One looks at revenues if one is interested in paying for things. One looks at rates if one is more interested in “fairness” and rationalizing taking more.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 9

  37. sam says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And that word salad answers the question how we can fight two wars and cut taxes at the same time how?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  38. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: You talked about how Penske benefits more from public infrastructure — with the inference that he ought to pay more than others. Which he does.

    If you didn’t intend to say that Penske should be paying more than he currently pays, then why did you bring him up?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  39. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Why didn’t you link to the chart showing how income tax revenue has been decreasing as a percent of GDP? That would be a much more useful chart. Tax revenue in absolute dollars is completely meaningless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  40. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    40%. That means they work Monday and Tuesday for the government, then the next three days for themselves and their family.

    Did the country experience an economic depression during the Clinton years? Is that 5% increase in the top marginal tax bracket the difference between Communism and Capitalism?

    By the way, without any tax deductions (such as mortgage interest, property taxes, charitable giving) my unadjusted tax rate would be about 30%, with deductions it is 15%. Most people who are in the top bracket (34%) do not pay 34% in federal income taxes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  41. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Uh, dude, that’s the marginal tax rate, not the overall tax rate….

    Do you even pay taxes? You certainly don’t seem to know how to do the math correctly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  42. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: Then put it in this context: this year, Tax Freedom Day for the average American was April 17. That’s 3 1/2 months of the year JUST to pay your taxes, and an average tax burden (non-graduated) of almost 30%.

    Back to the standard work week. That’s about the first 2 hours and 24 minutes of every day going to the government.

    So, what SHOULD be “enough?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  43. anjin-san says:

    If you didn’t intend to say that Penske should be paying more than he currently pays, then why did you bring him up?

    Because JKB said that rich and not rich benefit equally from public infrastructure – something that is demonstrably false. So I demonstrated.

    Jeeze dude, we already know you are not very bright – no need to hammer it home.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  44. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: Because, as I said, actual revenues is what you look at when you want to pay for things. “Revenues as a share of GDP” is just another way of trying to decide what’s “fair” (an incredibly subjective and meaningless term) and avoid the actual issue of “do we have enough to pay for what we need.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  45. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So, what SHOULD be “enough?”

    I’m pretty sure that’s not the right question to be asking, and if you don’t know why it’s not the right question, you don’t understand what a budget is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  46. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @grumpy realist: Of course I pay taxes. If I didn’t, I’d be an Obama supporter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  47. C. Clavin says:

    @ JKB…

    “…Please enlighten us on how the wealthy benefit far more from the common infrastructure provided as a public good? “

    Are you serious?
    Ouch…I just hurt myself rolling my eyes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  48. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: I know what a budget is. This puts me way ahead of the Democrats in Congress and Obama, who haven’t passed one in over three years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  49. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Really, the GOP trolls are so far down the rabbit hole that you’re now pretending absolute revenue numbers have meaning. What’s next, looking at historical spending amounts and pretending there hasn’t been any inflation over the last 50 years?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  50. stonetools says:

    If businesses are worried about the fiscal cliff, then they need to stop supporting the economically illiterate Tea Party morons who nearly took us over the fiscal cliff last year. Its that simple. Vote out the morons, and there won’t be any crazy fiscal showdown at the end of the year.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  51. C. Clavin says:

    @ Indiana Jones…

    “…I don’t see it that way, and neither do a lot of other people. They have this crazy idea that their money is actually theirs. Guess we’re just crazy that way, not seeing our property as the rightful property of the government, and we’re just entrusted with its custody until the government changes its mind…”

    That may be the way you see it…but it’s a myopic view. The Government isn’t taking your money…you are paying the Government for services rendered. Now, you may think the Government is rendering too much. In the abstract most people do…but when asked about specifics they most certainly DO NOT.
    So the choice is…again…do we want the Government to invest in the future by providing infrastructure and education and clean air and water…or do we want Mitt Romney to get another tax cut? It’s really just that simple. As an imaginary action hero I’m sure you don’t care about real things like infrastructure and education.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  52. C. Clavin says:

    “…I know what a budget is. This puts me way ahead of the Democrats in Congress and Obama, who haven’t passed one in over three years…”

    Indiana Jones shows he is on par with JKB in terms of economic understanding.
    Where is Jan?
    And Drew?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  53. bk says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Worst. Congress. Ever.

    Worst Republican-controlled House ever. Fixed it for you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  54. stonetools says:

    @C. Clavin:

    The problem with arguing with these conservative trolls is that they somehow believe that things like a court system that enforces business contracts and creates legal entities like public corporations somehow “just fell out of the sky ” and aren’t part of what government does. Let’s outsource this to Elizabeth Warren :

    “There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. You built a factory out there – good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory… Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea – God bless! Keep a hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

    So the factory owner who makes millions benefits much more from the government than the $50, 000 a year worker who comes to that factory. That should be simple enough even for Jenos to comprehend.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  55. Console says:

    Let’s avoid a possible debt crisis decades from now, by threatening to crash the economy now.

    Only slightly more brilliant than “let’s avoid a possible debt crisis decades from now by threatening to cause a debt crisis now”

    I’m sorry but anyone that has been hand-wringing about the deficit over the past few years… well you’re just as responsible for this stupidity. It’s not a problem if you have decades to solve it. Suggesting otherwise is how you get absurd urgency that we have now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  56. JKB says:

    Because JKB said that rich and not rich benefit equally from public infrastructure – something that is demonstrably false. So I demonstrated.

    Actually, you indicated why the rich pay more in absolute terms but you didn’t demonstrate why they should pay more in proportional terms. So please explain why the rich should pay 25% more for each increment of usage than the individual who pays 10% in taxes. Penske’s trucks get no more use out of the highway than the busboy. Sure Penske has more trucks on the highway but he pays taxes for each of those trucks. In fact, his trucks generate jobs, produce economic value and even taxes in other forms. Now, explain why Penske should pay 4% more with no commiserate increase in utility of the road?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  57. Console says:

    @JKB:

    Roads are paid for by gas taxes if i recall correctly…

    And really that’s only one thing. If we get invaded by china, there’s a bit more property at stake for some people than others, to use an extreme example.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  58. David M says:

    @JKB: Are you now arguing with the concept of marginal tax rates and standard deductions?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  59. JKB says:

    @stonetools:

    But the rich already pay for 70% of all those services Obama mentioned (he helpfully avoids the 75% of the budget that is redistributive and not services). So they may ‘benefit more’ but they already pay more than the $50,000 worker who wouldn’t have a job if the rich factory owner hadn’t built his factory and paid for roads, education, etc. earlier.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  60. Rob in CT says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You apparently do not understand how marginal rates work. Marginal rate on income over X != effective tax rate.

    It’s amazing to me how many American tax payers do not understand that. My own mother doesn’t understand it. It’s astounding.

    It makes discussing policy rather difficult.

    how much is enough

    You do realize that this cuts both ways, right? How low do tax rates have to go to make you happy?

    The answer to your question, however is this: taxes need to cover funding, plus or minus a little bit (actually having a balanced budget every year is foolish). This means something like 21% of GDP (this is off the top of my head, so consider that number fuzzy).

    Further, you cannot get blood from a stone. You have to tax where the money is. And the money in this country is highly concentrated, and getting more so, for a number of reasons. So people like me and people richer than me are going to foot the bill, because we’re the only ones who can. I don’t consider this a great injustice, despite the fact that much of the bill we’ll be paying off (at some point) was spent on policies I hated (e.g. the Iraq War, other WoT policies, some military procurement, the WoD… it’s a long list, actually). I’m an American. This means I have rights, but it also means I have responsibilities – some of which are collective. We the People, via our representatives, did a lot of things. Some of them stupid. The bill still has to get paid. And you know what? Unemployed people aren’t going to pay it, no matter how much you cry about it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  61. C. Clavin says:

    “…Now, explain why Penske should pay 4% more with no commiserate increase in utility of the road?”

    Why would I try to explain something that is pure fiction?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  62. steve says:

    The roads were actually built when the rich paid a lower fraction of the taxes, and also earned a smaller percentage of total income. Whether or not they should pay a higher percentage is a matter of policy preference. However, we do know that when income is concentrated into the hands of very few people we find social chaos and nations that tend away from democratic principles with freer markets. Think of the Great Depression. Look what happened when we had our recent new peaks in income concentration. Look at the banana republics and authoritarian governments around the world. All marked by extreme inequalities in wealth and income. Causation or correlation? Hard to tell.

    However, just as a matter of very simple math, if income continues to be concentrated as it has been, the wealthy will need to keep paying more of our taxes.

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  63. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    They may pay more, in quantitative terms. They may even pay proportionately more. But they don’t pay ENOUGH, either proportionately or quantitatively. Hence the deficit.

    They also proportionately pay far LESS than they benefit, IMO.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  64. David M says:

    @JKB: The rich don’t pay any more than anyone else. The same tax brackets apply to all people, as we tax income levels not individuals. Someone making 5k / yr uses the same tax deductions and tax brackets as someone making $5 mill / yr. If we cut the lowest tax bracket, they both receive a tax cut, if we raise the top bracket they both pay more taxes for the part of their income that exceeds that level.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  65. JKB says:

    @stonetools: But they don’t pay ENOUGH, either proportionately or quantitatively.

    Now we’re getting somewhere. How much is ENOUGH? The businesses reluctant to invest want to know. That would provide some certainty to their calculations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  66. JKB says:

    @David M: The same tax brackets apply to all people, as we tax income levels not individuals.

    Then by all means let’s raise all the brackets just a tiny bit then, surely, they’ll pay enough for stonetools.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  67. The Q says:

    JKB, you are a clueless dipshite and here’s why:

    You repeat the canard that the rich pay a huge share of the taxes, but youre wrong.

    The budget derives about 44% of its revenues from INCOME taxes and yes the rich pay (for sake of argument) about 50% of that.

    However about 43% of the budget derives its revenue from the SS tax which the top DON”T PAY. The other sources of revenue are the corporate tax – about 6% and excise, tariffs etc for the rest.

    So, the rich really pay only about 25% of ALL federal taxes while taking in about 35% of all income.

    ERGO you witless tool, they are UNDERTAXED.

    But then what do you expect from a wingnut drunk from lapping up the Kool Aid from the usual cesspool of misinformation.

    The facts are that the bottom 60% which comprise 9% of all income, pay about 50% of ALL federal TAXES. So shove that fact up your dumb wingnut arsehole. But first, make sure you remove your head first.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  68. Console says:

    @JKB:

    Actually we should just make more brackets…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  69. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: ENOUGH is ENOUGH to cover the bills. Unless you want to run a deficit.

    The fact is, you want all the goodies of a civilization but don’t want to pay for any of it. Wanker.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  70. Rob in CT says:

    It’s not just how much, it’s how it’s distributed. So if you need X in additional revenue, that’s only a partial answer. We disagree on how much (ratio of cuts to additional revenue) *and* we disagree on who needs to pony up the additional revenue.

    Me? I’d go 50/50 cuts to revenue increases (phased in over time, to reduce the shock to the economy). I’d assign the revenue increases largely to the top 10% of earners, progressively. This would mean not just adjusting margain income tax rates, but also taxing inflation-adjusted capital gains at normal income tax rates (or very close to them, instead of this ridiculous 15%). Oh, and I’m also in favor of a progressive inheritance tax to replace our pathetic estate tax.

    I would do this not only because I think it’s fair, but because that’s where the money is (which, in turn, is not disconnected from tax policy changes over the past 30 years, largely in a Conservative direction). Oh, and putting more of a check on increasing inequality is something I see as healthy for us all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  71. JKB says:

    @grumpy realist: ENOUGH is ENOUGH to cover the bills. Unless you want to run a deficit.

    Should we not cut back on expenses before taking more from hardworking Americans? Should we not reevaluate what exactly we want government to provide? Should we not search deep down and decide to do without certain things?

    And for the record, government is not civilization. Government spending is not civilization, modern or otherwise. We would get further in this discussion if you didn’t pretend that your new taxes were going to be used to fund common services for all citizens instead of funding redistribution by politicians.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  72. JKB says:

    @The Q:

    You are very rude, very wrong in your assumptions, understanding and math and very unimaginative in your name calling and slurs.

    Please try to do better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  73. rudderpedals says:

    @JKB:

    Let’s raise all the brackets just a tiny bit

    You will be happy to know this happens in 2013. It was baked in years ago when Bush rammed deficit building tax cuts through.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  74. David M says:

    @grumpy realist: Look at the actions of the GOP, they care much more about lowering taxes on the rich than anything else. Lower income tax rates and the deficit are not important to them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  75. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: If you can find me a civilization that did not operate via a government, I’d like to see the level of economic ability it reached.

    I know it’s hard for you to realize, but “property” makes no sense as a concept without a legal system to back it up (plus law courts, etc.). Otherwise you’re limited to what you can carry in your own two hands and other people don’t beat you up for.

    You want property? An economy? Then you’re going to have to have government. See Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, Thomas Acquinas, Giles of Rome, etc., etc. and so forth. You don’t want government? Then you’re going to have warlords. (See Somalia)

    Government or warlords, boyo. Your pick.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  76. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    Actually, if we allow the Bush tax cuts to lapse, the top tax rate will go back to 39.50 per cent- where they were in the those budget-balancing Clinton years. Of course, your Teatard masters oppose this, so you might want to report back to base camp to clarify your talking points-you clearly got them wrong.
    I might point out that during the go-go years of the 1950s and 60s, the top marginal tax rate was 70-90 per cent . Businesses and the wealthy did just fine in those years. But hey, why bother with facts and history? That’ll just confuse you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  77. Herb says:

    @al-Ameda:

    “Honestly, if those guys are skillful enough they can make fun of Obama all they want.”

    Maybe, but then again I think the problem is that no matter how skillful the jokes are, they come off as the kind of thing you hear in all seriousness from the Fox News crowd.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  78. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    Should we not cut back on expenses before taking more from hardworking Americans? Should we not reevaluate what exactly we want government to provide? Should we not search deep down and decide to do without certain things?

    Actually, no. The polls and the way people vote make it clear that the people want as much, or more , government services as they have now-they just don’t want to pay for them. Or rather, they want to cut spending by cutting YOUR share of government spending-not the spending THEY like. Its a revenue problem, not a spending problem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  79. The Q says:

    “To Q, You are very rude, very wrong in your assumptions, understanding and math…”

    JKB, no ruder than your impudence in continually spouting false BS.

    Please feel free to rebut my premise which you wisely sidestepped.while you whined about a few names. man up sir.

    Show me how the rich pay more than their “fair share” when computing ALL Federal taxes and revenues.

    But that would require the whole head out the arse thing which caused such consternation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  80. wr says:

    @stonetools: “That should be simple enough even for Jenos to comprehend. ‘

    Goodnight Moon might be simple enough even for Jenos to comprehend. Anything beyond that has yet to be demonstrated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  81. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    They may pay more, in quantitative terms. They may even pay proportionately more. But they don’t pay ENOUGH, either proportionately or quantitatively. Hence the deficit.

    In fact they pay pretty much in step with their gains as far as income tax is concerned. Which is, considering the concept of marginal utility and the regressive nature of most local taxes is concerned, still a somewhat questionable state of affairs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  82. John D'Geek says:

    About a third of the way down I stopped reading … couldn’t take it any more. For your reading pleasure, I present two links provided by noted economist Justin Wolfers: the numbers behind ‘the rich should pay more taxes” (It’s not as obvious as you might think) and how the US economic policy debate is a sham

    For those who have never heard of him, Dr. Wolfers is a liberal economist from “down under”, so this is not “conservative propaganda”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  83. anjin-san says:

    Should we not cut back on expenses

    Nice talking point, but neither party is serious about. Republicans are not serious about it, Romney is not serious about it, tea party types are not serious about it.

    The difference between Democrats and Republicans is D’s realize we have to pay the bills and it will get painful, and R’s want to figure out how to make billionaires pay less. If there is pain, let those at the bottom rungs of our society feel it, & the middle class as well if necessary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  84. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    I present two links provided by noted economist Justin Wolfers: the numbers behind ‘the rich should pay more taxes” (It’s not as obvious as you might think) and how the US economic policy debate is a sham

    I’m somewhat unclear why you had to flag that as not conservative propaganda. I’m a left-of-center European liberal and I could find little in the first and next to nothing to disagree about in the second link.

    If you’ll remember, the question during the last stand-off was not whether entitlements have to be cut but with which timing and how much additional revenue can be garnered by raising taxes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  85. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    Obama: You rich people didn’t build public goods — like roads and bridges

    Since you never showed where Obama said this, I am just going to name you a liar and call it a day. BTW, I just sent my first (but not last) campaign contribution to Obama in your honor…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  86. The problem is not whether the rich are paying their fair share. The point is that taxes over financial investments are too low. REAL job creators pays too much while the people of Bain and Wall Street pays too little.

    And considering the size of the deficit that´s going to be irrelevant: taxes are going to have to be raised, regardless of their fairness. But raising capital gains taxes would be a nice start.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  87. @JKB:

    Should we not cut back on expenses before taking more from hardworking Americans? Should we not reevaluate what exactly we want government to provide?

    1-) No, it´s not so easy. The deficit and the debt in the United States are so high that the United States has one of the highest deficit to GDP ratio in the World. Servicing all that debt is going to become crippling.

    You can´t make philosophical assumptions over that.

    2-) Cutting spending to curb the deficit would require AT LEAST cutting Medicare for the current recipients. As the debate about Death Panels shows there is little appetite for it, even among the so called conservatives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  88. JKB says:

    @anjin-san: Since you never showed where Obama said this, I am just going to name you a liar

    Are you unable to understand simple blog comments. The link where that came from was in the comment. It also, was not a quote but a dialogue from a post written as a one-act play. But the line, for those who can understand plain English, which leaves out Obamamaniacs, is an accurate interpretation of what Obama said in Roanoke.

    Please feel free to continue in your in-comprehensive state

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  89. anjin-san says:

    is an accurate interpretation of what Obama said in Roanoke.

    Actually, outside of wingnuttia, its not. Sorry, that is out and out BS.

    Is the mean black man confusing you with complex ideas like societal interdependencies?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  90. David M says:

    @JKB:

    But the line, for those who can understand plain English, which leaves out Obamamaniacs, is an accurate interpretation of what Obama said

    We have a winner! JKB is a liar, and proud of it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  91. JKB says:

    Oops, I’m sorry. Obama didn’t say that about “public goods.” What he said was that they didn’t build their private factories, shops, and other businesses. When in fact, the rich are the ones who not only built their private businesses but who funded the roads and schools and pay for the bulk of the current operating expenses.

    Oh, and you are going to love this. Seems our wonderful little recession isn’t the cause of President Bush nor the banks. No, there could have been a mild recession but because of the Federal Reserve, we go the mother of all recessions.

    The analysis will be much debated and probably won’t have much impact on the election or public perception of the Bush years anytime soon. And bankers are unlikely to see their approval ratings rise. But Hetzel’s work suggests policymakers should take notice and perhaps think twice about placing more faith and power in regulators or abandoning pro-market polices because they somehow caused the financial crisis and Great Recession.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  92. grumpy realist says:

    @JKB: I think you should look at what Lenin called “a useful idiot.” Good forelock tugging; I’m sure the rich appreciate your water-carrying for them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  93. Rob in CT says:

    Bush did not cause the recession, that is true. The banks (or rather the investment banks), the mortgage industry and Fed policy during the bubble period did (with some help from the “global savings glut”) did. I’d add in the various factors that have been squeezing the middle class for decades now and lead to people supplementing income with borrowing. Greenspan kept rates really low for a really long time. Remember him? Alan Greenspan?

    Yeah.

    Anyway, the bottom line is this: taxes have to go up, and spending does have to come down. The debate is over who pays/deals with cuts. My position on this, it should be noted, is well to the Left of Barack Obama. So you don’t have to even worry your pretty little head about my pipe dreams.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  94. anjin-san says:

    What he said was that they didn’t build their private factories, shops, and other businesses.

    Well, that’s wrong too, but keep trying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  95. JKB says:

    @anjin-san:

    Ah, Denial is the bluest state of all.

    Please provide us with your interpretation of what Obama said.

    One struggling freshman summed it up for all of us when he wrote, “Life has too much realism.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  96. anjin-san says:

    Please provide us with your interpretation of what Obama said.

    “No man is an island”…

    But you have already been told what you think. Run along.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  97. JKB says:

    @anjin-san: “No man is an island”…

    Well, if that is the case, Obama took all the island paradise credit for the government leaving out the parents, mentors, friends, family, coffee grower in Ethiopia, coffee roaster, lumberman, saw mill employee, steel mill operator, telephone repairman, etc. ad infinitum.

    Google up the classic essay, ‘I, Pencil’ by Leonard E. Read. Here is a video interpretation by Milton Friedman

    But let us examine the words of that great orator, Barack Obama. He said, “You did not build that”. Perhaps he meant to include “alone” at the end but he did not and his storied speaking ability belies any claim he misspoke. So while some may wish to attach the interpretation of “no man is an island” this does not follow from the context or the actual words. His words in context related the idea that the businessperson did not build their own business but rather they succeeded because, rather in spite of, the government. I can only wonder what this implies of the wage-earner and hourly worker who must by implication be being held back by the government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  98. anjin-san says:

    That’s great JKB, hang your hat on it. You might want to bring back clean coal too.

    Nate Silver has Romney’s chance of winning at 28%, so it’s looking like you will have to content yourself with these bizarre rants for 4 more years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  99. Rob in CT says:

    This reminds me of a line from Bull Durham:

    “Trying to have a conversation with you is like… a Martian talking to a Fungo.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  100. John D'Geek says:

    @Ebenezer_Arvigenius:

    I’m somewhat unclear why you had to flag that as not conservative propaganda.

    Basic paranoia, sorry. :D That’s one of the reasons I read Dr. Wolfers — while he is Liberal (and, thus, will disagree with me quite often), there’s very little* in the way of propaganda to his pieces. The worst I can say about his research (so far) is “your analysis didn’t go far enough” — which, frankly, is pretty danged good.

    For the rest, I’ll see if I can dig up something on basic Systems Engineering. Not my specialty, but I know enough of it to know that “it’s not that simple” and “you’re both wrong” apply to this debate.

    * Very little — I haven’t read everything he’s ever written, so I left some wiggle room. I don’t recall any, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0