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About this blog: I grew up in Los Angeles and moved to the area in 1963 when I started graduate school at Stanford. Nancy and I were married in 1977 and we lived for nearly 30 years in the Duveneck school area. Our children went to Paly. We moved ...  (More)

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Two Positives from the Debt Ceiling Debacle

Uploaded: Aug 3, 2011
The debt ceiling debate and final agreement shows how screwed up our congressional politics is. There was no discussion of entitlement reform or tax reform, no inclusion of any kind of balance in terms of solutions and the level of long-term deficit reduction is far too small to make much of a difference.

The first tiny positive is that the final agreement is better than a refusal to raise the debt limit.

The public debate was filled with tired rhetoric about "job killing" tax increases and the "terrible blows to our seniors" if Medicare and Social Security were reformed modestly. For all the talk of compromise no one changed their ideas much to my listening.

The other positive is interesting.

In recent days we now hear the language (and correctly) about "job killing" spending cuts. We are reminded that government spending supports jobs and income just as consumer and business spending does.

The media this week has reported on the large impact of federal spending on jobs and residents.

Government spending cuts "kill" jobs in the short term just as redcutions in consumer spending or busienss investment. Reduced spending on federal grants for transportation, research or community prorgrams takes money out of the economy just as local government spending cuts are leading to reduced jobs and income in those communities. The federal government provides well over $200 billion to the California economy in the form of matching grants for health and social service programs, support for college students and our universities, payments for Social Security and Medicare and infrastructure funding.

While we can debate whether all of these funds are wisely used (Weekly bloggers recently got support from an independent panel re the problems with HSR funding), it is still true that lower spending leads to fewer jobs and less income.

Consumers are tapped out and caught between depressed housing values and high unemployment. To expect a surge in consumer spending is unrealistic for a while.

Businesses have plenty of money and profits and are spending for productivity increases and, especially here in Silicon Valley, to develop new products and services to catch the next gold ring.

But to expect businesses to invest in expanding capacity and adding jobs in most industries is also unrealistic and would be bad business practice given the current state of low demand from their customers.

We are really stuck with few tools in our tool kit, even if our politics were not so messed up. There was no thought of economic recovery policies in the debt debate on either side.

But cutting government spending now will only deepen and prolong the economic pain.

Government spending does "kill" jobs in the short term just as advocates argue is the case for tax increases.

The best advice is still support the economy and safety net now (which used to be an area of bipartisan agreement) while commiting to substantial reductions in federal deficit spending starting when the economy recovers.

The debt deal this week did neither.

Comments

Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of ,
on Aug 3, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Mr. Levy:

Bingo.

As you say, when bad economic times hit, when consumer and private spending falter, the government has always been the "spender of last resort." A loaded, but true, phrase guaranteed to blow the top of a tea party kettle.

For those that argue "we're too broke" - you're wrong. Our interest payments on debt matches what we paid during the 80's and 90's (miracle of our extremely low rates.)

The longer the austerity crowd stalls spending, the greater the chance of a double dip recession which will depress revenues further.

We must build our way out of this mess, employ America, rebuild our infrastructure, stimulate manufacturing and grow revenues. History proves it's the only way.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Aug 3, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Steve Levy conveniently avoids mentioning things that could grow our economy right now:

1. Exploit our own fossil fuel sources, by drilling for them, everywhere in this country. This will create many jobs, and it will provide national security benefits, as well as diminishing our balance of payment deficits with other countries.

2. Start licensing nuclear power plants, NOW!

Note: Neither # 1 nor #2 prevent the development of wind/solar/biomass alternative approaches.

3. Crush the teachers' union! We need educational vouchers...already! We can no longer tolerate the perpetual failures and excuses of our public school systems (which need to compete or die). Perhaps more importantly, there will be the freedom to explore educational models that actually work.

4. Go to a flat consumer/transfer tax. Eliminate the income and property and corporate taxes, and replace them with state and national sales taxes. Every single citizen should pay taxes, including those in the underground economy. Yes, this also means a tax on Internet sales. Forever eliminate from the discussion, "tax the rich", because it is self defeating: The rich will only transfer the costs to the the poor, through higher prices and exported jobs. We need the rich to invest here, not only in China and India and Mexico. If people want to transfer money back to their home countries, it will also be taxed at the point of transfer.

5. Gradually increase the age of social security eligibility, starting right now!. It is crazy that the Dems will not give one inch on this one. SS does NOT have a surplus fund, just IOUs from the federal government, which has to print money to continue to honor the IOUs. SS has already crossed the tipping point, where it is paying more than it takes in on a real-time basis.

6. Deport the illegal aliens, who are a huge part of the underclass financial burden of our state and nation. Force the comfortable US citizens to take uncomfortable jobs. Only when that is done, should there be a possible consideration of a 'guest worker' program.

There are many more solutions, but I doubt that Steve Levy will suggest them. Like Paul Krugman, he thinks that we can just continue to run the money printing presses. Keynesianism was a failure, and so are the Levy / Krugman snake oil medicines.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of ,
on Aug 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

So, if everybody worked for the government, all we would need for a boom would be a raise in wages? A great deal of the infrastructure is done by private industry with government functioning only as paymaster. While the public spends it goes directly to the private sector. Your mention of HSR is a good case - while government thinks HSR is a good deal, the private sector overwhelmingly rejects it.
Investments in the private sector yield almost immediately while public sector investments yield far down the line - if ever. A highway is a long term investment, while T-Shirts are overnight. Private investment in energy is severely restricted while private investment in boutique energy is possible only with major direct and indirect subsidies. Some government spending, like the new Bay Bridge link, is an absolute waste - a suspension span over a tide flat that adds no capacity but is a nice monument to two Browns. The same investment could have paid for a full parallel span span plus an upgrade to the existing span. It is difficult to hold down politically motivated spending.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of ,
on Aug 3, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Well said, Jerry!


Posted by KD, a resident of ,
on Aug 3, 2011 at 6:38 pm

From Jerry

"Keynesianism was a failure"

Agreed, because politicians can never bring themselves to reduce spending (during good times) so long as they have the ability to tax or borrow.

Which is why we can expect the printing presses to run.......

Inflation - the tax on savers.



Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Aug 3, 2011 at 6:44 pm

"Inflation - the tax on savers."

Yes, but it is much worse on the poor.

The rich tend to do quite well during inflationary periods.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of ,
on Aug 3, 2011 at 7:18 pm

I understand the theory - spend more, create jobs. Problem is that has been the mantra for decades...and guess what? Our country is debt over our heads. So maybe the theory works - but the result for the Federal deficit and debt is a debacle that will take 50 years to fix.

We have to try something different.


Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of ,
on Aug 4, 2011 at 9:55 am

CPC: "but the result for the Federal deficit and debt is a debacle that will take 50 years to fix. "

Wrong.

If the GOP stayed on Clinton's budget track (surplus of $125 billion a year and growing) we'd be getting close to being debt free in a decade or so.

Instead....

Who made history by giving the billionaires obscene tax cuts IN TIME OF WAR? A first that had never happened in any civilization. Where's the patriotism?

A: Not Keynesianism

Who put us into two unjustified, almost unending, wars on a credit card; decided to pay for it by borrowing from China, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Iran and others?

A: Not Keynesianism

Who forced through Medicare drug plan in the dark of night (4am, wasn't it?) that BY LAW doesn't even allow Medicare to negotiate better drug prices?

A: Not Keynesianism

Who decided to pass Medicare part D and not pay for it?

A: Not Keynesianism

Who's responsible for taking a track of 23 million new jobs created under Clinton and within 8 years losing 700,000 jobs a MONTH?

A: Not Keynesianism

Who took a SURPLUS and ran it into a trillion dollar deficit?

A: Not Keynesianism

What's unfathomable to me is: with Bush & the GOP taking America into debt to the tune of a trillion a year - how come he couldn't spend that on things that made the economy roar back?!? Give me a trillion dollar credit card and I'll buy you a great economy! Better yet, tear it up and keep the SURPLUS paying off debt.

CPC: try something different? Sure. The thing to do in good times, like Clinton, but not in bad. Austerity measures are not "different." Everywhere they've been tried, they've prolonged bad economic times with depressed revenues. That's not the ticket out.

This debt limit will cost jobs, hurt the economy and, in my view, be looked back as one of the contributors to the "double dip" recession.

One must build, employ and grow out of a depression or a recession.


Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of ,
on Aug 4, 2011 at 10:01 am

KD: "because politicians can never bring themselves to reduce spending (during good times) "

Wrong.

See Clinton, Bill.

He cut every department. From the Pentagon (you still hear the screams from the far right) to the EPA (ditto the left.) Tax rates for millionaires and billionaires were a few percent above today, and even they did better in the 90's.

Bill Clinton left a surplus.

We need to grow the economy and get it producing jobs and revenues. When we get America back on track with revenues, cut spending. End the wars. Slash the DOD. Give Medicare the right to negotiate drug prices. Revisit trade policies that cost Americans jobs. Ask millionaires and billionaires to share in the sacrifice of other Americans.

Austerity measures are the proven wrong way out of a bad economy.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of ,
on Aug 4, 2011 at 11:15 am

AEN: Key point (I agree BTW): "if" the GOP stayed on the Clinton path. Of course, both parties are at fault as far as I'm concerned. The Dems controlled Congress during the W years.

Bill Clinton left a budget surplus - not to be confused with the Federal Debt (which was also substantial for its day back then).

My point is that *now* the Federal Debt problem will take 50 years to fix.

I would love to go back to Clinton tax rates - I would pay more taxes, but I'm OK with that. However we would also have to adjust the spending rates to what those tax rates would provide in revenue.

And while we're at it, let's bring back Glass-Steagall.


Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of ,
on Aug 4, 2011 at 11:33 am

While generally on the same page (also with most of America, borne out by polls,) not to slice too fine a point:

"The Dems controlled Congress during the W years." Not accurate.

Pelosi took over in 2006. Prior to that it was led by Hastert and the convicted felon Tom Delay.

That cleared up, I've posted this before: the only thing that frustrates me more than the GOP is the Democratic Party.

Glass-Steagall. Sigh.

More evidence that Clinton was the best Republican President ever. Balanced budgets. Slashed welfare. Cut economy saving regulation. NAFTA.

In the landscape of the 70's or 80's, if you were told that all of that would happen, even by a Republican, you'd have been skeptical. My, how things have shifted.

Sigh.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Aug 4, 2011 at 11:57 am

I don't blame Keynes (or his model) for the failure to exploit our own fossil fuel resources. Can't blame him for the failure to license many more nuclear plants, ASAP. That blame goes to the American people, especially those who think we can have it all, without paying the price.

I can't blame Keynes for the failures of the teachers' unions. I blame the teachers for that...although Keynes, today, would probably support them.

Keynes would probably support an immediate increase in the age of eligibility for SS recipients. So I can't blame him for that.

However, I can blame Keynes for developing an economic/fiscal model that allows politicians to print money to the point of disaster. The Keynes model has never worked, but there are still a few economists who believe that it did. We are now suffering from this mistaken notion.

If we take the actions that I have listed (my first post), we can rather quickly start to grow our economy. All it takes is political will.


Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of ,
on Aug 5, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Jerry:

Was Clinton following the policies of Keynes when he balanced the budget and left a surplus?

Regarding your suggestions to "quickly start to grow our economy":
- teachers unions
- fossil fuels and licensing nukes
- increase in the age of eligibility for SS recipients

You feel those are the most critical items to ""quickly start to grow our economy"???

1. Unions protect jobs and wages. This economy NEEDS jobs and wages.
2. Green technologies will arguably provide just as many jobs and more long term benefits to our country. I personally have no issue with a blend of "all the above" re energy. As long as it's domestic and includes long term green solutions.
3. Increasing the age of SS won't create jobs, just increase the amount of poverty among our elderly. Making SS solvent essentially forever (SS is already solvent for 20+ and has never added a dime to the deficit) by removing the cap on SSI. Even offering a SSI tax free "donut hole" for incomes between $110k-$250k per year makes SSI solvent the next hundred years while supporting our seniors.

This economy must grow fast. Target short term spending on growth and longterm deficit reduction. We must have job programs to kick start that growth and give the private sector the confidence to start spending the trillions in cash they are sitting on. They will do so when they see the economy growing and consumers with money to spend.

Austerity measures just prolong recessions. They prolong pain.

The problem with the stimulus was that it wasn't large enough. Half of it was middle class tax cuts (the largest in history.)

To complain that the inadequate amount of stimulus "proves that stimulus doesn't work" is like saying a half round of antibiotics didn't work, therefore all antibiotics don't work.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Aug 5, 2011 at 2:16 pm

AEN,

Clinton balanced the budget, because of the dot.com boom (mostly Wall Street bonuses and resulitng income taxes), as well as major cuts in the defense budget, following its victory in the cold war. Clinton did not even get on the path until Newt G. took over the House in 1994. It was only then that Clinton announced, "The era of big government is over". Clinton was smart enough to triangulate to reality. Put another way, Clinton got lucky, but he was smart enough to follow his luck.

The Clinton model is irrelevant to the current situation. America is no longer the major domo of the dot.com era. US citizens are structurally obsolete, becasue they are either too old or too spoiled to be major producers of products that sell at home and abroad. Many of them don't even mow their own lawns.

I have suggested some major sparkers of a growing economy. America needs to have some jolts that work. I have provided a few.

The fundamental question is: How much longer do we want to paralyzed by the Keynesians (K) and and the Greens (G)? The K/G mindset is part of the past. The future belongs to the bold exploiters of our physical and intellectual resources.


Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of ,
on Aug 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Jerry:

If I bought your statement that Clinton "just" smart and lucky, I'd ask what happened when Newt's party took over:

- what that has to do with two irresponsible wars put on a credit card
- tax cuts in time of war
- an unfunded drug plan that won't even allow price negotiation

That's what happened to the surplus, not your assertion that Americans "are structurally obsolete, becasue they are either too old or too spoiled..." and too lazy to "even mow their own lawns."

Busting teacher unions is not a "jolt" that will work.

Throwing more elderly into poverty is not a "jolt" that will work.

Much of America's formerly great infrastructure was built in bad times: the Hoover dam, the TVA, the Golden Gate and other great bridges and highways. Ike built the Interstate system. Now we have crumbling highways and bridges. We need to build to support a prosperous future.

Put America back to work. Build out of this economy. Grow revenues then cut the deficit.

We do both agree on "The future belongs to the bold exploiters of our physical and intellectual resources." So let's get American youth back in higher education, not price them out of it.



Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of ,
on Aug 5, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Clinton's balanced budget was in part because of a booming economy.

Do not discount the early tax hikes.

I am always amazed that "conservatives" always discount his budget surpluses, yet claim to want to miraculously balance a budget without his proven methods.

And where was the conservative uproar in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005?


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Aug 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm



AEN,

"Put America back to work. Build out of this economy. Grow revenues then cut the deficit."

No, not the way you are describing it! Unleash the exploiters of our natural resources, inlcuding fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Free us from the shackles of the teachers' union, and allow educational vouchers! Adjust the SS age schedules, slowly, but starting now. Force American youth to work uncomfortable jobs.

The revenues to rebuild our infrastrucure will then come from organically grown revenues, not printing presses. The US Dollar will grow strong. A flat consumer/transfer tax will level the playing fields among the foreign importers and American exporters and underground dealers. America will prosper, instead of sink, like it is doing now.

K/G is as dead as the dinasaurs.


Posted by stephen levy, a resident of ,
on Aug 7, 2011 at 12:10 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

There are two threads going on the debt ceiling debate and both sound like the Sunday morning talk shows--everyone repeating their position.

I was not trying to reopen that point but to suggest that last week introduced a new and correct concept about "job killing" spending cuts to go along with the ever popular "job killing" tax increases.

This why the current situation is so tough--either raising taxes or cutting spending take money out of the economy at a time when most people, even congressional folks know that is the wrong policy in a recession--they are both "pro-recession" steps in the short term.

People can argue good or bad but they cannot argue that government spending cuts take money today out of the economy.

That is why, despite the posturing and general BS, neither party wanted to cut spending this year and as a result only $23 billion is "cut" from the original 2011-12 budget.

We actually have a pretty basic area of agreement that government should add money to the economy in a recession made confusing to people by the political positioning.

The parties disagree about the best way to add money to the economy to combat recessions (tax cuts or spending) but until the last month no one suggested that removing money from the economy in 2011 was a good idea. Partly I hope becasue they know it is a terrible idea.

If someone would like to argue that spending cuts in 2011 will increase jobs and income today I will be interested in seeing that.

The bottom line for policy is and remains fight the recession today and make an ironclad promise (if possible) to reduce the path of deficit spending as the economy recovers.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Aug 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm

"If someone would like to argue that spending cuts in 2011 will increase jobs and income today I will be interested in seeing that."

Yes!

Eliminate the Dept. of Education, today. Liberate our students, NOW!

Eliminate the Dept. of Energy, today. Drill baby drill; atoms for peace!

Ban ALL public sector unions, today. Way past time for US citizens to get blackmailed by the public union monopolies.

Start the inevitable increase in SS age eligibility, today.

Cut the EPA to the extent that is has absoultely no control over fossil fuel extraction, or nuclear plant construction.

There are more, but the savings in $$ will be significant, and the electric jolt that these measures will inject into the national economic nerve system will be overwhelming. The question will then be: What do we do with the surplus tax dollars?

Keynes is dead.



Posted by Spending Cuts and Money, a resident of ,
on Aug 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Steve -

"People can argue good or bad but they cannot argue that government spending cuts take money today out of the economy. "


I think you meant people cannot dispute that "government spending cuts take money today out of the economy. "

But I do dispute it; I argue that government spending cuts add productive money to the economy.

Anyone who has worked in a role above mid-level management in a modern US corporation knows that money spent under their control is spent more effectively than money given back to the corporation as a whole.

Money spent under their control actually puts more productive dollars into the corporate economy. Effectively, it adds to the corporate economy vs. giving money back to corporate, where whatever happens to it happens to it.

Likewise, money taken from individuals and corporations and provided to the federal government is throwing part of it away in inefficiency and corruption. Much of the money is frittered; there is no long term accountability like there is for individuals and corporations to account for their money use. For example, how is GW accountable now for his decisions that impacted use of federal money?

Leaving the money in the hands of the would-be-taxed thus provides more effective dollars to the economy.

If we had frictionless allocation of assets between taxpayers and federal spending, I would agree with you that the economy of scale and unity of purpose provided by the federal government might well outweigh the effectiveness driven by local motivation and long term accountability.

But we have gross inefficiency of taking local dollars and spending them nationwide.

If there are any, I'd be happy to consider measurements of the friction between taxed dollars and their final productive use in our economy, and revise my argument accordingly.

Now, here's a question rather than an argument (intuitively, I myself don't believe it).

Who leverages a dollar more, the federal government or the typical bank? My data is dated, but during the boom banks got something like 20:1 leverage on every dollar (that they didn't pay in taxes). Wouldn't this suggest that lower taxes for banks puts more money in the economy than higher taxes for banks?



Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of ,
on Aug 7, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Paul Losch is a registered user.

There is so much noise and uninformed opinion out there, starting in our nation's capital and cascading all over the country. Here are some empirical observations:

1. The FAA debacle: until Congress passed the other day yet another temporary extension of funding for the FAA, thousands of private sector jobs and hundreds of millions of airport fee dollars were sacrificed. As best as I can tell, the source of dispute was political differences over a $16.5 million subsidy for some rural airports. Falling over dollars to pick up dimes. I won't go there with regard to the safety of the flying public.

2. The unemployment numbers include many layoffs at the local and state levels of the public sector. These positions are funded variously by local, state and federal funds, and as such funds become less available, numerous infrastucture projects and edcuational programs are being eliminated and cut back. Agree or disagree with what is happening. The "job creators" in the private sector are affected by this as well--just look at all the work going on in Palo Alto being done by private contractors. We have that work being done because we agreed to tax ourselves for libraries, school improvements and utility (water main) improvements. This town is an exception. Most of the country is not getting such needed improvements done due to lack of funding for the private sector contractors that perform such work. And it is disingenuous to think that the private sector "job creators" will take on these types of public projects from a financing standpoint.

3. Perhaps my college and grad school lessons are failing me, but I am having a difficult time understanding how less stimulus, from whatever source, leads to economic and job growth. Reducing our national debt and achieving (as was the case in the 1990's) balanced annual budgets are terrific objectives. I have heard and read what are at best facile arguments about how reductions in spending create growth. It may need to be done, but let's be honest about what such actions will bring about.

4. I don't think anybody is spending enough time recognizing that there are some significant structural changes in our economy that have manifested themselves in the last 10-20 years. There are jobs and industries that once were here, and never will be again. We should be putting our economic and fiscal policies behind those economic engines that will continue to be here (see FAA above) or that will emerge here if we effectively target them, rather than allow them to develop elsewhere in the world. I don't expect to hear such commentary, as it is not sufficiently simplistic and largely apolitical--does not make for fun news bites on Fox, MSNBC, let alone Jon Stewart.

5. I am looking forward to hearing GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell invoke yet again that "the American People" have expressed what he and his ilk are espousing. He must be referring to the 16% of "the American People" with a favorable opinion of Congress, according to a recent NYT/CBS poll. I guess the remaining 84% of the people surveyed are not "American People."


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Aug 7, 2011 at 7:54 pm

"There are jobs and industries that once were here, and never will be again"

Yes and no. There used to be many mineral and fossil fuel exploration jobs. And many nuclear energy jobs. Until the greens shut them down. However, it is not too late: Start them back up! This does not take government stimulus, just enough deregulation to allow it to happen.

A flat consumption/transaction tax would be a very big boost to production in this country. Our current model of income taxes is a disaster.

Probably the biggest disaster is the monopoly control of our public sector by the public unions. FDR, himself, warned against this nightmare.

Paul Losch, please let me know where you disagree with me.


Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of ,
on Aug 8, 2011 at 9:21 am

Paul Losch is a registered user.

Jerry,

I advocate investing and spending on stuff that is "stick to the ribs" in this country. The energy sector is but one example. Road, highway and bridge improvements, R&D to develop our biotech sector are couple others.

Given what occurred with the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, and the nuclear complex earlier this year in Japan, we must be mindful of the potential environmental hazards, and prudent exercise of energy regulation is called for. That unfettered catostrophe caused by BP, Haliborton, et al in the Gulf has cost many people jobs--not only in the oil industry but fishing, shrimping, tourism, and other economic activity so vital to the area. It may be out of the headlines, but the damage still is being felt and will be for many years.

The tax system is broken, and has been for many years at the federal level, and also at the state and local levels here in California. Personally, I have no confidence that those in a position to modify it (our elected officials) have the guts to change it. Your lobbyist and spin doctor dollars at work.

I cannot comment on your characterization of unions, as it appears to be more your opinion than fact. I do know that union membership overall is significantly less today than it was when I was growing up, and many of the jobs that have been lost in recent years were union jobs. I also note that union membership and leadership have made concessions (the UAW is the best example) in order to maintain jobs here, rather than let them go elsewhere in the world.

One thing you did not mention is how retirement and pensions work going forward. Too many programs in both the public and private sector are actuarially unsustainable, and those that have not been adjusted must undergo significant re-working. This was brought about by public and private sector officials, some going back a couple generations, putting together programs that would come back and bite the current cohorts, well after they had retired or left office. Plenty of blame to go around on this, although most of the folks who allowed it to happen have already passed this veil of tears or are living in senior centers.


Posted by Perspective, a resident of ,
on Aug 8, 2011 at 11:44 am

Seriously? Does anyone really believe there was "No discussion of entitlement or tax reform"?

Congress passed 2 great entitlement and tax reform bills..one called Ryan's budget, one called the Balanced Budget Amendment. The only written plans to actually address the problem and please S and P and Moody's who, had we adopted either one, would not have downgraded us.

There was no "discussion" of either plan because the bills were relegated to Harry Reid's dustbin, not allowed to be discussed, let alone voted on. They were squashed.

There was plenty of discussion elsewhere...just squashed where it counted.


Posted by Perspective, a resident of ,
on Aug 8, 2011 at 11:47 am

Steve said

"People can argue good or bad but they cannot argue that government spending cuts take money today out of the economy. "

Ok, for the sake of helping people understand how this makes no sense. If government spending ( taking from earners and "spending" it) helps the economy, then shouldn't we simply take everything everyone earns and let the govt spend it?

That question alone points out why it isn't true that govt spending "helps" an economy. It does just the opposite. As has been proven repeatedly on our lands and around the world.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Aug 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Paul,

Energy exploitations, including fossil fuels and nuclear can be done in a relatively safe way. They were killed off by the greens, who are tying to extort the rest of us into their political agendas. For example, ANWAR should have been drilled a decade ago. There should now be 200 nuclear plants, instead of the current 100. We need baseload domestic power. These are tens of thousands of real domestic jobs (the kind that stick to the ribs) that have been killed! Not to mention the balance of trade deficit and national security implications.

You took a duck on the tax system: I am talking what needs to be done, not what current politicians are afraid to do. We need a flat consumer/transaction tax. Every single citizen should pay taxes.

I oppose the public unions, because they have a monopolistic lock on on public services. FDR understood this nightmare scenario, and that is why he opposed public sector unions. Imagine how liberating to students it would be to crush the public teachers' union, if we adopted educational vouchers. Think about all the possible educational models (e.g. Khan Academy)that could make millions of flowers bloom.

The recent FAA dustup was the result of a public union trying use its political leverage. Crush the public unions!

I take your point vis-a-vis the pension system. The defined benefits model should be replaced with a 401(k)-type system. However, we are stuck with the defined benefits system for the next few decades. Our children will pay the price.

Keynes is dead, so why are we still arguing about his failed model?


Posted by sam sell, a resident of ,
on Aug 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm

"FDR understood this nightmare" Bull. Read the whole speech.

Others DID understand:
o "They remind us that where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." Ronald Reagan 9/1/80
o "...one of the most elemental human rights —the right to belong to a free trade union." Ronald Reagan 12/23/81

Flat tax is not only regressive in hurting the poor and working families, it is also politically unfeasable,a pipe dream, a steve Forbes fantasy.


Posted by fair, a resident of ,
on Aug 8, 2011 at 4:04 pm

I think flat rate is fair.We can not take away too much money away from rich people.


Posted by Eileen Wright, a resident of ,
on Aug 8, 2011 at 5:37 pm

This recesion would be history if even half of those people collecting unemployment (read: our taxes) would get going and get jobs.


Posted by Carol Lamont, a resident of ,
on Aug 13, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Thank You Stephen for your informed perspective and comments. It seems that some of our elected leaders are playing the competitive sport of football and others are engaged in the fakery of TV wrestling, rather than fulfilling their responsibilities as elected leaders of our democracy. How do we wake up these confused leaders so they can better perform the important job they were elected to do rather than the game they are playing? More realistic is the question of how do we wake up the voters who elected these gamers so they will next time elect only real leaders who will protect and strengthen our democracy and economy for all. Instead of supporting those running for office to win the game for those who expect to be rewarded by dysfunctional policies and investments, we need to elect real leaders who are under no obligation and have a genuine commitment to the greater good for all.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Aug 13, 2011 at 10:13 pm

" how do we wake up the voters who elected these gamers so they will next time elect only real leaders who will protect and strengthen our democracy and economy for all."

Carol, that is exactly what I have been asking. At what point do we get rid of the mud wrestlers who prevent us from drilling ANWAR? Or those football idiots who are preventing us from building new nuclear power plants?

Where are the responsible leaders, who will, finally, outlaw the public unions? Or are they all just gamers eating at the trough of union slush funds?

Carol, please explain your policy choices, not just your frustrations. This will require you to take a specific stand, instead of just wallowing in the pit of denial.


Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of ,
on Aug 15, 2011 at 11:21 am

"Where are the responsible leaders, who will, finally, outlaw the public unions? "

As Sam posted above, Jerry, here is your leader:

"They remind us that where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." Ronald Reagan 9/1/80

"...one of the most elemental human rights —the right to belong to a free trade union." Ronald Reagan 12/23/81


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Aug 15, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Reagan was referring to the Polish slave state, under the yoke of socialism (Lech Walesa). Reagan fired the public union workers (PATCO) when they went out on strike. Reagan fought the communist unions in Hollywood. He was basically OK with private sector unions, as long as they were not reds. He was never in favor of public sector unions, even though he had to put up with them.


Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of ,
on Aug 15, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Jerry: you make all sorts of crazy statements without any links, because you know folks will read them and see how crazy the statements are!

"He was never in favor of public sector unions..."

Really?

Guess which CA Gov gave public unions the right to collective bargaining?

Ronald Wilson Reagan. 1968. Web Link

Deny Reagan all you want: "They remind us that where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost."

If you think unions are the root of all economic problems, please explain why Texas is facing a $27 Billion deficit over the next two years.

And they don't allow unions.

It's the Texas miracle.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Aug 15, 2011 at 3:32 pm

"Although there were 39 illegal work stoppages against the federal government between 1962 and 1981, no significant federal job actions followed Reagan's firing of the Patco strikers. His forceful handling of the walkout, meanwhile, impressed the Soviets, strengthening his hand in the talks he later pursued with Mikhail S. Gorbachev."

Web Link

This is all you really need to know about Reagan and the public unions.


Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of ,
on Aug 15, 2011 at 3:48 pm

The thread is about the debt ceiling, not unions. Busting unions is not the panacea you think it is - witness Texas' $27 Billion deficit.

Reagan supported unions, even signing the California bill to give public workers rights to collective bargaining. You can counter with someone's rewrite about how "forceful" Ronnie was, but you can't rewrite his statements listed above, nor historical fact of his CA bills signed in his hand. Of course, Reagan became a tool of corporations later in life, working against average working families, but his earlier actions suggested he thought differently at one time.

You guys like to call that a different name these days: a flip flop.

His life, like many, is full of them:
- the "forceful" guy who ran away from terrorists in Beirut
- 7 tax hikes on workers and the middle class (including the largest ever on working families - doubling payroll taxes) after his tax cuts for the wealthy
- trading arms for hostages, etc..

But at times, he at least said some cool things:

"They remind us that where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost."


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Aug 15, 2011 at 4:04 pm

"nor historical fact of his CA bills signed in his hand. "

Reagan signed a lot of bills in CA. The legislature was full of union supporters, and many bills were crafted to include union stuff. Reagan, for all his ideological impulses against the reds, was willing to sign a pink bill, if it also contained a majority of what he wanted. In the end, he was a pragmatist.

In the end, he also won the cold war, too, because he was an ideologue and a pragmatist. But I digress....

The days of the public unions are over. It won't happen immediately, but it will get done. We need freedom of choice, especially in education, and that will only happen with voucher systems and outside contractors.


Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of ,
on Aug 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm

You said it all: "against the reds"

Working Americans are "reds" when they work together to get fair wages and living conditions.

"The days of the public unions are over." They never happened in Texas, where they have a $27 Billion deficit.

Of all the low hanging fruit available to get America back on track, to get Americans working and increase revenues, to get Americans getting more paychecks and spending more, which opens up the $2 trillion in cash pursebook of American corporations to build, hire and spend more, moving us out of recession - you choose to bash unions, over and over, in a dozen posts.

Your cure for the Bush Recession, the worst since the Great Depression is union busting. Wow.

In fairness, you also said eliminating the dept of education - just like Reagan did, before he and Bill ("Mr. Virtues - of poker slots") Bennett did before doubling the department's size.

Republicans - the fiscal conservatives, that is, until they're in charge, when, *every time*, they spend like drunken sailors.

No offense to those in maritime.

Austerity measures and punishing working Americans are a prescription for a LONGER recession.


Posted by stephen levy, a resident of ,
on Aug 15, 2011 at 7:16 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

My argument in this post is that spending cuts in the middle of a recession are "job killers" to borrow the conservative rhetoric about tax increases and are incredibly stupid policy in 2011.

This argument was echoed this week by Martin Feldstein who was Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors for Bush, Henry Paulsen who was Bush's last Secretary of the Treasury and Mark Zandi who advised McCain during his campaign as well as by a second editorial by The Economist magazine.

During the same week the Wall Street Journal had an article on the job killing impacts expected by state and local governments as well as defense industry firms from immediate budget cuts.

People can argue whether these are good policies in a struggling recovery or even propose nuclear plants and union busting as good policy BUT it is still true that cutting spending now whether by consumers, businesses or government will delay the recovery.

Consumers and businesses should make their own spending decisions independent of the effect on the economy but the federal government does and should have a broader view and mandate.

Three policies to promote the recovery should have broad appeal---tax reform to close loopholes and lower rates, allowing companies to bring back overseas profits at low tax rates in exchange for immediate hiring and increased spending on safety net programs and, especially, infrastructure investments that lay the foundation for increased productivity and competitiveness.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Aug 15, 2011 at 9:10 pm

"My argument in this post is that spending cuts in the middle of a recession are "job killers""

Stephen, spending cuts by whom? If the oil companies are allowed to drill ANWAR, there will be an increase in spending. The prohibition on ANWAR (and other) drilling has been a huge spending cut, as well as a national security threat. Same thing with the nuclear prohibition.

You and I bascially agree on the spending issue, but we profoundly disagree on who should spend it. If spending opens up in my direction, there will be an enormous spark to our economy; if it goes in your direction, it will continue to be quicksand.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Aug 29, 2011 at 8:33 pm

One way of looking at the crazy notion of stimulus spending is simply to allow people to print paper counterfeit money. They can hand it out to their neighbors, and lots of people can go on a spending spree, thus creating demand for goods and services. All the U.S. government needs to do is accept all currency that enters the system as legal tender, thus demonstrating full faith in the currency. After all, paper currency is purely a confidence game...it doesn't guarantee anything of hard value. What's the difference between counterfeit money and freely printed government money?

The Germans, during WWII, had a plan to drop tons of counterfeit English money on England. The thinking was that this would destroy the British economy. I think there was some discussion from the USA side to do the same thing to Germany. Now we have the USA dropping paper money on the USA. In the meantime, the price of gold skyrockets, since there is diminishing confidence in the "good faith" of the government.

We should be producing real products , with real domestic resources, instead of printing paper (or electronic) 'money'.


Posted by Started many businesses in past..not now!, a resident of ,
on Aug 30, 2011 at 5:53 am

Stephen: As usual, I admire your willingness to not be anonymous with your commments, and thank you.

However, again, to make your case that the govt must take more of our money, or borrow more against our kids' future, to 'help' jobs now, then one would have to believe that the best way to grow our economy would be to simply take everything everyone has, and let the govt decide to spend it however it wishes.

If unemployment benefits, or food stamps, is the way to prosperity, then we need to all quit our jobs and go on unemployment and food stamps.

Obviously this is not true. And therein lies the problem with your assertion. Taking from those who know how to risk, work and grow a business, those with blood and sweat and tears and sleeplessness and sacrifice into their businesses, to launder through a govt employee and his/her cushy benefits, to dole out to "winners" in the govt lottery of bailouts and "jobs", does nothing to grow an economy.in fact it kills the incentive of those who would otherwise create real jobs.

Over 90% of all private sector jobs in the last 50 years came from NEW small businesses. Where are the new small businesses right now? Too afraid to take all they have saved, all they can borrow, all that their friends and family are willing to invest, and put it into a new business, since there is no way to know if they will be able to keep their earnings if they "make it". Why risk it?

We are in the grips of at least a heavy socialist ( redistribution) mentality..if not a marxist one (control the businesses...look at cars, banking and oil, to name just a few obvious ones). Who would start a private sector business in this environment? Plenty trying to milk the govt funds out there right now, no doubt. Always is that way. The heaviest communist rule still produces a few really rich folks ( think of the money that came out of the USSR when it broke up and fell). But, the regular folks lose out.


Posted by Started many businesses in past..not now!, a resident of ,
on Aug 30, 2011 at 5:59 am

Jerry, thank you for your commments in response to the usual out of context "quotes" by leftists of Reagan. You are so correct.

Another one I loved, that really started waking me up from my socialist dreams, was the one of Reagan stating he was careful to not work more than needed to earn just below the high tax rate limit every year. I forget the exact quote, but it was something like "why make a movie and give all I earned to the govt?" That is what folks fail to understand..raising taxes lowers productivity. Who is willing to work for nothing the first 4 months of the year, like most of us do..then AGAIN the last 3 months of the year?


Posted by lowest taxes ever, a resident of ,
on Aug 30, 2011 at 10:37 am

"...since there is diminishing confidence in the "good faith" of the government."

So little faith in the good ol' U S of A that everyone around the world is rushing to lend America money at RECORD LOW interest rates, specifically because of the full faith and credit of America.

"We are in the grips of at least a heavy socialist ( redistribution) mentality"

Really? With tax rates at their lowest levels ever? After Obama passes a $350 billion tax cut, the largest ever for the middle class, in the stimulus? After Obama extends the bush tax cuts for millionaires?

When have taxes EVER BEEN significantly lower? Not under Ike. Not under Nixon. Not under Ford. Not under Reagan. Not under Bush the first. Not under Bush the Lesser.

When have taxes EVER BEEN significantly lower? Look at what low taxes did to this economy since Clinton's surplus.

When have taxes EVER BEEN significantly lower?


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Aug 30, 2011 at 1:01 pm

"... everyone around the world is rushing to lend America money at RECORD LOW interest rates, specifically because of the full faith and credit of America."

Not really. China, the big cahuna, is buying gold, and shifting into shorter term US notes. Europe has the Greek disease, and even the American disease looks relatively better to them. All of the these short term plays are ephemeral.

The USA has two oceans and a still good military to provide a safe haven, but our underlying economy is dying. We cannot tax our way out of it, and printing money is a fool's paradise.

We need to exploit our own resources, crush public unions (+ see my list from above, for a start). The bottom line is that we need to become hard working producers, again, not dependent and pathetic people. Bottom line: Be strong, not weak. TR would say: "Be Bully!"

It doesn't cost anything, other than political will, to open up ANWAR, issue permits for nuclear power plants, go to a flat consumer/transaction tax, ban public unions, pay for public education via vouchers, tort reform that requires the loser to pay court costs...and more.


Posted by lowest taxes ever, a resident of ,
on Aug 30, 2011 at 1:11 pm

None of your far right fringe ideas (union busting, public money for private schools, regressive flat tax that favors the wealthy, etc...) were in place when Clinton had our economy roaring.

Even if implemented (and they won't) they are long term "solutions" when Americans need near term solutions and JOBS.

You somehow missed a question for you:

When have taxes EVER BEEN significantly lower? Not under Ike. Not under Nixon. Not under Ford. Not under Reagan. Not under Bush the first. Not under Bush the Lesser.

When have taxes EVER BEEN significantly lower? Look at what low taxes did to this economy since Clinton's surplus.

When have taxes EVER BEEN significantly lower?


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Aug 30, 2011 at 1:58 pm

"When have taxes EVER BEEN significantly lower?"

That is a typical far left question. Tax rates have been far too high in this country for decades. However, to play along with your point: Suppose we raise tax rates...how would this sustainably provide jobs and tax revenues at this point? This is no longer the sweet spot of the dot.com boom and the so-called "peace dividend" that Clinton and Gingrich triangulated.

We are being suffocated by the left wing greens, who have stopped us from very appropriate exploitation of our resources. The left wing nuts have also gripped us by the throat with their public unions/pensions. The left has also sold us down the river with the climate change myths (the latest result from the European CLOUD expermiment indicates that cosmic rays play a very big role in cloud formation...and all the existing models need to be changed).

We don't need stimulus (counterfeit) money. We need a robust and rational approach to produce from our own resources.


Posted by lowest taxes ever, a resident of ,
on Aug 30, 2011 at 2:43 pm

"When have taxes EVER BEEN significantly lower?"

Thanks, Jerry. Yes. Taxes have never been significantly lower, you are correct. And times have not been tougher since the Great Depression, also brought about when Republicans slashed taxes for the ultra wealthy from 70+% down to 24%.

See a pattern?

"Suppose we raise tax rates...how would this sustainably provide jobs and tax revenues at this point?"

We do it the Clinton way, with fair taxes and spending to produce a balanced budget. We do what virtually every serious economist recommends and create jobs which increase revenue. We rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. We build clean sources of domestic power. We build things that keep making America stronger, like schools. We do what Americans want, jerry, we make America strong again.

Stay focused Jerry. Don't tangent off on some whacko cloudy weather conspiracy theory. Keeping a clean environment isn't the problem.

Clinton had a great economy and he cut the EPA a bit, Bush didn't add regulation, so to claim that things are too tough on business in just the last 8 bush years is utterly ridiculous.

It's jobs, Jerry, not tinfoil hat stuff.




Posted by lowest taxes ever, a resident of ,
on Aug 30, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Jerry - before you start the weird "people won't work hard if they're taxed to death" crazy talk...

Remember, Clinton rates are only a couple percent higher on the wealthiest.

Trade that for a budget surplus? Americans, in poll after poll say yes, increase taxes while cutting spending.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Aug 30, 2011 at 3:43 pm

There you go again! Tax the rich. Old song. Dead song, too.

Guess what? There is not going to be another stimulus (counterfeit) package. It has never worked. It won't work now.

OK, one step at a time: How about if we license 100 new nuclear power plants (very clean) over the next 5 years?


Posted by lowest taxes ever, a resident of ,
on Aug 30, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Clinton's rates were a couple percent higher and still darn near the lowest EVER, and you whine about billionaires paying their fair share! Real Americans support slightly higher rates in poll after poll. Jerry, why do you hate real Americans?

Why don't you like a strong American economy? Why do you hate balanced budgets?

Jerry: "There is not going to be another stimulus"

Too bad. It worked. It included the largest middle class tax cut in history.

Jerry, why don't you like middle class tax cuts for American workers?

It saved jobs, and got Americans from sea to shining sea rebuilding America.

Jerry, why do you hate America?

"New CBO Report Finds Up to 2.9 Million People Owe Their Jobs to the Recovery Act

A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report estimates that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) increased the number of people employed by between 1.0 million and 2.9 million jobs as of June.

In other words, between 1.0 million and 2.9 million people employed in June owed their jobs to the Recovery Act. This estimate, by Congress' non-partisan economic and budget analysts, is more comprehensive than the 550,000 jobs that ARRA recipients reported in July, CBO explains." Web Link

Middle class tax cuts and employed Americans rebuilding our great country, spending money in small businesses across our country, paying taxes, gainfully employed.

Middle class tax cuts and almost 3 million jobs - what didn't work, Jerry?

Jerry, why do you hate America?


Posted by sam sell, a resident of ,
on Aug 30, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Jerry gets crushed over and over and over with facts and has only lame talking points.

Give up dude, he even prdicted your last tax the rich talking point in advance and destroyed it.

Everyone knows the bush tax cuts gotta go.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Aug 30, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Those stimulus (counterfeit) money jobs evaporate, unless they are continually counterfeited, year after year. And we are left with even deeper debt. It is a house of cards.

If I hated America, I wouldn't bother arguing the absurdity of stimulus economics. I am old school patriotic, and am quite concerned for my country. That is why I support organic growth, by exploiting out own resources. I don't believe in flim flam.

One more time, and one at a time: How about if we license 100 new nuclear power plants (very clean) over the next 5 years?



Posted by lowest taxes ever, a resident of ,
on Aug 30, 2011 at 5:02 pm

You think 100 nukes is the answer to a thread on the economy?

Okay. Way off topic. Way out of touch with reality too. Americans don't want 100 nukes. Show me a poll that says each state wants several. The folks in Virginia don't want another after that earthquake last week.

Don't those infrastructure jobs eventually evaporate like the other ones you disparaged?

We both know they are no where near shovel ready, and it's more than a simple approval to get them going.

You sneezed at 3 million jobs and middle class tax cuts, how is a two year waiting period before they start going to help?

You claim you don't want "counterfeit" money, but nukes are incredibly dependent on government largesse. They are the antithesis of the free market.

How many nukes in the US are insured by private insurance companies?

How many nukes in the US came in under budget during their construction?

How many nukes, in their completed life cycle met cost predictions for construction, operation, upgrades, storage of materials and decommissioning?

Start a thread, title it 100 nukes, and I'll engae. I'm in favor of nuclear in the right circumstances, but all you're doing here is directing the topic away from the needs of our economy in the here and now.


Posted by lowest taxes ever, a resident of ,
on Aug 30, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Jerry at least understands building infrastructure is the answer.

Jobs.

Glad we agree Jerry. Now you just need to understand immediacy.


Posted by lowest taxes ever, a resident of ,
on Aug 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm

This guy gets it. First, the facts:

* When Bill Clinton took office, 70.7% of the civilian labor force worked in the private sector. When he left office, 77.6% did. Net change: +6.9%.
* When George W. Bush took office, 77.6% of the civilian labor force worked in the private sector. When he left office, 72.0% did. Net change: -5.6%.
* When Barack Obama took office, 72.0% of the civilian labor force worked int he private sector. At the end of his first year in office, 69.6% did. Now, 71.2% do. Net change since 1/2010: +0.8%.

So private sector employment soared under Bill Clinton, crashed under George W. Bush, a crash that carried over into the beginning of the Obama presidency but is finally turning around. Meanwhile:

* When Bill Clinton took office, 14.7% of the civilian labor force worked in the public sector. When he left office, 14.5% did. Net change: -0.2%.
* When George W. Bush took office, 14.5% of the civilian labor force worked in the public sector. When he left office, 14.6% did. Net change: +0.1%.
* When Barack Obama took office, 14.6% of the civilian labor force worked int he public sector. Now, 14.4% do. Net change: -0.2%.

So under Clinton and Obama, public sector employment actually fell ... while under George W. Bush, it grew.


Posted by lowest taxes ever, a resident of ,
on Aug 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm

The moral:

"Of course, the moral of the story here isn't that George W. Bush is a socialist while Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are capitalists. The moral of the story is that everyone does better under the Democratic approach to the economy. And everyone does worse under the Republican approach."


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Aug 30, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Immediacy was immediate over four decades ago. That was when the far left greens stopped nuclear power. The nuclear scare hysteria is still in place. Too bad, because we would all be better off at this point, including many well paid jobs in the nuclear energy sector.

All the king's horses and all the king's men cannot get enough solar/wind to put us back together again. It is far too late for that!

We need serious stuff, not just quibbling a percentage here and there, according to one's partisan beliefs. We live in the here and now, not in some leftist dream state.

There will be no addtional stimulus (counterfeit) money, becasue it needs to originate in the House, not the Senate. Time to get over it.

Jobs, per se, are not the issue. Organic, long lasting, private sector jobs are the issue. That will only happen by exploiting our own resources, and crushing those forces (e.g. public unions) that are currently crushing us.


Posted by lowest taxes ever, a resident of ,
on Aug 30, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Again, you wan t jobs five years from now, but claim the almost 3 million jobs from the stimulus in this time of economic calamity don't matter.

You hate unions. You hate a clean environment. You hate that we are putting people back to work.

You just hate working Americans.

Exploiting natural resources doesn't create an organic, sustainable, great economy (for anyone other than extraction companies.) Educated workers, a manufacturing base, a great infrastructure, etc.. are the things that create a great sustainable economy.

You can have a thousand nukes, but if folks aren't getting paid to make something, it falls apart.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Aug 30, 2011 at 7:09 pm

I hate public unions, not private industry unions. I hate them, because they are parasites with monopoly control of essential public sectors.

I totally support hard working Americans. I want them to have organic, long-term, jobs...not ephemeral jobs based on counterfeit money. I certainly like those current Americans working in the nuclear energy sector, and I celebrate their relatively high wages. Apparently, you don't.

Let's cut to the chase here (this has become very tedious, for all involved): There is NOT going to be another counterfeit stimulus. Now, what are you going to do?


Posted by money, a resident of ,
on Aug 30, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Print more money.


Posted by lowest taxes ever, a resident of ,
on Aug 31, 2011 at 10:18 am

"There is NOT going to be another counterfeit stimulus. Now, what are you going to do?"

If not, then the economy and many Americans suffer much longer than needed through this great recession. I imagine the 40% on either end of the political spectrum will blame the other party. The only question is where the soft squishy middle fall in 2012.

With the President who has tried to pass legislation to move America forward out of this economic disaster he inherited? (an economy losing 700,000 jobs a month before he took office)

Or with the GOP, who has voted NO on anything the President supports, in order to, as the GOP has said, to defeat him in 2012? (see McConnell's quotes.) The party of NO, no matter what the consequences to America and both working and unemployed Americans. A party of NO that even votes no on it's own ideas from the last decade (RomneyCare, cap&trade supported by McCain/Palin, the Bush supported Dream act, etc..)

The GOP party of NO, which inherited a $120 Billion annual SURPLUS from Bill Clinton, and ran our economy into the ditch.

I know you don't see it this way, but I have a hard time imagining Americans will give the keys back to the party that drove us into a ditch.

Americans want a return to the good times of the 90's and see no reason not to return to the spending and revenue levels that got us there. The Clinton Surplus from only 10 short years ago. Seems like a lifetime since the GOP screwed up that one.

I also don't see viable candidates to challenge the President. Perry? Bush's assistant in Texas?!?


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Sep 1, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Three American-located solar panel producers have recently gone bankrupt (Solyndra, Spectrawatt, Evergreen Solar).

Solyndra was a poster child for Barack Obama, and he gave it over $500M in federal money, claiming that it was the future of manufacturing in America. All that money is now lost to American taxpayers, and the dream of solar manufacturing is also over. However, don't expect Obama to admit failure...there is still more counterfeit money out there (in his mind) to "invest" in loser technology.

We need to rethink this entire thing, and go back to basics, like baseload energy production (e.g. nuclear, coal, natural gas, oil).


Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of ,
on Sep 1, 2011 at 2:41 pm

fyi: this particular program that guaranteed loans to small businesses was started in 2005 under another president.

And it follows a tradition of government supporting the private sector with corporate welfare.

I agree - let's end all corporate welfare and govt support of businesses!

Who's with me?


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Sep 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm

AEN,

This one was on Obama, 100%. See the following Washington Post critique:

Web Link

As the article states, Obama pays back his backers with huge federal loans to the companies that they invest in.

Yes, let's end all corporate welfare, and also smash the public unions. Then allow the private sector to exploit our natural resources to produce a robust economy, without picking winners and losers. Agreed?


Posted by lowest taxes ever, a resident of ,
on Sep 1, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Count my vote with Reagan on unions. Sam quoted above -

o "They remind us that where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." Ronald Reagan 9/1/80

o "...one of the most elemental human rights —the right to belong to a free trade union." Ronald Reagan 12/23/81

o re: public unions - Reagan signed the CA law that gave municipal unions the right to collective bargaining in 1968.

Corporate welfare is the GOP way - they won't even give up tax breaks for the most profitable corporation in the history of our world - ten billion taxpayer gifts for big oil when they have record profits. Diverting public money to business is a given for GOP. Look at the $60 BILLION missing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Web Link

SIXTY Billion dollars - Obama's fault too? Obviously a socialist blunder giving tax dollars to unaccountable private entities.

Extraction is not the basis for a sound economy, though clearly a part of it. Without manufacturing, you'd have oil men selling energy to wallmart employees and gas station attendants. That's not an economy.

You kids out there can google "gas station attendants."




Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Sep 1, 2011 at 6:33 pm

"Extraction is not the basis for a sound economy..."

The absence of extraction is a formula for a failed economy. We could easily become energy independent, if we allowed our private companies to extract what we have. This would also provide MANY well paid jobs. More importantly, it would signficantly reduce our balance of payment deficits, and increase our national security. This would signal that we are back in business...instead of remaining a bleeding corpse.

Of course, extraction is not enough, by itself, but it is the shot in the arm that will turn the corner. After that (or even at the same time), we can crush the public sector unions. We can do so many more things at the same time to make us, as TR stated: "Bully".

Oh, and let's get off the man-made climate change hysteria...there is so little serious science that supports this theory. Lots of speculation, and models, government grants and fraud, but so little hard evidence.


Posted by Started many businesses in past..not now!, a resident of ,
on Sep 2, 2011 at 5:43 am

To "Lowest taxes ever" who asserts corporate "welfare" is the republican way.

Have you heard of Immelt, GE, and no taxes at all last year from GE? Look up who Immelt is, what he does now, what he did before, and whose buddy he is.

This is the problem with crony "capitalism". The failing subsidized companies, from solar to cars, is why we can't let "govt" take money from earners,line their pockets with their own salary and perks, and then "give" it to their buddies. Regardless of party, it sucks the will to succeed out of those who can, and rewards those who are failures.

Tax "breaks" are not corporate welfare, nor are "tax breaks on the rich" causing "the rich" ( define rich, please) to not "pay their fair share".

Check out this link, which explains how we are the MOST "progressively taxed" ( ie our rich pay the most) in the industrialized world.

Web Link

This means the "richest" in our nation pay the most of any nation.

Ummm....hmmm...why would anyone want to use everything they have saved, go into much debt, take money from friends and family for investment into a company, risk losing it all and the years of hard work...only to "make it" and have the earnings taken, the company taken over, or the company hassled out of existence? Witness Gibson guitars, and what is happening to them since 2009.
Web Link

So, doesn't all this add up to make you just beg to risk everything to start a company?


Get the boot of govt off our necks, and watch us grow. Stop rewarding moochers, start rewarding risk and hard work. Watch our deficit come down as our economy explodes, and more of us get "rich enough" to pay taxes again.

Until then, folks with a brain are either "starting" companies that are "green" to get tax money to blow ( I have no doubt squirreling some away for when the bankruptcy comes), or going into govt work as the only protected job there is in the USA now.






Posted by lowest taxes ever, a resident of ,
on Sep 2, 2011 at 11:39 am

"Have you heard of Immelt, GE, and no taxes at all last year from GE"

Look up what GE and Exxon paid or DIDN'T pay in taxes the last decade. Blaming that on Obama? Get serious. What part of the tax code for GE changed in the last two years and what was the impact - please list it and prove your point.

Thought so.

"Tax "breaks" are not corporate welfare" Uh-huh. Exxon has the highest profits in the history of the world, pays little taxes while big oil gets billions of our tax dollars in tax breaks. Keep peddling that line.

The Gibson link is the wrong one, has to do with wood not taxes, post a new link.

Taking spending and revenue back to 90's rates (a couple percent higher) is not a boot on the neck of billionaires. You do, however, win the hyperbole prize - bonus points for alliteration, such as "boots on billionaires".

I bet Gibson did pretty well in the 90's. From their CEO on down.

Funny how the fringe wants to move the conversation from the economy to wood for guitars and climate change.

Still haven't heard an answer to the question posed above: "When have taxes EVER BEEN significantly lower?"

Jerry tried but gave up on that one, blubbering that they are too high anyway.



Posted by lowest taxes ever, a resident of ,
on Sep 2, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Even republicans want to spend money on JOBS to get the economy and our country on the road to recovery: Web Link

Which do you think should be more important for the Obama administration: reducing the deficit, even if unemployment might remain high or creating more jobs, even if it might mean less deficit reduction?

ALL
Reduce deficit: 30
Create jobs: 68

REPUBLICANS
Reduce deficit: 44
Create jobs: 54

INDEPENDENTS
Reduce deficit: 32
Create jobs: 66

DEMOCRATS
Reduce deficit: 16
Create jobs: 83


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Sep 2, 2011 at 4:27 pm

"Which do you think should be more important for the Obama administration: reducing the deficit, even if unemployment might remain high or creating more jobs, even if it might mean less deficit reduction?"

Ah yes, the biased polling question (from CNN, no less). If the following question had been asked, the pols would skew in a different direction:

"Should the Obama administration increase the defict and long-term debt, which our children will need to pay for, in order to create temporary jobs, prior to his next election?"

There will be no new stimulus (counterfeit) money injected into the economy, by Congress, prior to the next election, period. If Republicans retain control of the House, it won't after the next election, either.

This entire demand for more counterfeit spending, by Steve Levy, Paul Krugman, etc. is a political statement to support Obama. It is not serious economics.




Posted by lowest taxes ever, a resident of ,
on Sep 2, 2011 at 4:57 pm

"It is not serious economics."

Your continued opinion, unsubstantiated by facts during this entire thread.

As opposed to trained economists, professors, highly educated and in many cases - globally recognized as the best in their fields.

But you know better about what's best for America, because you post anonymously on a blog.

If it's just a political statement, why do conservative economists support stimulus and job creation? Web Link

Fool. Your ideological driven rants that want to see Americans and America suffer through a prolonged recession just because you hate our President, like Mitch McConnell said.

You are in the fringe. In the poll above, even self identified tea baggers were split on using job creation to grow our way out of this recession.

again: "When have taxes EVER BEEN significantly lower?"

one more: The WORLD wants to loan America money at ~1% to rebuild our economy and U3CRailable to America at cheaper levels?


Posted by Started many businesses in past..not now!, a resident of ,
on Sep 5, 2011 at 5:17 am

Web Link

Odd, pressure on Italy to balance their budget and lower their debt...hmmm...sounds like our Cut, Cap and Balance Amendment sitting in the circular file in Reid's office which would have cut our debt and balanced our budget...and prevented the S and P downgrade.

Italy, of course, had tried raising taxes for years, odd...hmm....they just drove themselves deeper and deeper into debt the more "socialist" they became. hmmm....how many new businesses started in the last 30 years, and how many employees did these new businesses hire?

When will we learn? Oh..wait, ...we are so much smarter than every other failed socialist and marxist country..WE can overcome human nature.


Posted by Started many businesses in past..not now!, a resident of ,
on Sep 5, 2011 at 5:20 am

Jerry...agreed. No more Monopoly money, more more enslaving our children to debt to finance the dreams of someone's father (or mother!!). No more Ponzi schemes. If our govt were a private corporation, they would all be in jail with Madoff.

Let our people go!


Posted by Started many businesses in past..not now!, a resident of ,
on Sep 5, 2011 at 5:28 am

Dear Lowest Taxes ever:

You are right. When the 47% who pay nothing at all in federal taxes pay even 1% ( or take a 1% cut in their welfare/food stamps/medicaid/subsidized housing), I will consider voting in a 1% increase for everyone else.

If you want a 10% increase for everyone who already pays, then the lower 47% pays 10% ( or takes a 10% cut in their "benefits".

There...are you happy? At least that will take us off the "most progressively taxed" status, and put everyone's skin in the game.

And, it will make all the "more taxes" nuts happy, since we will all be paying more. Should make everyone happy, eh?

Problem solved.


Posted by lowest taxes ever, a resident of ,
on Sep 5, 2011 at 10:11 am

"Which do you think should be more important for the Obama administration: reducing the deficit, even if unemployment might remain high or creating more jobs, even if it might mean less deficit reduction?

ALL

Reduce deficit: 30

Create jobs: 68"


again: "When have taxes EVER BEEN significantly lower?"

one more: The WORLD wants to loan America money at ~1% to rebuild our economy and U3CRailable to America at cheaper levels?


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Sep 5, 2011 at 10:34 am

"Your continued opinion, unsubstantiated by facts during this entire thread. As opposed to trained economists, professors, highly educated and in many cases - globally recognized as the best in their fields."

Art Laffer is probably one of the best of the lot, and he agrees with me. See the following:

Web Link


Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of ,
on Sep 5, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Laffer, of the infamous Laffer Curve, a theory proven wrong by the practice?

Ol' Ronnie tried to use Laffer, gave tax cuts to the rich, tripled our national debt from .9 trillion to 2.7 trillion, spiked unemployment, created recession, and eventually had to raise taxes 7 times, including the LARGEST MIDDLE CLASS TAX HIKE in history, when he doubled payroll taxes. You guys still miss Ronnie, don't ya?

That Laffer?

What a loser. That's the best you've got? If tax cuts created jobs, then Bush would have beat Clinton's record of creating 23 million new jobs. Instead, Bush left office LOSING 700,000 jibs a month!

Tax cuts for the rich = losing 700,000 jobs a MONTH

Laffer works in fantasy/theory, but in practice, tax cuts = losing 700,000 jobs a MONTH

"lowest taxes ever" asked you a question: "When have taxes EVER BEEN significantly lower?"


Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of ,
on Sep 5, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Jerry: a link to the same site about Laffer, hosted on beck, which sort of says it all: Web Link


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Sep 5, 2011 at 8:03 pm

The Laffer Curve is part of econ 101. Keynes might have been the first to propose it. Somewhere between 0% and 100% tax rates is an optimum where tax revenues are maximized. Laffer made it obvious that a productive, low tax, economy will yield the most tax revenues, while growing jobs and the economy. Nothing infamous about it.


Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of ,
on Sep 5, 2011 at 8:10 pm

"Nothing infamous about it."

Except that whenever laffer's policies are practiced by republicans, our budget deficit and national debt go UP. Nothing infamous AT ALL. Nothing to see here, keep moving along.

"lowest taxes ever" asked you a question: "When have taxes EVER BEEN significantly lower?"

c'mon Jerry, you know the answer (hint! try "never")


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Sep 6, 2011 at 1:46 pm

"Except that whenever laffer's policies are practiced by republicans, our budget deficit and national debt go "

Put Repunlicans in control of the House, White House and 60 vote majority in the Senate...then watch what happens. Laffer has never claimed that he can control spending, just that he knows how to maximize tax revenues, while at the same time growing the economy.

Our current fiscal situation is extreme with deficit and debt. Laffer could probably help out Obama, if Obama would listen to him (instead of Steve Levy, Paul Kugman, etc.).


Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of ,
on Sep 6, 2011 at 3:14 pm

"Put Repunlicans in control of the House, White House and 60 vote majority in the Senate...then watch what happens"

We did that - the gop had complete control until 2006, when Americans said ENOUGH and put Nancy Pelosi in charge of the House, Harry Reid in the Senate!

The GOP had the House, the Senate, the White House and a 5-4 majority on the Court. They spent like drunken sailors, taking Clinton's budget SURPLUS and spent, spent, spent, spent until Bush's last budget was a TRILLION dollar DEFICIT.

* * * How many budgets did Bush veto on his way from SURPLUS to trillion dollar deficit?

* * * When the gop had all branches in their control through 2006, did they institute a line item veto?

* * * Pass the balanced budget amendment?

* * * Term limits?

* * * Repeal Roe?

Jerry, the GOP is using you! They never did any of the things they promised in Newts 94 contract!

They just promise real conservatives all sorts of things, use your votes to get elected, and then pay off big oil with tax subsidies, and pay off the Koch brothers and Paris Hilton with tax cuts. They USE YOU for their own gain.

Republicans use real conservatives every time, lying to you. When they are in office, they spend. When out they promise austerity until they are back in. Reagan, Bush 1, Bush the Lesser. They all did it to you, Jerry. Only Clinton left a surplus.

That's why real conservatives are always so unhappy.

Obama passed the largest middle class tax cut in history, using half the stimulus bill for it.

Bush gave it to billionaires, not you.

Republican politicians use you.

"lowest taxes ever" asked you a question: "When have taxes EVER BEEN significantly lower?"


Posted by ever, a resident of ,
on Sep 6, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Say never the never.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of ,
on Sep 6, 2011 at 4:50 pm

"We did that - the gop had complete control until 2006"

Wrong! Until one party controls 60 seats in the Senate, it will never have complete control. Unitl last November, the Dems had nominal control of all three branches, but they lacked 60 seats in the Senate...thus they could not fully stick us with their agenda. Come next November, the GOP will probably, again, control the White House, the House and a sub-60 majority in the Senate. Thus another stalemate.

All this crowing about the Clinton surplus is just that...crowing. Clinton inherited the 'peace dividend', from Reagan's victory in the cold war, and he got the benefit of DOD investment in the Internet (aka dot.com). He also got the benefit of Newt G. forcing him to triangulate. Obama simply lacks the political smarts that Clinton or Reagan had. He will be a one-termer. However, our main concern should be about our national economy, not Obama's reelection. Obama should put our country ahead of his party.


Posted by Perspective, a resident of ,
on Sep 10, 2011 at 5:19 am

What debt ceiling? The Senate just snuck through ANOTHER 1/2 Trillion rise in the "ceiling"...months of wrangling over a 2 trillion rise, and a sneak-through-with-nobody-seeing 1/2 trillion rise "because I want it" moment?

Web Link

Truly horrifying. The new slaver is our government, the sellers us, the slaves, our children tied to paying it back.


Posted by lowest taxes ever, a resident of ,
on Sep 10, 2011 at 10:00 am

again: "When have taxes EVER BEEN significantly lower?"

The whining about the back door deal? from your link - it was part of the August deal, ferchrissakes!

from your link :
"The action came under an unusual legislative procedure spelled out under the August agreement to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and avoid a U.S. credit default."

"The increase stems from a deal between Congress and the White House, finalized last month, that spells out how the borrowing limit would be increased by $500 billion. Under the process, lawmakers in both the House and Senate must vote on a resolution of disapproval against the increase in the borrowing limit. President Barack Obama would then have to veto the resolution of disapproval, and Congress would then vote to try and override that veto.

The complicated procedure, designed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), would allow an increase of the borrowing limit while allowing most Republicans to vote against such an increase.

There was a twist in this scenario Thursday evening, however. Democrats held firm, rejecting the resolution of disapproval, thereby speeding the process and increasing the borrowing limit immediately."


Posted by Perspective, a resident of ,
on Sep 15, 2011 at 10:48 am

Dear Lowest Taxes Ever: you said "Jerry - before you start the weird "people won't work hard if they're taxed to death" crazy talk..."

Tell you what..you go to work and give it all to the govt. Tell us how much you work.

Or, start a business..then pay 100% to the govt above..oh, let's say..$100,000 profit per year. Then get back to us on if you add any employees when you get to that point. Why add employees if you can't make any money off the risk of hiring them?


Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of ,
on Sep 15, 2011 at 11:07 am

Perspective - what planet are you on? They must have a different tax system than what is here!

"Tell you what..you go to work and give it all to the govt. "

Give it all to the govt?!?!?!?!???? The man (I assume gender here) asked a question:

"When have taxes ever been significantly lower?" Give it ALL to the govt?????

"When have taxes ever been significantly lower?"


Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of ,
on Sep 15, 2011 at 11:14 am

Obama passed the largest middle class tax cut in history (half the stimulus that you detest - about $350 billion in tax cuts.)

And...

"With the huge Recovery Act tax cuts and the enormous December 2010 tax cuts combined, President Obama has already signed into law tax cuts amounting to more than $900 billion from 2009 through 2012. Even after accounting for legislation that the president signed that increased revenue during that period, President Obama has cut taxes by more than $850 billion in his first term, or approximately 1.5 percent of GDP."

Web Link

"That is compared to the $474 billion in tax cuts enacted by George W. Bush in his first term. If the latest tax cuts included in President Obama's American Jobs Act are passed, he will be the biggest tax cutter of the modern era. Bigger than Reagan. Bigger than Bush."

Do the math. That's more than Bush. Bush's equal only the Dec 2010 Obama tax cuts.

"When have taxes ever been significantly lower?"

C'mon, all togther now: "they've never been significantly lower"

Say it out loud boys, and feel the relief that only truth brings...


Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of ,
on Sep 15, 2011 at 11:15 am

Does your head hurt yet?

"If the latest tax cuts included in President Obama's American Jobs Act are passed, he will be the biggest tax cutter of the modern era. Bigger than Reagan. Bigger than Bush."


Posted by losbonos, a resident of ,
on Sep 15, 2011 at 11:19 am

Never the never, ever forever.


Posted by Perspective, a resident of ,
on Sep 15, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Please find me ONE person who pays less in taxes but still makes the same amount as in 2008. The only tax cuts have been on ..

Those who make less money either in salary or capital gains ( almost all of us..is that what you mean?)

I can only assume that your link to AmericanProgress is talking about THOSE tax cuts...

I suggest you start reading more informed pieces and less propoganda.

As for when have tax rates been lower? Certainly never so low that 47% pay nothing. We COULD say that is "lower tax rate" I suppose.

For the remaining 53% who actually pay anything to run our Fed, State, County, and City governments, the tax rate needs to be considered as a congregate of all of the above, plus throw in property taxes and sales taxes. For that lovely scenario, we vary up to 60% tax rate in NYC and are close to that level here at home.

Federal tax rate is not the only tax we pay, those of us left who pay anything.

As for businesses, I forget where we are compared to the free world nations, but I remember something like we are the second highest corporate tax rate... Even China taxes its businesses less, enticing many of what used to be USA companies over to their country. I guess you could call that a "stimulus" of sorts..for China! Not to mention the tax burden on employers for simply having employees.

But, hey, just keep punishing success and rewarding sloth, and see who we fare. I am sure the end of the story will be just fine. I mean, really, who needs private businesses and private employees to pay the taxes. I am sure we can all just work for the govt, that will be no problem financing our paychecks, right?




Posted by Alfred E Newman, a resident of ,
on Sep 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Can't bring yourself to say it, so you obfuscate, change the subject and do everything but come up with an answer to:

"When have taxes ever been significantly lower?"

They haven't.

Corporate taxes? Different subject. I love every time a con brings up the "high" corporate tax rate.

Like the high rate that GE and Exxon use when they have billions in profit and pay ZERO in taxes? That rate? Uh-huh. Back to the main point:

"When have taxes ever been significantly lower?"

Never.

Otherwise you would have anwered with a date or a presidential term (not Reagan, not Bush 1, not dubya, not Nixon, not Ike.....)

And: "If the latest tax cuts included in President Obama's American Jobs Act are passed, he will be the biggest tax cutter of the modern era. Bigger than Reagan. Bigger than Bush."


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