Okay, sure, I can sort of buy Krugman and Lemieux’s premise that horrible ideas like austerity, torture, and endless war all stem from the same macho impulse to to prove oneself a Manly Serious Man Of Action Who Can Make The Hard Choices, but why is it that it always seems to be someone else who pays the price for those “hard choices”?
It’s kinda hard to respect the machismo and courage of a pundit or politician who calls upon complete strangers to make sacrifices instead of themselves or their family, friends, or peers. If I saw Cheney and Dubya personally ducking bullets in Baghdad, or Paul Ryan urging tax increases for himself and his wealthy benefactors as the first step to shrink the deficit, then I would be impressed.
Maybe Atrios has it right after all, and they really are sadists.
Unfortunately, the 1% (or .1%, or .01%) are the ones who get to set policy, and they don’t have much interest in what the rest of us think, except insofar as they desire it to conform more closely with their own Beltway/millionaire worldview.
I think He might be making a point about conservatives who call themselves Christians, but it’s very subtle…
Seriously, this has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time: How can anyone wear their “Christianity” on their sleeve while simultaneously rejecting the message of the Testament which puts the “Christ” in Christianity?
An organization founded by Erskine Bowles and Al Simpson announced Tuesday that it has raised more than $25 million to launch a national campaign to encourage policy makers to pass debt legislation in the coming months.
The Campaign to Fix the Debt has collected contributions from corporate CEOs and others for a national media campaign and advertising campaign to urge lawmakers reach a solution to the debt crisis.
A more accurate name would be “The Campaign to Fix the Debt without Making the Rich Pay More Taxes”. See also: The supposed need to cut Social Security in order to save it, instead of simply raising or removing the income cap on payroll taxes.
Funny how Republicans and conservatives are all about small government when it comes to guns, regulating or taxing rich people and corporations, or helping the poor, the sick, and the elderly, yet they can’t get enough government when it comes to voting and registration requirements, security theater, domestic spying, immigrants, drug laws, prisons, abortion, or anything to do with the military.
Why, it’s almost as if “small government” is just a convenient excuse for letting moneyed interests have whatever they want at the expense of everyone else, rather than a bedrock principle conservatives sincerely believe in.
Zappatero has made the eminently sensible suggestion that we reduce all tax rates to zero. Since conservative tax theory suggests that this would result in infinite tax revenue, it will put Republicans in an interesting catch-22 situation.
On the one hand, eliminating taxes has always been their fondest dream, and all that revenue would allow us to easily pay off the national debt, which they insist is a bigger existential threat to America than al Qaeda, communism and gay marriage squared.
On the other hand, think how much bigger the government could get, and how much more it could spend on lazy undeserving lucky duckies like old people and Cadillac-driving welfare queens. And that’s before we even talk about all the abortions, gun-confiscation squads, and FEMA re-education camps it could afford!
So you see, as much as the right might hate to admit it, those of us who oppose massive tax cuts are only doing it for their own good.
During a discussion with CNN’s Piers Morgan about tax rates, Christie made it known that he’s just about had it with Buffett, the world-famous investor who lent his name to a proposed tax hike on the rich.
“He should just write a check and shut up,” Christie said. “I’m tired of hearing about it. If he wants to give the government more money, he’s got the ability to write a check — go ahead and write it.”
So… in other words, Warren Buffett should give up more of his money to pay the freight for less-wealthy individuals who don’t want to contribute their fair share? Isn’t that exactly the sort of thing Republicans are always complaining about lower down on the income scale?
Why is it that when it comes to spending, no cut is too petty or small for Republicans, yet when it comes to taxes, any increase that doesn’t instantly wipe out the deficit in one stroke isn’t worth the bother?
The thing is, no one that I know of is actually opposed to wealth creation. But I and most other progressives are opposed to creating wealth solely for the enrichment of the wealthy. If everyone else had a little more wealth, that just might create a virtuous cycle of consumer demand, increased employment, and yes, more wealth.
1 commentSeptember 8th, 2011 at 07:32amPosted by Eli
Republicans will still be able to refuse to raise taxes. But if they do, it won’t matter. The only way they can succeed in keeping taxes from rising is if the Obama administration and the Democrats stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them to extend the Bush tax cuts.
Srsly? Did you not see what happened last December???
One of the strange things to me about the whole deficit/austerity debate is the business world’s willingness to go along with the Republicans’ bizarre meme that the economy is slow because all the corporations are spooked by the “uncertainty” of what’s going to happen with the national debt, as opposed to, say, not enough people having enough money to buy stuff.
More specifically, why are corporations standing on the sidelines as both parties strive to constrict spending even more? Why aren’t they demanding another stimulus or some kind of jobs plan to provide them with more customers?
Do they really buy into the Republican supply-side/austerity hooey, or is their business model so firmly based on deregulation, tax breaks, subsidies, bailouts and union-busting that they no longer care about actually, y’know, selling stuff? Or is their overseas business so lucrative (and tax-free) that they simply don’t need American consumers anymore?
“I think behind this notion of ‘We want shared sacrifice’ that they continue to say means ‘We want to raise taxes,’ ” Cantor told reporters, rejecting a suggestion from Obama that both parties would have to make sacrifices to get a deal done.
Shared sacrifice is great as long as it’s not actually, y’know, shared.
Even the prospect of cutting Social Security wasn’t enough for Republicans to get over their hatred of taxes. I guess Obama will just have to offer them up a plan that cuts Social Security and leaves tax loopholes alone now.
I thought it was particularly telling that when offered a deficit reduction plan that raises taxes and cuts Social Security, it was the taxes that the Obama-Wants-To-Kill-Grandma Party publicly objected to. But I guess if they complain about Social Security cuts, they won’t be able to accept whatever Obama’s safety-net-destroying Grand Bargain turns out to be.
At some point, Democrats need to realize that the reason our nation’s debt has skyrocketed 35% over the past two years is that government spending is out of control.
America does not face a debt crisis because we tax too little, but because Washington spends too much.
This is fascinating. While it is true that debt occurs when spending outpaces revenue, the only way you can possibly blame the national debt on spending alone is if spending increased while taxes held steady. Of course, the reality is that in 2000 we had a surplus and were poised to start paying down the debt when a Republican president recklessly pushed through massive tax cuts that turned that surplus into a deficit, even before he started throwing money away in Afghanistan and Iraq.
And that’s without even pointing out that American taxes are actually very low in both historical and global terms.
Funny how all the proposed solutions for the Terrible Scary Debt Crisis have so little to do with the things that are actually causing it. Well, all the proposed solutions that anyone’s willing to talk about, anyway.
On the one hand, it’s nice to see him coming around to reason and discrediting the Republicans’ much-beloved tax-cuts-pay-for-themselves canard. On the other hand, he should have been saying this TEN YEARS AGO when it could have actually done some good.
Kinda hard to believe now that someone could fret about paying down our national debt too quickly and not get laughed out of the country.
Too bad the Progressive Caucus is so unserious, otherwise maybe someone might take their deficit-reduction plan seriously. Hell, they probably have an employment plan too, one that would actually create jobs instead of destroying them.
Americans clearly don’t want the government to cut Medicare, the government health program for the elderly, or Medicaid, the program for the poor. Republicans in the House of Representatives voted last week to drastically restructure and reduce those programs, while Obama calls for trimming their costs but leaving them essentially intact.
Voters oppose cuts to those programs by 80-18 percent. Even among conservatives, only 29 percent supported cuts, and 68 percent opposed them.
When simply asked whether they wanted Medicare to remain a defined benefits plan or see it changed into a voucher system to buy private insurance, a full 65 percent of Americans said they were opposed to this change, while only 34 percent supported it. After the poll explained that the cost of private insurance would likely rise faster than the value of the vouchers, causing seniors to pay more for insurance (as the CBO says would happen under the House Republican budget), the total opposed jumped to 84 percent.
Just how incredibly unpopular is this major provision of the Republican budget? With 84 percent opposed to it, Ryan’s Medicare voucher program has even less support among the American people than the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, which the latest KFF poll found 67 percent want repealed.
If it were possible to vote against politicians without having to vote for their opponents, DC would be a ghost town.
Durbin, as the senior Senator from Illinois, is considered one of Obama’s closest allies on Capitol Hill. But, for whatever reason, he has lost his bearings. Now, using right-wing talking points, Durbin is even criticized Bernie Sanders over Social Security.
Durbin criticized a resolution put forward by Sen. Bernie Sanders, a liberal independent from Vermont, that says Social Security should not be cut under a deficit reduction plan. Durbin said he would not vote for such a resolution.
“I think Bernie is going too far with his language,” Durbin said.
“In 2037, as we know it, Social Security falls off a cliff,” he said. “There’s a 22 percent reduction rate in payments, which is really not something we can tolerate. If we deal with it today, it’s an easier solution than waiting. I think we ought to deal with it. Many of my colleagues disagree, put it off to another day. But from my point of view, leaving it out makes it easier politically, including it, I think, meets an obligation, which we have to senior citizens.”
Yes, I’m sure there couldn’t possibly be any connection between Durbin being an Obama ally and his sudden fondness for right-wing talking points…
“Shared sacrifice” is the favorite buzzword of all the Very Serious Budget Talkers in DC, but no one has yet explained what exactly it is that the wealthy or the corporations (i.e., the ones with all the money) will be sacrificing.
There’s a South Park episode where the boys adopt a poor African child they nickname “Starvin’ Marvin”, and in one scene Cartman (who is clearly not wanting in the food department) keeps trying to steal Marvin’s food. One of the other boys scolds him and reminds him that they’re supposed to be sharing with Marvin. Cartman continues trying to steal Marvin’s food, only now he calls it “sharing”.
That’s pretty much where we are in the budget debate: The have-mores are taking from the have-nots and calling it “sharing”. And the only difference between Republicans and Democrats is a matter of degree.
Like a mirror image of progressives who supposedly have no alternative but to remain loyal to the Democratic Party no matter how corrupt and debased it becomes, rich people and corporations can and will move to another country at the drop of a hat. Then again, with our crumbling infrastructure, healthcare, and educational system, could we really blame them if they wanted to move to a country that isn’t dying?
Paul Krugman is conditionally okay with the content of Obama’s Big Important Budget Speech:
Much better than many of us feared. Hardly any Bowles-Simpson — yay!
The actual plan relies on some discretionary spending cuts, this time including defense — good, although I think too much is being cut from domestic spending. It relies on letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire — finally! — plus unspecified reductions in tax expenditures.
Overall, way better than the rumors and trial balloons. I can live with this. And whatever the pundits may say, it was much, much more serious than the Ryan “plan”.
I should probably say, I could live with this as an end result. If this becomes the left pole, and the center is halfway between this and Ryan, then no — better to pursue the zero option of just doing nothing and letting the Bush tax cuts as a whole expire.
That is one enormous If for a president who plays tug-of-war in roller skates.
Thomas Sowell helpfully explains why it’s so terribly unfair to accuse the right’s Serious Budget Grownups of trying to destroy Medicare and Social Security:
When someone gives you a check and the bank informs you that there are insufficient funds, who do you get mad at? In your own life, you get mad at the guy who gave you a check that bounced, not at the bank. But in politics, you get mad at whoever tells you that there is no money.
Well, that certainly is some lovely and poetic imagery there, but perhaps a better analogy would be if the bank informs you that it has no money for withdrawals because it blew it all on freebies and giveaways for its most valued wealthy and corporate customers, expensive hunting trips overseas, and maybe losing big at Vegas.
Not only that, but that it intends to siphon off your savings and/or garnish your wages so that it can lavish even more money on rich people, gambling and bloodshed.
No One Could Have Anticipated, Exhibit A: Apparently decades of huge tax cuts make your state (or country) broke!
No One Could Have Anticipated, Exhibit B: Apparently voters don’t like it when you slash government services to pay for decades of huge tax cuts! (Or brand-new tax cuts, for that matter.)
I particularly like Politico’s clueless first sentence: “It was supposed to be one of the clearest messages of the 2010 elections: Voters were finally fed up with government spending.” I’m pretty sure that the clearest message of the 2010 elections was “We don’t like watching the banksters who blew up the economy get off scot-free (with bailouts, no less) while we can’t even find a job or hold onto our houses. Also, Obama is a worthless corporate sellout who has watered down or completely reneged on every single one of his campaign promises.”
And as Joseph Stiglitz points out in his refusal to sign the please-cut-Social-Security/Bowles-Simpson-is-awesome deficit reduction letter, fiscal austerity at the federal level will only make matters worse there, too.
It looks like the GOP is about to experience a pretty serious electoral backlash at the state level, and the only thing that might save them from the same fate nationally is if Obama and the Democrats help them hold the government’s head underwater instead of fighting to save it. Unfortunately, it looks like that’s exactly what they plan to do.
2 commentsMarch 31st, 2011 at 05:39pmPosted by Eli
The typical American tax cheat is male, single and under the age of 45.
While only 15% of Americans surveyed fessed up to fudging their tax returns, 64% of those people were men, according to the survey of consumer attitudes and behavior. Thirty-five percent were single (47% when including people who have been divorced or widowed), and 55% were under the age of 45.
These percentages were all significantly higher for the self-proclaimed cheaters than for the non-cheaters, indicating that Americans who cheat on their taxes are much more likely to fall into these three categories than those who don’t, the survey found.
Many cheaters also try to justify their behavior. Far more tax cheats said they are ‘overall better people’ and that they are ‘special and deserve to be treated that way’, compared to the people who said they don’t cheat.
Apparently “special” and “overall better people” can be identified by their willingness “to keep the wrong change given to them by a cashier, to ask a friend to pretend to be a former boss for a reference check… to lie about their income to qualify for government aid… wear an outfit once and return it, file false insurance claims, keep money they see someone drop on the floor… lie about finding something inappropriate in their food just to get a free meal… [or] steal money from a child.”
Remind me which party is the anti-tax party again?
This is quite possibly the most perfect representation yet of the Republican concept of “shared sacrifice”: GE employs every strategy known to man to not only avoid paying taxes on $14 billion in profits, but actually wrangles a $3.2 billion tax CREDIT…
And then turns around and tells 15,000 employees that they need to take big pay and benefit cuts. Because, I guess, $14 billion in profits plus a $3.2 billion tax credit just isn’t enough to get by on these days.
True, it’s not a perfect analogy to Obama extending tax cuts for the rich and then saying that government workers (and most other non-millionaires) will have to tighten their belts because of the deficit, but it’s the same combination of a huge tax windfall for the rich coupled with everyone else getting screwed. The biggest difference in GE’s case is that instead of providing an excuse for screwing workers, the tax windfall does pretty much the exact opposite.
It’s very easy to prescribe “shared sacrifice” when you will not personally sacrifice anything at all.
Washington’s definition of “shared” is ridiculously constrained. If the corporations and the rich were forced to “sacrifice” to the same level of pain as the Republicans (and probably Obama and lots of Democrats) advocate, we could probably wipe out the deficit and still have money left over for real stimulus and infrastructure repair.