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Bloggingheads
05-27-2008, 05:04 PM

Joel_Cairo
05-27-2008, 05:26 PM
I really enjoyed the Packer article, and, considering that it prominently featured Ross, Reihan and David Frum, would rather have liked to see it get mulled over on BhTV by one of the guys whose ideas were frontally dealt with in the piece.

Just IMO.

bjkeefe
05-27-2008, 07:28 PM
Yup. I wasn't at all surprised that Ramesh didn't like it, didn't really read it, and disagreed with it.

bjkeefe
05-27-2008, 07:43 PM
On the diavlog as a whole, it was nice to hear politically opposite people have the honesty to admit good points on the other's side.

One point I disagreed with Ezra about: He criticized the Democrats for not making a coherent argument for their tax policy, and summed it up as (paraphrased), "So what's their plan? To collect more money? Okay, and to spend it on what?"

Maybe they're not selling the message well enough, but I have been under the impression that the Dems want to collect more taxes to pay for better roads, better schools, and a reduction of the deficit. Not to mention health care reform. Maybe that's too simplified for a wonkfest, but I think Ezra was oversimplifying in his dismissal.

Wonderment
05-27-2008, 08:42 PM
I haven't yet watched the video (not a big fan of either of these guys), but I think the point -- that the Dems. have not yet very deliberately, specifically and graphically connected the dots -- is a good one.

Barack should say it every time: We will increase the capital gains tax and with that revenue, we will repair x number of bridges in the following counties; we will put x billion into New Orleans, we will put x billion into prescription drug benefits, etc., etc., etc.

He and Congress should do the same with the peace dividend. Reduction in the cost of waging the idiotic war on Iraq can be specifically translated into programs here and abroad. Barack should stop claiming that ending the war in Iraq is a good idea so we can wage a better (bigger?) one in Afghanistan and instead illustrate for people precisely what we can with the cash.

We triumph in Iraq by walking out of the casino. All those billions unsquandered are "winnings." John McCain is hooked on war and has a loser's strategy: double down, bet the farm.

Emphasizing over and over again that the national budget is a moral document, and tax revenues and peace dividends are for good deeds and good investments is an argument that everyone can understand.

jeffpeterson
05-27-2008, 09:20 PM
Wonderment suggests: "Barack should say it every time: We will increase the capital gains tax and with that revenue, we will repair x number of bridges in the following counties; we will put x billion into New Orleans, we will put x billion into prescription drug benefits, etc., etc., etc."

That's going to be a hard sell for the economically literate segment of the electorate, since cutting capital gains tax rates is historically one of the surest ways to increase revenues. Won't help sway the economically illiterate, either, as they'll glaze over at the mention of the phrases "capital gains" and "tax rates."

Wonderment
05-27-2008, 09:52 PM
That's going to be a hard sell for the economically literate segment of the electorate, since cutting capital gains tax rates is historically one of the surest ways to increase revenues.

Edwards, Clinton and Obama all called for increasing capital gains tax. Edwards' proposal was limited to incomes over $250,000 annually. (Not sure about the details with Obama/Clinton.)

You can debate the merits and impact of any tax increase, and people always do. That is not my point, however. I'm simply saying that if and when Dems. propose increasing taxes, they should make the direct connection to what the money will go for.

With the reduced spending on the Iraq holocaust, you don't have to make that argument, however. You can just congratulate yourself for being a thrifty and compassionate conservative!

bkjazfan
05-27-2008, 11:21 PM
The republicans appear to have run out of ideas and gas. If the dems lose this presidential race than something is radically wrong with their national party.

John

JLF
05-27-2008, 11:53 PM
What's the old joke about two economists never coming to a conclusion? And. certainly, a wonkfest wins few converts among the actual electorate.

Your basic idea is certainly sound: This is what we need, and here is how we'll pay for it. Republicans might promise things - peace through victory in Iraq, which is always just around the corner, for example - but they won't tell you how we'll pay for it and just leave that nasty detail for our children and grandchildren to sort through.

Obama could do worse than emphasize that the only balanced budgets in the past forty-seven years have been Democratic and the largest spikes in the deficit in history have been Republican.

rgajria
05-28-2008, 05:31 AM
Nice Diavlog but Ezra's volume is much lower than Ramesh so I have to keep my hand on the volume know. Sucks!

cragger
05-28-2008, 10:24 AM
I don't think it either pays politically, or is ultimately accurate to get into fine detail about future budgets. Any specifics are bound to change a lot between a campaign proposal and an eventual legislative reality. There is also something to be said for a candidate who says "our priorities are wrong, we should be spending a lot less on these areas and more on those and I'm willing to listen and work together to hash out the details."

Unfortunately, economics is more complex than the marginal tax rates. For example, given that most of us "spend" roughly 1/3 of our income on taxes, for every $100 I make, I have about $66 of economic spending power. Since the value of the dollar has dropped by about 1/3 since 2000, that is reduced to $44 in equivalent spending power in the global economy. If someone had proposed increasing the total tax rates to say 40% from 33%, people would be screaming to high heaven, even though with the $60 that would leave us, we would be considerably better off than under the current situation. The devaluation is also considerably worse of course in that not only are future earnings devalued, so are savings and any other dollar-valued assets anyone holds.

This is all just the most direct, dollar-in-the-pocket part of economic well being. Since the causes involve a web of policies, it just doesn't fit a bumper-sticker style political system like the eternally popular "They'll raise your taxes!!".

ogieogie
05-28-2008, 10:46 AM
Obama could do worse than emphasize that the only balanced budgets in the past forty-seven years have been Democratic and the largest spikes in the deficit in history have been Republican.

Unfortunately, Obama has to tread lightly on this argument until Sen. Clinton gets out of his way--or, for that matter, any other that highlights Clinton-era Democratic successes.